Visiting the Tabernacle

This is going to be a little heavy and a bit on the long side.

In brief: I visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City, home base for Mormons, to hear their choir practice. As a gay man, neither I nor the grounds burst into flames. 

I need to back up here, to the 2008 election, because that day is when I pretty much stopped journaling thoughts online with regularity. I wrestled with frustration and purpose.

Barack Obama had won the presidency and I was elated. Here was an even-keeled, thoughtful and articulate politician. I felt (and continue to feel) that he’s an excellent Commander in Chief.

But those election results also included the passing of Proposition 8 in California, adding a definition in the state Constitution that marriage could only be between a man and a woman.

This was devastating. And perhaps it shouldn’t have bothered me so many states away, but it did (and still does).

In my mind, California represented the progressive ideology of our nation. I hoped that the advancement of this particular issue and equality for all would gain footing there.

And why on earth could people vote to limit anyone else’s happiness in the first place? I thought this pursuit was a foundation of our country.

I know the topic is tough for a lot of folks.

Heck, ask me when I was 20 years old and I would have likely taken the conservative stance. Closeted and ignorant, I let fear rule my worldview (and I was gay). It could certainly be much harder for some straight folks to find empathy on the matter.

So how does this have anything to do with attending an open rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

Well, the Church of Latter Day Saints turned out to be one of the largest investors of capital, resources and energy to get Prop 8 passed. Given, it was a contentious issue to begin with, but the great investment from the Mormons might very well have tipped the scale.

And even if it hadn’t, their belief that God did not make me as I am, and therefore I deserve less chance at happiness, well, that just doesn’t jive with my core beliefs which include loving one another. 

Sure each side is rooted in opposing views, but I dunno… Admonishing homosexuality wasn’t a core principle of the church until the mid 50’s.

Maybe there will be another shift to return to a more accepting charter that reflects changing perspectives of their community.

Anyway, when I heard their choir had rehearsals open for the enjoyment of the public, I didn’t want to carry the weight of my disapproval any longer.

I love music of all sorts, and very much appreciate choral arrangements.

I also love architecture, and Temple Square is filled with magnificent examples of thought, design and construction.

Walking inside the square I was greeted by friendly folks around every turn. Upon entering the Tabernacle the sound from the choir was glorious. It was as if each section sang with one voice.

It was beautiful.

I hope one day this church can see the beauty in me.