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Honesty is the best policy.


Camy

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I'm about to say something very unpopular, and at Christmas too.

I know this was meant as humor, but it's not very funny.

Guys, whether or not you or I agree with another religious group, insulting and cussing people out, of another faith? Come on.

Suppose that was a pair of Christians out evangelizing? Jews? Muslims? Hindus? Buddhists? ... Pastafarians? Would it be funny then?

Suppose it was a couple of kids soliciting for the local youth group at a nearby church ... or a school? The local GSA?

I ask, because last year, a very polite, quiet, nice, and good looking high school boy came around to raise funds for helping out area kids in real need, not just their own little group. I felt sure he was gay-friendly too. Handsome, not directly using that, but letting that help his sales pitch all the same. Some girl or possibly some boy is very lucky, a thoroughly nice boy, I thnk. And a young man (about 16 to 18) who cared enough to be out knocking on all the doors in the neighborhood for his group. (School, I think, and I'd bet he's in theatre or dance from how he was dressed.) (Uh, and he reminded me strongly of an old best friend too.)

There was no religious sales pitch. There was, however, a pitch to help out area youth at risk.

Now suppose I'd told him to **** off and cussed him out and slammed the door in his face, for being a nice, caring young man?

I have been out, a couple of times, when I was a young guy, knocking on doors to invite people to church -- or to help raise funds for a school club or for a church-related donation to be given to the community. It wasn't a lot, but it was something.

I'm surprised at who thought it was OK to comment favorably.

I have known Mormons, and know a few online or people who have friends who are Mormons. They aren't bad people. Some are gay-friendly. Some are even gay or lesbian, folks! Likewise with a couple of other well known religious groups who also habitually go door to door.

I have friends of many faiths, and friends who are atheists. This includes people who believe strongly, and don't believe as I do. I value their friendships very much. -- Am I to slam the door in their faces and cuss them out too?

Is it unrelated if that were a local teen or college-age adult who's going door to door for a GSA or local gay-friendly youth group? What if it's someone actually in need?

The economy's really bad. I loaned a friend money the other day, when he came by and asked, and he didn't want to ask. Even if I don't get paid back, I'm trusting that was real, not faked. My cabbie and his wife are barely getting by, month to month.

So yes, there could be a young person (or an older person) coming by who's in need. This happens, these days. I live in a big city. How many people come by the local food pantry? How many don't get food, because the pantry doesn't have enough to meet the need? Yes, gang, there are people out there on the streets, not all that far away from my door. And yes, that could range from a homeless man to a prostitute to a street kid.

You may say, but that's not related to this video, about Mormon guys out proselytizing.

What if I had assumed that about the nice young guy all neatly dressed, who showed up on our doorstep last year, early fall, and never answered the door, or told him off?

Look, I know Mormons in general are not gay-friendly or may even be phobic. I get that.

I know the people where I (still occasionally) go to church who are not OK with someone being gay, whether it was the lesbian partners who used to go there, or whether it's a former minister's daughter, or myself.

Should I yell at them too? -- OK, I don't like that they don't get it, that they don't approve, that they believe something I think (nowadays) is not true. -- But guys? I went through years, particularly college and many years thereafter, trying to understand why the God and the faith that I believe, seemingly could not accept me as a gay guy. I really struggled with that. Yes, I even was suicidal, twice. (Got better, too.) -- And yes, I read up, again, when I got online, and found out what I'd grown up reading, believing, about that was not necessarily what the original text and the people back then believed, thought.

What I'm saying is, if you make fun now, or slam that door, or deride it because you think it's so wrong -- how are you helping disprove what's not right about those beliefs? -- How, guys, are you helping someone like me, who earnestly believed that somehow, he was less of a person in God's eyes, because he was (is) gay, and who struggled deeply, in real turmoil inside, trying to reconcile the two images of God, trying to understand how (or if!) he could fit into it all, whether there was a future in this life for him as a gay man, or whether there was a future in the afterlife, instead of being damned? -- Are you prepared to slam the door and make fun of a guy like that, instead of bieng friendly and helping out, or discussing, or anything? How will that help someone who feels that way, huh? -- I really want to know.

I really, really am surprised at all of you. You have fussed at me before for stating my views or posting various things, because you felt it sent the wrong message to visitors, since I was and am a volunteer here and at Codey's World, and since I write and am pretty vocal online. -- Each of you just sent quite a message, and each of you should know better. My turn to fuss back. -- THINK about the message you're sending. -- Or (1) how are any of us any better than phobic or ignorant people, and (2) how on earth or in heaven does that help someone who may be struggling with his or her same-sex feelings and with how to reconcile those with faith.

Y'all should know better. Christmastime too. -- Embarrassing to me and to others, strong allies of AwesomeDude, if and when they see it, who feel the same. (I'm not the only one who's going to feel this way about this. I know that without having heard from them.)

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Ben: Lighten up!

This was humor, based on the fact the polite, clean-cut young men were cussed out by what appeared as a very proper old lady. The humor was supposed to come from that surprise, and perhaps only incidentally from the fact that she didn't especially like Mormons.

This probably almost never happens, I'm sure. Not by prim old ladies. But I understand if it does. It's not to be celebrated, the rudeness that is, but there can be good reasons for it. I for one, live in an area where we seemed to be besieged by these people. I'm not exaggerating when I say that at least 10 times a year someone will show up at my door and try to save me. Sometimes they come in threes and fours. I'm very tired of it because my dogs go crazy when these guys walk up the steps and I have to shut them up before opening the door. I don't slam it in their faces, and I don't cuss them out. I merely interrupt their patter before it gets started with, "Sorry, not interested," and close the door. But it happens over and over. Most of the time it's something other than Mormonism that is to by my saving grace, but those guys show up occasionally, too.

I can see why, if I am very busy doing something important, say writing a story and I've just thought of a wonderful line and they don't wish to lose it, and the dogs start barking furiously, and there's a knock on the door, and there's this old guy in a black suit with a black tie looking like something out of Men in Black without the sunglasses and he asks me if Jesus is my personal savior, I might be tempted to say a word or two to prove otherwise. Especially if he's the third one this month.

So I can see where someone my be irate, and maybe even say something uncouth, if they lacked my even temperament. But that isn't the point of the video. It was humor based on shock value, someone doing something atypical of the breed and entirely unexpected.

It probably would do you good to laugh. Sorry this didn't do it for you. But I don't think those who did, who did appreciate the humor, need chastising for that.

C

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Guest Dabeagle

Ben I couldn't get through your whole post, unfortunately, because I felt you missed the point entirely. Mormons, whose Salt Lake City streets are filled with handsome young men whom the church's members have thrown out of their homes have the gall to come to people's door to proselytize because they think we're all on the wrong path? This isn't some fellow collecting for needy children, and my reaction is much the same if a person of any religion shows up at my door; so that comparison doesn't hold.

My reaction would be similar for the Boy Scouts since they discriminate because they are a religious organization by their own words. Same with the Salvation Army, which I never donate anything to preferring the Goodwill stores.

Having said that, I agree with Cole, the humor was in the proper speech from an elderly woman whom we don't normally think of as having a potty mouth letting these two have it. Reminds me years ago I saw a movie, 'Every Which Way But Lose' I think with Clint Eastwood, and he had an Orangutang who'd flip people the bird. In one such instance a little old lady made some nice comment about him, while driving her vehicle. The Orangutang made his rude gesture and she replied with one in force and of course it was funny (maybe more so because I was 10) but that it seemed so out of character for a proper old lass to have done such a thing.

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Guys, in one sense, I understand the humor, and in another, ehhh.

Sure, I've had people, various faiths, come to my door (or my grandmother's) and try to convert me, when I'm busy or not so busy. And sure, I reply, hey, I'm happy where I am, and say, by the way, do you want to hear my pitch? ;) (Which for some reason, they suddenly find somewhere else to be.... ;) ) And yes, I get it, they're not homeless, etc.

I get the try at humor. (It's been a long while since I last saw Every Which Way But Loose.) There are other things I'd find hilarious. Maybe I'm just not in the mood. But guys, this didn't do it for me and it struck a bad chord.

Possibly one reason? Two different scifi fans I know online are Mormons. Parents, one with grown kids, the other with almost-grown kids. Both reacted well when I came out on the forums. Neither are probably entirely comfortable with it, but they've known me online now for quite a while. I've seen a cool video or two of family antics, a school skit (very creative), that sort of thing. I don't know if they'd be offended at the video or if they'd laugh. No, I doubt they'd see it here. But uh, one has teenage sons who, for all I know, might visit sites like AD. (I don't know, but it is a slight possibility.) How would they feel if they saw their faith (an important part of their life) presented like that? Now keep in mind, yes, they are out in the world, the family is mostly progressive. Things like science fiction and rock music and other typical American things are accepted in their home.

Another? At least one friend here and at other sites has close friends who are Mormon. They accept that friend being not straight. Another friend here and elsewhere is in another faith that often knocks on doors. I have relatives and friends who are in several fundamentalist/evangelical denominations. I have at least one, maybe two cousins who I think may be gay. (Almost sure of the one. It was a surprise, let me tell you.) This includes an aunt and uncle and some cousins who I think will be OK with me when I come out to them. But yes, moderate to conservative in their religious beliefs.

I was actually raised moderate to conservative. My comments about how I grew up and how I was as a younger man (not just this thread, in total) reflect (a) my own reticence and personality, and (b) how even a moderate upbringing can still get a guy feeling not so fine about himself when he knows he has feelings for guys, when he's gay.

What if, in the video, it was two Hassidic Jews at the door? Or Reform Jews, less obvious a difference? (No, I've never had someone proselytizing door to door who was Jewish, but you get what I'm saying.) -- Buddhists? Muslims? ... The nice Jehovah's Witness lady who keeps trying to convert me? LOL, I'm nice to her, but firm. I think she likes that I don't shun her.

Yes, I know the video's meant to be funny. Am I being too sensitive or not showing enough sense of humor? Maybe. Maybe not.

Oh, and one old lady, deep South, from North Carolina, once tried to describe me as "sensitive." Haha, and I think it was her way of saying "gay," but she's never acknowledged it, and is the kind who "hates the sin and loves the sinner." -- Yes, guys, I do know what it's like. I've been on the receiving end of hearing from some other, more narrow-minded person that there was a "homosexual agenda, recruiting, they're a danger to our kids in schools," and all that. I held my tongue, only for the sake of my grandmother, whose friend that was. -- So yes, I understand not appreciating that side of things.

I get not appreciating someone trying to convert me when I don't feel I need converting. (Already dunked once, if it didn't take, then that's between me and the big fella, thanks.) Yes, I have plenty of questions I'd like to have answers to. I let God know that sometimes, when I pray, which I still do.

I just didn't find this one very funny. I might like plenty of other videos.

I've got, y'know, a sex drive too, which insists it's there, no matter what more ethereal feelings I might also have. And perhaps those don't have to be at odds.

Guys, I really do have a sense of humor, I promise. This one just doesn't do it for me. It would've already been flagged at Codey's World, and if not by me, then by someone else, the moment it was seen. (I once had to explain to a college student why one very off-color reference and photo were highly offensive to black people. The student didn't know, which says either how far we've come, or how far we still have to go, to understand the past. But it couldn't stay. Forum policy there.) You all are free to disagree with that. It is too over the top for me, and I feel sure others will not be happy about it, despite their senses of humor.

I'm sorry we disagree, but we do. :(

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Sarcasm noted. But is that really how you folks think I'm reacting, closed-minded, no sense of humor, and wanting to censor without cause?

I was starting to get back into the swing of things and thinking of giving more of what passes for my free time, around here and elsewhere.

But this is the second time in less than two months I've been basically told to lighten up, don't take things so seriously, don't be so negative, etc.

If that's really how it is, maybe I'll just shut up again and spend my time elsewhere.

I'm still listening. I'm also going to give this some time to shake loose and settle out.

I don't think someone else has seen this, or my reaction might seem really mild by comparison. I could be wrong on that, dunno.

Geez, guys. I'm not asking for you to be wildly in favor, but some understanding of my viewpoint might be nice. Is that really how you folks see it, a lack of enough humor or tolerance, or a desire on my part to censor and pre-approve?

I'm not touching the admin / moderator buttons, even though I could. I'd rather see what people think. Sure am not feelin' the love, though.

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Is this scene from a movie? I suspect it might be but can't remember which one. In anycase it is satire, a dramatisation of a fairly common occurrence, with an uncommon, and unexpected response from the little old lady. That is what makes it funny.

Warning atheist discussion points ahead: (And when did you last see a "Warning religious views follow," sign?)

Is it in bad taste, disrespectful, or just plain mean to Mormons? Yes, it probably is. But before we go looking at that, it is important to point out that many scenes, presented as entertainment, are confronting, obnoxious and in bad taste. However there is this little thing called 'free speech' that lets the most vile and offensive statements be uttered, not as satire but as doctrine from the believers of religious organisations. Think Westboro Baptist Church for one, or any of the main stream organised religions when they sprout their official anti-gay dogma. Dogma I might add which is indoctrinated into the young at an age before the child has fully developed their powers of reason or critical thought. In the eyes of the atheist or agnostic, there can be no greater sin than telling a child that he or she, is a sinner, because ultimately, it is religion's method of stopping self discovery; of the ability to know love.

To many atheists the really obnoxious point in the above video is the depiction of indoctrinated young men being used by the Mormon Church to further instil that indoctrination in the young guys themselves, by having them proselytize the religion on unsuspecting people in their own homes. It is the reaction of the elderly woman, to this invasion of not only the entrance to her home, but also to her being fed up with such intrusions confronting her privacy and her personal views. She's had enough and reacts with her own 'free speech'.

Dramatically this video resorts to using this unexpected reaction from her as a satirical device to invoke humour. Could this possibly result in the audience questioning the validity of the religious indoctrination, or of proselytizing itself? From the activist atheist point of view, one would hope so, because satire without revelation is a cheap shot, and maybe that is what Ben sees from his point of view. But that too is disappointing because even cheap shots can be seen as funny, just look at nearly any sit-com.

Intellectual argument on the existence of gods is one thing, but religion's demand for blind belief in its tenets is valid territory for ridicule, especially when those tenets are indoctrinated, forced onto the young, the fragile, the vulnerable, the destitute and the unsuspecting.

Really though, this is just too much analysis for what should actually be viewed as nothing more than a rather funny, even if shocking, situation.

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Guest Dabeagle

Yes! Clyde was his name. I recall now that another line I loved form that old movie, or its sequel was used during a chase scene. A motorcyclist was menacing them (Clyde and Eastwood) and Eastwood says to the Orangutan "Right turn, Clyde!' Whereupon Clyde executed the byciclists sign for a right turn and smacking the bad guy in the nose. Yes, my ten year old self thought this was the height of humor.

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You know, it's been so long since I've seen Every Which Way But Loose, and now I want to see it again. Yeah, Clyde is the orangutan.

I feel pretty sure that is a clip from some TV show or movie I haven't seen. Part of what makes it unfunny for me is, there's no context. The guys don't get obnoxious in trying to talk to her. We don't know, from the clip alone (nad keep in mind, it's the only thing I've seen) if she's been hassled all day by whoever. Oh, I get the idea of the apparently sweet little old lady telling somebody off. But...I dunno, somehow, it just doesn't work for me.

Possibly, it's as Des said, there's no reveal, no payoff, nothing but the woman's unexpected reaction and the "Gosh!" from the presumably naive guy.

I'm just gonna say this one isn't my cuppa. Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't get it. But, er, I'm almost expecting an earful from one or another side or persons, and that'll make the...well, I've lost count how many times in the past two or three months.

Guys, I'm going to take it easy on posting for a while, and see how things go. It seems like it's only me. I keep hearing how I'm too negative, no sense of humor, too liberal, too conservative, too this, too that. Well, I'm sorry, folks. What I post is how I feel. If people don't like to hear what I think or more importantly how I feel, and if that real life experience is somehow too negative and sending the wrong message, well, I'm very sorry, but maybe they should try living in my shoes for the past eleven years at very least, or longer, and then they might see why I feel the way I do. But I'm damned tired of saying anything and being told no all the time, or not listened to.

So for a while at least, I'm going to avoid posting much at AD, and I'll participate in other ways, or I'll give what little of my free time there is, elsewhere for a while. It's really odd, but I get more support, even for the "gay" me at other places. Call me sensitive or singular or whatever, but that's how I feel.

Des, I don't fault you, I knew pretty much before your post what your views are, and I don't have a problem with you.

What bothers me is, people don't seem to understand where I'm coming from on this, why I didn't find it funny and instead found it prejudicial, and why to me, it is exactly the same kind of thing that otherwise would not be accepted. What also bothers me is that I have too often been told to cool it, I'm being too (negative, sending the wrong message, too this, too that) enough times, which is why I took a long break before, and which is happening again.

Maybe I'm better off someplace else. I guess I'll see what happens and if I feel differently after I've had time to think things over.

Sorry guys, but I feel very strongly on this, and I'm very unhappy at having been told repeatedly to shut up already, I'm not doing right and not fitting in. So OK, I'm taking a break for a while. I'll be elsewhere, and yes, I'll check in from time to time. Just avoiding posting, and deciding if I still have any place here.

Bye for now.

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Guest Dabeagle

Ben,

I don't know you at all, so take my comments with a grain of salt. Having read your posts here it seems as though you said somewhere that you were brought up in a conservative mindset and that may make you either more sensitive to this kind of humor or less willing or able to see the humor others find in it. I've noted that repeatedly you'll use other religions in place of the Mormons in an attempt to make your point, which may have some validity. However I can't help but come back to one example you cited which was that a mormon family you know accepts you, it seems, and you wonder if one of their children was struggling with their identity and found a discussion like this how that would put them in conflict with their faith.

I would put to you that faith is secondary to one's self and some of the greatest mistakes were made by people who decided their faith or their church (for some interchangeable) were more important than the individual; one needs to look no further than the Catholic Church covering the abusive priests. The clergy even tried to blame 'homosexual priests' for the abuse.

Unfortunately anywhere you go there will be people that will not agree with you, and if you restrict yourself to only those that do you will never grow. One thing I always have to remind myself is how little I know, despite what I feel has been provided in abundant evidence in my life. The minute I take my ball and bat and go home, I've lost.

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Healthy debate is a positive thing. Forums such as these should be a place for reasonable debate and disagreement. I can think of three or four threads from the past two weeks right off the top of my head where people rather strongly disagreed with other people. I know one of these involved my thoughts, and somebody else's very different thoughts. I like that we can do this, and hope that we can remember that we can and will disagree on things. Every one of us. I might agree with another given person here 99 times out of a hundred, but then someone brings up the hundredth point, and look out, it's on! We just don't see eye to eye on that particular subject. That's fine though! It really is! This place would be awfully boring if someone posted something, and then the next twenty replies down the page were different versions of ,"Yup," or "I agree."

Don't leave, blue, and personally I don't think anybody means any variation of, "Shut up." Rather, just, "I disagree." We can disagree and still be fine. Now for the obligatory Canadian hockey analogy: When two buddies here are playing hockey and happen to be on different teams, guess which players have the biggest hits, the most colorful and rude comments to each other, and if the league allows, have the most energetic fight. And guess who goes arm in arm afterwards for a beer at the nearest pub to laugh about it all afterwards?

So, blue, lemme buy you a beer down at the pub, and let's laugh about different opinions about the rudeness of jokes. I'm buying.

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Ben:

I'd hate to think that my remark that you should lighten up would result in your leaving the forum. That wasn't at all my intention. I took exception to the fact you seemed to be reading out people who presented an opposing view to yours. We all have our opinions, and what makes this site so great is that we can express them without rancor.

I doubt anyone wants you to leave. We all merely want to be able to express our views without being hit over the head for them. Without being told we're wrong. We all want respect. Heaven knows, gay men often feel a lack of respect. Here, we can say what we want, what we really feel, knowing some will disagree with us, but will do so respectfully, cogently, intellectually, peacefully.

I really do hope you'll reconsider leaving. I would be very unhappy thinking that anything I said was that hurtful. Please go back and reread what I wrote, if indeed I was the one to cause you to make this decision. There was nothing there that was intended to insult or demean. Actually, I was just trying to stand up for others that seemed to me were being excoriated for expressing an opinion that was different from yours. That was all I was trying to do.

C

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I know this was meant as humor, but it's not very funny.

Don't take it so seriously, Blue. I agree with Cole -- you gotta lighten up. We all appreciate you around here, and freedom of speech is important... on AD and everywhere else.

I agree, all Mormons are not bad. Whenever I have friends who bad mouth any religion (including Muslims), I always say, "hey, c'mon -- it's the person, not the religion." Any person who lets religion take over their lives and make decisions for them is an idiot. Ultra-conservative religious zealots of all kinds are wrong, especially the ones that insist that only their faith is right, only their god is real, and everybody else is gonna burn in hell. Those are the people I dislike: people who have zero tolerance for others.

I'm not happy with the Mormons, especially after it was revealed that the Utah head office spent $20,000,000 promoting the California Prop 8 "anti-Gay Marriage" legislation. I was stunned to find out that that a church 1000 miles from California would even care about what we do out here, and it offended me deeply. But I don't hate them. I'm more confused than anything else. (And I have a close gay friend in LA who's an ex-Mormon; he has many interesting stories to tell.)

Don't take offense at a video like this. There are far more important things to get upset about in the world.

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I laughed for what it is, a old lady with a salty tongue saying her mind.

It reminds me, I need to watch "Every Which Way But Lose" again, and it's partner "Any Which Way You Can"

Ruth Gordon had to have been the most salty old lady on the silver screen in that Eastwood movie. I do, however, find her characters in "Harold and Maude" and "Where's Poppa" the most delightful bit of acting. Sadly she passed away in 1985.

I guess we are never thrilled to open our doors and find Mormon missionaries on the threshold. I have spoken to a few but never invited them in. I place them in the same category of "unwanted contact" I usually feel towards telemarketers that call during dinner time. If I want something I'll reach out for it, you don't have to bother me to sell anything, be it Veg-o-matics, paint brushes or religion.

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