21 December 2010

Be Careful Who You De-friend

Periodically I go through a "friend" purge on Facebook. There are no absolute rules to whom I de-friend, but generally if I just don't care for the person anymore I will delete them.

I still have a ton of friends from the days when I was an active Mormon. Many have deleted me, and I have deleted some obnoxious ones in return. But, there are always those who I debate on deleting when I'm doing a purge. I usually think something like this to myself, "Self, this person hasn't really done anything to be a jerk, and you never know, they might need to hear what you have to say about gay people so that they'll change their attitude."

As it turns out, that voice in my head is prophetic. Maybe I should start my own religion ... but I digress.

I received an email the other day from a guy that was in one of my wards about 9 years ago. I haven't seen him in probably 8 years, and after he added me on Facebook I never did have a conversation with him - until last week.

He emailed me to tell me to ask my opinion on how LDS parents should treat their out-of-the-closet children. No, he didn't have one of his kids come out. Rather, he is a religion teacher at the so-called "Lord's" university. One of his students sent him an email detailing how the student's twin sister is out of the closet. The student loves his sister unconditionally and is totally fine with whatever choices she makes for her life. Their parents, on the other hand, or not so hip on it. They have forbidden her from bringing her girlfriend to family functions and basically are just being douchebags about the whole thing.

We traded a few emails back and forth about it. Apparently the mother insists that she is the reason her daughter is gay; there is something she should and could have done so that the daughter wouldn't have turned out that way. I commented on how egotistical of a statement that is for a parent to make. I then talked about how there is legitimate science that backs up a huge biological factor in why people turn out gay and how based on my own experiences and research I am convinced that my own homosexuality is 100% biological. I then made the comment that the only way the mother actually could have done anything about it would have been to have had an abortion so that the daughter didn't exist.

I then talked about all the junk science out there that people use to refute any biology, and push archaic ideas of it being a mental disorder and changeable.

Here's where I was stunned. He responded and wrote the following:

I'll admit that in the past I was one of those that clung to the junk science, but my views have definitely shifted the past couple of years. I was very appreciative of the notes you posted on Facebook about you own experiences; they were frank and handled with aplomb, and they directly helped to shape some of my current views.

Wow! Something that I did actually changed a pretty hard-core Mormon's point of view on us gay folk. It felt really good to know that I was a part of that, but more importantly that it can be done.

So, be careful who you de-friend. You might miss a great teaching opportunity.


Maureen said...

Great story :) I have to keep reminding myself that if my believing friends post about Christmas and Jesus then it is more than ok for me to post about the Solstice or my efforts to remove a make-believe-figure from the holiday season. Some people will get angry but maybe it will help others who are struggling w/deconversion. So many people just accept Christianity as the norm because it is so widespread... us humans really have clung to some myths for a veeery long time. Then when we post about our disbelief we are labelled as bitter, angry etc and get told to 'leave other peoples beliefs alone' aye yae yae yae. Our belief IS disbelief!!

Anyway, congrats on being brave enough to post your thoughts on facebook, it takes some of us a long time to do that.

Maureen said...

On the de-friend thing. After some particularly nasty comments from Mormons I de-friended all of my Mormon friends that I hadn't seen for more than about 6 months. I then had a decent number of them send friend requests to me and some even wrote messages asking why I de=friended them. I explained about the anonymous nasty messages and how I felt that I neeeded to protect myselfwhy and they (I went through this w/about 5 people) said that they still wanted to be friends! cool :)

Kaylanamars said...

Wow. Very brave. Not me. One day... Thanks for sharing; very inspiring!

J G-W said...

I don't de-friend. I figure, if I offend them, that's up to them.

I have had folks from my way-back past friend me on Facebook or contact me through my blog, etc. Sometimes it's a learning experience for them to find out what I've gone through since I knew them 20-30 odd years ago. I try not to get defensive about stuff... I assume the best, treat folks like I assume they will be understanding and good-natured. More often than not, they rise to the challenge...

Facsimilogos said...

I did have a cousin de-friend me for comments I made on Facebook. It was unbelievable! But I'm with J-G-W, I don't de-friend, I just try really hard to offend the believers.