After coming out as LGBTQIA+ in June, David Archuleta continues to be a voice on LGBT issues, particularly on how they relate to his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Recently, an elder of the LDS church gave a controversial speech at BYU on LGBT issues, and David responded in an Instagram post.
David asked LDS leaders to keep an open mind and heart
In his coming out post, the American Idol season 7 alum asked that church leaders keep an open mind when it comes to members who identify other than heterosexual. He said in an impassioned message on social media, “I just invite you to please consider making room to be more understanding and compassionate to those who are LGBTQIA+, and those who are a part of that community,” David wrote, “And trying to find that balance with their faith which also is a huge part of their identity like myself.”
While there are LDS members heeding the call, there are others, like apostle and former BYU president, Jeffrey R. Holland who are warning the faithful not to push back on LGBT acceptance. The speech he gave at the university last week angered many gay Mormons.
Holland said the faithful should take up their intellectual “muskets” against LGBT acceptance
While the university has strived to be more inclusive–announcing the creation of an “Office of Belonging,” to combat “prejudice of any kind, including that based on race…and sexual orientation,” Holland hit back in his speech. From the Salt Lake City Tribune:
He said that BYU faculty and staff should take up their intellectual “muskets” to defend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially “the doctrine of the family and…marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” the apostle said, but some choose to aim “‘friendly fire’ — and from time to time the church, its leaders and some of our colleagues within the university community have taken such fire on this campus. And sometimes it isn’t friendly — wounding students and the parents of students who are confused about what so much recent flag-waving and parade-holding on this issue means.”
If maintaining the faith’s policy on LGBTQ members — that it’s not a sin to have same-sex attraction but acting on it is — costs the school some “professional associations and certifications,” Holland said, “then so be it.”
Holland urged his listeners to “be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy, or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people.”
He also criticized a BYU valedictorian who chose to come out at his graduation in 2019.
David acknowledged the hurt, but believes Holland’s words started an important dialog
David reacted in an Instagram video, acknowledging the anger from fellow LGBT Mormons, and understanding that they felt “unseen” by Holland’s speech. “I just wanted to show my love to you all,” he said, adding “We can love someone, and respect someone…I have love for him and I have love for everyone who felt they were unseen and felt hurt by some of the comments and how it’s been interpreted…”
David looks on the positive side, believing that his negative comments sparked hard but important conversations. “Had this not happened and had it not started this conversation, I feel like we wouldn’t be able to make the progress that needs to continue being made as far as understanding where each other’s coming from.”
David also sticks up for the valedictorian who chose to come out during his graduation speech. “Maybe there wasn’t an opportunity to be heard before that point.” David stresses that it’s OK to disagree with church leaders.
“I don’t intend everyone to agree with my approach on this”
In another comment on the post, David mentions that “I don’t intend everyone to agree with my approach on this, and that’s totally OK!” Because some of the messages from fans were not so forgiving. “Mental gymnastics here.. he was definitely not speaking out of a place of love,” said a poster named the-hunterfam “You don’t hurt someone you love, you don’t threaten musket fire over someone you love.”
There will be people unwilling to equivocate. At some point, seeing “both sides” is pointless, when the other side is unwilling to change. I suspect acceptance of LGBT in the Mormon church will only come when younger members finally take over church leadership.
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David is exploring relationships with men
Elsewhere, David continues to speak out. In an interview with the always great Lyndsey Parker at Yahoo Music, David acknowledged that he is willing to explore relationships with men. “I feel like if I want it to be honest with myself and understand my feelings, I have to be open to that,” David said. “I definitely have my boundaries still, and I like to be careful still, but I have to be willing to get to know guys. … It’s been great so far. I feel like God has given me people that I needed to walk this journey with.” I don’t think Elder Holland would like that answer.
And a piece from NBC news says that David is “currently dating someone who is a man, and he is using his platform to be an advocate.” David wants folks to know that they aren’t alone. “Especially if they’re currently really involved in their church or their faith and feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, what happens if I speak out? If I’m honest, what’s gonna happen?’” he said. “I just want them to know they’re not alone. I had so many direct messages from people who are in the same situation. So hey, it’s OK. Even if it’s not clear how — I know I’m still figuring it out — you can make room for both.”
David and Scott Hoying sing “Hallelujah”
Lastly enjoy David and Scott Hoying from Pentatonix singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Scott also identifies as LGBT.
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