Mormons have gotten lots of publicity lately for their efforts to deal with same-sex marriage and the place of homosexuals in church doctrine. And now yet one more issue pokes up its head: Transgendered church members.
Trans issues are the flavor of the moment in media coverage of pop culture and universities, so it’s not too surprising that The Salt Lake Tribune devoted quite a bit of space to this topic on Monday. The report starts thusly:
Sixteen-year-old Grayson Moore had no label, only metaphors, to describe the disconnect he felt between his body and soul.
It was like car sickness, he says, when your eyes and inner ears disagree about whether you are moving.
"It makes you sick," Moore says. "That's the same with gender."
When Moore's mother gave her then-daughter a vocabulary for the feelings -- "gender dysphoria" or transgender -- there followed an immediate sense of relief and recognition.
And, he says, God confirmed that he was not just a tomboy. He was in the wrong body.
Such moments come in the life of all transgender persons -- times when vague feelings of general discomfort with their identity crystallize into that realization.
Annabel Jensen was deciding whether to serve a Mormon mission. Sara Jade Woodhouse was married and had fathered a child.
In these three cases, their Mormonism -- with its emphasis on the physical link between bodies and spirits and its insistence that gender is "eternal" -- initially made it tougher to acknowledge what was happening inside of them.
Since switching genders (though none has had sex-reassignment surgery), all three say they have found psychological and theological peace, even divine approval, and a surprising welcome from their local LDS leaders and congregations.
Next comes a quote from LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks that -- considering the massive theological problems the Mormons have with changing one’s gender -- is very conciliatory and open to change.