Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mormon Leaders Welcome Gay Couples

"Forget everything we said about the purpose and destiny of mankind, we spoke with limited understanding. Sincerely, the First Presidency."

No it is not a real statement. It is my initial response to the suggestion of MikeInWeHo, who provided the framework on a LDSLF Mormon Stories thread: (message 105)
"Write an imaginary statement from the First Presidency announcing that married gay couples are welcome in the church. This must be done without altering any basic church doctrine, the Law of Chastity, or the restored understanding of the nature of deity."
My first inclination was almost flippant, but communicated my feeling that changes to policy regarding gay people would require major revisions to fundamental doctrines. I have long believed that there is no place in Mormon theology for the homosexual. But then I thought about it after MikeInWeHo posed his question, and upon some reflection, I actually don't believe it would be as difficult as one might suspect. In fact, I doubt any major revelation would even be necessary.

What would be required for the church to welcome and embrace gay people into its fold?

1. The biblical passages condemning homosexuality would need to be reinterpreted as speaking in the context of idolatry, cultic prostitution, pederasty, rape and abuse, and not referring to righteous, loving homosexual relationships. A new interpretation would not be difficult, given the context of these passages.

2. It would require the church stop viewing all sexual activity that falls outside of the ideal as being akin to murder. Gay sex would be viewed as appropriate intimate behavior for committed gays. Yes, falling short of God's design for humanity, but not inherently sinful. I do not believe this view would be a difficult step, given that non-procreative sex is entirely approved by the church within an appropriate setting. Already the church welcomes divorced people who remarry into full fellowship and does not consider this sinful, despite the strong condemnation by Jesus himself.

3. An appropriate model of behavior would need to be established to accommodate Gay and Lesbian saints. This would involve inclusion of gay people in "Gold and Green Balls", church socials and youth programs. And yes, it would require Same-Sex Marriage. Only with a truly comparable paradigm can homosexuals be held to the "same standard" as heterosexuals. I would think that a few simple additions to the Handbook of Instructions is all that would be needed.

4. Church members would be encouraged by its leaders to welcome and be inclusive of members and visitors who do not fit the stereotype, who fail to wear white shirts and ties, or may sport facial hair. Single members who are over 30 should not be stigmatized or shamed. This should not require a new "revelation."

5. Questions related to the eternal destiny and purpose of gay, lesbian and transgendered people would simply be answered with, "we don't know."

6. Finally, the proclamation on the family would need to be amended to be more inclusive of people who, for whatever reason, find themselves outside of its vision.

I do not see anything difficult or requiring changes to major doctrines or even a new "revelation" in order to give gay people a place at the table. Forgive me if I appear to be treating lightly what members may hold sacred or idealize. I just do not see why the inclusion of gay people is considered something that can "never happen."

48 Comments:

Blogger Rob Osborn said...

Marriage between two men is not recognized by God. Any relationship that is intimate outside of marriage is an abomination in the sight of God. Gay people are like drug dealers- they destroy family values!

Mar 22, 2006, 7:02:00 AM  
Blogger Steven B said...

Hmm, looks like it'll take more than a simple press release from church headquarters.

Mar 22, 2006, 8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Kessler said...

Steven B, just wanted to say -- You're brilliant, and I have nothing to add to your post. Maybe to someone else's (grin) but that will wait.

Mar 22, 2006, 9:07:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Nice post. I agree that people overestimate the difficulty in changing. In fact, the church has been changing it's teachings in this area for years, and I expect the teachings will continue to evolve.

Like you, I don't think the scriptures present a very big barrier to this kind of change. A much larger barrier is the current stance of the church...radical change is difficult without admitting they were wrong. I expect we will see very gradual change.

Mar 22, 2006, 9:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Well said Steven. :)

Mar 22, 2006, 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Kessler said...

Rob Osborn, I'd like to reply in great depth, I really would. But my husband has gone to assist our daughter and her husband with their newborn baby. I didn't want it to get too crowded, so I'll be spending the next five days visiting my mother and father out-of-state. Have a nice weekend.

Mar 22, 2006, 9:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Gay people are like drug dealers...."

I'm hopeful that people don't just write Rob Osborn off as the homophobic, angry person he appears to be.

Why? Because he represents a substantial portion of the Church. GBH says that gays are "good people" and "welcome in the Church." The Rob O's of the Church communicate something entirely different: Get out now. His attitude will drive out people who struggle with this issue, into the arms of the anti-mormon or gay sub-cultures faster than you can say abomination.

Mar 22, 2006, 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Gilgamesh said...

Although you raise some good points, I don't think it would be a "simple"process. Reading Edward Kimball's biography of President Kimball and the Priesthood change in '78 gives a good sense of what it might take (also a non-doctrine policy change)- unanimous support of the 12 and the first presidency. President Kimball did not make a "ex-cathedra" declaration. He proposed that the 12 discover the Lord's will, whatever it would be. I don't see that suggestion happening anytime soon.

Mar 22, 2006, 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Steven B said...

Gilgamesh, I think you are right. None of the above would be even thinkable unless some sort of epiphany involving the Twelve were to occur. Word through the grapevine seems to indicate that certain members of that body will not even entertain discussion on the subject.

Mar 22, 2006, 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Rob Osborn said...

Call me homophobic, because I do see gay and lesbians as a threat to society, they are like worms getting into everything and spoiling the good. There is no room in God's kingdom for sodom and gomorrah. I do know gay people and I have showed care for them, but, they must know that that lifestyle will unchanged throughout their lives will leave them to suffer in hell for their sins!

Mar 22, 2006, 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rob Osborn said...

By the way,
Seems like God never had any compassion on them raining fire and brimstone on their heads.

Mar 22, 2006, 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

There's also word through the grapevine (of the 12) of admittance that we have no "official doctrine" on homosexuality other than the Law of Chastity (in other words, we don't know).

Mar 22, 2006, 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Brecken said...

Nice job! I think you're absolutely on the right track, although I don't think it would take a big "press release from Church headquarters" to get the message across. I think the same goal could be achieved by a well-crafted General Conference talk or two, or even by... (*gasp*) calling a gay member of the 70! As long as his sexuality was acknowledged in a neutral way along with a discussion of what "healthy" behaviors he was engaged in to keep his life in line with Church teachings, this would be an enormous boon for gay youth who currently see no hope and want to die.

~ Brecken
www.ldssafespace.org

Mar 22, 2006, 1:49:00 PM  
Anonymous jimbob said...

You don't think we'd need a revelation to do number 2? It would be a fundamental shift from revealed doctrines, wouldn't it? Or do I read D&C and the BoM too narrowly?

Mar 22, 2006, 2:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brecken,

Before calling a gay GA the church would first have to end its requirement that priesthood leaders be married. Unlikely.

Mar 22, 2006, 5:22:00 PM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

Rob, I'm wondering how you would explain the discrepancy between your approach to gay people and President Hinckley's. Any thoughts as to why he doesn't condemn them with the same harsh rhetoric that you use?

Mar 22, 2006, 7:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...they are like worms..."

This is beyond offensive and crosses a red line. I would expect nothing less from this guy, alas, who at the top of the string compared gays to drug dealers. Dude, you have the soul of a Nazi.

Just the same, such dehumanizing hate-speech is grossly inappropriate in any forum. I suspect he is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, however. The statement "they will suffer in hell" smells distinctly non-LDS. If he is a member somehow, he needs to be brought in for a little talk with his Bishop, IMHO.

Mar 22, 2006, 7:26:00 PM  
Blogger Rob Osborn said...

Julie,

I am not in disagreement with GBH. I do however believe that he is in a political position and cannot come right out and say it is an abomination without everyone crying about their feelings being hurt.

Anonymous,

I do not think I have the soul of a Nazi. I think I carry the sentiment of God when he fired brimstone down on their heads. It is not a lifestyle that is godly in the least degree!

Mar 22, 2006, 7:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would require a new translation of the Bible, friends. It would also require completely fabricating and adding stories of homosexual couples who were blessed by heaven throughout the ages. It would probably require having practicing homosexuals called as prophets. (Funny how people claim there is little scriptural support for prohibiting gay marriage and homosexuality but there is nothing - absolutely nothing - in the scriptures that could support any of this!) The story of Sodom and Gomorrah would have to be removed. Paul's words would have to be altered. But so would the Savior's, since He spoke about marriage between a man and woman as well. Whatever the book would be when you finished with it, it wouldn't be able to even be called the Bible anymore. And forget teachings of all modern prophets, but I guess they wouldn't matter much anyway, since this concept really ignores, if not mocks, what they teach and have taught. It mocks the concept of having prophets at all. With all due respect, I can't believe this is even being taken seriously.

Mar 23, 2006, 12:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Anonymous,

Couldn't you take your comment and go back to January 1978 with the same thoughts and arguments about the priesthood ban?

I really don't see a difference between what you just typed being applied to the old situation regarding our black brothers and sisters as well as to the current homosexual situation.

Mar 23, 2006, 7:09:00 AM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

Rob,

I do not accept the fact that the prophet would speak differently if it weren't for worldly pressures. I think it is offensive to the prophet to suggest otherwise and dangerous to assume that you know what the prophet would say if he weren't caving into pressure.

You have basically set yourself above the prophet when you claim the ability to know what he _would_ say if he weren't busy pandering to special interests. Needless to say, I don't think the prophet changes his message for political expediency.

Mar 23, 2006, 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Steven B said...

jimbob said...
It would be a fundamental shift from revealed doctrines, wouldn't it? Or do I read D&C and the BoM too narrowly?

I don't really know what to make of Alma's remarks to his son in Alma 39. He clearly considers sexual indiscretion greater than Corianton's boasting (Alma 39:2). Yet to reprove his son for the third most serious sin of all with this line: "Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted" (verse 4), and then send him right back into his missionary work, makes me think some hyperbole was involved. Especially given that the rational thinker can certainly name more horrific crimes than premarital sex--physical and emotional abuse of a child, for example. Jesus said that if anyone offends a child, it would be better to have a millstone hung around his neck and drowned, whereas to the woman caught "in the act" of adultery he said, "neither do I condemn thee."

Mar 23, 2006, 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rob Osborn said...

Julie,
Let me ask you- What are your thoughts on allowing gay people to be baptized and hold temple reccomends?

Mar 23, 2006, 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael,
No, this issue is very different from the 1978 issue. Did anything have to change in the Bible? Did a Proclamation given by 15 prophets together have to be revamped? Did the fundamental doctrines of the plan of salvation (as have been in place since the beginning of time) have to change? No. Giving the blacks the priesthood did not in any way change the plan of salvation. You are comparing apples to oranges.

Mar 23, 2006, 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

"Let me ask you- What are your thoughts on allowing gay people to be baptized and hold temple reccomends?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "gay people." The church does not (and, in my opinion, should not) allow those engaged in any form of sexual sin to be baptized or to hold temple recommends. The church does (and, in my opinion, should) allow those who struggle with same-sex attraction but do not sin to be baptized and to hold temple recommends.

I have no idea why you asked this or why it is relevant to this discussion. I hope you'll give serious consideration to what I said in my last comment.

Mar 23, 2006, 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

steven b.
except that the modern prophets have quoted the scripture in Alma and have basically provided multiple witnesses that fornication is a huge deal in the eyes of God. Of course, so is abuse, but let's not minimize teh severity of sexual sin.

Mar 23, 2006, 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Steven B said...

Anonymous said...
This would require a new translation of the Bible, friends.

Hmmm, that might be a *good* thing. :-)

It would also require completely fabricating and adding stories of homosexual couples who were blessed by heaven throughout the ages.

There is already one such story in the NT. Matt 8:5-13 is interpreted by some as referring to such a couple being blessed by Jesus.

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah would have to be removed.

Only if you think God condones rape. Of course, there are other scriptures you would need to throw out as well.

Paul's words would have to be altered.

Only if you think women should not speak aloud in church.

But so would the Savior's, since He spoke about marriage between a man and woman as well.

He also said that divorced people who remarry are committing adultry. Why do we give them full fellowship in the church?

And forget teachings of all modern prophets,

...about how polygamy is essential to exaltation?

With all due respect, I can't believe this is even being taken seriously.

We are, of course, only speculating what changes might need to take place if married gay couples were welcomed into the church. The most obvious thing missing from my list is the need for the church membership in general to be able to "receive it."

At this point, the thing that we ought to be taking seriously is what can be done to help our gay sons and daughters avoid suicide or involvement in some of the dangerous undercurrents of the gay community.

Mar 23, 2006, 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Homosexual conduct is wrong. Having tendencies or feelings alone is not. I highly doubt the Church will ever change. I suspect that many of those who believe differently here are those who would seek heavenly approbation for conduct that is contrary to the divine plan of happiness

Mar 23, 2006, 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

"Homosexual conduct is wrong. Having tendencies or feelings alone is not."

Daniel, less than a couple of decades ago, this distinction was not made in church policy or rhetoric. The fact that you take it as self-evidently the church's position neatly demonstrates that our understanding is, in fact, evolving, and church policy is changing to reflect that changed understanding. (One obvious, concrete example: prior to 1991, gay people were encouraged to marry; since then, the handbook says that gays should not be counseled to marry.)

Mar 23, 2006, 4:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine from San Francisco just happened to mention how odd it was he kept meeting so many "gay Mormons" there. By that he meant ex- or inactive. I've observed the same thing here in L.A. For every press-worthy case of excommunication, there must be dozens who just quietly leave before it comes to that, and even before any violations of the Law of Chastity have occurred.

It's not the Church's teachings that are the problem, it's Mormon culture. GBH says gays are "Good people....they are welcome in the church...." Rob Osborn compares them to drug dealers and worms. While most members might find Rob's rhetoric offensive and inappropriate, the underlying mindset is hardly uncommon.

The tragedy of suicides and otherwise shattered lives is part and parcel of the predominantly Republican, right-wing mindset that is so prominent in the Church right now, IMHO.

Mar 23, 2006, 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, helping find ways for the membership to be more accepting and less judgmental is a good idea, but this won't be accomplished by trying to ignore and change the prophets' teachings. What we need are more people to really listen to Pres. Hinckley and realize that gay people are PEOPLE and by and large good people who just want to feel loved and accepted. But, on the flip side, it would sure help if those in the "gay Mormon" category would stop trying to change the doctrine so they can "feel accepted." If the LDS faith is what is really desired, it needs to be accepted as is. There's a sort of double-speak that I think turns a lot of members off. If the goal really is to find more acceptance, can't that be done without trying to change prophetic teachings and scripture? Unity in the Church is inextricably tied to unity under the prophets' guidance. IMO, that's the only place to hope for any bringing together of the "two sides" here. And so much of what I hear is arguing about the doctrine (which is divisive) instead of just dealing with each other as brothers and sisters who care about each other. The whole mindset on BOTH sides would have to change for this to happen. Less judgement on one side, more acceptance of the prophets' position on the other.

One last thought: Just because the Handbook has changed re: counsel for gays does not indicate changes in doctrine coming in the future. Once again, unity and loyalty to the prophets is the only thing that can really bring us together in the church, if that is what is really desired. (After all, the LDS faith is founded on the concept of living prophets who are called by the Lord.) We have to deal with what we have NOW, not with speculation about what "might" (but won't likely) happen.

This is something that is not just about gays, as everyone knows. I know plenty of single people, divorced people, overweight people, childless people, etc. etc. etc. who don't feel like they fit in, either. Again, both sides have a responsibility. Do your best, don't play the victim role, reach out as well as you can...and the other side of the coin is to accept and love and not be unkind. "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." But again, this all has to happen while acknowledging and accepting Truth and Laws as come from the prophets. Unless that happens, we really have a hard time finding common ground in the LDS church. Not that it can't be done, but it becomes more difficult, because, as well should be, most members are pretty passionate about following the prophets. You mess with that, and you have an uphill battle on your hands. And that isn't all "the general membership's" fault.

Mar 23, 2006, 11:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The principal sin of Sodom and Gomorrah may have been neglect of the poor.

Ezekiel 16:49-50: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Mar 24, 2006, 1:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need a new revelation; pure and simple. Until that time (likely never), GBH has said it well (paraphrase): be nice to all, esp. those who chose sin, but we don't have to encourage their behavior or support it; and if they want in God's kingdom...they have to play by his rulez. :)

-lyle

Mar 24, 2006, 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The big problem is, no matter what, gays are seen to be "choosing sin." Unless they willfully choose singleness and celibacy (not divorce, not too-ugly-or-unfortunate-for-marriage, not too picky, not unlucky)...

...they will ALWAYS be seen as sinful. Even if they do nothing but breathe, as long as they don't work towards "becoming straight" or as long as they don't say they're happy being gay and alone, they will be harassed, pitied, villified, looked down on, called to repentance, called to change, called into the bishop's office, whatever.

Mar 24, 2006, 2:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Vigor said...

The analogies regarding the extension of the priesthood to those of African descent fail. It was never sinful to be of African descent, nor to want the priesthood.

While it is not necessarily sinful to "be" gay (ie have unalterable homosexual attraction), it has ALWAYS been a sin to engage in homosexual relations. Does anyone here doubt this?

If you truly believe in God (and the LDS view thereof) it really is silly to discuss the "welcoming of gay couples", when, by welcoming you actually mean Church leaders deciding to condone what are and will always be sinful acts.

Mar 25, 2006, 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Vigor said...

Rob is harsh, but the reality is that those who choose to engage in homosexual relations will never have full fellowship in the church--not because of what they are, but because of what they choose to do.

Given that, why do practicing homosexuals and their sympathizers choose to focus their efforts on changing God/the Church/Church doctrine, rather than simply choosing other options for association? I've never seen this adequately explained.

Mar 25, 2006, 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Hellmut said...

I would be a lot more comfortable if heteros would deny their own sexuality rather than imposing the requirement of celibacy on other people.

Catholic leaders are at least consistent. They live in celbacy themselves.

Personally, I think that the Mormon view of sexuality is much more realistic, at least with respect to heterosexuals. There would be a lot less suffering if we were equally generous to our gay and lesbian sons and daughters.

Mar 25, 2006, 1:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People aren't imposing celibacy on homosexuals. God is.

Mar 25, 2006, 6:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, he's not.

All right, I'm outta this string. It's been real. Real scary, but real.

Mar 26, 2006, 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger brad said...

I haven't checked out the linked post on S&G, so I don't know if most of this stuff is already covered over there, but I think it's a real stretch to say that allowing fellowship for homosexuals would require rewriting the Bible any more than supporting the abolition of human slavery or desegregation. It would require reinterpreting the Bible, but so did those examples (many prophets, seers, and revelators believed that Biblical passages countnencing slavery and prohibiting intermarriage were justifications for everything from southern slavery to Jim Crow to anti-miscegenation laws).

There is no clear evidence within the text itself that God destroyed S&G for rampant homosexuality. There are allusions to it, but a serious reading of the text supports the view generally held by biblical scholars that a brutal, sadistic, rowdy group of probably heterosexual men (Lot tried to appease them by offering his daughters) tried to humiliate and de-masculinize the righteous visitors by basically threatening to gang-rape them -- i.e. make them their "bitches" (can I say that talking about the Bible?). The only verse in the whole Bible which lists reasons for God's destruction of S&G, in Ezekial (listed above), does not mention homosexual acts. Joseph Smith's only known comment on the subject states the S&G were destroyed for "rejecting the prophets"--pretty nebulous, but, again, no mention of sex. There is simply no way of connecting the story of S&G to the question of genuine, committed love being expressed between two consenting adults of the same gender.

Beyond S&G, the condemnations in Leviticus are suspect, in the first place because the are strewn alongside verses countenencing human slavery and verses calling for death to those who plant the wrong kinds of crops next to each other. In the second place, because they clearly are given withing the context of an assumption that semen itself both represented and actually contained within itself all life. Thus, non-procreative ejaculation (sorry to be graphic; but I guess I am discussing the Bible, itself a fairly graphic text) of any kind -- in coitis interruptus (the lovely story from Genesis 38), male-male homosexual acts, and male masturbation -- are all stridently condemned in the bible, even considered the equivalent to abortion or murder. On the other hand, female homosexual acts are not even mentioned in the OT.

Furthermore, if we are to take Leviticus as a binding text, then we must accept that it states unequivically that those who committ homosexual acts must be put to death. I don't think anyone here (with the exception of Mr. Osborn) would be comfortable with a Nazi style (yes, Rob, the Nazis did try to exterminate queers, long before they got to other undesirables, so I don't understand why you find the designation so offensive) campaign to exterminate homosexuals, even if it were limited to "active" or "practicing" ones.

Paul's condemnation needs to be taken somewhat more seriously. But even here, it is clear that he simply does not have access to some of the important facts that inform our thinking today. Rom 1 26-7 indicates that Paul believes that he is talking to "straight" people who are just engaging in "gay behavior." This is perfectly understandable. The concept of sexual orientation is a relatively recent social construct. Anti-gay activists are fond of pointing out that "homosexuals" didn't exist before about the last century (actually, it was the gay philosopher, Michelle Foucault, who first pointed this out). What they fail to realize is that neither did "heterosexuals." Which is to say that sexual orientation did not serve as a prime indicator of individual identity. Thus, there is strong evidence that Abe Lincoln had romantic relations with other men, but to call him homosexual, heterosexual, or even bisexual is anachronistic. And while many members of older generations even today (my father, for one) believe that "gay" people are really just straight people ostentatiously rebelling against God and authority, most Mormons I know believe that "being" gay is a real thing and a real challenge that must be resisted, not just an arbitrary choice being made by a bunch of confused or reckless straight people.

Paul would have also been steeped in the sexual mores of Hebrew culture. These included, among other things: approval of prostitution; proscription of sexual contact during menstruation; a definition of adultury based solely on the marital status of the woman; approval of polygamy and concubinage; no official proscription against sex between two unmarried consenting adults; sexual regulations in general determined only by considerations of males' property rights over women (i.e. men owned women as property and treated them as such, whether husbands or fathers, and with God's appearant approval); Moses' (and ours) approval of divorce despite Jesus' strict forbiddance against it.

All this is not to say that there's simply nothing whatsoever wrong or sinful about homosexual relations. Rather, it is to say that we, as Mormons, are in a unique position to know one way or another because we have living prophets. This means, on the one hand, that we must acknowledge that our current living prophets accept the notion that homosexual act are sinful. But it also means that things can change. Major assumptions about what constitutes a sin, and even about the nature of the plan of salvation, have evolved, changed, been modified, clarified, or even abandoned over the past almost two centuries.

Most Mormons I know today are fairly uncomfortable with the idea of fellowshipping openly gay people in the Church. But I can count on one hand those I know who share Rob's unabashedly un-christlike, sanctimonious, Pharisaic attitude toward homosexuals (along with his delusional belief that he secretly knows what GBH "really" means when he speaks publically--maybe you should join the John Birch Society, Rob, that is if you haven't already)--and I live in Utah. I think changes will continue to come. There is a real generational in the Church when it comes to this question. More and more members will get to know gay Mormons and feel less and less threatened by them and believe less and less the things their parents and grandparents taught them about gay people. And as these changes continue, people like Rob will either change too, or else get pushed further and further to the margins.

Mar 26, 2006, 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Rob Osborn said...

Let me just state for the record that I do not hate gay people! I do however believe that the sinful act of homosexuality is an abomination in the sight of God. Our scriptures clearly define sex immorality as most abominable before God. I will support gay people for the children of God which they are, but I will not support their sex immorality as acceptable. The church has made clear that sex immorality is a gross sin, this includes acting out homosexual temptations.

I do not liked being classified with the Nazi party as I am the opposite of that. Why Has God prepared a prison (hell) for those who are involved in sexually immoral behavior?

S&G was destroyed by fire because of wicked acts that included sex immorality of fornication and going after "strange flesh".
Where do you think the term "Sodomy" came from?

Mar 26, 2006, 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger Steven B said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Opinions clearly range from total acceptance of gay people, to "homosexual activity is immoral, always has been, and the church will never change, so why-are-we-even-discussing-this."

Mar 28, 2006, 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

rob osborn: Let me just state for the record that I do not hate gay people!

Yes, the love came shining through in your posts.

With friends like you...

Mar 28, 2006, 7:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing to think about in these sorts of discussions is what sort of intermediate administrative steps there might be between the current position of the Church and your imagined press release. The analogy of blacks and the priesthood is useful here. Before the 1978 revelation there were lots of administrative steps that undermined the priesthood ban in various ways. Two examples:

1. The first presidency Civil Rights statement.
2. Making it easier for men of mixed ancestry to recieve the priesthood.

What is odd is that we have already seen some intermediate stepts toward more toleration for homosexuals:

1. Making a distinction between orientation and conduct.
2. Acknowledging that "certian thoughts" have a genetic/biological origin.
3. Repudiating the idea that gay men should get married as a form of therapy.
4. No longer encouraging aversion therapy. (??? I've heard conflicting reports about this ???)
5. Prophetic statements emphasizing the need to love homosexual members and acknowledging that many are good and decent people.

Of course, along side this "liberalization" has been the Church's public involvement in various same-sex marriage battles, so it is difficult to say that there is "momentum" in this direction.

It is also worth remembering that there were lots of intermediate steps prior to the abandonment of polygamy:

1. Halting polygamous sealings. (Imperfectly done.)
2. Tearing down the endowment house.
3. The Manifesto.
4. Polygamous sealings only in secret or outside the United States.
5. The Second Manifesto.
6. Dropping Taylor and Cowley from the Twelve.

Too often people romanticize the power of revelation to change church practice and imagine that the Manifesto and the 1978 revelation were strikes out of the blue, with not prologue (or in the case of the Manifesto an epilogue).

Mar 29, 2006, 9:09:00 AM  
Blogger Steven B said...

Thank you, anonymous, for that insightful response.

Mar 29, 2006, 9:37:00 AM  
Anonymous limingxue said...

Allowing homosexuals to have the priesthood is similar in my mind to having women hold the priesthood. God we are taught is an eternal god, who does not change. Men and women are designed from the very beginning to be desired by each other for the purposes of God. However sexual behavior between Man and Women is only lawful when in marriage sealed by the priesthood.
Homosexual nature is deviant and unsightly in the eyes of god. This can and will not change. If homosexual behavior became allowed in the church, then the church could also give the priesthood to women, say Mohammed is a prophet; Jesus is not the Christ etc etc. Lets face it, there is a structure that has been set up by God and is eternal and that is the Family setting of Man and Women, not man and man or women and women etc. These laws cannot be changed or God would not be God.
If hypothetical the church did state that God allowed for homosexual marriage, then the church would be in error and have become apostate.
I find it interesting to think that people feel that God will change his mind on eternal truths because people want him to. I am afraid that eternal truths are set in stone, although principles may change from time to time. Principles are things like the garment (which can be various shapes and sizes), WOW that has been expanded and clarified by the church from time to time (i.e. Illegal Drugs were not specifically included in the WOW, although anyone reading it should be clear that these are not for the body etc). Other principles are Monday night family home evening and church on Sunday. Also the 10% law of tithing is a principle, it could easy be 12% or 5%, as the number is not really important.
These principles are for convenience only, and are not eternal truths, President Hinckley could say that church will be on Saturday for now on without changing any truth but he cannot say that Christ is a Women or that Homosexual behavior is good.
I think that those whom are trying to push this homosexual agenda should remember the advice in the BOM about calling a wrong a right etc.
Does this mean that we persecute homosexuals, of course not? Such persecution of homosexuals, or heterosexuals of any person is a gross sin in the eyes of the lord. We should welcome them into our fold, but they will need to obey each eternal principle of the gospel same as you or me. This means the law of chastity etc. However, remember that we don’t generally throw a member out for breaking the law of chastity unless certain circumstances and a member who is disfellowshipped or excommunicated can repent. The atonement of Christ is eternal and does not only affect those who are straight.

As to homosexuals committing suicide in the church that is very unfortunate that they thing this action would prevent or help them in any measure. The gospel is very clear in that appetites that we have in this world will be present in the next. By this a homosexual leaning person will still be homosexual in the next world. This doesn’t mean that this person is doomed to be ungodly anymore then someone with a eating disorder (likes to much peanut butter ☺ ) or drug addiction. Also remember that heterosexuals also do commit suicide from time to time as well, this is all very unfortunate.

One other point that I commonly see in these threads is that somehow heterosexuals are better off then homosexuals when it comes to sexual matters. This being as a previous poster stated that homosexuals are always seen as committing sin, this poster quite clearly demonstrates their lack of understanding of the gospel. Heterosexuals are not to engage in sexual behavior unless legally and lawfully wed, the same goes for homosexuals. Many heterosexuals never marry either for one reason or another, these people also have sexual desires that must go unfulfilled and truth be said married couples have sexual desires that often go unfulfilled for one reason or another. I think some people feel that married couples are always having great sex and are satisfied all the time, this is unfortunately not the case for a great many heterosexual couples (this is even more true if there are children in the mix).

Mar 30, 2006, 6:54:00 AM  
Blogger Steven B said...

limingxue, Thanks for your input. I have not seen the issue of Priesthood in connection to SSM raised before. It does throw an additional wrench into the works. What of Lesbian marriages? Who would preside in the home, the one who is the most butch? (Forgive me if that seems insensitive.) Would the home teacher need to be on-call to make important decisions for the family? Would the two women look to their twelve-year-old deacon son to function as the priesthood holder in the home? Perhaps this would function no different than in a single mother family.

And what of same-sex marriages involving two male priesthood holders of equal rank? Does anyone really need to "preside" in the home?

The atonement of Christ is eternal and does not only affect those who are straight.

The atonement clearly is available to all. The question being discussed over at T&S is whether *exaltation*, as defined by Mormon doctrine, can be available to homosexuals, or whether it is reserved only for heterosexual unions.

Mar 30, 2006, 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elder Nelson's talk in the Sat. afternoon session of conference really cleared this up, I think. Combine that with Pres. Packer's talk and there seems to be no wiggle room on the fact that marriage and sexuality and exaltation are all tied to a heterosexual relationship.

Apr 1, 2006, 6:14:00 PM  

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