How to teach about Same Sex Marriage

By: Stephen Marsh
May 25, 2012

The following is how we ought to teach about Same Sex Marriage in the Ensign and in Sunday School

Historically, there have been the following reasons for opposing SSM (I’m using short names for the issues that are more for ease in remembering them than for any other purpose, feel free to change the names for the issues):

  1. Marriage is a core cultural matter and often changing such things will have side effects and consequences we do not easily or readily foresee.  The “Jane Galt” issue.
  2. We should take seriously the predictions and motivations of anti-marriage activists who claim that their promotion of SSM will help to destroy traditional marriage. I’ll refer to that as the “Seth’s memories” issue.  However, that position was a very real, and very public voice on the issue.
  3. Pro SSM philosophers from a couple three thousand years ago based their praxis and argument on the thesis that women were not sufficient or suitable for real love.  I’ll refer to that as the “Plato’s lectures” issue.
  4. Marriage is inherently a duality involving two different sexes and boundary marking.  I’ll refer to that as the “Wardle issue.”
  5. Marriage is inherently a vertical matter, not horizontal, linking families through the ages for the purposes of raising children, not individuals to each other for personal fulfillment.  I’ll refer to that as the “irresistible issue.”
  6. The “I don’t want to think about it” or the “MoHoHawaii” issue (since he nicely identifies that the largest block is similar to the block that doesn’t like sushi).
  7. Embracing SSM puts members and leaders at risk in other countries.  I’ll refer to that as the “Community of Christ issue.”  (That is especially appropriate as they have two of their leaders not listed on their website and are working towards a method of nationalizing their stance on SSM to allow for different positions in different countries to neutralize the risk).
  8. God, as in the teachings of Paul, expressly condemns the point.

The voices in favor of same sex marriage have argued:

  1. Essential fairness requires SSM, the “fairness” issue.
    • Economic fairness requires that same sex partners receive the same benefits for the same pay.
    • Moral fairness requires that same sex partners receive the same treatment.
    • Social fairness requires that same sex partners receive the same recognition for the same status.
    • Religious fairness requires that a church that performs SSM have its sacraments recognized just like any other church’s sacrament of marriage.
    • Legal fairness requires that same sex partners have the right to inherit, visit in hospitals and care for each other.
  2. Essential self-fulfillment requires SSM, the “fulfillment” issue.
  3. Get over being squeamish, the “sushi” issue.
  4. Each person has a right to define for themselves what “marriage” means — including not forsaking all others, etc.
  5. The consequences of what one group wants should be willingly borne by others in the group.
  6. Paul was condemning same sex practices used by heterosexuals for birth control purposes.  Otherwise, almost everything from Leviticus was set aside in the Book of Acts in the Bible.

Recently there have been two additional arguments added.

  1. Children of same sex partners deserve to be in families too.
  2. Pair bonded individuals with long standing exclusive relationships who want to support marriage deserve to be allowed to observe their relationship as a marriage.

These changes involve a move from SSM as a countermeasure and an intended attack on marriage as an express agenda for those pushing for it (a majority of the public voices at one time) to a recognition of SSM as fitting within the traditional structure of vertical relationships for the purpose of strengthening society and raising children.

That creates a traditional argument for SSM from a social and family preservation angle.

Theologically, once you allow marriages between people who are sealed to others (e.g. when a widow and a widower marry), you are allowing for temporary relationships for this life only for (a) companionship and (b) family support.  That does not seem to change if you change the genders of those being married (and has interesting implications.  If your spouse is away for a year or two at war, no one thinks you are free to find a temporary companion until they get back.  If they die, everyone expects you to find a temporary companion until you are re-united).

Socially it does bring up the possibility that as the terms of the debate, the positions of those debating, and the purpose of the debate have changed, so might the result.  A gay couple that seeks marriage to strengthen vertical relationships and to provide a true family for children seems to be seeking to do and to model what the children need and deserve and what marriage has traditionally been about.  They would seem to be exactly whom everyone would want to see married, for the children’s sake if nothing else.


The Ensign should have an article that goes over those points.

The core logic points support opposing SSM at times and supporting it at times.  They even allows for the RLDS/Community of Christ approach of taking both sides, depending on where you are standing at the time.  By discussing the points the conversation is moved from shallow points to more nuanced ones.

What do you think?  What arguments, for or against, would you add?  Would you add conclusions to such an article beyond what I’m suggesting?  If so, what conclusions and why?

38 Responses to How to teach about Same Sex Marriage

  1. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 25, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Drat, I can see some spell check induced typos. I should be near a computer where I can fix that by tomorrow.

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  2. Nick Literski on May 25, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    At some point, anti-gay religious leaders are going to have to face the reality that this whole “marriage is really all about the good of the children” meme is a political campaign ploy, invented by Frank Schubert as part of the Prop 8 campaign (and repeated in others campaigns he and NOM have since been involved with).

    For biblically-connected religionists, Genesis demonstrates that the primary purpose of marriage was companionship. The Elohim noted that it was “not good for man to be alone.” They then solved that problem by creating a companion for him, and (impliedly) married the two to one another, so the two could “become one flesh.”

    Only after that companionship need was fulfilled, were they commanded to “multiply and replenish.” Breeding and childrearing were a secondary consideration. Let’s not forget that millions of heterosexual couples have enjoyed fulfilling marriages without the ability to biologically reproduce with one another—some remaining childless, while some chose to adopt children.

    Pretending that marriage is primarily about breeding and childrearing may play well to conservative folks already experiencing an “ick factor” about gay sex, but it’s also quite insulting and hurtful toward many heterosexual couples.

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  3. sartus on May 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Spell check does not “induce” typos. It is meant to correct typos of dunces and similar god rots.

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  4. FireTag on May 25, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    “The Community of Christ issue” as to hiding identities of Apostles has to do with countries where Christianity is considered a hostile religion, and, unfortunately, that is a much larger group of countries than the ones disputing SSM, and often not even on the same continents.

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  5. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 26, 2012 at 4:36 AM

    Nick, that is a good point. On the other hand, once you have children, the children of same sex parents need family as much as others.

    Which means that their gay parents ought to be encouraged to marry.

    I would also note that being barren was one of the traditional reasons for an annulment rather than a divorce — though Henry the 8th is an obvious counter example (showing that it was by no means that well accepted).

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  6. Henry on May 26, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    People who advocate gay marriage are advocating motherless or fatherless children. Society has always known that homosexuality is not healthy spiritually, societally, mentally and physically.

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  7. Nick Literski on May 26, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    That’s a very catchy slogan, Henry! Maybe you can answer some questions that it raises:
    (1) How does banning same-sex marriage increase the number of children with “a mother and a father?”
    (2) Would the hundreds of thousands of children adopted by same-sex couples, many considered “special needs,” be better off in state institutions or ever-shifting, unstable foster care?
    (3) Kindly give us an example of even one child who’s mother or father was taken away because same-sex marriage became legally recognized.

    As for what “society” has “always known,” you really ought to spend a little time studying history, Henry. All over the world, gay and lesbian individuals have been revered as having a special gift from deity. In many cultures, those we would now call homosexuals were the priestly/religious leaders of their communities, because their special gifts were considered to give them greater access to spiritual realms. This only ended with European conquest, whereupon zealous christian missionaries (as recorded in their own journals) felt the need to “punish” gays and lesbians by murdering them.

    The idea that “society” has “always” shared your opinions is pure fantasy, Henry.

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  8. FireTag on May 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Two weeks ago, I posted the Community of Christ’s Draft Statement of Sexual Ethics and discussed it here:

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

    It is worth noting that the Church leadership met in early May and STRIPPED OUT MORE THAN HALF THE STATEMENT, including all discussions of modern scientific understanding of sexuality as encompassing multiple aspects, and of the scriptures incorporating culturally divergent notions of sexuality. What is left are the assertions that have no real controversy in any particular culture.

    The reason given for the changes has to do with the potential for “some phrasing” to offend people in some cultures.

    It is hard to see these changes as anything but an attempt to lower the church’s profile on these issues, and only in a way that moves toward traditionalist positions.

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  9. Douglas on May 26, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    What the (LDS) Church SHOULD teach is the same law of chastity that it always has and politely ignore the “nattering nabobs” (thank you, Spiro Agnew) like Nick that in effect seek to counsel their God rather than repent. Teachings on matters like Eternal marriage are NOT a function of popular whim. If you can’t abide, don’t go away mad, just go away

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  10. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 26, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Douglas — so what should widows do? Can they remarry? How does that fit in with the law of chastity?

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  11. Douglas on May 26, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    #10 – RU kidding me by asking THAT question? OF COURSE a widow can remarry! Assuming you’re being sincere and seek wisdom, does it not seem that the Lord will do what is merciful and also what is right, and He is wise to satisfy both ends?
    Ok, I’ll assume that you mean a widow that was sealed to her husband in the temple. AFAIK, not only may she remarry, but that marriage may also be solemnised in the Temple. Now, it poses an interesting question as to “pecking” order, etc, and what if her new husband hadn’t been sealed to anyone previously? We’d have to consult the Handbook for a definitive answer if there is one. A case in point: some 25 years ago, a young family experienced tragedy when the husband and young father of three was tragically killed in an accident. All the children were pre-schoolers, and both husband and wife weren’t even 30 years old. Now certainly that dear young lady could have just remained single and raise her children and wait, and wait, and wait…until she’d be “reunited” with her husband. Would it be right for a young woman, capable of love and of bearing yet more children, to be put on the shelf, in a bizarre LDS version of ‘Sutee’? Should the fatherless children be denied the guidance of a righteous man who was willing to step up and raise them as his own?
    In fact, the Bible did mention the “Levirate” law, wherein if a man’s brother passed away, (I’ll assume that he himself hadn’t already married), then he was bound to marry that woman and procreate with her ,and presumably raise his nieces/nephews if there were any as his own children.
    Unlike the uninspired teachings of some, remarriage following either widow(er)hood and/or divorce is not de facto adultery. Even if someone has been a screwup in their marriage and gets a divorce, they still have the opportunity to repent of said screwup(s) and make good in a subsequent marriage.
    “If you think you went down a wrong path, God does allow U-turns”!

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  12. remlap on May 26, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    If by “solemnized” you mean”sealed” I am pretty sure that current church policy states that a woman who is a widow and was sealed to her deceased husband may not be sealed again. Of course men can be sealed to as many women as they want so long as they are only legally married to one woman at a time.

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  13. Will on May 26, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    The following is how we ought to teach about PROMOTING INCEST in the Ensign and in Sunday School

    Historically, there have been the following reasons for opposing INCEST (I’m using short names for the issues that are more for ease in remembering them than for any other purpose, feel free to change the names for the issues OK, I DID FROM SSM TO INCEST):

    1. Marriage (BETWEEN NON-SIBLINGS) is a core cultural matter and often changing such things will have side effects and consequences we do not easily or readily foresee. The “Jane Galt” issue.

    2. We should take seriously the predictions and motivations of anti-INCEST activists who claim that their promotion of INCEST will help to destroy traditional marriage. I’ll refer to that as the “Seth’s memories” issue. However, that position was a very real, and very public voice on the issue.

    3. Pro INCEST philosophers from a couple three thousand years ago based their praxis and argument on the thesis that SISTERS were not sufficient or suitable for real love. I’ll refer to that as the “Plato’s lectures” issue.

    4. Marriage is inherently a duality involving two different sexes and boundary marking. I’ll refer to that as the “Wardle issue.”

    5. Marriage is inherently a vertical matter, not horizontal, linking families (CREATING A VERTICAL FAMILY TREE) through the ages for the purposes of raising children, not individuals to each other for personal fulfillment. I’ll refer to that as the “irresistible issue.”

    6. The “I don’t want to think about it” or the “MoHoHawaii” issue (since he nicely identifies that the largest block is similar to the block that doesn’t like sushi).

    7. Embracing INCEST puts members and leaders at risk in other countries. I’ll refer to that as the “Community of Christ issue.” (That is especially appropriate as they have two of their leaders not listed on their website and are working towards a method of nationalizing their stance on INCEST to allow for different positions in different countries to neutralize the risk).

    8. God, as in the teachings of Paul, expressly condemns the point.
    The voices in favor of PROMOTING INCEST have argued:

    1. Essential fairness requires ALLOWING A BROTHER TO MARRY A SISTER, the “fairness” issue.

    o Economic fairness requires that SIBLINGS receive the same benefits for the same pay.

    o Moral fairness requires that MARRIED SIBLINGS receive the same treatment.

    o Social fairness requires that MARRIED SIBLINGS receive the same recognition for the same status.

    o Religious fairness requires that a church that performs SIBLING MARRIAGES have its sacraments recognized just like any other church’s sacrament of marriage.

    o Legal fairness requires that MARRIED SIBLIGS have the right to inherit, visit in hospitals and care for each other.

    2. Essential self-fulfillment requires INCEST, the “fulfillment” issue.

    3. Get over being squeamish, the “sushi” issue.
    4. Each person has a right to define for themselves what “marriage” means — including not forsaking all others, etc.

    5. The consequences of what one group wants should be willingly borne by others in the group.

    6. Paul was condemning INCEST. Otherwise, almost everything from Leviticus was set aside in the Book of Acts in the Bible.

    Recently there have been two additional arguments added.

    1. Children of SIBILINGS deserve to be in families too.

    2. Pair bonded individuals with long standing exclusive relationships who want to support marriage deserve to be allowed to observe their relationship as a marriage.
    These changes involve a move from INCEST as a countermeasure and an intended attack on marriage as an express agenda for those pushing for it (a majority of the public voices at one time) to a recognition of INCEST as fitting within the traditional structure of vertical relationships for the purpose of strengthening society and raising children.

    That creates a traditional argument for INCEST from a social and family preservation angle (AND DOES IT EVER PRESERVE THE FAMILY).

    Theologically, once you allow marriages between people who are sealed to others (e.g. when a widow and a widower marry), you are allowing for temporary relationships for this life only for (a) companionship and (b) family support. That does not seem to change if you change the genders of those being married (and has interesting implications. If your spouse is away for a year or two at war, no one thinks you are free to find a temporary companion until they get back. If they die, everyone expects you to find a temporary companion until you are re-united).
    Socially it does bring up the possibility that as the terms of the debate, the positions of those debating, and the purpose of the debate have changed, so might the result. A MARRIED BROTHER AND SISTER that seeks marriage to strengthen vertical relationships and to provide a true family for children seems to be seeking to do and to model what the children need and deserve and what marriage has traditionally been about. They would seem to be exactly whom everyone would want to see married, for the children’s sake if nothing else.
    ________________________________________
    The Ensign should have an article that goes over those points.

    What do you think? What arguments, for or against, would you add? Would you add conclusions to such an article beyond what I’m suggesting? If so, what conclusions and why?

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 6

  14. FireTag on May 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Will, if you’re auditioning to do a guest post, you’re flunking. Your point — which is (I guess) that you don’t think same sex marriage should be talked about — can be made with far fewer wasted electrons.

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  15. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 26, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Ah, but Will does reflect on practices that were common with the pharaohs, the Ptomleys and others, down to Adam and Eve.

    He also reflects that many of the arguments for both sides of the issue resolve to good arguments so that the application can appear fungible. But that is a different post.

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  16. Henry on May 27, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Will has a valid point. Why would members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints support and promote homosexuality and gay marriage which is in such stark contrast to the teachings of the LDS church?

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  17. Bob on May 27, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    You got me Will. I called my wife Sister before I called her Honey.

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  18. allquieton on May 27, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    I agree Willl could have spared us and not posted such a long and tedious reply. And actually I don’t even think Will is a real person.

    But I think the point he is trying to make is that by using popular arguments from the pro ssm crowd, one could also defend incest or other taboos.

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  19. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 27, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    Allquieton–ouch! Times and Seasons used to have a commenter who appeared to fail the Turing test … but that does seem a bit harsh as to will.

    On the other hand, you have identified the “it is just good rhetoric” line of analysis. It got Santorum link bombed, and I do not have a way to defend either sides’ arguments from that accusation.

    Bob, appreciated your humor. We need more of that sometimes.

    Guess I could have thrown in the “guilt by association” argument as well (early on SSM groups shared facilities and publishers with groups that are currently less palatable) but that one has also been applied to the LDS church and has not been made in a while.

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  20. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 27, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    I would also note that there are libertarian groups that make Will’s argument as an actual argument, some as to first cousins and some more generally.

    But you have gotten to points I do not have an answer for ( though I did skip the “we allow gay marriage and we will have polygamy, sibling marriage and inter species marriage as well” argument” as the counter argument is usually “do not be silly” or “that is insulting” or “of course” and I thought it would derail the discussion).

    If I wanted more comments I would have just used the “it is only good rhetoric” and “it will lead to other things” (what lawyers call the “slippery slope” argument) — but that would have generated more heat than light.

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  21. Will on May 27, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    All,

    All I did was took the OP and replaces SSM with Incest if you didn’t notice. My point is that you can teach any abortion with the logic used by Stephen, but it doest make it right. Lucifer has done it for billions of years.

    Yes, I am a real person. Rude and inconsiderate at times, but very real.

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  22. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 27, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    But, Will, I do not have a rebuttal to your argument that it is “just good rhetoric” — though I will think on that.

    I do not see your argument as rude in this context. Not to say that I would not consider you rude in other threads. But you have framed a clear argument.

    I will think on an intelligent response if I can find one. Or maybe someone else will find one.

    I would rather not have the only response anyone gives is “but he was rude”.

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  23. Nick Literski on May 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Once again, Henry completely ignores anyone who dares ask the questions raised by his attempted declarations of “truth.” Why won’t you address the simple questions in #7 above, Henry?

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  24. Douglas on May 27, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    #7 – (taking a parody of Rush Limbaugh from the now old “The Critic” cartoon) – I accept your challenge, you homosexual creampuff…

    1) A Non-sequitr, banning the LEGALITY (as versus the de facto existence thereof) of same-sex marriages has no effect on the procreativity of traditional marriages, nor have the “Yes on 8″ camp advocated such. Methinks your confusing the issue with the notion that children should be brought up in a traditional family setting as much as practical.
    2) A Red Herring. Given the thousands that a “traditional” couple has to spend in the adoption process to adopt a child (which is de facto buying and selling of children), it seems evident that even children with “special needs” would not want for homes were it no for the so-called ‘heroic same-sex’ couples. And “hundreds of thousands” of adoptions? Even in CA, with its large and obnoxious LGBT population? Nick, methinks you pulled that figure out of your non-virginal hiney. Call for sources, or I’m calling BS…
    3) Much like Number (1) above. Wherein was it argued that a child would lose his/her parents on account of same-sex marriages being legalized? Methinks, sir, you’re confused on more than your sexuality. Were you thinking of instances of custody disputes between two bioligical parents, one gay, the other normal, and courts having at one time not allowed custody to the gay parent now being forced to do so? Again, a virtual non-sequitir, if the experience in CA is any indicator. Put simply, family courts haven’t for years considered a parent’s gay inclinations or lifestyle to be a “show-stopper” as far as child custody is concerned, and it’s had no relation to the legality of gay marriage.
    As for your final rant, cite sources, I’m at a loss to figure out just WHERE an openly gay/lesbian religious figure found wide acceptance in ancient, medieval, or even modern times, and I consider myself to be a reasonably competent amateur historian. Now, it’s true that homosexuality has been notorious amongst religious leaders including the LDS, but never in the context of their homosexuality being acceptable to the leadership and membership at large.

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  25. Nick Literski on May 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Douglas,
    Your ad hominems are duly noted, and assumed to be accurate reflections of your character. I don’t believe that anyone who knows me would ever describe me as a “creampuff,” nor am I in any way “confused” regarding my sexuality. You have absolutely zero evidence, of course, upon which to declare the status of my “hiney.” (Of course, the latter term certainly impresses us with your grasp of anatomy and adult communication.)

    In order to grasp the questions in #7, you ought to consider Henry’s blather that prompted them, i.e. that “People who advocate gay marriage are advocating motherless or fatherless children.” Though eager to demonstrate your disdain for same-sex couples, you’ve done an admirable job of illustrating just how ridiculous Henry’s statement truly was.

    If I understand your comments correctly, you believe that adoption of children is “buying and selling” children, i.e. treating them as chattle. I’ll be happy to sit back and watch the adoptive parents who visit this blog evicerate you for such an offensive claim. That said, you appear to be claiming that same-sex couples who adopt special needs children are wickedly depriving opposite-sex couples of adding those children to their families. While that claim is silly on its face, it also ignores the simple fact that healthy, white, very young, “non-special-needs” children are adopted much more readily than are older or special-needs children. If you wish to argue that such children would be adopted by heterosexual couples if not for those naughty gay couples “swiping them up first,” feel free to provide data to back up your speculation.

    Your ignorance of the prominent spiritual role of those we would now call “homosexual” in earlier societies demonstrates either wilfull ignorance or gross myopia in your “reasonably competent” historical study. This may come as a surprise to you, Douglas, but christianity is not the only religious tradition in history—just one of the handful which have considered murder a useful conversion tool. If you will take time to bother studying the indigenous cultures of North and South America (in particular the traditions of “two-spirits”), you will find numerous books and articles to back up my statements.

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  26. Douglas on May 27, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    #25 – Nick, my reference to the adoption process as being tatamount to the sale of children is NOT an indictment of the desperate would-be parents, hardly. It’s an indicator of how the shyster-dominated setup exploits them, along with a veritable army of social workers and other self-appointment “child welfare” busybodies with a pecuniary interest. I fail to see why a typical adoption should cost a childless couple in the vicinity of $50K in legal and related fees. Fortunately LDS Family Services has done much to mitigate this unfortunate situation, but their caseload is but a minute fraction of the adoptions out there. The data is in the cost of even adopting so-called “undesirable” babies (e.g., non-white), it should be self-evident that the demand entirely outstrips supply, else the shysters would have no business.
    At least cite who these backwater aborginal tribes were that were so “englightend” as to have gay deities. As for your indictment of Christianity, considering how readily these “enlighted” native Americans, both North and South, readily took to ritual murder, let alone constant warfare against each other, your version of history is patently ridiculous on its face.
    Since you failed to respond to my answers on any of your points 1-3, I’ll consider them properly refuted. If Adam and Jamie were monitoring this thread, would they consider it “busted”? I’d rely on their judgement if they cared to weigh in.

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  27. Nick Literski on May 27, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Douglas, I agree with you wholeheartedly in terms of the exploitation of would-be adoptive parents. I do not agree, however, that this is a normal market effect of “supply and demand.” Rather, the expense involved is largely driven by the layers of beauracracy which you noted.

    Your attempted defense of “christian” missionaries who murdered native peoples is noted. I disagree that warfare between indiginous tribes somehow means that “christians” were justified in thier behavior. In a civilized society, we don’t justify atrocious behavior by pointing at someone else and saying “they were worse!”

    I’ve already given you research leads, in order to allow you to learn more about spiritual traditions which were nearly ubiquitous throughout North and South America (and, other parts of the world, such as Africa, for that matter) prior to European conquest. Your prejudice does not require me to list such cultures by individual tribe, etc., simply to offset your laziness. Besides, you’d ignore the historical evidence placed before you anyway, because it doesn’t confirm your pretended “society has ALWAYS condemned gays and lesbians” mantra.

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  28. Douglas on May 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    #27 – You fail to cite even ONE example of a culture that was “gay-friendly” and you call ME lazy? Yes, I’d heard of the “Berdashe”, or “Berdache” (the name was supposedly coined not by Native Americans themselves but one Louis Jolliet, the same guy that wore a Mandarin-style robe to engage with what he thought would be Asiatics). Again, the spirits having characteristics of both genders didn’t necessarily imply bisexual or homosexual relationships.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Spirit

    However, as the article points out, it’d be difficult to ascertain exactly what the Native American attitudes towards homosexuality were since they were likely influenced by the Christian cultures that conquered them. Also, they were notably private about their traditions and did not readily share everything with the white man. So, to be fair, it can’t also be said that they were as hostile to homosexuality as traditional Western, Christian culture has been until recently, but there’s no evidence that they endorsed homosexuality. Nick, old boy, you’re grasping as straws. You want to “wrest” with something, wrest with the words of the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:27), and ask how it could be applied to you, if, indeed, you believe the New Testament at all.

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  29. Henry on May 27, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Nick:
    Homosexuality is bad. Period.

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  30. Henry on May 27, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    I don’t believe people are born gay.

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  31. Nick Literski on May 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Henry, you can believe whatever you like. I’m sure you’ll do so, regardless of what evidence you encounter. As I’ve noted, you’ll find your own way to weasel out of the evidence any time you’re faced with cognitive dissonance.

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  32. Nick Literski on May 28, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    By the way, Henry, I hope that when people use Wikipedia as the source for their understanding of Mormonism, that you respect that fully. After all, you’re apparently quite willing to base your entire understanding of Native American culture on a Wikipedia article!

    Sometime when reading proves less of a challenge for you, I might suggest The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture by Walter L. Williams. There are many other books on the same general topic, but this one would prove a useful starting point. Your theory that Native American tribes were hostile toward homosexuality prior to European conquest is pure fantasy.

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  33. Rigel Hawthorne on May 28, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    “Genesis demonstrates that the primary purpose of marriage was companionship.”

    Nick, that’s an interesting take on Genesis. I always like posts that trigger me to go read the scriptures, so thank you. Your suggestion that bibically connected religionists turn to the creation story for theologic support is an omitted item from the logic-based points of the OP. It would, however, seem logical for an Ensign article (the writing of which was suggested in the OP)to discuss the creation story in relationship to marriage.

    Back to your point…I have not ever heard that companionship was prime above the “vertical” relationship. Just prior to the casting out, the Elohim put enmity between the serpent and the seed of the woman…speaking as if the seed of the woman aleady existed. LDS scripture adds (in Abraham) that the Gods planned for man to multiply prior to the concern stated about man being alone. You also have (in Abraham) man being created male and female in the image of the Gods. I suppose you could argue that there were uncoupled male and female participants in the council of the Gods rather than a “God-unit” being male and female. But you also have that tricky verse in Genesis about Adam leaving father and mother and cleaving to his wife–which seems to support that a “God-unit” would be a coupled male and female.

    You could also argue that the need for Adam’s companionship based on the comment “it is not good for the man to be alone” as a statement regarding the race of the male sex. It is not good for the race of the male sex to be without a biologically compatible female sex. The helpmeet was everything that the Gods deemed necessary for “the man” to have adequate companionship AND to create a race. We read in the BoM that creating a race was the objective behind Adam’s choice to enact the fall.

    So if Adam had been a homosexual or homosexually leaning bisexual man, he didn’t have any choice but to sacrifice his personal preference for the vertical relationship. Now, of course I’m not saying that homosexual men in our times should marry women to enact that kind of sacrifice–but I suspect that 100 years ago, the population of the world was boosted by children born to men who did. Oftentimes economic survival depended on it.

    Now we do not really have any economic advantage for individuals to bring forth children, although with an aging population, there is, regionally, a need for more children.

    I’m not really against same sex marriage, just leary of the pc changes in socialization that will follow when a society declares that they are equal. I commented on a thread to Nick once before that I don’t wish to have the childrens books I read to my kids illustrate every 4th couple as a same sex couple. He was kind enough to shrug that off as me just wanting to raise my children in the culture I know. Others may not accept my attitude so kindly.

    If one of our goals as an LDS family is to have ‘no empty chairs in the CK and we are, especially with youth programs, investing time and energy toward that goal, it makes sense to provide more meaningful opportunities for homosexual members of our church family to stay in and press forward toward an inclusive vision of eternal life. With modern revelation and a living prophet, the instruments to provide a theologic groundwork are there. There is still (in a way that is difficult to coincide in terms of equality) the theology of all life coming from a first relationship that was biologically compatible. We have, on the other hand, the Latter-day doctrine of our salvation being imperfect without the salvation of our fellow members of the human race.

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  34. Douglas on May 28, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    #32 – Nick, I believe that was me, not Henry, that gave the Wiki cite on the “Two-Spirit” thing. Though Wikipedia often lacks in depth (it IS an online encyclopedia), frequently the article contains enough of a synopsis to get the message across for purposes of a blog.
    Thanks for the reference. By “Walter L Williams”, you don’t mean the economist that often subs on Rush Limbaugh’s show, right? He’s a very knowledgeable man but somehow I didn’t think Native American cultures are his expertise.
    Did I get from Rigel’s post that you postulate that Adam was gay or bisexual? As if we don’t have enough issue with the ‘Adam-God Theory’!! I did once hear an off-color comedy routine, I believe it was Robin Williams, about God creating the helpmeet for Adam (Eve) because he wanted him to be only so “fond” for the animals in the garden (LoL).

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  35. Nick Literski on May 28, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    My apologies for mixing you up with Henry, Douglas. That said, it appears there are at least two “Walter L. Williams” in the world–one an economist, the other a professor of anthropology and history. At least we’re not mixing them up. :-)

    I was not suggesting that Adam was gay or bisexual. I don’t read Rigel’s post as saying that I did.

    Rigel, your alternative reading of Genesis is interesting, but it would rely on the “gods” being rather vague. If the primary problem was one of breeding, one would expect them to phrase the problem in terms of “bringing forth seed,” rather than “being alone.”

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  36. Nick Literski on May 28, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Oh, and Rigel, Lehi claims that prior to the fall Adam and Eve “could not have had seed,” so it seems unlikely that Eve was pregnant at the time they were cast out, don’t you think? (Again, this is reasoning from the point of view of LDS scriptures, whether or not I hold any belief in such as literal history, etc.)

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  37. Rigel Hawthorne on May 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Doug, I did not mean to imply any of what I postulated was a belief of Nick’s. You got a link to that comedy routine?

    Nick, I was not saying that Eve had seed prior to the fall, only that Elohim spoke of things to come as if they already existed. Is my alternate read of Genesis really THAT interesting? I thought it was fairly standard LDS institute curriculum.

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  38. Douglas on May 28, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    #37 – It’s from the TV cartoon series, the “Critic” but, I couldn’t find the excerpt on YouTube. I can’t recall which episode it is but the scene is where Jay Sherman, in his chronic weight battles, falls through the floors of the office building of Phillips News Network (PNN) and lands in Rush Limbaugh’s studio. Keep in mind this was in ’94 when Rush was a tad larger than now. Jay challenges him to a race to the cafeteria, and Limbaugh responds “I accept your challenge, you Liberal Creampuff”…then he muses, “umm…liberal creampuffs…”.
    There have been some that interpreted that what’s going on since the Garden of Eden is in reality a “repeat”. I’ve heard it as first spiritual, then temporal. Of course, during the endowment narrative, when Jehovah challenges Lucifer about how he’s caused Adam and Eve to fall, retorts, “I’ve only been doing that which has been done in other worlds”. A nod to the “Ancient Astronaut” theory, perhaps?

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