Peter Danzig isn’t gay – he’s a happily hetero husband and father of three. Nor is he an advocate for gay rights. And Danzig and his wife, Mary, were involved in their church, participating in the LDS Orchestra.
But Peter has been driven from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints because of his position on homosexuality.
According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Danzig’s crime was writing a letter to the editor of the Tribune in support of Jeffrey Nielsen, a BYU adjunct professor who lost his job for publicly arguing that the LDS Church should not support an anti-gay marriage amendment.
In his letter, Danzig said that he was appalled at Neilson’s summary dismissal and at the Church’s efforts to have members write in support of an amendment that Danzig found “contrary to the Constitution and to the gospel of Christ.” He said:
I wish to express to Jeffrey Nielsen that I admire his courage and that I stand with him. I hope that rank-and-file members of the church as well as members of the lay clergy who also find this troubling will have the courage to step forward and let themselves be known. To do anything else would be to hide in the shadow of an injustice.
Peter and his wife were questioned and challenged and finally resigned the church rather than be excommunicated. Those not raised Mormon may not recognize the depth of anguish it can cause to be cut off from the church.
While the Church refuses to comment on the particulars of the story, they dispute Danzig’s tale.
“There is room in the [LDS] Church for honest disagreement regarding church positions,” LDS Spokesman Scott Trotter said. “Disagreement on doctrine only becomes an issue when a church member acts in open opposition to the church or its leaders.”
Disagreement on doctrine?
Support of civil legislation to deny the functions of the state to gay persons is a matter of doctrine?