by Troy Williams
I recently met with Dan Tham and a team of journalism students from Northwestern who have been on a 13,500-mile odyssey, “Traveling with Twain in Search of America’s Identity.” “The drive will follow trips taken around the United States by Mark Twain in the 1850s and 1860s. Their journey attempts to weave together three stories about identity in America.” They stopped through Salt Lake City to talk with me about gay activism in the heart of the Mormon Zion.
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segment: Williams said that the spotlight has put pressure on the church to reevaluate its position on homosexuality. He cites the fact that until 1978, Mormon African-American men were denied the right to hold the priesthood. Under pressure from non-Mormons in the United States, church leadership allegedly received a revelation from God that allowed the Mormons to change their position.
“If the church is to survive,” Williams said, “it’s going to have to wake up in a big way. It’s going to have to draw down the powers of heaven and actually come up with a revelation. Otherwise, this rising generation is going to say, ‘Not interested.’”
For all the differences the Mormons have with the gays, and vice-versa, Williams said that the two groups have a lot more in common than people would believe.
“Mormons and queer people know what it’s like to be hated for being different,” Williams said. “So they ought to have empathy.”