By William D. Russell
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Members of Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS church) have polarized opinions concerning the status of their fellow members who are homosexual. The two major issues are priesthood ordination (in a predominantly lay church) and whether the church will marry and bless same-sex weddings.
Homosexual Saints explores these issues with twenty-four narratives that explain the experience of gay and lesbian members of Community of Christ, as well as the experiences of their family members and supporters.
The volume includes a detailed history of the status of homosexuals in the church since 1954, and a preface by celebrated Mormon historian D. MICHAEL QUINN.
“I have always believed that the pathway to understanding the issue of homosexuality is in the telling of personal stories. Decisions about policy and law, whether religious or secular, must first have a human face. Bill Russell’s compilation of personal essays — some courageous, some tragic — provides an excellent resource for the dialogue that has only just begun.”
W. Grant McMurray
President, Community of Christ (1996-2004)
“By collecting these remarkable first person accounts, Bill Russell has performed a great service to everyone in the church. We cannot move forward together without practicing the spiritual disciple of non-judgmental listening. All who attentively read these stories will be transformed as together we become more caring and accepting community.”
Don H. Compier
Dean, Community of Christ Seminary
“If ever there was a collection of stories to inspire and enlighten, this is it. Here also is an example of the power and beauty of story to build sacred communities. These stories will do far more than legislation or official dogma to dismantle walls of fear and indifference.”
Dick and Barbara Howard
“Stories draw us into the lives of others, where we participate in their emotions of love, fear, acceptance, rejection, loneliness, and bittersweet triumph. Marginalized, invisible, and dispossessed homosexuals in the church have long needed an advocate like Bill Russell to tell their stories with sensitivity and compassion. How shall we respond?”
Susan D. Skoor
Apostle, Community of Christ
“When individuals have the courage to tell their personal stories, as the contributors to Homosexual Saints have done, their words can be surprisingly powerful. There is no means more effective for dispelling ignorance about homosexuality and for overcoming prejudice against gays and lesbians than forthright, thoughtful explanation by those who have experienced this reality personally or know of it through someone they love and respect.”
H. Wayne Show
Author of Remembering Brad
“A key chromosome in the Latter Day Saint DNA is the presence of marginalization. All who are intellectually curious and have a genuine desire to understand this unique religious movement\'s true identity should read carefully this fine collection of personal stories.”
Mark A. Scherer
Community of Christ Historian