Mormonism And Homosexuality: The Book Of Mormon Missionary Positions [NSFW]

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Mormonism And Homosexuality: The Book Of Mormon Missionary Positions  [NSFW]

First, let me start off by saying that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Yes, I am Mormon. When a fellow Fstopper writer posted this piece in our writer's group at first I was saddened to see the material within the link, but then I took a step back and really processed what this series of photographs meant. The photographs depict a pair of Mormon missionaries in various sexual positions. The photographs may be quite simple, but the message is not. Warning: Some of these photographs might be offensive to some readers. 

 

Neil Dacosta, a photographer based out of Portland, OR is the creator of the series. The series has its own website over at www.mormonmissionarypositions.com

I have been a member of the Mormon church since I was eighteen years old. I might not be the best example of a Mormon, but I love my religion. It is part of who I am, and with that said, I am also a LGBT supporter. I believe that homosexuals should have the same rights that we all do in all respects. Yes, a Mormon that is a LGBT supporter, we do exist... and the number is  growing.

The photographs while to some are shocking I believe is the perfect conversation starter over the issue of homosexuality and the church. Now, I do not know the motivation behind this series of photographs by its creators. The only insight that has been given was that on The Daily Dot in which the website asked the creators of the series if this past election had anything to do with the series. As most of you may know, Mitt Romney is also a member of the LDS church and is an opponent to same-sex marriage. Neil Dacosta and art director, Sara Phillips, had this to say.

"The timing definitely gives it a political undertone, as the LDS Handbook quote parallels the Republican social position," the two wrote. "There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding the influence of Mitt Romney's faith on his political positions." -Via: The Daily Dot

The quote that they are referring to is the one that can be found on the LDS Handbook. "Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman."  -LDS Handbook 2 21.4.10

 The fact of the matter is that people in the United States feel more uncomfortable with Mormons than they do homosexuals. We only make up about 2% of the nation, and we are a largely misunderstood religion. The number of us that are LGBT supporters often keep quiet about their stance on gay marriage in fear of belittlement of our fellow congregation. This is changing slowly, as well. More and more people are 'outing' themselves as supporters.

Just this past June, during a gay-pride parade in Salt Lake City, Utah over 800 active members of the Mormon church marched in support of their LGBT community members. The group called 'Mormons Building Bridges', have been very vocal about their feelings on same-sex marriage.

The series of photographs definitely sends out a powerful statement, and I believe get the message across, now what that message is... is up to you.

So many people like to use photography as a way to say something socially, so does this series use the art form as a way to put homosexuality and the church in the forefront, or is this simply exploitation at its finest?

You can view the entire online art exhibit at: www.mormonmissionarypositions.com

 
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104 Comments

"The fact of the matter is that people in the United States feel more uncomfortable with Mormons than they do homosexuals."
I am not entirely sure what the comparison is for or how you have come to this conclusion to but either way I would have to disagree.  The fact of the matter is that a Mormon was almost just elected president.  I get the feeling that a gay republican would receive far less votes than a Mormon republican.  

That being said, yes, I am way more uncomfortable of a belief system based on circa 200 year old scripture than a human being that loves another human being.

The fact of the matter is that people in the United States feel more uncomfortable with Mormons than they do homosexuals."

and they are right... when such articles pollute a photography website.

This is a horrible article. plain and simple. This is a photography site and these photos have no photographical purpose. It is 100% political and shock value. I am a mormon as well and think it is offensive to use  the position of missionaries to push a political issue. Whether your a mormon or not you have to have respect for these boys. They are 18 and 19 year old young men that believe so passionately in their religion and cause that they give up 2 years in the most crucial developmental part of their lives to go and teach the lessons they have learned and help people. And they pay for it out of pocket. i am ashamed of F-stoppers for running this article and of Rebecca for writing it. I have been telling people about how awesome F-stoppers is as a resource for photography and videography for years now and There is no place for this on F-stoppers. If offensive political articles continue on this site, i will stop visiting. 

shock value?

only for prude americans i guess....

Rebecca Britt's picture

I knew that fellow members of the church would not like what I had to say. I knew that even before I wrote this, but I wanted to be the one to post these instead of another writer. If these photos are going to be on the site I wanted a voice about them. Yes, they're for shock value. You're absolutely correct, but they get people talking.

You have to admit that that this issue in our church is a huge one, one that someday we'll have to deal with accordingly. I'm not particularly happy with the fact that they chose Mormon Missionaries as a way to get their message across, but in their defense when the general public envisions Mormons the first thing that pops into their minds are missionaries, because they are what the public is exposed to the most from our faith.

Look, I love my faith, but something needs to give. There are so many people who are turned away, flushed out, abandoned and shunned because of their sexual preference. I believe that is wrong, we should embrace them for who they are. 

The only reason these photos are especially offensive is not because it's two men in various sexual positions, it's because they are portrayed as being Mormon. Photos I believe should do one of two things: Tell a story or a memory OR send a message. Whether you like it or not these send a message, maybe it's time we start listening. 

The fact of the matter is that you're here, and you're commenting and speaking about how you feel about them, and it's okay if you don't agree with me. I was expecting some heat from this, and again that's okay. I'd rather you be here speaking your mind about these photos, rather than in front of your computer silently fuming about it. 

What's actually really interesting here is the fact that people consider this offensive, when in fact one could be completely neutral about it - hate to sound cliché, but: just because it's two dudes everyone thinks the religion is under attack.

WHO.CARES.

I find many of your statements difficult to believe based on their contradictory positions.

You state that you "knew that fellow members of the church would not like what you had to say." Thus implying you are Mormon - yet you are willing to toss your chosen religion under the bus for a shameful bit of attention to your opinion.

You highlight that this is a Church issue - yet you out it on a photography site which should have no religious, political or societal views or options at all - just the art, and this is not art. The reality here is that this is a personal issue - your personal issue that you have masqueraded as a photo article. NOTE - just because you use pictures doesn't make it ABOUT photography.

Further - One does not love something that they bring controversy or embarrassment to. Therefore your position that you "love your faith" is immediately suspect.

Your personal opinions are that the Mormon Church needs to practice acceptance - yet you show very little tolerance for those you worship with (supposedly) who have different views than you.

You are correct about one thing though - I am here, I am commenting and I am soon to be deleting F-Stoppers from my links list, bookmarks and RSS Feeds. This is not the first non-photography related blog post to be presented as such - when it is clearly a political or religious platform. If I want that crap I will tune into CNN.

It is sad really - F-Stoppers had promise as being a legitimate site for serious photographers.

People throw their religion under the bus when they only agree with parts of it. Very few people in the church agree with all of the church stances and standards.

I think your comment proves we need even more posts like this. Just because a few teens are under peer pressure to work as missionaries does not protect them from being portrayed in photographic art.

Images like this definitely have a "photographical purpose". With them you can participate in changing an issue by providing a place and source for debate. A few years ago there was a similar outcry when the pictures by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin in the exhibition Ecce Homo were displayed.
If F-stoppers stops posting articles like this I will not continue visiting the site.

I feel like some of the reason they go on a mission is because e eryone wants tnem to and theyget to travel. Sure there will be some brainwashed enough to go and teach just to go and teach. But most of it isn't because they want to.

I think the American economy would be greatly valued with reduced health care expenses if cigarettes were outlawed -  I find them disgusting. Both my father and uncle died from lung cancer - both unfortunately smoked.

not the place to put this... But creating more laws to ban freedoms (be what they are) does not help, it only leads to enslavement.  Moreover, it's what people eat, that leads to more problems than anything else.   I've started to see a rise in awareness concerning microwaves... something you should be more concerned about than cigarettes (we all know what they do) whereas we are just beginning to see the effects of small doses of radiation over long periods of time!!!  

Taylor: One part of photography is to deliver a message. Just because the message isnt something you like, you can't just go hate on it.

Here in Sweden, one of the most secularized country in the world, does the message seem pretty lame and not at all offending. It's pretty fun to see how a "small" group of people have such a problem respecting an even smaller group of people for what they like and dislike in life.

Its time to give the people of the LGBP community the exact equal rights that all of us human should have. That this stil is a politcal statement in the modern society we live in today is emabarrasing...

Jen: yes i can. photography is to send a message but to use cheap shock value to send a message is not good photography...its lazy photography. 

By your standard i could take pictures of your daughter getting raped by a nigerian to portray the horrors of woman trafficking in the world and call it art. it doesn't mean it suddenly has significance. Its just offensive and an easy way to get free publicity. Just because something is offensive with a message doesn't mean people should praise it as art or photography. and F-stoppers should filter garbage like this out. I could teach a 10 year old how to take photos of this quality that are offensive. it takes no skill.

Ace's picture

Why did you use Nigerian as an example... Nigerians don't rape ur women.. It's the Americans that do that.. Oh.. Stereotyping aye...

I see why they used mormons in this pix..

Touche!!!!!  .....well stated Taylor.

Regarding photographic and artistic merit, the pictures are of little value. I'm sure they will shock a proportion of viewers, but then if you are the type that has 'faith' that the world was created by a supernatural being, rather than through evolution, or if you believe same-sex relations are a 'sin' then there's little hope of a reasoned discussion.

I have yet to have a 'reasoned' discussion with anyone who believes life came from nothing!

i always thought the name 'Fstoppers' had some homo-erotic undertones ;)

organized religion is pretty silly sometimes. all good though. fun to see some of the weirdness that crops out of it.. cheers!

..and yall are gonna have to post pictures of lesbians to make up for this one :)

Joop van Roy's picture

I don't want to know about your silly religion or your opinion on how it is viewed in America. You use these photos as an excuse to talk about religion and politics. Keep it on topic (photography videos!).

Maybe… just maybe the whole point of the photos was to get people to talk about politics and religion. JUST A GUESS!

Joop van Roy's picture

You really think we need MORE discussion about politics and religion on the web?

I think we need more discussion about politics and religion on the web that involves thoughtful reply and respect for what's important to people other than just what we're comfortable with individually. "your silly religion" is unnecessarily aggressive and provocative, which usually leads to responses. 

Joop van Roy's picture

Considering the fact that OP has devoted an entire article to her opinion on politics and religion, i think it's fair that i get one word in. And belittling as the word 'silly' may be, it's hardly aggressive.

Right, so, you get your word in in a discussion that you're complaining about occurring in the first place. No one was saying it wasn't fair. The semantics of "belittling" versus "aggressive" in the context of a discussion is a pretty thin defense. Just be respectful? For all the shit that's wrong with the world, isn't the level of imposing one's sense of superiority over everyone else the one thing we have control over on a moment to moment basis? 

Joop van Roy's picture

 Yes, i am easily lured into discussions about religion and politics, which is part of the reason i would like Fstoppers to focus on photography videos instead of whatever the hell this is.

Also,i'm not nearly as angry as i must sound, just... spirited.

Have to say this genre of photography is a favorite of mine - simple lighting, simple concept - powerful message that can get people riled up even on a photography site. This, for me, is a really important aspect of photography - it's not being used to sell a beauty product or anything else except challenge an idea - and for that reason it has all the artistic and photography merit that it needs.

@facebook-629174414:disqus above: Your analogy to someone else's daughter being raped is by far the most offensive thing on this entire page - but as another commenter pointed out, it would seem there's not much hope of reasoned discussion with you. 

ps. Keep it up Fstoppers & thank you Rebecca for posting.

what does all this have to do with photography?

They're photographs with specific content. Hence, photography.

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