Mormon.org FAQ: Homosexuality

Hawkgrrrl Mormon 120 Comments

We’ve explored some of the answers members have posted on the mormon.org site in the church’s new profiles campaign.  So far, we’ve discussed member answers to questions about polygamypriesthood, politics, parenting, and prophets.  Today, let’s see what members had to say about the church’s stance on homosexuality.  Heaven help us!

Here’s the question:  What is the Church’s attitude on homosexuality?  Why is homosexuality and same-sex marriage important to the Mormon Church?

From the church’s official response.  Interestingly, this is from the Ensign in 1998, but there is a more recent interview on lds.org that is a little less harsh (in that it doesn’t use the term “so-called” which implies disdain for whatever term follows):

“People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.

“We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families” (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).

In light of the church’s stance, there’s not much room to maneuver.  Answers that seemed best to me at navigating these tricky waters:

  • I’m Gay & Mormon.  Hmmm.  Strangely, no profiles said that.  Silence speaks louder than words?
  • Celibate + Homosexual = OK.  Since this is the church’s stance, I suppose that’s really the only way to answer.  It also should make it clear that we would accept and welcome those who are celibate in full fellowship.  The celibate clause may be cold comfort, but again, that’s all we’ve got to work with here. The best of these are probably ones that are
    • “So how do those with same-sex attraction fit into the Church? They should be loved and supported just like anyone else. . . Celibacy is expected of all unmarried individuals, homosexual as well as heterosexual.”
    • “We love our brothers and sisters who have same-gender attraction, and welcome them in the church as long as they keep the law of chastity.”
    • “Some homosexuals may feel it is too much to ask to have them remain chaste, but any member of the church that is not married is commanded not to have sexual relations as well. There are people in the church who have been single their whole lives and die single, never having broken that commandment. We expect this of homosexuals as well.”
    • “The Church teaches that feeling same-sex attraction may not be a choice, but that acting on those feelings is.”
  • We are against discrimination.  A good reminder (for members, too), SSM notwithstanding.  Loads of profiles went down this path.
    • “At lunch we noticed that a gay member of our organization was sitting alone, shuned by others. We walked over an joined her for lunch. She asked an interesting question: “Why is it that you Mormons, who have the strongest beliefs against the gay lifestlye, always treat me with the greatest kindness among all of my co-workers?””
    • “Mormons also believe that people with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and that violence and unkindness toward people with same-sex attraction is as sinful as violence or unkindness to anyone else.”
    • “Meanwhile, all of us–gay or straight, older or young, conservative or liberal–can work on being kind and loving to others and ourselves. One of our church leaders, Joseph Wirthlin, put it this way, “The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony.””
    • “”…..The Church does not object to rights…regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference……””
    • “Should gays have the same basic human rights that we all enjoy? Of course. I personally believe that there is plenty of middle ground to be found — particularly as it relates to civil unions.”
    • “In regard to Gay Marriage, the church has found it important to speak out against the granting of the title of Marriage to Unions between gay couples. Yet, the church is not anti-gay. The Church has spoken out in favor of a non-discrimination ordinance in Salt Lake City. Members of the church are divided on the issue of Civil Unions though many members in Good Standing including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are ardent supporters. It is my belief that Gay Couples should have all of the same rights as straight couples, but that the title of marriage is something sacred that should be guarded and protected.”
    • “This is kind of a tricky one for me to answer. As I’ve stated, I disagree with any form of bigotry, and believe that discrimination of all sorts goes against God’s will. I’ve received personal assurance that I am supposed to be fighting against discrimination and bigotry in all forms, and that includes discrimination against homosexuals and anyone else in the LGBT community. But please do not take that statement, or my previous political activism (completely on hold during my mission) and believe that I disagree with the teachings of the church.”
  • We are pro-marriage.  Again, it’s kind of skirting the question by affirming what we do stand for vs. what we don’t support, but there’s not much to work with here.
    • “The Church believes that marriage is ordained of God and is defined as the legal and lawful union of a man and a woman. No other sexual relation is condoned by God.”  This sexual relation was brought to you by . . .
  • Someone close to me is gay.  This is better than the elusive token friend, and much more personal.
    • “my best friend of over 20 years is bisexual, and she is also the most loving, unselfish person I have ever met.”
    • “My older brother is homosexual. I love him to death and so does my family. Many people misunderstand the church’s stance on homosexuality because of the emphasis we place on the family. It is difficult to be a member of the church and be homosexual, but it is possible. Personally I do everything I can to promote a feeling of love and compassion towards those who struggle with same sex attraction. It is a trait that my brother has to deal with. He is not a member of the church.”
    • “This was an important question that I had when I was learning about the church because my Mom is gay and married her partner. It was important for me that I need always accept her and love her. The churches views on homosexuality can be found in the Bible. It states that marriage is between a man and a woman.  A friend said it to me best, she said, “The church does not support same-sex marriage, but we do support families.” That was all I needed to hear. Even though I am a member of this church and I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, I still love my mom and her partner.”

Middle of the road, and not so comforting:

  • Hate the sin, love the sinner.  Since we are all sinners, this seems a little hypocritical and condescending.  However, many commenters DID point out that we are all sinners, so kudos for that!
    • “Simply put, homosexuality is a sin. God has commanded that this ought not to be. However, that does not entitle anyone to discriminate against a person who is a homosexual. It is sin that God hates, not sinners.”
  • I have lots of gay friends.  I do have lots of gay friends, but it sounds like tokenism to say so.
    • “I have had many friends who have chosen that lifestyle. I love them, but do not support their sin.”
    • “I personally know and have close friendships with a large handful of Mormons who experience varying levels of homosexuality–some have left the teachings of the church (to remain celibate or wait until they find someone of the opposite gender who they love) for a gay lifestyle, but most remain active in the church, getting support from loving people who do not judge them.”
    • “I have homosexual friends who are good members of the church. I have one friend in particular who left the church for many years to live in a homosexual relationship. But at one point he decided that the Lord’s gospel was more important to him and so he came back to the church and refrained from sex. His sexuality didn’t change, his behavior changed. He died some years back from AIDS, still firm in the faith.”  The mention of AIDS sounds a little cautionary to me.

What really set the hairs on the back of my neck up:

  • I used to be gay, but now I’m not.  Fortunately, I saw NO comments like this either, and I’m glad.
  • Being homosexual is a choice.  Science certainly doesn’t back this on the whole, although there are some exceptions (e.g. bisexuals, childhood abuse).
    • “The concept of marriage of a man and a woman is so fundamental to our beliefs about the nature of the hereafter that we are very sensitive about the issue. Having other forms of union between people accepted as though they were the same as the God sanctioned union of a man and a woman hits at the very core of this concept. This attitude can and has convinced individuals to choose this lifestyle and turn away from the one sanctioned by the Lord and forfeit substantial eternal blessings.”  I’m not sure SSM causes people who would otherwise not be gay to become gay; it probably discourages gays from heterosexual marriages, which is a good thing, IMO.  Does it discourage homosexual celibacy?  I doubt it impacts that one way or another.
    • “Homosexuality is a sin just like any other defiance against God’s will.”  Being gay is defiant?  Sassy, maybe.
    • “I have a few friends who have chosen to act on the temptations and urges that accompany homosexuality and while I do not agree with their choices, I still love them like brothers. Some people argue that God “created” men and women gay. I disagree. God does not, nor cannot, create sin. That being said, I do believe that there are some people out there that develop or are prone naturally to an attraction to the same sex. Does this mean God created them gay? . . . So to those who feel that they were “born gay” I say you were created just as everyone else, except you were given a trial that God knows you are capable of handling.”  The use of quotation marks around “born gay” implies that people are not, in fact, born gay.  Which science disputes.  The whole answer is a bit confusing, really.
    • “Homosexuality is simply a manmade way–an alternative to God’s design. It serves no purpose for God, for it is contrary to His design.”
    • “I have a friend that chooses to be homosexual and he asked me about this a few months ago. . . .  I realize that for some people it is a biological urge as strong as that of any heterosexual man.”  So, it sounds like the friend chose it, but others don’t.
  • Gay = disability.  While it may be the implied doctrine, I’m not going to say it.
    • “My heart goes out to those who deal with same-sex attraction, including my friends and family who deal with this trial. . . We believe, however, that homosexuality is one of the challenges of life just as others are given their own struggles addiction, disability, illness, childhood trauma, etc.. For us, there is a difference between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior.”
    • “I do not look down on homosexuals and I don’t see them as bad people. We all have things we are dealing with and things we need to overcome.”  But do you respect them and see them as good people?
    • “Someone born with a disability or disfigurement was given that body with the an express purpose. What is that purpose? Most of us will never know. Why does God let children be born blind, deaf, or crippled? He allows this to happen because this life is a time for us to be tried and proven. A sad part of life is that we all must experience sorrow, trials and temptations. We can’t escape that.”
  • Gays should marry heterosexuals.  Yikes.
    • “Those with homosexual tendencies and desires, regardless of how they were derived, should seek the Lord’s help in redirecting their behavior towards the end of having a spouse of the opposite sex.”  This just seems like bad advice to me.
  • SSM would be disastrous for humanity.
    • “But if same-sex marriage is made legal, it will require those of us who believe it is wrong to officially accept it.”
    • “We reach out a hand of fellowship to all men everywhere, but homosexuality and same-sex marriage is destructive to our whole society and way of life. These practices lead to the ruin of mankind, so we warn all men everywhere against these practices.”
  • Other funny stuff I found:
    • Misused euphemism.  “This is why it is important to not use or act on those powers of procreation outside of the bonds of matrimony”  Technically, you can’t call homosexual acts “powers of procreation,” and certainly many sexual acts are not procreative in nature.  Sometimes we just like a turn of phrase so much we don’t stop to ask ourselves if it makes any sense.
    • What the –?  “I think the real lesson is a warning against being so lustful that you don’t care who – or what! – you are having sex with, to the point where your not so much a person anymore, but more like a horny dog that will hump anything indiscriminately. Reality TV, anyone?”  OK, I actually did like this answer overall, but she kind of wandered off a little bit there at the end.  “Horny dog” passed the filter?  Hilarious!
    • Mormon-speak alert!  “We believe that all of us have freedom to choose, yet all of us have temptations, thorns of the flesh, if you will.”  Thorns of the flesh?  I think this is a Mormon euphemism, especially since the guy who said it looked like he was in his twenties.
    • Wow, just wow.  “The church truly believes in love. (just not homosexual love) In men and women being together for all eternity. I too am a firm believer in this. Men and women come together to learn how to become an eternal partnership. One is never truly without the other.  Homosexuality, derives from this goal. (‘scuze me?  I think she means it detracts from or it deviates from or it deters from . . . ??  Is this a Freudian slip?)  It means that a family cannot be achieved through natural causes. No, it does not mean I do not love everyone equally. I have people who are quite close to me that practice homosexual behaviours. (As Hawkeye would say, “practice makes perfect”)  However, at the same time, I cannot say it is part of God’s immediate plan.”  (But it is part of his long-range plan?)  This person is just all over the map here.
    • Is this guy’s wife reading this?  “I’m a married man. Is my wife the only person I find attractive in a sexual way? Of course not. I have to exercise self control to keep the law of chastity.”  DO tell!

What I might say:

  • “No comment.”
  • Since the church doesn’t welcome practicing homosexuals, I would certainly think they are not the target audience of this FAQ.
  • The law of chastity requires that you abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.  Since the church considers homosexual acts to be unchaste, the church does not sanction gay marriage.  Is a legally married homosexual unchaste?  I leave that to God to decide.
  • No one who isn’t gay would choose to be gay just for the fun of it.
  • I would never knowingly encourage someone who is homosexual to marry heterosexually as a way to reform their natural feelings.  That seems destined to fail.
  • Being gay in the LDS church would be extremely difficult.  I imagine that a loving God would understand that.  I am not to judge.

What do you think?  What would you say?  Do you agree that the so-called phrase “so-called” should be stricken?  Discuss.

Comments

comments

Comments 120

  1. As a struggling member of the church, this subject causes me so much turmoil. Reading the trite, ignorant, and dismissive answers you’ve outlined here doesn’t help. I’d have a lot more respect for church members and it’s leadership if they would just be straightforward with what they believe instead of back peddling and sugarcoating. All the tripe they spout in lieu of that just serves to further alienate people like me: members who have issues with what appears to be a century + long habit of colorfully repainting doctrine and church history.

    Just for clarification, I believe homosexuality is an inherent trait — not some choice or sinful inclination that people must choose to overcome like smoking or stealing. (I can’t tell you how much that comparison chaps my you-know-what.) I am also ADAMANTLY pro gay marriage.

  2. Well, with all due respect, it seems like faithful Mormons are in a bit of a fix with this question. If you believe the party line is inspired, and yet don’t argue with contemporary psychological and biological evidence that (at least some) sexual orientation is not a choice, then the only self-consistent conclusion you can come up with is that homosexuality is some sort of biological handicap, like depression or a predilection to addiction, meant to be struggled with even if it cannot be entirely overcome in this life.

    The only other option I can see is to say the church has it all wrong on this issue. Homosexuality doesn’t fit in with the church’s current teachings on eternal families, and it seems to me that restructuring that view would take one heckuva revelation.

    So yes, asking the members about homosexuality is going to be dangerous, especially if the only acceptable answer is that we embrace homosexuality as beautiful and normal, because the church simply doesn’t. I can’t see how pain can be avoided here.

    Also, there are gay Mormons responding to the question on homosexuality:
    http://www.mormon.org/me/1TJC-eng/David

  3. Before I start, can someone tell me how to start my own post (don’t wanna “thread-jack)…..

    I’ve a bro-in-law that is gay and has a partner and another male relative that has had both gay and straight relationships (don’t know if he can be considered ‘bi’ as he has been monagamous in whatever relationship he’s been in), also dated a lady that though previously married has struggled with bisexuality (she sez that it’s a part of her being and she doesn’t want to engage in further lesbian relationships but still at times feels the attraction).

    I feel no hesitation to commend the PRACTICE of homosexuality; however, it doesn’t mean that indulgence in sexual sins of a ‘hetero’ nature are somehow less “bad” in the eyes of the LORD, IMO. Someone who has the inclination but does not act on it should not feel that the inclinations of themselves are sinful. Still, if it’s powerful enough to interfere with a normal marriage then perhaps the person thus afflicted shouldn’t marry.

    Until about 1973 it was considered a mental disorder in the eyes of Psychiatry: what, other than politics and cowardic, changed their minds?

    If I, being decidedly heterosexual, were to take on a mistress or “concubine”, I’d be run out of the Church on the proverbial rail. Why, therefore, do those that break of the law of chastity in a homosexual manner feel that they have some type of special privilege or that they’re the subject of bigotry if the wrongfulness of their conduct is pointed out and they’re held to account?

  4. A highly charged subject that has so many facets. My observation is that no civil conversation is possible because of political correctness, politics, human rights, religious beliefs, the uncertainty of science and just plain old hostility.

    So the best course is: no comment.

  5. Doug 4: do you mean to say “commend” or did you mean “condemn”? While the early 20th century had a pretty poor record of acceptance of homosexuality, that has not been the case historically and in other cultures. In many cultures, homosexuals had special status.

    Heather 3: I think people are doing the best they can, but the church’s policy is difficult and colored by conventional wisdom. Many of their answers leave me flat, too, but I also find talking to just about anyone on this topic is unsatisfying. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom changes over time (often as scientific knowledge changes). I’d rather the church be willing to revise its stance when necessary than stick doggedly to inaccurate statements contradicted by fact.

  6. A married heterosexual man wanting to take a mistress, or “so-called” concubine (?), is not the same as a homosexual man wanting to marry and stay faithful to one man.

    Hawkgrrrl, I really like your third bullet point. It’s hard to imagine how the LDS church would ever fully accept faithful gay and lesbian people. But maybe in the distant future, people will start to accept that someone could receive personal revelation to marry their SO in something other than an LDS temple marriage.

  7. Hawkgrrl,

    You explored all of the responses, except in my opinion, the right answer. All of us are born with some propensity or challenge – some have a hard time controlling their emotions and act out in anger and violence, while others have no temptation in this area; others can easily become addicted to pornography, while others have no attraction to this behavior; some can have a few drinks or puffs from a cigarette or bong and be addicted for life, while others have no temptation for drugs or alcohol. In short, ALL of us are born with some propensity for evil. This would include those that are born with same sex attraction.

    The question is not whether we will face certain tendencies in this life; rather, the question is how we will deal with these tendencies and challenges. The difference is that some of those that are born with same sex attraction what to change the rules. They do not want to accept that their tendency is wrong. It would be tantamount to someone with an addiction to pornography to say, “Look I was born this way and there is nothing I can do to change the way I am. What’s more, I want you to accept me for who I am and not judge me”. I don’t think this would go over well with the Lord or his church. Rather, he has said “my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them”.

  8. My last two comments must be in a moderation queue somewhere — could somebody get them out? They include a link to a gay Mormon answering the homosexuality question on mormon.org.

  9. #8 Will: in fairness, and in keeping with the “official” answer that HG quoted in her OP, the statement “They do not want to accept that their tendency is wrong” is at least a mischaracterization of the church’s position, and at worst is offensive.

    The “official” statment which HG quotes makes clear that in the church’s view what sin exists is in actions (such as acting on those tendencies, or, as the statement calls them, inclinations), not in the inclinations themselves. To use (but not endorse) your metaphor, the same is true of an alcoholic or heroin addict: the ‘sin’ is not in the addiction itself but in the abuse of the addictive substance.

    Finally, I’d note that the “official” statement quoted in the OP, though perhaps not attributed at Mormon.org, is from President Hinckley.

  10. There’s an interesting age-related difference in the LDS population. Judging from my own extended family, I would guess that 80% of active LDS people under the age of 30 support gay relationships in some form. Well over half of this group support civil recognition of same-sex marriages.

    Active LDS people in the 60+ age range are not generally supportive of same-sex relationships– perhaps a third of this group think they are okay in some circumstances and maybe 10% support the idea of same-sex marriage.

    In the middle ages, from 30 to 60, I’d guess that support for same-sex relationships is maybe 50% and same-sex marriage is about 35%.

    Do these numbers correspond with what others have observed in LDS friends and family members? With numbers like these, it’s clear that many LDS people must be experiencing significant cognitive dissonance with respect to this issue. The mormon.org site encourages (enforces) consistency with official LDS positions. I would therefore guess that the responses in this FAQ are somewhat more conservative than a random sampling of the active LDS population would show.

  11. And in the “where angels fear to tread” department, your cousins in the Community of Christ have decided that the pain to the US church can no longer be set aside, and is being dragged slowly toward dealing with the theology of same sex marriage and the priesthood calls of gays. The First Presidency has announced the following next step, leading toward a national conference to deal specifically with these issues in the Summer of 2012:

    “The World Church Leadership Council (general officers, presidents of World Church quorums, and directors) and the Standing High Council will meet in retreat September 18–19, 2010. The retreat’s purpose is to discuss the 1982 Standing High Council statement on “Homosexuality” and the 2002 World Church Leadership Council statement on “Community, Common Consent, and Homosexuality.”

    “This discussion is in response to confusion in some areas about which parts of the statements are official policy and which parts describe perspectives on homosexuality when the statements were written. In response to requests for clarification, the groups will work together to provide helpful information to the church as discussions about same-gender and sexual-orientation issues continue and plans are made for national or field conferences.

    “The Presidency invites members and friends to remember the World Church Leadership Council and the Standing High Council in your prayers as these leadership groups discuss extremely complex issues in the church’s life.”

    Background is in this post from a few months ago:

    http://mormonmatters.org/2010/04/21/after-action-report-the-community-of-christ-did-what/

  12. Post
    Author
  13. For many years, a black woman and a white man were banned from being sealed in the temple. This obviously had nothing to do with a “priesthood ban”, as women can’t hold the priesthood anyway. It was merely based on race. This couple could be legally married civilly. They could be active members in the Church. As long as they were chaste before marriage and faithful after marriage, they were not considered to be breaking the law of chastity.

    I could see the Church eventually accepting this same position with regards to homosexual marriage without much doctrinal shift (and certainly MUCH loss doctrinal shift than Brigham Young teaching that an interracial marriage meant immediate death). This couple would still be banned from being sealed in the temple. They could be legally marriage civilly where that was allowed. They could still be active in the Church. And as long as they were chaste before marriage and faithful after marriage, they could also technically not be breaking the law of chastity. Church leaders have taught that being homosexual in and of itself is NOT a sin, but breaking the law of chastity is a sin.

  14. “In many cultures, homosexuals had special status.”

    In 20th Century America, homosexuals had special status, but I don’t think that is what you were trying to express. As far as unspecial status goes, being just another pair-forming part of society just like Mom and Dad, “many cultures” would be better phrased “a handful of cultures out of hundreds some have searched through.”

  15. Re #14, here is a repost of the deleted comment.


    There’s an interesting age-related difference in the LDS population. Judging from my own extended family, I would guess that 80% of active LDS people under the age of 30 support gay relationships in some form. Well over half of this group support civil recognition of same-sex marriages.

    Active LDS people in the 60+ age range are not generally supportive of same-sex relationships– perhaps a third of this group think they are okay in some circumstances and maybe 10% support the idea of same-sex marriage.

    In the middle ages, from 30 to 60, I’d guess that support for same-sex relationships is maybe 50% and same-sex marriage is about 35%.

    Do these numbers correspond with what others have observed in LDS friends and family members? With numbers like these, it’s clear that many LDS people must be experiencing significant cognitive dissonance with respect to this issue. The mormon.org site encourages (enforces) consistency with official LDS positions. I would therefore guess that the responses in this FAQ are somewhat more conservative than a random sampling of the active LDS population would show.

  16. #6, Hawkgrrrl:

    I disagree. I don’t think people are “doing the best they can.” I think they are running around with their tails between their legs begging to be liked in spite of what they believe.

    “Doing the best they can” would be to say something like: “Well, whether or not people are born gay is open for debate. Science seems to be telling us that it is an inborn trait. But until recently our church leadership has disagreed. Now they say they don’t know. But that is beside the point. The LDS church believes it is sinful to engage in homosexual activity. They believe it would be better for these people to remain alone and celibate their entire lives or for them to get into un-fulfilling heterosexual marriages. The church believes they are breaking the laws of chastity by engaging in homosexual activities and that they will be held accountable for these activities. Additionally, if homosexuals engage in those activities, they run the risk of being excommunicated (removed) from the church. The church believes that marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals only and that the most sacred purpose marriage is to raise children brought into that union. I do not hate homosexual people and I have compassion for their struggle. But, it doesn’t change the fact that our faith teaches us that homosexuality is a sin — and God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”

    THAT is honest. I would have respect for people who say that. I would wholeheartedly disagree with them. But, as long as they treated gays/lesbians with respect and kindness, I would respect them.

    I don’t respect this wishy-washy BS that people spout. It’s spineless. It’s saying, “I know that you’ll think what I’m about to say is ignorant, bigoted and closed minded… so I’m going to sugar coat it and soft sell it as much as possible so that you will hopefully still like me and not hate me or my religion for it.”

    Do people believe it or not? Is it truth or is it fiction? If it’s truth and the believe it then they should grow a backbone, stand up for what they believe, and let the chips fall where they may.

    Otherwise, what’s the point of having a belief structure at all?

    I’m not saying people should be rigid and arrogant in their beliefs. I’m not saying that I think church members should join Fred Phelps’ group on street corners. But there’s being tactful yet full of conviction and then there’s being a wimp who apologizes for what they believe.

  17. (So much for no comment…)

    Heather (17) – how is what you’ve written materially different from the “official” statement included in HG’s OP? Not much, except in tone, and perhaps a bit of history on the nature vs. nurture question.

    Frankly, most of the member comments north of “hate the sin; love the sinner” HG included echo similar sentiments, as well.

  18. Okay, I’ll re-post what I wrote earlier this morning:

    With all due respect, it seems like faithful Mormons are in a bit of a fix with this question. If you believe the party line is inspired, and yet don’t argue with contemporary psychological and biological evidence that (at least some) sexual orientation is not a choice, then the only self-consistent conclusion you can come up with is that homosexuality is some sort of biological handicap, like depression or a predilection to addiction, meant to be struggled with even if it cannot be entirely overcome in this life.

    The only other option I can see is to say the church has it all wrong on this issue. Homosexuality doesn’t fit in with the church’s current teachings on eternal families, and it seems to me that restructuring that view would take one heckuva revelation.

    So yes, asking the members about homosexuality is going to be dangerous, especially if the only acceptable answer is that we embrace homosexuality as beautiful and normal, because the church simply doesn’t. I can’t see how pain can be avoided here.

    Also, there are gay Mormons responding to the question on homosexuality:
    mormon.org me 1TJC-eng David

    I cut up the link so this gets through.

  19. Paul,

    A person with the tendency for same sex attraction that is not engaging in inappropriate acts is not guilty of sin. This is true for any other inappropriate activity. We will be tempted, but it is only a sin if we engage in the inappropriate activity.

    Firetag,

    You posted one of the best threads I have read in a long time. I think your response was honest and chartable. I enjoy your comments. I don’t see eye to eye with the leaders of your church on such issues. It is my belief that the proper authority went westward with Brigham Young.

    Mike S.

    Those are administrative decisions, not moral decisions. The moral code of our Father will never change.

    Heather,
    Great comments.

  20. Will:

    Thank you. I can’t deny my own testimony, so I’ll just have to take my chances that God prefers an honest fool to an uncertain one. (Heather can appreciate that as an example of her argument. :D)

    Put in a good word for me with the ministerihng angels, ok?

  21. #21: Will:

    “Those are administrative decisions, not moral decisions. The moral code of our Father will never change.”

    We have been told that interracial marriage meant death on the spot. We have been told, using scriptural references, that blacks will NEVER have the priesthood until the end of the millennium. We have been taught this as doctrine. We have been taught that we didn’t know why people were born black. We have been taught they were fence sitters in the pre-existence. We have been taught this as an eternal truth. But at the end of the day, IT CHANGED. Many people now think it was never actually God’s will, but likely 19th century prejudices incorporated into Church doctrine.

    We have been taught that polygamous marriage is the only eternal standard. We have been taught that monogamy is what leads to prostitution, etc. We have been taught it is an eternal principle, a moral truth, etc. But that “moral code” also changed. We are now told that if you are polygamous you will be excommunicated from the church, which necessarily implies taking away all of the sealings, etc. that entails.

    So, when you are so sure that things will never happen, history may prove you wrong, or it may not. We don’t know. I just wouldn’t be as dogmatic. BRM was just as sure in his opinions on blacks as you are now. BY was just as sure in his opinion on polygamy (and blacks) as you are now. They were both wrong.

  22. Post
    Author

    Heather 17 – I think your comment is very similar to the majority of comments on the mormon.org site, as the post says. I also included the comments I considered problematic to show that there are still some issues. But I stand by my statement that the people creating the profiles are on the whole doing the best they can with the church’s stance being what it is. A few people, I take exception with (as detailed above).

  23. Mike S,

    What I do not understand is why you keep going back to what this guy said or what the church used to do, etc. The fact is, we have a living Prophet who speak to us today and helps to navigate in this life at this time, not 100 years ago.

    Surely, we have made a number of significant advances as a society and as a church on beliefs held long ago. I notice Doctors don’t do blood-letting anymore, either. But maybe, we should because they used to.

  24. Mike S,

    See, I don’t see polygamy or blacks and the priesthood as moral changes. I will tread lightly on the polygamy doctrine as I don’t quite get this one. I have just put in on a shelf for now hoping someday I will fully understand this practice. It is an odd practice to me, but I suppose it was practiced by Prophets both ancient and modern. I will say, however, the scripture in Jacob does provide some solace and some answers “when I the Lord command it’ It is very possible he can command it at one time and not another. If so, this would explain this practice being acceptable at one time and not acceptable now.

    As for Blacks and the priesthood, not only to I see this one clearly, it is a strong testimony as to the inspiration of those involved. I do realize they received the priesthood when the church was first organized, but this changed when Joseph received the revelation regarding Fort Sumpter. We, the Mormons, did not create the hostility between our black brothers and slave owners. As a church we did not condone or practice slavery. Along these lines, Joseph received the revelation this would lead to the Civil War. In fact, one of the things that created the tension in Missouri was our stance as a church against the practice. The hostility created by this evil practice was, and still is, real. There was a great deal of pride on one side and hostility (justifiable) on the other. It would not have been good to force this issue and create more tension. Sometimes, as in this issue, it is best to wait until tensions have eased then try and heal the wounds. It is much more likely to succeed. The alternative, which was practiced by many religions (who openly practiced slavery), was a separate but equal policy. The problem with this policy is you still have segregated churches. On the other hand, the church has integrated blacks and whites better than just about any organization. I believe this was due to the fact the priesthood was given to the blacks at the time it would best succeed.

    A final note; the church has issued a proclamation signed by both quorums that defines gender identity and the role of the family. The examples you site, along with BRM, are the opinion men. The PofF can be viewed as canonized scripture. It will not change.

  25. #28 Will: I think you miss the excellent point that Mike S brings up. When you look back at LDS history, it should be clear that LDS leaders have been wrong a number of times on a multitude of issues (racist policies towards blacks, interracial marriage, polygamy, the ERA, etc). Your attempt to somehow justify these ridiculous policies, or excuse them as “administrative”, misses the point. Our church leaders have taught us incorrectly in the past. If they are really guided by revelation when they issue church-wide policy or revelation, then they would not have misguided us back then. God doesn’t suddenly change his mind (ie. God is not racist one day, and then post-civil-rights movement the next). Men change their mind. Society changes it’s mind. Prophets appear to do the same thing. Hence, they appear no more “guided” than any other fellow traveler in life. And because they are products of their time, couldn’t they be leading us down an unenlightened path with regards to SSM right now? I would suggest they are. I think we’ll look back on this in the future, through clearer lenses than we look through now, and say “What were they thinking?”

  26. JP,

    I don’t think the Apostles and Prophets were racist up and including President Kimball, but if you choose to make that unrighteous judgment that is your decision. Of course they make mistakes. All of them have said and done things they regret: however, when they speak as a collective group and sign their name to a document in my judgment it represents the will of the Lord.

  27. JP,

    I think it is you who have missed the point. You continue to judge the actions of people 100 years ago with people today. And while you can call Church Leaders wrong, if you like, they were merely reflecting the current mores’ of the day. As you can judge from Polygamy when the Church went against societal norms, they were castigated for it. What do you think what have happened with inter-racial dating in an era when inter-societal (inter-class) dating, inter-religious dating were frowned upon?

    Continue to press your progressive views on the Saints and society of 100 years ago and you will be the one who is ridiculous.

  28. One thing that really saddens me is the fear of violence many gays and lesbians have.

    We’ve had a bunch of database errors, so I’m also sorry (though not any where near the same degree) to those whose posts have been lost or who have had problems with the site today.

    I know, one post, one topic, I shouldn’t try to merge two or three in the same post. My best wishes to all, but I’m afraid of the database crashing again (I’ve had ten crashes in the last ten minutes, so if I get a post through, I want it to cover everything).

  29. Heather #3,

    “and it’s leadership if they would just be straightforward with what they believe instead of back peddling and sugarcoating”

    I’m currently in a so called leadership role and have done just about all callings, so for what its worth: a disciplinary council must be held if a member holds a position of trust in the church and commits “adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities…..” etc. If the member doesn’t hold a position of trust then the disciplinary council ‘may’ be held depending on the members availability, activity and attitude in general (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1, Church Discipline section). Placing homosexual relations with adultery and fornication doesn’t leave much doubt as to what the church thinks. And a disciplinary council is to subject a member to church discipline to see if they actually have or haven’t committed the alleged -and usually confessed- sin.

    So to make this clear, whilst adultery and fornication are defined as sex outside of marriage, the term “homosexual relations” is all encompassing. Its clear that if someone has homosexual relations (which could also mean short of actual intercourse) then church discipline will normally occur.

    Having said that a new Handbook of Instructions is coming out this month, some apparently have it already, so we need to see what the language will be in this new edition but I can’t see it changing to “maybe its not a sin if gays are SSM” or something like that.

  30. Heather,

    You summary back in #20 is spot on: “Well, whether or not people are born gay is open for debate. Science seems to be telling us that it is an inborn trait. But until recently our church leadership has disagreed. Now they say they don’t know. But that is beside the point. The LDS church believes it is sinful to engage in homosexual activity. They believe…………”

    is exactly what every church leader I’ve met and herd talk about this would say. If anything is unfortunate its that some few members apparently never heard this being said. My only disagreement would be in the ‘they say they don’t know’. Most leaders I know would say that yes, maybe you have these inclinations from an early age ie puberty not birth, but it could and should be something to overcome.

  31. Mike S #17 #28

    “a black woman and a white man were banned from being sealed in the temple. This obviously had nothing to do with a “priesthood ban”, as women can’t hold the priesthood anyway. It was merely based on race.”

    I don’t think this is technically correct because the basis of that ban rested on the fact that an ‘endowment’ meant making priesthood covenants and people are ordained to priesthood offices (ordained to become priest/priestesses, kings/queens etc) in the yet to arrive celestial kingdom and one needs that endowment to then marry for eternity. Also it can be argued that a sealing is a priesthood office, the highest in fact since the couple is ordained for Godhood status. Since a black woman couldn’t be endowed she then couldn’t marry after that. So I don’t think what you said is the entire story.

    Many church leaders in the past did say that blacks wouldn’t receive the priesthood until the millennium and some claimed until the end of it however where they erred in was in the time frame not in the fact that blacks would eventually be granted the priesthood. This is not the case with homosexuality. There isn’t a suggestion that one day gays will be allowed to marry in SSM for all eternity for example since homosexual relations are classified as sin. Very different scenarios. And yes, BYoung would be classified a racists today and politically incorrect but he was a product of his time and his racists comments aren’t today nor never have been included in the scriptures. Also we don’t really know how or what exactly was the context of that ‘death on the spot’ comment or even if he actually said those word. History can be subjective at times; we don’t unfortunately have a video of him saying this.

  32. Heather “Doing the best they can” would be to say something like: “Well, whether or not people are born gay is open for debate. Science seems to be telling us that if we do twin studies the results are not in accord with either camp and the issues seem complex which looks to some like wishy washiness.

    Everyone’s best looks either like being hard headed or being soft on taking positions to someone else ….

    carlos — many of Brigham Young’s statements are not actual statements (i.e. they are someone’s paraphrase) or taken out of context. Though I personally think the proper context for Brigham Young is his complaint about the rhetorical styles of the day and the saint’s preference for hyperbole when he spoke to them, his effectiveness with the style and his dislike for it as well.

  33. Sex, shmex. All this about what? I am too old to care about who does what to whom.

    The high-light of my day now is just a good bowl movement.

    Why can’t we be just like Popeye — “I yam what I yam.” and focus on remedying the real problems of this world like starvation, lack of adequate health care and education, crime, war, etc.

  34. “And while you can call Church Leaders wrong, if you like, they were merely reflecting the current mores’ of the day. As you can judge from Polygamy when the Church went against societal norms, they were castigated for it. What do you think what have happened with inter-racial dating in an era when inter-societal (inter-class) dating, inter-religious dating were frowned upon?”

    Jeff:

    Enoch wouldn’t recognize your God.

  35. “Also it can be argued that a sealing is a priesthood office, the highest in fact since the couple is ordained for Godhood status. Since a black woman couldn’t be endowed she then couldn’t marry after that. So I don’t think what you said is the entire story. ”

    Carlos:

    How exactly does this clarification improve the picture?

  36. Steve B;

    “heterosexist”.

    Interesting term. LDS are the only modern Western religion I can think of offhand that builds its eternal metaphysics and cosmology (let alone its missionary effort) so closely around gender identity.

  37. @Carlos: I’m a life-long member of the church. I understand how the discipline process works. 🙂

    Also, in reference to what the church says about the “origins” of homosexuality, I would have to do some more “research” in order to find for myself what church recent general authorities have said. But since I’m not inclined to to that, I’ll respond to what you said taking it on face value. Though, to be honest, I’m skeptical of what you’ve said. Which church leaders have said this? Where? Links? Anyway…. on to responding to your comment at face value: church leaders saying that people have “inclinations” towards it when they are young is misleading. They’re pretending to cede the point when they actually aren’t — because what they really mean is, “sure, they may want to commit that sin when they are young — just like others want to steal or smoke when they are young.” They don’t mean the same thing scientists mean. They might as well say, “We pray the gay away.”

    @Stephen Marsh: I wonder what explanations will be given in the future for why church members should regard what our current church leaders preach.

  38. In several posts, I am asked why I bring up things from “100 years ago” (or perhaps only back to 1978). It is in direct response to another comment: “Those are administrative decisions, not moral decisions. The moral code of our Father will never change.”

    People continually bring up how the Church’s stance on this or that will NEVER change because it is an eternal principle or a moral code or whatever you want to call it. The examples I gave are directly related to that, and show that our Church changes FUNDAMENTAL policies and practices and has throughout it’s history. I would call eternal marriage a fundamental policy and not just an administrative decision. I would call banning someone from having the priesthood based on something like race, along with all of the associated issues such as being able to go to the temple, as a fundamental doctrine and not just an administrative decision.

    To me, it doesn’t really matter whether you say previous prophets were wrong because they were mortal men or whether they were a product of their times or whether our changing doctrine is a good example of “continuing revelation”. The end result is the same – our doctrine changed. Things we were taught as eternal principles changed. These aren’t simply administrative decisions such as whether we should combine into a 3-hour block. They are fundamental issues. And when societal pressures got enough, they changed.

    I see accepting a civil SSM the same way. To be honest, I don’t think that we will ever see two people of the same sex sealed together in the temple (but who knows what the future holds). But I DO think that at some point the Church will give in to societal pressures and at least accept a civil SSM and stop spending millions of its members dollars fighting it. I DO think that the Church will accept 2 people legally married and faithful to their spouses in a SSM as following the same law of chastity that they currently do in a heterosexual marriage.

    People may have a different opinion than me which I accept, as we are all entitled to our own opinion. The BASIS for my opinion is that the church has historically changed fundamental doctrines in response to societal pressures, and I would expect them to do the same thing again.

  39. #31 Will

    There is a HUGE difference between segregated churches and our policy. We had a segregated society in the US, and it seems natural that various churches would follow the same pattern. However, in my mind, there is a tremendous difference between that and an official, institutional practice of saying that a certain race was inferior and banned from reaching the highest level of the church. It is one thing if the Methodists have two churches in different parts of a town where whites might tend to go to one and blacks to another, vs the Methodists teaching, using their scriptures to back it up, that blacks were fence sitters and banned from certain things THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD. Big difference. So saying that the priesthood ban was similar to the segregated situation that existed in the US is wrong.

    And your example of the LDS Church being “integrated” is also misleading. Most churches allow their members to choose where they want to go. Again, following natural societal trends, some churches will naturally be more black or more white or more Asian or whatever. In our church, you are assigned a ward/branch based purely on geographical location. It is fairly strictly enforced where you will go to church. You choice, therefore, is whether you are going to attend your assigned ward or not, NOT which ward you might attend. So “integration” is perhaps a bit of a misnomer because of how congregations develop in the various denominations.

  40. Cowboy #45 “How exactly does this clarification improve the picture?”

    He was saying that it was only racists and not a ‘priesthood only’ type of ban of women, since women can’t hold the priesthood anyway. However receiving an endowment and sealing is currently the one place where women do take part in a priesthood ordination and that’s why a black female couldn’t [back then] go through the Temple, because the Temple is a ‘priesthood thing’ for lack of a better term and Africans where banned back then etc. But its a minor issue today, except for the bad publicity off course.

    #49 Heather, yeah, well I thought that clarifying what is in the handbook would clarify what the church says and thinks about homosexuality. It isn’t something that the church is ambivalent about.

    ““sure, they may want to commit that sin when they are young — just like others want to steal or smoke when they are young.””

    No, actually I meant that it starts with puberty and grows from there, so a person may want to commit that sin during their entire life due to having that inclination. We don’t think that someone is born with it necessarily. But the standard ‘public’ statements will be ‘we don’t know’ etc but when talking in presidency meeting and/or training session for stake presidencies, one doesn’t hear that ‘we don’t know’ but rather a ‘its starts young and if you get them young they may avoid becoming full blown homosexuals’ etc. But no, you wont find that on lds.org! 🙂

  41. Re #49: They’re pretending to cede the point when they actually aren’t.

    I think Heather’s point is apt: recent LDS discourse (over the pulpit and in places like mormon.org) leans superficially toward reconciliation with the current societal view of homosexuality without really giving an inch. In a lot of ways, it’s like current LDS discourse about patriarchy: the sexes are “equal,” but the core patriarchal institutions remain, such as male-only church administration, doctrinal support for polygamy in the hereafter and a requirement for women to “hearken” while men “preside.” With homosexuality, the Church has made a huge concession in admitting that sexual orientation defines a legitimate class of people whose civil rights should be ensured for purposes of housing and employment and whose relationships should even be given limited partnership protections such as hospital visitation. Yet, the Church acts as if it views homosexuality as a sinful choice, excommunicating monogamous, legally married couples on grounds of fornication, tacitly encouraging young gay people to marry persons of the opposite sex (with disastrous consequences), sponsoring scientifically disreputable gay-to-straight conversion therapy, etc., etc.

    I think the issue here is that societal views about homosexuality are changing rapidly. Just look at the tremendous support for same-sex marriage among young adults, including LDS young adults. On this issue, the Church’s usual half-century turnaround time for social issues looks like it won’t be fast enough.

  42. @ carlos, 54: I’m new to posting here so I don’t have a “history” with you to help me understand where you are coming from. I’ve gotta know, do you believe the stuff you just posted? (Maybe you’ve already stated your point and I should quit being lazy and go read all of your comments — but I can’t rally the energy. haha.) Anyway, do you believe that same sex attraction starts at puberty and that if we get to them young that they won’t become “full blown homosexuals”? I gotta tell ya, I really chaffed at what you just wrote. Though, I believe it’s the most honest portrayal of the church’s stance on homosexuality that I’ve seen so far. I respect your right to believe what you believe. I just have an increasingly difficult time understanding how people could still buy into certain beliefs about homosexuality.

    In the spirit of full disclosure — I believe homosexuality is an inborn trait, I’m ardently pro gay marriage, I have pretty severe issues with the church (specifically the rewriting of church history and polygamy), and I wouldn’t call myself a “good” or “devout” member of the church, though I remain somewhat active and try my best to be supportive / defend the church when it’s wrongfully slandered.

  43. Will:

    The church has always “always” believed things it clearly hadn’t. (See http://lrwhitney.wordpress.com/ “What Christians have Always Believed” for a detailed example on a topic with less emotion in it that homosexuality.(

    Our theory of how prophets work really needs to adjust so that prophets BUILD on the insights of previous prophets “line upon line”. I’d really be in a mess as a physicist if I was stuck trying to show how Einstein didn’t REALLY change something important about Newtonian physics. He did.

    MoHo:

    Actually, polygamy was something the LDS eventually got right, but you got there awkwardly. One spouse on earth, but polygamous marriages in the afterlife are probably unavoidable. There are lots of copies of LDS, it seems, wandering around other worlds in spacetime that never met copies of their spouses here. They’re getting sealed in their temples, too. 😀

  44. Jeff:

    37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were aoffended because of him.
    38 And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the atent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a bwild man hath come among us.
    39 And it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for afear came on all them that heard him; for he bwalked with God.
    40 And there came a man unto him, whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him: Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest?
    41 And he said unto them: I came out from the land of aCainan, the land of my fathers, a land of brighteousness unto this day. And my father ctaught me in all the ways of God.
    42 And it came to pass, as I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment; wherefore, for this cause, to keep the commandment, I speak forth these words.

    When Enoch went out and preached “the word of God”, all nations feared him, and many were offended. He did not restructure his message to suit their sensibilities. He asked that God spare the earth, but not that he loosen up on his doctrines or message. The division of the people was so great that God supposedly removed enoch and his people (and according to some, the very ground their city rested on) from the earth. Yet they were protected of God and didn’t have to ease up on their positions to avoid social consequences. This is not at all consistent with your argument that God set a practice to assuage societal apetites. Secondly, it would be very shortsighted of God do create such a proscription for temporary benefit, when Marriage is supposed to have Eternal consequences.

  45. Mike S.

    “People continually bring up how the Church’s stance on this or that will NEVER change because it is an eternal principle or a moral code or whatever you want to call it.”

    some things are eternal principles and some, dare I say most are not.

    I do not believe there is scriptural evidence that inter-racial dating and marriage is forbidden, but there is plenty of scriptural evidence that inter-tribal marriage and inter-religious marriage was highly frowned upon.

    And, what is an eternal principle to us, may not be the same to the Lord. When the time came to change the Priesthood to all worthy males, it was changed.

    As I’ve stated before what happens in the secular world should be of less consequence to Church as we should pay more attention to our own house and getting it and keeping it in order. The Lord would bless us for that, more than being against a civil act in the secular world.

  46. Carlos:

    You are apparently operating from the position that the Priesthood ban wasn’t racist, in and of itself. That’s the only way I can make your logic work. Perhaps it is semantics, but the ban was strictly based on naive understanding of race, ie skin color. It was doctrinally defended by comments that are unarguably racist – even modern Church leaders will admit that, more or less. So I really don’t get your argument.

  47. “some things are eternal principles and some, dare I say most are not.”

    This raises a few questions. First, what exactly does this even mean. As a matter of policy, do non-eternal principles hold the potential for Eternal consequences. For example, if President Hinckley requests that Church members (females) only wear a “modest” pair of earings, what of those who ignore and reject his counsel? Are they justified, or does God expect temporary obedience? If so, then again, what about the principle is non-eternal. While earings for example may be arguablly temporary and cultural, there is a wealth Church teaching which suggests that obedience to “Gods Prophet” is and Eternal principle.

    Next, which principles exactly are Eternal, and where does one get an official enumeration(not just Jeff’s opinion of what is binding in Mormonism) of those things? Is it therefore the Church position that only these things have lasting spiritual relevance? If so, why all of the unofficial pontification?

    Lastly, what about those things that are neither Eternal or temporary, but instead just prophetic b_llshit? For example, former prophetic folklore in justification for the ban? How do these things fit into Gods plan to provide a Prophet who “knows the way”, and why can’t these guys figure it out when you apparently have?

  48. Cowboy,

    What I think are eternal principles apply to me and me alone. you are free to pick ad choose your own including if you want to accept Blood Letting as a viable medical treatment. that is entirely up to you. that is what we are here to figure out and “work out our own salvation.”

    As for two earings, it doesn’t apply to me, so I’ve not really thought about it. It is counsel from the Prophet, but last I checked, it isn’t part of the Temple questions and doesn’t keep any woman from serving in the church or partaking of the sacrament. At least from what I have seen. So, is it an eternal principle or doctrine of the Church? IMO, no. It might be wise counsel that should be considered, but women are free to choose for themselves. It really speaks to modesty and conservative dress. That’s all.

    I’ll not cover the same tired ground about the priesthood limitation again.

  49. Someone asked for links.

    Prominent LDS leaders and General Authorities have been tellingly inconsistent in their pronouncements regarding same-sex orientation, as historian and Gay activist Connell O’Donovan outlines here: http://connellodonovan.com/etiology.htm

    For a good analysis of the current official position of church leaders (as of 2007), see Ron Schow’s excellent article here: http://ldsresourcesinfo.blogspot.com/2007/10/what-follows-is-summary-of-some-remarks.html

  50. Found a great youtube with Bednar discussing this.

    Not sure it will help most. It’s clear the Church really believes that gay marriage will cause a ripple effect that will harm religious freedom. This seems strange to most. I think there has a Benson-esque understanding here, that there are nefarious secret combinations that are using this issue to attack religious freedom. I’m not sure that cuts the mustard with most–I guess time will tell.

  51. Heather #54,

    “do you believe the stuff you just posted? ”

    Yes! to clarify, I don’t think its right to say that a child is born gay nor has any notion of sexuality until they start to reach puberty, that long process when hormones start to kick in etc although we know there are two different sexes from earlier on but attraction and sexuality is different and I think it happens with puberty. For me, somehow a few of us, probably due to environment, start to look at the same sex as attractive. Not surprising this since it happens all the time in any max-security prison where men start looking around for the most attractive ‘male’ to rape although outside they are very anti-gay. I know today’s science disagrees with me however, although I wont go argue with them cause I’m no scientist nor very smart unfortunately 🙂 but still I wont trust that their views will always stay the same.

    I also respect your right to think or say you are pro-gay marriage and so on, we all have our own view points and the differences between them makes us a richer people I’d say. I just hope that neither you, nor bloggers and commentators here on MM, nor me are censored by the church into a passive silence. That wouldn’t help anyone imho.

  52. Cowboy #64, “You are apparently operating from the position that the Priesthood ban wasn’t racist, in and of itself”

    Hmmm… maybe my english is f…k…d!!!! 🙂

    Off course it was racists ban of the Priesthood and ban of the Priesthood only. Point was that a white man couldn’t be sealed to a black women because of the ‘Priesthood racists ban’ not just because the woman was black. Slight difference. And she was banned because ‘priesthood things’ happen in the Temple…………ah., no, my English if just f…k…d!!!!

  53. Will 65 & Mike S 66: That’s probably an interesting idea for another post, and it’s a question worth exploring. Skeptics would say that the church’s policies are shaped by society & gerontocracy and only revised when no longer tenable. Stalwarts would say that God allows society to catch up, meeting them where they are. Skeptics retort God shouldn’t be swayed by public opinion. Stalwarts sigh and say the public can only bear so much change. It’s the age old argument.

  54. “we all have our own view points and the differences between them makes us a richer people I’d say.”

    I see it more as a system of debits and credits.

  55. It’s just admitted narcissism. I respect everyones right to an opinion, but frankly some viewpoints push us forward and some push us (society) backwards. I think in many cases most of us would agree on that, we just wouldn’t agree on which viewpoints are debits and which are credits.

  56. Ah — I thought you saw them as debits and credits on your heavenly account. So that if you had enough good thoughts / beliefs about the church, then you’re in the black and it doesn’t matter if you have a few bad thoughts about the church. But if you had too many debits that you’d be threatening your salvation. haha.

    Thanks for the clarification. 🙂

  57. Hi Heather:

    It’s a pleasure to meet you, my name is Cowboy. I don’t believe in the Mormon Church, ie, that it is “true” as Mormons would say. I would say, it is not true. Because of this I’ve decided to keep my account with Old Navy instead. My thoughts are, if I look fun and popular in snazzy clothes, Peter will let me through gates regardless of how I voted in Mortality. If the admission process is anything like a night club, this will be a pretty good plan…unless that means I only get through if I bring women, in which case Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had it right all along.

  58. Cowboy’s comment certainly had a snarky tone, but it cuts to the essence of the issue. Are we saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, or is heterosexual marriage (and procreation) also required?

    (And if a wife is required for a man, is the logical conclusion true that multiple wives are even better?)

  59. “(And if a wife is required for a man, is the logical conclusion true that multiple wives are even better?)”

    Yes, certainly true.

  60. You are saved for what you do and what is on your heart. We all go through trials in life. Having homosexual tendencies could be a trial one might have to face. Only the Lord knows and can judge. Obey the commandments and try your best!!!

  61. Obviously, I rejected Mormonism (long before Prop 8) as hateful, bigoted nonsense which has nothing to do with anything Jesus actually taught. That was my conclusion and my choice to leave, and I could not possibly care less if others believe differently–in fact I am happy that the Constitution guarantees your right to believe and to practice as you choose. My beef with the Mormon Church (and I do not use the term COJCOFLDS because I don’t believe Mormonism has anything to do with Christ) is their determination to destroy my equal protection under the law, and using provable lies and fear mongering (and loads of money) to accomplish it. Once homosexuals have achieved civil equality, Mormons will be free to continue to hate whomever they choose, and to exclude from their society and practice whom they will, and I will not care. In the meantime, most homosexuals are not confused by the hatred and ill will held by most Mormons against us–we are not fooled by the smug self righteous condescension you tell us is ‘love’.

  62. ExMoHoMoDon, I was going to try to reason with you… to attempt to explain how it is possible for people to disagree on this issue and still actually love. Homosexuality is not a clear cut issue. Mormons are not some hold out hate group while the rest of the world sings your praises. Strife over the theological implications of homosexuality does NOT = hate. And you know that. I think it’s clear by the tone of hostility in all of your posts that you are too blinded by anger to be reasonable about this issue.

    I hope you will eventually come to some sort of peace about the whole thing because your level of anger must be exhausting… and it’s taking up valuable space in your life that could be filled with something else.

  63. Actually Heather, you couldn’t be more wrong. Anger is sometimes justifiable, and mine is not ‘taking up valuable space’ in my life, but is what motivates me to fight for equal protection for me and mine. People in or out of religious groups may certainly disagree about the ‘implications of homosexuality’–whatever that means, but Prop 8 was specifically designed to strip homosexual Americans of equal protection under the law and my anger is targeted towards that action and the fearmongering and lies that were used to sell it. Those who sold Prop 8 were unable and unwilling to trot out the fearmongering rubbish they used to frighten people over Prop 8 in open court because they knew their arguments were bogus and were understandably embarrassed to testify under oath about what they did. Where were Elder Bednar and Elder Oaks during the Prop 8 trial? My life is full with 3 kids, a busy career and ballet school. As far as peace is concerned, I will be very much at peace when I win my equal protection in spite of the Mormon Church–after that you won’t hear from me again. If you want to reason with me, by all means do so–tell me why homosexual Americans should accept a second class status–and by all means tell me how all of the crap the Mormon Church has dealt out to homosexuals is ‘love’….I would especially appreciate an explanation of electro shock aversion therapy at BYU. This should be good.

  64. “I would especially appreciate an explanation of electro shock aversion therapy at BYU. This should be good.”

    This would be the strongest point of “8 The Moromon Proposition” if there was any support for it beyond documented hearsay from one individual. After I saw the film I scoured the internet for information on this, but found zilch. Do you have evidence for this beyond the isolated allegation in Cowan’s film? If so, you ought to get it out there. If not, you might want to revise your argument.

  65. Sorry for the follow:

    Consequently, the fact that there is no tangible support for this claim is what throws the entire productions position into question. As someone who is supposed to have a background in journalism, that is some sloppy reporting. No efforts are made in the film to determine credibility of these allegations, instead they are just taken at face value to try and give oomph to the social objection to the Church’s involvement in prop 8. Forget Prop 8, if you have evidence that BYU was forcing electro shock therapy on suspected gay students, THAT’S THE STORY! Besides, the claim and presentation on the film bore an eerie similarity to the way “The Others” treated non-conformists on LOST. That was (still is) a popular program during the production of Cowans alleged documentary.

  66. Lie #1: If you respond to homosexual stimulation, you are gay.
    Humans have a wonderful capacity for sexual pleasure. Our bodies are designed to respond to stimulation. People who have been aroused by gay encounters or gay porn may be tempted to erroneously conclude that they are gay, when in fact their bodies are simply responding as they were designed to do.

    Lie #2: Homosexuality is an inherited orientation / “I was born gay”
    Homosexual desires are examples of the sin nature that all people are born with (Romans 3:23). While gay temptations may be very strong, they are not exempt from God’s law. God gives us the responsibility to resist our sinful desires, and not allow them to rule over us (Genesis 4:6-7, Romans 6:11-14). He gives us power and healing through the Holy Spirit so we can live as truly changed people, and not just pretend to be so (Romans 8:11-13, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Claiming people are born gay is attempting to justify sin. Using that rationale, people such as liars, hypocrites, thieves, child molesters and cannibals could also claim they “were born that way.” For further information on the born gay debate, visit NARTH on the web or Dr. David Foster’s article.

    Lie #3: God hates homosexuals
    God loves every person (John 3:16). He has made them in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). What God hates is the sin that corrupts people’s hearts, enticing them to rebel against God. Because God loves us so much, he has placed many sobering warnings about homosexuality in the scriptures. To those who will turn away from their sin practice, God offers mercy, forgiveness and healing through Jesus Christ (2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 Peter 2:24).

    Lie #4: Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality, so it proves that its ok
    Jesus upheld God’s original plan for human sexuality (i.e. sex in heterosexual marriage only), as stated in Genesis 2:20-24. Jesus said, 6″But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Mark 10:6-9 NIV). Common sense would suggest that had Jesus regarded homosexual activity as acceptable, he would have mentioned it at that point, since it would have been a radical departure from the traditional teaching.

    From a legal perspective, Jesus addressed two important sections of God’s laws from the Old Testament: the ceremonial laws and the moral laws. Jesus satisfied the requirements of the ceremonial laws (the tabernacle system) through his death (Hebrews 9:8-14). The moral laws, however, remained in effect. Examples of the moral laws include the Ten Commandments and the sexual conduct laws. In the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus taught extensively on our need to adhere to God’s moral laws in thought, word and deed.

    Jesus taught that love for God is shown by keeping his commandments (John 14:21,23). This included keeping the standards of sexual purity established in the Old Testament. Since Jesus came to fulfill God’s law and not destroy it (Matthew 5:17-18), he could not have condoned homosexual acts that were specifically prohibited in the law. The New Testament authors confirmed that homosexuality continued to be sin in several scriptures (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:24-28, 1 Timothy 1:8-11).

    Lie #5: Homosexuality is ok as long as the two partners are faithful in a monogamous relationship

    This notion is often used to justify other forms of fornication (i.e. sex before marriage) as well. It is a perversion of heterosexual marriage, which is God’s best (and only) plan for human sexual relationships. Sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage, regardless of commitment, is always sin. (see sex page for more info)
    Lie #6: God doesn’t care what I do with my body

    God cares very much about what we do with our bodies. Through our faith in Christ, we have transferred “ownership” of our bodies to God. Our bodies literally become temples for the Holy Spirit, and instruments for God’s purposes. The Christian is called to resist sin’s impulses and dedicate his or her body to righteous uses. Sexual sin is a way of desecrating the holy function of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
    Lie #7: If you’re gay, there’s no way to truly be changed to a heterosexual

    God has the power to change and heal even the deepest parts of our sexuality. Total healing and recovery of healthy sexuality IS possible with God’s help. Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 NIV).
    There are several scriptures confirming that God’s power is able to change people into “new persons.” Examples include Romans 8:11-13, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 4:22-24. Additionally, Paul mentioned people who were healed of homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

    Lie #8: I can live out my gay fantasies on earth and God will forgive me when I get to heaven.

    This lie capitalizes on the idea that a person can use the blood of Jesus as a blank check to sin. Paul wrote that we can not use God’s grace to justify practicing sin (Romans 6:14-18). Hebrews 10:26-31 and Hebrews 6:4-8 warn that treating Christ’s blood as a vehicle for sin can void God’s forgiveness. Please note that there is an important difference between falling in sin while honestly trying to live righteously and indulging in sin because one thinks he can get away with it.

    God expects us to resist sin’s temptations (Genesis 4:6) and pursue righteousness in everything we do (1 Peter 2:24). He instructs us to restrain our imaginations from entertaining or acting out sinful thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5). Though we may not achieve perfection, our love for God will be reflected in our sincere desire and efforts to live by his commands.

    The devil often uses Hebrews 10:26-31 and Hebrews 6:4-8 to heap condemnation on people who are locked in sexual addiction and are repeatedly falling. He tries to convince them that they have sinned beyond God’s forgiveness. People in such situations should know that God loves them and will forgive them if they will turn from their evil ways. He also is ready to help them receive healing in the root areas behind their habitual sin.

    Lie #9: Homosexuality was rare in Bible times and the Bible’s authors didn’t understand it

    Homosexuality was practiced throughout Bible history. God clearly warned the Israelites against the homosexual activities characteristic of the people living in Canaan (Leviticus 18:3,22- 30, Leviticus 20:13,23-24 ). Pagan religious practices often included homosexual prostitution (Deuteronomy 23:17-18, 1 Kings 14:24). Groups of homosexuals roamed the streets of cities of Sodom (Genesis 19:4-13) and Gibeah (Judges 19-20), looking for men to rape. The Apostle Paul mentioned homosexuality in his letter to the Romans, and shared tremendous insight concerning the spiritual roots involved with homosexual behavior (Romans 1:18-32). Paul also mentioned homosexuals in his letters in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
    Lie #10: Homosexuality is not a sin, but rather a gift and blessing from God

    This lie is a complete reversal of what the scriptures teach about homosexuality. Bible references defining homosexual acts as sin include 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:24-28, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Leviticus 20:13 and Leviticus 18:22. The truth is that pursuing homosexual impulses yields consequences that resemble the effects of a curse, not a blessing (see Romans 1:21-32 for examples). These curse-like effects are things that people bring on themselves by their own wrong choices, not because God is trying to punish them.
    Lie #11: Gay marriage will help gay couples finally gain the peace they’ve been searching for.

    The Bible never describes marriage as a union of same-sex partners. It consistently describes marriage as a heterosexual union and provides all marriage and divorce instructions in heterosexual context (Leviticus 21:7,14, Ephesians 5:22-33, Proverbs 5:15-20, 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Corinthians 7:1-13, Titus 2:4-5, Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:2-11, 1 Timothy 2:3,12). It seems reasonable to expect that if God had intended same-sex marriages to exist, he would have provided instructions concerning it.
    Since we see homosexual acts consistently described as sin in the scriptures, we can be certain that pursuing gay marriage will place a person at odds against God. He or she will never find the peace that they are yearning for because they have embraced a carnal, sinful mindset (Romans 8:5-9). Instead of having peace, they will find themselves always searching for fulfillment and affirmation. The scriptures confirm this, as Isaiah wrote: But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 57:20-21 NIV They will constantly try to convince themselves and others that their unnatural relationship (homosexual) is natural.

    Lie #12: Gay sexual acts are just as healthy as heterosexual acts.

    There are a number of health risks associated with gay sex acts that increase a person’s risks of contracting AIDS, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and other illnesses. (see Gay Sex Health Risks (PDF file)).
    Additionally, studies suggest that homosexual activity decreases a person’s average life expectancy, even if the person does not contract AIDS. For example, in a Canadian study published in Oxford University’s International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that, at age 20, the life expectancy of homosexual and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.

    Lie #13: The Bible has no examples of people who were healed of homosexuality.

    In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul mentioned that the Corinthian church had people who were formerly homosexuals. Paul wrote that they were washed, sanctified, and justified by God.
    Lie #14: Gay sex is better than heterosexual sex

    This is like the lie that Satan used on Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). He basically told her that God was holding out on her and that she would become like God if she ate the forbidden fruit. Believing that the taboo would be better than the permissible, Eve sinned by eating the fruit. Likewise, Satan loves to tempt people to believe that homosexual acts are going to fulfill their desires. While they may bring temporary pleasure, they come with a high price of consequences (emotional, physical & spiritual). One that is virtually guaranteed is that the person will become enslaved to lust just like the people in Romans 1:24-32.

    Heterosexual sex within a marriage relationship has the highest potential for sexual fulfillment of any sexual act. God designed our bodies to unite in this way physically, emotionally and spiritually (Genesis 2:21-24). When we’re in harmony with the Creator’s design in a loving relationship with our spouse, we’re aligned to experience the best sex!

    Lie #15: I can have peace with God without giving up gay sex acts.

    When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are forgiven of our sins. At that point, God calls us to change our lifestyles to follow Him the best we can. He doesn’t leave us to do this tough task on our own, though. He gives us His Holy Spirit to empower us to make the changes (Romans 8:11,13). The Bible provides the scriptures that show us the new lifestyle we are to follow. Every lifestyle that embraces sin must be surrendered to God, and this includes homosexuality.
    If we continue to live in sin and “practice” it after receiving Jesus, we are rejecting the sacrifice he made for us on the cross. When we reject Christ’s sacrifice, there is no other sacrifice available to cover our sin, and we are in danger of eternal destruction (Hebrews 10:26-29). I’m sharing this not to scare or condemn, but to plead with people to abandon sin and follow God. Some people may feel that if they give up homosexuality they will die. Quite the opposite is true, because when we give something up for God, we clear the pathway for His love and life to flood our souls.

    Lie #16: Sexuality is a curse.

    If we’ve been enslaved to sexual desires that we know are wrong, it can be tempting to think of our sexuality as a curse. We must remember that the curse that is affecting us comes from the sin nature we inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12). Our hearts have all sorts of evil desires that may try to corrupt our thoughts and lead us into acting on sinful impulses. Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20These are the things which defile a man…” (Matthew 15:19-20 NKJV). God gave us sexuality as a blessing (Genesis 1:27-28), but sin (our own and/or that of others) has corrupted it. God offers to help us discover healthy sexuality and enjoy its blessings. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we can retrieve our God-designed sexuality and jettison the corruption of sin (Ephesians 4:22-24).
    Lie #17: Gay acts are permissible when they are done within a loving relationship.

    The Bible identifies what sex acts are considered sin, regardless of the type of relationship (i.e. loving, lustful, etc.). Basically, any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is considered sin (see http://www.porn-free.org/sex.htm for refs). So that there wouldn’t be any doubt, the Bible specifies homosexual acts as sin in several places (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:24-28, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22).

    The topic of love is an important one, although it does not change the laws regarding sexual activity. Sexual activity between two men (or two women) is sin regardless of whether they love each other, or just have an anonymous encounter.

    Let’s now consider God’s design for sexual love. Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden and God saw that Adam needed a companion and helper. God hand-crafted Eve and brought her to Adam. The scripture comments that this was the model for the rest of mankind: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 NASB). Notice that God did not make a man for Adam, but rather a woman. He also did not say that man was to be joined with another man to be one flesh. He blessed their heterosexual relationship and commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28 NASB). Had God made a man for Adam to have sexually, they would not have been able to fulfill God’s instructions for taking dominion of the earth.

    There is a place for same-sex relationships that are built on love, but this was not intended to be a sexual love. Rather, these were to be built on brotherly or sisterly love, which have nothing to do with sexual activity. Such relationships were modeled by David and Jonathan, Jonathan and his armor bearer, Jesus and his disciples and Paul and his co-laborers, among many others throughout the scriptures.

    We can also look at gay love from the perspective of Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. One of the qualities that Paul mentioned about love is that it always protects. Gay love fails this test because it pursues sexual activity that is harmful to his or her partner’s health (see Gay Sex Health Risks (PDF file) . At the very least, it increases the partner’s risk of contracting a sex-related illness.

    Another quality of love is that it “does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6 NIV). Gay love pursues sexual acts that God has deemed sinful, and therefore delights in evil and is opposed to the truth.

    A final thought on love is that since God is love (1 John 4:8), and anything that contradicts his commandments will be at best a corrupted form of love. Though a person might enjoy homosexual love, it does not change the fact that the relationship is in rebellion against God.

    Lie #18: Homosexuality was forbidden under Old Testament Law, just as was eating shellfish and pork. Since Jesus did away with the Law, homosexuality is now OK with God.

    There were three types of laws in the Mosaic system: ceremonial, civil and moral.
    The ceremonial laws established procedures for the tabernacle system such as cleansing of the body from physical and spiritual impurity. The requirements of these laws were fulfilled in the completed work of Jesus Christ, who provided the perfect sacrifice once for all time (Hebrews 9:8-14).

    The civil laws provided the standards for justice and governmental structure for the nation of Israel. These have been adapted to various cultures over time.

    The moral laws defined sin based on God’s character and truth. These laws are timeless and do not change (Matthew 5:18, 1 Peter 1:25, Isaiah 40:8).

    The laws concerning clean/unclean foods were ceremonial laws. Through his death on the cross, Jesus entered the perfect, heavenly tabernacle and satisfied the requirements of the Old Covenant’s ceremonial laws (Hebrews 9:8-14, Romans 8:3-4). Paul confirmed that the ceremonial laws concerning food were no longer in effect due to Christ’s finished work (Romans 14:14-17,20-21; Colossians 2:20-23; 1 Timothy 4:1-5).

    The sacrifice system under the Old Covenant merely cleansed the body from sin, but not the conscience (Hebrews 9:11-14). Jesus showed the need for the conscience to be cleansed when he explained that it wasn’t food that defiled a person, but rather, evil thoughts, words and actions (Matthew 15:19). These can all be linked to transgressing moral laws. Jesus gave several examples of such transgressions in his sermon on the mount in Matthew 5,6,7.

    Jesus established a new covenant that provided cleansing of the body and conscience from sin (Hebrews 9:8-14, Colossians 2:13-14). This was significant in view of the moral laws that continued to be in effect. Through faith in Christ, people are forgiven of their transgressions of the moral laws (i.e. sin) and also receive power through the Holy Spirit to abide by those laws (Romans 8:9-13). Note that God’s forgiveness does not remove our obligation to live by the moral laws. Jesus confirmed their continuing validity when he said:

    17″Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19 NIV

    Additionally he said: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21 NIV)

    The laws concerning homosexual activity (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13) are moral laws. Paul, who as a Pharisee was an expert in the law, confirmed that homosexual acts and thoughts continued to be sin under the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:24-28, 1 Timothy 1:8-11). In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul deliberately used the very words from Leviticus 18 (mishkav zakur in the Hebrew, translated as arsenokoitai in the Greek) when stating that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God. He could not have been more clear.

    Lie #19: The Ten Commandments don’t address homosexuality, so this proves that it is permissible.

    The Ten Commandments were intended as starting points for understanding God’s righteousness and his expectations for his people. The Ten Commandments give us principles we can apply to arguably any act or thought to determine if it is sin. For example, we can make these applications to homosexuality:

    Commandments 1 & 2: “You shall have no other gods before Me” and “You shall not worship them or serve them” (Exodus 20:3, 5): Homosexual activity often includes idolatry, where a person is idolizing sexual acts, pleasure or physical characteristics of his or her partner
    Commandment 7: “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14 NIV) Adultery is sexual activity (including gay sex) outside of heterosexual marriage by at least one of the spouses
    Commandment 10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant” (Exodus 20:17 NIV); homosexual relationships typically feature sexual lust, which is a form of coveting
    Additionally, God provided further and specific clarification in laws concerning homosexual acts and other sexual sin in Leviticus 18 & 20.

    Lie #20: David and Jonathan had a homosexual affair.

    David and Jonathan had a special relationship built on brotherly love that was not sexual in any way (2 Samuel 1:26). They were the best of friends, and shared a deep, noble love that is perhaps rarely experienced. They were “one in spirit” (1 Samuel 18:1-4 NIV), and this came from military comradery, a fondness in friendship and a mutual commitment to God. Those who have served on the battlefield together in wartime can likely best identify with this kind of relationship. To suggest that David and Jonathan had sexual relations is unscriptural, and disparages the character of their friendship.
    Lie #21: Love did away with the laws of Moses. As long as I’m living and acting in love (i.e. gay love), I’m going to heaven.

    Here are the lies in this statement:

    Gay love is the same love as the love God commands us to have
    Love nullified the Law of Moses
    I don’t have to obey God’s laws in order to go to heaven
    First, we need to see that this question assumes that “gay love” is the same as the love that God commands us to have for each other. God created us in his likeness, having the capacity to show love. He also gave us a free will to choose between good and evil. Jesus pointed out that people may choose to love evil instead of good: “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18 NIV). To love evil is to love doing the things that God has defined as wrong in the scriptures (i.e. sin). Since homosexual acts are forbidden in the scripture, we can confidently conclude that “gay love” is synonymous with loving evil. As followers of Jesus, we are commanded, “abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9 NKJV).

    The kind of love God commands us to emulate is the love that Jesus showed by laying down his life for us. This was not sexual love, but rather it was Agape love (Strong’s #26), which means “brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence” (The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon). We show this love by obeying God’s commandments (John 14:10,23-24, 1 John 5:3), and this obedience will prove that our faith in God is genuine (James 2:14-26).

    Agape love does not nullify the Law of Moses, but rather it fulfills it. Consider what Paul wrote: “9The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10 NIV). Jesus was the ultimate embodiment of perfect love. He surrendered his life in order to satisfy the righteous requirements of the Law so that those who placed faith in him could have peace with God (Romans 5:1, Hebrews 9:11-28). Our faith does not give us a blank check to sin, but rather it obligates us through love for God to keep his commands (Romans 6:1-2). (more about gay love)

    Lie #22: Anti-Gay theology is based on hate and conflicts with God’s command for Christians to love each other.

    Anti-Gay theology is simply a re-labeling of the traditional interpretation of the scriptures which prohibit homosexual acts. Proponents of “Pro-Gay” theology have aimed to discredit traditional interpretations of scripture and characterize homosexuals as victims of hate. The hate has allegedly been perpetrated by a conspiracy of narrow-minded, conservative theologians and anti-gay Christians whose sole purpose is to vilify gays and deny them their due rights as human beings.

    Contrary to what the conspiracy theory suggests, Bible translators over the centuries were focused primarily on accurately translating the scriptures, not in singling out one group of people to vilify. Prohibitions against homosexuality are typically mentioned in context with many other forms of sin, including adultery, fornication and incest. If we were to say that the gays were being singled out, then other people who sin could also claim victim status (all of us!).

    Granted, there are some people who truly hate homosexuals, and may have tried to justify such hate via the scriptures against it. Even so, I don’t think this is where the majority of Christians who believe homosexual acts are sinful are coming from. Their belief that homosexuality is sinful is derived from the scriptures that state it and from the conviction of their own consciences (John 16:7-11).

    It is a mistake to equate believing in a standard with hating a person. It’s important to emphasize that the issue at hand is sinful behavior, not the person behind it. Christians are called to hate the evil that people do, but love people:

    9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10 NIV

    Christians’ love for one another is brotherly love, not sexual love. This concept of brotherly love carries with it the responsibility of confronting a brother when he has drifted into sinful activity. Consider this verse:

    Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1 NIV

    And so, if a person believes the scriptures that clearly identify homosexual acts as sin, his responsibility in love is to go to his homosexual brother and confront him. Such confrontation can include:

    Telling the person of his fault privately; then in the presence of witnesses, and ultimately before the church if he won’t listen (Matthew 18:15-17)
    Admonishing the person (2 Thessalonians14-15)
    Not speaking evil about the person (James 4:11)
    Turning the person from the error of his way (James 5:19-20)
    Not keeping company with the person if they will not turn from their sin (2 Thessalonians 2:14, Matthew 18:17, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
    Taken out of context, some of these actions might seem hateful, except when we consider that the ultimate hope is that the person will come to their senses and repent from his sin. This is what happened to the sexual sinner in 1 Corinthians 5, who ultimately repented and returned to fellowship with the Church (2 Corinthians 2:3-11). Keep in mind that duty of confronting a Christian brother or sister in their sin is not depending on the type of sin they are committing – it applies for any type of sin, not just homosexual acts.

    It is not hate to adhere to a set of standards (and consequences for not following them) that one believes God established. If God is Sovereign, then he has the right to define what is right and wrong, what is sinful behavior and what is righteous. This may seem hateful and unfair towards people who disagree, but the Creator has the final word over the created! People have the freedom to believe it or reject it, but either way, they will live with the consequences of their decisions.

  67. Voters have every right to decide on the re-definition of marriage. You change the definition for one group, you change it for everybody.

  68. While we’re at it, let’s take a vote on how we plan to treat transgendered and intersexed people in society. Who do they get to marry? Should we vote on which bathrooms they are allowed to use?

  69. OK, I should have used “whom.” But seriously, unless our worldview of humanity and human sexuality is one of 100% heterosexuals neatly ordered into a perfect gender binary, then we should perhaps consider just what our “definition” of humanity is and how marriage can benefit all people. To say that the marriage equality movement for gay people is a “redefinition” of marriage is to ignore the emerging understanding of human sexuality.

  70. RE: Cowboy
    BYU used electric aversion therapy on gay students in the mid ’70’s. In spite of BYU’s subsequent denials and outright lies, it is well documented in the doctoral dissertation ‘The Use of Visual Stimuli in Electric Aversion Therapy’, BYU 1976, Max Ford McBride. A two minute google search could easily reveal that it took place. BYU tried denying it by hiding the dissertation, but the threat of a lawsuit by me and several others forced them to admit that it happened and to make the dissertation available. BYU is required by their accreditation contract to make any dissertation done at BYU to be made available, and were warned that they could potentially risk losing their accreditation for continuing to lie. I also know because I was a participant in aversion therapy as a student at BYU and because I was the one along with others who threatened a lawsuit. The ‘research’ in aversion therapy was supervised by Dr. Thorne and conducted in the ‘human conditioning laboratory’ in the Joseph Fielding Smith Family Living Center. I also suggest you simply call BYU and ask them–I would love for them to deny it again, and my lawyer would love to win a huge settlement and see BYU lose its accreditation in one fell swoop. Need any other info?

  71. @ExMoHoMoDon:

    If you had read my previous comments on this blog… I don’t expect you to and I don’t mean to imply a tone of condescension or provocation, I certainly haven’t read every comment here. I’m just saying that if you had… then you would know that I am 100% for marriage equality and that I believe that homosexuality is an inborn trait. It is a HUGE problem for me that the church was involved in Prop 8. I despise the ridiculous arguments that gay marriage will lead to the sanctioning of pedophilia or bestiality or the collapse of America or the end of the world all together. I believe gay Americans have just as much right as straight Americans to form family units respected under the law. In fact, I was recently married (to an atheist who agrees with you — that those opposed to homosexual marriage are hateful bigots) and in our ceremony we made reference to the struggle for marriage equality.

    When I used the phrase “theological implications of homosexuality,” I was referring to what the existence of homosexuality does to one’s religious beliefs. There are implications to BOTH ideas: that homosexuality is inborn, or that it’s a sinful proclivity that one must overcome. Science doesn’t even have a handle on homosexuality. So how can we expect lay people who are just slogging along in life to have a crystal clear picture of things?

    Here is an example: Karen Armstrong (a really incredible author — I highly recommend her books) wrote about her experiences as she studied to become a nun in the Catholic church. She began to suffer from epileptic seizures. At the time the Catholic church believed that seizures were actually demonic possessions. This misguided notion negatively affected her life for years. That would never happen “nowadays”. Scientists have clear cut explanations and pretty comprehensive understanding of epilepsy. So, instead of saying, “Demons are in you,” the Catholic church now says, “You have a medical condition for which there is treatment.”

    Granted, that is a loose example. I don’t think homosexuality is a medical condition that requires treatment. That example is meant to demonstrate that there are things that were misunderstood by religion in the past that are now fully understood. The mystery is gone — and now so is the strife. That is not so for homosexuality at this point. People can’t point to scientific evidence and say, “No, we can’t pray away a genetically controlled and inborn trait. This is how homosexuality works.” Sure, at that point you might still have a few hold outs who say, “Well the genetics just explains how the sinful proclivity is created in us….” But, I think that will be a very small minority of people.

    So back to the point of my comment. I have quite a number of friends and family who vehemently disagree with me on the issue of marriage equality. I know these people well and I know they are absolutely NOT hateful people. They are decent, kind, hard working people who are simply trying their best to lead a good life. They do not wish harm upon gay people. They do not think gay people are evil. They have simply struggled with the notion of homosexuality and come out on the end of the issue that I happen to believe is incorrect. They are all reasonable people who can be brought to the conclusion that gays deserve the right to the legal and societal protections marriage offers. That is why we have the (admittedly obnoxious) civil union debate. If these people were actually hateful bigots you wouldn’t be able to reason with them to the point that they are willing to split hairs to be fair yet cling to their religious belief structure.

    I am not going to argue about whether or not the church leadership hates homosexuals. I can see the arguments for that side. I personally choose to believe that they are not actively or intentionally hateful. Think of that what you will. But I have thought about it a lot and in my heart I don’t believe those men hate anyone. In my opinion, the word “hate” is a very strong word and it should be used very carefully. I think it loses meaning — or at the very least cheapens it — when it’s bandied about and applied to people who do not actually hate.

    I do agree with you that sometimes anger is justified. I was angry about Prop 8. Even today my blood starts to boil when I get into obnoxious debates about marriage vs. civil unions. Or when people start making ridiculous claims about what “legitimizing” homosexuality will do to our society (as I noted above). I can also understand that you are much more invested in this argument than I am, as you are gay and I am not. But I’ve been following this blog for a few months and it seems like EVERY comment you post is full of bile and hatred. How can that kind of anger not leek into other aspects of your life? Doesn’t that anger cast a shadow over the good things in your life? I’ve been quite angry in my life in the past and it tainted everything else in my life. Also, I find it hard to believe that you know the average every day Mormon church goer to be hateful and full of bigotry. It re-affirms my belief that your anger over this issue is clouding your judgment of the LDS people around you. Don’t you think it would be more equitable to day that they are misguided or even ignorant? Than to paint them all as hateful?

    Sorry to be long winded. I hope I have clarified my response to you.

  72. Cowboy:
    I will mail you a copy of of the dissertation if you like. I made the dissertation available to the media after BYU lied about it–and what do you know–within 24 hours of denying that aversion therapy happened and that the whole story was invented by ‘enemies of the Church’ (I think your term was ‘documented hearsay’) they magically ‘found’ the dissertation, especially when lawyers began calling the accreditation committee. That tangible enough for ya, or maybe it doesn’t count because I am a homosexual and an ex Mormon?

  73. Winifred:
    How wonderful that you so confidently speak for God. Does Mormon sin count? How about the massacre at Mountain Meadows? How about lying about aversion therapy at BYU? Oh sorry, I forgot, Mormons as God’s Chosen don’t need to repent or ever admit wrongdoing. How wonderful for all of you, and how very convenient.

  74. Heather:
    In fact I have read every comment here and I think yours are thoughtful and well reasoned. I guess after having me and my family demonized, vilified and marginalized by the Mormon Church I am just ‘not ready to make nice.’

  75. Cowboy
    I believe the current spokesperson for BYU is Carrie Jenkins–the last person I spoke to. She will tell you that there was aversion therapy there and that there was a period of time when BYU lied about it. I believe her words were ‘misunderstanding’. Maybe you could talk to her if you really want to know, or just get the dissertation yourself, which documents that there were (I think, can’t remember, and my copy is in storage) 14 ‘subjects’ for the electric aversion therapy. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  76. Hi ExMoHoMoDon:

    Don’t misunderstand me, I have no objection to homosexuality – nor do I believe in the Church. I have searched again, and cannot find the article you are citing. I did drum up a wikipedia reference that mentions a paper written to this effect, but I have not been able to get a copy. So far, however, your allegations notwithstanding, I have found nothing which corroborates forced aversion therapy at BYU. I know shock therapy was quite popular in the seventies and eighties, for example an odd bit of trivia, Eric Clapton apparently underwent shock therapy in the eighties and credits it to helping him kick a heroin addiction. I’m not concerned about the practice at all, rather that it was militantly forced upon suspected gay BYU students, SS style.

    At the same time, the methods use of pornography is rather interesting given the Church’s stance on the matter. Still I have nothing concrete, and again, this would have been the relevant story – as opposed to prop 8.

    Feel free to email me the paper at Mormoncowboy@hotmail.com, I would be interested. If it does indeed support your allegation, then my point remains, you ought to be getting the word out.

  77. Of course Ms. Jenkins may have gone back into lie mode–I hope they do. Suing BYU for lying and settling out of court (because they don’t want the publicity) would make a wonderful early retirement gift for me. Seeing BYU have their accreditation revoked or threatened would be ‘priceless’.

  78. “Suing BYU for lying and settling out of court (because they don’t want the publicity) would make a wonderful early retirement gift for me”

    Yea, that’s what we need more of in this country: Sue happy, bitter victims.

  79. Well, I’m not a big fan of frivolous law-suits, but if BYU really had been running a secret and forceable psychological program on its students – any lawsuit that follows could be hardly considered frivolous.

    Put it to action ExMoHoMoDon. It would be hard to doubt your claims if you did.

  80. Post
    Author

    Heather speculated on the stance of the Q12. I am pretty certain (based on a variety of sources) that they hold varying views on this topic, as is true with most topics. However, until consensus is achieved, status quo prevails.

  81. Cowboy: “I’m not concerned about the practice at all, rather that it was militantly forced upon suspected gay BYU students, SS style.”

    I don’t know where you get the idea that aversion therapy was “militantly forced” “SS style” upon “suspected” students. Perhaps these terms are simply hyperbole. What reports do tell us is that students were offered therapy or else be kicked out of BYU, or not be allowed to graduate. So that is coercive, in my opinion.

    I’ve been told by pretty good sources of a student referred by BYU counselors to a facility off campus for aversion therapy that involved induced vomiting as late as the 1999-2000 school year. His treatment was a condition of his being allowed to graduate.

    Published reports online of aversion therapy at BYU and with Dr. Robert Card in SLC are here:
    http://www.isu.edu/~schorona/leeolsen.htm
    and here:
    http://www.lds-mormon.com/legacies.shtml
    Legacies documentary:

  82. Cowboy
    I am sure you are not being deliberately obtuse, but I said specifically that ‘The Effect of Visual Stimuli in Electric Aversion Therapy’, Max Ford McBride, BYU 1976 was not a ‘paper’ or ‘article’ which you say you can’t find. You can’t find the ‘article’ or ‘paper’ because it is neither…it is a doctoral dissertation done at BYU and published in 1976. Even the Wikipedia piece specifically mentions ’17 subjects, only 14 of whom finished’ the therapy. Get the dissertation from BYU and read the whole thing, if it really matters to you. Am I required to reprint it online for you to believe it? Ask the BYU library to send you a copy, or go there if you live in Utah. What level of ‘force’ would it take for you to be satisfied that it was inappropriate? Handcuffs? Jail? Threats to expel someone?

    My interest is only in keeping BYU honest. If I had wanted to sue, I would have done it a long time ago. I only care because after it happened there, BYU has lied over and over again. As long as they continue to tell the truth, I have no interest in pursuing it further with BYU.

    Of course for people like Will, aversion therapy doesn’t matter if its victims are those horrible homosexuals, and threatening BYU with a lawsuit because they lie about it means after all that Mormons are being persecuted. Predictable enough. Shocking the hell out of someone while they look at porn is OK as long as they are homosexual, right Will?

  83. “What level of ‘force’ would it take for you to be satisfied that it was inappropriate? Handcuffs? Jail? Threats to expel someone?”

    Any one of these levels would be inappropriate as far as I am concerned. If BYU was running a program to see if this so-called therapy could have an impact in re-tooling a persons sexual orientation, I would not be concerned so long as participation was totally voluntary – including the freedom of participants to end the excercise and their continued participation at will. As I recall from Cowans film, this was not the case. A suspected gay student was summoned by school officials to a secret chamber, where he was interrogated and then involuntarilly submitted to electro-shock therapy. While I have no ability to postulate on the clinical effects of pornography use in therapy, this would be a minor concern if the Church allowed its use in their program.

    “Get the dissertation from BYU and read the whole thing, if it really matters to you. Am I required to reprint it online for you to believe it?”

    Of course it matters to me, this is a very serious claim. It should matter to everyone, as the next line of inquiry is how far into Church channels did this research go. Was this a rogue handful of Church researchers, or was this a collective effort that involved Church leadership? Cowans a journalist, these are the questions he should’ve been asking. And yes, I would be required to read it (at the bare minimum) if I was to believe it. From the references given by Steven B, I willing to concede the possibility that there is more to this than hearsay. Obviously this Richard Card is a consistent reference in the accounts, and other facets (including the multiple accounts) give the impression that there is at least enough allegations to warrant investigation. Still, nothing tangible really exists in what I have seen. We have a number of testimonies which offer no evidence. I can allow for the possibilities, but find it unlikely that a Bishop would be willing to subject a 15 year old Ward to member to shock therapy without parental consent. Even if that is unlikely, someone at the research level would have been willing to do this. So if you are asking, “must I provide evidence to support this really big accusation?”, the answer is an emphatic, yes. As for keeping BYU honest, I don’t get the impression that you have done that. One simple documented and referenceable admission from BYU officials, followed by an explanation perhaps, would more than do it for your claims – but again, I have found nothing.

    I have found a number of internet claims at the typical LDS-grumbling sites, which follow along the same gist of “evidence” referenced in Steve B’s post. If this is what you meant by saying that information was accessible within a two-minute Google search, then we simply disagree on the standard of evidence. I’m not trying to be a jerk. If this can be substantiated I think it is quite interesting – but I was highly discouraged to find the lack of support following Cowan’s film. He reports it as though it is documented fact, where as far as I can tell – it is only hearsay. No one has proved otherwise.

    I will request the dissertation – perhaps it provides a more concrete explanation of events.

  84. Cowboy

    If a dissertation published by BYU that details the electric aversion therapy done to 17 students on campus under the supervision of Dr. Thorne of the BYU faculty isn’t enough evidence for you, I don’t know what to say to you.

  85. Fair enough ExMoHoMoDon:

    I’ve expressed a serious willingness to explore the issue, and request the paper. You have made allegations which you cannot support – I beginning to think that if you actually had real evidence of coercive therapy, you would have produced it by now. I’m not holding my breath, but I will still request the dissertation anyway. Like the First Vision, ExMoHoMoDon, I believe this argument falls into the category of “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. So far I have seen nothing but a string of allegations, so my initial point remains –

    #87: “Do you have evidence for this beyond the isolated allegation in Cowan’s film? If so, you ought to get it out there. If not, you might want to revise your argument.”

  86. The dissertation is out there, and has been for years. It is proof of everything I have said. Furthermore, I was a participant in the therapy. ‘Allegations that I cannot support’ is a ridiculous statement.

  87. Cowboy:
    I checked this evening….Dr. McBride’s 111 page dissertation is available through Proquest either in printed version or as a web download. Knock yourself out.

  88. Cowboy
    BTW I have not seen Cowan’s film, don’t know anything about any allegations made and am under no obligation to prove or disprove anything he says, Cowan is. My statement that BYU did aversion therapy in the ’70s is the only thing I need to back up, which is proven and documented in detail in the dissertation (done at BYU under the supervision of BYU faculty Dr. Thorne) If the dissertation does not back up everything I have said, (not what someone else said) get back to me then.

  89. ExMoHoMoDon:

    So far what I have read supports your claim that aversion-therapy was taking place at BYU. It appears that the therapy was voluntary, but many claim otherwise. I made an error in connecting your comments with Cowan’s film, admittedly that is where I first learned about this issue, and he does a poor job of building a case around it. I assumed that was where you were getting your information. I imagine that it would be difficult to prove that the School was blackmailing students into participation, though it would imply that the “studies” where being supported throughout multiple levels of the institution. The film “Legacies” seems to imply that perhaps President Kimball was aware of the research and supported it. What are you aware of in this regard?

  90. Vis-à-vis electroshock therapy:

    One of the best publicized examples of this comes from a young man named Jayce Cox, who underwent the aversion procedure in late 1994. See here for a transcript of an interview he gave, and here for a short video about it. (He shows the burn scars from the electrodes beginning at 11:05.)

    Also, when discussing this, we should bear in mind that there are actually two kinds of treatments commonly called “electroshock therapy”: 1) Aversion therapy in which the electricity is used simply to induce pain (there are reports that BYU also used a drug to induce nausea, either in lieu of or in conjunction with the shocks), and 2) Electroconvulsive therapy in which a patient is anesthetized and a seizure is induced by passing electricity through the brain. This latter therapy is used to treat some cases of serious depression, bipolar disorder, etc., and though it is still controversial, it does have some success.

  91. I always find it best not to speak of something when I have no knowledge, thereby giving proof of ignorance. Accordingly, I can’t and won’t address myself to issues about which I have no knowledge. I don’t know anyone else who participated in aversion therapy at BYU or elsewhere. I only know that there were 17 participants in the therapy I did and 14 finished, including me, as that is what the dissertation details. This is where it becomes interesting, because if the aversion therapy study didn’t occur as the dissertation states, then BYU is in the business of manufacturing false dissertations. Lying about the dissertation’s existence, as they did for a time, is a violation of their accreditation contract. For a time, BYU tried to make it seem that this was done by ‘rogue professor’ who did this on his own. However, for graduate students to be doing aversion therapy without approval of BYU and under the direction of a licensed clinical professional is against Utah law, so they gave that story (lie) up too. So at this point, since obviously the dissertation is openly available, it is proof that aversion therapy occurred. I have no knowledge about the circumstances under which others may have gotten into the study.

    One would think that BYU would at this point, having been caught lying multiple times with differing stories, and threatened with losing their accreditation, try to make things right by apologizing or acknowledging aversion therapy as a heinous and barbaric thing. Of course, this will never happen, as apologizing or repentance is always for others (like homosexuals) but it is never for the Lord’s Chosen People in the Only True Church–they are above that–especially BYU. If that sounds a little angry, let me say that you have no idea–no idea how angry I am.

  92. I understand your argument, and it is not only the LDS church that is against homosexual acts, but ALL Christian, and some non-Christian churches, that believe in the old Testament. if you look in Leviticus, The Third Book of Moses chapter 18 vs. 22, it clearly states homosexuality as unchaste whether it be wed or unwed. Throughout the rest of that chapter it also states many other unchaste things, that today, are illegal such as: beastiality, incest, adultery, rape etc… The LDS church makes the most prominent stand in it’s beliefs and carries out in such a way that from the outside looking in seems wrong, but they are doing as the Lord commands. Other churches have these same beliefs and standards, but lack the back-bone to do anything about it. I have nothing against homosexuality, but I have a strong belief and testimony that the church does everything for a very good reason. If you happen to be homosexual reading this, don’t let this discourage you from the LDS church. You can be a fully functional, worthy member of the church, talk to your bishop and he will help you every step of the way! Faith is eternal, temptations are temporal, and true happiness is found only in and through the full atonement of Jesus Christ.

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