Freedom of Mind, as an organization and as a meme is grounded in a commitment to basic human rights as expressed by the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Please take a moment to look at these profound statements.
It’s not surprising that many cults hold doctrines and practices which are intolerant and even violent towards the LGBTQ community. Just combine absolutist, black-and-white, rigid thinking with tight control over members’ sexuality. A young person asserting their own individual desires (which may be unconventional, complex, or constantly evolving) presents a threat to a cult leader who seeks to mold their followers into obedient, dependent clones of themselves.
In particular, homophobia is still widespread and justified by these entities. In this blog, we wish to ask for more people to understand and support LGBTQ youth. A Human Rights Campaign (HRC) survey of 10,000 American LGBT teens found that 4 out of 10 do not feel they live in accepting communities. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that LGBT youth are more likely to experience bullying, teasing, assault, truancy, depression, rape, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide.
Groups that try to “cast out demons” to “cure” LGBTQ individuals or force them to undergo “conversion therapy” causes an incredible amount of trauma. Sexuality is one of the fundamental aspects of our identity! Teaching LGBTQ children that they need to turn straight in order to be happy and close to God damages their own sense of self worth and can interfere with their ability to develop healthy relationships.
Homeless LGBTQ youth, whether they ran away from or got kicked out of unsupportive homes, are especially susceptible to cults, pimps, traffickers, and other controlling groups and people. They can be twice victimized by undue influence: first by a community which denies them the freedom to be their authentic selves, then by cults and predators who take advantage of their vulnerable situation.
Fortunately, activist organizations such as The Trevor Project, The Child Friendly Faith Project, Survivors of Institutional Abuse, and many more are raising awareness of the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community.
Recently, LGBTQ activist Fred Karger has challenged the tax-exempt status for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the LDS church’s current stance on homosexuality is much kinder than its earlier teaching that homosexuality was a dangerous mental illness, it still causes distress for LGBTQ youth and their families. Some are even calling the recent string of Mormon LGBTQ teen suicides an “epidemic.”
This is a public health issue and a human rights issue. Parents, support your children’s freedom of mind by encouraging them to be their authentic selves and by teaching them how to protect themselves from undue influence. Churches and other organizations, discourage bigotry in your doctrines and policies. Government leaders, send a clear message that you represent all members of society by removing tax exemptions for discriminatory organizations and upholding equal rights. I am so happy with the progress that we’ve made in recent years, especially with the legalization of gay marriage. Let’s do more!