Drew Call identifies as gay, but as a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints, he swore a solemn vow of chastity (Re: ladies only) in the face of relentless pressure from his Mormon overlords. Call, now 32, even married a high school classmate when he was 24 even though he had zero attraction to women. Marriage is taught by the Mormon Church as a means of curing one’s homosexuality. The couple even had children together. I imagine a fly on that bedroom wall would have been bored to death.
In 2009, the couple divorced, and Call began inching toward life as an out gay man. This meant repercussions in the Church.
One Salt Lake City man, a church employee for more than a decade, is surprised and angered that he lost his temple recommend—a prerequisite for employment in the church—after he refused to give up his gay friends and was fired.
Drew Call, 32, a returned missionary who is gay, was a supervisor in the church’s printing department until March 7 March 4. At a February private meeting with his Salt Lake City stake president—who declined to be interviewed—Call says he was asked to abandon his gay friends as a condition for renewal of his temple recommend. Surprised and fearing people may not believe him, Call surreptitiously made an audio recording of the follow-up meeting in March so there could be no doubt about what happened.
On the recording, the stake president expresses concerns that Call recently had taken his daughters to “gay bingo,” a monthly charitable fundraiser hosted by the Utah Pride Center and the drag/comedy troupe Utah Cyber Sluts. “I think it’s inappropriate to take children, and I really think it’s inappropriate for you to go, myself, to this gay bingo,” the stake president says on the recording. Later, the stake president says of the gay community, “They are conducting themselves in a manner that is definitely in opposition to teaching and practices of the gospel. I’ve talked to you about this, about your association with [gay people]. Last time you left here, you were willing to give up your four, or so, individuals.” Call responded that he’d thought about it, but wasn’t willing to give up his gay friends after all.
To receive or maintain a temple recommend, Mormons must answer certain standardized questions. The stake president says on the recording that the question Call could not answer honestly asks, “do you support, affiliate with or agree with any group or individuals whose teaching or practices are contrary to or opposed to those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” The stake president goes on to say that that question applies to Call’s gay friends “because of the moral decay that is going in the world and that’s part of it. The church opposes the relationship between a man and a man and a woman and a woman, and you’re associating with those individuals. I don’t know how to get around that.”
“So what are you going to do?” Call asked.
“You’re going to have to look for a job,” the stake president replied
But here’s the thing; in Utah this may not be entirely as illegal as it seems. In 2008 the LDS Church supported a statewide nondiscrimination law that would have made this type of firing against the law – as long as it didn’t happen in a religious institution. Churches firing people for perceived homosexuality is A-OK in the eyes of the Mormon Church. But is a church-run printing shop technically even a part of a religious institution?
We may never know because Call isn’t suing his former employers. Instead, he’s spent the past year in search of a new job as he tries in vain to keep up with his child support payments. And really, that’s what this is all about. The Mormon Church would rather see children in their flock go without basic necessities, than employ a man who has gay friends. A man, who for all intents and purposes sacrificed the majority of his life living under false pretenses of heterosexuality and marriage.
It’s not enough that they’ve ruined this gay man’s life. No, now they are inflicting their hate upon his children as well. Jerks.