I was recently invited to be one of the panelists on a Mormon Matters Podcast episode where I am joined by the host Dan Wotherspoon, and his other guests Dr. Daniel Parkinson (founder of the I’ll Walk With You Project) and retired BYU professor Dr. William Bradshaw (microbiologist). It is a fascinating interview that covers so many relevant factors to having a deeper understanding on homosexuality – from biological, sociological, and mental health perspectives. I am honored to have been included in such an important discussion.
It has been interesting to read many of the comments in response to my blog posts recently – and how quickly we can polarize around stances we all hold on to tightly as we are forced to reconcile the discomfort we may feel during a time where many of us in the Mormon community don’t agree on pretty big issues. I hope we can continue to be respectful towards one another even through our disagreements. And I would highly encourage you, especially if you are in support of the policies the LDS Church announced earlier this month, to listen to this podcast with a desire towards education. I don’t say this in the hopes it will change your mind – but just to better educate ourselves on the vast amount of data and research that has been done on this topic. Both Dan and Dr. Bradshaw are active members of our church and Dr. Parkinson was raised in the church. So it is a very respectful interview and should not be threatening to anyone who is listening. I am a big believer in the following principles of the Gospel: education; continued revelation; evolution in our thoughts, ideas, and processes; individual, relational and community eternal progression; personal revelation; dealing with inherent conflicts within principles being a part of how we grow into ethical beings; charity & love. I hope those values come through as I advocate in behalf of our LGBT brothers and sisters. I continue to implore that we use the comments section to engage in meaningful conversations – without personal attacks – expressing our positions in ways that speak to what we are trying to communicate. And recognizing that in order to influence – we must first be safe, vulnerable spaces to begin with. May we all look for ways to bridge our divides – so that we can reach out to those who are most hurting at this time (many of who struggle secretly – in particular our adolescent LGBT youth who are at much higher risk when facing familial or community rejection). Thank you.
I received permission from Dan Wotherspoon to co-release the interview on Mormon Mental Health Podcast as well.
Natasha Helfer Parker can be contacted at natashaparker.org.