All You Need to Know about Mormons and Gays

By: Andrew S
December 9, 2012

Mormons and Gays: Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction

Either I’m a Facebook and blogaholic, or I can say this: the Mormon-related internet has been swept up once again with news relating to homosexuality. This time, it comes about over the launch of a new site: Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction (at the conveniently named www.mormonsandgays.org) . Many Mormon blogs have posted about this. Many Mormon Facebook groups have several topics about this. And opinions vary wildly about what it says and what it means.

What should you take away from this site? I don’t think I can tell you everything of importance about this site (as I mention, there are wildly varying opinions of what the site even means), but I will ambitiously attempt to tell you all you need to know about Mormons and Gays (but were too inundated with information to ask!)


This post will be a long one, so I’m going to keep this index in case you want to skip around.

1) The Lit Review

2) The Pulse

3) Analysis of Purpose and Message

4) Independent Thoughts

The Literature Review


The first thing I’m going to do is point out that this article’s title is slightly overreaching — this post is not going to tell you everything you need to know about Mormons and Gays as topics. It is only about the new website, whose URL is…well…”Mormons and Gays.” The site itself disavows early on that it is a comprehensive outlook, saying:

This official website does not offer a comprehensive explanation of everything related to same-sex attraction, but it does reflect the feelings of Church leaders as to how we should treat each other as part of the human family. The site offers a place where the people whose lives are impacted by attraction to the same sex can find inspiration to work through difficult challenges while remaining faithful to Church teachings.

If you are looking for a bigger picture look at the history of Mormonism and homosexuality, you might look to Kaimi’s post at Times and Seasons: Evolving LDS views on homosexuality.

As I mentioned, though, within just two days of the site launching, the Mormon blogging circles and Facebook groups have been inundated with articles providing different approaches to the subject. I cannot hope to catalog all articles  in chronology (as Kent at Times & Seasons did for the Bott Gaffe earlier this year), but I will provide you a selection of the blog posts I’ve seen.

  1. On the conservative front, Kathryn Skaggs at A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman views the new site positively, “thrilled that the Church has taken on, so boldly, the topic of same-sex attraction and how we as members can better reach out to those who have been given this extraordinary challenge.
  2. I suspect that (Gay) Mormon Guy will have additional thoughts, but his initial reaction is to call the site “epic”.
  3. I also expect someone at Millennial Star to post more on the subject, but for now, Geoff has posted a brief press release-sort of post.
  4. Jan at North Star’s community blog, Northern Lights, is comforted by the site:“First, I now know for sure that I am totally and without reservation accepted into the church regardless of my feelings. If I decide tomorrow to come out to the world (by the way, Jan is my pen name, not the real one), my place in the church is totally secured. I’m faithful, I’m true to my covenants, and that’s the only thing that matters.
    “Second, even if I chose to live a traditional gay lifestyle – by engaging in a homosexual relationship – it is not that I would and should be thrown out of the window and treated as a non-person. Precisely the opposite is true. My Mormon parents and my Mormon congregation should accept me as their child and the child of God. I may be wayward in their eyes, but no wayward son or daughter deserves condemnation by any mortal, only love. Judgment is ultimately only the Lord’s.”
  5. Joshua Johanson writes similarly at the FAIRBlog:
    Our gospel is a universal gospel. Christ calls all to come unto him, black and white, bond and free, and even gay and straight. He is full of grace, mercy and truth, and has the power to save us, not in our sins, but from our sins. The question of whether gay people can find joy in the church is not a theoretical question, to be debated through media and parlor conversations. It is a reality that manifests itself in the lives of members of the Church. May we remember the infinite grace of Christ and always have hope and charity for all of our brothers and sisters.
  6. Although as an excommnicated, married (to his husband), gay man with a testimony, John Gustav-Wrathall certainly fits in a different position than the above, John’s guest post at Doves and Serpents is similarly enthusiastic for this new site, because the news for him means “The Church has never said more clearly: We want you to associate.  We want you to dialog.  We want you to withhold judgment.  We want you to welcome and to include.  We want you to work harder to try to understand.
  7. Andrew Markle’s guest post at Doves and Serpents provides counterpoint to Gustav-Wrathall’s optimism. He notes that “If the Church is truly seeking full inclusion of LGBT members, it will stop denigrating the community. It will stop embarrassing its faithful members through humiliation and disfellowshipping. It will stop asking if a potential candidate has been in a homosexual relationship prior to becoming a member. It will support LGBT members with every ounce of its being and it will stop requiring members to seek counseling for their same-sex attractions.”But…he also notes that, “In an effort to help change the Church, I will participate in dialogue, as I have for the past few months. I will help change the face of the Church and I will help mold it into what an “inclusive” church should look like.
  8. Alan at Main Street Plaza is similarly skeptical of the church’s efforts. “I see no evidence of intended dialogue between Mormons and gays outside the Church (either non-Mormons, or gay Mormons living “unfaithfully”), which makes the URL misleading.  In fact, for the Church to now incorporate the word “gay” into its lexicon, make a site whose URL title is “Mormons and Gays,” but then have the site be so one-sided… well, it seems less a movement toward dialogue between the two named parties, and more the Church experimenting with how to best bring together the forces of heterosexism and technology: ‘Gay’ is here to stay, so how can we shape it to mean what we want it to mean in the Church, and reach the most Mormons?”
  9. Mitch Mayne reports at the Huffington Post:
    While this doesn’t represent changes to some of the more troubling doctrinal issues inside the Mormon faith when it comes to LGBT Mormons, it does mark cultural change — and that is step in the right direction, however small.

    “Baby steps matter. They add up.


    “But as in almost all things our faith does to help LGBT Mormons, we fall short. This site really does more to help straight members than it does LGBT members, and really just brushes the surface — and does so in ways that aren’t particularly helpful. We didn’t include the remarkable research done by the Family Acceptance Project that demonstrates evidence-based ways Mormon families and communities can respond to LGBT individuals in a way that keeps them safe from significant health risks, including depression and suicide. I think that’s a significant miss here.”And it’s time for the Mormon community to stop simply talking about what our Savior would do, and roll up our sleeves and actually do it. In order for LGBT Mormons to truly begin to have a different experience inside our faith, we need to move beyond words — and begin to do things differently.

    “It’s my hope that local Mormon leaders will look at this website and begin to emulate what we’re doing here in the San Francisco Bay Area: opening the doors to everyone, without fear of judgment or excommunication.

  10. And of course, there has even been a satire of Mormons and Gays called Mormons and Negroes.

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The Pulse


Even now, I can think of several articles that I have read that I have not included in this literature review, so I am not trying to imply that this is a comprehensive list. I just wanted to provide a general feel of the pulse surrounding the news.

If we were to divide the responses into several groups for the sake of convenience, then we might say that among conservative, traditional members, there is great appreciation and optimism for the site. Among liberal and progressive members, even, there may be more guardedness to the support (these are seen as baby steps), but the basic idea is appreciated. One only sees more skepticism and criticism when one sees the disaffected and ex-Mormon responses.

But what about non-Mormons? While not a representative sample of the non-Mormon population (MetaFilter definitely tends to be more liberal/progressive), the MetaFilter discussion for Mormons and Gays is remarkably pessimistic about the efforts.

This leads to what I wanted to discuss: who was the church’s intended audience with the site?

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Analysis of Purpose and Message


Per the Mormon Newsroom news release announcing the site, the Church spokesman Michael Purdy had this to say about the site:

“Too often these types of big, important issues are dealt with in sound bites and often by individuals who do not have the complete picture of what the Church is doing. This website was produced over two years and puts the entire issue in context.

“The attention the Church received during the presidential election period highlighted areas of Church belief and practice that are poorly understood by the general public. We think additional context will help people better understand the Church’s position on a number of issues. Over the next few weeks we expect to be publishing more resource materials that will help address other topics.”

While the first paragraph raises that this work was a long-term undertaking, Purdy notes that this site is about responding to areas of Church belief and practice not well understood by the general public — as was particularly discovered from the presidential election period. (And we may see additional sites on additional topics — any guesses as to which topics will get sites?) It seems then that this site is (in part) about correcting misunderstandings from the non-Mormon public.

Indeed, much of the site’s message is about stating the church’s position. Right up top, for example, is a statement about where the church stands:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

The interesting thing is that for those who are in the Mormon know, these aren’t new statements. These aren’t changes. At best, there are clarifications, and certain ideas that were implied are made explicitly, but for a while, the LDS teaching has been that the attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. If there was any doubt on whether or not the attractions are chosen, then this site should resolve that uncertainty (those attractions aren’t), but there is no budging on the position of gay relationships.

Indeed, the site states that

There is no change in the Church’s position of what is morally right. But what is changing — and what needs to change — is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere.

This line suggests, however, that this site might be addressed — at least in part — to the membership.

Elder Quentin Cook’s message speaks to what the membership should get out of this message. While many lament the church’s lagging behind the culture on gay marriage (and others counter that perhaps the culture isn’t “ahead” but behind in an eternal perspective), Cook notes one area where members should lead:

“As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”

This alone is a positive and well-appreciated statement, but the fact that it needs to be explicitly stated (as well as the very different ideas about what “love”, “compassion,” and “outreach” entail) probably will speak to critical concerns about this initiative.

Some of those critical concerns are given breath as the site continues. For while the site says:

Attraction to those of the same sex, however, should not be viewed as a disease or illness. We must not judge anyone for the feelings they experience….Unlike in times past, the Church does not necessarily advise those with same-sex attraction to marry those of the opposite sex.

…which would seem to be a positive development…in between and shortly thereafter, it says:

Members of the Church who have same-sex attractions, but don’t act on them, can continue to enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings, and attending the temple…Same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but yielding to it is. However, through repentance Jesus Christ will offer forgiveness.

…We believe that with an eternal perspective, a person’s attraction to the same sex can be addressed and borne as a mortal test. It should not be viewed as a permanent condition. An eternal perspective beyond the immediacy of this life’s challenges offers hope. Though some people, including those resisting same-sex attraction, may not have the opportunity to marry a person of the opposite sex in this life, a just God will provide them with ample opportunity to do so in the next. We can all live life in the full context of who we are, which is much broader than sexual attraction.

Members, former members, and non-members have all of the lego building blocks to build essentially any conclusion they want from the site — hopeful or not. On the hopeful side, perhaps this is a sign that institutional changes are at least being prayed about. On the not-so-hopeful side, perhaps this is just the attempt to wrap the same things the church has promulgated in a public-facing package (and if this is the case, it seems that non-Mormons — or at least my nonrepresentative sample thereof — aren’t buying it. It’s not that they dislike the LDS policies and beliefs because they misunderstood them, so a site that explicitly states the core beliefs and policies is not going to help.) There is a sense that the church is trying to take its current position to its most compassionate ends — in other words, how charitable can Mormons be without accepting gay relationships?

To this end, even if someone will only be truly happy if the church were to accept gay relationships, they must concede that it would be more charitable for Mormons to continue supporting their gay children, brethren, friends rather than to cut off support or communication.
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Independent Thoughts

Rainbow Angel Moroni

Without commenting too much on what I think the church should do, I will raise another article that seems quite relevant to this discussion even though it was written shortly before this site came out: Nate Oman’s How Mormonism Changes, and Managing Liberal Expectations.

There have already been several responses and counterarguments to Nate’s post, but for this point, I will just point out that I think that certain parts of Nate’s analysis apply well to this discussion — namely, from a practical standpoint, even if we believe in prophetic power, we cannot interpret that prophetic power to mean that the prophet can make any change imaginable in an instant without there being repercussions to consider.

While I’m sure there are many people who wish the church would take a bolder stance or would make a more radical shift, I don’t think this is realistic to expect. When I read the many responses to the site, the thing I noticed was that while different people on different parts of the political or religious spectrum might have similar positive feelings about the site, there were vast differences about what they liked about the site and initiative.

Joshua Johanson’s comments that the Gospel is for everyone come after comments like these:

…Critics argue that our church is anti-gay, that our doctrine is damaging towards those with SSA, and that joy and happiness for people with SSA is mutually exclusive with participation in the restored Church. Recently, one group even took out a billboard claiming that gay people cannot be members of our church. This spirit of negativity is enough to make many members of the church wonder if the church is broad enough to welcome all to come unto Christ. Many may doubt if the doctrines and teachings of the church offer any benefit to our gay brothers and sisters. Some may even question Christ’s ability to bring all people to him.

So how do we gain this hope that Christ can save all mankind? How do we revive our testimonies that the gospel has the power to bring peace and joy through faith and repentance to even those who are currently in same-sex relationships? One of the most effective ways is through personal stories. The claims that gay people cannot join the Church and the doctrine cannot bring happiness quickly unravel as we listen to the stories of men and women with SSA who have found peace and joy through living the gospel of Jesus Christ, including those who were in same-sex relationships.

[Through browsing Mormons and Gays,] You will read stories of how the gospel has broken the chains of addiction and self-destructive behavior, and given people the strength to leave same-sex relationships.

This, of course, is going to be a considerably different takeaway than one that John Gustav-Wrathall takes:

For over seven years (since October 2005) I have been active in my LDS ward as an openly gay, excommunicated man who is in a (now 20+ years-long) relationship with my legally married husband Göran.  My experience is that the Saints want to love me and want to understand me.  They also want to stay true to their faith.  Mormons love easily.  And what this web site – and all the declarations contained within it – does is give unfettered permission to love.  To enter into an unhindered relationship.  In the wake of this new initiative, no Latter-day Saint can any longer claim to excuse themselves from the hard work of loving and trying to understand their lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender brothers or sisters for fear of giving the impression that they “condone the lifestyle.”

The Church has never said more clearly: We want you to associate.  We want you to dialog.  We want you to withhold judgment.  We want you to welcome and to include.  We want you to work harder to try to understand.

Many people will howl about the Church’s insistence on upholding the current policies and doctrines on same-sex relationships and marriage.  But I assure you that it is this insistence on upholding that will actually more effectively enable the dialog we need to happen.  Upholding the policy is the best possible way to encourage the fearful and the unsure to take the steps forward that need to be taken.  It will reassure them, as it reassures me, that this is the Lord’s Church, and only the Lord is authorized to make changes.

John is not looking to gain “the strength to leave [his 20+ years long] same-sex relationship”. But he recognizes that his marriage cannot be appreciated — and even that potential revelation valuing it cannot come – before dialog, before members and leaders have time to wrestle. And perhaps there are some members who will only feel comfortable enough to dialog if they feel assured that the church’s position is solid and grounded.

Whatever the church’s plans or intentions, hopes or long-term goals, the fact is that they have to operate knowing that there are Joshua Johansons and John Gustav-Wrathalls in the midst. That constrains the speed at which they can pivot.

…All that being said, I think it would be interesting if at the bare minimum, there were changes to the Church Handbook of Instruction that said, for example:

1) Gay members in same-sex relationships (especially marriage) are not to be excommunicated or disfellowshipped. (Even if they also may not have a temple recommend.)

and

2) Members who shun/kick out/abandon gay children are unworthy for temple recommends, as their relationships with family members are not keeping with teachings of the church.

(Note: As I am available, I will watch this discussion like a hawk, and will call out comments I think are inappropriate. Keep it respectful — regardless of what your opinion is.)

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73 Responses to All You Need to Know about Mormons and Gays

  1. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 9, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Andrew, you are a good person to post on this. Wonder what Nick thinks.

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  2. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 9, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    The second point you make is part of what the interview questions are supposed to mean, but I do think that an explicit statement that proper family relationships and support includes exactly what your #2 says.

    Otherwise, I very much agree with Nate’s points in http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2012/12/a-surreply-to-tts-critique-of-how-mormonism-changes/ and think your call out to that thread is inspired.

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  3. Sherry on December 9, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Baby steps are better then having heels stuck to the pavement. Will be interesting to see how much farther the church goes…to the end of total acceptance of homosexual marriage? Perhaps. Interesting that the website says SSA is an mortal affliction to be borne, like a physical or mental handicap? I wonder if that’s what they mean. Would make sense in light of the PoF which states gender is eternal. Still seems confusing tho. But again, baby steps…..

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  4. Howard on December 9, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Thanks for a great overview. I love the Handbook suggestions!

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  5. ji on December 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Thanks for the great overview. I dislike the Handbook suggestions!

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  6. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Howard and Ji — thank you both for staying within the lines.

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  7. John Gustav-Wrathall on December 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Bravo, Andrew. Outstanding summary!

    In light of our discussion on my post over at D&S, I couldn’t be happier with how you’ve summarized my views on revelation and change.

    FWIW, the website itself explicitly states that this is for internal, not external consumption. The fact that outsiders (including ex-insiders) don’t seem to be charmed, but that those of us who still have a stake in the Church are happy (on the spectrum of happiness from “approving” to “enthusiastic”) would seem to suggest that the website creators have in fact reached their explicitly stated target audience. So why not draw the likely conclusion that the website’s purpose in fact is to promote internal discussion and greater openness within the Church?

    This was my main concern about Alan’s post over on Mainstreet. This looks very different from those of us who are in the pews and are actually having the dialogs than it does to folks who are cautiously appraising from a distance.

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  8. Andrew S on December 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    re 2,

    Stephen,

    I’d like to believe that the interview question doesn’t need to be explicitly expanded to cover things like how parents treat gay children, but for real change to happen, it probably does need to be spelled out.

    I think that Nate’s original post (and all of the response posts) were really timely, but I’m surprised that there has been very little connection over there to Mormons & Gays (I think there is passing mention in one of the later ones.)

    re 3,

    Sherry,

    At this point, personally, I’m still leaning conservatively. In other words, I think the church is trying to figure out how far they can go with their current theology — given the belief that homosexuality (attraction) isn’t a sin, but gay relationships (actions) are, then what does that entail and what can be dropped off?

    Well, it doesn’t entail kicking your kids out for being gay. It doesn’t entail shunning them.

    So, that’s something the church can change without a word of change to the theology. Which isn’t going to be comforting to a lot of folks, but it will be to others.

    Of course, this process of figuring out how far they can go…produces some counterintuitive statements, as you have alluded to. So, on the one hand, they state that homosexuality isn’t a mental illness or disorder (probably to disassociate from reparative therapy?), but on the other hand, theologically, they are still for now committed to the idea that homosexuality is a mortal challenge to be borne.

    What I find interesting is the language: “…a just God will provide…” This strikes me as similar in tone to Boyd K. Packer’s “Why would a loving Father in Heaven do that..?”

    re 5,

    ji,

    Even the second suggestion???

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  9. Andrew S on December 9, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    re 6,

    Stephen,

    As I said, I’ll watch the discussion like a hawk (hawkmaaaaan?)…no one wants to incur my wrath.

    re 7

    JGW,

    maybe I just have poor reading comprehension, but I don’t see anywhere that the website states it’s for internal consumption. The site itself is ambiguous at best with a lot of the language supposing a mixed audience, and media about the site (like the Newsroom press release) suggest a mixed audience as well.

    When I present my suggestions at the end of this post, the reason I do that is because those are just a couple of examples of things the church could do that would make sense as specifically internal messages to the members to open up dialogue. Or whatever comes up at the next general conference.

    then again, I also can’t say I’m in the pews, so.

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  10. Douglas on December 9, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    From Part 4 of the OP:

    “1) Gay members in same-sex relationships (especially marriage) are not to be excommunicated or disfellowshipped. (Even if they also may not have a temple recommend.)

    and

    2) Members who shun/kick out/abandon gay children are unworthy for temple recommends, as their relationships with family members are not keeping with teachings of the church.”

    Given what I’ve seen of the “official” website, at least the excerpts of statements by Church leaders (which is stated can be taken as official), I’d say no way there would be a prohibition on a bishop or Stake President taking disciplinary action for sexual activity in the homosexual content. Else one may as well throw out the Church’s long-standing teachings regarding sex outside of marriage. Just because in these days the popular culture wants to redefine marriage over the lame issue of “equality”, it doesn’t constrain the Church to follow suit.
    I agree that we ought to counsel our members, in dealing with those of their respective families that are gay (or at least struggle wondering if they are), to employ compassion as Christ would. However, it’s not the calling for leaders to micromanage members in how they manage their families. Church discipline is only applicable if someone is being abusive, violent, or willfully fails to meet family responsibilities. If adults “shun” their grown children (they may or may not have sufficient reason to do so), it’s their prerogative, with the attendant responsibility to be ultimately judged by the Savior.

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  11. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    “Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”

    This alone is a positive and well-appreciated statement…

    No, George, this is NOT a “positive and well-appreciated statement.” It’s a remarkably dismissive, back-handed accusatory, and grossly inaccurate statement. As anyone who bothers to actually follow the history on this topic knows, LDS apostles in the past have been fond of referring to homosexuality as “gender confusion.” Here, that same language is used, but softened to “feelings about their own gender.” LDS authorities are still dramatically confused—insultingly so—about the nature of sexual orientation. Being a gay man is NOT a “feeling about one’s own gender.” As a gay man, I’m quite happy being a man. Homosexuality and gender dysphoria are two entirely different, entirely separate matters.

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  12. Andrew S on December 9, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    re 10

    Douglas,

    What I’m trying to get at with point 1 is that they can have parity for how comparable law of chastity violations are treated.

    OK, so don’t condone same-sex activity, but then treat it like you would any other law of chastity violation — and my point is that straight folks don’t get excommunicated from premarital sex.

    I think that adults shunning their children (keep in mind we aren’t just talking about grown children — we are talking about minor children as well) is “willfully failing to meet family responsibilities.”

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  13. Howard on December 9, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    …to employ compassion as Christ would Jesus to the adulteress: neither do I condemn you go and sin no more.

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  14. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    #3:
    Interesting that the website says SSA is an mortal affliction to be borne, like a physical or mental handicap? I wonder if that’s what they mean. Would make sense in light of the PoF which states gender is eternal.

    Yes—the “compassionate” LDS response is now to characterize homosexual orientation as a disorder/handicap/defect, wherein they can feel “sorry for” gays and lesbians, all the while consigning them to either (a) miserable marriage to an opposite-sex partner, or (b) miserable lifelong loneliness and celibacy.

    I don’t understand how you feel this “makes sense” with the Proclamation Against Certain Family’s concept of “gender” being “eternal.” My gender (or my “sex,” as the more accurate term would have been) being eternal has nothing whatsoever to do with whether I’m gay or straight. Being gay doesn’t mean I think (or wish) that I’m a woman. It means I’m a man who happens to be romantically, emotionally, and physically attracted to other men. Whether my maleness is “eternal” or not has zero bearing on that fact.

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  15. Andrew S on December 9, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    re 11,

    Nick,

    Take your pick:

    “Let’s have families exclude and be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender”

    or

    “Let’s not have families exclude and be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”

    You’re getting caught up on the latter part (and yes, I am aware of all the history and baggage in here — I am aware that we have their idea of “not disrespecting” is *still* going to be disrespectful precisely because of how they are framing this), missing the former part. But if you would REALLY rather have exclusion be what is preached from the pulpits, then I’ll stand down.

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  16. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    #7:
    FWIW, the website itself explicitly states that this is for internal, not external consumption. The fact that outsiders (including ex-insiders) don’t seem to be charmed, but that those of us who still have a stake in the Church are happy (on the spectrum of happiness from “approving” to “enthusiastic”) would seem to suggest that the website creators have in fact reached their explicitly stated target audience. So why not draw the likely conclusion that the website’s purpose in fact is to promote internal discussion and greater openness within the Church?

    John, I have to admit, this feels a little like “You outsiders—especially former insiders—shouldn’t have an opinion, because this is none of your business.” It’s a little like certain politicians in Uganda (where a bill is being pushed to make homosexuality a capital offense) saying that their laws are an internal matter, and nobody else has any business commenting.

    Don’t you suppose that gay and lesbian “outsiders” and “ex-insiders” can have a legitimate concern for what LDS gays and lesbians are being subjected to? Surely you understand that there are countless gay and lesbian LDS members, who unlike you are silently suffering, even contemplating suicide, because of what their faith teaches them about their own created nature.

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  17. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    #15:
    Take your pick:
    “Let’s not have families exclude and be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”

    How about something more like:
    “Let’s not have families exclude and be disrespectful of those who choose to enter into same-sex relationships as a result of their sexual orientation.”

    If you don’t see the difference, then it’s honestly not likely that you’re prepared to have this discussion.

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  18. Sherry on December 9, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    So…what if….two gay men are legally married. Then they join the church or come back into activity if already members. Technically they ARE married, which negates the promiscuity issue. They are committed and married. Are they sinning? If the church says chastity outside of marriage is a sin, they are not sinning because they are married. Hmmm…

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  19. Andrew S on December 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    re 17,

    Nick,

    …So, as I said, you will not see the significance of the intent in the first part of the sentence because of your disagreements on the latter part.

    And I get that.

    But here’s the thing.

    You say:

    If you don’t see the difference, then it’s honestly not likely that you’re prepared to have this discussion.

    But this is MY post. This is my discussion. And I’m sure if you wait just a day or two, I’ll have a post on Irresistible (Dis)Grace where we can have the discussion that you really want to have (and that discussion will probably be really quick because there will probably be little disagreement there), but here, I’m trying something a little different.

    I hope you don’t think of me less for it.

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  20. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Sherry, the LDS church is struggling over that one. I personally know an LDS member who is married to his non-LDS husband. They attend LDS services at least once weekend a month, and participate in ward activities. Many of the ward members treat them like any other married couple. In his (their?) former stake, the stake president decided to call for a disciplinary council, but the matter caught media attention and the council was cancelled/postponed. No further action has been taken against this man for the last several years now. He can’t hold a temple recommend, but that’s as far as things are going.

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  21. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    George,
    Of course it’s YOUR post, and YOUR discussion. I still say that if you can’t see the difference between “feelings about one’s own gender” vs. “sexual orientation,” you’re unqualified to have this discussion. Seriously, you should know better.

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  22. Andrew S on December 9, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    re 21,

    Nick,

    I can see the difference, and I’m telling you that the difference is not what this discussion is about. If you think i’m unqualified to have this discussion, then sit this one out, because I’m telling you that what’s actually the case is the discussion you think is happening is not the discussion that is happening.

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  23. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I’m pretty sure the intended discussion is “Why this website is such a glorious thing, and everyone should be happy that it makes everything all better for gay and lesbians subject to the religious and socio-political influence of Mormonism.”

    I get it now—you only want one viewpoint expressed. Since you actually don’t want me participating, perhaps you shouldn’t have openly baited my participation in other fora.

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  24. [...] and I was trying to point out that that wasn’t the discussion I was trying to have there, but I don’t think that’s the message that came across. Nick seems to think that I meant the discussion to be about, and I quote, “Why this website [...]

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  25. Douglas on December 9, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    #12,20 – It just shows that local leaders don’t necessarily conform to a mold when dealing with violations of the law of Chastity. Thank goodness.
    Andrew S, RU saying that there’s a double standard with how gays versus straights are treated re: being unchaste? That doesn’t seem so in about a third of a century of Church membership for yours truly. My impression is that less leeway is shown towards Melchizedek Priesthood holders, especially those that are or have served in prominent callings. In fact, I’ve often complained to mine own leaders that it seems the sisters when they stray get far more latitude than the brethren (regardless of reason). Still, as long as the leader(s) seek to be led by the Spirit and not necessarily preconceived notions, I can live with the outcomes of Church discipline. We should always keep in mind that the purposes of same are: (1) protect the innocent, (2) hold up the good name of the Church, and (3) help reconcile the person to Christ. Frankly, I can think of few cases where purposes (1) and (2) override, including a gay member’s sexual habits.
    I would remind most members that we shouldn’t single out gays as being any worse “sinners” than anyone else. As the website points out, we ALL need to repent. I like to quote Romans 3:23, wherein I assume that when the Apostle Paul said that “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”, he was including yours truly.

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  26. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    The reality is, I don’t think you can point to anything in the website that wasn’t already stated prior. Notwithstanding some of the odd news releases, the site represents NO change in policy, doctrine, emphasis, or message. It’s purely a public relations presentation, making a pretty image of old news. I think it’s a huge mistake to present it as “progress,” and if anything, it’s regressive in the sense of things like referring to sexual orientation as “feelings about one’s own gender” (something any educated person recognizes as a proper reference to gender dysphoria, NOT sexual orientation).

    The closest thing you can say to “progress” is that the LDS church is feeling the heat enough that they think they need to publish a public relations driven website of this nature. It doesn’t mean they’ve progressed, though. It just means that the rest of society–AND their own membership–are starting to succeed in making them squirm.

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  27. Henry on December 9, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Sherry on December 9, 2012 at 12:02 PM
    Hmm. Isn’t alcohol legal? But if a person drinks alcohol, that’s an issue. It doesn’t matter if gay marriage is legal. The church will not uphold practicing homosexuals.

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  28. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Henry, what about when they’ve practiced a really long time, and they get it right? What about all those heterosexuals who are still practicing? ;-)

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  29. Kevin L on December 9, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Nick,

    Do you think that there is any chance that when Elder Cook is speaking, he is referring to feelings about people of the same gender rather than about the gender specifically? From my understanding of the website, including Elder Oak’s and Elder Christofferson’s extended comments, this would be a more likely (and more charitable) interpretation.

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  30. FireTag on December 9, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I think that whether the site represents progress or not comes down to whether you buy the theology or not, though Andrew is presenting a theology he doesn’t personally accept, and can be more neutral then one more invested in the outcome.

    Holding Mormon THEOLOGY, you can not ever come as far as Nick wants people to go, any more than an Islamist can place representative democracy over obedience to Allah or a secularist can accept a theocracy. These are fundamentally different views of the way reality works, or ought to work.

    Now, I also think that Mormon theology is in error, because it makes a subtle error in how the “Mormon cosmology” of the relationship of the physical to the spiritual, including pre-existence and the glories, leads to eternal relationships in our families. But it is progress to those who plan to remain in the theological framework of Mormonism until some of the insights of modern cosmology get absorbed.

    I’d settle for that progress if monogamy is seen as a more important expression of human sexuality than heterosexuality. However, given that people are still struggling with the implications of Darwinian 19th Century biology, I don’t expect to live to see 21st Century cosmology become dominant.

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  31. Nick Literski on December 9, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Kevin, that’s an interesting question. My familiarity with other LDS publications/statements suggests to me that the language is carefully reviewed in order to ensure the intended message is conveyed–even to the point of providing plausible deniability at times. I understand that significant disputes have been raised in terms of past statements, holding off issuance until the authorities concerned were satisfied.

    Suppose that Cook’s intent was as you suggest. If so, he ended up using wording that was dramatically prone to be “confused” with earlier statements, wherein homosexuality was referred to by LDS apostles as “gender confusion.” Then you have a case where some COB administrator, assigned to review the page content, should lose his or her job for gross incompetence.

    I think we have to assume that Cook wrote precisely what Cook intended to write. Of course, this isn’t the only problem with the new website.

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  32. Andrew S on December 9, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    re 25,

    Douglas,

    RU saying that there’s a double standard with how gays versus straights are treated re: being unchaste

    In short, absolutely.

    I think we could simply point out that the goalposts of being unchaste are different. If an unmarried guy and girl are walking around, hand and hand, maybe a light kiss here, a hug there, then no one will consider anything unchaste about that.

    But think of two guys or two girls doing it (…well, when people aren’t in the mode of assuming that women are basically asexual temptresses), and you’re going to have people screaming bloody murder.

    In fact, I’ve often complained to mine own leaders that it seems the sisters when they stray get far more latitude than the brethren (regardless of reason).

    See my comment above about women being considered as asexual temptresses…

    re 26,

    Nick,

    I definitely think that as far as theological considerations are correct, you’re right. That’s why I wrote:

    The interesting thing is that for those who are in the Mormon know, these aren’t new statements. These aren’t changes. At best, there are clarifications, and certain ideas that were implied are made explicitly, but for a while, the LDS teaching has been that the attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. If there was any doubt on whether or not the attractions are chosen, then this site should resolve that uncertainty (those attractions aren’t), but there is no budging on the position of gay relationships.

    But I do think that on certain concerns of the margin, the church is being more explicit than they ever have been and in the process separating and denying previous folkloric beliefs (e.g., they aren’t taking a “we don’t know” on orientation…they conclude that it is not chosen…)

    I have responded to this message from you on a couple of other venues (although I think we missed each other because I was taking a nap), so I’ve written more elsewhere, but I will say this:

    if the only change is that now the church is concerned about what the public thinks (even if only slightly) vs. before, when they were utterly unconcerned…that is progress.

    re 30

    FireTag,

    I think this is a nice attempt to reconcile, but that’s not quite what I’m getting at.

    I’m saying that even if you don’t believe in the theology, even if you think the progress is embarrassingly small, too little too late, etc., if you think it’s from political pressure, whatever, you should still think there’s progress.

    I mean, Nick is saying that everything on this site is a rehash. I don’t think the church has ever been explicit in saying that homosexuality should not be considered a diseases or illness, so that’s one thing I think is not a rehash. I don’t think the church has ever before moved from a, “We don’t know what causes homosexuality” or a “it *might* not be chosen” to its current, “It’s not a choice.”, so I think that is not a rehash. And of course, it is calling for inclusion (yes, even of sinners!) whereas before, it was pretty cavalier about excluding and not abiding any sin whatsoever.

    I agree with Nick that it’s not making any theological changes. Anyone who is looking for those is still going to be disappointed.

    If you have a -500, and you move to -499, is the delta positive or negative? That’s all I’m saying. Yes, I know that -499 is still negative, and there’s a long way to go even to get to 0 (and that’s assuming that someone thinks 0 is really worth getting to.) And yes, for someone who sees that outside of the institution, we are well past 0 on the positive side, then the change from -500 to -499 isn’t going to seem like much.

    But it is change.

    I will say that where accepting or rejecting Mormon theology comes into play is in whether you think the church’s position is at -500 or not. The church can’t make too many drastic changes because its membership and leadership can’t even be on the same board as to what exactly are the negatives and what exactly are the positives.

    …but the thing they are saying with this site is that for sure, exclusion is a negative that we ought to get rid of.

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  33. hawkgrrrl on December 9, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Nick: “a case where some COB administrator, assigned to review the page content, should lose his or her job for gross incompetence” Hello? Obviously. Did anyone ever think the editors of LDS page content were uber-competent?? I suspect they are very constrained, mostly by groupthink. I agree with Kevin that the intent was attraction to one’s same gender, not confusion over what one’s gender was, although I agree with you that historically people from the older generations think gender confusion is behind homosexuality (also people who made old movies).

    Andrew – thanks for the write up. I tend to think the site has two purposes: 1) externally, to distinguish between us and evangelicals and put us in a favorable light by comparison, and 2) to get members to quit being an embarrassment to the church. Again, we’ve got PR focus here. I agree that the site should do a better job focusing on real strategies to help gay Mormons and their families deal with the situation in a healthy way.

    I would love to see the second of the two CHI changes you suggest because it is absolutely in keeping with the intent of that TR question. The first one, I think has to vary based on some of the following factors: were either of the partners endowed, were or are either of them married to someone else, are they monogamous, are they married to each other or willing to do so, are there children involved, and so forth. These are the same types of questions that are in play whenever straight members are engaged in non-marital sex and disciplinary councils. So long as there is fully equal treatment based on the “sin” then it’s only discriminatory insofar as the theology is. To me, that’s how far it can go without a change to theology.

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  34. Douglas on December 9, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Andrew S, I can see your point about a “PDA” (Public Display of Affection) being considered OK for a heterosexual couple (those older and/or considerably more tight-arsed would work up a conniption fit about whether you could toss an agitated cat betwixt said couple, though…) but would be most severely frowned upon, say, at a ward social. But only overt sexual activity would be at issue. It still boils down to homosexual relations are still considered IAW LDS doctrine to be outside ‘marriage’ (as LDS doctrine, and not state law, define it). You must distinguish between what would be considered acceptable among active LDS versus what is reason for a bishop to take disciplinary action.
    You may be right to some extent about the lesbian thing being given more leeway than male homosexuality. A lady friend who is bisexual, when investigating the Church, ended up sleeping with one of the sister missionaries. Don’t ask me how they hooked up. As it turns out, the mission President, merely sent the offending sister missionary home (AFAIK, was not excommunicated). He was well-acquainted, however, with my friends father-in-law, and saw to it that she could not get baptized (this would have taken place at the same time her elder daughter turned eight). This woman went for about five years thinking that somehow she was ‘marked’, when in fact all she had to demonstrate was a desire to keep the commandments.
    You have to admit that the Church has a tough row to hoe in extending a special invite to gays and lesbians to come to Christ, yet have to admonish them to at least put aside that which is their inclination. If it doesn’t fit, then by all means don’t go. But if there is something there, then at least come with an open mind.

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  35. Geoff - A on December 9, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    If the site is to encourage discussion, is there a way to supply feedback? Or is it like a conference where you only listen?

    Hawk, you mentioned the theological problem. There is no condemnation of gay marriage in the scriptures that I see. There is a scripture in 1 timothy 4:3 saying that forbiding to marry is a sign of apostasy in the last days. So no Gospel theology, just church theology, and as far as I am aware this is based on conservative culture, not a revelation or something that would need another revelation to counter.

    This site seems to acknowledge that being gay is not a choice but inbuilt, but still sees it as a defect that will be corrected in the next life. Who created these defectives and did he/she do it on purpose or by accident? If he/she makes them, are they not as likely to be eternal, not defects?

    In Australia 80% of people under 40 approve of gay marriage, but it is still not legal, and the church is still campaining against it, with illogical arguments. When an investigator looks at LDS.org.au and see us proudly campaining against gay marriage, for most of them that would end the investigation. I have asked if they could put a disclaimer on the site explaining that many members are pro gay marriage, to counter the impression we are all bigots.

    I see no reason why the Prophet could not come out tomorrow and recognise gay marriages. (It will happen sooner or later) There is nothing in the endowment that would be a problem. So long as you are legally married to your husband or wife, you are living the law of chastity. Perhaps at the same time we could stop segregating the congregations. I tried sitting with my wife and was shooed back. If the gay couples could sit together I’d be jealous, but pleased.

    I can’t think of anything in the temple recommend interview, except support your leaders, that is a problem now. Those who are straight, but don’t support the leaders on this issue, can get a recommend so why not gays?

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  36. Geoff - A on December 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    It’s 4.30 0n Monday afternoon here, not 11.30 on Sunday.

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  37. hawkgrrrl on December 9, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Geoff – the theological problem is that any sex outside of marriage is considered sin, and the church has specifically said homosexual sex is a sin that will result in discipline. The actions are outlawed theologically. This is the church’s current stance. Scriptural basis isn’t required. Could the church clarify that married gay sex is OK? I think plausibly yes, but they haven’t.

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  38. FireTag on December 10, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    Andrew:

    My point is not an attempt to reconcile; it is more that there is a fundamental irreconcilability BECAUSE you can only define “progress” instead of “change” in regard to a goal. The lion considers progress as eating more lambs; the lambs consider progress as not being eaten Progress or regression is in the eye of the beholder.

    If there is to be reconciliation, then both sides ultimately have to agree on a common goal, which I SUGGEST is possible as the exhalting of all people in their natural sexual identities, however many kinds of “natural” God made. I don’t think lions are supposed to some day turn into herbivores, and I don’t think lambs are supposed to start regenerating chops like lizards regenerate tails.

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  39. Henry on December 10, 2012 at 5:03 AM

    Geoff:
    There is no condemnation of gay marriage in the scriptures that I see.
    Wake up and smell the beans.
    King Benjamin said to be careful that there were many diverse way to commit sin. Not everything can be listed in the scriptures. Limited space.
    Legalizing something doesn’t disqualify it from the list of sins.

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  40. Andrew S. on December 10, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    Henry,

    those beans are against the word of wisdom, I’ll have you know.

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  41. Hedgehog on December 10, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    Even if none of these things are new, I think it is a good thing that they can all be found in the same place, and that less charitable members can be pointed in that direction where necessary.

    The LDS church isn’t the only one having problems with this issue. Though perhaps it is felt more acutely by the general membership because we have a greater emphasis on having everyone baptised, rather than be happy for them simply to attend, and for men, have all worthy males hold the priesthood (the implication being that if you don’t you are de facto ‘unworthy’, worthiness being measured according to specific criteria), thence expecting progression of all to the temple, where specific covenants, including chastity (thus requiring a clear definition) are made. We plot the progress of our members. Anyone outside that prescribed mould is going to feel it.

    Ructions continue in the CofE too: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9148359/Archbishop-of-Canterbury-resigns-the-row-over-gay-bishops-and-the-Anglican-Covenant.html ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-20264831
    The concern being that any progress will result in disintegration of the worldwide Anglican community, particularly in respect of attitudes in Africa, in addition to the more conservative factions at home.

    As a worldwide church, we also do have to tread that fine line, however frustrating. It can look like having to decide who we will allow to be disenfranchised (though I dare say much of our leadership are also having to grapple with the ideas they were raised with, in addition to the worldwide politics).

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  42. Nick Literski on December 10, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    #32:
    if the only change is that now the church is concerned about what the public thinks (even if only slightly) vs. before, when they were utterly unconcerned…that is progress.

    I’ll actually go a step further. If this site convinces even one devout LDS couple not to throw their own child out of the house for coming out of the closet, then the website is potentially lifesaving. It’s unfortunate, however, that this message is countered by the page’s “additional resources” link to Oaks’ notorious “interview” article, wherein he advised LDS parents to reject their gay or lesbian child’s partner by refusing to “acknowledge your ‘partnership’ in public, [scare quotes his]” and to refuse to allow them to visit overnight in their home with other family members.

    #35:
    There is nothing in the endowment that would be a problem. So long as you are legally married to your husband or wife, you are living the law of chastity.

    I’m honestly surprised that LDS leaders haven’t changed the wording of this covenant to reflect the increase of marriage equality. As it currently stands, a monogamous, legally married gay or lesbian couple is keeping the LDS temple covenant of chastity.

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  43. Brian on December 10, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    The rainbow Moroni made my day. Where do I get the T shirt?

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  44. Andrew S. on December 10, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    re 41,

    Hedgehog,

    One of the discussions that popped up around Nate Oman’s piece (I don’t remember which) raised that worldwide church thing, but with a twist.

    It presented that the church is basically a mechanism for resource redistribution from more resource-rich and wealthy wards/stakes to resource-poor wards/stakes. To this extent, it matters how American members feel because they are the money base.

    re 42,

    Nick,

    I’ll actually go a step further. If this site convinces even one devout LDS couple not to throw their own child out of the house for coming out of the closet, then the website is potentially lifesaving.

    This is all I was trying to get at.

    That being said, like you raised up, there is still a lot of stuff there that could let members keep carrying on as they have been…and of course, for anyone who is looking for substantive change, that’s not here.

    re 43,

    Brian,

    I would make one, but I suspect if I tried, I’d get a C&D letter.

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  45. Howard on December 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Love one another, It’s not a choice and inclusion all clearly stated in one place under the official LDS trade mark is huge! Why? Beacuse it transcends the old gard while President Paker is still alive and the sitting President of Q12!

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  46. Henry on December 10, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    As it currently stands, a monogamous, legally married gay or lesbian couple is keeping the LDS temple covenant of chastity.

    Wrong, Nick. Gay sex is a grave misuse of the mortal bodies we have been given.

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  47. Geoff - A on December 10, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Henry,
    Where do you get that idea (Gospel, Church or culture)? I see nothing in Gospel or Church.

    If you were created with a Gay mortal body you would see it differently. And if the Lord created you Gay presumably he would too. I am not aware of any definition of chastity that does not include sex within marriage as good.

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  48. Douglas on December 10, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    #47 – the operative phrase is “within marriage”. The Church does not now, and likely never will, recognize a homosexual or lesbian marriage. Therefore, all the torturing of logic to somehow construe a gay “married” couple as being in compliance with what the Lord has revealed as meriting entry into the House of the Lord, will fail. No amount of social agitation, or getting any of the several states in the US to recognize a gay marriage will matter. Only revelation can change that. Don’t take any bets.
    As for how parents should treat their grown children: far be it for me to set forth any heuristics that would call into question one’s standing in the Church by how they relate to their adult children. I don’t choose to turn my back on mine own grown kids or any family members, unless their conduct poses a threat to my well-being or my children. But I’m not accountable to the Church over whether I welcome any of my adult children into my home, or help them out, or have anything to do with them altogether. That is between myself, the kids, and the Lord.

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  49. Brian on December 10, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    As someone involved in this issue at ground zero for years, when I read the church website, I feel like I am reading a written personal introduction of an ex-spouse at a dating service. To someone who doesn’t know my fictitious ex-spouse’s personality or history, she sounds like a great girl. Personally, having lived and died a thousand deaths with her, I am no longer interested in what she has to say. I have read most everything the church has said on homosexuality over the last 40 years. I don’t understand the glee of members lauding a message from Christians who presumably have always been Christians telling them that they should love (and not abondon) gay family members. What kind of people need church leaders to tell them this in first place???? There are so many things I could say about the website, but I am worn out on the subject. I believe there will be a positive outcome from this website’s message, given church members’ relative obedience once things are spelled out for them. However, the fact that in 2012 people are coming out of the cave and are in awe that something called a wheel has just been invented is just plain sad.
    For those who think me a cynic, read the inspired messages the church itself printed in the early 70s in Spencer Kimball’s pamphlets on homosexuality, which included messages he testified came from God.

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  50. Hedgehog on December 11, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Andrew #44, I haven’t seen that one, though it sounds like an interesting take.
    My first thought was, how can we know where the money is coming from (although I will concede it is highly likely to be the US predominantly, I can’t see that it would be Britain..), when accounts are not published? (Or is that bit published separately?)
    Secondly, it doesn’t look like the US membership are in agreement at the moment. (Maybe that was the point you were making?)
    Thirdly, I think the church leaders would nevertheless lean heavily towards the church maintaining a recognised presence in those nations where they have achieved this, and would view losing that as a very backward step indeed.

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  51. Henry on December 11, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    Geoff:
    It’s because you will not see. Don’t allow this world to blind you.

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  52. Andrew S on December 11, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    re 50,

    Hedgehog,

    You don’t need to see accounts to estimate that the wealthiest members of the church live in the US…

    It’s not that you need total agreement; it’s just that you just can’t do anything that would be so disagreeable that it would make the Romneys, or the Marriotts, or the Huntsmans bolt from the church. But since, for example, Jon Huntsman Jr is on a different part of the political map than his father, then you can see how the range the church can be in will change over time.

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  53. Nick Literski on December 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    #46:
    Wrong, Nick. Gay sex is a grave misuse of the mortal bodies we have been given.

    Hmmm…You must be doing it wrong.

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  54. Howard on December 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Lol, too funny Nick!

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  55. Geoff - A on December 11, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Douglas 44,
    Which definition of marriage has the Lord revealed (by scripture or revelation)? One man and one woman? I think you will not find a definition of marriage that suits your requirements (excludes gays)in the scriptures or anywhere you can attribute directly to the Lord.

    If there is no definition excluding gays from marriage then it will not require another revelation to allow recognition of their marriage. We used to oppose inter racial marriage, no problem now.

    The opposition has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just conservative culture.

    We recognise a legal marriage as a condition to make sex acceptable for hetrosexuals, how can we say it doesn’t do the same for homosexuals? How do we respond if a legally married gay couple want to join the church? They are living the same law of chastity as the rest of us, aren’t they? Unless Douglas finds that scripture that says otherwise.

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  56. Will on December 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I can’t imagine a more difficult challenge than to be born into an LDS family with same gender attraction. We need to love those with this challenge as Christ would and does.

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  57. Rigel Hawthorne on December 11, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    “I tend to think the site has two purposes: 1) externally, to distinguish between us and evangelicals and put us in a favorable light by comparison, and 2) to get members to quit being an embarrassment to the church.”

    Hawkgrrl…maybe the site has a third purpose…3) to get certain presidents of the quorum of the 12 to quit making embarrassing statements that have to be edited out of general conference talks?

    “It’s unfortunate, however, that this message is countered by the page’s “additional resources” link to Oaks’ notorious “interview” article, wherein he advised LDS parents to reject their gay or lesbian child’s partner by refusing to “acknowledge your ‘partnership’ in public, [scare quotes his]” and to refuse to allow them to visit overnight in their home with other family members.”

    Nick, I wonder if Oaks ever regrets making that particular comment or considers making a retraction. It has left a bad taste in many mouths and in the future is going to be more universally categorized up there with some of Brigham Young’s distasteful statements.

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  58. Douglas on December 11, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    #55 – Like Lord Zod from “Superman II”…is there no one who can even challenge me?

    Start with Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
    Romans 1:26,27 – ” For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their woman did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And like wise the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another: men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

    It’s not an issue of legitimizing lust, it’s a matter of that Heavenly Father (and Mother, by inference) created male and female to procreate in a like manner physically as did They spiritually (nothing is done in this world that doesn’t have a spiritual analogue). Hence why if a young man and woman “jumped the gun”, they could make good by immediately marrying and thus escaping punishment for fornication; there is nothing unnatural about their sexual act, they have simply transgressed the law of chastity, not that it isn’t a serious issue. However, we have both an Old and a New Testament citation that the Lord considers the homosexual act an abomination, and no manner of legitimization in the eyes of human law is going to make it so in the Lord’s eyes. Look, you can legitimize sodomy with animals as well, but that won’t make it acceptable to the Lord. And that’s what it all comes down to. What IS acceptable? Certainly NOT this perversion (both literal and scriptural) that somehow homosexuality is OK in the eyes of the Lord. Do your own self a favor, Geoff, and stop lying to yourself on the subject, because certainly you’ve accepted Satan’s lie that this odious perversion is OK. It isn’t, and I don’t want any gay man to find out when it’s too late to turn from it.

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  59. Brian on December 11, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    #58–”stop lying to yourself on the subject, because certainly you’ve accepted Satan’s lie that this odious perversion is OK.”

    It was hundreds and hundreds of comments like this on the internet surrounding the prop 8 fiasco that helped my wife realize that the church was not something she wanted in her life any more. As our ward member friends lined the street corners of our small CA city hoisting signs aimed at letting our gay son publicly think he is “less than”, laughing and smiling and happily conversing with each other all the while, her love for the church began to lose its life.

    Douglas, members like you are in great part the reason that this website was created. The church helped create an atmosphere over the years that allowed your judgmental homophobia to exist under the cover of Christianity. For whatever reason, they have decided to turn the corner. I hope you do too.

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  60. Douglas on December 11, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    #59 – I have judged the sin, not the sinner. I hope to always be a ‘homophobe’ in my utter disgust of homosexuality. However, where DID you go to Medical school that you can diagnose me or anyone with some manner of “phobia” re: homosexuals? I don’t feel animosity towards gays and or lesbians; a good lady friend whom it is possible that I could get more serious with has struggled with her bisexuality. She, like many, has suffered bad enough, and does NOT get ‘judged’ by yours truly, nor do my gay acquaintances. It is in fact because of what I’ve seen them all go through, more than pontificating on scripture, why I have a strong disdain of the PRACTICE of homosexual relations. I’ve seen how it affects those I care about.
    I do agree that in some way Prop 8 was a ‘fisaco’. The leaders in Salt Lake ought to have let the California members decide for themselves if they wanted to get on the Prop 8 bandwagon without feeling as if they were “commanded” to campaign for it. I did NOT care for some of the arm-twisting, but in support of my then bishop who is a great friend, I went along and did some work on that campaign myself. Much of the vile behavior by those opposed to Prop 8 was an eye-opener, however. This country IS in a cultural war, one we dare not shrink from. I didn’t see Latter-Day Saints egging the Lambda Center or leaving ‘turd bombs’ on the doorsteps of the Metropolitan Community Church.
    I can’t judge why your wife would lay aside her testimony over Prop 8, or infer that somehow your son is “less” because they wanted to declare that MARRIAGE is SOLELY between a man and a woman. If THAT is what topples one’s testimony, I find it hard to understand what it was based upon in the first place. For the record, however, your son is not “less”, since ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). I’ve never had the right to levy judgements on individuals; that for their respective Priesthood leaders should Church discipline become a relevant issue. I’ve enough of mine own faults to concern myself with, thank you.
    However, I don’t foresee either myself or the Church “changing” with regard to this issue. You, your wife, your son, and any are always welcome (and you don’t need my personal welcome but you’ll always have it) but please understand that the Gospel is what it is. If you want to twist it to conform to your peculiar “gay-friendly” notion, feel free to do so at your own spiritual peril.

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  61. Brian on December 11, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    #60-I think your characterization of homosexuality as an “odious perversion” i.e. not just a regular perversion or a commonplace half-baked perversion, speaks volumes. FWIW, I’ll take my wife’s purity of spirit over anyone I know. A great, loving person. To this day, she chides me when I ridicule the church. I think the published and misinformed articles of church leaders on the nature and fixes for homosexuality led her to realize church leaders know no more than than the guy next door.

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  62. Douglas on December 11, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    It does…that I’m not confused at least on this subject. For you, I can only express my condolences, especially when you presume to judge the Church leaders as you do. If you’ve absented yourself over that, then begone, what could you have possibly been contributing to build up the Kingdom of God?
    I likewise see a purity of spirit in others, including a dear lady friend that has struggled with lesbian urges but nevertheless has managed three years and change in this Church, and has raised two beautiful daughters (they were raised in the Church all along). I pray for her now as she struggles with anorexia. Would that all this “wisdom” were sufficient to help her, but as the fictional Harry Callahan remarked (once his watch commander blew himself up in a police car by mistake)…”A man’s got to know his limitations”. Mine I’m acquainted with all too well.

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  63. Geoff - A on December 12, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Sorry, I did not expect a response like Douglas 58. This does not sound like the Gospel of Jesus Christ to me. This sounds like hate. I apologise to all who have to read it, for asking the question.

    I assume You will also be wanting the death penalty for adultry.

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  64. Henry on December 12, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    Geoff:
    Douglas has said nothing but church doctrine. Why would you want anyone involved in this to be unrepentant and then die? Sometimes the truth just slaps you in the face, you sober up, and then get about your Father’s business. Any society/people that endorses homosexuality will not last long.

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  65. Nick Literski on December 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    #57:
    Nick, I wonder if Oaks ever regrets making that particular comment or considers making a retraction. It has left a bad taste in many mouths and in the future is going to be more universally categorized up there with some of Brigham Young’s distasteful statements.

    Rigel, I keep wondering the same thing. If we take the most generous interpretation possible (i.e that Oaks didn’t intend to give any such counsel but was only trying to illustrate that LDS parents might be challenged by the situation), then why wouldn’t he issue a clarification or let the “interview” quietly fade into obscurity? Instead, we see that article referred to and/or linked over and over by official LDS sources, almost “revered” as if it was one of the truly great LDS discourses.

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  66. GBSmith on December 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Douglas, I really love Leviticus 20 too. It really lets you know where you stand.

    Leviticus 20:9 ¶For every one that acurseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him

    10 ¶And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

    18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

    25 Ye shall therefore aput difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.

    What I think is that someone needs to update the CHI so that people stopping getting away with this stuff. That’s what I think.

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  67. Brian on December 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    “…what could you have possibly been contributing to build up the Kingdom of God?”

    If growth and size means something to you, I’d join the Seventh Day Adventists. Bigger, growing faster. “Truer”? Doubt it, but maybe as true.

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  68. Howard on December 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Douglas wrote: I have judged the sin, not the sinner…I’m not confused at least on this subject Douglas are you sure you’ve judged the sin and you’re not confused here? You’re a doctor; what would an E. coli infection have been like during Biblical times? Are you absolutely sure these scriptural prohibitions are about sex and not about disease prevention?

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  69. Hedgehog on December 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Andrew #52
    Well my first point was more tongue in cheek. But I would be disappointed if it turns out that, just like in any other organisation, it’s the big money that overwhelmingly has the power and influence.

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  70. Douglas on December 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    #68 – ME a “doctor”? Where did you get that impression? RU saying that the biblical proscriptions on extramarital sex (including the specific prohibition against homosexuality; which was rampant amongst the Greeks and some other cultures) were merely HEALTH codes? Methinks that’s an entirely self-serving interpretation. The primary “health” concern seemed to be the spiritual health of individuals and Israel as a whole. Note how many times after an anecdote outlining an example of prohibited conduct that it would be ended with: “And thus shall you put away the evil from amongst you.”
    Some of Heavenly Father’s commandments given to ancient Israel seem harsh by today’s standards. It should be remembered that it was far easier to get Israel out of Egypt than it was to get Egypt out of Israel.

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  71. Howard on December 12, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Sorry Douglas I guess I misunderstood a prior comment that lead me to think you are a doctor.

    I’m saying that Leviticus 20:13 sounds like a description of an*l sex and Romans 1:26,27 may well be referring to an*l sex so the prohibition may be against an*l sex not against homosexuality. Why? To prevent v*ginal, bladder and kidney infections (and perhaps sepsis?) that they couldn’t simply see a doctor way back then to cure.

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  72. [...] other news, people posted about picking yourself up after an accident, more discussion about the new “Mormons and Gays” website and always an interesting topic – why [...]

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  73. [...] Nick Literski, responding to another commenter who mentioned “practicing homosexuals,” commenting on Andrew S’s post “All You Need to Know about Mormons and Gays” at W&T: [W]hat about when they’ve practiced a really long time, and they get it right? [...]

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