The shortsighted wrongheadedness of LGBT activism

By: Andrew S
June 18, 2011
Lady Gaga Born this way

Born that way?

The pity about much LGBT discourse is that much of the discourse among LGBT activists comes from a position of pity and despair.

I mean, let’s take the main thrust (from an L and G perspective, although we can extend it to the others with more time). The idea is that some people just happen to like people of the same sex; they didn’t choose this, can’t choose to change this, and so we should accommodate them for their orientation. In other words, they should have rights because they can’t help whom they love (with analogies to other marginalized groups emphasizing that those groups also “can’t help” who they are.)

As a result, LGBT activists go head over heels to try to defend this point: that there exists, always has, and always will exist a small, marginal, yet fixed portion of the population that just “can’t help” feeling that way, and so they should have rights as accommodation because there is no way to “change” this (note: the other side will read such a word with the undertone of “fix”, of course.) To this extent, they will argue that it is preposterous that in the case of any social change (say, the acceptance of gay marriage and the acceptance of gay relationships) there could be any disruption to the status quo of sexual orientation. The vast majority will be straight, and some small, marginal, yet fixed portion of the population will continue not to help being gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

One problem with this position is that, well, people can already fight against it. By distinguishing between “orientation” and “behavior,” someone opposed to gay rights can just say, “Well, ok, we accept that they feel that way and can’t help it…it’s a pitiable thing…but they should choose against these inclinations.” An argumentation of, “Give us rights because we can’t help whom we love” doesn’t actually establish that what “can’t be helped” ought be supported, encouraged, or accepted.

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps it does because it’s basically the church’s current position. Even if some people may be “same-sex attracted” (or whatever the term is these days), one can always choose to act otherwise.

But the second problem with this position is that it goes out of its way to support and promote the heteronormativity that frustrates it. In other words, LGBT activists never question the presumption that straight is “right” or “normal” and that gay is wrong or abnormal. And so, to address the opposition who fears the spread of so-presumed abnormality (e.g., more people being or becoming gay [orientation wise] or acting gay [behavior wise]), LGBT activists essentially argue: “No, the abnormality will remain in a small, marginal, fixed portion of the population.”

What it drills down to is a fixation on “innate” orientation and a fetish for biologism to support such.

LGBT activistsIn a way, it makes sense why LGBT activists might be fixated on these things. After all, these activists, while “in the field,” have to argue with the idea that being gay (orientationally) is a choice — and so, in the heat of a discussion, it seems like the prudent thing to do would be to argue that it isn’t a choice. But underlying the opposition’s argument is not just the belief that homosexuality is a choice, but the idea that it is a bad, wrong or immoral choice. LGBT activists do not address the value judgment when they argue for innate orientation.

It seems like a sure deal arguing for innate orientation. It seems sensible. Scientific, even. (I anticipate that someone will suggest that I’m being anti-scientific here.) But the final kicker of the shortsightedness is the issue that sexual orientation research was founded to support the heteronormative enterprise. Though homosexuality may not be on mental illness lists anymore, the foundation of such research (and thus, its continuing legacy) still pays tribute to the assumption of the wrongness, badness, or abnormality of homosexuality. The shocker — if you accept it — is that science, even well-intentioned science, is not pure and undefiled from human bias.

Consider: when talking about a scientific basis for homosexuality, no one ever phrases whatever combination of genetic or hormonal or biological or whatever factors that result in homosexuality as the “ideal” or “proper” arrangement. Even if one advocates for biological diversity and doesn’t necessarily want to change or prevent such combinations from occurring, the implied premise is that of course, the straight norm is ideal.

Eve Kosofsky SedgwickThe thing is…even if activists on the front lines don’t quite see it, theorists have. Consider the comments of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick from two decades ago:

…What whets these fantasies more dangerously, because more blandly, is the presentation, often in ostensibly or authentically gay-affirmative contexts, of biologically based “explanations” for deviant behavior that are absolutely invariably couched in terms of “excess,” “deficiency,” or “imbalance”—whether in the hormones, in the genetic material, or, as is currently fashionable, in the fetal endocrine environment. If I had ever, in any medium, seen any researcher or popularizer refer even once to any supposedly gay-producing circumstance as the proper hormone balance, or the conducive endocrine environment, for gay generation, I would be less chilled by the breezes of all this technological confidence.

The only question is…when will the paradigm shift…and what will be its cause?

Here are a few practical questions:

How many people do you know support gay rights because some people can’t help it? How many people would withdraw such support if someone suggested something to the contrary? Are you in this boat?

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109 Responses to The shortsighted wrongheadedness of LGBT activism

  1. Larrin on June 18, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    Won’t straight be the ideal for as long as it’s the only way to procreate?

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  2. Andrew S on June 18, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    Larrin,

    Alternatively, it will be the ideal only as long as we continue to look at the body as a *tool* (where ‘procreation’ is one such functionality we care about.)

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  3. Stephen Marsh on June 18, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    A lot of foundational issues, I’ve always wanted to see an intelligent discussion of some of these. I’m curious to see what happens.

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  4. Andrew S on June 18, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    re 3

    Stephen,

    It’ll probably continue not to have many comments.

    Or

    It’ll devolve into something quite nightmarish.

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  5. Cowboy on June 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Part of the reason I think that Homosexuals never “approach” the “value judgement” is because the oppositions frame of reference is generally religious. There are very few Christian, or otherwise, predominant religions that accept homosexuality, and many homosexuals often have to extricate themselves from one of those religious traditions. In doing so they redefine their values often by adopting the ideologies of the groups from whom they do find acceptance. I generally don’t like political or social labels too much, but this is part of the reason we observe (though I’m not citing any real research) this clash as being wagered by contemporary Conservatives and Liberals. In other words, the value judgements are skewed between groups, and neither group is willing to acknowledge the other’s as being a legitimate value system.

    Secondly, “I was born this way” and “I can’t help it” are too extremely different arguments. Again, only by personal observation (so I’ll concede some ignorance here) those who argue “I can’t help it” seem to come from those who are conflicted with the social pressure, who would like to have a place among those who reject their lifestyle. It is almost as if they are contrite. Those who argue “I was born this way” don’t seem to be longing for acceptance in certain social spheres, as much as they are interested in equitable treatment under the law. To these individuals, being born this way, is an indication of God or natures intent – so they see no need to change, as their sexuality is not a problem. After all, if God created a person gay, why would he then hold judgement against them for acting on the inclinations he gave them. Inherently for this group, the will of God or nature has been revealed simply by their existence. Incidentally, isn’t that sort of the argument that some Christian existentialists make about creation in general? I think we need to look no further than the graphic associated with this article. Admittedly I know very little about Lady Gaga, though I am aware of her as celebrity figure with reputation for being extreme. I don’t know if she is Lesbian or not, but the message I get from her artwork is not one of “I was born this way, so I can’t help it” but rather “I was born this way, so deal with it”.

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  6. dadsprimalscream on June 18, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    As a gay man I’m constantly baffled at the obsession both in and out of the LGBT community over finding out how I became gay and whether or not it can be changed because in my case alone I know the answer to both questions.

    And of course I can choose to live an outwardly straight existence. I did it for 40 years. The question is whether that is healthy and moral for me and for society. I can answer for me… NO. As for society I haven’t yet encountered one solid argument as to why my living a life as a gay man, with another man is unhealthy or morally deviant. That’s why Prop 8 was so easy to overturn when its supporters were required to provide evidence.

    There is much more solid evidence to suggest that homosexuality is beneficial to society. I think it’s a bit crazy or extreme to suggest that ALL of us being gay is ideal. But it is an easy argument to suggest that some homosexuality in society is the ideal. Some homosexuality is preferable to total heterosexuality or even total homosexuality. Studies suggest that gay animals contribute to their “society” by supporting and caring for those on the fringes thus benefiting the whole.

    I think if you look at volunteer organizations and adopting couples you’ll find a disproportionate number of gays and lesbians who WANT to care for others. That’s my personal experience as well. Gays do make the world a better place.

    If you at all care about music, art, theatre, design, TV, Film and yes even religion …just try to imagine a world without homosexuals. Case closed.

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  7. Nick Literski on June 18, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    I agree with Cowboy that there is a substantial difference between “I was born this way” vs. “I can’t help it.” I would certainly agree that I was born gay. I absolutely cringe at the notion of “I can’t help it,” because it reeks of victimhood. In my own mind and heart, I rejoice in the gift of being a gay man, and I wouldn’t want to be someone/something else.

    When it comes to what arguments should ultimately be made to advance equality for GLBT citizens, I’ve come to value these words from Harry Hay, a pioneer of the gay rights movement:

    “No group in American history has gained widespread acceptance without showing that they brought a gift for society with them. All the successive waves of immigrants did this, whether they built the railroads and highways or provided whatever labor was needed. We know that there are many gifts we bring, but they are not well articulated for the general public. So we must tell them what gifts we bring, and in order to do so, we must first figure out what those gifts are. Bring gay men together in Circle to explore what the specific gifts are that we bring, things that the larger culture needs. And once you have a consensus as to what those gifts are, begin letting the culture know exactly what it is that they are getting from us. It is in this way that we will be given respect and acceptance, not by simply demanding rights or asserting that we deserve them.”

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  8. Andrew S on June 18, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    re 5:

    Cowboy,

    But the thing I’m noticing, more and more, is that both sides actually are adopting much of the same value system. Both sides are (slowly) accepting the “science,” and both sides (unfortunately) seem to agree that homosexuality is and should be a marginal thing. So, whenever anyone argues for fear that homosexuality might increase, people in favor of gay rights usually argue, “That can’t happen,” rather than, “So what if it does? Gay isn’t wrong.”

    I agree that there are value disagreements elsewhere, but so much of the argument starts with irrelevant considerations. For example, if someone argues that gays are “born that way” or that it is otherwise innate, then someone else will point to something else that may be biologically determined or innate, but is generally considered to be undesirable (alcoholism, pedophilia, whatever). THEN the real argument will come out, “But gay relationships are between consenting adults and do not harm the partners…” The issue is…that argument doesn’t need homosexuality to be innate at all.

    Secondly, “I was born this way” and “I can’t help it” are too extremely different arguments. Again, only by personal observation (so I’ll concede some ignorance here) those who argue “I can’t help it” seem to come from those who are conflicted with the social pressure, who would like to have a place among those who reject their lifestyle. Those who argue “I was born this way” don’t seem to be longing for acceptance in certain social spheres, as much as they are interested in equitable treatment under the law.

    Interesting…I guess I feel (maybe it’s just my anecdata vs. yours…) that many people who use the latter argument — when they ARE longing for acceptance in social spheres — ultimately are doing the same as those who use the former argument: they are wanting a place among those who reject their lifestyles. (I don’t mean this in the sense that they want to be accepted in gay unfriendly churches or whatever…but that society as a public sphere is full of those who reject their lifestyles as well.)

    But I definitely think there’s something to what you say.

    re 6:

    dadsprimalscream,

    I think it’s a bit crazy or extreme to suggest that ALL of us being gay is ideal.

    Let’s not be too afraid of being crazy or extreme. In my extremity, I’m challenging certain assumptions that I feel will be problematic in the longrun or that I feel are problematic now.

    For example, looking at human purpose in a “tool” biologically teleological sense. Gay isn’t ‘moral’ because “gay animals contribute to their society by supporting and caring for those on the fringes,” because morality isn’t determined by evolutionary benefits — especially not for humans.

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  9. Andrew S on June 18, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    re 7:

    Nick,

    I guess my problem is that most of the arguments I see reek of victimhood. So maybe conflating the two is rhetorical framing on my part ;)

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  10. dadsprimalscream on June 18, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    RE 8
    Andrew. I do like the craziness because it pulls the argument forcefully in another direction…a better one. The moral argument is the way to go, I agree

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  11. Jon Adams on June 18, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Andrew, I’m such a big fan of yours ha ha. Keep up the great work.

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  12. SNeilsen on June 18, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Pity and despair, nope, not at all.
    It’s establishing a legal argument about equality that uses established jurisprudence.
    Both brown eyes and blues are biological, there is no legitimate state function in legally discriminating against a specific eye color.
    Equality under the law for eye color does not privilege any eye color above another.

    Regardless of what theorists may or may not have said, it’s been ordinary people(also known as activists) fighting for equal rights and living their lives openly that have brought improvements.

    Not so long ago, I could have been fired for being gay, but because people demanded their rights, I am now legally married.

    And that didn’t come about because of anyone acknowledging supposed straightness superiority, but from insistence on equality.

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  13. Andrew S on June 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    re 11:

    Jon,

    Of course, I’m pissing people off left and right in every other venue, haha.

    re 12:

    SNeilsen,

    The problem I see is that there’s no way inherently to prevent a “Forget you; got mine!” mentality as things are. e.g., because people demanded *their* rights (not caring about what impact this would have on marginalizing other groups), *I* am now legally married. As long as there is a distinct class of LGBT people that people will fight for, (and then again, even saying “LGBT” assumes that everyone in the umbrella is friendly toward each other…which isn’t the case a lot of the time) that creates exclusions elsewhere.

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  14. Born This Way? | Dad's Primal Scream Blog on June 18, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    [...] It seems like a totally irrelevant discourse to me.  What follows is a response to another blog post suggesting that LGBT activists get it all wrong with their approach to gay marriage and gay [...]

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  15. FireTag on June 18, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Nick:

    I think it’s easy to see the relevance of your Harry Hay quote if we apply it to the acceptance of the Restoration Movement itself.

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  16. Will on June 18, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    I am just greatful I belong to a church that stands up for traditional marriage. I am further comforted by the fact this will always be their position.

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  17. Dan on June 18, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    except of course when the position of the church is for polygamy…

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  18. Andrew S on June 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    re 16:

    And eventually, the concept of traditional marriage will change (as it has in the past), based on the fact that the construct of gender roles, of love, etc., change with society.

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  19. SNeilsen on June 18, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Andrew S
    If I fight for equality under the law the group marginalized is the ruling elite. Which is far different than fighting to be the elite.

    As far as creating exclusions, that to me for the most part, is just so much semantic bullcaca.
    I suppose Zeno proved there can be no motion. It’s like dealing with the set of all numbers that don’t belong to a set.

    But I would like to reiterate, that I personally don’t know of any “gay activist” who thinks straightness is the ideal or superior, so I don’t see how they are going head over heels defending it.
    Most people I know, think the idea of Human Rights covers all humans. Humans who fight to be included in the group(humans who have human rights) are not working to get other humans thrown out. And gaining access to human rights helps others gain access.

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  20. Will on June 18, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Andrew,

    No, it is a moral issue. The church will not change their morals. They will not change something that is moral, to something that is immoral.

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  21. Andrew S on June 18, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    re 20,

    Right, it’s not a moral issue. It’s a cultural one. Since the church isn’t above the cultural fray, it need not change its morals to nevertheless change its culture.

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  22. Howard on June 18, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    “I am further comforted by the fact this will always be their position.” Don’t count on it Will many said that about blacks.

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  23. Dan on June 18, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    is polygamy immoral?

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  24. Will on June 18, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    Dan,

    You’re going to have to take than one up with God. He implemented it. Most of the Holy Bible is an account of his dealings with a polygamist family. I don’t understand it. I don’t get it, but I know God established this practice. He called Abraham as a Prophet, whom he described as perfect in his generation – not good in his generation; not average in his generation; not poor in his generation; but perfect. A man who took more than one wife – a polygamist – God referred to as perfect in his generation. A man who had sex with multiple women; a man who was married to multiple women; a man who had children with multiple women. So did his son and his grandson. Through Abraham, God created his covenant and his priesthood and his lineage. The Abrahamic covenant, one of the most sacred covenants from God, came through this polygamist family.

    Through his grandson came the 12 tribes of Israel. His grandson was Israel. His name was changed from Jacob to Israel by God. He was commanded to have 12 sons. By command, he married sisters Leah and Rachael and their respective servants Zilpah and Bilhah. Yes, their slaves. He had sex with all four of them. He had children with all four of them. It created friction between the wives. He seemed to love Rachael more than the rest. According to the scriptures she was a drop-dead gorgeous. He worked seven years to take her hand in marriage and then was disappointed when his father-in-law gave him Leah instead. He seemed deflated to get Leah. He worked seven more years to get a chance with Rachael. He was cheated by his father-in-law, but he still held out just for a chance with Rachael. After 14 long years he finally got her and her slave. With Rachael, he had Joseph. The Governor of Egypt, the prophet who saved society. The U.S. of that day, the economic force of that day. Joesph saved them because of his prophetic dream. They lived because of him. He had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Most of us can trace our lineage to his boys. If we cannot trace or lineage directly to one of Isreal’s sons, we are adopted into this lineage by baptism. We are adopted into this polygamist family. My son is gathering, as a full time missionary, this polygamist clan.

    Is it immoral? You will have to take that one up with God.

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  25. Mister Curie on June 19, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    Even if an LGBT sexual orientation were completely a choice, which I do not believe it is, the government already provides equal protection for lifestyle choices, perhaps the most important one being a choice in religion.

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  26. Will on June 19, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Mister Curle,

    Everyone of us are born with some immoral tendency. Everyone. No exceptions. That is how God intended it to be, that is his plan. The question is: do we overcome these tendencies, it do they overcome us? Do we conquer them, or do they conquer us? Why should those with same sex attraction get a free pass? In my judgement, the dont

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  27. Howard on June 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Will what if our immoral tendency is to put down minorities? What if that is part of God’s plan? The question is: do we overcome these tendencies, or do they overcome us?

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  28. Will on June 19, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Howard,

    Your implication is noted, but not applicable. This is not about minority rights, or civil rights, it is about defining right from wrong. It is about what is moral and what is not. It is about defining marriage between a man and a women. This is sacred and moral and just. It is of good report. It is of God.

    Same sex marriage is immoral. It is unholy. It is
    unjust. It is without natural affection. It is perverted. It is not of God.

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  29. Howard on June 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Don’t be so short sighted Will your position may turn out to be a replay of the priesthood ban. “The Negros are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, …but this inequality is not of man’s origin. It is the Lord’s doing, is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 527 – 528, 1966 edition

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  30. Will on June 19, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Howard,

    That was one man. It was his opinion. He was wrong. Not to beat this to death, again, it is is clearly spelled out in “The Family: A
    Proclamation to the Wolrd” it is clear in this document. Crystal clear, signed by every member of the 1st Presidency and the 12. That is the very clear, very distinct difference.

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  31. Wyoming on June 19, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    I would appreciate some clarity on this issue. My understanding is that one of the primary moral concerns is the promiscuous nature of homosexuality. I have seen some research that places the number of partners in the hundreds. Is this biased or outdated research? If true, this promiscuious behavior certainly is contrary to ‘love’ and incompatible with the covenant making process.

    Also, I don’t believe we can act on every natural tendency. Recently, I spoke with a police officer who related a conversation with another member of the church. This member confessed an attraction to young boys, but was very vigilant against any action in that direction. I know that if I acted on every thought and tendency I could be a drunkard, an adulterer and a bit violent against some people. I am not any of those things.

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  32. Howard on June 19, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Will your position lacks charity but contains insincerity this post is clearly about LBGT not traditional marriage don’t try to hide your bias behind the family proc.

    Wyoming you might want to rethink that I don’t think many lesbians have had “partners in the hundreds”.

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  33. Andrew S on June 19, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    re 31:

    Wyoming,

    There are several problems with this argumentation. First of all, promiscuity is a *human* “problem”, not a homosexual problem. (I put the first problem in quotation marks because the issue is whether one would consider it a problem — maybe our efforts toward monogamy are what is a problem and we are actually meant toward tribal or polyamorous living.)

    As a result, if we look at promiscuity as a problem, and one that is a human problem, then we wouldn’t say that anyone’s promiscuity is contrary to love and seek to exclude them from the covenant making process — rather the covenant making process exists to reform people, to change their behaviors. So, we would want to value the importance of covenants to promiscuous people even MORE, not LESS.

    (I’ll note that you yourself say later that if you acted on every thought and tendency you could be…an adulterer. In other words, even you could be promiscuous! But you aren’t suggesting that your potential to promiscuity is contrary to your ability to love or is incompatible with the covenant making process — it’s just that you have reason to value those things above promiscuity and so you rationally seek those things instead.)

    Secondly, promiscuity could (and most likely would) have many other factors determining it than sexuality. So, to say “the promiscuous nature of homosexuality” is pretty unfounded — even supposing that gay people were more promiscuous than straight people (which, I’ll re-emphasize, is irrelevant either way), how would research even narrow such a thing down to the nature of homosexuality? To put it simply, correlation is not causation. One could say “the promiscuous nature of being a marginalized group in society”, “the promiscuous nature of not having to worry about accidental pregnancy” and those could be better potential matches (which, I’ll still add, even if heterosexuals have to worry about this, it doesn’t stop them, and of course, nowadays, people of all sexualities still have to worry about STDs and AIDS and things like that. It’s more rational to be discerning in light of recent trends.)

    Finally, even supposing some people were more likely to be promiscuous than others, that wouldn’t suggest that they should be celibate. It is yet another smokescreen. When you raise your analogy to pedophilia, adultery, violence, and alcoholism, you come at it already believing pedophilia (and the rest) to be wrong regardless — so it’s coy to argue try to use alternative arguments with homosexuality.

    In other words: the “primary moral concern” with homosexuality is not promiscuity. People who oppose homosexuality do it first for some other reason, and are finding irrelevant rationalizations to support that.

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  34. Irony on June 19, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Will:

    “Not to beat this to death, again, it is is clearly spelled out in “The Family: A
    Proclamation to the Wolrd” it is clear in this document. Crystal clear, signed by every member of the 1st Presidency and the 12. That is the very clear, very distinct difference.”

    Will, if the Proclamation is so important to your belief structure, then maybe we should discuss why it has not been canonized (i.e. it is not scripture) and why when it’s referred to as a “revelation” in GC, the editors redefine it as “counsel”.

    It was original stated as:

    “It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it.”

    But, the morning after, it was re-written to state this in the annals of the Church:

    “It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.”

    Seems if the HQ can’t classify it as a “revelation,” then neither should you or I or anyone else.

    ===========

    To say that “the Proclamation fits the definition of revelation” is to be ignorant of the complexities of revelation and the origin of the Proclamation. The Proclamation was written by a committee of Seventies, headed by an Apostle. It was never received as a revelation, nor was it originally presented as a revelation. It is only recently that rhetoric of it being a revelation has appeared–rhetoric that has been quite officially snuffed, as was done in Packer’s talk.

    As with much of our theology and history, if we maintain willful ignorance, everything is simple and clear. However, as soon as we actually start to look at it in its entirety, it utterly loses that simplicity.

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  35. Will on June 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Howard,

    I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but never of hiding from something. I have been as direct and clear as possible, but in case you missed it, here it goes again. I think all of the lifestyles described in that acronym (LGBT) are immoral, unholy, unnatural and not of God. Is that direct enough fou you, Howard.

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  36. Howard on June 19, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Thanks for your honesty Will. I know God loves everyone and with time I expect to see LGBT label dissolve as they are accepted by society in general and eventually by the restored gospel and I testify to you that they are of God.

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  37. Will on June 19, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Irony,

    Nice try. So you are saying they are sheep. You are saying they put their name to it just because. You are saying they have no integrity. I say they wrote it to send a message. I say they wrote it as a proclamation on what the family should be. I say they wrote it to dispel any myths about where they stand. About where God stands. I say it is scripture. It is doctrine.

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  38. mapman on June 19, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Umm, I don’t know how you could argue that homosexuality isn’t an abnormality. Biologically sexual attraction is supposed to lead eventually to procreation, which is of course only possible with the opposite sex. Come on, this is obvious and basic science.

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  39. Andrew S on June 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    re 38:

    Humans aren’t slaves to biology. Biology doesn’t ascribe human purpose.

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  40. Howard on June 19, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    mapman good point perhaps we should add an “I” to LGBT for infertile abnormalities.

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  41. SNeilsen on June 19, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Will
    All Gay lifestyles are immoral, unholy, unnatural and not of God?
    How ’bout those faithful celibate gay Mormons with temple recommends? Immoral?

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  42. Latter-day Guy on June 19, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    I say it is scripture. It is doctrine.

    Say what you like, Will. I say you’re a peg-legged French midget with a speech impediment and irritable bowel syndrome. (See how much fun this is!?) But saying doesn’t make it so.

    The PotF hasn’t been canonized. And even if it is one day, it can still be revoked in the future, like the original Section 101 of the D&C, added in 1835, which declared that: “…one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” It was later removed (in the 1850′s) when the Church admitted that it had been practicing polygamy officially for over a decade (to say nothing of the informal, pick-up games of plural marriage that some Saints had been playing for years before the league was actually organized––and, let’s be honest, that probably took some of the fun out of it).

    So even if it gets ‘set in stone,’ so to speak, the Church can sand-blast it into oblivion when it feels the need.

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  43. Latter-day Guy on June 19, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    I don’t know how you could argue that homosexuality isn’t an abnormality. Biologically sexual attraction is supposed to lead eventually to procreation, which is of course only possible with the opposite sex. Come on, this is obvious and basic science.

    FWIW, one of the going theories is that the same biological factors that make, say, a woman more fertile, play a role in the higher rate of homosexual orientation of offspring. Thus the result is still a net benefit vis-à-vis fecundity. In layman’s terms, if you have the biological capacity to make a lot of babies, even if that capacity means some of those babies turn out to be homosexual/non-reproducing, you’re still ahead in the gene-pool freestyle competition.

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  44. dmac on June 19, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    Just on the issue of promiscuity, I know many gay people who have had but a few partners. Lesbians generally have fewer partners than gay men. Certainly comparable to most heterosexuals. Agreed there are some who are less discerning and promiscuous. Perhaps when others place no value on your relationship it can make you value it less yourself.

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  45. Will on June 19, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    “Will. I say you’re a peg-legged French midget with a speech impediment and irritable bowel syndrome”

    Hey, quit breaking my cover. I’ve tried to keep my identity confidential.

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  46. Howard on June 19, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    dmac I read an interesting book called Couples it looked at the sex lives of gay couples, heterosexual couples and lesbian couples and concluded that two men together had the most frequent sex, a man and a woman together had medium frequency and two women together had the least frequent. In other words men regardless of gender attraction generally had more sex than women. Not much of a surprise when you think about it.

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  47. SNeilsen on June 19, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Howard
    If that’s the case, than I’m inclined to think it’s quality over quantity.
    But I could be biased.

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  48. Irony on June 20, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Will:

    Nice try. So you are saying they are sheep. You are saying they put their name to it just because. You are saying they have no integrity. I say they wrote it to send a message. I say they wrote it as a proclamation on what the family should be. I say they wrote it to dispel any myths about where they stand. About where God stands. I say it is scripture. It is doctrine.

    Will:

    I have no idea what you’re talking about 99% of the time. You seem to make up arguments/points where none exist and completely ignore any salient points directed at you, no matter how much you disagree with them. Your typical retort is to conflate the difference between leadership and God, insisting that when one makes a decision or sign their name on the line of something (leadership), that that means that God is on board – as if we can bind God to our decisions no matter what they may be.

    That is, after all, what the sealing power is about, right? We bind God to do and approve of anything our leadership says… We’ve spent the last 120+ years convincing ourselves of the same.

    That said, my real issue with most of what you argue is how you use anything (scriptures, “doctrine,” leadership, etc) as a sledgehammer to force your viewpoints on others. Say nothing of your penchant for taking things out of context or insisting something is scripture when it isn’t, you consistently use them as a means to browbeat anyone who disagrees with you.

    Maybe someday we’ll all come around to the principles advocated in D&C 121… until then, I eagerly await the next time you use the scriptures or pseudo-doctrine to force people to agree with you.

    Perhaps you should read up on the “iron bedstead parable” and see if there aren’t some striking similarities between you and it.

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  49. Nick Literski on June 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    Will, with your level of absolute certainty, I can’t help but wonder what you’ll do if and when an LDS president claims further revelation on this subject. What would you do if next week, the LDS church issued a press release stating that Mr. Monson had received a revelation which directed the LDS church to accept same-sex couples on the same basis as opposite-sex couples (i.e. no sex outside of marriage, etc.)? I expect your immediate reaction is to say “I won’t answer that, because it will never happen,” but I think we’d all like to hear a more serious, honest, and direct answer from you.

    So Will, what would you do if Mr. Thomas S. Monson announced a revelation, directing the LDS church to accept same-sex relationships under the same rules of chastity which apply to opposite-sex couples, thereby permitting sexual activity between lawfully married same-sex partners? Would you be “man enough” to say you were wrong, as Bruce R. McConkie once did? Would you resign your membership in the LDS church, declaring that it had become an apostate church?

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  50. Howard on June 20, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Will it just occurred to me that homosexuality isn’t even mentioned in the ten commandments so as a sin it must fall somewhere after keeping the sabbath day holy.

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  51. Rigel Hawthorne on June 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    “what would you do if Mr. Thomas S. Monson announced a revelation, directing the LDS church to accept same-sex relationships under the same rules of chastity which apply to opposite-sex couples, thereby permitting sexual activity between lawfully married same-sex partners?”

    Revelation Scenario number one:

    Non-procreative sex considered chaste between married partners regardless of gender combination of partners, but…unions not eligible to be sealed for time/eternity– allowing participants the opportunity to be saved in the CK without exalatation.

    Revelation Scenario #2

    Non-procreative sex considered chaste between married partners regardless of gender combination of partners AND further revelation that eternal increase not contingent upon after-life opposite-gender unions, allowing participants eligibility for exaltation.

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  52. Will on June 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Irony,

    I have been as direct and clear as I think I can be. I’m sorry you have a hard time following me or the text in proclamation. To me it is pretty simple. It is pretty direct. It is pretty clear. All of the presiding members of the church signed this document. They endorsed it. They put their approval on it. They agreed with it. They used verbiage like by Devine appointment and by Devine design and by so doing put God’s name on it. To me, unless they took his name it vain, that makes it official doctrine. That makes it official scripture. To officially canonize it by putting it in the D&C wouldn’t make any difference to me or to you. It wouldn’t change either of our views. It wouldn’t change the context or meaning or intent of this sacred document.

    Nick,

    I live, to the best of my ability, what I am presented with today. To the counsel and admonition I am given today. As I mentioned, I don’t see it changing. To me it is hard to see how all 15 men could sign off on such a document; and, then in a few years change their minds. Maybe some of them, but not the group as a whole. Therefore, your speculation is unfounded.

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  53. Mike S on June 20, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Will has talked about the proclamation on the family and has suggested that it is the final word on the matter, saying that “officially canonizing it” wouldn’t make a difference. I have two comments:

    1) In Packer’s talk from GC that caused the controversy, he said that the Proclamation fit all of the criteria for an official “revelation”. In the written version released a few days later, he specifically took that out, and said it was “inspired”. The assumption from this change is that it was NOT the level of canonized revelation – or else why would he change his talk?

    2) When you talk about what WILL and WILL NOT change – I’d be a bit careful. It’s coming up on 20 years since the Proclamation was given. In the 20-25 years before the 1978 statement on blacks and the priesthood, the following statements were made by prophets and apostles about the subject. I’m sure they seemed pretty final at the time, but guess what, they changed. And as Elder McConkie said, “I was wrong”.

    From Elder Petersen:

    We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject… “I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn’t that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the negro seeks absorbtion with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feeling to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, ‘First we pity, then endure, then embrace.’…

    From Elder Dyer:

    The reason that spirits are born into Negro bodies is because those spirits rejected the Priesthood of God in the pre-existence. This is the reason why you have Negroes upon the earth…

    “All of this is according to a well worked-out plan, that these millions and billions of spirits awaiting birth in the pre-existence would be born through a channel or race of people. Consequently, the cursed were to be born through Ham. The chosen people are the descendants of Shem… This is why you have colored people, why you have dark people and why you have white people…

    From Elder McConkie:

    “However, in a broad sense, caste systems have their root and origin in the gospel itself, and when they operate according to the divine decree, the resultant restrictions and segregation are right and proper and have the approval of the Lord. To illustrate: Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry.”

    “Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under NO circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them…

    This all changed. Polygamy (once held up as essential to entering the Celestial Kingdom) also changed. We have changed A LOT of fundamental things – equally as fundamental as the Proclamation, and equally as affirmed by Prophets and Apostles.

    So, I would be careful about saying what is NEVER going to change.

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  54. Howard on June 20, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Will revelation could permit sexual activity between same-sex people who are lawful domestic partners and/or sealed in the temple without changing the family proc.

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  55. Irony on June 20, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Mike:

    I read Peterson’s quote and took the liberty of changing a few things, if only because the parallels were eery:

    ==========================

    From Elder Petersen:

    We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject… “I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the [LGBT] is after. [S]/He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. [S]/He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn’t that [S]/He just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the [LGBT] seeks absorbtion with the [society as a whole]. [S]/He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his/[her] objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feeling to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for [LGBT] that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, ‘First we pity, then endure, then embrace.’…

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  56. Will on June 20, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Mike,

    We have beat this to death, you and I. I still hold my position and it looks like you are doing the same. We again, agree to disagree.

    Howard,

    I don’t see how.

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  57. Howard on June 20, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Will domestic partnership is a legal union but it isn’t “marriage”.

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  58. Irony on June 20, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    To me it is pretty simple. It is pretty direct. It is pretty clear. All of the presiding members of the church signed this document. They endorsed it. They put their approval on it. They agreed with it. They used verbiage like by Devine appointment and by Devine design and by so doing put God’s name on it. To me, unless they took his name it vain, that makes it official doctrine. That makes it official scripture. To officially canonize it by putting it in the D&C wouldn’t make any difference to me or to you.

    So much for the Law of Common Consent.

    It’s official, the Church ™ is little more than an Oligarchy and we piddly members have no right to vote to approve/disapprove anything in this church (unless it’s a rubber stamp vote). I guess the thinking has already been done.

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  59. Will on June 20, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Irony,

    “It’s official, the Church ™ is little more than an Oligarchy and we piddly members have no right to vote to approve/disapprove anything in this church (unless it’s a rubber stamp vote). I guess the thinking has already been done.”

    That is how I see it as well, only I am ok with that. As far as i’m concerned, they could run our country. They should run our country. They are outstanding leaders. But yea, it is more of a Republic than a Democracy. We endorse our leaders by common consent, but after that they make the decisions. Of course, we still have our agency and we can choose to follow their counsel or not; we can choose to be active or not; or we can choose to be a member or not.

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  60. Will on June 20, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Domestic partnership is hardly an endorsement. It is throwing a bone in hopes they stop squeaking.

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  61. Howard on June 20, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    A bone? No domestic partnership is a way to make homophobic married people feel OK about it.

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  62. Nick Literski on June 20, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    #54:
    I live, to the best of my ability, what I am presented with today. To the counsel and admonition I am given today. As I mentioned, I don’t see it changing. To me it is hard to see how all 15 men could sign off on such a document; and, then in a few years change their minds. Maybe some of them, but not the group as a whole. Therefore, your speculation is unfounded.

    SO predictable, Will, and such a cop-out! I didn’t ask you to conclude that it was likely. I asked you what you would do if it DID happen. Which would win—your basic belief that the LDS president is always in line with deity, or your basic belief that deity could “never” give different revelation on the matter?

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  63. Will on June 20, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Nick,

    Your proposal is stupid – totally, absolutely, 100 percent stupid. It is tantamount to saying: ‘What if President Monson came out tomorrow and said murder was ok? or theft was ok? or adultery was ok? Would you still support him?” It implies he is stupid and unstable. It is a 3rd grade argument I am not going to get in with you or anyone else. Present a reasonable question and I will respond.

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  64. Howard on June 20, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Let’s see the question was convoluted so hard to follow but if it DID happen pick one: 1) LDS president’s position = deity’s position OR 2) deity’s position changed. Stupid proposal? Nope. Unreasonable question? Nope. Present a reasonable question and I will respond. OK your turn Will.

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  65. Will on June 20, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    Howard,

    Asked and answered. I think President Monson is a Prophet of God. I think he speaks his will. That is my belief, that is my opinion, that is my testimony. If you feel the same, fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too.

    I will not play stupid hypothetical games on doctrine that has little probability of changing.

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  66. Howard on June 20, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    Thanks Will.

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  67. Mike S on June 20, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    #65 Will: I will not play stupid hypothetical games on doctrine that has little probability of changing.

    I agree we have beat this to death, so this is my only comment. The only reason I put those quotes in is because people in the 1950′s and 1960′s felt EXACTLY the same way about blacks and the priesthood that you express here. They were just as adamant that our policy would NEVER change.

    But, in the 1970′s, it changed.

    So, what would happen if the policy changed now? What if the Church came out with a statement that said: Chastity is simple: No sexual relations before you are legally married – complete fidelity after you are legally married And what if they left the definition of “legally married” up to the locale of the person.

    Could you accept that? And not saying “probability of this” or “don’t see it happening” because that is what even Elder McConkie said about blacks and the priesthood.

    So, no hypothetical: What if the policy changed tomorrow as given above, and what if Nick was in your ward?

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  68. Will on June 20, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Mike,

    I just don’t see it. I don’t see the correlation you made. I understand what you are saying, but I think the correlation coefficient between the two events is quite low. I have explained myself, but will do so again. 1) All members signed a document stating the position of the Lord and his Church on the eternal nature of Gender and what marriage should be and what it is and what it is not. All 15 Apostles and Prophets signed this document within the past 15 years. It is basically the same group today. The recent additions are of the same heart and mind. The pool to call from is of similar heart and mind. I don’t see a change. Some defections possibly, but not all members, I just don’t see it. 2) It is a moral issue – just like adultery or pornography. They have made a moral stance. It will not change. They will not go from something that is moral to something that is immoral.

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  69. Dan on June 21, 2011 at 7:03 AM

    Mike,

    I don’t know why you even try.

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  70. Dan on June 21, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    Will,

    They will not go from something that is moral to something that is immoral.

    Previous to the 1978 “revelation” it was considered immoral to give the priesthood to blacks. Thus it was the “moral” position to not give the priesthood to blacks. The church in 1978 went from something that is moral to something that is immoral. The only thing that caused that immorality to not be considered immorality was a “revelation.”

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  71. Nick Literski on June 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    Thank you, Will. Your posturing refusal to reply to such a simple question is, in reality, a most revealing answer. If Mr. Monson announced a revelation changing the LDS church’s stance on married same-sex couples, you would clearly determine that Mr. Monson was “stupid and unstable.”

    I think it’s sort of a shame though, that a highly orthodox Latter-day Saint would so blatantly deny one of the most important doctrines ever taught by Joseph Smith—that of continuing revelation. Joseph had quite a bit to say about those “great big elders” who couldn’t handle him giving revelations that went against their traditions.

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  72. Henry on June 21, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Nick:
    Homosexuality leads nowhere and if unrepented of, will land a person somewhere they would probably rather not be after this life. Trying to make homosexuality seem wholesome doesn’t work when it is, by definition, unwholesome.

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  73. Nick Literski on June 21, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Thank you, Henry, for presenting your personal religious opinion, as taught to you by the leaders of your faith. I’m sure you’ve done so with the very best of loving intentions, while at the same time bearing the utmost respect for my inherent right to make my own choices based on my own experience.

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  74. Henry on June 21, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Nick:
    Life is very short but eternity is forever. There are real pitfalls in life. A moment of pleasure is not worth an eternity of nothing. True, we do not have all the answers but one day we will. Sexual sin is real and so are the consequences. They cannot be wished away or changed. Humans do not have the power to change this. We are free to choose but not free to choose the consequences. Have you had dreams warning you of anything? Heed the warnings.

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  75. Chino Blanco on June 21, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    I never liked the title of this post. Then I read comments like #74, and I ask myself again: “shortsighted” and “wrongheaded” compared to what?

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  76. Andrew S on June 22, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    Shortsighted and wrongheaded compared to viewpoints that unapologetically views homosexual relationships as moral.

    Maybe in light of people like Henry, the path we have to go with is going to be roundabout, and later the arguments will change to be less conciliatory or defensive.

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  77. Nick Literski on June 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    #74:
    Life is very short but eternity is forever.

    Thank you, Henry, for sharing your belief regarding the duration of existance. While you and I may disagree on many things, I believe we share a common view that each of us plays a role beyond the limits of this particular mortal life.

    There are real pitfalls in life.

    While this is true, Henry, I believe it would be a mistake to focus our attention on what we perceive as negative aspects of our lives. Rather, I would focus on the fact that there are real joys, and real blessings, in this life.

    A moment of pleasure is not worth an eternity of nothing.

    In the context of this discussion, Henry, I assume you’re suggesting that homosexuality simply amounts to orgasm, or as you put it, “a moment of pleasure.” While some might be offended at such a narrow view, I understand that you are reflecting the teachings provided to you over many years, from men whose opinions you value. I understand that some of these men, speaking from their own limited experience, have suggested to you that gay men and lesbians are incapable of forming loving, long-term, committed relationships, similar to that which you (I hope) share with your wife.

    That said, I would hope that you might be open to learning from the personal experiences and testimonies of gay men and lesbians, rather than merely their critics, just as you would likely prefer that non-LDS persons learn about the LDS faith from LDS members, rather than from professional anti-Mormons.

    Henry, I have experienced 18 years of marriage to a woman, during which time I attempted to govern my life according to the teachings of LDS leaders. While that pattern of behavior did include many positive experiences, it also included a profound degree of personal pain and suffering. My earnest attempts to live as a “heterosexual” husband and father unavoidably involved nearly indescribable levels of deception—both toward myself and toward others. I cannot begin to tell you of all the times I wept, fasted, prayed, and begged for Deity to enable me to live joyfully in the way taught by LDS leaders. Still, where obedience to those same teachings might bring immense joy to a naturally-heterosexual man, they created within me a painful lack of basic integrity, along with an inability to truly love myself or others.

    When I came out of the proverbial closet, Henry, I experienced precisely the sort of cleansing and peace reported in The Book of Mormon by Alma. Alma was “wracked” with pain and torment over his sins, until being delivered from them, at which time he experienced equally intense relief and happiness. As a student of the LDS scriptures, Henry, you’re well aware that your own faith tradition teaches that such feelings are a fruit of the Spirit, not reproduceable by evil forces. I found my life blessed in both spiritual and temporal ways, beyond what I had ever experienced before. In time, I found a partner, with whom I have sustained a loving, mutually-giving, committed relationship for several years now.

    The fact that LDS leaders have proclaimed my experience impossible does not change my experience, Henry. To borrow the words of Joseph Smith, I knew it, I knew that Deity knew it, and who was I to deny it?

    True, we do not have all the answers but one day we will. Sexual sin is real and so are the consequences. They cannot be wished away or changed. Humans do not have the power to change this. We are free to choose but not free to choose the consequences.

    I agree with you in essence on this point, Henry. I would merely highlight your admission that we do not yet have “all the answers.” In my experience, however, I believe that my attempts to follow the heterosexually-based teachings of LDS leaders were inherently sinful—both sexually and otherwise. Those attempts brought deep despair, along with most of the other negative results of sin. My life as an openly gay man, on the other hand, hss been filled with blessings I’d never anticipated. If I am to follow the wisdom of Jesus with regard to judging by fruits, I must conclude that Deity is much more pleased with my current path.

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  78. Howard on June 22, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Nick thank you for sharing your life and testimony very well said. Spirituality is inhibited by psychological dissonance it is only when we are in are in agreement with ourselves that we can align with God.

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  79. Ex-Gay « Irresistible (Dis)Grace on June 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    [...] Saturday I posted my latest article at Wheat & Tares: The shortsighted wrongheadedness of LGBT activism. I will admit I was trying to draw people in with such a provocative title (…after all, what [...]

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  80. dmac on June 22, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Nick,

    Thanks for giving us a glimplse into the struggles and the lessons learned in your life. Its courageous to open yourself and your life like that. I for one appreciate it. And it mirrors some of my own experiences to some degree. For me, the dishonesty in committing to someone you know you cannot give of yourself too in every way is something I couldn’t cope with. To pretend and go forward as if they have your heart completely is profoundly unfair to them. I felt my faith slipping away while living in that state.

    Honesty in my life and my dealings with others has brought me greater blessings and greater joy that hiding and pretending ever did. And my faith in God stronger now by far.

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  81. psychochemiker on June 23, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    What would happen tomorrow if Nick Literski were to come to wheat and tares and explain that he had had a change of heart, that he now knew that homosexual relationships were sinful, and that Christ had provided an escape from that lifestyle? Not only that, but what if Nick Literski were to explain that Jesus had personally appeared to him, and explained how he had been misled and brainwashed by the LGBT agenda. Would you all accept this revelation?

    Would the Liberals here support him? Would Chino Blanca say, “I’m really glad you are supporting your true self and not following a path that you’ve been brainwashed into.”

    Would Dan say, “Anyone who doesn’t accept your change is just an idiot.”

    Just wondering. You know, with people coming up with impossible hypotheticals and all.

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  82. Andrew S on June 23, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    re 81:

    psychochemicker,

    Then he would be like Michael Glatze (I wrote an article about the NYTimes article that was written about him which is linked above: Ex-Gay).

    My issue is more that such a change doesn’t represent a break from the system. Essentialist dialogue (e.g., “one’s true self”) has problems either way one goes, when we should be recognizing that the system of essentializing these things is problematic. (there is no ex-gay because there is no reified “gay” or “straight.”)

    P.S., I think someone will say, “But that couldn’t happen, so this scenario stinks.” I’m fighting against this kind of rhetoric.

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  83. dmac on June 23, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    psychochemiker,

    I’d certainly accept his change of heart and pray that it gave him peace and joy. I don’t like putting people in boxes. If believed he’d found the truth, then more power to him. No problem here.

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  84. Dan on June 23, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    psychochemiker proves that his understanding of homosexual issues and religion in general is tied solely to contemporary politics.

    as for his ridiculous hypothetical, I would probably not comment on it, if Nick did come out like that, simply because I don’t care either way. I “liked” Nick’s comment and appreciate his comments, but for me, I don’t care if he’s gay or heterosexual. That makes no difference to me.

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  85. Henry on June 24, 2011 at 6:09 AM

    Nick:
    A young man was on a high mountain and was about to descend. A rattlesnake asked him to put him inside his jacket because he wanted to go down. The young man said NO because you will bite me. The snake assured him he would not. He asked again and the young man said no. He asked a 3rd time and finally the man relented. When they got down the mountain the snake bit him. The man angrily threw the snake on the ground and reminded him that he had assured him that he would not bite him. The snake said “You knew what I was when you picked me up”.

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  86. John Hamer on June 27, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    I was both born this way and I am in total control of my own behavior.

    Gay identity is God-given and all loving, committed, respectful, equal relationships are morally correct.

    I am not a victim; I am thoroughly blessed. I am gay and I would never choose to be otherwise, because I personally think heterosexual orientation is a far less desirable condition. (Again, heterosexuals can’t help being born that way and I have compassion for the condition, but I certainly would never choose it.)

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  87. FireTag on June 28, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    psychochemiker:

    I’m sure such a claim by Nick would be a serious candidate for a guest post slot.

    John:

    I don’t recall having a whole lot of choice about being attracted to girls myself. At the age of nine I rashly bet a vast fortune ($10) against my mother that I would not ask out a girl for a date before I was 19. I, of course, lost, and my mom actually took my money. Very educational experience (girls, I mean).

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  88. Nick Literski on June 30, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Henry @ #85:
    From time to time, I run across LDS members who believe they have the “magic words,” or the “one true reasoning,” or the right fable/parable/etc., that will suddenly transform me into a heterosexual, rebaptized LDS follower. I do appreciate that your use of a overused-to-the-point-of-cliche fable is well-intended.

    I’ve taken time to ponder what it is about the fable you related, which might actually be applicable to the circumstances I described to you in #77 above. I find it interesting that the Genesis story stands alone among ancient literature in representing the serpent as an agent of evil. Indiginous peoples throughout the earth have revered the serpent as a symbol of wisdom, as well as an emblem of death and rebirth (primarily due to its habit of shedding old skin, and appearing “reborn” in its new skin). Even other portions of the Bible present the serpent in a much more positive light, such as when Moses raised his brazen serpent—a gesture widely claimed by LDS as a representation of the coming messiah. Indeed, the study of gemmatria reveals that the Hebrew words for “serpent” and “messiah” are numerologically, and thus symoblically, equivalent. In fairness, of course, we must recognize that even the Eden story presents the serpent as an agent of enlightenment, in that without having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve would have remained both innocent and childless—conditions which would have thwarted the plan of deity and prevented their eventual exaltation.

    Your fable, it seems, goes contrary to the long-established symbolism of the serpent. After all, if Moses (and the rest of Hebrew culture) used the serpent as a symbol of the messiah, then you are suggesting that I ought to fear the painful (if not deadly) bite of your messiah. Likewise, if we follow the meme of serpent as initiator in sacred knowledge/wisdom, then your story warns against enlightenment as a threat to bodily safety. Finally, it is difficult to see any way that your fable presents the serpent in its archetypal representation of the death and rebirth cycle.

    Parables can, of course, be powerful teaching tools. Jesus of Nazareth used them with profound wisdom, communicating unmistakeable messages to all but those who were intentionally obtuse. That skill, sadly, is not universal, hence Nephi’s declaration that he “glor[ied] in plainness.” I would encourage you to study Jesus’ use of parables more closely, in order to enhance your own skills, or in the alternative, follow the counsel of Nephi by speaking in glorious plainness.

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  89. Henry on July 17, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    The fable, or story, hits it right on the mark.

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  90. Nick Literski on July 17, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Henry, feel free to elaborate. Your declaration, in and of itself, is not particularly elucidating. I’m sure we’d all love to understand your thought process on this.

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  91. Henry on July 18, 2011 at 6:06 AM

    Nick:
    Prophets and apostles help us to avoid the pitfalls in life. If we listen to their counsel rather than the voices of this world, we can make it safely through mortality and on to the next life. There are real risks and real rewards here.

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  92. Nick Literski on July 18, 2011 at 7:00 AM

    Thank you, Henry, for sharing your commitment to follow the leaders of your faith. I hope that doing so provides you with all the joy you anticipate.

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  93. Henry on August 17, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    LDS church members who encourage others to pursue homosexual activity jeopardize their own exaltation. Its no different from encouraging people to commit sin such as murder. If members encourage people to pursue homosexual activity and that person never repents, those members will be complicit when that person is denied their exaltation.

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  94. Nick Literski on August 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    You needn’t worry on my part for your presumed exaltation, Henry. I can assure you that my “homosexual activity” is in no way dependent on whether or not you advise me of your disapproval. If your Jesus and Heavenly Father are all that you believe them to be, I’m sure they’re both entirely aware of this fact. :-)

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  95. Jen on August 17, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Nick,

    Just curious, how has your coming out affected your children? With them growing up in an LDS environment did they have any issues or problems with LDS friends or their parents not wanting them to hang around, etc.

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  96. Nick Literski on August 17, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Jen, they’ve handled my coming out just fine, though they’ve struggled at times about the divorce. The two at BYU have been open with their friends and at least some professors about having a gay father, with no negative repercussions. The younger ones, despite being in a small town, have also been quite free of negative treatment, perhaps in part because a much-beloved gym teacher at their school is a very “out” lesbian.

    I know of only one “negative” incident. In one case, I was interviewed by the Associated Press with regard to a policy change at BYU regarding homosexuality, and some anonymous person decided it was important to clip out the article from their newspaper and anonymously send it to my daughters via their mother’s workplace. This didn’t upset them–they just thought the person who would feel the need to do that was “weird.”

    They almost had a negative incident with their bishop, but his lengthy email condeming me as the servant of Satan “attacking” them was accidentally sent to me, rather than my ex-wife (the intended recipient). You might imagine I had some words with that bishop, as well as with the very supportive stake president I’d been serving with as stake executive secretary.

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  97. Ray on August 17, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    What a depressing thread. (thread – NOT post) Even skimming the comments only enough to get a general feel was depressing.

    Do we really want to resurrect it and start the venom flowing again?

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  98. Henry on August 17, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Sometimes strong words are necessary to help someone think about the path they pursue in life. In life, you should look ahead and try to see what the long and short term consequences are to the behavior your are choosing.

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  99. Henry on August 17, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    I keep thinking about what the First President meant when they said that same sex attraction was not present in the pre existence and will not be present after this life. Apostles and prophets clearly tell us to avoid gay sex yet we see members of the LDS church clearly encouraging homosexual behavior.

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  100. Henry on August 17, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Presidency

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  101. Andrew S on August 17, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    re 97:

    Ray, I definitely have to agree with you here. But even with respect to the post, I feel like W&T just really doesn’t have the kind of audience that can address the issues I was trying to address.

    I totally called it as early as comment 4.

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  102. Jen on August 17, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    Thanks for sharing Nick. Divorce is hard on kids, but it helps a lot if parents can get along and not argue or speak negatively about one another to the kids. Sounds like your kids are doing pretty well, that’s great.

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  103. Nick Literski on August 17, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    I keep thinking about what the First President meant when they said that same sex attraction was not present in the pre existence and will not be present after this life.

    I’m sure they were simply admitting that they, along with evangelical anti-gay groups, made up the ridiculous label of “same sex attraction,” in an effort to make being gay sound like a diagnosed disorder. “Same sex attraction” is an imaginary diagnosis, which never did exist, nor will it.

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  104. roberto on August 18, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    My first mission companion was buried deep in the closet, returned, married, had kids then told his wife he was gay and she kept the kids close so they could have a father.

    I used to worry about all this gay stuff in the church and pronouncements by GA’s on the matter. Then one day I asked myself if I felt towards men the way I feel towards women there would be no doubt about which way I would go in seeking fulfillment in love.

    It gave me more understanding about gays in the church and what they have to deal with in this life.

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  105. hawkgrrrl on August 18, 2011 at 3:42 AM

    I guess it begs the question did OSA (opposite sex attraction) exist in the pre-existence, and will it exist in the post-whatever it’s called. Obviously, there was OSA in Saturday’s Warrior, but that hasn’t been canonized.

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  106. hawkgrrrl on August 18, 2011 at 3:46 AM

    “LDS church members who encourage others to pursue homosexual activity jeopardize their own exaltation.” How does one do that? Open a gay bar?

    “Its no different from encouraging people to commit sin such as murder.” Whoa, now we can’t do that?? What’s left???

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  107. Henry on August 18, 2011 at 6:10 AM

    Hawkgrrl:
    1. We are supposed to encourage people to repent, not encourage sin. I think you know what I meant. This is pretty clear in its meaning.

    LDS church members who encourage others to pursue homosexual activity jeopardize their own exaltation. Its no different from encouraging people to commit sin such as murder. If members encourage people to pursue homosexual activity and that person never repents, those members will be complicit when that person is denied their exaltation.

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  108. Jen on August 18, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Henry:

    God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He loves us perfectly and He is the judge, not you. No one, except Him, knows the true intents of our heart, the sincerity which flows through it, the suffering which we go through or the desires which we feel. It is quite a statement for you to think you know who is jeopardizing their exaltation and who isn’t. I’m so glad that God will be the final judge and that you will be left standing in line waiting to see what He has to say to you like all the rest of us.

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  109. [...] getting into the complications of queer theory (for that, see this earlier post I wrote), the point is that from this framework, one should be able to commend Josh and Lolly’s [...]

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