Wickedness Never Was Happiness – Gay Relationships and Mormonism

May 16, 2012

Wickedness never was happiness10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.

11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.

Alma 41: 10-11.

On my personal blog, I have written several articles about the relative speed at which I feel different Christian traditions will come to change their views on committed homosexual relationships, if not on gay marriage itself. My evaluations are based on a number of factors, such as the tradition’s valuation of relationships in the first place (as opposed to the tradition’s evaluation of celibacy), and whether the tradition has institutionalized roles for its celibate members to fulfill. I feel that the Orthodox Christian community’s stringent and “radical” (heterosexual) monogamy makes it the least likely to budge on the permissibility of gay relationships. Similarly, I got from evaluating an evangelical Christian’s comments (and comparing it with Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7) that marriage may not even be the ideal from that tradition.

These two positions starkly contrast with what I think is critical to know about the Mormon tradition on relationships and families, however. To summarize:

Mormonism doesn’t really have a theological telos of celibacy. When we speak of chastity, the end goal of chastity is not celibacy. It is always a faithful, chaste marriage with children. (And without going too far in the mechanics, I hope that the “children” part implies that sex is going on there.)

So, the lifelong expectancy of celibacy cannot be taken lightly in the Mormon tradition. Celibacy may be more desirable in the Mormon tradition than sexual sin, but celibacy is not ideal. A fully lived life of celibacy is not fully lived at all. It is a design flaw.

With the divine centrality of families in Mormon theology and doctrine, celibacy is never the ideal. That is why the church counsels at nearly every General Conference that young men must not defer marriage. Young couples must not defer having children. The teachings of the church expect that members marry and have children.

So, the ideal goal of chastity is appropriate, divinely sanctioned sexual relationships within marriage. Celibacy is at best a compromise, but it’s a compromise that means an individual has not performed a central task of mortality. To be sure, it’s a “compromise” for many people…a single, celibate straight individual is in the same boat here. Even a married, childless couple is in the same boat.

However, just from this alone, the church faces a problem that over time, members may increasingly see the unfairness — from a Mormon perspective — of any members being required to choose to remain companionless in life. It is that dissonance that members feel that will cause so many to pray for some sort of revelation on gay issues.

However, I think that there is another idea embedded in Mormonism that will cause the tide to turn even more. And that is the idea that wickedness never was happiness.

I was reading an article the other day entitled, “Same-sex marriage makes a lot of sense.” The author is a Christian minister who decidedly believes that same-sex marriage is not okay, so why would he say that it makes a lot of sense? In the article, he explains how popular modern-day attitudes (that he would argue are unbiblical) cannot convincingly provide objection to gay marriage. As he writes:

Both sides trade Bible verses, while often sharing an unbiblical—secularized—theological framework at a deeper level. If God exists for our happiness and self-fulfillment, validating our sovereign right to choose our identity, then opposition to same-sex marriage (or abortion) is just irrational prejudice.

Given the broader worldview that many Americans (including Christians) embrace—or at least assume, same-sex marriage is a right to which anyone is legally entitled. After all, traditional marriages in our society are largely treated as contractual rather than covenantal, means of mutual self-fulfillment more than serving a larger purpose ordained by God. The state of the traditional family is so precarious that one wonders how same-sex marriage can appreciably deprave it.

Same-sex marriage makes sense if you assume that the individual is the center of the universe, that God—if he exists—is there to make us happy, and that our choices are not grounded in a nature created by God but in arbitrary self-construction. To the extent that this sort of “moralistic-therapeutic-deism” prevails in our churches, can we expect the world to think any differently? If we treat God as a product we sell to consumers for their self-improvement programs and make personal choice the trigger of salvation itself, then it may come as a big surprise (even contradiction) to the world when we tell them that truth (the way things are) trumps feelings and personal choice (what we want to make things to be).

And here is why he believes that the worldview described above (which is adopted by many Americans) cannot object to gay marriage:

Conservatives often appeal to self-fulfillment: gays are unhappy. They don’t realize their own potential to mate with the right gender and produce pleasant families like the rest of us. To be sure, there are other arguments, like referring to the decline of civilizations that accommodated homosexuality. However, this is just to extend the pragmatic-and-therapeutic-usefulness presupposition of individual autonomy to a social scale.

On this common ground, same-sex marriage is a no-brainer. Some people are happier and more fulfilled in committed same-sex relationships. There’s no use trying to refute other people’s emotional expressions of their own subjective states of consciousness.

…How would someone who believes that sin is unhappiness and salvation is having “your best life now” make a good argument against same-sex marriage? There is simply no way of defending traditional marriage within the narrative logic that apparently most Christians—much less non-Christians—presuppose regardless of their position on this issue.

Check out that last paragraph again. How would someone who believes that sin is unhappiness and salvation is having “your best life now” make a good argument against same-sex marriage?

Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. Indeed. The biggest part that the writer points out here is that these kinds of frameworks will become unpersuasive because you simply can’t refute other people’s emotional experiences. It simply will not work to say, “You’re not really happy…you only think you are.”

This writer speaks out against this mindset because he is thoroughly convinced that it is a perversion of true Christian thinking on the issue. If people were taught the right way to think about sin, the right way to think about marriage as a covenantal relationship, and the right way to think about our lives, then they would have a cogent argument against gay marriage.

But what about Mormons who wish to oppose gay marriage? The problem for Mormons is that much of what he says — even though he says it in a negative way — pretty much fits Mormon theology. What does God have to say about our happiness and self-fulfillment, validating our right to choose? Well, what does 2 Nephi: 2 have to say?

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

So, the questions for today are simple…let’s hope we can have a constructive discussion…

  1. For those of you who oppose or reject gay marriage or gay relationships, how do you think the church will continue to oppose these things with respect to its own approach on what sin is, and on the value of relationships?
  2. For those of you who support or accept gay marriage or gay relationships, do you think that there is any possibility that the church could change on these issues? If so, what do you think will be the factors that push the church? (For example, how would the revelation be framed?)

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86 Responses to Wickedness Never Was Happiness – Gay Relationships and Mormonism

  1. Nick Literski on May 16, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    It simply will not work to say, “You’re not really happy…you only think you are.”

    Actually, I’ve heard exactly that argument from religious persons—that I only think I’m happy, because I’m being actively deceived by the devil. Of course, this is a ludicrous proposition. A sad person, by definition, doesn’t “think” that they are happy.

    That said, I think you’ve missed a common LDS spin-off from this proposition. In my 26 years as an LDS member, I generally heard Lehi’s speech placed in an eternal context. Simply put, many very “evil” people appear to be happy, so Lehi’s words don’t pan out in a temporal setting. Therefore, many LDS interpret Lehi to say that one might feel “happy” right now in their wickedness, but after this life that person will be miserable in their resulting damnation. Similarly, I’ve seen many LDS sources distinguish between “happiness” as temporary pleasure (often associating “pleasure” with hedonism), vs. “joy” as lasting/eternal bliss.

    Personally, I don’t believe that a faith which brings people pain/misery in this life has any power to confer eternal happiness. The old sectarian idea that we are meant to suffer through mortality in order to obtain eternal joy is reprehensible and misguided.

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  2. Mike S on May 16, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    The issue is the definition of “happiness”. The number one prescribed class of medication for DBMA (the Church’s insurance arm) is anti-depressants, which are presumably taken because people feel they are NOT happy but depressed. The number two prescribed class of medication of medication is narcotics.

    I assume that people actually working for the Church are some of the most committed to the cause, but it appears that even this level of involvement doesn’t necessarily make people “happy” either.

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  3. FireTag on May 16, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Nick:

    You obviously sound unhappy — even angry — but I think that’s because everyone keeps telling you how unhappy you are. :D

    Andrew:

    I’m in the category of “supporting or accepting”, but I think the driver for any change in the LDS wouldn’t be the “happiness implies non-wickedness” route. Mormons do not convert that large a fraction of progressives, either in North America or in the third world. So, for conservatives to change their minds, I think they need a stronger theological pillar.

    In the CofChrist, because we don’t have the eternal-gender-role-in-replication meme as what God’s goal for humanity involves, we have a theological escape route. We could go from the traditionalist view that marriage is a lifelong covenant of monogamy between a man and a woman when we discovered that God only USUALLY made people “male and female”. (God doesn’t normally take the time to write footnotes for the revelations given. :D )

    When we started having to face the issue of baptizing people from polygamous cultures in India a generation ago, our historical quarrel with our LDS cousins over polygamy led us to decide that the BASIC principle on which Christian marriage is built is monogamy. Now, we can, with perfect theological consistency, argue that monogamy ALSO trumps gender in the definition of marriage. For us, whether theology among Western progressives can trump cultural differences, of course, is the question.

    I think for the LDS to find a similar theological escape route would require first a modernization of your cosmology so that you can keep the notion of eternal spiritual families, pre-mortal spiritual existence, the importance of lineage, etc. WITHOUT making less probable sexualities on earth some sort of design flaw. They aren’t; the universe works exactly as it is designed to work.

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  4. I Dwell In A Tent on May 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Mike – been a member for 32 years and have never taken an anti-depressant or narcotic (unless you count Tylenol 3 after knee surgery.) Can say the same thing about my wife, who is a life long member. I’ve always found it strange that so many church members (and employees) in Happy Valley have so many issues. Must be something in the water out west. Don’t think you’ll find as much of that “in the mission field.” Anyway, I think the church will continue to oppose SSA and SSM for the reasons set forth in church handbooks and other official statements. Simply put, any sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and woman are off limits. Period. I think we take for granted how important sexual relations are. In this day and age (as in many other ages) everyone is “doing it,” so what’s the big deal? I don’t have a clue how the church could spin things any other way. If you open the door to “other unions” then the door must be opened all the way. As an aside, that is a gripe I have with supporters of SSM. They don’t advocate for plural marriage, or a wide open definition of marriage that would include all adults, of any number and combination, to form unions. What about the bi-sexual who wants a husband and a wife? What about the siblings who share a love others don’t understand? And on it goes. If SSM is legalized on a national level, open the flood gates because there won’t be a way to hold back all people who purport to “love” each other and who want their relationship to be recognized as a long term committment.

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  5. Nick Literski on May 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    #2:
    The number one prescribed class of medication for DBMA (the Church’s insurance arm) is anti-depressants, which are presumably taken because people feel they are NOT happy but depressed. The number two prescribed class of medication of medication is narcotics.

    I see this sort of data referred to often, but how does it actually compare with others on a regional or national basis? I wouldn’t be surprised if these were the most frequently prescribed medications nationwide, which would mean LDS-ism has no monopoly on making people miserable.

    #4:
    I think the church will continue to oppose SSA and SSM for the reasons set forth in church handbooks and other official statements. Simply put, any sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and woman are off limits. Period.

    I haven’t heard LDS leaders use this as their rationale against homosexual relationships in several years. Basically, they stopped using this argument once they were confronted with cases of LDS members who had legally married a same-sex partner. A friend of mine represents just such a situation. He married his (non-LDS) partner legally several years ago. Initially, local leaders ignored his situation, but a newly-called stake president decided it required attention. A disciplinary council was scheduled, but promptly cancelled once the media heard about it. Now, several years later, this man continues to be an LDS member (albeit without a temple recommend), and he participates in ward activities on a regular basis, even accompanied by his husband.

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  6. Douglas on May 16, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    These continual pathetic attempts to reconcile the practice of sodomy as being something that the Church will “have” to accept is wishful thinking. The Apostle Peter made a like observation in 2 Peter 3:16. The LGBT types can likewise “wrest” with the issue; the Prophet has made the Lord’s position known and doesn’t mince words. Still, he invites all to repent and come to Christ. I feel likewise. It’s not a pleasant thing to preach repentance. Yet I’d rather be unpopular if it will save even a few brothers/sisters from being snared by this brand of evil. Their souls are too important to worry about popular opinion.

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  7. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Andrew, I have a great many thoughts about this, some in agreement, some in disagreement. I think I will go plant some bushes and let them bump together in my mind and come back later and share them. Nice post. Well-addressed.

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  8. I Dwell In A Tent on May 16, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    #5 Interesting. I’m not aware of any blatant SSM in my area. There are so many instances of regular members (mostly inactive) who live with a member of the opposite sex, it would be time consuming to hold councils on all of them. However, I would think something would be done if someone were actively and outwardly in a SSM. There certainly is a portion in the handbook in the discplinary stuff that addresses homosexuality. Maybe CH has said “leave it alone for now.”

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  9. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I was struck when the last president of the church said “we will have to have civil unions”

    The current president is more focused on widows — from his early experiences. I think there is a time to preach simple kindness as he does.

    Legally, once you have gay adoptions, the legal doctrine of marriage as it relates to child rearing (with annulment for the infertile), passes. Gay adoption is an argument for gay marriage

    Which, I think changes things. While we have been discussing Kaimi’s natural man arguments between attorneys locally, the family for child rearing is crucial and children are entitled to a family.

    Otherwise, we recognize marriages between people with prior sealings who intend to be married for this life only. Theologically, at most there is no difference, if the harshest positions are accepted.

    Otherwise, Paul is addressing heterosexuals engaged in ss adultery for birth control purposes as well documented in Hellenic culture of the time. No one is suggesting a change in that.

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  10. Mike S on May 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    #5 Nick:

    Good question. In 2010, the top three classes of medications in order nationally were #1 anti-cholesterol medications, #2 anti-depressants, and #3 narcotics.

    So, DMBA has a similar trend, with #1 anti-depressants and #2 narcotics. Utah is likely lower in anti-cholesterol drugs because the West tends to be less obese than the SE, but that’s just my own opinion.

    Statistics aside, the real point of the comment was to point out the nebulous nature of “happiness” in statements such as “wickedness never was happiness”. At least from a standpoint of anti-depressant and narcotic use, it doesn’t seem that Utah is particularly more “happy” than anywhere else.

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  11. Owyhee Observer on May 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Firetag; Latter-day Saint cosmology doesn’t need a “theological escape route” or alleged “modernization” for our doctrinal advancement and growth. As stated in the ninth Article of Faith, “…we believe that He (God) will yet reveal many great and important things pertains to the Kingdom of God.” Thus, all it would take is a revelation to be impetus for change. Will such a revelation come? Hard to say. The Prophet Joseph taught that one has to be open and willing to receive and accept such Divine knowledge before you can receive it. You are correct that for such a revelation to have traction it would have to include more than a consent to allow same gender marriage. For example, what is the ultimate destiny of such partnerships? Are they for mere time or are they eternal? Are celestialized bodies physiologically different from mortal bodies? Could a celestialized male body bring forth spirit children? Can the partners be heirs to all that potentially await heterosexual partners after they achieve perfection? Science presently is of the mind that all lifeforms in the universe are very likely carbon based, but that needn’t mean that their physiology is exactly like ours. So if in the resurrection, we might lose certain internal organs we had in mortality and those are replaced with organs necessary to a celestial eternal being, while still maintaining the same gender as in mortality, wouldn’t that conceivably mean that there could be a role and a place for same sex partnerships?
    For most of the last century, homosexuals were condemned for their hedonism, lust, lasciviousness and lack of love and emotional commitment to their sexual partners. In reality, however, there were many gay commited relationships that lasted for their lifetimes, but the heterosexual world wasn’t interested in knowing or even hearing about that. Now same sex partners are asserting their right to make a formal, legal commitment to each other for life and
    they are being resisted just as rabidly as they were once condemned.
    To say that gay marriage is a threat to traditional marriage is rapidly moving from the ridiculous to the absurd, here in the U.S. divorce rates remain high and new marriages have dropped to an all time low. It appears that the heterosexuals, singlehandedly, have the self-destruction of marriage as an institution well in hand.
    The Gospels proclaim that “God is love”, and I’ve never seen a footnote that said, “*heterosexuals only”. Yet many believe that only heterosexuals are capable of genuine love.
    My partner died 41 years ago, and I have chosen to remain alone. Why? Because I have never met a man who was his equal. He wasn’t perfect, but he was extraordinarily exceptional. He even warned me early on that it was revealed to him that his life would be short. He wanted me to know that my love for him would bring sorrow and pain. I told him that it didn’t matter.
    Those who know me say that my love for him has made me blind. Perhaps so. We spent a year and a half getting to know each other before we decided to deepen our commitment with intimacy. As we were preparing to go to college together he was killed in an accident. I take serious issue when I hear people say that gays don’t “deserve” marriage because they don’t know what real love is or how to be committed to another human being. Will the L.D.S. Church ever change it’s stance on same sex marriage? Only if God deems the time is right. Then the revelation will come and with it the new light and knowledge to understand it.

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  12. FireTag on May 16, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Owyhee Observer:

    I think the Book of Moses already provides the necessary revelation. Joseph just didn’t have the concepts within 19th Century science to understand what he was being shown.

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  13. FireTag on May 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    O. O.

    As to your point that heterosexual relationships are not the only kind of loving relationships that can exist, I would agree totally. That’s why the definition of monogamy can be made inclusive of SSM without doing violence to CofChrist theology.

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  14. Ender2k on May 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    @Firetag

    What do you mean?

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  15. Henry on May 16, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Andrew S.
    Can you address this/answer my question? If a church member encourages someone to go down the road of homosexuality and that person never repents and arrives at judgement day without having repented, how does this NOT jeopardize that member’s exaltation? It’s the same as if a member encourages another person to cmommit murder . You approve of it, you encourage it. Why would this member not think that their own exaltation was not in jeopardy?

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  16. Owyhee Observer on May 16, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    F.T.; I didn’t think that the Comm. of Christ
    accepted the Book of Moses or the Pearl of Great Price. In fact, from what I have heard the Comm. of Christ desires and is headed for acceptance into mainstream Protestantism and will eventually repudiate every vestige of “Mormonism” from Joseph’s First Vision, the Book of Mormon as being of Divine authenticity, and all of Joseph’s teachings up to his martyrdom. Whether that be the case or not, Sister Emma was right when as she was nearing death she told her surviving children, “I have always known that your father was exactly what he claimed to be, a prophet of God.” (Note: don’t take offense at my abbreviation of your church’s name. You see, there already is an existing denomination calling itself the Church of Christ or C. of Christ. Hence, Comm. of Christ seems to more accurately represent your Community of Christ Church.) The Church of Christ and it’s membership would not accept as true the doctrines you espoused in
    your earlier comment.

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  17. Owyhee Observer on May 16, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Henry, no church member can “encourage” another member to “go down the road to homosexuality”. First, homosexuality is not a choice, but acting on homosexual urges is[a choice]. (If you think that it is a choice, then I challenge you to this mental exercise: try spending two weeks [14 days] looking at men and thinking of sexual intimacy with them. Try to get genuinely excited at the prospect of it. You will find that you will fail miserably and that is because you are already hardwired not to do so. Whereas, if you succeed in engendering those feelings in yourself, and they are genuine, then you had best reconsider the automatic suppositions you made about your sexual orientation.) Everyone is ultimately responsible for the choices they make in this life, whether they were influenced by another or not. You would have to have the backbone of a chocolate eclair to allow yourself to abdicate all your ability to reason and think for yourself to totally defer to another person’s opinion. That only happens in politics and you have to have lots of superpac money to make it work. The average Latter-day Saint with a testimony has the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, his/her knowledge of the principles of the Gospel and their own rational faculties to actively guide them in such moments of decision. With all of that
    Divine guidance, a person’s sovereignty to make choices for themselves is protected and maintained.

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  18. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! I’ll try to address some of the comments now that I have some time.

    re 1,

    Nick,

    …I think you’ve missed a common LDS spin-off from this proposition. In my 26 years as an LDS member, I generally heard Lehi’s speech placed in an eternal context. Simply put, many very “evil” people appear to be happy, so Lehi’s words don’t pan out in a temporal setting. Therefore, many LDS interpret Lehi to say that one might feel “happy” right now in their wickedness, but after this life that person will be miserable in their resulting damnation. Similarly, I’ve seen many LDS sources distinguish between “happiness” as temporary pleasure (often associating “pleasure” with hedonism), vs. “joy” as lasting/eternal bliss.

    I actually have heard these perspectives on this…the issue I see is that at some point, people have to argue for ideas of happiness and joy that are incredibly foreign to us. In other words, if we are the way that we are, and we enjoy certain things and do not enjoy other things, then isn’t it possible that what the church describes heaven as being like could be unappealing, or downright miserable for some of us? What a conundrum that would be.

    One thing I’ve heard in response to that is that some people say that we will be changed so that we will enjoy whatever heaven is like…but I try to point out that in this case, I wouldn’t be the one enjoying heaven…rather, my replacement would be.

    re 3,

    FireTag,

    I think for the LDS to find a similar theological escape route would require first a modernization of your cosmology so that you can keep the notion of eternal spiritual families, pre-mortal spiritual existence, the importance of lineage, etc. WITHOUT making less probable sexualities on earth some sort of design flaw. They aren’t; the universe works exactly as it is designed to work.

    I think podcasts like the relatively recent Mormon Matters one on homosexuality and Mormon theology address concerns like this. Basically, since a lot of the Mormon cosmology (especially regarding spirit birth, spirit families, etc.,) is tentative, we could de-emphasize the idea that spirit children are born by spirit mothers from spirit wombs. Then, in addition, we could emphasize the original Mormon ideals of creating *communities* and more expansive families from said community.

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  19. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    re 4,

    I Dwell in a Tent,

    Anyway, I think the church will continue to oppose SSA and SSM for the reasons set forth in church handbooks and other official statements. Simply put, any sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and woman are off limits. Period.

    I think other commenters have made the point well enough, but your summary of the church position has some issues. For example, the law of chastity makes sense when it is stated, “Any sexual relations outside of marriage are off limits.” That idealizes marriage and the companionship of marriage.

    But the church recognizes that there are some married gay and lesbian couples, so it adds on, “marriage between a man and a woman.” But this addition seems ad hoc…because in many ways, it is.

    re 5

    Nick,

    I think that is an extremely interesting story…I think that if more things like that happened consistently across the church, that would be quite progressive. Unfortunately, I know (and you probably know as well) people in similar circumstances who *are* still excommunicated, and various representatives of the church will tell them that the only way they can be readmitted is if they leave their marriage. Sad.

    re 6:

    Douglas,

    I guess what I’m asking is for you to provide the Mormon backing for the continued opposition. You say:

    The LGBT types can likewise “wrest” with the issue; the Prophet has made the Lord’s position known and doesn’t mince words. Still, he invites all to repent and come to Christ.

    But this is how I see it. The Prophet has made (and continues to make) the Lord’s position known and doesn’t mince words: get married. Don’t put it off. Start a family.

    So, to me, it seems that any message to the contrary (don’t get married. Don’t find companionship. Stay single) is “wresting” with the issue. The church will need to create a different theme if it wants to assert this latter claim.

    So that’s what I’m asking for here. I’m saying, for the church to continue to oppose gay marriage and gay relationships, how does it justify that with its overwhelming message that 1) marriage is essential and 2) celibacy is certainly not an option people should be choosing.

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  20. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    re 15,

    Henry,

    Can you address this/answer my question? If a church member encourages someone to go down the road of homosexuality and that person never repents and arrives at judgement day without having repented, how does this NOT jeopardize that member’s exaltation? It’s the same as if a member encourages another person to cmommit murder . You approve of it, you encourage it. Why would this member not think that their own exaltation was not in jeopardy?

    …I would say it’s your issue (not mine) if you think marriage is similar to murder.

    I would additionally say it’s your issue (not mine) if you think that the grace of God and Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice is too weak to cover the sins of a sinner.

    I’ll give you a riddle: would you rather have a gay person pushed out of the church because the church asks him to do something that it claims is not an acceptable option for any of its other members…or to have a gay person in a committed relationship stay active in the church? Or, alternatively, which person — the church member or the non-church member — stands a greater chance at salvation and exaltation?

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  21. MoHoHawaii on May 16, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Someone recently compared SSM to sushi:

    “Sushi is the gay marriage of food. For centuries Americans thought it was disgusting to eat raw fish. But once some people started doing it more visibly, and people habituated to it, the disgust factor decreased and sushi became OK. ”

    My elderly relatives in Idaho are physically repulsed by the idea of sushi. All the young people I know are fine with the idea, even if they prefer a diet of red meat. It’s become a generational difference, like acceptance of gay people in society.

    I get the ick factor. It’s what people often feel they encounter sexual diversity. Not one’s cup of tea is a concept we can all understand. The problem is that once you start organizing and going door to door and raising millions of dollars for sleazy political ads against others who are doing no harm to you, it’s hard to make a case that it’s not just animus.

    One final comment. The more against SSM a W&T commenter is the more their focus seems to be on sex acts. To gay readers this insistent focus on sex is very, very weird. What motivates us is love– we get the same kinds of intimacy, completion and joy out of our spousal relationships as you do from yours. Physical intimacy is certainly part of the mix, but it’s only one aspect among many others. Even in the emotional areas (putting aside the physical for a moment), the gender of our partner matters. That it matters so much is the mystery of romantic passion.

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  22. Cogs on May 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Regarding the linked articles, irrespective of his other arguments, it basically lost me when the word “unbiblical” came up. To me that’s a catch-word for “Now entering modern conservative evangelical theology — accepted standards of historical inquiry need not apply.”

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  23. Henry on May 16, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Andrew S
    The question is still not answered. If I come to you and confide to you that I want to go down this road and you encourage rather than discourage me and I never repent, are you jeopardizing your own exaltation?

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  24. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    re 21

    MHH,

    Interesting analogy with the sushi. I can definitely agree that things go too far when people put money into full-out political campaigns…I mean, even if someone doesn’t like a particular food, would they campaign against anyone being able to enjoy it?

    re 22

    Cogs,

    I have a feeling of what you might mean here, but could you elaborate to further the discussion.

    re 23,

    Henry,

    I still don’t get what you’re trying to go here. What would there be to repent of? And why would I be jeopardizing my exaltation in any way?

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  25. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    I’ve been thinking about this all day, after thinking about this a lot for years. This is an issue that I keep on a shelf, bring down, turn over and over in my hands, ask a lot of questions about, and ultimately set back up on the shelf.

    I have very close friends who are LGBT and they span the whole spectrum of choice and experience from being unwilling to discuss it or be outed at all (and staying in the church) to living a partnered lifestyle (and leaving the church.) I am immersed in compassion for my friends and I get that the doctrines of the church that teach heterosexual pairing and eternal families are deeply painful.

    I also get that if I spend much time thinking about the way the temple is structured, I can’t get away from the centrality of opposition in the sexes and their eventual unity. That God has chosen, repeatedly, to make marriage between a man and a woman who create offspring, and that even when he stepped outside monogamous relationships, it was still between a man and a woman creating offspring, I’m led to believe that this is important.

    I’m a huge believer that this life imparts to us only the tiniest fraction of a view of eternity, even through the assistance of prophets, and that’s the plan. I’m in the midst of writing a post about that now and how we deal with our limited view. To me, it goes back to what Joseph said in Lecture the Sixth (AoF) – to develop faith one must know that God is, have a true idea of Godly character, and have a confidence that one’s life is acceptable and appropriate.

    Life is about developing faith, or having confidence in and love for God. That means that when his prophets speak repeatedly on an issue, if I want faith, I seek for my own knowledge about that issue, and I trust my God until I know the issue in its entirety. If I want faith, I align my life and choices with his directives and then I gain confidence that my choices are aligned, and I gain power and wisdom and discernment through that faith.

    I have a friend who is walking that path. She is celibate, strong, and powerful. She does not know how this will all turn out, but she trusts God and she also puts this on the shelf. I am celibate as a divorced woman too, both sexually and in terms of intimate, supportive relationships, because one obviously does not seek those out with married people of either gender (!) though I genuinely appreciate MoHoHawaii’s comments about what drives us to relationships. Both my friend and I believe that the loneliness we sometimes feel in our different states will be resolved by a loving God, though neither of us would like to be “fixed up” eternally. There are other opportunities to find happiness, and we seek after those things.

    Jesus said that we would be better off to go through life minus body parts (obviously that is Hebraic hyperbole) than to sin, that we would be better off walking two miles when it wasn’t fair or getting slapped twice when we didn’t do anything wrong than to take a chance at offending the spirit. Obedience is unromantic, but it’s a powerful builder of capacity, and I think when we don’t have the long view, we either trust the one who does or we don’t. I trust him. Come what may and love it.

    As has repeatedly been said, however, I don’t think that view gives me any right to stand in judgment of someone who thinks differently, and though temple blessings may be denied someone who chooses to live a homosexual lifestyle (precisely because of covenants made there), I don’t for a minute think that church membership should be a question.

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  26. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Mormon Midrashim in March wrote a 4-part series with an interesting twist to the gay marriage conversation. You can find it at: http://mormonmidrashim.blogspot.com/2012/03/four-part-series-on-gay-marriage-and.html

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  27. Jeremiah S on May 16, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Bonnie,

    I appreciate your comments. I am trying to make that celibate choice in the face of overwhelming desires to be partnered with another man.

    People like me don’t have the luxury of putting this issue on a shelf–we have to live with the consequences of our choices every single day. I used to think that I was somehow superior to other gay people because I have chosen celibacy–I was so very wrong. The depth of the pain of not only loneliness but hopelessness is so very poignant that I just can’t be judgmental anymore about their choice to be with someone. I just wish that our heterosexual brothers and sisters in the church would find a little bit of compassion in their hearts for the Sophie’s choice we have to make.

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  28. Stephen Marsh on May 16, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Bonnie: I read http://mormonmidrashim.blogspot.com/2012/03/part-four-in-which-i-finally-get-to-gay.html which to me seems to be an argument in favor of federalism.

    It also goes to the gay couples I know who are very much interested in parenting children and thus militates for marriage between any two people with children.

    Interesting thoughts though, similar to Jane Galt’s.

    http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

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  29. Henry on May 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Andrew S
    A person comes to you saying that they want to throw themselves into the gay lifestyle. You can react in one of 2 ways.

    1. Go for it. Nothing wrong with it.
    2. Strongly discourage it. Counsel with your bishop but you highly advise him/her not to participate in this lifestyle.
    3. You advise him to go for it saying that you think homosexuality is okay.
    3. The person never repents and arrives at judgement day having to answer for it.
    4. In mortality, you advised the person to go for it. Remember that an active homosexual lifestlye is incompatible with the teachings of the LDS church.
    5. By having encouraged this person to pursue the homosexual lifestyle rather than advising him at all costs to steer clear, have you jeopardized your own exaltation?

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  30. Henry on May 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Jeremiah:
    I hope you continue to pursue the path you have described.
    Once you are immersed in the lifestyle, it’s extremely hard to shake it off.
    Not something to mess with.

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  31. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    re 25,

    Bonnie,

    I also get that if I spend much time thinking about the way the temple is structured, I can’t get away from the centrality of opposition in the sexes and their eventual unity. That God has chosen, repeatedly, to make marriage between a man and a woman who create offspring, and that even when he stepped outside monogamous relationships, it was still between a man and a woman creating offspring, I’m led to believe that this is important.

    At the risk of completely blowing any credibility I ever had, I’ll concede that I don’t have experience with the most sacred aspects of the temple. So, I can’t completely speak to the points you mention.

    However, when I hear the idea of the “central opposition of the sexes,” I sometimes feel that this overstates the differences of the sexes and understates the differences that we have to each other as individuals. Maybe this will sound naive, but I like viewing marriage and family as being ways to grow with one another by having to deal — and love — people with very different ways of experiencing the world. So to me, difference is importance…and learning to love, to understand, and to live with people who are profoundly different than I am is of great value.

    But it seems to me that difference is not just between man and woman, and neither may the most critical difference to be reconciled be between man and woman.

    So, I feel we are called to form various kinds of relationships, and love and serve many different people. I feel that’s why we have wards in addition to nuclear families…just like our family of orientation or our family of procreation…we don’t really choose our fellow ward members, but we are still tasked to grow with them.

    But let me move back to describing my position on the more intimate companionship and friendship within marriage…one of my biggest questions is: what is it that causes me to be willing to give someone else a chance? To be willing to love and to appreciate their difference?

    Because, I know that I am not that great of a person. I can annoy pretty easily with people, and so I won’t engage and learn from them. I suspect that many people are like this.

    In one sense, I can *choose* to engage, despite my day-to-day annoyances. In other words, to be active in the church is to choose to engage with fellow imperfect people, even though they are imperfect.

    But I think that attraction is a way that biology has primed us to do this as well. It causes us to allow ourselves to be vulnerable with someone and to accept their weaknesses as well…but we can’t rely upon that sense of having “fallen in love” to persist forever…we have to learn to love beyond and greater than that.

    So…for me, I can see that possibility as happening both with straight and gay relationships…

    Anyway, that was a mouthful. Let me take the time to respond more to some of the things you have written…

    To me, it goes back to what Joseph said in Lecture the Sixth (AoF) – to develop faith one must know that God is, have a true idea of Godly character, and have a confidence that one’s life is acceptable and appropriate.

    Life is about developing faith, or having confidence in and love for God. That means that when his prophets speak repeatedly on an issue, if I want faith, I seek for my own knowledge about that issue, and I trust my God until I know the issue in its entirety. If I want faith, I align my life and choices with his directives and then I gain confidence that my choices are aligned, and I gain power and wisdom and discernment through that faith.

    What I find most interesting here is that you mention God far more than you mention prophets, but when you mention prophets, you mention it as “his prophets.” So, the important thing, you clarify, is to “align [your] life and choices with [God's] directives.”

    But different people come with a different awareness of what those directives might be. And I mean, I’m not just saying that in the sense that different people can have different religions. I’m also saying that in the sense that within Mormonism, people can receive different revelations, different answers to prayers, particular to their situation. We still have to ponder what the prophets say, to figure out when they speak as prophets…we have to remember that they — and we — both see through a glass, darkly. So, it’s less clear-cut, in my experience.

    I have a friend who is walking that path. She is celibate, strong, and powerful. She does not know how this will all turn out, but she trusts God and she also puts this on the shelf. I am celibate as a divorced woman too, both sexually and in terms of intimate, supportive relationships, because one obviously does not seek those out with married people of either gender (!) though I genuinely appreciate MoHoHawaii’s comments about what drives us to relationships. Both my friend and I believe that the loneliness we sometimes feel in our different states will be resolved by a loving God, though neither of us would like to be “fixed up” eternally. There are other opportunities to find happiness, and we seek after those things.

    I appreciate hearing stories like this. I think it is a sign of strength. But at the same time…even though I didn’t comment in response to it, when I read comments like the one that Owyhee Observer makes in 11, I sense some of the same strength, loyalty, and commitment.

    But at the same time, I feel that this kind of strength and loyalty is far more enshrined in, say, the Orthodox Christian community, where that is the ideal of “radical monogamy.” I don’t see it as much as being a Mormon ideal.

    Jesus said that we would be better off to go through life minus body parts (obviously that is Hebraic hyperbole) than to sin, that we would be better off walking two miles when it wasn’t fair or getting slapped twice when we didn’t do anything wrong than to take a chance at offending the spirit. Obedience is unromantic, but it’s a powerful builder of capacity, and I think when we don’t have the long view, we either trust the one who does or we don’t. I trust him. Come what may and love it.

    I hear what you’re saying here…but then I wonder why this is leading to such drastically different conclusions. When Paul says similarly that “it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (in sexual immorality), I wonder, “so why is it not better for gays to marry than to burn with passion”?

    Again, I understand that the “obedience is unromantic” concept finds a far stronger institutional position in a tradition like Orthodox Christianity. But in Mormonism we see far more the value of companionship. There just doesn’t seem to be as much valuation of lifelong celibacy.

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  32. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    re 29,

    Henry,

    1. Go for it. Nothing wrong with it.
    2. Strongly discourage it. Counsel with your bishop but you highly advise him/her not to participate in this lifestyle.
    3. You advise him to go for it saying that you think homosexuality is okay.
    3. The person never repents and arrives at judgement day having to answer for it.
    4. In mortality, you advised the person to go for it. Remember that an active homosexual lifestlye is incompatible with the teachings of the LDS church.
    5. By having encouraged this person to pursue the homosexual lifestyle rather than advising him at all costs to steer clear, have you jeopardized your own exaltation?

    I think we need to step back one step. Let’s go to your point 4. “Remember that an active homosexual lifestyle is incompatible with the teachings of the LDS church.”

    What is incompatible with the teachings of the LDS church? The church says 1) marriage is critical. Family is critical. Each general conference we hear that young men and women are not to put off marriage. They are not to choose to remain single. They are to actively pursue companionship and marriage. It is critical.

    This is the big deal. Because family is central to the church.

    The church then adds as an aside: “oh, but gay members should be celibate.”

    So, the question is: that last line doesn’t fit with everything else that was said. What else can you say to make it fit in an LDS context? Why is gay marriage incompatible with that teaching? Why is a gay family excluded?

    Without satisfactorily answering that, this entire scenario doesn’t make sense.

    But let’s suppose that you come up with an answer there…let’s run your scenario again.

    A person comes to you saying that they want to throw themselves into the gay lifestyle. You can react in one of 2 ways.

    1. Go for it. Nothing wrong with it.
    2. Strongly discourage it. Counsel with your bishop but you highly advise him/her not to participate in this lifestyle.
    3. You advise him to go for it saying that you think homosexuality is okay.
    3. The person never repents and arrives at judgement day having to answer for it.
    4. In mortality, you advised the person to go for it. Remember that an active homosexual lifestlye is incompatible with the teachings of the LDS church.
    5. By having encouraged this person to pursue the homosexual lifestyle rather than advising him at all costs to steer clear, have you jeopardized your own exaltation?

    Each individual makes his own choices. Why is my exaltation jeopardized in any way? Consider this: I am not responsible for someone else’s repentance even if I do tell them to repent.

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  33. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    JeremiahS – I am sorry more people are not expressing profound empathy for your choice, and I really do understand that it can be a difficult thing to put on the shelf. I recognize that in many ways, your path is harder than mine (though comparison is not a productive conversation) in that developing out-of-bounds relationships is much less acceptable for me than it is for you. An entire group of people rise up and insist that your choice of companion, what you really want, *should* be your choice. That makes it so much harder for you and I get that. Nobody’s rising up to tell me that it’s my right to woo away some happily married man – and the social belief system within the church supports my need to accept my lot. I’m sure you also feel that pressure and that it can help – I just think “the world out there” makes is a lot harder to do what we feel is right when they tell us how wronged we’ve been.

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  34. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Andrew – You have a very long argument there for a very simple statement. I don’t mean “difference” when I say “opposition” – I mean a categorical opposition. I concede that all of us are different and that the superficial differences between men and women can as easily be ascribed to culture or something else transitory as to gender. Opposition, however, is a concept deeply embedded in our conversation with God, both in scripture and in the temple. Asherah and Elohim, with their offspring Jehovah, form an eternal triangle that is repeated throughout creation. We’re reminded that we participate in that triangle spiritually as child and then practice as parent. There is reason that the PotF is child-centered; the plan is child-centered. The purpose of parents, homes, and even all righteousness is *children* and everything revolves around that. It is his work and his glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of *his children* – we are the center of the plan. If we wish to participate in the fullness of the plan, we look forward to an eternity of child-centeredness. Because our biology is set up to require opposites to create children, our potential parenthood frames the entire debate about eternal union.

    Amos says that when the prophet speaks it is as if God spoke, and we can debate all day and all night about when a prophet is a prophet, but I think it’s safe to say that when prophets stand in GC and speak about marriage, they’re speaking as prophets, not men. They have spoken on the issue of marriage, union, families, etc. – there has been no equivocation and no misunderstanding. We are told that when our conversation with God is contrary to the official voice of the prophet, we are in less safe territory. Only the prophet speaks for the church. It’s a clear razor.

    Nobody’s saying that gays living in committed relationships are less capable of honor, loyalty, or strength than those who choose celibacy. But when we look at the two greatest commandments (love God, and love each other) notice which one comes first. “The World,” if I may refer to such an amorphous place, overbalances everything by reversing those two priorities.

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  35. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Yes, Stephen, I think so. It’s an interesting tack, I think. I’m not sure what to make of it. I’ll have to read Jane’s when I can. Thanks for the link.

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  36. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Hey Stephen, where’s the reference on Pres. Hinckley stating that we’ll have to have civil unions? The closest I could remember was the conversation on Larry King, but he didn’t go that far.

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  37. FireTag on May 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Ender2K:

    See the link below for an analysis of the current ethical stance on human sexuality being considered by the CofChrist.

    http://www.wheatandtares.org/2012/05/12/community-of-christ-drafts-statement-on-sexual-ethics/

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  38. Angie F on May 16, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Bonnie: I agree that fellowship, regardless of lifestyle is important and essential. I agree that temple blessings should not be extended to someone engaged in a homosexual lifestyle. Where I’m stuck is the idea that church membership not be dependent upon fidelity to commandments. No one I taught on my mission who was unchaste (many, many unmarried families in Brazil) was permitted to be baptized. Adults who engage in unchaste choices jeopardize their membership, though that usually takes the form of disfellowship these days. Should the law of chastity be applied unevenly? I don’t think so. I like your comparison of your celibate life as a divorced woman with your SSA friend also living a celibate life. The rules apply equally. I don’t think Jesus saying it’s better to go through life w/o body parts is hyperbole at all. He similarly says that some will be asked to leave family members for the kingdom and we know that’s not hyperbole.

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  39. FireTag on May 16, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    O. O.:

    I wonder myself quite often where the CofChrist is headed in regard to Protestantism; I’m personally going to stay on the Restoration side of the Protestant/Restoration interface.

    You are, however, somewhat mistaken about the status of most of The Pearl of Great Price in the CofChrist. We do not accept the Book of Abraham, quite notably, but many portions of TPoGP are incorporated directly into our canon as D&C sections or directly into our Inspired Version of the Bible. We don’t use your names for them, and I try to use LDS names in this forum to avoid confusion. The canonical split tends to occur around 1835, again with a couple of exceptions.

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  40. FireTag on May 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    #24

    Andrew:

    “I mean, even if someone doesn’t like a particular food, would they campaign against anyone being able to enjoy it?”

    Well, only if it was a cheeseburger or something and you were the food police. :D

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  41. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    AngieF – You make an excellent correction. I did not intend to imply (though it definitely reads that way, poor word choice on my part) by “lifestyle” living a sexually-active life. I meant accepting one’s feelings of attraction and reaching out in understanding. The church has long drawn a line between thoughts and actions and I recognize that line. I agree that we should be applying the guidelines evenly.

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  42. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    re 26,

    Bonnie,

    Just got through reading that series of posts…but I’ll definitely have to keep pondering some of the things James brought up.

    re 34,

    I guess I’m just dense, but I’m not seeing how what you describe here would count as “opposition”?

    That being said, I get what you say about the child-focused triangle. But that makes me look back to several of the comments that Stephen has been making throughout the conversation regarding gay parents.

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  43. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Andrew – no debate here about whether or not gay parents make good parents. The key to me is the opposition – the balance of yin and yang – diametrically opposed biological beings creating life. Xs and Ys, uterus and semen, male and female, unified in the creation of a child. How do we become one? We create life together. There is great purpose to the creation being a story of preparing and then creating human life – it’s the culmination, the pinnacle of unity – the child is the unity. What we see here is a shadow, through a glass darkly. The unities that are possible for us are stages of creation leading up to the ultimate union of male and female eternally. We can’t keep trying to subvert an eternal pattern to fit a temporal inconvenience, and thankfully we’re not left in the dark about it. The counsel from God has been clear for a very long time.

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  44. FireTag on May 16, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    I appreciate the commitments expressed in so many of these comments to live according to the principles of the Gospel as you understand them. That seems to be common even when the commenters speak from very different learned principles (and even from different beliefs about how we obtain principles.

    I never knew of anyone who was “out” as LGBT until I moved to New York in the mid-1970’s. (That was a culture shock and a half; on my first trip to date my future wife, somebody through a rock through the bus window before we made it back to her apartment from the airport.) If my church had not just struggled with, and adopted its Section 150, perhaps my reaction might have been like Henry’s. But we HAD just been given the principle that “monogamy is the basis of Christian marriage”, and so, because I “knew the algorithm” to apply, it WAS just much easier to deal with than sushi.

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  45. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    FT – I love your analogy of the algorithm. We could call it the parable of the parabola.

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  46. Andrew S on May 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    re 43,

    Bonnie,

    I guess the reason why I don’t see it is because none of these seem opposed biologically. X and Y aren’t opposed. Uterus and semen aren’t opposed. Male and female aren’t opposed. I am reminded of MH’s post from last week on gender and intersex to this point.

    Nevertheless, even without the opposition, I can get your point about the child being the unity. I find the following sentence curious, though:

    We can’t keep trying to subvert an eternal pattern to fit a temporal inconvenience, and thankfully we’re not left in the dark about it.

    if only because I suspect we’re still coming to quite different conclusions about the eternal pattern, and the temporal inconvenience, etc.,

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  47. Bonnie on May 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    MH’s post notwithstanding (and it sure does complicate the issue), X & Y are usually opposed in that one has either one or the other. Exclusivity is a rhetorical standard.

    I’m really curious what you view the eternal standard as, assuming that you reject the PotF or see it as addressing temporal things? And isn’t faith by definition inconvenient, God asking things of us that are stretching and not immediately satisfying? Where do you see the temporal inconvenience, the price for faith?

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  48. Vajra on May 17, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    Long-haired preachers come out every night,
    Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
    But when asked how ’bout something to eat
    They will answer with voices so sweet:

    Chorus:
    You will eat, bye and bye,
    In that glorious land above the sky;
    Work and pray, live on hay,
    You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

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  49. hawkgrrrl on May 17, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Jeremiah S: “I appreciate your comments. I am trying to make that celibate choice in the face of overwhelming desires to be partnered with another man.” I wonder if this is what Paul meant when he said “It is better to marry than to burn.” Honestly, I always assumed Paul was gay. Or one of the scribes who wrote down his stuff was.

    I also enjoyed MoHo’s sushi analogy. I believe it’s spot on as to why people justify prejudice against gay people: they are squeamish about gay sex.

    I have a problem with the phrase “gay lifestyle.” It sounds like some 70s swinger club where men in double knit slacks and tight turtlenecks meet up for drinks and to play tennis. Would you give up a church you believe wholeheartedly in for a “lifestyle”? It makes it sound very whimsical, which just doesn’t seem right to me.

    Bonnie’s point about the opposition of the two sexes merits discussion. There are 2 views: 1) the sexes are opposite and therefore complementary (e.g. spouses are reunited two halves of one whole – we are not complete without our opposite sex spouse), OR 2) individual people are whole, containing both male and female elements (in Jungian terms anima and animus). The underlying mythology for the 1st version is the creature that was both male and female that was cut down the center and has been searching for its missing half ever since.

    Theologically, we seem to align more to the first concept than the second. But I don’t think it has to be that way. I think it’s accidental. That was simply the concept in vogue at the time. Assumption isn’t necessarily truth.

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  50. Ender2k on May 17, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    @Firetag

    Sorry, I was mobile yesterday. I was actually referring to #12. Wondering if you could expand more regarding how the Book of Moses applies.

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  51. Andrew S on May 17, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    re 47,

    Bonnie,

    (First, I apologize for all of these over-sized comments in response to your very succinct, to the point comments. My one major weakness, I will admit, is that I’m long-winded. It’s a huge fault. Trying to work on it, but not making much progress.)

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to look at MH’s post and then say, “MH’s post notwithstanding…” because the entire point is the post is that the magnitude and prevalence of intersex issues cast doubt on many of our assumptions regarding sex, gender, gender, roles, etc.,

    So, you might say “X & Y are usually opposed in that one has either one or the other,” but your “usually” has to be tempered (all possibilities that currently exist that are not “XX” or “XY”…such as “XXY”). But that’s not all…then you also have to temper your decision to use X and Y as the decisive criteria against decisions to use other things (e.g., in a previous comment, you mention “uterus and semen.” But very notably…these do not easily match up to the “XX” and “XY” point.

    I reiterate…these are not just “exceptions” that “prove the rule.” Rather, if the prevalence doesn’t cause us to reconsider that the rule should be far more diverse than we currently suppose, at the very least, it should cause us to take caution in going too far further with what we believe the “rule” implies.

    That’s why I suspect we come to different conclusion about “eternal pattern” vs. “temporal inconvenience,” and not being left in the dark about these things — for me, the eternal pattern has to get BEYOND the temporal inconvenience of physical DNA (XX and XY), and the expression these DNA can have.

    I’m really curious what you view the eternal standard as, assuming that you reject the PotF or see it as addressing temporal things?

    Hmm…I think I’m cool with the statement that gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. That doesn’t tell me what gender is, how gender interacts with sex, how gender interacts with sexuality, and how gender interacts with gender roles. But I’m OK with that. It also doesn’t tell me how *eternal* gender interacts with *fallen* bodies. That’s probably where I’d take a different position than is traditional.

    I feel that the spirit of the message can easily be speaking to eternal things (the family is ordained of God. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally) but I feel people read a lot of things into it that are probably contextually implied, but which are never explicitly stated (and perhaps that is a sign of divine influence right there?).

    For example, let’s take: “Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. ”

    OK, cool. I can go with that. It’s not like I’m *against* straight folks marrying, having children, and raising those children with complete fidelity.

    But for me, this says *nothing* about gay marriage. Nothing positive, but also nothing negative. Stating that marriage between man and woman is essential to God’s eternal plan doesn’t state that marriage between men or between women is impossible, bad, contrary to, or inessential to God’s plan. Stating that children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony doesn’t make any statement about what happens or what should happen if they are not born within those bonds, or reared by father and mother. It also doesn’t make any statement about what happens in the afterlife for spirit birth.

    So I could perhaps say that I think that *people* often address temporal things, and wrap it up with the eternal message?

    …I’ll be totally candid, though, since I haven’t explicitly mentioned it in this thread up until this point: you shouldn’t come to me for any sort of orthodox, traditional Mormon position. I’m not that guy. I am the fringiest of fringe Mormons, struggling to fight against just giving it up 100%. Earlier, you said “we are in less safe territory” when our conversation with God is contrary to the official voice of the prophet. If that is so, then I am in DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, territory, seeing as I struggle to hear God at all. (And even that’s not strictly true. I don’t struggle to hear God. I simply don’t.)

    And isn’t faith by definition inconvenient, God asking things of us that are stretching and not immediately satisfying? Where do you see the temporal inconvenience, the price for faith?

    I don’t doubt that faith is inconvenient, but I think we have to look holistically at what a tradition in question describes the inconvenience that is expected.

    I’m sure it doesn’t need to be stated, but relationships are no cakewalk. It’s not like everything is sunshine and roses. So, I’m not saying that people should do whatever they want. I’m saying that committed monogamy is stretching. A committed relationship will have times where it is “not immediately satisfying.” Loyalty is often “temporally inconvenient.” (These are all things that should go without saying, I feel?)

    And I feel that the stretching, delayed/deferred satisfaction, and temporal inconvenience of relationships makes more sense than the stretching, delayed/deferred satisfaction, and temporal inconvenience of celibacy in a Mormon context.

    Let me put it in a different way. Let’s take it out of marriage…and speak of relationships more platonically. There are certainly some religious traditions that place institutional value on monasticism…on segregation away from other people, or from society. In these religious traditions, I believe that the stretching, delayed/deferred satisfaction, and temporal inconvenience associated with this ascetic or monastic life can be very soul enlarging.

    However, just as with intimate relationships, I would say that such a path doesn’t make sense holistically from a Mormon context. Mormons don’t have an institutional valuation of monasticism. Instead, we have a tradition of stretching ourselves through engagement with communities. E.g., our wards. Even though humans are social creatures, that doesn’t mean that there is no stretching possible from social interaction through our wards. We still stretch to love and serve people very different from us. Disfellowshipment and excommunication are big deals because of the social nature of Mormonism…being cut off from the community is how you are cut off from God (at least institutionally.)

    That’s why I write this post. I feel there are traditions which institutionally create a space for the celibate, single member, in the same way that I feel that there are traditions which institutionally create a space for the monastic, privately devoted life. But I don’t feel Mormonism is such a tradition.

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  52. Henry on May 17, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    I still think that LDS church members who encourage others to pursue this path rather than repentance jeopardize their own exaltation. How could you not? When you espouse SSM, you are openly going against the church.

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  53. Andrew S on May 17, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    re 52,

    Henry,

    I don’t the big hole here is that you haven’t explained how one person’s exaltation is dependent on another person’s repentance. You keep saying things like “How could you not?” as if this idea is self-evident, but you haven’t explained why anyone should believe this to be the case.

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  54. I Dwell In A Tent on May 17, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    I think Henry’s analogy is to people who encourage or assist someone in obtaining an abortion are viewed as committing a sin, also. So, is encouraging someone to live what the Church teaches is “sin” (homosexual sexual relations outside of a man – woman marriage) a sin? I’d have to say yes, the same way it would be wrong to encourage a hetersexual couple to have sexual relations outside of marriage. The church’s position is pretty clear that it’s the behavior that is sinful, and that we all struggle with thoughts. I get where Henry is coming from, and though members can intellectualize how they can separate faithful membership from support for SSA/SSM, I personally don’t see it. If it were that simple, I would think you would see some leaders in the FP, Q12 or Q70 come out in support of SSA/SSM.

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  55. FireTag on May 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Ender2K:

    The easiest way to explain without a complete threadjack is to send you to the link below. Let me assure you that this is NOT official theology of the CofChrist, but the COSMOLOGY is top of the line 21st Century physics, and the questions it raises about the relationships between our bodies and our spirits are not going away in either Mormon, Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic theology.

    http://thefirestillburning.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/youve-read-this-post-before/

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  56. FireTag on May 17, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Andrew and Bonnie:

    I think the “eternal standard” for which we endure “temporal inconvenience” is to MAXIMIZE COMPLEXITY. God is experiencing, with and through His creation, all of the possibilities of existence. That means BOTH the elaboration of community AND the differentiation of community into individuality. The opposition of those two drives must exist, and the male-female individuality vs the united marriage is the example of the deeper elaboration than merely the male vs female itself.

    Henry:

    I do tend to think that one is responsible for any influence one can knowingly exert on another’s choices that affect that person’s fate. But that also applies if one exerts influence on a LGBT person to be straight and it turns out YOUR theology is incorrect. You can not have it both ways. You subject yourself to the “judgement with which you judge” is also a NT principle.

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  57. Owyhee Observer on May 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    To Jeremiah S. RE: #27
    As I have previously said in response to another commenter, ultimately the choice as to whether or not you partner with this man is fully and totally your choice. Don’t allow the issue to be clouded with the inane concept of “…choosing the homosexual lifestyle…”. This is about love and happiness, not about the design of clothing, furniture or domestic architecture that you prefer. No one seems to consider the possibility that God might have brought this man into your life for this very purpose. Is this man a believing Latter-day Saint? Does he share the same values as you do? Is his commitment to those values as strong as yours? Can you envision you both building a complementary life together? These are but a few things to consider in making your decision.
    I have three straight friends that married non-member women and all of them are inactive and their children were raised on the values of this world. You run the same risk if your prospective partner doesn’t share your faith and values. Despite avowals to respect your beliefs and standards, after the commitment has been made and you have merged your households, then often your standards and beliefs may become petty annoyances to a non-believer. Over time, the comments and criticisms will arise which can lead to devisive arguments. Most often at that stage, the concessions begin just to “keep peace in the house”. You find yourself being the one who, step by step, negotiates away your faith and beliefs. This is what happened in the lives of my three friends. They got their marriage and their children and the price they paid was they lost their Faith. The risk of this equally high for gay Latter-day Saints.
    But if your prospective partner is as deeply grounded in the Gospel and the Restored Church as you are, then give this man serious consideration and fast and pray for guidance. If God made your paths to cross He will let you know if your sharing a life together is right. If this man was led into your life to lead you away from the Gospel then very likely you will exerience is the “stupor of thought”. From that point the decision is solely and totally yours. I would never have committed to my partner if he hadn’t been the good and deeply spiritual man that hew was, and he said the same about me. Although, in all honestly, I felt then and still do now that it was I that was partnering “up”. I never fully understood why I was worthy of his love. Yet I was, and he reaffirmed his love and deep affection for me to someone else shortly before he died. Consider carefully then your choice, because this man could have been sent to you to alleviate your loneliness by a loving Heavenly Father. But it is up to you to find that out.

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  58. Henry on May 17, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Owyhee Observer

    The only problem here is that what you are suggesting is in stark contrast to LDS church teachings. I would submit that Heavely Father would like his children not to participate in gay sex. Otherwise, why all the scriptural warnings against it?

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  59. Nick Literski on May 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Two thoughts on Henry’s not-so-hypothetical question:
    (1) Henry, you’re attempting to “damn” my last stake president, a very good, compassionate man who understands that real life isn’t as “black and white” as you think it is.
    (2) Henry, suppose a gay LDS member came to you, and said that he (male) was considering marrying a woman, so he could be obedient to the highest LDS teachings regarding marriage and family. You are aware that the majority of such marriages end in divorces that are painful for the wives and children involved. If you encourage this man to enter into such a marriage, you may very well have contributed to the pain and suffering of this man and several others. You approved it, and you encouraged it. How could you not think that this would jeapordize your salvation?

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  60. Henry on May 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Nick:
    Would you stop what you are doing if you realized that it would keep you from your Heavely Father?

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  61. Nick Literski on May 17, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    You didn’t answer my question, Henry.

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  62. lucy on May 17, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    We can debate all day about whether wickedness is wickedness and whether happiness is happiness, but I testify that wickedness never was happiness and never will be.

    My heart aches for anyone who is struggling at this time with the aforementioned trials. God loves you. Jesus Christ loves and understands your dilemma. Please come unto Christ where true joy and happiness are found. You are my brothers and sisters and I love you. More importantly God loves you. He will help you.

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  63. Andrew S on May 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    …and when Christ continually tells you not to leave your same-sex spouse, listen to Christ.

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  64. Henry on May 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Douglas said it best

    These continual pathetic attempts to reconcile the practice of sodomy as being something that the Church will “have” to accept is wishful thinking. The Apostle Peter made a like observation in 2 Peter 3:16. The LGBT types can likewise “wrest” with the issue; the Prophet has made the Lord’s position known and doesn’t mince words. Still, he invites all to repent and come to Christ. I feel likewise. It’s not a pleasant thing to preach repentance. Yet I’d rather be unpopular if it will save even a few brothers/sisters from being snared by this brand of evil. Their souls are too important to worry about popular opinion.

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  65. FireTag on May 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Henry:

    And I’m sure Nick feels the same way, which is why he isn’t all that worried about the opinion you are expressing. “I’m right because God says so through the prophet” isn’t all that convincing to those who are hearing something else and know that present prophets don’t always agree with past prophets. In fact, I know there are a lot of Baptists who call all Mormons to repent of THEIR “heresy”. How convincing are their arguments to you?

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  66. Brian on May 17, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    #62…”I testify”…

    Oh, darn, that’s the end of this discussion.

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  67. Henry on May 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Brian:
    Why do have to mock her?

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  68. Nick Literski on May 17, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Manipulative tactics like trying to shut down a discussion by an appeal to authority deserve to be mocked. This isn’t sacrament meeting, Henry. This is not the place for someone to attempt to make their opinion “immune” to comments by intoning “I TESTIFY” as if that places them beyond question. Lucy made a pathetic attempt to “trump” the entire discussion by reciting “magic words” that she thought would invest her personal opinion with divine authority. While open pity may have been an appropriate response to her nonsense, mockery was quite understandable.

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  69. Henry on May 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Anyone that is opposed to gay marriage is bullied until they back down even on so called Mormon Blogs. Not me.

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  70. Brian on May 17, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Henry-good angel said one thing to me and the bad angel said something else. As usual, bad angel won out.

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  71. Bonnie on May 17, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Hawkgrrrl: I agree, the phrase “gay lifestyle” is awkward in inadequate. I retract. Poor word choice, as I indicated earlier. As for the two interpretations of opposition, I can hang with those and feel comfortable applying them each severally. However, my point was your option 1, with an eternal disclaimer. I will say it again and until I die, my perspective is that this life is the tiniest slice of eternity, our views are very limited and that serves our purposes for testing faith, and yet some decisions (like the choice to enter mortality) are supremely important. That’s why I think we have prophets, but that’s another thread. I feel like the role differentiation that comes with genders in opposition (with individual adaptations – I make a living anymore doing manual labor; I’m not getting preachy about cultural gender roles) is an eternally significant thing. Am I walking around half a person? Temporally, no, because of your option 2. Eternally, yes, for the time being, because I think my eternal end state is something other than my present state. But all of us are a fraction of who we’re intended to be.

    FireTag: EXACTLY!! I think. ;)

    Andrew: I actually read your comment before I headed out today and I’ve been thinking about it. First, I have to compliment you on only having one major weakness. ;)

    First, I made an assumption that we were talking about Mormon doctrinal understanding from a relatively similar position. Knowing that we are located at different positions changes the conversation entirely. I can’t assume that prophetic utterance is significant if we don’t have similar beliefs about the validity of prophetic utterance. I get that now, and I appreciate the clarification.

    I have a vignette that has been running through my head for several hours. I’m standing in a crowd watching as a group of men throw a half-draped woman down at Jesus’ feet while he’s trying to teach a doctrinal principle. They are applying an algorithm (thanks FireTag – I absolutely love how much I’m going to use that) and they demand that he spell out how he uses that algorithm in her specific case. He is silent, moving his finger across the stone, perhaps appearing absent-minded, perhaps writing out the commandment not to commit adultery with the very same finger he used to write it in stone the first time. Perhaps the reflexive movement was not lost on the older Pharisees standing in front watching. He toned down the conversation by placing a reasonable algorithm of his own on the Pharisees’ ultimatum: the ones without sin act first. They couldn’t meet the requirements of his algorithm, so they withdrew. He was left, as he will be with all of us, face to face alone with the woman accused. He was uninterested in the algorithm for that particular moment. He instead stated that he does not accuse, his hands are stretched out still. He cannot alter the algorithm, because it’s eternal, but he invites others to align with him and he allows them time. We are in a hurry to apply the algorithms, but he is not. He is interested in creating a relationship with us and when we trust his love the laws and conditions of eternal joy will be appealing to us. He ceases to be God if he is changeable, and we would not want a God we could not count on to be steadfast. Go thy way and sin no more is the answer for all of us in our searching states: Don’t get lost, don’t forget I’m here, as long as we have a relationship, we’ll figure this out. Being some percentage less than 100% out is a good place for us to start. The algorithm is less important at that stage than the relationship.

    We don’t come to know God by debating the algorithms. Alma 32 indicates a process of experiential understanding that is more powerful than reason. When we are on one side of that, we are left with a view of faith that is irrational and pointless. On the other side, after the first leap of faith, however, we have something tangible but intangible, and stronger than reason. We have a tiny bit more knowledge of God.

    I spent some time today talking with a friend, my friend who lives celibate with a SSA and does not discuss it at all. I asked her about this path. She said that when you are on one side of the leap of faith, you hold so very tight, thinking that your only hope of happiness is to act on what feels like it will make you happy. Everyone wants to love and be loved, she said. However, until you lay something on the altar, perhaps even the thing that you think will bring you the greatest happiness (and it isn’t fair that that’s not required of everyone, but a few people have had to lay some hard things on that altar), when you truly let it go and embrace an alignment with Jesus Christ, something intangible of the Alma 32 variety grows. Only in hindsight does the sacrifice seem overwhelming, but it certainly was at the time.

    This is why we can’t debate to the truth. Truth, eternal truth, is earned through leaps of faith. That’s why we came here “to learn by our own experience.” I don’t want to debate. It denies the validity of someone else’s experience, and I didn’t realize that until I spent some time watching a woman thrown at Jesus’ feet today. Everything is about loving each other and pointing to Jesus Christ. We’ll figure out the algorithms when it’s time. Stay in, even if just at 1%.

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  72. Nick Literski on May 17, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Gosh, you’re absolutely right, Henry! Everybody’s BULLYING you now, by daring to disagree with your comments! After all, basing your opinions on religious belief gives you an automatic Constitutional right to never be challenged or criticized, right? Hurry now, and tell your deity how you’ve been persecuted for your righteousness in following him! That’s supposed to score you extra brownie points, right?

    Maybe instead of horribly bullying you by (GASP!) disagreeing with your opinions, we should follow the example of those who follow your faith by doing something truly loving! We could call upon millions of people to “do all that they can with their time and means” to pass a ballot initiative that takes away some of your existing legal rights! Better yet, we could banish you from your home and family, just like thousands of intensely righteous LDS parents have already done with their gay and lesbian children, and leave you to pimp yourself on the street in order to buy food!

    I TESTIFY, after all, that these are the ways the LDS Jesus would have us show our love for you!

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  73. Geoff-A on May 18, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    Henry, I think it is more likely that when you get to the pearly gates you’ll be asked about whether you followed the teachings of Christ which were all about loving your neighbour, even the gay ones, and the liberals. I am not aware of him ever having said anything about gay relationships. In case you don’t think they were visible in his time look up Pompei, which was around his era.

    You said there were lots of scriptures condemning gay relationships, could you perhaps quote some references, I am not aware of them?

    I agree with someone, Bonnie I think, who pointed out that it said in the PofF that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” but it says nothing about gay marriage at all, but it wouldn’t be difficult to add it when the time comes, or take out “between a man and a woman.”

    In the endowment session last night I listened very carefully and there is nothing there that would exclude a married gay couple. It defines chastity as having sexual relastions only with “your husband or wife to whom you are legally and lawfully married”. And that includes civilly married.

    Do we really believe that just because a marriage is between a man and a woman it is ordained of God? Is an abusive marriage, is a Kardassian 8 week marriage ordained of God, Is a loving gay marriage ordained of God? What does God ordain, what did Christ teach, Love. A loving relationship is ordained of God.

    Now perhaps it would be helpful to question which concepts are Gospel and which are Church? The eternal ones are Gospel. The Church definition of Marriage has changed from Brigham Youngs to Present Church and I expect it to change again to include Gay couples. I don’t believe they were ever excluded from the Gospel, just as I don’t believe Negroes were excluded from the Priesthood in the Gospel, or for that matter Women. As the LDS Newsroom says, “It is not known precisely, how when or why this restriction began, in the Church, but it has ended.”

    If God creates Gay people and they were created so that they might have Joy, as were all of his children, wickedness isn’t part of the issue. They are doing what God created them to do, just as the hetroes are.

    Why is there ever a difference between the Church and the Gospel? Part of the reason is the culture of the leaders. The culture of ours is 1950 conservative America, so it will take a while for them/us to catch up, with the Gospel.

    As OO shows above Godlike Love can be displayed in a long term relationship, which should be allowed/encouraged to be in a marriage whether the couple are same sex or different.

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  74. Geoff-A on May 18, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    In case any are concerned for my wellbeing, posting at 3.17am, it is 7.17 pm on Saturday where I am so I am already well ahead of most of you in one way.

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  75. Henry on May 18, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    Geoff-A
    The master deceiver is doing a masterful job at deceiving many. Sexual sin is deadly. Just because homosexuality is popular now doesn’t make it right.

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  76. Nick Literski on May 18, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Henry, you still haven’t answered my question. To refresh your recollection:

    Suppose a gay LDS member came to you, and said that he (male) was considering marrying a woman, so he could be obedient to the highest LDS teachings regarding marriage and family. You are aware that the majority of such marriages end in divorces that are painful for the wives and children involved. If you encourage this man to enter into such a marriage, you may very well have contributed to the pain and suffering of this man and several others. You approved it, and you encouraged it. How could you not think that this would jeapordize your salvation?

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  77. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 18, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Nick, I am amazed to see you were finally won over by Henrey.

    Bonnie, I was referencing the King interview and similar things.

    All, this has been an interesting discussion.

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  78. Owyhee Observer on May 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Henry #69; Now don’t whine, or wrap yourself up in a robe of self righteous indignation. Very likely, I am considerably older than you and for the vast majority of that time, Henry, I have had to put up with being branded with all kinds of unsavory labels, had the most sacred and significant love of my life mocked and denigrated, and read of the beatings and murders of some of my gay brethren by narrow minded and rigid “Saints” such as yourself. Expect to get a little flack, at least we won’t be beating you up.
    It shows conviction that you ‘stick to your guns’, Henry. But what will you do when the day comes and the Church accepts committed gay relationships, for come it will. You remind me of a member I knew while on my mission. While discussing civil rights at the bishop’s home, he made the comment, “If this Church ever gives blacks the Priesthood,
    I’ll leave the Church!” I responded that the day was coming and he would be wise to re-think his position. He didn’t and left. His racism was stronger than his testimony. Will you do the same, Henry? Are the heavens forever sealed for you? Are you saying that you need no further light and knowledge?
    You cite the Scriptures for your condemnation of homosexuality. Are you aware that with the mortal mission of the Saviour that all of the Old Testament law was fulfilled? That invalidates all of your O.T. quotations. If we jump past the Gospels for a moment we are in the ‘books’ which are actually ministerial letters, mostly by Paul. Anyone that has read Paul’s letters realizes that he had ‘issues’, (to use the current jargon), with sexuality in general. If you consult some well respected New Testament commentaries, (both LDS and non-LDS; it doesn’t matter because both refer to the same original texts) you will find that the passages you cite are more nuanced and not as black and white as you think. Now let us turn to the Gospels, nowhere in the four Gospels does the Saviour address or condemn homosexuality. The Book of Mormon, which proclaims the fullness of the Gospel of Christ contains nothing that explicitly addresses homosexuality. The absence of such
    condemnation doesn’t mean that God is giving gay people a pass to ‘do it all’, rather it can be understood that gays are expected to live the same standards of sexual ethics as heterosexuals. The major difference is that when we fall in love, we are expected to reject our prospective partner and live a life of loneliness with no companionship. From my understanding of God’s love for all of His children, I find that idea to be utterly irrational, blasphemous and wrong.
    Henry, remember your audience. Those who have spoken here are either LDS or from and LDS tradition. These are people who are advocating commitment and a monogamous relationships for themselves and their partners. There wasn’t anyone commenting on this topic that advocated promiscuity, hedonism, or a dissolute lifestyle. So to paraphrase you a bit, “Just because hetersexuality is popular now doesn’t make [it the only] right.”[way].

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  79. Henry on May 18, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    If we listen to the prophets apostles who ask that members to steer clear of this road, we will be better off temporally and eternally.

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  80. Henry on May 18, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    prophets and apostles

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  81. Nick Literski on May 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Yes, Henry, if you listen to your faith’s “prophets” and “apostles” who ask LDS member to steer clear of the road of self-righteous arrogance and condemnation, you will be better off temporally and eternally.

    Now—you still haven’t answered my question, Henry. Funny how “bold” you are about speaking up, but you can’t manage to answer one simple question!

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  82. Winifred on May 19, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Nick:
    Listen to the prophets and apostles. Your soul is at stake.
    Andrew S
    Don’t encourage people to go down this road. Nothing good will result from it and you will be held responsible for doing so.

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  83. [...] I posted my last post at Wheat & Tares, I was looking for people to offer explanation for why they believed from a Mormon perspective [...]

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  84. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Nick, please drop the scare quotes.

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  85. Nick Literski on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Stephen, I’m sure you’re well aware that I openly reject the claims your church leaders make to any special divine authority. It would be grossly insincere for me to refer to them by their ecclesiastical honorariums without reservation. While placing quotation marks is a slightly-more-polite way of saying “alleged” or “so-called,” it’s far more polite than the blunt approach of calling them homophobic frauds.

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  86. Rich Alger on May 27, 2012 at 9:10 AM

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