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Response to Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example
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A FairMormon Analysis of: Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example, a work by author: D. Michael Quinn
Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example by D. Michael Quinn
Reviews of this work
According to the pre-Socratic philosopher Xenophanes, if cows had a god it would be a cow. Later thinkers would expand this into the notion of the egocentric predicament: the enormous—if not insuperable—difficulty we encounter in conceiving the world in terms other than of our own experience and understanding. A recent, telling example is that of the late Sinclair Ross, distinguished Canadian novelist and writer, who, coming "out of the closet" late in life, confided to a young friend that he could never quite believe that this young man "or any other male, was quite so straight . . . [he] couldn't be tempted by the pleasures available in a male body, or that such a body wasn't part of every man's fantasies. He was pretty sure it was."1 An even more extreme and perverse expression of this "egocentric" perspective is that of Adrienne Rich who, from her lesbian orientation, can conceive of heterosexuality only as enforced behavior for purposes of procreation (pp. 120—21).
George L. Mitton and Rhett S. James, "A Response to D. Michael Quinn's Homosexual Distortion of Latter-day Saint History"George L. Mitton and Rhett S. James, FARMS Review of Books, (1998)
D. Michael Quinn is a former Mormon historian now turned homosexual apologist.2 His Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example appears to be, among other things, another attempt to generate tolerance and perhaps even acceptance for the notion of a special homosexual identity. This highly controversial book also seems to be Quinn's attempt to talk Latter-day Saints into ceasing to view homosexual acts as immoral. It follows that if there is a homosexual identity, either genetically grounded or socially constructed—he seems to want to have it both ways—then apparently he thinks Latter-day Saints should cease being what he considers homophobic and make a place for homoerotic behavior within the church.
The core of Quinn's story is that in the nineteenth century, beginning even with Joseph Smith, the Saints were considerably more tolerant of sodomy than they are at present. In this essay we will focus on this aspect of Quinn's confused and confusing book, and not on the ideological staging that introduces his politically motivated and radically revisionist account of the Mormon past.