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Thread: The path for homosexuals in LDS theology

  1. #1

    The path for homosexuals in LDS theology

    (Apologies up front to any Mormons who may be offended by what I say below. My intent is certainly not to offend, but to offer my views on how there can be a path for LDS homosexuals within LDS theology.)

    Religion and religious thought evolves over time. Today, we no longer believe slavery is sanctioned by the Bible, and Mormons believe that race and skin color have nothing to do with one's heritage, ability to achieve certain levels of atonement/salvation, current levels of righteousness, etc, but those issues were seen quite differently in the past.

    In the past 10 years, we've seen a sizable movement in understanding on the issue of homosexuals, both in society at large and within LDS thought. Top leaders (perhaps excluding Boyd Packer) have expressed that we don't fully understand homosexuality, but it's likely that some people are born with a different orientation, though that doesn't change the commandments we've been given, etc.

    Here's how I think the homosexuality issue could play out over the long term in Mormonism, but it may take multiple decades, and we might not be around to witness it (and hopefully Utah football is still in existence at that point.)

    Without a doubt, there would have to be very, very big changes in the Mormon theology for homosexuals to be able to be sealed in a marriage in the temple. The role of gender in LDS theology is central, and procreation within marriage is at the very core of LDS belief.

    (Quick sidebar: In talking with a devout Catholic who is pretty discouraged about the situation with very good young men avoiding the Catholic priesthood because of the requirement for celibacy, we both agreed that Mormonism has an enviable ability to evolve and change. I told her to cheer up, that the new Pope has the potential to help the Catholic church make long needed adjustments, and that we may see a Vatican III.)

    Anyway, for homosexuals to get to full acceptance within Mormonism, a mostly forgotten point has to be re-visited and changed: Women and the Priesthood. If men and women can both hold priesthood callings and perform priesthood ordinances, then the role of gender is more equalized, and the path toward same gender relationships becomes "within reach".

    After some amount of time after that sizable change, it becomes more conceivable that LDS thought could evolve, revelations could be received, etc, to facilitate an equality for homosexuals within LDS theology.

    Something like, "we don't fully understand why some couples cannot have children and some do, although we know the Lord loves all his children and wants them to be happy and travel the road to eternal salvation. Accordingly, we have received a revelation that all worthy members are eligible to be sealed to the loved ones of their choice, as revealed and confirmed by the Holy Ghost, and to fully partake in the blessings of the gospel and temple marriage".

    Again, my intent is not to be disrespectful of Mormons, or mock or otherwise diminish their beliefs. Completely on the contrary, the LDS lifestyle has much to offer, Mormonism has (arguably) a much more attractive message of hope and redemption, among the Christian religions (specifically, that there is no vicious hell awaiting non-believers).

    I'm no prophet, I'm no oracle. I'm just a guy who's seen a lot of life over 5 decades, and as I look back at how things have evolved and changed, I believe there is reason for LDS homosexuals to have hope that things will be seen quite differently in the future, though it may be quite a ways out.

    I work with a remarkable young woman from Springville, Utah, who is bi-racial and very, very bright. (She just got a PhD from a joint program in Boston between MIT and Harvard.) She is devout LDS, her father was Nigerian, her mother is of LDS pioneer stock. She told me her father joined the LDS church *before* the 1978 revelation on blacks and the priesthood, and it really didn't bother him. As she got older and asked her dad about how he could join a church that overtly denied him the blessings of the priesthood, he told her "truth is truth, and just because some humans are getting it wrong doesn't dissuade me from following the truth".

    Think whatever you want, that was a man who had faith and had hope that some (then) current mistakes would be corrected, and they were. For LDS homosexuals, I think there's reason to hope things will evolve in the future.

    (For those who are truly offended by my speculation/hunch, I'm drinking my second cup of coffee as a write, and I haven't paid tithing in decades, so you can easily surmise I don't have the spirit guiding me and I really don't know what I'm talking about, if it helps bring some peace back to a Saturday morning. )
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 08-24-2013 at 03:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Thanks for the thoughts. However, I just don't see it happening because of how far the core doctrines would have to change for it to happen. I see it compared to racial issues (you brought up biblical slavery and pre-1978 priesthood) all the time. While there are certainly some similarities, the race-related issues just didn't have any relationship on the truly core doctrines of the church. Having every race hold the priesthood didn't require any major doctrinal changes. Frankly, the same would be true for women holding the priesthood, which is why I think there's a decent chance that could happen in some way at some point in the future (not predicting it, just saying it's a possibility).

    Same sex marriage, on the other hand, would require a complete overhaul of the very core doctrinal principle of eternal families (and eternal progression through families). Quite simply, LDS doctrine is that the highest levels of exaltation and progression cannot be achieved without eternal (as opposed to temporal) reproduction. This is also why it is irrelevant if heterosexual couples can't procreate in this life. LDS doctrine pretty clearly teaches that they will be able to procreate in the next life.

    I suppose that you could argue that there could be some sort of celestial spiritual adoption could occur, or that spiritual procreation is asexual, but that would also contradict a lot of pretty thoroughly disseminated teachings.

  3. #3
    No question it's a bigger jump from Women & the Priesthood to Homosexual Celestial Marriage, and there is no comparable change that big in LDS theological history, but if you look at how much has changed over time in Christian - or even Jewish - theological thought over the centuries, I think it's a gap that can be bridged, but it will certainly take time and evolution in thought, unattainable by the current generation.

    The Creation Story, the Great Flood, most of the stuff in Leviticus, are seen quite differently today by many, many people than they have been historically. Nobody is stoned to death, we eat hot dogs without a second thought.

    Then when you consider the new gospels being found that were (presumably) thrown out at Nicea, such as the Gospel of Mary Magdalene (which is not at all incompatible with LDS theology, but is completely sacrilegious among other Christians), and the movement on a larger mosaic of evolutionary belief becomes feasible.

    IMO, it would be an easier jump within Mormonism to work homosexuals into full equality than it would be for Christians everywhere - LDS included - to accept the main, highly provocative, highly disruptive concept in the Gospel of Judas, ie, that Judas' betrayal of Jesus was a set up, an agreement between the two of them.

    A bigger jump in LDS thought would be to consider the Book of Mormon as inspired scripture containing truths and wisdom and not necessarily as literal history, but that gap has been bridged before in the minds of many, in the Great Flood story and the Creation story, in the Theory of Evolution. Does the story of the Stripling Warriors lose it's importance as a lesson if it didn't actually occur?

    I think the BOM-as-not-being-actual-history view could become more widely accepted in LDS thought in the future (as it becomes clearer the text doesn't line up with archeological and other scientific evidences), but that would be a massive jump, larger than homosexual marriage, IMO.

    If you took any given Mormon from the 1840s and plopped them down in today's Mormon church, they would have a massive, massive paradigm change to navigate. Jesus didn't return by the 1880s, blacks have the priesthood, white people are mixing with blacks in marriage and not getting the death penalty, etc. I see a similar thing among many current LDS who have real difficulty reconciling the early polygamy issues, even when it's coming from a faithful source, such as Bushman.

    Who's to say that the paradigms of the future won't be similarly radical, to us?
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 08-24-2013 at 03:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    I don't think it would be as massive as all that. I mean, they would have to get used to cars and toilets and TVs and modern stuff, but as far as churchy stuff goes, it wouldn't be such a huge transition.
    Uhh.... I beg to differ, just a bit. Joseph Smith prophesized that the 2nd Coming would definitely occur by some time in the 1880s. I believe the explanation on why that didn't happen was that prophesies can be conditional, and whatever the condition was that needed to happen, didn't, but I think most LDS from the 1800s would be surprised that the 2nd Coming hasn't happened yet.

    This is a really minor point, but instructive. When I moved into my current neighborhood, in 2000, we got the usual reception from the neighbors, who quickly learned I was a fallen away Mormon and my wife was black Baptist, and they began a positive engagement with her, and also with me. In an informal discussion, my wife was asking about the different levels of the priesthood, and I recited from my youth the three Aaronic levels and the three Melchesidik(sp?) levels, (Elder, Seventy and High Priest), to which my neighbor corrected me that they no longer have Seventies, within wards, like they did when I was a kid. No biggie, I was out of circulation, and it was a minor difference.

    But the neighbor was noticeably nervous making this correction, I suspect feeling vulnerable to counter arguments over the assertion that the gospel never changes.

    Back in the 1800s the notion of using revelation for all kinds of things, both spiritual and temporal (depending on the level of authority you have) was more prevalent, and I think most LDS truly believed their leaders could not be wrong on issues, since they were being directed by the Almighty.

    The history of the Dream Mine in Utah County makes for an interesting read on the topic of personal revelation, along with the School of the Prophets that the Lafferty Brothers were engaged in when they got the revelation to kill their sister in law. Even when I was a teenager, the people across the street prayed about whether to invest in a financial scheme one of the Bishopric members was offering, and they got a positive answer, announced their decision, and invested. Later, as the pyramid scheme crashed, the neighbors lost their house and the Bishopric member went to federal prison for fraud. Today there is lots of caution about exercising discretion when getting offers from fellow ward members, and to really study things out before asking for revelation.

    We were under the distinct impression (from Sunday School, Seminary, etc) in the 70s and 80s that the President of the Church would go up in to the Holy of Holies and have literal conversations with Jesus about what day-to-day decisions needed to be made, etc. We definitely believed the Q12 and FP were infallible. Definitely not the view of today.

    The press release from a couple of years ago that admitted previous leaders were wrong on issues of race would be a big shock to a Mormon from the 1800s. In 1949 the First Presidency issued a clarification on whether the priesthood ban was policy, stating it was not policy, but a direct commandment from God. Beyond the 1978 revelation, in 2012 the PR department more or less threw the First Presidency from 1949 under the bus, which I think would be a shock to LDS from the 1800s.

    So, back to my original point, things change, interpretations change, we move forward. Brigham Young stated the consequence for a man mixing his seed with the seed of Cain would be death, so there's another reason I'm personally grateful that whole topic has changed. In the 1980s, had I still been a practicing Mormon, I might very well have not married my wife, there would have been good reason to hesitate, based on (then) near history.

    To buttress that last point, a young woman I work with, who went to BYU in the early 2000s, said one of her best friends was a beautiful young black woman from France, and all the guys in the student ward were enamored by her, but they hesitated to date her. When my friend pressed them on why they were so enthralled by her but wouldn't ask her out, the response from multiple guys was "she's very beautiful, but I couldn't take her home to my mom". Things change, sometimes more slowly than we want, sometimes more rapidly than we want (eg, gay marriage).
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 08-25-2013 at 12:50 PM.

  5. #5
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Interesting observations, Ma'ake. I wonder if there is any faith tradition whose followers from a prior century would not be at least a little surprised by the current practices. Not disputing your point; you've simply raised an interesting question.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    I don't think it would be as massive as all that. I mean, they would have to get used to cars and toilets and TVs and modern stuff, but as far as churchy stuff goes, it wouldn't be such a huge transition.
    You clearly need to read more church history. If Brigham Young were reincarnated right now he would absolutely flip.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    Meh. What does absolutely flip mean? I'm sure he'd be surprised at a few things. He'd be far more surprised at changes in society, technology, transportation, medicine, etc that he would at any changes in LDS doctrine or operations.
    Wrong. Go read church history.

  8. #8
    Malleus Cougarorum Solon's Avatar
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    I believe that women will hold priesthood offices in the LDS church in my lifetime (within the next 50 years, say). There is really no doctrinal reason to prevent women from exercising priesthood offices. In fact, the only decent argument anyone has ever presented me with is, "Well, that's never been done before."

    If one believes the LDS narrative, then one can identify the overall trend of inclusion throughout history. Old Testament Hebrews were all about exclusion. Jesus commanded Peter to take the gospel to the unclean Gentiles (although LDS believe that this idea of inclusiveness shows up in the Book of Mormon hundreds of years before Jesus). Similarly, the restored LDS gospel went to all peoples, and the highest orders of covenant-making in the LDS church went from an elite circle, to everyday membership, to everyone who has ever lived (i.e., vicarious ordinances). In the same vein, the injunctions of D&C 132 that allow only those in polygamous unions to attain the highest orders of exaltation initially were offered to only a select few, then to a wider group, then (with the abolition of polygamy) to every worthy member.

    Yet another example is the extension of priesthood to all worthy males, regardless of race/ethnicity/skin color.

    I see the inclusion of women in this same long-term trend. Regardless of how much any of us might accept the notion of "Restoration," it is a church with strong American roots and strong American sensibilities / culture. Just as the USA has extended civil rights and liberties to more and more of its own population, so the church has invited more and more of its membership into the folds of leadership, priesthood, and authority. It's just a matter of time.

    Similarly, we will see the same thing with same-sex marriages. There really is no doctrinal massaging that needs to happen in order to have this come about. Very little of that talk about family, gender, etc. is grounded in actual scripture. All that has to happen is for the leadership to decide (or receive revelation, if that's your persuasion) that it's okay for homosexuals to get married. Nothing serious would change. The world wouldn't fall apart. It would just be two more people getting married. Not a big deal, despite the hysteria that this idea threatens the very fabric of society.

    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post

    Did you even see Just Visiting? The original Les Visiteurs was better, but it's the same idea. They actually adjust pretty well, and they are from far further in the past than what we are talking about.
    I liked this movie. On va festoyer!
    σοφῷ ἀνδρὶ Ἑλλὰς πάντα.
    -- Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 1.35.2.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    (Apologies up front to any Mormons who may be offended by what I say below. My intent is certainly not to offend, but to offer my views on how there can be a path for LDS homosexuals within LDS theology.)

    Religion and religious thought evolves over time. Today, we no longer believe slavery is sanctioned by the Bible, and Mormons believe that race and skin color have nothing to do with one's heritage, ability to achieve certain levels of atonement/salvation, current levels of righteousness, etc, but those issues were seen quite differently in the past.

    In the past 10 years, we've seen a sizable movement in understanding on the issue of homosexuals, both in society at large and within LDS thought. Top leaders (perhaps excluding Boyd Packer) have expressed that we don't fully understand homosexuality, but it's likely that some people are born with a different orientation, though that doesn't change the commandments we've been given, etc.

    Here's how I think the homosexuality issue could play out over the long term in Mormonism, but it may take multiple decades, and we might not be around to witness it (and hopefully Utah football is still in existence at that point.)

    Without a doubt, there would have to be very, very big changes in the Mormon theology for homosexuals to be able to be sealed in a marriage in the temple. The role of gender in LDS theology is central, and procreation within marriage is at the very core of LDS belief.

    (Quick sidebar: In talking with a devout Catholic who is pretty discouraged about the situation with very good young men avoiding the Catholic priesthood because of the requirement for celibacy, we both agreed that Mormonism has an enviable ability to evolve and change. I told her to cheer up, that the new Pope has the potential to help the Catholic church make long needed adjustments, and that we may see a Vatican III.)

    Anyway, for homosexuals to get to full acceptance within Mormonism, a mostly forgotten point has to be re-visited and changed: Women and the Priesthood. If men and women can both hold priesthood callings and perform priesthood ordinances, then the role of gender is more equalized, and the path toward same gender relationships becomes "within reach".

    After some amount of time after that sizable change, it becomes more conceivable that LDS thought could evolve, revelations could be received, etc, to facilitate an equality for homosexuals within LDS theology.

    Something like, "we don't fully understand why some couples cannot have children and some do, although we know the Lord loves all his children and wants them to be happy and travel the road to eternal salvation. Accordingly, we have received a revelation that all worthy members are eligible to be sealed to the loved ones of their choice, as revealed and confirmed by the Holy Ghost, and to fully partake in the blessings of the gospel and temple marriage".

    Again, my intent is not to be disrespectful of Mormons, or mock or otherwise diminish their beliefs. Completely on the contrary, the LDS lifestyle has much to offer, Mormonism has (arguably) a much more attractive message of hope and redemption, among the Christian religions (specifically, that there is no vicious hell awaiting non-believers).

    I'm no prophet, I'm no oracle. I'm just a guy who's seen a lot of life over 5 decades, and as I look back at how things have evolved and changed, I believe there is reason for LDS homosexuals to have hope that things will be seen quite differently in the future, though it may be quite a ways out.

    I work with a remarkable young woman from Springville, Utah, who is bi-racial and very, very bright. (She just got a PhD from a joint program in Boston between MIT and Harvard.) She is devout LDS, her father was Nigerian, her mother is of LDS pioneer stock. She told me her father joined the LDS church *before* the 1978 revelation on blacks and the priesthood, and it really didn't bother him. As she got older and asked her dad about how he could join a church that overtly denied him the blessings of the priesthood, he told her "truth is truth, and just because some humans are getting it wrong doesn't dissuade me from following the truth".

    Think whatever you want, that was a man who had faith and had hope that some (then) current mistakes would be corrected, and they were. For LDS homosexuals, I think there's reason to hope things will evolve in the future.

    (For those who are truly offended by my speculation/hunch, I'm drinking my second cup of coffee as a write, and I haven't paid tithing in decades, so you can easily surmise I don't have the spirit guiding me and I really don't know what I'm talking about, if it helps bring some peace back to a Saturday morning. )
    Women holding Priesthood office could happen. I don't know that its likely but it could happen. The LDS church relaxing their stance on gay marriage to the point that they don't fight it when it comes up in votes, could happen. Gay marriage performed in LDS temples will never happen. You bring up interesting points, though and as always, I enjoy your posts.

  10. #10
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahsMrSports View Post
    You bring up interesting points, though and as always, I enjoy your posts.
    No! Don't encourage him!

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  11. #11
    Maake, I just read two interesting biographies that cover much of what you talked about, both were excellent and help put some of this stuff in perspective, or at least they did for me.

    The first is David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. That one was written by two LDS people, although I believe one is not a practicing Mormon.

    The second is Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet written by John G Turner, who is not LDS, but I believe has full access to church historical records, and is viewed as the authoritative resource on the subject.

    The McKay biography covers much about the blacks and the priesthood and is a fascinating insight. There was definitely a rift among the first presidencies at the time and the Twelve, and that might help you with why one thing was said in 1949 and another later.

    The Brigham Young biography really emphasized to me the change in the church from JS to BY in the valley. I might maintain that JS would be much more amenable to changes today than BY would be. I also might maintain that BY was the man for the job of settling the west and surviving than JS would have been, or JS would have undergone a significant personality change himself. After reading this biography I have been fascinated by how much BY is still prevalent in the church today. The most prominent is the unquestionable authority of the leaders. That wasn't there, at least at BY levels when JS was prophet, and not even for a number of years with BY at the helm.

    Now if you want to see contrasts in the church today versus times of old, my conversations with midnightversion would indicate they his brand of Mormonism (laying aside the whole polygamy thing and speaking about the day to day versus the nuances of the doctrine - but even some of those things) is much closer to the BY years than the mainstream LDS church is.

    By the way, he is not one of the FLDS, but belongs to The Work, which is based in Centennial Park AZ.

    I'd be interested to see what a non-believer thinks of these books versus my views as a believer. For me the were both challenging but also affirming to me, but then again I was never taught any of these men were infallible nor unquestionable.

    For me, seeing human beings do very human things and have many shortcomings, yet doing extraordinary things was faith inspiring and should be for any person who live flawed lives (meaning everyone).

    That outcome may not be the same for all or maybe most, but I think even Turner came away with a measure of respect for a man he probably initially believed was a charlatan.

    I think today the challenge is that believers need to be able to think. Faith might be easier and less fulfilling if we can view people from afar and see them as infallible and unquestionable and mark things up as the 'mysteries of God'. Faith becomes much more difficult but also more fulfilling and personal when we seek out things more ourselves and to see in reality that God can make prophets out of stones.

  12. #12
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    This is not a perfect fit for this thread, but it's close:

    Australian Prime Minister Offers Christian and Moral Defense of Gay Marriage

    Kevin Rudd is the prime minister of Australia. In a recently televised Q & A, Rudd offered a response to a question about why he changed his position on gay marriage. His response is both philosophical and theological....
    It's a very interesting bit, and I admire very much Rudd's promotion of a respectful dialogue on the issue. That's rare, unfortunately.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    This is not a perfect fit for this thread, but it's close:

    Australian Prime Minister Offers Christian and Moral Defense of Gay Marriage



    It's a very interesting bit, and I admire very much Rudd's promotion of a respectful dialogue on the issue. That's rare, unfortunately.
    I think that it is perfect for this thread because these discussion are exactly what are going to put pressure on people's religious views of homosexuality. As it becomes more accepted that homosexuality is natural and people do not choose to be gay, the LDS Church will have to answer as to why they feel it's wrong. Many people have made religious arguments discrediting that the Bible says that homosexuality and gay marraige are wrong. It's only a matter of time before the first presidency has this discussion, IMO.

  14. #14
    The way the FP/Q12 works is they need to be unanimous on a decision before they will make a statement on a policy.

    There are rumors that a number of them are amenable to allowing full activity and fellowship to gay and lesbian couples, including allowing temple recommends but short of allowing temple sealing for these couples. We can speculate as to which ones will support or oppose such a proposition, but suffice to say there is zero chance we will see anything like this so long as Boyd Packer draws a breath.

    We have a friend whose teenaged daughter is living life as a boy (self-selected transgendered) . While he's is genetically female, he has a boy's name, dresses like a boy, acts like a boy, and is for all intents and purposes a well-adjusted teenaged boy. He also will not attend church because frankly there simply is no place for a person like that in the church. His parents are supportive, as is our bishop who agrees that church might not be a healthy situation psychologically.

  15. #15
    One point my wife likes to reference is the fact that homosexuality is mentioned very early in the bible is proof that homosexuality has been a part of human nature for a very, very long time. The early books of the Old Testament (Pentateuch/writings of Moses) were combined from various writings into actual books around 650-700 BCE, but were based on oral traditions that were around a few thousand prior to that.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwestUteFan View Post
    The way the FP/Q12 works is they need to be unanimous on a decision before they will make a statement on a policy.

    There are rumors that a number of them are amenable to allowing full activity and fellowship to gay and lesbian couples, including allowing temple recommends but short of allowing temple sealing for these couples. We can speculate as to which ones will support or oppose such a proposition, but suffice to say there is zero chance we will see anything like this so long as Boyd Packer draws a breath.
    I don't expect a policy change anytime soon, but the discussion is very important to future change. Who knows how many generations it may take, but I do think that it will happen eventually.

  17. #17
    Educating Cyrus wuapinmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwestUteFan View Post
    The way the FP/Q12 works is they need to be unanimous on a decision before they will make a statement on a policy.

    There are rumors that a number of them are amenable to allowing full activity and fellowship to gay and lesbian couples, including allowing temple recommends but short of allowing temple sealing for these couples. We can speculate as to which ones will support or oppose such a proposition, but suffice to say there is zero chance we will see anything like this so long as Boyd Packer draws a breath.

    We have a friend whose teenaged daughter is living life as a boy (self-selected transgendered) . While he's is genetically female, he has a boy's name, dresses like a boy, acts like a boy, and is for all intents and purposes a well-adjusted teenaged boy. He also will not attend church because frankly there simply is no place for a person like that in the church. His parents are supportive, as is our bishop who agrees that church might not be a healthy situation psychologically.
    LDS ideology works well for heterosexual people. It calls sinful all those who fall outside the norm. It cannot account for them, so it makes them an Other without any solution other than a promise of a better time in the eternities. Theologically, to an intersex person, that could (and probably does) feel almost like God does not love you as much as others, because the ordinances are denied to you for something that you 'know' is not a choice.

    The consequences of that 'knowledge' in the homosexual Church member are pathological. They 'know' that they are sinful. They 'know' that others will reject them. They 'know' that their sexuality is forbidden. The pathology of these knowledges causes a lifetime of self-loathing and spiritual despair, leading, I would imagine, the vast majority to leave the Church. Current Church ideology presents the situation as welcoming them back, providing they remain chaste, repent, and only engage in heterosexual relations with their spouse.

    Until the Church's ideology can account for biological mutations that fall outside of the current conceptions of gender (read: normal male and normal female) then it (the Church's ideology) will remain pathologically (in the sense of the suffering/consequences this ideology causes in gays' and their families' lives) opposed to actions that it deems contrary to the 'knowledge' that it currently has about gender, same-sex attraction, and homosexual sex acts. It's not homosexuality being a choice that causes the ideology to balk at change. That's easy enough to justify in the current one. The real rub lies in the ones that you cannot explain away easily (this link is safe for work). The biologically male children with vaginas and clitorises and the biologically female children with penises and the 250,000 kids born with ambiguous genitalia each year. How does the ideology convince them that they're made in the image of God when their gender is female, they're attracted to men, but their penis is going to be there next to their husband's when they go to have sex on their sealing day?

    Until the LDS ideology can justify the existence and acceptance of these people as whole and natural children of our Heavenly Father, then the ideology for most members will continue to function thusly:

    MEMBER:"I have several homosexual friends. They have adopted children, are loving parents, faithful companions, and great neighbors. I don't know why the Brethren are always saying that the calamities foretold by prophets will come about because of these people."

    GENERAL CONFERENCE: "THAT'S PRECISELY WHY YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL!"

    We still don't know what causes someone to be homosexual. If it's genetic or environmental in the womb, then calling it a sin robs us of our agency.

    The ideology currently denies that this is the case. We've seen the ideology change in the past about other things that were once considered immoral. This one, however, does not appear as simple to resolve given the other theological ramifications.
    "This culture doesn't sell modesty. It sells "I am more modest than you" modesty." -- Two Utes

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    People have gone on about nature vs nurture with homosexuality for a long time (the answer, as with all nature/nurture arguments, is some of both), and I just don't see why it matters all that much. It shouldn't change anything about how we see or treat people, and it shouldn't change anything about whether or not homosexual sex is sinful. From the LDS perspective, the entire purpose of the gospel is to help us overcome harmful behaviors that are natural.
    I agree that the reason why shouldn't change how we treat people, and thus, regardless of religious beliefs same sex marriage should be legal. As far as not changing whether it is a sin or not, I disagree.

    First off, many theologists make arguments as to why homesexual sex is not a sin but the scriptures that mention it deal with other issues. It can be argued that homosexual sex is fine, but some things that come with it in these modern days are not. I.E. it should be treated as heterosexual relations with sex before marraige, infidelity, etc being bad.

    Second, if it is accepted that people do not choose to be gay-they were created that way, then it raises the question, why would God create someone as a sinner? If they are true to themselves, they sin. To not sin, they can't be true to themselves. Personally, I don't beleive that God would create someone with inherant sin wired into them. Nurture goes a long way into how open a person is with their sexuality and the lifestyle they choose to live, but it doesn't determine what you're attracted to.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by cald22well View Post
    why would God create someone as a sinner?
    I may be splitting hairs here, but God creates everyone as a sinner, with inherent sin wired into them. I certainly know that's the case with me.

  20. #20
    Educating Cyrus wuapinmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cald22well View Post
    but it doesn't determine what you're attracted to.
    I don't know about you, but I don't remember choosing to notice how soft Susan Granger's hands were one day in 6th grade gym class when she got assigned to me for a game of "Down Down, Baby." I just knew that that was the first time I had ever felt any kind of sexual attraction to another human being, and she was a girl, and I've never deviated from my sincere and pure appreciation and lust for the female form since that time. I don't remember it being a choice. It just was for me. I didn't choose to be straight.
    "This culture doesn't sell modesty. It sells "I am more modest than you" modesty." -- Two Utes

  21. #21
    I understand the concept that every man is a sinner. There will be no man to live a perfect life and that is why there is the process of repentance. But there is a difference in me succumbing to the temptation to steal or drink alcohol. You can argue that some people are more prone to those things, but they are not created in such a way that they can only do that. Alcoholics and kleptos can get help and reform their lives. You can't simply just stop being gay.

    With homosexuality, it becomes a black and white with religion. Either A) You are heterosexual and good, which is easy if you're attracted to the opposite sex or B) You are homosexual and bad. I can't choose to be attracted to red heads any more that someone who is homosexual can choose to be attracted to the opposite sex.

  22. #22
    And further, the LDS concept of Heaven (exaltation in the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom) isn't particularly attractive to a gay man. Why would a gay man look forward to spending an eternity with a woman, unless he will somehow be 'fixed' after this life?

    And to be 'fixed' in the next life presupposes that he is irrevocably 'broken' in this life. It is no wonder that so many of them choose to commit suicide rather than live in such conflict.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Scorcho's Avatar
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    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4064834.html

    found this today thought it was interesting

  24. #24
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Seems to fit here:

    Church Responds to Inquiries on ENDA, Same-Sex Marriage


    Salt Lake City —

    Media outlets are reporting that in an informal press gathering Wednesday, Senator Harry Reid made comments about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gay rights.


    As the Church has said before, elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position.


    On the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the Church has not taken a position. On the question of same-sex marriage, the Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with kindness and understanding. If it is being suggested that the Church’s doctrine on this matter is changing, that is incorrect.


    Marriage between a man and a woman is central to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. As such, traditional marriage is a foundational doctrine and cannot change.
    What Reid said:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4240125.html
    Last edited by LA Ute; 11-08-2013 at 02:36 PM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  25. #25
    Educating Cyrus wuapinmon's Avatar
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    I think some cardiologists in Salt Lake may get some business if Reid keeps talking that way.
    "This culture doesn't sell modesty. It sells "I am more modest than you" modesty." -- Two Utes

  26. #26
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    This also seems to fit here:

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/articl...e-sex-marriage

    It's interesting. The church seems to be drawing a theological line in the sand.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  27. #27
    and then there is this. Don Gale wrote and gave the editorials on KSL for years and years. I assume he is a devout member in good standing.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion...tices.html.csp

    Sort of suggests that the current generation of leaders is drawing a theological line in the sand.

  28. #28
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    and then there is this. Don Gale wrote and gave the editorials on KSL for years and years. I assume he is a devout member in good standing.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion...tices.html.csp

    Sort of suggests that the current generation of leaders is drawing a theological line in the sand.
    Not 100% sure but I don't think he'd describe himself as devout. Anyway, thought-provoking piece. I'm sympathetic to his views on polygamy and the WOW. On gay marriage I think we'll continue to see softening and accommodation from a tolerance standpoint but not doctrinally. E.g., we're not going to see same-sex weddings in Mormon chapels or performed by Mormon bishops anytime soon.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  29. #29
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  30. #30
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Another interesting piece. Peggy Fletcher Stack linked to this on her Facebook page:

    Gay, Christian and … celibate: The changing face of the homosexuality debate


    Yes, Peggy and I are Facebook friends. I've known her for 30+ years. I haven't been summoned to any meetings as a result.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

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