Praxy and Doxy

August 31, 2004 | 38 comments
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John Hatch continues his coup over at the liberalmediablog, with an interesting post on whether the church values orthodoxy (right belief) over orthopraxy (right action). John notes:

If I don’t show up to help someone in Elder’s Quorum move, no one says a word. If I miss my home teaching, no one calls to chastise me. If I don’t sign up to do a cannery assignment, not a word of disapproval is uttered in my direction. . . . When I mentioned that the Melchizedek Priesthood was probably restored in 1830 and not 1829, two people were so angry I thought after Church they’d be heading to the hardware store to pick up torches and pitchforks.

Why might heterodoxy be considered a greater threat than heteropraxy? (If it is indeed so considered, that is). My intuition is that it might be because heterodoxy looks like an active rebellion, while heteropraxy looks more like a natural process of decay. But it does seem like a strange prioritization system — I suspect that more people fall away from the church because their home teachers didn’t visit them than fall away because they’re worried about Zelph.

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38 Responses to Praxy and Doxy

  1. Nathan Tolman on August 31, 2004 at 2:22 pm

    Some points:

    1. It is hard to generalize from the experiences he cites for example:

    When I introduced the Book of Mormon to my Gospel Doctrine class, I touched very briefly on Joseph’s money digging. I suggested that Joseph used his seeing talents to try and provide for his poor family before realizing that he had a much higher calling and that there were more important ways to use his gift.

    If someone said this to a Gospel doctrine class, would you not think it was strange? While I personally would not take the time to point it out, someone did.

    Again, his experience in Deseret Books shows that, while he was pointing out that there is lack of clarity on the issue in question, he was around people that were usually sensitive to the issue.

    2. I think the main problem is that the things he talks about are things we do not know for sure. When presenting things to others in the Church, I personally, steer clear of conjecture and stay on things that we know, because conjecture invites discord. In a similar vein, when someone does bring up conjecture one state it is such, and if one does not, the listener should have enough spiritual maturity to identify it as such.

    It seems most of his problems arise from people’s inability to distinguish guesses from heterodox doctrine.

  2. Kevin Barney on August 31, 2004 at 3:44 pm

    I think part of the calculus here is one’s perceived loyalty. I have talked about things like moneydigging or a possible MP restoration date in 1830 without people taking offense. Perhaps the difference is that I’ve lived in my ward and stake for many years, people know me, they know that I love and cherish the Church and mean it no harm. Once people know that about you, they are then willing to give you considerable leeway to explore the nuances of our belief.

    (Although I will admit that even I almost had a mutiny on my hands when, while substitute teaching GD class last year, I suggested that Jesus wasn’t really born on 6 April 1 B.C. The crowd got pretty antsy at that one. )

  3. Mark on August 31, 2004 at 4:28 pm

    Rats! I was already to make another quip about words and their meanings (doxies not generally being accepted in genteel company unless fully ortho- or hetero-) when I discovered that the OED does show a second meaning, colloquial, usually humorous, for doxy: Opinion, esp. in theological or religious matters.

    Nonetheless, perhaps the tendency to stray into hetero- or to hold too tightly to a supposed ortho- should be met with the general aversion that polite company should have for doxies generally.

    Instead: “I belive, help thou mine unbelief.”

  4. Aaron Brown on August 31, 2004 at 4:58 pm

    I think Kevin is right that one’s perceived loyalty has the biggest impact on how one’s comments in Church are received. My own “loyalty” has been perceived in radically different ways over the years, depending on the person doing the perceiving, the place I was at in my life at the time, etc.

    I hate it when people cut and paste their comments from elsewhere into a thread, just because they’re too darn lazy to reinvent the wheel. But I don’t hate it enough not to do it. Here’s a relevant comment I made on an early thread at BCC:

    How to effectively share potentially “unorthodox” opinions at Church? Some thoughts:

    (1) If you think what you have to say is unduly controversial, you’re likely to act like it’s controversial. And if you act like it’s controversial, it’s likely to be perceived as controversial. Act like what you’re saying is no big deal, and it will probably be perceived by most as no big deal.

    In other words, how comments are received is mostly a function of delivery, not substance. (Not always the case, but very often so.)

    (2) I concur with the claim that you’re more effective if you’re well-known and established in a ward. And make waves sparingly. If you’re always the guy with a chip on his shoulder, you’ll be easily dismissed. If you pick your battles carefully, you’ll be more of a force to reckon with.

    (3) Two people are 10 times more powerful than one. All it takes is a second opinion (in agreement with yours) voiced in a class to give your opinion weight and respectability. If two people agree on a point, other class members will assume there are more where they came from, and how can a comment be out of bounds if multiple Church-goers are coming to the same conclusion?

    (4) Following up on (3), if you know you have an ideological ally in Church, sit on opposite sides of the room — never together. You’re easier to dismiss collectively if you’re sitting as a “liberal block.” Sit far apart, and your ideological foes will feel surrounded. :)

    Aaron B

  5. john fowles on August 31, 2004 at 5:27 pm

    Why might heterodoxy be considered a greater threat than heteropraxy?

    First of all, I think that John H. is wrong in his view of heteropraxy. I don’t know where this demonization of the Church comes from or what it is useful for. From my perspective, our Church leaders are very interested in us fulfilling our duties (see temple recommend interview).

    Second of all, if the Church feels “threatened” at all by heterodoxy (rather than just intolerant of it), it might stem from the fact that The Great Apostacy resulted largely (but of course not solely) from such heterodoxy.

  6. Grasshopper on August 31, 2004 at 5:45 pm

    …or did the heterodoxy result from the Great Apostasy…?

  7. Kristine on August 31, 2004 at 5:55 pm

    “demonization of the Church?”

    John, what are you talking about?

  8. Kevin Barney on August 31, 2004 at 6:57 pm

    I liked your suggestions, Aaron, especially the one to approach these things in a calm, matter-of-fact way, not as earth or faith shattering bombs.

    Sometimes I will get all professorial, maybe stroke my beard, and talk about how there are two schools of thought in the Church on such-and-such issue, and give a little historical overview as to who takes this position and who takes that position, and why, without necessarily disclosing my own preference. Just learning that there is such a thing as “schools of thought” in the Church on whatever issue can be a broadening experience for many members.

  9. John H on August 31, 2004 at 7:49 pm

    Kevin and Aaron:

    I think you’re both right on. I try and be matter of fact, but I suspect I stink at it.

    FWIW, I really don’t approach my teaching calling with the attitude that “I’ve got to bring all these ignoramuses out of their euphoria and back down to reality.” I don’t prepare my lesson by thinking “What shocking new thing can I bring up this week?”

    People come to Church to feel uplifted and fulfilled. They come to get a boost for the week. I really do try and respect that and not bring up “controversial” stuff week in and week out. I pray that I can be an instrument to help uplift them and be a guide for good in their lives. When the Brigham Young manual came out and there was an uproar over the lack of discussion about polygamy, I defended the manual (and still do) because I don’t think the point of Sunday school is to learn about Brigham and his wives.

    The dilemma comes when you ask what is inspirational, and what do people want to hear. I’ve had people tell me in no uncertain terms that they want to read directly from the manual and that’s it. These are the inspired words of the Prophets, they insist. Others believe that reading from the manual is the equivalent of repeating the third grade over and over and over again. I try and find a happy-medium, like most teachers. But it is difficult when there are those who want to tell you what qualifies as inspirational and what doesn’t.

  10. Kevin Barney on August 31, 2004 at 9:17 pm

    I hear you, John. I know it’s hard.

    When I teach, I try to live by the golden rule, and teach a lesson that *I* would find interesting, uplifting and engaging. I also try to make sure everyone, even the grizzled old high priests, learns at least something, which means providing actual information now and again. Most people seem to enjoy my lessons, but I am sure that some have different tastes and don’t particularly care for them.

    This is why some wards have two GD classes, but my ward is way too small to support something like that. (Sometimes people who prefer the “milk” approach will sit in on GE class.)

  11. Clark Goble on August 31, 2004 at 9:35 pm

    Ideally all wards would have multiple classes. However the practical problems with that relate to the youth who often take up most of the class space.

    But that was always the nice thing about singles wards. They usually had 3 – 4 SS classes.

  12. D. Fletcher on August 31, 2004 at 10:10 pm

    Clark, I saw your phrase 3-4 SS classes, and I immediately thought, “3 to 4 same-sex classes.” I wondered what might be taught in those classes.

    Well, I’ve got a one-track mind, what can I say.

    :)

  13. john fowles on September 1, 2004 at 12:31 am

    D., I don’t have “SS” on my mind in the same way that you do, but I also thought that when I first glanced at Clark’s post. Must be the new type of water on the brain: SSM on the brain. But this is exactly what the gay rights activists want, isn’t it, by keeping SSM in the headlines day in and day out, despite the small percentage of the population with any interest in it.

  14. D. Fletcher on September 1, 2004 at 12:36 am

    Yes, John, that’s exactly what they want, they want to brainwash all of us into turning gay, gay, gay!

    It’s already worked on me!

  15. john fowles on September 1, 2004 at 1:04 am

    D., I didn’t mean that they want to “brainwash” people into being gay. Rather, I just meant that if people are constantly thinking about the issue, then they are achieving their goal. So when I see the two letters “SS” next to each other and instead of thinking Schutzstaffel or Secret Service, I think Same-Sex [Marriage], then it shows the influence they have had.

  16. Aaron Brown on September 1, 2004 at 1:19 am

    If heterosexuality represents “orthodoxy,” and homosexuality represents “heterodoxy,” then doesn’t it follow that orthosexuality should represent “homodoxy”?

  17. John H on September 1, 2004 at 1:24 am

    John:

    Your comments sound an awful lot like the following:

    This is exactly what the Negro rights activists want, isn’t it, by keeping segregation in the headlines day in and day out, despite the small percentage of the population with any interest in it.

    Same arguments, different bigotry.

  18. john fowles on September 1, 2004 at 1:26 am

    Aaron B., I think that orthopraxy and heteropraxy work better and lead to “homopraxy,” at least for those who engage in orthosexual behavior.

  19. D. Fletcher on September 1, 2004 at 1:33 am

    So, I’m homodoxual now?

    Pheww! I’ve been waiting to come out of THAT closet for a long time.

    p.s. Nobody noticed that I earlier outed myself as David.

    Yup, I’m David.

    LOL

  20. john fowles on September 1, 2004 at 2:10 am

    John H. wrote, Same arguments, different bigotry.

    Thanks a lot.

    D. wrote This is exactly what the Negro rights activists want, isn’t it, by keeping segregation in the headlines day in and day out, despite the small percentage of the population with any interest in it.

    I actually have been under the impression that civil rights activists generally hate being compared to gay rights activism, especially because it is still highly debatable whether one is “born gay” or not, but no one can dispute that someone does not have control over what race they are (except Michael Jackson).

  21. Jack on September 1, 2004 at 2:34 am

    John Fowles, I think both of the quotes in your last comment are John H’s.

  22. Nathan Tolman on September 1, 2004 at 7:12 am

    Oh no!

    SS=nazis
    SS=Same Sex (marrage)

    Perhaps it was this that promted these two things to come up in Sis. Dew’s speach. ; )

  23. john fowles on September 1, 2004 at 12:17 pm

    Jack, you’re right, sorry about that. Both of my responses were directed at John H.–sorry D.

  24. Scott on September 1, 2004 at 12:38 pm

    As for the doxy v. praxy question:

    1) What the Church deems worthy of punishment is a fair measure of what it’s concerned about. And one is far more likely to be disciplined for action than belief. In all cases I’m aware of in which people were disfellowshipped or excommunicated for apostasy, it was for apostate actions (e.g., public speeches, sermons, protests, lawsuits, etc.), rather than mere, quietly held belief. While there’s a fair amount of (often unofficial) belief-policing in the Church, it’s usually toothless.

    2) The flip side of that is the question of what the Church is concerned about in choosing members among its ranks for service. And, from what I’ve seen, callings are more often extended on the basis of whether a person magnifies prior callings (i.e., by action), rather than doctrinal purity. Given two members of equally faithful action but differing orthodoxy, beliefs may come into play. (But since many callings involve teaching and counsel, correct belief may be of vital importance.) You may not get disfellowshipped for failing to do your hometeaching, not feeding the missionaries, skipping cannery assignments, never showing up for moves, being stingy with fast offerings, etc. But, since such failures are noted by local leaders, it’s unlikely you’ll get the dubious “reward” of a more demanding stewardship in the Church.

    Correct belief is not unimportant. Nor is it entirely separable from correct action. But, in the balance, it seems to me that the Church is (as others have argued) much more concerned about what we do than what we think.

    Scott

  25. Randy on September 1, 2004 at 1:30 pm

    I’m with Scott. I would go further and argue that God is almost certainly much more concerned about what we do than what we think, at least when it comes to opinions such as whether Joseph Smith was a moneydigger, or whether the MP was restored in 1830. These sorts of beliefs, it seems to me, will not matter one wit at judgment day. I simply cannot imagine that God will punish those who have not accurately pieced together the facts on such tangential, even trivial, matters. Similarly, I don’t think that those who hold beliefs on these issues that subsequently prove correct will be looked upon any more favorably merely for having done so.

    An example. The ward mission leader in our ward is a convert to the church. He is as faithful as they come, and he has done a magnificant job organizing, promoting, and expanding missionary work. He also happens to have some misconceptions about some fundamental gospel principles. When these issues come up, we try to set him straight, but there is no question that his beliefs don’t always match up to stated church doctrine. I am convinced that at judgment day these misconceptions on his part will mean nothing and that he will be judged instead on the magnificant service he has rendered. All of us should certainly hope so.

  26. Randy on September 1, 2004 at 1:33 pm

    I’m with Scott. I would go further and argue that God is almost certainly much more concerned about what we do than what we think, at least when it comes to opinions such as whether Joseph Smith was a moneydigger, or whether the MP was restored in 1830. These sorts of beliefs, it seems to me, will not matter one wit at judgment day. I simply cannot imagine that God will punish those who have not accurately pieced together the facts on such tangential, even trivial, matters. Similarly, I don’t think that those who hold beliefs on these issues that subsequently prove correct will be looked upon any more favorably merely for having done so.

    An example. The ward mission leader in our ward is a convert to the church. He is as faithful as they come, and he has done a magnificant job organizing, promoting, and expanding missionary work. He also happens to have some misconceptions about some fundamental gospel principles. When these issues come up, we try to set him straight, but there is no question that his beliefs don’t always match up to stated church doctrine. I am convinced that at judgment day these misconceptions on his part will mean nothing and that he will be judged instead on the magnificant service he has rendered. All of us should certainly hope so.

  27. Randy on September 1, 2004 at 1:35 pm

    I’m with Scott. I would go further and argue that God is almost certainly much more concerned about what we do than what we think, at least when it comes to opinions such as whether Joseph Smith was a moneydigger, or whether the MP was restored in 1830. These sorts of beliefs, it seems to me, will not matter one wit at judgment day. I simply cannot imagine that God will punish those who have not accurately pieced together the facts on such tangential, even trivial, matters. Similarly, I don’t think that those who hold beliefs on these issues that subsequently prove correct will be looked upon any more favorably merely for having done so.

    An example. The ward mission leader in our ward is a convert to the church. He is as faithful as they come, and he has done a magnificant job organizing, promoting, and expanding missionary work. He also happens to have some misconceptions about some fundamental gospel principles. When these issues come up, we try to set him straight, but there is no question that his beliefs don’t always match up to stated church doctrine. I am convinced that at judgment day these misconceptions on his part will mean nothing and that he will be judged instead on the magnificant service he has rendered. All of us should certainly hope so.

  28. Kaimi on September 1, 2004 at 1:42 pm

    TEST COMMENT

  29. John H on September 1, 2004 at 1:54 pm

    “I actually have been under the impression that civil rights activists generally hate being compared to gay rights activism, especially because it is still highly debatable whether one is “born gay” or not”

    Whether or not they hate being compared to it has nothing to do with how apt the analogy is.

    Regardless of one is born gay (due to genetics, etc.) or “made” gay through environmental factors at a young age still doesn’t make it anyone’s “choice” anymore than being white or black is anyone’s choice.

  30. Nathan Tolman on September 1, 2004 at 3:14 pm

    Just a question John,

    Do you believe this is universal? I have seen some cases in my field, that would point in another direction.

    I know you did not say this, but I find it hard to believe that, as some maintain, one who is homosexual will always be such. If one can change, does that not imply choice is an element on some level?

  31. Randy on September 1, 2004 at 4:14 pm

    I’m with Scott. I would go further and argue that God is almost certainly much more concerned about what we do than what we think, at least when it comes to opinions such as whether Joseph Smith was a moneydigger, or whether the MP was restored in 1830. These sorts of beliefs, it seems to me, will not matter one wit at judgment day. I simply cannot imagine that God will punish those who have not accurately pieced together the facts on such tangential, even trivial, matters. Similarly, I don’t think that those who hold beliefs on these issues that subsequently prove correct will be looked upon any more favorably merely for having done so.

    An example. The ward mission leader in our ward is a convert to the church. He is as faithful as they come, and he has done a magnificant job organizing, promoting, and expanding missionary work. He also happens to have some misconceptions about some fundamental gospel principles. When these issues come up, we try to set him straight, but there is no question that his beliefs don’t always match up to stated church doctrine. I am convinced that at judgment day these misconceptions on his part will mean nothing and that he will be judged instead on the magnificant service he has rendered. All of us should certainly hope so.

  32. John H on September 1, 2004 at 4:22 pm

    Nathan:

    The overwhelming evidence suggests those who are gay will not change. They cannot change. Unfortunately, LDS people have been exposed to unprofessional, dubious studies conducted by fellow Latter-day Saints or evangelical Christians that highlight a few cases of people who claim to have changed. Maybe they have – I can’t speak for them. But when you’re going through a reparative therapy program, there’s plenty of pressure to say you’ve changed. Not to mention your entire culture that wants you to change, alongside friends and family. So would we be that surprised if someone reported changing, when in fact they haven’t? In other cases, isn’t it reasonable to assume that some people may never have been gay, but were simply confused?

    As for the implication of “choice,” did you choose to be straight? If it’s a choice, why do roughly 50% of kids who commit or attempt to commit suicide do so because they are questioning their sexual preference?

    As for those who believe people can change, I have no problem with that – on one condition. They must allow their sisters and daughters to be one the ones that marry the “changed” man. Homosexual Latter-day Saints go to BYU where there is tremendous pressure to get married and start a family. Because gay members have never had a chance to understand their homosexuality or explore who they are, they often falsely assume that if they just get married and have sex with the other gender, it will work itself out. Usually, such marriages end in painful divorce. (See Carol Lynn Pearson’s remarkable book, Goodbye, I Love You, for such a story, or Steven Fales, Confessions of a Mormon Boy in Sunstone a few issues ago.)

    The gay debate in Mormonism doesn’t seem that complicated to me. Why would we refuse to listen to the people who are going through this struggle? Why try and tell them what they are experiencing when we’ve never gone through it ourselves? Instead, we tell people they can change. We tell them it’s just a temptation, and they need to push through it or rely on the Savior. Would it be that hard to give gays the benefit of the doubt and assume they are telling us the truth and not trying to justify sin?

  33. D. Fletcher on September 1, 2004 at 5:02 pm

    I’m sorry to see this thread get sidetracked into the same-sex issue, but some of that is probably my fault. Perhaps a thread should be entitled “Same Sex Thread of All Threads,” or something, so all ideas pertaining to this can be properly couched and cataloged.

    From what I’ve studied and believe to be true, homosexuals are natural to humanity, along with albinos and left-handedness. There are always going to be homosexuals, and one must assume some of God’s hand in this, if one believes God is the sole creator.

    For me, the real issue is whether one can be homosexual, and righteous. Are these mutually exclusive? What will it take for homosexuals to be righteous? Celibacy? Marriage to the opposite sex? Some may say that God has determined that homosexuality is a sin, but in our Church, blacks couldn’t receive the priesthood for almost 150 years. This was changed by God and prophet, probably because of social pressures. Now we have social pressures of a similar nature about homosexuals who want to marry and live…committed lives. Will God hear their prayers? And if he doesn’t, are all homosexuals doomed to leave our Church? If this is true, it’s very sad. They have added a lot over the years.

  34. Randy on September 1, 2004 at 6:19 pm

    One the question of choice, Wings & Vodka (a law student blogger) had a funny bit awhile back. This is from a satirical letter to Senator John Cornyn, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution:

    “Just so I can get it straight in my head, am I correct in assuming that your opposition to gay marriage is predicated on a belief that homosexuality is a choice? (I mean, if you didn’t believe that it was a choice, then you’d be denying people rights based on something over which they had no control, which would be totally effing rude.) And if so, does that then mean that you believe that you could choose to be homosexual if you wanted? Like, if you woke up tomorrow and 90% of the country were homosexual and the Constitution and the Bible and Pat Sajak all said that heterosexuality was wrong, and high school kids were getting the crap kicked out of them for being heterosexual, you feel that you could suddenly choose to become gay? That’s awesome.”

    http://www.blogdenovo.org/archives/000426.html

  35. Nathan Tolman on September 1, 2004 at 9:46 pm

    D. said,

    Some may say that God has determined that homosexuality is a sin, but in our Church, blacks couldn’t receive the priesthood for almost 150 years. This was changed by God and prophet, probably because of social pressures. Now we have social pressures of a similar nature about homosexuals who want to marry and live…committed lives.

    1. Do the experiences of the people who made that discussing have anything to do with it? By all accounts it was a genuine revelation, unless you think they were making it up. But I will grant you that social pressures made them ask questions, questions that they fervently took to God. Perhaps we can scrap the law of chastity next because of social pressures, or perhaps change our view of Joseph Smith as the RLDS (whatever they are called now) did.

    2. Nothing prevents homosexuals from living committed lives under the law. The SSM issue,legally, is about rights, because commitments already exist.

    3. Every private organization has the right to define itself. As far as the Church goes, it has the choice not to scantily SSM because SSM is not sacred. Not all loves are sacred or equally valued by the Lord. It is not the same as the joining and blending between a man and a woman.

    As you have pointed out many times, this makes it hard to be a homosexual Mormon, and I can only imagine what I don’t experience. Nevertheless, let God judge between me and you. I believe he will have charity on us both.

    There are a couple of assumptions in some discussions on SSM that go beyond what we know. know.

    Homosexuality is biological and thus is not an accident, making it from God. The first proposition is not convincingly true in all cases. It is certainly not historically true.

    Even if a case is biological, it does not mean it was divinely ordained. Many things happen and develop as part of biological or genetic processes, not all of which are convincingly of God.

  36. Ethesis (Stephen M) on September 3, 2004 at 8:25 pm

    One of the problems I have with God (and by extension the Church and related issues) is that real miracles do occur, often ones that don’t fit my personal feelings. When I was a kid, we had an American Indian family (Eskimo — so clearly outside the BoM peoples) join and they turned white. I’m still not reconciled to that.

    On my mission I had some investigators who upon being taught the word of wisdom lost their desire for tobacco (they knew about the WoW btw, and had tried to quit smoking several times and wondered about what was going to happen when we reached that issue). As anyone who has dealt with smoking non-members, that is not a normal pattern.

    Do I believe that miracles can happen in regards to sexual orientation? Yes. But.

    And some issues are interesting, consider “Carol Lynn Pearson’s remarkable book, Goodbye, I Love You” where her husband comes back to die — he wanted both a boyfriend and a wife. I’m not sure that makes the case many think it does, he reminds me more of a distant relative’s ex who had to have a blond lover so he dumped her because she didn’t make a good bleached blond.

    I clearly do not have the full range of experience or knowledge to speak on the subject with authority. Human sexuality is a very difficult subject, with all sexual orientation a function that is difficult to change. Is it all normal? Handle your first legal case involving a necrophiliac and ask that question again. Can it be changed? Study the castration studies with pedophiles in Europe (85% report that they are happier castrated than not, only 5% report being less happy). When should it be?

    The issues are no where near as clear as they sometimes seem to either side of the debate.

    Tolman makes a great point when he posts Even if a case is biological, it does not mean it was divinely ordained. Many things happen and develop as part of biological or genetic processes, not all of which are convincingly of God.

    Further, the rules that apply to a small population base may very well be different than the rules that apply to a large one. A collection of villiages, each with 45-100 adults, generally on the edge of survival, will have a much different dynamic than a collection of cities with 100k or more adults and a significant excess of resources. Many, many differences.

    Should we have a death penalty? Pretty convincing at some levels, more people, the dynamics of outlawry, death penalties, etc. change a great deal.

    My posts above are in response to the longer post that includes:

    The overwhelming evidence suggests those who are gay will not change. They cannot change. Unfortunately, LDS people have been exposed to unprofessional, dubious studies conducted by fellow Latter-day Saints or evangelical Christians that highlight a few cases of people who claim to have changed. Maybe they have – I can’t speak for them. But when you’re going through a reparative therapy program, there’s plenty of pressure to say you’ve changed. Not to mention your entire culture that wants you to change, alongside friends and family. So would we be that surprised if someone reported changing, when in fact they haven’t? In other cases, isn’t it reasonable to assume that some people may never have been gay, but were simply confused?

  37. john fowles on September 4, 2004 at 1:03 am

    I wrote I actually have been under the impression that civil rights activists generally hate being compared to gay rights activism, especially because it is still highly debatable whether one is “born gay� or not, but no one can dispute that someone does not have control over what race they are (except Michael Jackson).

    John H. wrote Regardless of one is born gay (due to genetics, etc.) or “made� gay through environmental factors at a young age still doesn’t make it anyone’s “choice� anymore than being white or black is anyone’s choice.

    (1) What about the possibility that it really is all about sex and gays have chosen to be gays because they have decided that it gets them off better than sex with a heterosexual partner?

    (2) Your statement is hard to swallow because it implies that none of us are responsible for any of our choices: if gays are gay because they were “made” gay, and if, as you post, that still is void of any choice on their part, then whether nature or nurture doesn’t matter, we are all victims of our environment and a rapist is not a rapist of choice but either of genetics or because they were “made” a rapist because of abuse in childhood (either way, it is the same as being black or white, he has no choice in being a rapist). Get ready for the slippery slope, because I could say the same thing about any other type of person or the choices they have made in life.

    (3) Civil rights activists might themselves be skeptical of the effect of homosexual permissiveness on our society and might wish to defend the traditional family and moral values. That is one reason that so many minorities were outraged when a lesbian white woman was appointed as the representative of their interests in Salt Lake City; they were upset that their cause was conflated with the cause of gay rights activism to the extent that it seemed proper to have a gay person speak for the civil rights (based on race and ethnicity) of the city’s minority population.

  38. behnam on September 8, 2004 at 9:56 am

    behnam

WELCOME

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