I am posting the following call for papers on behalf of Ty Mansfield. (Those of you who attended the recent Sunstone Symposium saw an extract of his interview with Helen Whitney.)
An Anthology Sharing LDS Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction
A Call for Papers
Deseret Book has expressed interest in a proposed anthology dealing with homosexuality that will include personal experiences and narratives by individuals, family members, Church leaders, and gospel writers who have wrestled with, or been influenced by, this sensitive and significant issue. Essays will be written by believing, committed Latter-day Saints, and will cover a spectrum of experience.
The target audience of this volume will be the general membership of the Church, and particularly those individuals and families who are dealing with the issue and who are interested in better understanding it through the personal experiences of others who are committed to the Church.
We are interested in essays from both young and old, male and female, married and non-married (and possibly divorced), spouses and parents, and those who have been involved in same-sex relationships (and possibly who have been excommunicated or estranged from the Church for a period of time) who are now active and faithful, as well as those who may never have acted on their feelings and always been true to their baptismal and temple covenants. Perspectives, experiences, and beliefs may vary, and we expect only that core beliefs and values be in harmony with the gospel teachings as they have expounded by Church leaders.
We are interested in submissions from:
• Men and women who experience (or who have experienced) same-gender attraction
• Individuals who are married, single, or divorced
• Spouses, both male and female
• Parents, siblings, or other family members
• Local Church leaders
• Individuals who have been out of the Church and who have returned
• Individuals who have found some resolution, as well as those whose feelings are unresolved but who feel peace and hope in the gospel
• Encouraging as well as difficult examples of family, spousal, and Church leader support and interaction
Possible ideas and experiences to consider (including but not limited to):
• Specific life experiences that have most affected you and helped you to find meaning in your experience, and which have influenced your choices to remain committed to—or to return to commitment to—gospel teachings and Church involvement.
• Gospel doctrines or teachings of Church leaders that have been most meaningful to you (shared in the context of a personal narrative, rather than a thematic essay), including the plan of salvation, nature of God/man, etc, and which have given strength, direction, or affected the way you’ve chosen to respond to the issue.
• Experiences that have helped you to feel part of—or in which you’ve felt support from—Church or ward family
• Personal or spiritual change through applying the Atonement of Christ in your life
• Beneficial experiences with professional or therapeutic assistance
• Experiences working with Church leaders, either for support, through a process of repentance, or in the process of returning to Church involvement—including perspectives by Church leaders themselves.
• Experiences with marriage—or lack thereof
o Experiences of those who have healthy and fulfilling marriages, as well as those with difficult marriages or for whom marriage resulted in divorce but who chose to remain committed in their faith and involvement in the Church
o If single, the specific things have helped you life rich and fulfilling life and/or to avoid or deal healthily with feelings of loneliness
• Parents, siblings, or other family members
o Supporting a child who has chosen to remain committed to the Church
o Supporting a child who has chosen another path
o Experiences dealing with a child’s suicide or attempted suicide
o Perspectives of those who have healthy, fulfilling marriages and who have found strength, support, and direction through their faith in the gospel
o Dealing with the tragedy of divorce, personal healing, and/or the effect of watching loved ones make hurtful decisions and how you’ve found strength, support, and direction through faith in the gospel
• Preparing for and serving a full-time mission
o How mission experiences helped you grow in faith and to better deal with the issue
o How you dealt with it before and on a full-time mission
We hope you’ll consider sharing your experiences! We are looking for essays that are honest, candid, and capture both the reality of issue of homosexual attraction as well as the heart of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Submissions will be accepted until September 1, 2007.
Please email submissions or questions to Ty Mansfield at LDS DOT Anthology AT gmail DOT com.