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

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

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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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FUSTOPPERS

Jeff .. I don't understand why you would admittedly contribute to the "trollish comments" that add to what you dislike about a website

James's picture

For those of you trying this at home don't forget to lock the wheels on the
bike ...

Rick Porter's picture

2 funny James!!!!

Awesome concept, great write up Rebecca, I just shared Fstoppers with even more people. 

Wow... you know when you've written a good article when the comment section explodes with praise and hate. I for one quite like the photos, especially their facial expressions, there is so much there: longing, shame, sadness. For me the art works resonate with conflicting emotions and this always makes for interesting photos.

i find these greatly offenive personally. i know its an artform but. honestly its gone a step to far on this.

Jacob BenjaminTaylor's picture

This was a bad article and you should feel bad about writing it. 

If nothing else, this series of photographs illustrates one thing for certain: Muslims don't have a monopoly on getting irate when they feel their system of beliefs is being attacked.

Remember Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ"?  Sometimes art is about pushing the envelope and creating dialogue.  Just by looking at the number of contrasting points of view expressed above, one can see that this posting, and this art, has done just that - opened up a dialogue.  The bigger picture is that we still live somewhere where we can do just this...post things that might be offensive to some, and then express our opinions about it.  For those of you who are offended, where are all of your outraged posts when the images are of objectified women in lingerie?  Engaging in selective outrage when it comes to free speech and art just doesn't work.  Kudos to the photographer for coming up with a concept that creates dialogue, and executing it photographically adequately (albeit rudimentarily, but I think that was part of the desired "handbook" or "guide" effect - see the 1970's "Joy of Sex" book for reference)

Meri Ross's picture

I am not going to argue the merits or artistic value of the pictures. Art has a purpose in this world. Personally I feel it would be better if art were uplifting and positive instead of ... whatever this is. 

What I find sad and really offensive is that people seem to think it's perfectly okay to mock and make fun of any group. If this was done about Jews or Muslims or women or almost any other group people would decry the images and there would be no question that they were offensive and distasteful. If its wrong to mock and make fun of one group, it should be wrong for all groups. Just because Mormons don't usually make a fuss and just because making fun of Mormons is the "thing to do" doesn't make it right. 

I'm sick of my religion being mocked and belittled. If you don't want to believe, don't. No one is forcing you. Buy why be so hateful and mean and nasty. I can guarantee that Mormons do a LOT more good in your communities than you realize. Did you know that Mormons were on the ground helping after the recent storms on the East Coast before pretty much anyone else? Did you know they will help anyone who asks, regardless of whether or not they are members of the Church (at no cost!).

Don't be so quick to judge and be so hateful. Try TALKING to a Mormon before being so mean. You might just realize we are exactly like you. We love, laugh, cry, feel pain, and care about the world around us. We love our families and our friends. We work hard and contribute to this world. There are good among our members and bad. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. We are humans, just like you. Give us the respect you would any other human being. 

Ofa Fonua's picture

I'm an active LDS, straight, male, and return missionary. I strive to be sensitive in regards to LGBTQ issues, though I am not perfect. I can only hope that there will be some healthy, productive dialogue here and we can think more critically of our own privileges and therefore be more empathetic. Hopefully this series isn't an attack and hopefully members don't think to attack back and isolate ourselves. Anticipating responses like: we should make x media about Muslims or x other community to prove double standards and blah blah blah. Nope, we don't need to do any of that. Sometimes, we just need to listen to how people feel beyond what they say. Getting to a place where we can move upward sometimes means we get hit and we don't raise our defenses.

Arthur Nava's picture

Ah, see... My hope for humanity is restored with this comment.

Nice comment.

All too often when people or establishments are criticised they go on the defensive or even counter-attack instead of listening.

Sorry to state the obvious, but these photos are gay.

David Crockett's picture

This is just plain terrible. This is exactly why so many people have a problem with gay people! They WANT people to feel uncomfortable and insulted. I don't need someone flaunting their sexuality in my face, especially at the cost of a religious group. Just shameful!!!

Mike Kelley's picture

The only person who is responsible for making you feel uncomfortable with 'gay people' is yourself, really.  People don't have a problem with gay people because they make them uncomfortable, they have a problem with gay people because they're told that gay people should make them uncomfortable by older generations stuck in a rut or bigoted and ignorant people trying to push their beliefs on others.

Gay people definitely don't want you to feel uncomfortable...people who don't like gay people want you to feel uncomfortable around gay people.

"....by older generations stuck in a rut or bigoted and ignorant people trying to push their beliefs on others."

The irony is that your above statement is making a moral judgement against another's opinion/belief.

Mike Kelley's picture

 Sorry - I don't considering bigotry related to homosexuality to be an acceptable opinion or belief. I really can't wait until it's 25 years from now and they teach kids in schools about the outrageous anti-gay sentiments felt today, and how ridiculous it is. "Can you believe gays weren't allowed to marry? I know! It was insanity."

The point of my post, Mike, is to expose the hypocrisy of judgement.

In reality you are shoving your morality down my throat by saying I'm wrong and need to be corrected.  Always ask yourself when making judgments ...By what standard am I saying the other position is wrong?

Great post! Whether or not I agree with the message these photos send is irrelevant. What matters is that these photos do an excellent job of sending the message they wanted to send and start a conversation. These are photos that make you stop and think, whether positively or negatively, about the subject matter and the topic. Isn't that what photography is all about? They also go to show that photos don't have to be technically impressive to do the job. I honestly don't see any difference behind these photos that make you think about LGBT, etc. or a panoramic photo of an expansive landscape that makes you think about the beauty and wonder in nature. The only difference is that the subject matter is controversial and people let their emotions reign over their mental faculties too often.

Excellent post Rebecca and wonderful composure in handling the negative responses! Posts like this and the way the FStoppers team handles the reactions are why I love this site so much.

Tim Henry Woodard's picture

Unless you have served a Mormon mission you wouldn't really understand why this is offensive. Just like someone who is white will never fully understand racism. I am a return missionary and honestly it bothers me to see these pictures....a lot. Not because its shows sex positions with two dudes. I offends me because I personally know how hard it is to give up 2 years of your life to be sent somewhere you don't really want to go and leave everything behind in your personal life to help other people. My experience of service was life changing. Anytime you offer service to the human race it can change your life. If you have ever helped with Help Portrait you get what I am saying. I am bothered because they are thousand or Missionaries who go out into the world to serve human kind and unfortunately it is mocked. I challenge anyone to spend a week...a day in the shoes of a Mormon Missionary and experience the Hate that comes with wearing a badge and serving. It's not easy. Period. Many return missionaries put their whole life into those 2 years and these photos mock that service.

Maybe we should post some photos of Catholic Preachers in sex positions with young Boys? How about our brave American Soldiers. You would even consider that...but because this is Mormons its acceptable. You stoop low when you mock people who perform service towards man kind. I don't care if it's Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christians in Africa, Soldiers....Anyone!

I don't think the intention was to mock Mormon missionaries, but rather to raise the question of various religions stance on homosexuality. They just depict missionaries as they are the obvious public image of Mormons.
So it's less about the service, more about the religion. Or that's how I see it anyway.

Please do not compare consensual gay relations to paedophilia! If you think they are the same then it's just proving a bigotry case against Mormons!

Tim Henry Woodard's picture

Mormons are not the only religion in the United States in opposition to Gay relationships. 

wow!!! very uncomfortable for the mormon community. I guess you find Gay people every ---where 

Not being a Mormon myself I still can't understand the motive and reasoning for this gross post by a so-called mormon. If you are really a mormon and have such a lack of respect for your faith and the way it is represented then you need to re-examine yourself. Before posting such petty, disrespectful filth please consider the fact that a person's religious beliefs are sacred to them, can't you understand and respect that? I think you have been scraping the bottom of the barrel on this site way too long in order to get views and appease your advertisers, stop putting this crap on your site and concentrate on worthwhile subjects. Just because we have a right to free speech does not mean we need to exercise that right at all times, especially without a good reason. Shame on you! 

Rebecca Britt's picture

Sorry, shame on me for not following the doctrine of my church to the letter. Shame on me for having my own views and for supporting a group of people that the church that I affiliate myself with typically shuns. I never said that I was a perfect member, I am me.  That's all I can be. There are no perfect [LDS] members. We all have our flaws. I agree that these photos are shocking and to some degree distasteful, but the message that I see looking beyond the photos and their shock-value is one that I feel very strongly about. These photos made me think hard about what I am told is right and what I believe is right. I have my own testimony of the church, but I do question things about it. That's being human. Believe me it's hard to feel torn between my faith and my beliefs especially since they clash like they do. 

Doesn't it defeat the purpose of being a mormon by supporting a lifestyle that your religion categorically opposes? How can you contradict the tenets of your faith and still call yourself faithful? No one is stopping you from watering down your religion with mainstream inclusivity, but wouldn't it be easier for you to just shun your religion if you are so opposed to it's canonical teachings instead of trying to live by a pseudo religion of your own creation? You "can't have your cake and eat it too". 

At the end of the day it's more about acceptance. I personally feel that one of the biggest things about being Mormon is dealing with those who don't acceptance your religion practices....
I'm Mormon
this is what works for me
I'm happy
I'm still the same person from high school ...ect

If we as Mormons want this kind of treatment we need to learn to give that same type of love to others, as long as their lifestyle doesn't keep us from following ours I see no harm

Just because tommy has two dads doesn't make him the devil nor any of his fathers, if they are good people then they're good people

If i value my friendship with tommy and/or his dads all we can do as Mormons is share what makes us happy. If they change great if they don't its ok... as long as we all continue to treat one another with love and respect it'll all work out in the end

Although i don't agree with your other post Sy about this being offensive (i personally find it quite humorous), I completely agree with what you say here.  How can you follow a religion and not subscribe to some of the fundamentals that are the pillars of that religion?  It in fact, is exactly what you have said, your own pseudo religion!

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