"I don't want to turn our children over to an organization that will teach them to hate their father," he said.
"Gerald," I responded quickly, "you know that there is no person or organization anywhere on this earth that could teach your children to hate you. You know they love and adore you, and they always will."
"But the Church will tell them that I am evil."
"Look, Gerald," I said. "I understand your feelings toward the Church, but without it you wouldn't have developed into the person you are, or have the spiritual interest you do. I think the Church has done a lot for you."
There were tears in Gerald's eyes when he answered me. "That's the trouble, Blossom. I love the Church. And the Church detests me. That's why it hurts so much!"Carol Lynn Pearson,
in Good-bye, I Love You
I have to admit there's a lot here that I just plain don't get. Not that the actual words have obscure meaning, but the pervasive disagreement about the church's actual attitude toward homosexuality held among gays, members, and SSA practicing Mormons. The church says they love us. Gays say the church hates us.
I was interested to learn that the church had advocated electroshock aversion therapy at BYU and that priesthood leaders have said such offensive things as that it would be better to be at the bottom of the Great Salt Lake with a millstone around your neck than to be gay or that homosexuality is equivalent in depravity to bestiality.
Apologetic apologist or not, I come out with a kind take on the church. I'm inclined to think one can believe whatever one wants about the church in this regard. I wonder if it's one of those things that reflects on the interpreter more than the subject material itself.
For example, priesthood leaders are either plain wrong (not unheard of) or overemphasizing something for its rhetorical impact when they speak of death being better than sin. It's certainly a notion that has home in parts of the scriptures and makes sense in a tactical "how will you make it through life's tests" sort of way. It also has the unfortunate side effect of alienating the vulnerable person who already feels ashamed and desperate--of giving the false impression that the church wants the person dead. Not a strategic repentance-motivating discussion I would endorse, but also not literally technically inaccurate. Rhetorically stupid, yes, but stupidity is more easily excused than hatred.
I haven't given bestiality much thought, but my guess is that it is wholly different from homosexuality and that those who compare them are just plain wrong (and perhaps willfully ignorant, I don't know). I don't know that folks are actually attracted to animals, I've always thought it was kind of an elaborate form of masturbation. It's really disgusting though, and on that basis I can see how some people would compare it to their view of gay sex. Again, poor communication and ignorance are bad, but not necessarily the same as hatred.
Shock therapy doesn't bother me nearly as much as some people. Medical history is filled with unsuccessful interventions that made lots of sense on paper. We hurt people all the time in medicine to bring about some positive result. Surgery is "cut to cure". We literally flay a person's chest open with huge metal retractors and then rip pieces of their body out... and they let us because they're better off afterward. To the extent that participants were not compelled to undergo the shock therapy and the practitioners had reasonable hope that the outcome they all desired was possible, it's not as huge of a deal as it seems. It is grotesque to think about and unfortunate to say the least, but not some scene out of Frankenstein that it's painted to be by the activists I've seen describing it.
The church has repeatedly expressed its love for gays (although they stubbornly use their own language) and its desire based on that love that gays repent and enjoy all the happiness and blessings of the gospel. God, His prophets, and His organization don't "detest" us. However, there is still too much ignorance, still offensive language used, and still misunderstandings, and battling it all is worth a go.