A few weeks ago, I spent a few hours with Richie Steadman and Lauren Johnson of The Cultural Hall Podcast.
The Cultural Hall is the brainchild of Richie and Lauren, who both worked independently of one another in the radio and television business, but combined forces to form this unique venue to share Mormon related stories, history, and perspectives.
I will openly admit this was probably close to the most fun I’ve had with any interview. Both Richie and Lauren are witty, bright critical thinkers—and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. We ended up talking for so long, in fact, that we split the podcast into two parts. I’ve shared the links below.
And as is almost always true, it was the reaction of the listeners that was perhaps the most interesting. I think Lauren said it best on her blog, and I’m sharing her words directly with you here:
The amount of feedback and listeners we’ve received since posting Episodes 13 and 14 with Mitch Mayne show me just how many people are searching for answers when it comes to understanding our homosexual brothers and sisters. And Richie and I are among you—also searching and trying to understand. Brother Mayne has been a bridge, so it seems, to bring light to the world of being both Mormon and gay. I think that soon we’ll have many more members who act as bridges, but Brother Mayne will always be remembered as one of the originals. One who was willing to share his experience, his testimony, his hope for the future, and most of all—his deep and personal relationship with the Savior. And for that, I thank him.
I received a letter from a friend, who spoke about how Mayne’s interview moved him. He requested to remain anonymous, but said I could share his words.
“I was touched and enlightened by Mitch Mayne’s thoughts on “owning your relationship with the Savior.” This struck me powerfully. No one can dictate or control or even fully understand your relationship to God. And you alone have that unique relationship and can choose how you participate in it whether you are gay, straight, married, divorced, single, old, young, active, inactive, etc., etc., etc. I enjoy your light approach to our Mormon culture, but I was surprised how your guest started me–a straight, middle-aged, rather cynical LDS guy– thinking. This intelligent gay man inspired me and I felt moved to take some steps to alter my relationship with the Savior. Mayne taught me something about spiritual yearning and reminded me how powerful the spirit moves in each of us. This seemed all the more profound for me because he is gay. Thank you for this interview.”
Some people expressed disagreement in Mayne’s sexuality, strongly believing it was a choice. Some thanked him, because they too were gay and Mormon, and were attempting to collide these worlds in the way that Mayne had. But no matter the view, I don’t believe anyone can deny the spirit, or the strength that Brother Mayne carried as he spoke of his relationship with the Savior and his love of the gospel. Whatever we each brought away from this interview with our Brother Mitch Mayne, I hope that the one thing we can all agree on is a loving God, and that we truly are all brothers and sisters—here to care for each other and lift one another up. Mayne has lifted me with his sincere testimony.
I also know many more are talking, sharing, and many continue to listen. Please share your thoughts. Share what you have taken from this podcast, and let us know. No matter your view, it is worth sharing as we are all brothers and sisters. And we are all in this thing called life, together.
Listen in as we chat. Regardless of where you are on the issue of gay Mormons, you’re sure to learn something new. I know I did. Enjoy.