Readers' Comments :
Duane Jennings is to be commended for this monumental, informative, and interesting work. Leaders and ordinary members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should give it a thoughtful and prayerful look. There are good reasons to include queer people.
Author and editor, including “Latter-Gay Saints: An Anthology of Gay Mormon Fiction”
I have to say, what a very thorough and well written piece of work that is. He covered so many topics and I thought unbiasly (is that a word?) examined so many issues through many points of view and perspectives. Thank you for sending them to me. Unfortunately, I think the people that need to read them the most are the same people that wouldn't read them in the first place, but what a great a start to those who are more open-minded and tend to seek a more illuminated point of view.
The more I read part II the more I realize what a Herculean effort these two volumes represent. You have created a rich, deep, and well-researched benchmark. It will take much to out do it. Thank you for all of the hard work.
Kimberly Anderson -
graduate student Univ of San Francisco, Editor/photographer:
Mama Dragon Story Project
I have immensely enjoyed reading Stumbling Blocks and Stepping-Stones over the past weeks. It is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in learning about the LGBTI Mormon experience. Duane Jennings covers every topic imaginable in two volumes that are comprehensive and detailed. He discusses the history of LGBTI people in a way that challenged some of my previously held beliefs about what the Bible had to say about homosexuality. The added insights that Jennings shares about the history of Sodom and Gomorrah were eye-opening and thorough and something that I wish more Christians would take the time to investigate.
What I enjoyed most about Stumbling Blocks and Stepping-Stones were Jennings’ theological discussions. His insights into Doctrine and Covenants sections 131 and 132 gave me plenty to ponder and mull over in my mind. These discussions gave me a greater appreciation for the expansive possibilities of the restored gospel and led me to crave further light and knowledge. I have learned so much reading Stumbling Blocks and Stepping-Stones and it is a book that I will be using as reference for years to come.
Ben Schilaty, PhD candidate at the University of Arizona
I commend Duane Jennings for his epic work, Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones. This two-volume book is likely the most comprehensive study available of LGBT issues in relationship to the Mormon Church. This study is an excellent resource for LGBT individuals, assisting them to stand proud despite the rejection they feel from the Church. This study is an invaluable resource for the families and friends, assisting them to better understand the LGBT person in their life. LDS Church leaders would greatly benefit from reading these volumes. It will aid them in a deeper understanding and a more compassionate exchange with LGBT members.
I especially recommend a reading of Volume Two, that provides a record of Church actions regarding LGBT matters in recent years. Portrayed are the consequences in the lives of LGBT members and to the Church itself.
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In my book, No More Goodbyes, I quote a Jewish saying: “An enemy is someone whose story you do not know.” Duane Jennings’ book shares many stories that help us understand the LGBTI members of our community—whom some have feared as the “enemy”--are simply members of the human family like everyone else. His impressive personal research is a great contribution toward our making sense of, and finding answers to, the troubling questions about the “place” of LGBTI Saints, whose very existence seems antithetical to our current beliefs and understanding of the LDS Plan of Happiness (Salvation).
A valuable example of the questioning attitude we must embrace today is shown in an 1874 statement of LDS Church President John Taylor: “A man in search of truth has no peculiar system to sustain, no peculiar dogma to defend or theory to uphold; he embraces all truth, and that truth, like the sun in the firmament, shines forth and spreads its effulgent rays over all creation, and if men will divest themselves of bias and prejudice, and prayerfully and conscientiously search after truth, they will find it wherever they turn their attention.”
Stumbling Blocks and Stepping-Stones is an honest review of scripture, science, tradition and personal journeys of LGBTI Mormons and other “people of faith” striving to understand themselves and God’s will, and is also a call to "disciples of Christ to love one another with genuine compassion—including our gay and gender-variant brothers and sisters.” Jennings offers a vital warning: "We can no longer be silent or sidestep the question about their place [LGBTI people] in the kingdom of God and how we might foster a safe place for them in our midst.” Even with the difficulties posed by tradition, we must courageously question and look for answers remembering that “all are alike unto God….” (2 Ne. 26:33).
Jennings’ book is truly a monumental look at one of the most pressing issues of our day. I recommend it to all who are looking for answers or new possibilities.
Carol Lynn Pearson, author of Goodbye, I Love You;
No More Goodbyes; and
The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy:
Haunting the Hearts and Heaven
of Mormon Women and Men.
The spectrum of “Mormon” includes every nuance from unquestioning fervent believers (actives) to inactive or excommunicated rabidly militant disbelievers. Parallel spectrums include “cultural”, familial, and social Mormons, et al. In a partial similarity the spectrum of LDS “authorities” is widely varied as to dealing with both individual and aggregate LGBTI spectrums. Likewise, the anecdotal quotation and application / imposition of scripture, church policies, and general authority utterances have imposed legitimate pain and angst for the individuals of the LDS-related LGBTI world.
While the internet has exposed substantial information, it has been, at best, anecdotal in nature and while we honor the worth of a soul, there has been a “need” for an encyclopedic compendium resource that addresses, and dare I say it, correlates all of the aforementioned spectra. This is what Duane Jennings has created in the volumes entitled: “Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones”. It is the absolute best such source available and clearly a labor of love and commitment.
I heartily recommend these volumes for those in the LGBTI community, those that love them, and authorities that are sincere in the obligations to love one another.
TW (Tia) Owen -
Itinerate philosopher & entrepreneur
Pending additional comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .