An Open Letter to BYU Students

April 9, 2006 | 275 comments
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On Tuesday, gay rights activists will, according to news reports, hold a rally on or near the BYU campus. How might you respond to this?

Consider this statement from President Hinckley:

People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are. We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “What Are People Asking about Us?� Ensign, Nov. 1998, 70f.)

You’ll notice that he begins by expressing love. Now, I don’t think we need to emulate our evangelical brothers and sisters with their cheesy, over-the-top expressions of love. But I think that if any of these vistors leave Provo having sensed hatred, derision, scorn, revulsion, or contempt from you, you will have failed to follow the prophet’s example. Further, if you do these things, you will confirm the (erronous) assumption that opposition to homosexual behavior is simply homophobia. By showing love and respect, you will help make clear that these two concepts are not, in fact, related.

If you encounter rally participants, please remember that their primary identity is not Gay Rights Activist; it is “beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). Please treat them as such. For a model for how a faithful Latter-day Saint might interact with–even establish an edifying friendship with–an advocate for gay rights, you need look no further than this Ensign article.

The experience that these activists have with BYU students this week may constitute one of the few contacts that they will have with the Restored Gospel during their lifetimes. Please remember who and what you represent.

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275 Responses to An Open Letter to BYU Students

  1. Clair on April 9, 2006 at 11:20 pm

    As I remember it from our visits as a high school debate team, the most serious offense to BYU students was walking on the grass. As long as the homosexual rights activists don’t walk on the grass, they should get along just fine there.

  2. Dan Barnes on April 9, 2006 at 11:48 pm

    Wrong Clair, Jaywalking was the most serious offense. Walking the grass got you yelled at by students. Jaywalking got BYU Security involved.

  3. Eric Russell on April 10, 2006 at 12:28 am

    lol Claire, that’s why there are little fences around all the grass corners, because no BYU student would ever cut the corners of their own volition.

    This whole thing looks to me like the set up of a trap. It could very feasibly be that the overall response of BYU students is the tamest in the country, and yet they’ll still find a way to vilify BYU in the press. I don’t see why the response would be any different than to protesters around Temple Square, but it will just take a couple of idiot freshmen saying or doing something stupid and it will make the papers and become the highlight of the event.

  4. loyd on April 10, 2006 at 12:57 am

    many of the protestors i know that are planning to attend are heterosexual mormon byu students. i may be one of them (though i do not attend byu). while i do not think that byu needs to change its policy. i do believe that many byu teachers, administers, students, and mormons in general need to realize that homosexuality is not the simple chastity sin that they make it out to be. homophobia and discrimination is rampant in happy valley, leading to depression, loneliness, rejection, and other painful experiences for those who cannot (nor perhaps should they) ‘straighten’ out.

  5. MikeInWeHo on April 10, 2006 at 1:03 am

    The group visiting BYU is called Soulforce. Check them out at http://www.soulforce.org
    They’re remarkable people who pursue their agenda in a peaceful and nonviolent way. They are not the angry gay rights marchers you have seen in the media, that’s for sure. They try to follow in the footsteps of Ghandi and MLK.

    These people are not trying to trap BYU and make it look bad in the media. You can see their agenda here: http://www.equalityride.com

    It would be great if somebody in the area could report back from campus on Tuesday and post it here.

  6. DKL on April 10, 2006 at 1:07 am

    “Homophobia.” What a load of crap. People either think that homosexual behavior is good or bad, they may even be a strident bigots–but almost nobody fears homosexuals (look at the stereotypes, for crying out loud). The term “homophobia” is worse than the terms, “Pro-life” and “Pro-choice” combined. Sometimes I wonder if trying to win the argument just by introducing a new vocabulary isn’t a sign of bad faith. But I realize it’s just a sign of politics, which is to say, pretty much the same thing.

  7. MikeInWeHo on April 10, 2006 at 1:24 am

    DLK: Your first sentence in #5 is offensive to a lot of people here. Totally inappropriate. I’m tempted to sling a few choice phrases right back at you, but fortunately it’s easier to keep my mouth shut when I’m sitting here typing.

    Here’s a great discussion of homophobia and the etymology of the word itself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophobia

  8. manaen on April 10, 2006 at 1:52 am

    5 & 6 Thx for the wikipedia reference — it fully supports DKL’s response, as do I.

    Some backfires I’m trying to launch:

    * “heterophobia” as the mirror twin of so-called “homophobia” i.e. apply it to anyone who in any way gives comfort and support to homosexuals.

    * “happy” as synonym for heterosexual as in, “Is he gay?” “No, he’s happy.”
    I see intellectual dishonesty in “gay” — light-hearted, spirited — being coopted to mean homosexual as if all homosexuals are light-hearted and spirited and no one else is so.

  9. DKL on April 10, 2006 at 2:10 am

    MikeInWeHo, I think you mean my second sentence (it’s hard to tell from the small type, but my first sentence is simply the word “Homophobia,” in quotes.) If you’re offended when I point out that the term homophobia was coined to create a disparaging sounding term to refer to those who object to homosexuality, then you are truth-phobic.

  10. DKL on April 10, 2006 at 2:33 am

    MikeInWeHo, I meant the truth-phobic quip as a joke. I’ll grant that it’s very creative to devise an entire syndrome or phobia that you can smear your political opponents with. My point is that this sort of name calling doesn’t really advance your cause any more than it advances the cause of the anti-homosexuality crowd to throw around it’s pet names for homosexuals.

  11. Josh Kim on April 10, 2006 at 3:50 am

    Mike, sorry I think that while I may be a bit more liberal than the rest of my fellow BYU students I don’t buy the fact that BYU is being anti-homosexual on anyone.

    It is well known that BYU has an honor code. Private institutions have a right to set the standard of conduct and appearance if they so choose. You must sign the honor code before you can attend BYU. If you know that your lifestyle is not in accordance with those rules, why even come here? It doesn’t make any sense.

    To my understanding, that is what Soulforce is coming here to protest. If you want to know what the Honor Code is go on Byu.edu and look for yourself. I don’t buy that BYU is stiffing anyone. I can’t believe I’m having to defend my school because usually I can’t stand these yuppie kids. I’ll explain my dislike for them at a later time. But I find it offensive that a group would come on campus and protest anything about our school when we bend over backwards to be accepting and accomodating to all people.

  12. Josh Kim on April 10, 2006 at 4:07 am

    Personally, I don’t find homosexual behavior demeaning to me. I’m just not used to it. So certainly if I see it on campus or in the movie theater or on the streests somewhere then I might gawk for a second but I’m not going to tell people what they can and can’t do. But I don’t get the whole point of the mission of Soulforce. What the heck do they want us to do? Get rid of the Honor Code? Well, it was BYU students who initiated that many years ago and people I know are fine living by it. We accept Mormons and those of other faiths such as Catholics, Buddhists, Muslim, etc. Everyone has the right to believe what they want.

    I don’t care for legislations on morality because I find the agenda of the Religous Right in this country and their tactics quite the opposite of what I consider Christian behavior. By that token, I also don’t care for people, like Soulforce, pushing their idea of a social utopia on us.

    I think I am fairly moderate in my views. If what I just wrote in those two comments makes me a bigot in the eyes of some people then so be it. It perplexes me but I can live with that.

    Let’s not forget the fact that the very reason that Soulforce is going to be BYU Campus is not because they were invited but because they asked to come and BYU said yes. The very fact that they are coming here at all means that they find something very wrong with the Honor Code. So let’s not kid ourselves into saying that they simply want to create dialogue. I believe that their presence, much like Street Preachers on Temple Square during Conference time, speaks for itself.

  13. Josh Kim on April 10, 2006 at 4:37 am

    DKL, thanks for your post about your atheism. I found it very enlightening. I’m sorry some people can be jerks. Me, I’m on the fence about my activity in the Church for several reasons.

    I find my time here at BYU very challenging to my Mormonism. It’s totally different growing up in a New York Suburb and being a minority LDS member to being part of the majority religion. If I ask questions that appear to be even remotely challenging, then usually I’ll get a comment like “The General Authorities said…” as it that in and of itself ends all debate and talk. Also, three different people in my Ward leadership came up to me and told me that I need to go on a mission. I’m thinking the more I kindly explain to them that I chose not to go on a mission and it’s my own affair, the more people will say something. I’m sure these people mean well but the only reason why I’m not more curt to them is because they are so nice about it. If they were talking any other way I’d be favorable to kicking them out of my apt or ending the conversation by saying “I’ll put in my mission papers if you drop college and enlist for four years in the Marine Corps (which is where I served my MISSION)” or if they are adults I’d say “I’ll go on a mission if your son goes join the Marine Corps…but oh wait, that’s his choice too, so back off.” I don’t go around preaching the need for more enlistments in the military. I don’t go and say that we need just ONE more man to serve an enlistment in the Marine Corps. I don’t testify to people about my experiences in the military and then say that I know it will be a good experience for them too. So far my Bishop, Our Ward High Council Rep, and my EQP have all come and told me that I need to serve a mission. While some people might find that a sign from heaven I don’t think so. I just don’t.

    So I’ll soften my earlier comments when I say that the presence of Soulforce won’t be the end of the world for me. I admire that they believe in what they are doing and so long as they’re not disruptive then I don’t have a problem with them being here in Provo.

  14. a random John on April 10, 2006 at 7:54 am

    As far as the walking on the grass thing goes, anybody who walked around the BYU campus 20 years ago and then walked around again today would notice an amazing amount of new sidewalks connecting old buildings. What was once a sparse grid is now a tight web. Most obvious routes over grass from the past have been filled in with lovely cement and many corners have been cut by such cement as well. If only they were as practical about facial hair as they are about walking on the grass.

  15. hurricane on April 10, 2006 at 9:02 am

    DKL (5)-

    People either think that homosexual behavior is good or bad, they may even be a strident bigots–but almost nobody fears homosexuals (look at the stereotypes, for crying out loud).

    Actually, it seems like fear is at the root of a lot of anti-homosexual behavior–fear of what it will do to individuals, families, society, etc.

    That said, I generally prefer the term “anti-gay” when speaking of political issues and activism.

  16. Seth R. on April 10, 2006 at 9:58 am

    Josh Kim,

    What on earth does BYU’s effect on your testimony have to do with gay activism on campus?

    If you want to raise issues about BYU’s generally negative culture and whether there is one, just wait a bit. BYU-bashing threads are a regular feature on the bloggernacle. You’ll get your chance.

    Besides, I don’t think that the protest is really about BYU anyway. It’s a protest against the CHURCH policies on homosexuality. BYU just happens to be a nice focal point for those who wish to disagree with the LDS Church.

    I agree with DKL. I think that “homophobia” is generally a pretty dumb word.

  17. loyd on April 10, 2006 at 10:03 am

    dkl, when i’m sitting in church (and in one of my classes with a professor that also teaches at byu) and hear homosexuals being referred to as sickos and freaks (and other assertions that are surely hurtful to those in my ward and in my class that are most likely homosexual), then i call it homophobia. institutionally, byu and the church merely speaks of homosexual behavior as being a sin, but culturally (especially in happy valley), it too often goes much further than that.

  18. Seth R. on April 10, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Loyd,

    Depends what ward and which classes you go to. I never heard much of that kind of stuff.

  19. D. Fletcher on April 10, 2006 at 10:12 am

    DKL, wouldn’t you call your first post here, “strident”?

  20. DKL on April 10, 2006 at 10:19 am

    D. Fletcher, I’d prefer “flippant.”

  21. loyd on April 10, 2006 at 10:25 am

    seth, of course it does. that doesn’t mean it is not all-too prevalent in happy valley. while it may not have always occured during church services, i’ve seen it in every ward i’ve been in out here.

  22. DKL on April 10, 2006 at 10:34 am

    Just so that it’s clear, I tend to think that a lot of anti-gay attitudes are as backward as the kind of attitude expressed in this cartoon. But I don’t see President Hinckley’s attitude as falling into that category.

    loyd, since when was “sicko” or “freak” the kind of words we use to describe the things that we fear? During the red scare, you didn’t hear a lot of things like, “Communists are sickos!” or “Communists are freaks!” During the Cold War, you didn’t hear a lot of “Nuclear wars are for sickos!” Even today, you don’t hear people saying, “Natural disasters are for freaks!”

    “Sicko” and “freak” are words that we use for insults, but they are no more indicative of fear than “stupid-head” or “poopy-face.”

    I agree that anti-gay is a more honest term.

  23. manaen on April 10, 2006 at 11:07 am

    21 I agree that anti-gay is a more honest term.

    As I noted in #7, I see dishonesty in “gayâ€? — light-hearted, spirited — being coopted to mean “homosexual” as if all homosexuals were light-hearted and spirited and no one else is so.

  24. Loyd on April 10, 2006 at 11:26 am

    dkl,

    since when was “sicko� or “freak� the kind of words we use to describe the things that we fear?

  25. Ivan Wolfe on April 10, 2006 at 11:55 am

    But I think that if any of these vistors leave Provo having sensed hatred, derision, scorn, revulsion, or contempt from you, you will have failed to follow the prophet’s example.

    The problem I have encountered is that any refusal to condone a homosexual lifestyle often leaves activists feeling that way, no matter how charitably it’s phrased. The only way to avoid this is to tell them you accept how they live and see nothing wrong with it. I don’t see many BYU students willing to say that an active gay lifestyle is acceptable.

    And the end is nigh – though he’s a bit harsh, I find myself agreeing with DKL for pretty much the first time ever. It’s like those who attack people as racist merely because they want immigration laws reformed. You apparently can’t win the argument on it’s merits, so you slander the opposition instead.

  26. hurricane on April 10, 2006 at 11:56 am

    manaen (22)–

    When people use the term “gay” in referring to homosexuals, I don’t think they are describing anything other than sexual orientation. When I say I’m gay, I don’t expect anyone to read into that anything more than that I am homosexual. And the use of the term isn’t some kind of political statement.

    From wikipedia: The use of the term gay, as it relates to homosexuality, arises from an extension of the sexualised connotation of “carefree and uninhibited”, implying a willingness to disregard conventional or respectable sexual mores. Such usage is documented as early as the 1920s.

  27. Jim Cobabe on April 10, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    Well, that tears it.

    Things are headed to hell in a handbasket when BYU allows walking on the grass.

  28. annegb on April 10, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    The term homophobia and latent homophobia have always concerned me because I can never figure out if I have it. And there’s power in having it because if you have it, homosexuals will accuse you of being latently homosexual. And then I wonder if perhaps I am.

    So if one says they think homosexuality is wrong, one is instantly labeled homophobic, therefore probably subconsciously homosexual.

    If you think you have it, you don’t, but if you don’t think you have it, you do.

    My friend who is gay laughed when I told her I loved the book “When I am Old, I Shall Wear Purple” because purple is a gay color. I said, “give me a break, you don’t get to have a color all to yourself. Purple was my favorite color long before you were gay.”

    I suspect this demonstration will be largely ignored, if it is indeed quiet and peaceful. I live in southern Utah and I think if they had a gay pride parade here, people would mostly ignore it and the gay pride people would have to be very rude to get attention, which isn’t that the point, so if gay people get rude, they will have defeated their purpose. Either way, they don’t make their point. They should just go live their lives. Why does everything have to be a big fight?

    I personally am sort of repelled by any public display of hetereosexual affection beyond hand holding, so if some gay people started making out in front of me, that would tend to bother, yeah. The older I get, the more it bothers.

  29. Guy Murray on April 10, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    Julie,

    Great letter to BYU students. I hope they read, and heed your and President Hinckely’s advice. I’m looking forward to the press reports and those of people who were actually there to see how the BYU and Provo community responded.

  30. forresta on April 10, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    While I was a student at BYU, I watched as a man carrying a cross was mocked to scorn by a large group of students. He was, to be fair, disturbing the peace by shouting out his convictions that we had to abandon our deceptive church and be born again in Christ. But rather than simply calling the campus police, the crowd – it must have been over a hundred people – shouted the man down and sang hymns at the top of their lungs to drown him out. A couple of students turned toward the crowd, with their backs to the man, and tried to defend him, but they were shouted down as well.

    I had a test to take, and just saw this on my (hurried) way toward class. Years later, I regret not jumping in and defending the man. It was utterly shameful, the way the students were treating this guy. I was embarassed to be a BYU student that day, and it is still painful to think about the incident. I never expected to see such belligerent behavior by a group of Latter-day Saints (outside of a BYU football game).

    Look, if you’ve got a problem with the rally (I have several homosexual friends – none of them members of the church – and value them as my friends), just walk away. Turn the other cheek. Better yet, talk about it with some of the individuals at the rally in a measured, charitable way. Please don’t pick a fight. Do you really, really think he would behave in such a hateful manner? If you do, you’re not reading the same scriptures I’m reading, nor are you hearing the same prophet I’m hearing at General Conference.

    Why should you even care about “their” motivations? What about your motivations? You can intellectually justify any position you choose as it relates to this “debate” that you’re having, but if you don’t have charity in your heart, you get to live with the natural consequences of being a hateful person (and I’m talking to both sides in this “debate”).

    I’ll never forget that incident, though I really, really want to. It’s a scar on an otherwise good experience at the Y.

  31. Ivan Wolfe on April 10, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    Case in point:
    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/leoblog/archives/060406/loony_sf_bids_adieu_to_catholi.htm#more

    The People’s Republic of San Francisco goes it own way, as the country has long understood. That way is predictably loony much of the time.
    The new anti-Catholic resolution of the Board of Supervisors reads like an invitation for all Roman Catholics to leave the city. It denounces the church’s moral teaching on homosexuality as “hateful,” “insulting and callous,” “defamatory,” “absolutely unacceptable,” not to mention insensitive and ignorant. It also depicts Catholics as representatives of a foreign government, just as earlier Know-Nothings and Klansmen did. The resolution says, “It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great city’s existing and established customs and traditions, such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need.”
    First of all, the church has made no effort to challenge the gay lobby or the practice of homosexual adoption. It simply said that Catholic agencies would not participate in gay adoptions in the city. As in Massachusetts, where there are some 50 agencies placing children with gay parents and one agency choosing not to do so–Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston–nothing practical is at stake. No official is trying to challenge gay adoption or even making negative comments about it.
    ….
    The principle at issue is a simple one: Is a voluntary religious agency allowed to pursue its social mission in terms of its own core principles, or will the state step in and tell the agency which social principles it is entitled to have? It is particuarly stupid for the Board of Supervisors to deny that Catholics might be acting on principle–they are viewed as sheeplike agents of a foreign state.

    See – merely by existing and not approving of the gay lifestyle, you are hurtful and evil. I’m not sure how we can live up to Julie’s ideal when one side is disengenuious on this point. As long as the LDS chruch has the teachings it does, we are the evil enemy and there’s not much we can do to make a certain type of activist loved and accepted.

    On the individual level, Julie’s ideal is very possible. But with high profile events like this, it’s nigh impossible because one side has set the bar too high (or too low).

  32. Julie M. Smith on April 10, 2006 at 1:30 pm

    Ivan, we may need to think in terms of minimizing the damage. It is one thing if they leave Provo saying, “They didn’t change their policy! They _are_ homophobic!” and another thing entirely if they leave Provo saying “They spit on us and yelled insults! They _are_ homophobic!”

  33. Joe on April 10, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Loyd (20), how many wards have you attended in the valley?

  34. Silus Grok on April 10, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    Actually, SoulForce is on-campus today… and will have a rally tonight in Kiwanis Park. Of course, that doesn’t preclude additional stuff happening tomorrow.

    A friend of mine there said this morning that campus was full of gay men and plain-clothes police.

    Heh.

  35. manaen on April 10, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    28 & 30
    I agree that we should treat everyone with respect. I see this not as minimizing damage so much as lovingly proclaiming truth to our brothers and sisters. While we cannot agree with others on certain matters, we must never be disagreeable. We must be friendly, soft-spoken, neighborly, and understanding. (GBH GenCon 10/2003) It’s teaching truth in the quiet atmosphere required to hear the still small voice of the Spirit testify of it.

    25
    Hurricane, thx for your response. I disagree with where you went in it, however. To use apply a word that means “carefree and uninhibited” only to homosexuals, is verbal misdirection, dishonest, if there are any heterosexuals who are carefree and uninhibited, even sexually. Accepting that such heterosexuals exist, means that this misuse of the word — even if documented for 80 years, although it pushed into common usage 30-40 years ago — is poaching a favorable connotation of something acceptable or desirable for something that is not.

    On a personal level, this misuse offends me. Misusing a word can be offensive whether it is inclusionary or exclusionary. Also in use 80 years ago was what we now call “the N word,” which was an offensive inclusion of our black siblings. No less offensive at that time to them and everyone who loves all brothers and sisters was the exclusionary meaning of “U. S. military officer.” (See also a less-offended exclusionary example in #26′s “purple” discussion). I am offended when language is used to connote that I could not be “carefree and uninhibited” or “light-hearted and spirited” because I’m heterosexual.

    It’s ironic that in the midst of concern about one group of God’s children not becoming offended by our language, that there is advocacy for language that offends the other group of God’s children — that in the midst of concern about a group of God’s children being excluded, that there is advocacy for excluding the other group of God’s children.

  36. MikeInWeHo on April 10, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    #22 Get over it. The meaning of the word has changed. That happens in English sometimes. Nobody uses it to describe anything other than homosexual people anymore. (Try it out the old way in your ward and see how it goes: “That last talk made me feel so gay!”) To refuse to use a minority group’s preferred term to describe themselves is fundamentally hurtful, arguably hateful. It’s no different than insisting on calling African Americans “negroes.” So if you’re serious about not being perceived as insulting and hurtful, leave your semantic disagreements behind.

    #29 Just because you don’t believe you’re being hurtful doesn’t mean you’re not. And we can’t even begin to address who gets to decide what is evil. Certainly according to my values, BYU’s code (which shuts out self-affirming gays) is clearly just as evil as racism. But I don’t question the institution’s legal right to hold that policy.

    It always, always, always boils down to a fundamental and unresolveable disagreement over the nature of homosexual behavior and relationships. See the recent strings on ldsliberationfront.net go round-and-round for a great example of that.

    My sense is that Soulforce has no illusions that they’re going to change anything at BYU. They plan to just stand as a witness against an evil practice (as they see it) which exists there. Again, they’re comparing it to the civil rights Freedom Rides of the 50s and 60s. Lots of people may profoundly disagree with that analogy, but that’s their perspective. I’ve met some of these people, and they are just as wonderful as the active LDS that I have the good fortune to know.

    You’ll stop kicking us out someday. File this away somewhere and let’s check back in 50 years.

  37. Mark B. on April 10, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    Silus Grok’s comment reminds me of something an anarchist (I knew he was one, since he had a black flag) said at Hyde Park Corner on a hot summer day long ago:

    “I have never met a policeman that was not a homosexual.”

    If even those he has never met are also homosexuals, how can you tell the soulforce folks from the plainclothes cops?

  38. Silus Grok on April 10, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Oy vey, manaen… “gay” has had an alter-ego for a few centuries (see wikipedia and wordorigins for examples). You’re fighting a war that was lost years ago, and you’re getting all bent out of shape that people won’t rally to your flag.

  39. Silus Grok on April 10, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    #34. Guess it’s a mixture of gaydar and raydar.

    : )

  40. hurricane on April 10, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    32–

    On a personal level, this misuse offends me.

    How do you feel about evangelical Christians who are offended when you refer to yourself as Christian?

    I am offended when language is used to connote that I could not be “carefree and uninhibited� or “light-hearted and spirited� because I’m heterosexual.

    With all due respect, you offend pretty easily.

    Your comparison with the n-word completely misses the point The n-word was a term of derision and hate directed at an oppressed minority. “Gay” is a word that those of us who are homosexual gladly embrace. And apparently the broader culture has decided that it works for us as well. Language evolves. You don’t like it? Sorry. Straight people have a lot going for them that gay people don’t–full acceptance of society, for example.

  41. Last Lemming on April 10, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    Nobody uses it to describe anything other than homosexual people anymore.

    Among the youth in my area (mostly non-LDS) it is used as an all-purpose pejorative. “That’s so gay” means “That’s so stupid” (or ridiculous or unfair or whatever). As you said, language changes. And rarely to the liking of marginalized groups.

  42. Ivan Wolfe on April 10, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    MikeInWeHo :

    I don’t think I could even begin to parse everything wrong with your statement.

    Suffice it to say, you see the very existence of Mormons, Catholics, etc. as hurtful.

    Well, I think it’s up to God to tell us what is evil, and it seems to me that, while love is always the guiding principle, the prophets and the scriptures (including Pres. Hinckley’s remarks above) are clear about what is right and what is wrong.

    It seems to me you’re just being prejudiced in reverse. The very existence of conservative religons seems to offend you. Interesting Double standard.

  43. DKL on April 10, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    MikeInWeHo:Nobody uses it to describe anything other than homosexual people anymore

    Last time I heard, they hadn’t changed the last line of the Flintstones theme song. What are we to make of the activities of the Water Buffalo Lodge if you’re correct?

  44. Ivan Wolfe on April 10, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Julie -

    I’m in full agreement. However, what causes you to think BYU students are, in large numbers, going to do such a thing? I don’t recall any history of such a thing. Most of the time when such stuff happens, BYU students are (at best) apathetic, or (at worst) the students doing the actual protesting behave badly.

    As for the rest of the thread:

    I tire of the “I’m more enlightened than the rest of you homophobes/racists/hurtful people.” No wonder very little progress ever gets made in these types of discussions. Too many people too willing to hold themselves up as shining lights of all that is good and tolerant and condemn those who don’t agree as ignorant rubes whose very existence harms the fabric of society.

    But – whatever makes you happy, I guess.

  45. Mark B. on April 10, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    Her light shall there
    Attract the gays
    Of all the world
    In latter days.

  46. An observer on April 10, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    For what it’s worth, I just got out of a completely unofficial dialogue between some BYU law students and a representative of Soulforce. She (the Soulforce rep) gave a little statement on her involvement in the movement and why she felt inclined to come to schools like Falwell’s Liberty University and BYU and so on.

    Julie, you’ll be happy to know that the students that engaged in dialogue, conversation, and Q&A with the Soulforce rep were overwhelmingly respectful and courteous while speaking thoughtfully and from faithful conviction.

    The most prominent thread in the comments from the students was endorsement of the common Mormon approach to homosexuals, Having gay or lesbian tendencies is not what we take issue with, rather, homosexual acts are what our church and beliefs repudiate. As long as conduct is kept within the moral bounds prescribed by the church, there is no cause for guilt, discipline or that sort of thing.

    The Soulforce rep’s take on this: the “hate the sin, love the sinner” view is problematic because my homosexuality runs so deep, that it is an integral part of my identity. When you hate it, you hate me. When you hate say you hate my homosexuality, that doesn’t feel like love to me. It would feel the same as if you said you hated the left side of my body and loved the right.

    The meeting was too short to get to any real depth of discussion, but it is clear from this point that the BYU students and Soulforce had two starkly different ideas about what they saw as Mormon belief and practice. The Soulforce rep glossed over the distinction between tendency/feelings on the one hand and acts/practice on the other, which led students to reiterate their belief in a valid distinction between the two.

    All in all, it was a worthwhile discussion and the Soulforce rep seemed genuinely gratified to receive the time and attention of several thoughtful and courteous students.

  47. S. P. Bailey on April 10, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    DKL:
    You made my day and ruined it too. I agree with Julie, Ivan, and even you. We can stand up for our sense of right and wrong and do so with kindness. And since the “homophobia” rhetorical trick is cheap, your “truthphobia” line made me grin. I may use it sometime (without attribution of course).

    On the other hand, now I can’t get the following (tune included) out of my head:

    you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time.
    A dabba doo time.
    You’ll have a gay old time.

  48. Ashes on April 10, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    I maintain that BYU will never realize it’s potential until no one cares if people pass out on the lawns.

  49. Guy Murray on April 10, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    WILLLLLMA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. gst on April 10, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    #33: “To refuse to use a minority group’s preferred term to describe themselves is fundamentally hurtful, arguably hateful.”

    I suppose you could argue that it is hateful. But you would lose that argument.

  51. Julie M. Smith on April 10, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    “However, what causes you to think BYU students are, in large numbers, going to do such a thing?”

    I don’t know that I said anything about large numbers, but see comment #28 for why I think that a few students might do such a thing.

  52. rd on April 10, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    I don’t know, when someone goes to BYU saying that the religion that [almost] everyone there holds dear is deceptive and is met with shout and hymn singing to “drown him out” I have a hard time seeing the “evil” in that.

    Granted, I wasn’t there and it’s possible that the tone of the hymn singing and defense of one’s religion was done with hate. That’s not good. But I don’t think it’s the only option in this, a question of degree.

  53. S. P. Bailey on April 10, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Yeah, rd, I wasn’t there and can’t comment on what actually happened. But it sounds like it could have been a case of what First Amendment jurisprudence calls “counterspeech.” If anything, responding with hymn-singing seems mild, even a little church-mouse nerdy.

    People who wander onto the campus of a religious university for the express purpose of calling the sponsoring religion a fraud expect disagreement. Who knows, the guy may have found precisely what he was looking for.

  54. Wilfried on April 10, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Pls take note of comment 45, which passed a little late through the server and got placed at hour of reception. Thank you, Observer!

  55. A Nonny Mouse on April 10, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Julie: I don’t know that I said anything about large numbers, but see comment #28 for why I think that a few students might do such a thing.

    Yeah. I wouldn’t put it past some BYU students to do something stupid like making a mock of protesters. I appreciate Julie’s call for wisdom and niceness when dealing with the folks who are (and will be) on the campus.

    On the flip side, I attended a very liberal college for a couple of years before going to BYU. When Evangelical people came to campus and preached repentance and hellfire and damnation, the students did equally lame things to protest the evangelicals. Naked sit-ins around the preachers, shouting matches, loud doctrinal disputes about sexuality etc. were all norm. When you go in somewhere and tell people their fundamental behavior and beliefs are wrong, it seems like a normal expectation to encounter strong resistance.

    To me, the best way to counter this type of thing seems to be what President Hinckley did way back in the day with the Baptists came to Salt Lake. He himself put out the word in the media that he wanted the Baptists welcomed with open arms. If President Samuelson had announced at Devotional last week that there would be protesters coming and that they should be welcomed with open arms and talked to rationally, it would stop the kind of mob that #28 refers to.

  56. Melissa Proctor on April 10, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    Apparently the following is BYU policy:

    “Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code. Violations of the Honor Code may result in actions up to and including separation from the University.”

    This policy seems like it could apply to almost anything—”advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle or ANY behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct including those NOT sexual in nature.” What does that even mean? It certainly suggests that if a BYU student supported the rally or joined with the demonstrators tomorrow they might face expulsion. That’s pretty troubling.

    The demonstrators are sweet-faced college-aged kids from around the country. I wish I were going to be there tomorrow to support them.

    http://www.equalityride.com/brighamyoung

  57. Melissa Proctor on April 10, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    Here are bios and pictures of the riders:

    http://www.equalityride.com/riders

  58. manaen on April 10, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    35
    To refuse to use a minority group’s preferred term to describe themselves is fundamentally hurtful, arguably hateful. It’s no different than insisting on calling African Americans “negroes.� So if you’re serious about not being perceived as insulting and hurtful, leave your semantic disagreements behind.
    .
    Why only minority groups?
    .
    The difference that I see is that blacks have chosen accurate names, like African-American. I try to use each group’s preferred name as long as it’s accurate, honest, and respectful. For me to call a black brother Negro/Black/African-American is all fine with me. That it excludes me also is fine because it would not be accurate to include me. I don’t use the n-word even when I hear black folks use it because I believe it’s disrespectful.
    .
    Likewise, I wouldn’t object to a homosexual using “gay� as an adjective, i.e. gay homosexual, because that could be true for him and it would be honest in not connoting that other people (e.g. me) are not carefree and uninhibited. However, to use “gay� exclusively for homosexuals violates your point because it denies a group – carefree and uninhibited heterosexuals – the use of a term that should also apply to them.
    .
    39.
    How do you feel about evangelical Christians who are offended when you refer to yourself as Christian?
    .
    Good example of my point, thanks. It annoys me when either term, gay or Christian, is used to exclude me and other to whom they reasonably could be applied.
    .
    I used the n-word as an example of the more common *inclusionary* offense to get a running start on my offense-by-*exclusion* point about “gay� and now also “Christian.�
    .
    .
    Much like the African-Americans’ valid request to drop the derisive n-word term hung on them earlier, the Church has been asking the news media and others to drop their use of the m-word, which started as a derisive term about us (although we still have the Choir’s name as a legacy). Even though JS said that Mormon’s etymology is “more good� (hence my enjoyment that the Bible is known as “The Good Book� and BoM is literally “The Book of More Good�), I prefer Latter-Day Saint(s) because of it’s call to become not just more good but to become holy.

  59. Jim F. on April 10, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    Melissa, what do you mean when you say that you would support them? Do you mean you would support their request that the Church change its stance on homosexuality? Do you mean you would support their right to assembly? Do you mean that you would support a change in the language of the Honor Code? . . .

    As to the Code: any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature has, so far, meant “kissing, holding hands, arms around the waist, etc.” Could it be interpreted otherwise? Looking at it, I can see that it could be. So far, it hasn’t been.

  60. MikeInWeHo on April 10, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    I was sure the BYU students would treat the Soulforce visitors with respect, and it appears to have been the case. One of the things that I so admire about the Church is to observe how generally loving the LDS are toward those with whom they disagree. It’s a sharp contrast to the often angry, scary evangelicals. Watch a video of GBH and Pat Robertson back-to-back sometime and you’ll see my point.

    So no, Ivan (#41), your existence doesn’t offend me at all. I rather like y’all, actually. OK, maybe you hold one or two political views that I find repugnant, but I believe it’s out of ignorance and/or fear. You disagree. I have no problem with that at all, although I’ll gladly debate you over it anytime. Nobody’s ever offered to parse me before, though. That sounds painful.

    I strive to love the homophobe but not the homophobia. : )

    PLEASE don’t melt your keyboards responding…that was just a joke.

  61. Jim F. on April 10, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    On a separate note: I’m tired of people expecting or anticipating that BYU students will behave badly in situations like these. I’ve been on the faculty here since 1975 and I’ve yet to see any reason to think that. Yet many, including at least some BYU administrators, have expressed concern that BYU students would embarass us. Since BYU students are from all over the US and otherwise, and they are demographically very much like the rest of us, why should we suppose that they would act much differently than the rest of us would?

    Can I imagine that a student would do something stupid? Given that there are 30,000+ students here, of course. But I would be surprised if even that occurred, and even more surprised if something truly embarassing, like mob action, happened. Yet this thread begins with a plea that seems to have imbedded in it the anticipation of trouble, is responded to by several with the same fear, and is replicated in memos from BYU’s administration.

    Instead of thinking about BYU in terms of the stereotypes that abound, think about it in terms of the other Saints you know. The student body is representative of the Church broadly (not quite as a whole unfortunately, but certainly more than just the U.S. or Utah). You can expect the same kinds of similarities, differences, and responses among them that you can expect in the Church broadly.

  62. Brad Kramer on April 10, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    Ivan (#30):

    Is a news report that uses terms like “People’s Republic of San Francisco,” “predictably loony,” “particularly stupid” really the best evidence you have that “one side” of this debate is responsible for setting the bar too high (or too low)? Name calling is name calling, condescension is condescension, and misrepresentation is misrepresentation. Criticizing Vatican involvement (which the resolution seems to have exaggerated) is not the same as accusing American Catholics of treason or espionage. I’m not about to defend the content of the SFBoS resolution, but the fact that you are apparently so unable to see the overwhelming irony of pointing to the USNews report as evidence that only one side is “disingenuous” or rendering civilized debate impossible, is itself an example of how complicit both sides are in the problem.

  63. Robert C. on April 10, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    I think at least this part of the memo sent to BYU employees takes the right, positive-reinforcement approach:

    “As with all visitors to our campus, we appreciate the respectful manner in which you treat them. Should members of Soulforce decide to visit our campus in keeping with BYU’s policies, we know you will show them this same civility.”

    Also, to be fair to the Honor Code, several other prohibitions could also be radically abused in the manner Melissa suggests (e.g. prohibitions against “stereo-typical gender based remarksâ€? or “unwanted advancesâ€?). You’ll notice that showing respect for others is also an important part of the Honor Code.

    In my very limited interaction with BYU’s Honor Code office, they have been very reasonable and very interested in the long-term benefit of the student (if anything, I thought they seemed a little too lenient in enforcing the Honor Code, but they seemed truly compassionate about the student’s well-being). In theory, perhaps someone showing support for Soulforce could be expelled. In practice, I think it’s far more likely a student would be expelled for showing disrespect for the campus visitors. I don’t think it’s fair to cast speculative/unfounded aspersions on how the Honor Code might be abused.

    On a separate note, any idea what “ward� is referring to on
    this rider’s
    shirt??

  64. Robert C. on April 10, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    Sorry, let me try again: this rider’s shirt.

  65. Dan Richards on April 10, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code.

    I don’t know Jim–kissing, hand-holding etc. seem like they could be considered sexual in nature. On my first reading of the policy, I started imagining honor code violations involving stylish shoes, Barbra Streisand music, [insert favorite gay stereotype]. :)And I think Julie’s post was right on target. In my years at BYU I knew more than a few people who felt that the truth of the Gospel necessarily implied the truth of their entire worldview, and would have leapt at the chance to rebuke protesters like these. I obliquely witnessed the cross-toting preacher incident referenced in 29, and just missed the Cody Judy debacle (in which a number of hot-blooded students felt it their priesthood duty to pummel an already-subdued crazy man). If anything, President Hinckley’s repeated pleadings that we be more civil to those not of our faith indicate that Church members continue to struggle to reconcile our confidence that this is God’s work with our duty to walk in humility, without passing judgment on our brothers and sisters. If BYU students are a cross-section of the Church generally, a reminder like this is certainly in order.

  66. Julie M. Smith on April 10, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    “Instead of thinking about BYU in terms of the stereotypes that abound, think about it in terms of the other Saints you know.”

    That’s exactly why I posted this.

    http://openskyvisions.blogspot.com/2006/03/mormon-leaders-welcome-gay-couples.html

    (See especially the first comment.)

  67. Clair on April 10, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    Sorry, but I won’t “get over” the word gay because the people who co-opt that word also insist on labeling me “straight.” They don’t ask my permission for that, and I don’t care for the label. I don’t really want to be labeled at all, let alone by one aspect of my sexual nature. I am guessing that at least some with homosexual attraction feel the same way. When did labeling become so respectable?

  68. Clair on April 10, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    My grass-walking days go back nearly twice 20 years, I’m afraid. Maybe they hadn’t invented sidewalks then. After being called out a couple of times at BYU – by the students, not the police – I decided that USU was a better fit. There, I was conservative enough to head the local YAF chapter and debate the socialists at their rallies. At BYU, I might have been a liberal.

    I do wish our sister school to the south well with their latest visitors.

  69. loyd on April 10, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    i just returned from the soulforce rally at kiwanis park. i wasn’t able to attend the whole thing, but i was deeply touched by much of it. the last speaker i heard was an emotional talk by a current byu student who is gay. he shared his experience of being gay and being mormon. this included serving a mission and continuing to attend byu (during all of it, his church leaders knew of his homosexuality). he talked about his struggles and his constant faith in the gospel to help him through it (including severe depression, suicide attempts, near abandonment from his parents (and subsequent reconciliation)). i was definitely choked up as were most everyone in attendence (including many who were obviously trying to just be distant observers). i hope he writes and shares his experiences further. it would help many in the church, including many of the homophobes…errr.. heterosexists here.

    besides some idiot driving around the park and laying on his horn, there was no sign of incivility.

  70. Jim F. on April 10, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Julie (#64): As Aristotle said, “one swallow doesn’t make a summer.” I agreed that one person could do something stupid, and your link shows that (though I suspect that in person the commenter would have been less reserved). What I disagreed with is the sentiment that we might expect general trouble. This is hardly the first time a group has come to campus to challenge LDS beliefs. The occasional idiot will do something stupid in response and, as Robert C has pointed out, is likely to face university sanction if he (rarely she) does. But no memo or open letter is going to stop that. I’ve yet to see any trouble from BYU students in these kinds of events.

    Dan Richards (#63): If the people you knew “would have leapt at the chance to rebuke protesters like these,” why is it that, in thirty years of my experience as faculty, they’ve not done so though they’ve sometimes had the chance?

    Clair (#66): Glad to hear that you had a good experience at USU. Lots of people do. It is a good school as well as a good school for Mormons. But I’ve been walking on the grass since I was a freshman and have been rebuked for it only once, in 1969. Surely you had better reasons for moving north.

  71. Jim F. on April 10, 2006 at 8:45 pm

    First: I don’t intend the following remark to apply to anyone in this discussion because I don’t know enough about you to say anything about your intentions much less the state of your soul. This is only a general remark.

    Second: I think that we sometimes use stereotypes about Utah Mormons or BYU students or conservatives or what-have-you as a way of unconsciously congratulating ourselves on how liberal or thoughtful or open or what-have-you we are. It’s easy for me to come home from hearing young students bear their testimonies and congratulate myself on my religious sophistication by making fun of what they said or how they said it. Something like that is often going on in these kinds of conversations about BYU students, etc.

  72. Julie M. Smith on April 10, 2006 at 8:56 pm

    Jim F.,

    I know you said it was a general comment, but just for the record, I would be just as worried about how the members of any LDSSA–including the one here at UT–would respond to gay rights activists on the steps of the local Institute building. I don’t subscribe to the idea that BYU students are more or less whatever than LDS students elsewhere.

  73. queuno on April 10, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    If the activists show up carrying old copies of the Seventh Street Press and carrying real Diet Coke, they’ll be welcomed with open arms.

  74. Adam Greenwood on April 10, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    I would laugh.

  75. Adam Greenwood on April 10, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    Julie M. Smith,

    Jim F. didn’t limit it to BYU students.

  76. forresta on April 10, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    Jim F. “I’m tired of people expecting or anticipating that BYU students will behave badly in situations like these.”

    Jim, I don’t know where you were that day that I’ve described. This happened right outside of the Talmage building, at least that’s where it was when I rushed by. If I remember correctly, it was around 10 am or so, though my memory could be wrong on the exact time. It happened – I was there. I hope it was an anomaly, but the fact is it left me shaken.

    rd:”Granted, I wasn’t there and it’s possible that the tone of the hymn singing and defense of one’s religion was done with hate. That’s not good.”

    No, you weren’t, yes, it was, and no, it’s not. This was not a primary chorus, people, the crowd was shouting these hymns at the top of their lungs (its own form of blasphemy, if you ask me), and the derision with which this man was treated called to mind a certain great and spacious building . . . I was seriously concerned for the man’s physical safety (as were others who threw themselves between the man and the crowd). Remember that bit in 3rd Nephi about the spirit of contention? It was a textbook illustration, and The Spirit was most decidedly NOT there. There was absolutely nothing Christlike, caring, or charitable about it. I suppose it bothered me so much because I didn’t expect to ever see this kind of behavior at the Y. It took everything I expected out of a group of Latter-day Saints – supposedly the best and brightest of their generation, saved for the Latter-days – and flipped it on its head.

    Glad that this instance wasn’t so caustic.

  77. jjohnsen on April 10, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    On a separate note, any idea what “ward� is referring to on
    this rider’s shirt??

    It looks exactly like my dad’s 1st Ward softball shirt from 20 years ago.

  78. manaen on April 10, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    RE: On a separate note, any idea what “ward� is referring to on
    this rider’s shirt??

    The next line says “Little League.” To me, this appears to be a coach’s shirt from a city such as Chicago, which is divided into politcal “wards” for electing city-council members and such. The term >”ward heeler” referred to a person who operated things in those wards to assure desired election results, etc.

  79. Ivan Wolfe on April 10, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    Brad -

    I didn’t link to a news report. I linked to John Leo’s blog. Surely you can tell the difference between a blog entry and a straight news piece…..

    and no, it’s not the “best evidence” but despite Leo’s caustic style, he’s still right/correct. If all you can do is attact the style of the message, rather than it’s content, then you have just committed a logical fallacy.

    But then again, calling people homophobic is a logical fallacy as well – doesn’t stop people on this thread from doing it.

  80. Julie M. Smith on April 10, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    Re Adam in #73: please see the last line of #69.

  81. Michelle on April 10, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    Jim,

    Thanks for #59. My thoughts exactly, but better put. The “open letter” reflects a form of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

  82. Chance on April 10, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    In all honesty (and I mean this sincerely), I have become quite calloused to the topic of religion and homosexuality, especially when it applies to the Church. It’s a dead topic to me as the rules have clearly been stated from the beginning, and are re-affirmed quite clearly at regular intervals by the GA’s. The quote by Pres. Hinckley clearly states our position, and that position is doctrine, and it will never change.

    Protests such as these are a ridiculous farce. If the organizers of these groups had any courage or decency they would do this in Salt Lake at Church Headquarters. Instead they prey on the youth by visiting college campuses in the hopes that they can either a) Instill doubt, hoping that they may pull some weaker members away or b) Take advantage of the immaturity that these newly minted adults possess in the hopes that a newsworthy incident can be generated.

    Yes, even students in the Happy Valley have feet of clay (hence the no walking on the grass rule), and if an incident does occur tomorrow I cannot nor will not condone it, but I will certainly be able to understand it.

    I know this comes off as a bit militant and staunch, but as I said, I’ve grown a bit calloused. Practice all you want in your home, you have that right, but I have no sympathy for willful disobedience.

  83. Julie M. Smith on April 10, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    “feet of clay (hence the no walking on the grass rule)”

    I’m not sure that I agree with your post, but that line is excellent work. Bravo.

  84. Clair on April 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Jim, my home is in Logan, and I was a homebody, so USU was the easy choice. I flirted a bit with BYU, and was flattered to be considered by them. The grass incident was a factor, though. It made me wonder what else would seem foreign to me there. That would have been just a couple years before your run-in. I know now that I would have survived even that.

  85. hurricane on April 10, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    56-

    I’m trying to figure out why straight people get to decide what gay people call themselves. Get over it.

  86. Chance on April 10, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    Julie, surely you have to agree that a college is not the best place for this type of a protest. Soulforce is supposedly protesting church policy, but why at BYU? I admit I dozed a bit during conference after the pancake breakfast, but I don’t believe it was declared at any time that the students and faculty of BYU were suddenly in charge of Church doctrine and policy. The entire reason they chose the Y was because of the odd place in life that many of the students find themselves in. Once again, Soulforce is not looking to enact change, they are hoping to pull naive members away, and I am sure at the same time are hoping for an incident that can be splashed across MSNBC.

    This is akin to choosing the gates of WestPoint to protest the war in Iraq. Why else would you choose WestPoint over the White House or Pentagon other than the hopes of generating doubts among the student body and hoping a group of overly zealous cadets will elevate your cause from the student paper to national headlines.

    That being said, we can hope for the best from our young adults at the Y, but they have been raised to stand for truth and rightesnouss, and many may find it difficult to tolerate what is being taught and the fact that it is taking place in their faces on their home turf.

  87. manaen on April 10, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    83
    RE: students not grounded — here in LA, the high-school kids went to City Hall to protest the pending federal legislation on immigration. Among other results, LA Unified School District quickly cobbled together a 30-page remedial manual to explain the city-state-federal distinctions in legislation.

  88. Adam Greenwood on April 10, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    Re Julie in S. #78: Please see the last word of #69.

  89. Steven B on April 11, 2006 at 12:39 am

    Here is an interesting university welcoming approach, in stark contrast to Liberty University, and one which I think is entirely in keeping with the teachings of Jesus:

    (Los Angeles) — The Equality Riders arrived at Azusa Pacific University today to the warmest welcome yet received on their journey. Students, faculty and administrators cheered as the bus bearing the slogan, “Learn from history, end religion-based oppression,” pulled into campus. The Riders were given name badges and immediately escorted into the college for breakfast.

    The full story is here.

  90. Adam Greenwood on April 11, 2006 at 12:44 am

    Jesus wasn’t big on stoning the adultress but he didn’t cheer and give her name badges either. I think calling to repentance with authority would be entirely in keeping with the teachings of Jesus, though I for one probably wouldn’t have the guts or sufficient love to do it.

  91. manaen on April 11, 2006 at 12:46 am

    84
    See # 66 and let’s talk about homosexuals deciding to call me “straight.”

    Then we can talk about the difference between a group deciding what others should call them (cf blacks & LDS in #57) and that group choosing an inaccurate use of the language for the ask people to call them.

  92. MikeInWeHo on April 11, 2006 at 1:35 am

    #85 Remarkable how you know the motivation of Soulforce. They’re not naive enough to try and affect change at BYU, nor lure the gay students away (time and intelligence will suffice for that). Read what they said on their web site. They’re there to make a statement, really nothing more. Bottom line: It’s their testimony to BYU.

    #90 You can describe yourself however you want. My suggestions might get me banned from this site. I insist that you use “gay” in describing me; it just works best at this point. Sorry it leaves you with one less word to describe “carefree and uninhibited.” We homosexuals stole the word “gay” almost 80 years ago; it’s too late to return it. Perhaps you can use “joyful” instead. You be joyful and I’ll be gay.

  93. KM on April 11, 2006 at 1:43 am

    Jim F:
    “I’m tired of people expecting or anticipating that BYU students will behave badly in situations like these.�

    Thanks.

    Julie:
    I understand your concern, and I appreciate your sentiment. I agree that, like most people, we BYU students don’t know as much about these issues as we ought. But we’re not altogether ignorant, either. I personally spent twelve years in the California public school system and was well-indoctrinated with the rhetoric that tolerance trumps all else. (It somehow mangaged to seep in, aside from the fact that the teachers who tried to pound tolerance into my head were some of the most intellectually and religiously intolerant people I’ve encountered.) Lifelong active participation in Christ’s church has also made me familiar with the doctrine of charity. For the most part, my peers at BYU are bright, kind-hearted people. We know how to treat people (and we also know when we’re being condescended to :-)). Here’s a BYU/Soulforce anecdote to give you optimism:

    I was at a cash register in the BYU Bookstore this afternoon, making my purchase of a pack of gum. I hadn’t ever purchased the particular brand before and hadn’t checked the price, but it was five cents more than I had cash for. I was digging around in my wallet looking for change, when a boy standing in line behind me whipped out a quarter and handed it to the boy who was ringing me up. This gesture gratified me so much that I felt the need to make some sort of small talk to show my good-will. So, glancing down at the seven bottles of chocolate milk he had in front of him on the counter, I asked, “What’s all the milk for?” He said, “They’re for the Soulforce people; I don’t think they’ve ever had chocolate milk–or BYU’s chocolate milk–before.”

    I think we’re doing all right.

  94. Adam Greenwood on April 11, 2006 at 1:43 am

    Repent and be saved.

  95. Mark Butler on April 11, 2006 at 1:57 am

    Undue concern about otherwise accurate names is mostly a recent phenomenon. Can you imagine the lady taken in adultery complaining that “adultery” is a hurtful term that prejudges her true intentions?

    Or how about the transition from “handicapped” to “disabled” to “differently abled”? There is no problem with the creative use of language, but to take offense at the use of a term that one preferred a decade or two earlier is a bit much.

    It is similarly silly to abandon a neutral, unabbreviated term just because others use it derisively. Or on a completely different topic, to abandon local representations of foreign names in use for centuries in favor of the Romanization of the week – Many modern maps are practically unusable with any history book more than ten years old…

  96. Clair on April 11, 2006 at 2:06 am

    Mike, I really like your idea. From now on, you shall all use brilliant to describe me. Thanks.

  97. MikeInWeHo on April 11, 2006 at 2:09 am

    Clair, you are brilliant. The first sentence of #94 proves it.

  98. manaen on April 11, 2006 at 2:51 am

    91. You can describe yourself however you want.
    So you suppose yourself to be someone to give me permission for what I call myself?
    How is it that your permission somehow excludes a word that I actually want to use.

    I insist that you use “gay� in describing me; it just works best at this point.
    Your insistence aside, I’ll continue to seek honesty in language. Gay remains in its original, accurate place in my lexicon. It just works best when language enables rather than obfuscates clear communication.

    We homosexuals stole the word “gay� almost 80 years ago; it’s too late to return it. Perhaps you can use “joyful� instead. You be joyful and I’ll be gay.
    You also stole my idea: see happy vs. gay in the last paragraph of #7.

    Is it really too much to hope that someone who asks others not to offend in language would in turn show the same consideration for the people asked to accomodate the requester?

  99. Kimball Hunt on April 11, 2006 at 3:48 am

    From now just call me “smart, winning ‘n’ handsome” please.

    The first to crossover from a subgroup usually take the Jackie Robinson approach of silent forbearance to slights, the continual maintenance of such dignitified gentility to contrast with the bigoted’s lack thereof. After such initial toe-holds the marginalized group seeks to enlighten the larger culture and it’s in this phase that such outward manifestations of abject bigotry, such as cant terms in language, are denounced and tabooized. Yet also there’s the psycho-sociological phenomenon where folks who might have a strong sense of identity and rightful place in society misght work at the same time to redeem these self-same vernacular tags for their subgroup. Hence the chant “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”, the feminist quarterly “B.I.T.C.H.: Feminist Response to Popular Culture” (promoting the idea of the sometimes pushy, strong-willed “guy’s” proudly being able to be a woman), or nigga as the street lingo for “good guy.”

    In any case, people with such reactionary attitudes as believing the gay community to have misappropriated supposedly “only” to themselves the fairly neutrally connotatedly “gay” tend also to prefer homosexuals to either stay in the closet or at most silently withstand abuse a la Jackie Robinson; however, to all who argue this line I offer this:

    If the Book of Mormon tends to stigmatize folks who would proclaim to “Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die,” for such stigmatized merry makers — such as, say, the unchaste — to also adopt for themselves this term (or even just the “merry” or other synonyms) would not in any way claim “only” for themselves all the neutral-or-better connotations of “merryment” such as at Christmas and which escape any Mormon cultural stigma. So, if you “reactionary” Saints I address can quite easily do the simple semantic mental juggling to distiguish between such uses, stigmatized and not stigmatized, of “merry” within Mormon culture, I’d think you’d really ought to be able to manage this same semantic feat for the word gay.

  100. Josh Kim on April 11, 2006 at 4:00 am

    Mike, get over yourselves…Just because Latter-day Saints are respectful of other people’s opinions don’t mean we have to compromise what we stand for. I reiterate that BYU has an Honor Code which we explain to every student before he/she comes here. You can choose to follow it before you come here or don’t. It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to condemn a gay person. I believe that Heavenly Father loves all children regardless of sexual orientation.

    I hope that there is helpful dialogue as a result of Soulforce’s presence. But the feeling I get from gay rights activist is that we are wrong, medieval, and archaic for setting a moral standard and standard of behavior.

  101. Chance on April 11, 2006 at 8:03 am

    Mike in #91, as I said, if they truly wanted to make a statement, they would have chosen HQ. Instead they chose a campus fully of young, eager, innocent minds to plead their cause with.

    Adam, I’m right with you in 89. John 8 is a great read if you need an example as to how the Savior might possibly address this gathering.

  102. rd on April 11, 2006 at 8:47 am

    I guess I’m grateful that my alma mater is a place where people can express their views. I know I’m grateful that people aren’t mean spirited at my alma mater. I think that “gays” need to recognize that Mormons believe God has set a standard, that we believe firmly in that standard, and will, as Adam points out, preach that standard from the rooftops when given the chance. To compromise one’s firmly held beliefs to accommodate a lifestyle is to give in to deceptive tactics, and I don’t buy it.

    So, while all are welcome to believe what they want, I trust that the foundation for the Christian reception at BYU is a firmly-held, uncompromising, belief in His gospel. And for that I am grateful.

  103. queuno on April 11, 2006 at 9:12 am

    Looks like several protesters got arrested, at least one because he gave a speech on campus after not receiving permission to do so: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635198751,00.html

  104. loyd on April 11, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Chance, your current location may make this impossible, but if you’d just spend a few minutes with Soulforce and actually listen to what they’d have to say, you would realize that BYU was the very place they should be making their statement. Many, if not most, of Soulforce are religious persons who are trying to hold on to their spirituality despite their GLBT status. At the rally last night, most of the speakers were former (and one current) BYU students who have suffered a lot because of policies of BYU and the Church, but even more so from the attitudes of BYU students and facility who use those policies to wield hatred, fear, and abuse. Many of these are persons who came to BYU because they prayed about it and wanted to. They served missions. They served the Church. They believed and put their whole hearts into the Gospel. Homosexuals in the Church today pretty much have two options: abandon their faith, or live a very lonely life. The mythic option 3 (just become straight) isn’t a real option, it just doesn’t happen. Now picture a BYU student (gay or lesbian) that has chosen option number 2. They believe in the Gospel and won’t leave the Church. Daily, they have to listen to snide comments about the how disgusting they are, how sinful they are, how selfish they are, etc. On the other end, they are constantly pushed to date and get married… an option practically unavailable to them. (Yes, they can actually date and marry someone of the opposite sex… but what heterosexual would want to date and marry a homosexual?). Soulforce knows they are not going to make any substantial changes in Church or BYU policies, but by taking their message to BYU, they can at least hopefully put into peoples minds, and force them to think about, the pain and suffering those policies explicitly and implicitly create.

  105. loyd on April 11, 2006 at 9:21 am

    from the desnews article from last nights rally…

    Kulisch spoke about traveling home to Spokane, Wash., with a brother and sister after attending a Mormon pioneer re-enactment in Utah. He was riding in the back seat, his brother was driving and his sister was in the front passenger seat. The siblings, tired from the pioneer trek, all fell asleep. The car veered off the road and down a steep ledge. Remarkably, none of them was injured. When he got home, Kulisch said, his mother told him it would have been better if God had taken him from the Earth rather than leave him here to be gay. “The sad part is,” he said, “I believed her.”

    Kulisch is believing gay Mormon BYU student. This is a great example of what BYU and the Church needs to deal with.

  106. rd on April 11, 2006 at 9:25 am

    Not to downplay Mr. Kulisch’s challenges, because they are no doubt real. But doesn’t it appear that, by being an active, believing, gay, Mormon, BYU student that he has determined that it is him that has to deal with Church doctrine and not the Church that has to deal with him? Sure, the Church should, and does [or aspires to] reach out to all, but I think the mandate to conform is on us, and not on the doctrine.

  107. Ivan Wolfe on April 11, 2006 at 9:35 am

    rd -

    exactly. The non-mythical fourth option that loyd ignores is to do what it seems Kulisch is doing – living what the church teaches, rather than expecting the church to change.

    The church is not run on the new age “you’re fine just as you are” model. Instead, one of the basic precepts is that we are all sinners and we all have behaviors that need to be changed and modified. To insist the church abandon a moral guideline just to make some members (and non-members) feel more comfortable is to insist on an exception to the rules for a special group.

    We are all born with desires that are in opposition to the will of God, and it’s our job to conform to what God says. The world is on trial before God – God’s rules are not on trial before the world (no matter how much the world likes to think they are).

  108. Loyd on April 11, 2006 at 9:53 am

    rd, this will be to big of a question for this post, but what distinguishes the Church from the collective membership?

    ivan, your option #4 was my option #2. Doctrines in the church change all the time. There is very little, if any, unwavering Church Doctrine. It’s the wonderful world of modern revelation. Why can’t God change things, and why shouldn’t members push for change. It’s happened plenty of times before. The church’s “moral guidelines” have similarly changed over the years.

  109. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 9:54 am

    97–

    I find this discussion absolutely comical. You’d have us believe the use of the word “gay” to describe homosexuals is some kind of gross semantic injustice inflicted by a tiny minroity of the population (homosexuals) on the vast majority of it. And what is that injustice? We are denying you a word to describe yourself as “carefree and joyful.” Are you serious? You’re joking, right?

    And then you compare this to the use of the N word and African Americans. Your comparison would be valid if blacks wanted to to be called n*****, but you decided it was a bad idea. But black people forcefully reject the use of the word. Gay people don’t reject the use of the word “gay” to describe themselves–primarily because it is a widely used neutral term. I have never encountered another heterosexual person who found this offensive or exclusionary at all.

    Truly, this is one of the best examples of tilting at windmills I have ever seen on this or any other discussion board.

  110. gst on April 11, 2006 at 10:15 am

    Leave Quixote, Sancho Panza, and their apparent sexual preferences out of this.

  111. Chance on April 11, 2006 at 11:04 am

    I’d like to respond Loyd, but you know what, I can’t argue you out of your case of denial.

    To put it bluntly, we are talking about doctrine, not policy, and doctrine will never change, nor has it ever changed. Homosexuality is incorrect on so many different levels, both spiritually and biologically, that I know for a fact it will never be allowed within the Kingdom of God.

  112. A Nonny Mouse on April 11, 2006 at 11:24 am

    Re: #103, #106, #107, #110.

    And so it begins anew. The never-ending, ever-downspiraling, non-communicative debate over homosexuality in the Church. Is it a doctrine? Is it a policy? Is it both? Will it change, even if it is a doctrine?

    Watch them spin, ladies and gentlemen, to and fro, to and fro.

    Just to give’em a little more momentum:
    Loyd: Yes, they can actually date and marry someone of the opposite sex… but what heterosexual would want to date and marry a homosexual?

    I know three believing, active Latter-day Saint women that either would want to date and marry a homosexual, or have married a homosexual.

    Just sayin’.
    Loyd

  113. gst on April 11, 2006 at 11:49 am

    I’m not sure why #110 deserved your rebuke.

  114. Julie M. Smith on April 11, 2006 at 11:53 am

    I know for a fact it will never be allowed within the Kingdom of God

    I do not think the Church’s position on extramarital sex is wrong. I do not hope or anticipate that it will change. But I am concerned about anyone who thinks they know what God has planned for the future who doesn’t have President in front of their name.

  115. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 11:53 am

    110–

    Sancho Panza. That’s like the gayest name ever.

  116. Ivan Wolfe on April 11, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    Julie -

    #114

    I would hope the same criticism applies to those who feel that the policy must or will change. There’s entirely too much talk about the Lord (or the Church) really should do.

    All those “checklists” of what would be needed to change the church’s policy towards homosexuals miss the important fact that checklists and agitation don’t change church policy/doctrine. Yet a lot of people seem convinced they know better than Pres. Hinckley and his predecessors.

  117. Julie M. Smith on April 11, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    “I would hope the same criticism applies to those who feel that the policy must or will change. There’s entirely too much talk about the Lord (or the Church) really should do.”

    I completely agree. I’m actually with Chance in thinking that this isn’t a doctrine that will, can, or should change–but I was bothered by the phrasing (which, to me, implied arrogance) of the assertion.

  118. MikeInWeHo on April 11, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    #100 “wrong, medieval, and archaic” I would say you’re correct, that is how gay activists feel about your views. You might want to add “unjust.”

    “Immoral, self-deluded, and a threat to everything I stand for” — perhaps that’s how many of you feel about the gay-activist types. Or maybe someone else can describe the feelings better.

    At the end of all this, it boils down to these two very strong, and opposed, sets of feelings. All the rationalizations and theological debate follow.

    I think that for the most part people on one side of this divide have little idea how the other side FEELS. If they did, they would use different approaches to make their case than the tedious arguments we see cycling round-and-round in a forum like this.

  119. Chance on April 11, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Julie, I did not speak lightly when I made that statement as I am confident it is true. If it is wrong today, it is going to be wrong tomorrow. We are not talking about the curse of Cain, something that could have been and was reversed in a sense, we are talking about a sin. Heavenly Father does not change his mind when it comes to sin, especially one that so grievously impacts the eternal family.

    If anyone has any questions here is what a few people with President in front of their names had to say:

    Kimball – The growing permissiveness in modern society gravely concerns us. Certainly our Heavenly Father is distressed with the increasing inroads among his children of such insidious sins as adultery and fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, abortions, pornography, population control, alcoholism, cruelty expressed in wife-beating and child-abuse, dishonesty, vandalism, violence, and crime generally, including the sin of living together without marriage.

    Benson – Do not commit adultery “nor do anything like unto it.â€? (D&C 59:6.) That means petting, fornication, homosexuality, and any other form of immorality.

    Lee – I want to warn this great body of priesthood against that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has been labeled as a sin second only in seriousness to the sin of murder. I speak of the sin of adultery, which, as you know, was the name used by the Master as he referred to unlicensed sexual sins of fornication as well as adultery; and besides this, the equally grievous sin of homosexuality, which seems to be gaining momentum with social acceptance in the Babylon of the world, of which Church members must not be a part.

    Not to mention the quote you provided by Hinckley in which he would not even give acknowledge the labels that they have given themselves by saying “so-called gays and lesbians”. He then continues by stating this is an immoral activity that cannot be tolerated and members who participate are violating the law of chastity.

    Am I anti-gay? Yes. I hate the act. I have watched it ruin marriage, family, and even individuals, scarring them for life. It is a selfish, heinous act which our prophets have put on the level with abortions and violence. It is a sin, and sin is eternal.

    Please do not mistake my passion for aggression. I truly do love the sinner, but as stated, I hate the sin, and I hate the fact that groups like these are approaching our young people in an attempt to further their ’cause’.

  120. Chance on April 11, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Sorry Julie, I was not intending to sound arrogant, I was merely trying to phrase it plainly for the spinners amongst us.

  121. D. Fletcher on April 11, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Chance, would you call heterosexual monogamy a sin, or godless activity?

    We’ve all heard our leaders blaming the fall of the Roman empire and the decline of civilization on Homosexuality. Here’s just a sampling:

    “This heinous homosexual sin is of the ages. Many cities and civilizations have gone out of existence because of it. It was present in Israel’s wandering days, tolerated by the Greeks, and found in the baths of corrupt Rome.”
    - Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, “President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality,” LDS New Era, Nov. 1980, Page 39

    “Alternatives to the legal and loving marriage between a man and a woman are helping to unravel the fabric of human society. I am sure this is pleasing to the devil. The fabric I refer to is the family. These so-called alternative life-styles must not be accepted as right, because they frustrate God’s commandment for a life-giving union of male and female within a legal marriage as stated in Genesis. If practiced by all adults, these life-styles would mean the end of the human family.”
    - Apostle James E. Faust, “Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil,” Liahona, Nov. 1995, Page 3.

    But this is the same argument that former Prophets and Apostles have used against good-old heterosexual monogamy. See here other inspired words from some of our previous leaders:

    “It is a fact worthy of note that the shortest lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome…was a monogamic nation and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.”
    - Apostle George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 202

    “Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.”
    - The Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128

    “…the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people.”
    - Prophet John Taylor, Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 227

    “Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire….Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers…. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ it is the only popular religion there,…”
    - The Prophet Brigham Young, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862

    “This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,…”
    - Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195

    “We breathe the free air, we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they (Non-Mormons) envy us our position, well they may, for they are a poor, narrow-minded, pinch-backed race of men, who chain themselves down to the law of monogamy, and live all their days under the dominion of one wife. They ought to be ashamed of such conduct, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices; and it is not to be wondered at that they should envy those who so much better understand the social relations.”
    - Apostle George A Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 291

    “I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality [of wives] looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business. I do not know what we would do if we had only one wife apiece.”
    - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses Vol 5, page 22

    “Just ask yourselves, historians, when was monogamy introduced on to the face of the earth? When those buccaneers, who settled on the peninsula where Rome now stands, could not steal women enough to have two or three apiece, they passed a law that a man should have but one woman. And this started monogamy and the downfall of the plurality system. In the days of Jesus, Rome, having dominion over Jerusalem, they carried out the doctrine more or less. This was the rise, start and foundation of the doctrine of monogamy; and never till then was there a law passed, that we have any knowledge of, that a man should have but one wife. ”
    - The Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 12, page 262

  122. Julie M. Smith on April 11, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Chance, I’m completely with you in acknowledging that all extramarital sex is a sin, and a grievous one at that. All I object to is your assumption that you know the future. In a church that believes in continuing revelation, you don’t. You wrote, “If it is wrong today, it is going to be wrong tomorrow.” This isn’t true about polygamy, it isn’t true about the propriety of women giving blessings, and it isn’t true about a lot of things.

  123. Loyd on April 11, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    doctrine will never change, nor has it ever changed

    except perhaps B. Young’s “Adam-God Doctrine”, McKonkie’s ‘fill in the blank__________’ doctrine, Joseph Fielding Smith’s ‘fill in the blank________’ doctrine, certain plural marriage doctrines, certain black/priesthood doctrines, etc, etc, etc.

    I’m interested in your method of determining Church Doctrine. If a new prophet’s revelation contradicts what another prophet claimed was doctrine, does that mean the previous doctrine was never actually doctrine. If so, how do you know that a later prophet will not change by revelation what is believed today? How can you be so sure of things, if the leaders of the church have historically shown to not be so sure about doctrines that they were very adamanent about (ie. Young and Adam-God)?

  124. Dave on April 11, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Lloyd,
    I have heard it referred to as “Adam-God Theory”, but not “Adam-God Doctrine”. It is interesting to see that Orson Pratt was willing to disagree with that when he was otherwise so obedient to the Presidency. He clearly (and he lived in the actual time and had actual conversation with President Young) considered it to be only an opinioin. Could you please fill in the blanks for me with Elder (not president) McKonkie and President Smith? The implication is that there are a large number of things that could be used to fill in the blanks.

  125. Loyd on April 11, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    Dave,

    B. Young and his first presidency called it the Adam-God Doctrine. For McKonkie, just pick half of what he says in his Mormon Doctrine or any of his essays…especially his Seven Deadly Heresies. For Fielding Smith, pick any of his claims about Blood-Atonement, the Moon, and especially Evolution (scientists who believe the earth is over 13,000 years old are decieved by Satan).

  126. rd on April 11, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Lloyd,

    Dave is making the point that much of what you cite is merely opinion and was never “doctrine” as Mormons understand it. I think it’s a good point.

    As for the broader point, the Church is not a political organization and will not shift its “doctrine” for the sake of politics, never has. I also think that it is dangerous to sit on the fence with “doctrine”. I hope my children are as Christian as they can possibly be–in so being, I hope that they keep the commandments and follow the doctrine. I think that is why Chance is frustrated with discussions like these as they blur the lines between doctrine and opinion, try to allow wiggle room for what are clearly out-of-line practices, and endanger those who might be persuaded that sin is okay. Homosexuality is sin. The prophets have spoken. God has spoken. Politicking won’t change that.

  127. Chance on April 11, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks RD, I was about to post something similair.

    Church doctrine has never changed, nor will it change. The doctrine that is taught today is the same gospel that was taught by Joseph Smith, even the same that was taught by Christ.

    We can talk all we want about polygamy (which is still doctrine) or the A-G debate (which has never been discounted by any of the following prophets to my knowledge as Adam/Michael could very well be a God), but the truth of our discussion still stands, and that is that homosexuality is a sin, and what was a sin yesterday will still be a sin tomorrow. Entire cities were destroyed because of this grievous act, does that not illustrate how abominable God sees this act?

    Commandments were made for men to conform to, not the reverse. And as RD said, no amount of protests, lobbying, etc will ever result in the reversal of a subject such as this.

  128. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    126–

    As for the broader point, the Church is not a political organization and will not shift its “doctrine� for the sake of politics, never has.

    I’m not going to argue with the assertion that “doctrine” never changes for the sake of politics, but I would argue that practice, which is an outward expression of doctrine, has indeed changed because of politics. Kathleen Flake’s excellent book on the Reed Smoot hearings is an excellent examination of the most prominent example of this from Mormon history: the abandonment of polygamy under intense political pressure, especially the initial refusal to allow Elder Smoot to take his seat in the US Senate..

  129. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    127–

    homosexuality is a sin

    Current LDS Church leaders are much more careful than you when making a statement such as this. While the “attraction-action” distinction is largely meaningless to me as a gay man, it is one that is emphasized by the Church and does have real meaning for gay Mormons who are trying to remain faithful to the church. Take note.

  130. rd on April 11, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    128–

    Polygamy is exactly why I limited my assertions to “doctrine” and not practice.

  131. D. Fletcher on April 11, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    What about blacks receiving the priesthood? Wasn’t this a fully-embraced doctrine, until it wasn’t?

  132. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    Loyd,
    The Adam-God theory is a poor example of the point you are trying to make. Whether that theory is right or wrong or preached by multiple prophets really doesn’t matter to my eternal exaltation. The doctrine of marriage is inextricably tied to the doctrine re: exaltation. And prophets have made it clear that such doctrine cannot and will not change.

    Polygamy is not a good example, either, because there is scriptural support for polygamy. God had commanded it in the OT and had allowed for it in the BoM. There is not any such support or any logical support for homosexuality.

    Julie,
    Because of the above, and because of clear statements that have been made repeatedly by our prophets, I do not think it is out of line to make assertions such as have been made here that the doctrine of marriage will never change to include homosexuality as a somehow approved or condoned or allowed behavior.

    As a general comment, I think it is important to realize that we can’t lobby God or His leaders to change doctrine. This is one of the elements of the bloggernacle that really baffles me. It’s dangerous to think that we can or should spend our time trying to change what is. The Church is not a democracy. Doctrine is not a bottom-up kind of phenomenon. It is our job to square ourselves with the doctrine, not wait hopefully for it to change. Besides, it’s pointless to talk about what “might” happen. We will be held accountable for what IS.

  133. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    132–

    Whether that theory is right or wrong or preached by multiple prophets really doesn’t matter to my eternal exaltation.

    I think Brother Brigham would disagree with this statement. And isn’t one of the principles of Mormonism that knowing and understanding the nature of God is critical to our becoming like him?

  134. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Kathleen Flake’s excellent book on the Reed Smoot hearings is an excellent examination of the most prominent example of this from Mormon history: the abandonment of polygamy under intense political pressure, especially the initial refusal to allow Elder Smoot to take his seat in the US Senate..

    I always find it interesting when more credibility and focus is given to intellectual treatments of what has happened, instead of just looking at what the prophest teach. I will not be held accountable for what Kathleen Flake has to say. But I will be accountable for what the prophets have to say.

    Polygamy changed because the Lord knew that the Church could not survive. The prophet had received a vision of what would happen if it had continued. But its removal was not reversing doctrine that was binding on everyone in the Church. Polygamy was not practiced by everyone, and was only practiced for a short time. Life post OD#2 did not suddenly include a way of life that was declared sinful since the beginning of time. This is still not a good example to give support for the idea that homosexuality will suddenly become OK. I can think of at least three talks from this last Conference that continue to show that the Church tows a very tight line on the doctrine of marriage. Of course, there is love for those who have homosexual tendencies. But there will never be allowance for homosexual sin.

  135. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    134–

    I don’t know why I’m allowing myself to get sucked into this…

    I always find it interesting when more credibility and focus is given to intellectual treatments of what has happened, instead of just looking at what the prophest teach.

    That’s pretty dismissive. Have you read the book? How do you know that I–or anyone else–give Flake more weight on this than church leaders? How do you know that what Flake has written, which is a careful, thoughtful and honest examination, can’t be squared with what the leader of the church have said and teach.

    Of course, there is love for those who have homosexual tendencies.

    Saying it doesn’t make it so.

  136. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    133-
    Hurricane, we can know the nature of God without knowing “whether Adam was God.” We need to know His characteristics and attributes, and that can be learned independent of whether that theory was correct. Those doctrines that matter to my eternal salvation are taught by our current prophets. I do not have to know about the Adam-God Theory because it is not taught today. It does not matter. We are held accountable for what we are taught today…not what might have been taught in the past or what someone thinks should be taught in the future.

  137. DavidH on April 11, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    “we can’t lobby God or His leaders to change doctrine”

    Would it have been appropriate before 1978 to pray that God would reveal that the practice of withholding temple and priesthood blessings based on race should end?

  138. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    136-

    m&m, there’s always an answer, isn’t there?

  139. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    Hurricane,
    I’m sorry I frustrate you. But I have a hard time sitting and letting this issue be misrepresented. There is always an answer, if the prophets have spoken. That’s just the way things are. I don’t mean it to always end up being a back-and-forth between the two of us. I hope you can remember past comments about my compassion in spite of my strong feelings. But all the compassion in the world cannot change the doctrine. Unfortunately, this kind of conversation always leaves people on different “sides” at a sort of impasse. That’s why we just go back and forth, back and forth.

  140. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    #137
    I don’t see the 1978 revelation as a change in doctrine. It was a change in practice. If we think everything is up for grabs, we will set ourselves up for disappointment. These kinds of arguments always show up with regard to homosexuality, and they are misleading because they don’t compare apples with apples. The doctrine of marriage has existed since before the world was. It is essential for exaltation. You can’t mess with such things. I would like to see us spend our efforts praying that we can all be more loving toward each other, that those who struggle with same-sex attraction can feel more safe at church, and other such things, but I frankly think it’s a waste of time to pray that God will suddenly, after millenia of time and all the pre-time “time” before that, change something that can’t be changed. Let’s focus on what WE can do, WITHIN the bounds God has set, to all be more loving and unified. But that can’t happen if we spend our time trying to change the bounds. We have to work within them for any unity to really come!

  141. Loyd on April 11, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    chance, rd, etc,

    what you cite is merely opinion and was never “doctrine� as Mormons understand it

    You wonderfully made my point here. What is the thin line between ‘opinion’ and ‘doctrine’ “as Mormons understand it”? If you agree with it, then it is ‘doctrine’ if you disagree, it is ‘opinion’. Doctrine is doctrine until it is dismissed by a later leader, at that point it becomes opinion. Birth control was a sin until it suddenly became opinion. Sex without procreation changed with it. Joseph Fielding Smith had a backpocket full of scriptures and citations to counter the scientific age of the earth. Blacks not getting the priesthood was a doctrine until McKay made it policy. ‘Doctrines’ change. It’s a fact of the church. It’s modern revelation. Over the life of Joseph Smith, you can easily see doctrines and beliefs changing as Joseph learned more.

    Your doctrine is another person’s opinion and vice-versa.

    Those doctrines that matter to my eternal salvation are taught by our current prophets.

    Is this statement false when made by a late-19th century Mormon? If B Young’s doctrines could be false, why do current prophets get a mantel of infallibility?

    The Church is not a democracy. Doctrine is not a bottom-up kind of phenomenon.

    Bottom-up doctrine and revelation happen all the time. Todd Compton wrote an excellent paper on this. The Word of Wisdom arose from Emma Smith complaining about tobacco use and the men seeking revenging by upsetting their tea and coffee hours. Do you think President Kimball just woke up one day and got a revelation to give blacks the priesthood? Do you think it would have happened without a lot of pressure from within and without the church? No. Read Kimball’s latest biography. These aren’t isolated incidents.

  142. MikeInWeHo on April 11, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    Asserting that “the Church’s doctrines have never changed” is simply playing games with the word “doctrine.” But I understand why: If we begin with the testimony that the Church is true and cannot be wrong, when change occurs (polygamy, priesthood ban, et. al.) it must be interpreted through that lense. Makes for some mighty convoluted (yet fun to read !) apologetics, that’s for sure. It’s like watching people play intellectual Twister.

    Bummer that the Church can’t seem to retain many converts, though. Maybe the Internet (and general ubiquity of historical information about the Church) collides with the mindset expressed in #126 and 127, and POOF, some poor investigator winds up in the arms of the Evangelicals.

    Speaking of poof, isn’t this string getting away from the discussion of the Soulforce visitors to BYU?

  143. DavidH on April 11, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    “I don’t see the 1978 revelation as a change in doctrine. It was a change in practice.”

    That is why I asked whether it would “have been appropriate before 1978 to pray that God would reveal that the practice of withholding temple and priesthood blessings based on race should end.”

    Is it appropriate to pray for a change in “practice” rather than a change in “doctrine”?

    Assuming the “doctrine” does not change that homosexual relations are inconsistent with God’s will (i.e., they are sin), do you see any “practices” based on that “doctrine” that might change?

  144. rd on April 11, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    Loyd,

    The doctrine, opinion distinction is a bit more nuanced than you suggest. I don’t agree that Elder Smith’s evolution opinions were doctrine and he didn’t preach them as prophet. Elder McConkie’s opinions? Just that.

    Blacks and the priesthood is more difficult, but not really analogous. There are many more spiritual and doctrinal justifications for prohibiting unnatural sexual relationships than there were for race-based practices that were likely the result of cultural mores of the day and that, honestly, likely fulfilled divine purposes, if extremely hard to swallow and deeply disturbing.

    I think we have to have faith that the prophets are correct and follow them. That’s the doctrine. Practice is fluid, as you mention. I think we really miss the boat when we try seek to change prophetic statements rather than following them. All of this is premised with testimony of course.

    Again, I am sad that my sons will have to grow up in a world where people try to blur lines of right and wrong and say that anything goes. The glory of Christ’s gospel is that it stands as an uncompromising beacon in a sea of relativism and doubt. For that I am grateful. At least I have what to teach my sons, even if they are pelted by critics.

  145. rd on April 11, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    142:

    The purpose of preaching the gospel is not to do whatever it takes to convince, but rather to expose people to the true gospel of Jesus Christ and invite them to embrace it, after they have found out for themselves that it’s true. If people are more comfortable making less sacrifices with the “evangelicals” as you state, then so be it. Frustrations with the lack of retention should stem from our failures as a membership to adequately teach the doctrine, befriend, and integrate people, along with a frustration that people are not willing to accept Christ’s gospel.

    It should not be a frustration that the doctrine has not conformed to worldly views.

  146. Tyler W. on April 11, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    The doctrine of pologamy has never changed. The Lord has always decided when pologamy should or should not be practiced. This doctrine is clearly taught in the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

  147. loyd on April 11, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    I never advocated “anything goes” nor would I ever advocate it. I’m just pointing out that historically, doctrines have been changed. Calling them ‘opinions’ is a mere semantic game because all doctrines are opinions, some are just accepted by the bulk of the church while others are rejected. To hold the president of the church to a higher standard than the quorum of the twelve apostles is also problematic. Such a standard negates much of the scriptures. Even using the scriptures as an infallible standard is also problematic when the scriptural writers themselves say them have been mistaken at times. That does not mean there are no standards however. God’s maximized love seems to be a pretty good standard to judge things against. Isn’t that what Christ was typifying (are we not to follow him)? The question we must ask is if our actions, policies and doctrines (upheld opinions) are in line with any valuable meaning of God’s love. If the two cannot be reconciled, I think that gives good reason to question the opinion’s validity.

  148. loyd on April 11, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    The doctrine of pologamy has never changed. The Lord has always decided when pologamy should or should not be practiced. This doctrine is clearly taught in the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

    What exactly is the doctrine of polygamy? Can you please define it in terms that would be acceptable as doctrine of the church today?

  149. Josh Kim on April 11, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    MikeInWeHo,

    you just proved my point. Thank you.

  150. Kristy on April 11, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    So Lloyd, Mike, I’m just wondering, even if you’re right and currently accepted church doctrine on this issue is merely opinion, and like blacks and the priesthood it will someday change, what should you do about it? I suppose you could pray for church leaders, pray for the members who hurt you to have softened hearts, pray for patience for yourself, and faithfully follow church practice, policy, doctrine, etc, and be chaste. Before 1978, this is what was expected of those who thought blacks should hold the priesthood (ie they should faithfully and prayerfully wait, while following the then-accepted guidelines), right?

    Chastity isn’t just a condemnation to loneliness that is expected of homosexuals only. It is a law we are all expected to keep for some part of our lives, and many heterosexuals will keep it their entire lives, and not because they are missing hormones. Even married people know that at any time, they might have to live out the rest of their lives in chastity. Please know you are not alone in this.

    I’m sure you have heard hurtful comments from members; using words like “freak” and “sick”, (which were mentioned early on in this discussion) is insensitive and unfortunate, and hopefully we will learn to be more considerate. But beyond that, the reality is that it is current church doctrine that homosexual behavior is considered a serious sin, and saying so will be seen as offensive to many. It reminds me of a scene in C. S. Lewis’s book, The Great Divorce, where two men meet up after they’ve died; one has just come from Hell, only he didn’t know that’s where he’d been.
    First man: “What do you call it?”
    Second man: “We call it Hell.”
    First man: “There is no need to be profane, my dear boy. I may not be very orthodox, in your sense of the word, but I do feel that these matters ought to be discussed simply, and seriously, and reverently.”
    Second man: “Discuss Hell *reverently*? I meant what I said. You have been in Hell…”

  151. loyd on April 11, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    kristy,

    there is more that members can do than pray. they can advocate for what they feel is right. hugh b. brown was constantly pushing to give blacks the priesthood. he didn’t even feel that a revelation was required. like the word of wisdom, revelation often comes when others push the issue. it’s the way that the church was set up by joseph smith. he encouraged others to voice there opinions, though he just as often disagreed with them. it’s a historical fact that change occurs even in the church, when the members begin raising their voices.

  152. Ryan on April 11, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    I have to agree with Kristy. I would add that chastity is a law we are all expected to keep for all of our lives (there is chastity in marriage). Many heterosexuals deal with very powerful urges dealing with pornography and getting married doesn’t solve the problem. I’m not saying a struggle with pornography is as difficult or the same as fighting with homosexual urges. For both groups, such feelings may never go away and it is a daily battle to remain chaste. I am saddened when someone uses hurtful comments to describe a person with such a struggle, it only makes the struggle more difficult to live with.

  153. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Assuming the “doctrine� does not change that homosexual relations are inconsistent with God’s will (i.e., they are sin), do you see any “practices� based on that “doctrine� that might change?

    No, I don’t. LIke I said, what I hope for is that there will be enough acceptance of those with homosexual tendencies who are willing to submit to the commandments of God so that they can feel loved and accepted and respected for their willingness to obey. I want them to be able to talk about the challenges they face like single or divorced people have been able to do more of as awareness of and sensitivity to their plight has increased. I realize that there is such a stigma associated with homosexuality in the Church that we are not anywhere near this point yet. But, on the flip side, unless those in the Church who have same-sex tendencies stop attacking the leaders and demanding or expecting that doctrine change, it will be hard to get to that point. We need to start with a basis of unity under the prophets (one Church, one faith under God, so to speak). This is why I get involved in these discussions; I yearn for us to be united as members…and that can’t happen unless we accept the doctrine as it is.

    Although I don’t think you can compare blacks and the priesthood to this issue (rd has summed that up well), I have heard of enough stories of those black pre-1978 who were just humble and trusted God and accepted things as they are that I think there is something to be learned there. I do not claim that prophets never make mistakes, but I feel completely certain that we are expected to follow them in faith, and will be judged on that. The Lord has said repeatedly that His prophets speak for Him, and if we reject them or their words, we reject Him. The test for us, regardless of the specifics of the issue, is to be humble, obedient and submissive. That is really the only way to be unified (“if ye are not one, ye are not mine”). And it’s really the only way to keep things straight and clear in this relative-truthed world…that is only getting worse. And, remember, this getting worse thing is leading toward something. The only way to be ready for His coming is to be obedient to His prophets and to listen to what they are saying now, not to wait to act until they say what we want them to. Reading Elder Eyring’s talk has made me even more determined to align my point of view with the prophets. He says it will be harder, not easier, to keep our covenants. Following the prophets is the only way I know to know I’m on the safe side of the line, so to speak.

  154. DavidH on April 11, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    I disagree M&M.

    On the thread about “complaining”, I have posted the portion of Elder Oaks’ talk approving praying for changes in policies with which we disagree.

    It seems to me a person could, while acknowledging that “doctrine” would not change, pray for a change in “practices” and “policies” associated with the “doctrine.”

    For example, some intemperate language associated with homosexuality as sin has been toned down in Church publications at the suggestion (or at least prayers) of many. The publication of In Quiet Desperation also represented, in my opinion, increased sensitivity.

  155. Josh Kim on April 11, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    I just found out that my TA is gay and spoke at the Soulforce rally. As far as I know, he’s a decent guy. It never occurred to me to ask about his sexual orientation when I met him.

  156. A Nonny Mouse on April 11, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    loyd about Hugh B. Brown: he didn’t even feel that a revelation was required. like the word of wisdom, revelation often comes when others push the issue.

    Couple of interesting points about Blacks and the Priesthood. All the way back to Brigham Young, the alleged originator of the ban, the prophets always said that one day Blacks _would_ get the priesthood. It was never a matter of if it was a matter of when. This is the single biggest reason I feel the comparison to homosexuality fails on the face of it. No prophet has ever prophesied of the day when homosexuality will be okay.

    Secondly, back to the Hugh B Brown thing: You’ll note, Loyd, that he was wrong. President McKay and President Lee went to the Lord about it and were told “No. Now is not thet time. Quit asking.” It required a revelation. There was no other way to get any president of the church to change the policy completely, although President McKay did loosen it quite a bit.

  157. Aaron Brown on April 11, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    This thread seems to have been hijacked by a discussion of the meaning of “doctrine,” “opinion”, etc. For those who want to discuss this stuff ad nauseum, I invite you transport yourselves to …

    http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2006/04/having-our-doctrinal-cake-and-eating-it-too/

    Aaron B

  158. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    #156
    Which is a reminder of Who is really in control.
    The story of the 116 lost manuscript pages is also a reminder that we ought not to ask for something that is against God’s will. (Jacob 4:10-14 also reminds us of this.) The BD talks about how prayer is not to change God’s will, but to bring our will in subjection to His. Obviously, it was His will to reveal the WoW; it was His will to extend the priesthood to blacks (but not before 1978)…. And these revelations were consistent with other things the Lord had done in the past (codes of health (think law of Moses, Daniel refusing the king’s food and drink, etc.), extending gospel blessings to more people (e.g., Peter receiving the revelation to take the gospel to non-Jews)….

  159. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    154:
    DavidH: I’m not quite sure what you disagree with. Also, what “policies” do you think would be helpful? I don’t see “increased sensitivity” as a policy change…that is just, well, increased sensitivity. I think I was advocating such an increased sensitivity, btw. I want that to happen. I can pray for that. But is there a “policy” that will do that? Isn’t that really something that has to be done by individuals, as they realize the love the Lord has for all His children, and the love that our leaders proclaim for all people? I am having a hard time thinking of anything really institutionalized that could help — can you think of “policies” that would help — that wouldn’t hijack doctrine or standards that cannot be changed?

    So, getting back to the original point of the thread…if this visit from Soulforce helps people have more sympathy for the honest struggles that homosexuals in the Church has, then, good…that’s probably helpful. I choose to participate in discussions like this partly so I CAN understand other points of view better and try to have sympathy. But, too often, I have seen such discussions regarding “love” and “compassion” and trying to “share a point of view” become assertions of “why the doctrine is wrong” and “what the Church ‘should’ do.” If groups like Soulforce really want to find compassion and understanding, it has to be done understanding that some things can’t change, like doctrine of marriage, policies regarding homosexual sin, and such. The only thing that can really change is the way people respond to individuals, and the degree of acceptance that homosexuals who want to be active members can find in the Church. We can also love those who choose not to abide by the commandments. But we can’t “show our love” by demanding that God change His mind about things that have never been OK, never been consistent with the plan of salvation and exaltation. I could never feel good about praying for or desiring such a thing…I would consider that to be “asking amiss.”

  160. hurricane on April 11, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Here’s how it goes –

    If something has changed, it was practice or policy. If a prophet or apostle declared that it would never change but then it did, then it was just his opinion. Everything else is doctrine (until it evolves or changes…). And always the trump card: “Well, that’s what the Lord said.”

    I really am too raw at this point in my life to continue participating in these discussions. Enjoy.

  161. Adam Greenwood on April 11, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    #159 has finally answered to my satisfaction the question asked earlier about how our Lord would respond.

  162. manaen on April 11, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    159
    The only thing that can really change is the way people respond to individuals

    Which, I believe, is the one thing that matters in this life.

    “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12)
    “lovest thou me? [...] Feed my sheep” (John 21:16,17)
    “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men [...] then shall thy cconfidence wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45)
    “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:20-21)

  163. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 11, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    manaen,
    Since I’m the one who wrote #159, I won’t argue with the principle — and I really believe there needs to be more of this in the Church all the way around!

    That said, I do hope you aren’t one of those who demands that we have to “show our love” for others by rejecting God’s commandments. This is something I have run across too many times.

  164. Steven B on April 11, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    We’ve all heard our leaders blaming the fall of the Roman empire and the decline of civilization on Homosexuality. . .

    D. Fletcher, #121, you have given us your finest comment ever!

  165. a random John on April 11, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    But we can’t “show our love� by demanding that God change His mind about things that have never been OK, never been consistent with the plan of salvation and exaltation. I could never feel good about praying for or desiring such a thing…I would consider that to be “asking amiss.�

    m&m, and Adam too since you liked the comment so much,

    What is the application of your philosophy presented above to President Kimball’s prayers that the priesthood ban be lifted?

  166. Adam Greenwood on April 11, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    I believe President Kimball’s understanding, as well as that of his predecessors, was that the priesthood ban was temporary and the Lord intended to lift it at some point. One can always pray for God to remove afflictions and so on — this is the nature of intercessionary prayer. But arguing with God is a different thing — you end up losing your 116 pages.

    M&M and I feel that homosexual behavior has always been immoral in God’s sight and is inconsistent with the plan of salvation and the nature of exaltation. If this was your understanding, would you pray to have God change the relevant commandments?

  167. Steven B on April 11, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    Chance #111, Homosexuality . . . will never be allowed within the Kingdom of God.

    I suppose that by “Kingdom of God” you mean the LDS church, but I suggest that the Kingdom of God is much bigger than that. I do not believe for one moment that God withholds his grace and love from believers who may not have learned of the restored gospel or who might err in doctrine. Throughout the world faith-filled believers pray, serve and love God and experience the joy, blessings and spirit which God pours out upon those who draw close to him.

    Does God withhold his blessings from homosexuals? I don’t think so. In fact I know many openly gay people who live lives richly blessed by the spirit. And many Christian churches warmly embrace them and give them a place at the table and admittance to the sacraments. How can this outpouring of God’s grace upon homosexuals possibly take place if they are forever condemned by their sexuality?

  168. Adam Greenwood on April 12, 2006 at 12:56 am

    I don’t understand why you think being given sacraments in churches that are without authority constitutes “an outpouring of God’s grace.”

    We are all sinners. Those who wish to put aside their sins and even their desire for sin can be accepted into the Kingdom and, through God’s grace, they will ultimately be able to do so. Homosexuality is not a special case. It only seems to be so because it is in that category of desire-for-sin that the evidence suggests is rarely able to be put aside in this life.

    Mormons are also uniquely aware that God accommodates those who are willing to give up some sins for Him but cling to others. They receive as much of his presence as they are able. (Parenthetically, holding back from God in order to embrace one’s homosexuality is a fools bargain. I don’t think that there’s homosexuality for anyone in the world to come; but there will be the effects of the willingness to rebel.)

  169. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 12, 2006 at 2:37 am

    #165
    What Adam said.

  170. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 12, 2006 at 2:53 am

    For those who are interested in a story on the protestors (as labeled in the news story), go to http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=189664

    (Sorry about not doing a hyperlink, but the last one I did was a disaster and it’s too late to figure it out tonite….will get that skill mastered sometime.)

  171. Chance on April 12, 2006 at 7:30 am

    Ditto what Adam said in 168 and M&M in 159. Both excellent posts.

    Steven, please do not put words into my mouth. I never at any time said God would withhold blessings from practicing homosexuals, or anyone from that matter. Were that true, the results would be obvious (at least in my life).

    By the Kingdom of God, I meant just that, the Kingdom of God. I’ll say it again, and I hate to be so blunt but it is out of love and a personnel witness as to how destructive this so-called lifestyle can be, but homosexuality has been abhorred from the beginning, and what was a sin from the foundations will always be a sin.

    Just because this behavior is suddenly gaining social acceptance does not make it correct, nor does it serve as any kind of indicator that church doctrine will ever be changed to allow for it. If you doubt that, read the quotes that I left in 119 for they plainly state the Lord’s position.

  172. a random John on April 12, 2006 at 8:51 am

    Adam,(and m&m too since you seem to be of one mind)

    I’m not claiming that I think anything about the Church’s stance towards homosexual acts is temporary. But I’m surprised that you think that the priesthood ban was always understood to be temporary. Of course if by temporary you mean that the priesthood would be available to everyone in the afterlife then I agree. But if by temporary you meant that the ban the Brigham Young instituted in this mortal probation was meant to end at any time, then I think you are adapting your understanding of the past in order to fit more recent events. The only arguement I’ve ever seen for the ban which would support your position is the one that claims that the civil rights battle had to be fought in the USA before the preisthood could be given. I think this type of thinking pulls the same revisionist stunt that you have, and takes a very provincial view of both God and His Church. Is there some other justification that I’m missing?

    My personal take is not the the ban was temporary but that it was never intended to happen. My fallback position is that if it was meant to happen it was a curse on the racist white members of the church for being unable to see their brothers and sisters as Jesus does.

  173. Julie M. Smith on April 12, 2006 at 9:37 am

    “I believe President Kimball’s understanding, as well as that of his predecessors, was that the priesthood ban was temporary and the Lord intended to lift it at some point.”

    I believe that to be the case for Pres. Kimball, but I am pretty sure that others (Elder McConkie, BY) taught that the ban would not be lifted in mortality. Maybe someone can find some citations one way or the other.

  174. hurricane on April 12, 2006 at 9:41 am

    Again, I can’t stay away…

    Chance (171)–

    I’ll say it again, and I hate to be so blunt but it is out of love and a personnel witness as to how destructive this so-called lifestyle can be, but homosexuality has been abhorred from the beginning, and what was a sin from the foundations will always be a sin.

    A couple of observations/queries…

    First, do you know any happy gay people? I know several. I don’t mean happy in the hedonistic, indulgent sense. I mean well adjusted, joyfully and genuinely happy–people who live the anti-thesis of the “destructive lifestyle” of which you bear witness.

    Second, if you are going to convince me or any other real gay people that you are truly saying these blunt things out of love, you really ought to follow the example of Church leaders and be careful enough in your use of language to make a distinction between homosexual attraction and homosexual behavior. Your blanket condemnation that “homosexuality is a sin” is, as I have pointed out previously, hurtful to faithful gay Mormons who seek to remain faithful to the church and its teachings. Of course, maybe you really do think that homosexuality is a sin–even the attraction. If that’s the case, then I suggest you study up on more recent statements and talks from current church leaders who go out of their way to make this distinction.

    Adam (168)–

    It only seems to be so because it is in that category of desire-for-sin that the evidence suggests is rarely able to be put aside in this life.

    Desire for sin? This constant reduction of homosexuality to a desire to commit sex acts is offensive. Homosexuality is as much about desire for love and emotional connections as is heterosexuality. You demean gay people when you talk about homosexuality in such base terms and suggest that the proper course for them is to simply resist.

  175. Adam Greenwood on April 12, 2006 at 9:58 am

    Experiencing and desiring love and emotional connections with members of the same sex is human, not homosexual.

  176. hurricane on April 12, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Adam, assuming you experience opposite sex attraction, is there a qualitative difference between the love and emotional connection you make and desire with women (or your wife–I don’t know if you are married) and the love and emotional connection you make and desire with men?

  177. annegb on April 12, 2006 at 10:31 am

    There was an article in our local paper this morning about the demonstration. I didn’t read it, just glanced at it.

    Utahns are civil people, as a rule, no matter what religion we espouse. I suspect these people will be treated politely, but mostly ignored, and nothing will change. Which, in my opinion, is as it should be.

  178. annegb on April 12, 2006 at 10:33 am

    There was an article in our local paper this morning about the demonstration. I didn’t read it, just glanced at it.

    Utahns are civil people, as a rule, no matter what religion we espouse. I suspect these people will be treated politely, but mostly ignored.

  179. Adam Greenwood on April 12, 2006 at 10:50 am

    “Adam, assuming you experience opposite sex attraction, is there a qualitative difference between the love and emotional connection you make and desire with women (or your wife–I don’t know if you are married) and the love and emotional connection you make and desire with men? ”

    Yes, the element of sexual attraction.

    Also, to the extent that nature and culture give men and women different experiences and character, and put different expectations on the interactions between genders than among the gender, there should also be differences in the qualities of the love and emotional connection.

  180. Chance on April 12, 2006 at 10:52 am

    Hurricane, you can read into it all your like and continue to seek offense, but as I have stated previously when I am referring to homosexuality, I am referring to the practices associated with it. Besides I know very few people (if any) who refer to themselves as homosexuals unless they are actively participating in the ‘lifestyle’.

    Do I know any happy, practicing homosexuals? What does that have to do with anything? Do you know any depressed people who are practicing homosexuality? Any answer to that question is acceptable with the exception of “They are only depressed because of society’s treatment of them�. I have witnessed first-hand mothers leaving their children at the doorsteps of their grandparents homes because their new ‘lifestyle’ did not allow for children. I then subsequently witnessed grandparents and children suffer lifelong physical and mental trauma because of that ‘mothers’ choice as she celebrated her new found ‘freedom’. I have watched fathers abandon wives and young children for the same, and witnessed that same physical and mental trauma be inflicted upon them. The wife spiraling into depression while these little ones in essence suffered as they lost both parents as mom was incapacitated and dad had moved onto a new life that did not include them. While you may believe that in being ‘true to themselves’ they are making themselves happy, the events that I have witnessed have proven that wickedness never was happiness.

    Throughout this thread I have repeatedly stated that I do love the sinner, but I do hate the sin. I’m sorry I do not sugarcoat my views, but I do not want my message to be misinterpreted, and I am sure if you visited any church leader and plainly asked what their view of homosexuallity was they would give you the same message as I am presenting: It is a sin, and it is contrary to God’s order.

  181. manaen on April 12, 2006 at 11:05 am

    173

    Julie, Elder McConkie gave his witness of the revelation on the priesthood afterwards. Some excerpts are:

    I would like to say something about the new revelation relative to our taking the priesthood to those of all nations and races. “He [meaning Christ, who is the Lord God] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Ne. 26:33).

    These words have now taken on a new meaning. We have caught a new vision of their true significance. This also applies to a great number of other passages in the revelations. Since the Lord gave this revelation on the priesthood, our understanding of many passages has expanded. Many of us never imagined or supposed that they had the extensive and broad meaning that they do have.

    […]

    We have read these passages and their associated passages for many years. We have seen what the words say and have said to ourselves, “Yes, it says that, but we must read out of it the taking of the gospel and the blessings of the temple to the Negro people, because they are denied certain things.” There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren that we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say,

    “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” All I can say is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.
    We get our truth and light line upon line and precept upon precept (2 Ne. 28:30; Isa. 28:9-10; D&C 98:11-12; 128:21). We have now added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter anymore.

    It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.

  182. hurricane on April 12, 2006 at 11:18 am

    179–

    I asked specifically about emotional attraction, not sexual attraction. I’ll take it from your answer that your emotional attraction to men is no different than your emotional attraction to women. I think most people would find that there is a difference, even when sexual attraction is removed from the equation. Perhaps I’m wrong, or perhaps you are unique.

    180–

    I’m asking you to show your professed love for homosexuals by being more careful in your language. Seems a small thing really, and I don’t think anyone will think you’re sugarcoating your views. We get it.

    The question about whether or not you know any happy gay people is relevant when you claim personal witness to the destructive consquences of the homosexual lifestyle. Perhaps the more relevant question is how many gay people do you know? I know happy and sad ones. The depressed ones are depressed for a variety of reasons, including the internal conflict many feel. I certainly wouldn’t suggest that homosexuals who are depressed are only depressed because of society’s treatment of them. But having experienced the conflict of feeling same sex attraction while desperately not wanting to be gay in a world and culture that disapproves and condemns homosexuality, I cannot and will not discount it either.

    Let’s be clear. I’m not presenting myself as the happy, well-adjusted homosexual. I’m in the process of ending my marriage. There is very real pain and heartache that comes from this, for me, for my wife and for my children. But a year ago, I had an active death wish. I hoped that I would die in a plane crash or of some disease rather than have to live out my life with this internal conflict. Relief came when I finally accepted that there was nothing I could do to change my sexual orientation. I could be miserable with it or I could try to find a way to integrate it into my life and my sense of self. I’m much happier today than I was a year ago. And while my marriage is ending, I have made every effort to honor my commitments as a father and to try to renew the deep and fulfuilling friendship my wife and I have had over the years. And while she mourns the loss of her marriage, she is grateful that she is no longer living in a lonely marriage with a depressed and distant husband.

    So you can tell me what you know about the homosexual experience and the destruction that comes from the gay “lifestyle” and I’ll take it in the sincere manner in which I am sure you are offering it. What I am talking about when I talk about homosexuality and marriage and divorce and heartache and depression and conflict is my life. And I now know literally dozens of men, some Mormon and some not, who have tried every bit as desperately as me to try to make this all work. One thing seems to be universal: Relief comes from self acceptance. What follows that simple act is up to each individual.

    Sorry, I’m sure I’m too emotional to continue in this discussion.

  183. Elisabeth on April 12, 2006 at 11:32 am

    hurricane – my heart aches for you. I wish you and your family the best.

  184. a random John on April 12, 2006 at 11:34 am

    manaen,

    Elder McConkie gave his witness of the revelation on the priesthood afterwards.

    Yes, but m&m and Adam’s point is that you need to know that something is possible before petitioning the Lord. Otherwise you’re trying to change His mind, which is a bad idea in that you end up losing pages.

    On what basis was the ban seen as temporary before it was lifted?

  185. Tona on April 12, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    When I went to the link for the soulride (e.g. from #56, #57), I saw that their first link on the left sidebar for today (4/12) notes that 24 of them got arrested at BYU. Anyone there want to fill us in on what actually happened? Some of the posts from the middle of this thread sounded like the tone of the early part of their visit was somewhat non-confrontational. What changed, when, and what happened then?

  186. Tona on April 12, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    I read soulride’s version of the events, and it sounded like they laid down on the grass. Um, was that what got them arrested?

  187. Chance on April 12, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    Hurricane, I am sorry to hear of your conflicts, and hope all turns out well for you. If you must know, I have spent the better part of my life in Seattle, which should give you a good idea of how many homosexuals I know. These have been friends, co-workers, acquaintances, people on the street, and both immediate and distant family. I have watched people declare homosexuality, and I have witnessed those same people (who were not LDS) later declare that it is incorrect, subsequently marrying someone of the opposite sex and having a healthy, loving relationship with them, which has given me a witness that it is possible for anyone to do the same.

    If you take anything away from this, know that my comments are at this issue, and are not targeted at any individual (yourself included). My heart truly grieves for any who has committed sin, but this issue in particular has left a few calluses as my experiences have given me the opinion that this is a very selfish sin that has destroyed both families and individuals. I am frustrated by it, in that individuals claim to be faithful members, yet condone their behavior allowing themselves false hopes that someday church doctrine will change to accommodate their choice. It will not change, and I do not want to see any of those individuals suffer in the last day because of their denial, and my heart grieves for their choices. I realize you personally do not feel like it was a choice, but the words of the prophets and my own personal witness has proven otherwise.

    Good luck, and keep faith that if you do diligently search and pray I know your burden will lifted.

  188. john f. on April 12, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    If I understand correctly, the protesters who were arrested on April 10 did not have permits to give speeches on campus but did so anyway.

    I don’t know why the 24 were arrested yesterday. I had thought BYU wasn’t going to do that but was going to try to allow them to go around campus and talk to people etc.

  189. hurricane on April 12, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    186–

    Chance, I know you mean well and I appreciate your good wishes. I am under no illusion that the church is going to change its stance toward homosexuals now or any time soon. On this point, we can agree–which is why I have voted with my feet (as has my wife, who, among other things, does not want her children to learn about homosexuality from the Mormons).

    If you take anything away from this, know that you can rest assured that my burden has been lifted already.

  190. Brad Kramer on April 12, 2006 at 1:07 pm

    #186:

    The issue is not whether or not the policy/doctrine/whatever is capable of changing. I seriously doubt that Chance, M&M, or Adam expect anyone to believe that you’ll leave the church if things do change. The real question is whether or not it’s okay to behave now in anticipation of potential future change. Even if there will be changes (i.e. even if the current stance on homosexual behavior is just a policy and not a doctrine), obeying living prophets IS a doctrine.

  191. Adam on April 12, 2006 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you Chance for your comments. I have found them to be very helpful and thoughtful.

    [Editor's note: will all commenters who are not Adam Greenwood explicitly so identify themselves? Thanks.]

  192. hurricane on April 12, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    189 is in response to Chance on 187 (not 186). Sorry about that.

  193. hurricane on April 12, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    Elisabeth (183)–

    Thank you.

  194. Kimball Hunt on April 12, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Yes thank you for #121 Fletcher!

  195. manaen on April 12, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    184
    a random john,

    I was answering Julie’s question in #173:
    “I believe President Kimball’s understanding, as well as that of his predecessors, was that the priesthood ban was temporary and the Lord intended to lift it at some point.�
    I believe that to be the case for Pres. Kimball, but I am pretty sure that others (Elder McConkie, BY) taught that the ban would not be lifted in mortality. Maybe someone can find some citations one way or the other.

    President Kimball apparently did see the ban as possibly temporary in temporal life, so him asking the Lord was an inquiry and not trying to change the Lord’s mind. The section that I highlighted in #184 is the answer to Julie’s question about Elder McConkie teaching beforehand that it would not happen in this life. I supposed the best answer for Julie (and one with which I already was familiar, so I could favor my laziness) would be his own statement that he’d said it and that he now refuted it.

  196. Kimball Hunt on April 12, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Jesus, warning of times when the love of many shall wax cold, also enjoined us to deny and soft pedal lust while strengthening and resounding in the strains of love; and then when people brought before him one caught in an indiscretion, He said that it was only after we’d completely finished the earlier assignment with attending to ourselves that He’d empower us with the right to cast upon another that first stone.

  197. Sarah on April 12, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    I am a BYU senior and have watched the atmosphere on campus these last two days with intense interest. I don’t necessarily admire Soulforce’s tactics, and I don’t endorse their agenda, but I’m okay with the idea of something challenging being presented to BYU students in a way that makes us stop and consider a difficult reality some Latter-day Saints and others face each day. The activists dropped dramatically onto the ground one by one with flowers, representing gay LDS who have comitted suicide. This was disconcerting to watch- visual body counts are always difficult, be it from AIDS, war, or whatever. The emotional effect was certainly tangible and uncomfortable. Suicide is complex and often multicausal, but always very tragic. I did stop and reflect with sorrow on the misery that these individuals must have been experiencing, misery at least in part from a tortuous inner conflict. As earlier comments and personal anecdotes in this thread have demonstrated, it’s a very, very difficult issue.

    I used to think that anyone with sufficient faith and desire could totally abandon a homosexual disposition. I thought this because I have such a robust view of the transforming nature of Christ. Now, I’m not so sure. For some, it seems to work. But not for all. I’m graduating this month with a BS in neuroscience. We’ve discussed this issue at length in my neuro classes, which is particularly rewarding at BYU because we can take *all* factors into account – nature, nurture, and spiritual implications. There are statistically significant brain differences in sexually related areas. This does NOT mean that those differences CAUSE homosexuality. Do not misunderstand me. I’m not at all arguing that. But I’ve learned enough about neuropsychology to know that it’s worth taking into account- the ‘disposition’ may be more innate for some than those who argue “choice” may want to admit. Like it or not, the brain and behavior are intrinisically connected.

    I had a roommate last year who said “In my opinion, homosexuality is one of those things that, for some, may not be fully “removed” or “remedied” in this life. Some individuals who face this challenge, even those who are admirably righteous, may have to wait until the next life to be no longer faced with same-sex attraction.”

    I’m starting to agree with her. And I don’t envy anyone who has to spend their life struggling to remain faithful while trying to understand their same-sex attraction.
    (Julie, for what it’s worth, I thought most BYU students handled their interactions with Soulforce very respectfully and even, dare I suggest it, openmindedly, while still maintaining their personal beliefs about homosexuality.)

  198. Julie M. Smith on April 12, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Sarah, thank you for that report.

  199. Matt T. on April 12, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    [Chance said:] “I have witnessed first-hand mothers leaving their children at the doorsteps of their grandparents homes because their new ‘lifestyle’ did not allow for children. I then subsequently witnessed grandparents and children suffer lifelong physical and mental trauma because of that ‘mothers’ choice as she celebrated her new found ‘freedom’. I have watched fathers abandon wives and young children for the same, and witnessed that same physical and mental trauma be inflicted upon them. The wife spiraling into depression while these little ones in essence suffered as they lost both parents as mom was incapacitated and dad had moved onto a new life that did not include them. While you may believe that in being ‘true to themselves’ they are making themselves happy, the events that I have witnessed have proven that wickedness never was happiness.”

    [Matt's Response:] Yeah, so what? Is this any different from the collateral damage to wife and children that occurs when a husband leaves his family for another woman? Or a woman who leaves her husband for another man? Since heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals nine to one, the examples of heterosexuals abandoning their families no doubt far outnumber homosexuals doing the same, especially considering the fact that a high percentage of homosexuals never marry and have children. Are you suggesting that leaving a spouse for someone of the same sex is somehow more traumatic than leaving a spouse for someone of the opposite sex? If anything, I’d think it the opposite. If a man left his wife for another man, I’d imagine her grief would at least in some small measure be tempered by the fact that there was little she could do about it.

  200. Robert C. on April 12, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    Loyd, thanks for the link to the Deseret News link (#192). I was walking to lunch yesterday afternoon and saw the lilly protestors on the corner of Bulldog and N. Canyon Road (they were on the north east corner, I was on the south side and only had a short amount of time for lunch, so didn’t inspect closer). What was striking is that the modest crowd (I’d guess roughly 50-75 total) seemed mostly comprised of media crews. I was sort of guessing that we missed the main part of this protest, but the Deseret News article suggests that we were probably witnessing the near-climax of this part of the protest:

    “Twenty people gathered to watch the die-in rally shortly after noon, and several said they were gay or lesbian.”

    (Does this mean twenty students or twenty total?? I’m guessing they mean 20 students since I would’ve guessed more than twenty non-protestors were there counting the media crews….)

    I’m curious as to how big the crowd was, say, at Kiwanis park (cf. Loyd’s comment in #69). I read somewhere that there were groups up to 20-30 people on campus (these protestors seemed careful to only “discuss in a group,” not to make a speech, in accordance with BYU’s request). Just to get a sense, I’m wondering if the crowds were much bigger in Kiwanis park or anywhere else. I haven’t gotten a very good sense from the few news articles I’ve read, and I only saw first-hand the one incident.

    On the one hand, I understand BYU’s policy about not letting the campus be a tithing-subsidized focal-point for protests and anti-Mormon literature. At the same time, I’m wondering how much bite this policy really has. My sense of the die-in protest is that it was pretty successful in terms of generating media interest, but not very effective in generating student interest. Which makes me wonder to what extent BYU’s policy really makes it hard for protesters to generate interest, and to what extent BYU students aren’t that interested in these kinds of protests. Of course I don’t doubt much larger crowds would’ve congregated on campus when students can eavesdrop while walking to another class, but I’m genuinely surprised there wasn’t a bigger crowd to witness the die-in protest….

  201. Jim F. on April 12, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Matt T: If a man left his wife for another man, I’d imagine her grief would at least in some small measure be tempered by the fact that there was little she could do about it.

    I’ve known women whose husbands left them for a man, and though I don’t know how we measure or compare the trauma of such events, it was extremely traumatic for them. Not only had their husband left them, but he had made them feel inadequate and used. I assume that men whose wives leave them for other women have similar feelings.

    Robert C.: We must have been passing at about the same time. I had the same reaction: there were some protesters, some media, some plain clothes police, and a BYU official or two, but I didn’t really see anyone else. Of course Sarah’s post (#198) makes it clear that there were others there, but they were certainly outnumbered by the ones I’ve mentioned.

    I suspect that you are right: for the most part, BYU students aren’t interested in such protests. I can’t decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

  202. Chance on April 12, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    Matt T: If a man left his wife for another man, I’d imagine her grief would at least in some small measure be tempered by the fact that there was little she could do about it.

    I appreciate the response, and while it may seem plausible that you could imagine the emotions would be minimized, but it’s entirely something different in reality. The fact remains that he did not leave her for another woman, he had no desire for another woman, the reason he left was because of this new need for the company of another man, a need that she could never fulfill which left her without hope and as Jim said, inadequate.

    BTW, who came up with that 9 to 1 figure? Seems to me a greater gap would exist.

  203. Robert C. on April 13, 2006 at 12:44 am

    Jim F. (#202), if it’s b/c they were working on the final project in my class, it’s a good thing, but if it’s b/c of a lack of sympathy or compassion it’s a bad thing!

  204. manaen on April 13, 2006 at 1:15 am

    This seems like a good opportunity to recommend Carol Lynn Pearson’s recounting of her experiences with her husband, whom she met while they were students at BYU, revealing his homosexuality, the dissolution of their family, and later: “Goodbye, I Love You”.

  205. MikeInWeHo on April 13, 2006 at 1:27 am

    RE: 187 Huh? (Imagine jaw-dropping here) One doubts your assertion that Seattle is replete with happily transformed gays. Funny image though. So you have a personal testimony that “it is possible for anyone to do the same” ?? This entry made my day, for what it’s worth.

    RE: 203
    If your family-abandoning gay man had been raised in a more tolerant environment, he would never have gotten himself and his innocent wife into such a mess in the first place. The woman could have met an appropriate husband; the man could have found a nice boyfriend too. All the pain you describe could have been avoided. Fortunately these tragic stories are becoming much less frequent as society becomes more understanding, but perhaps not in Zion.

    Hurricane, I don’t know where you are but suspect a little fresh air is in order. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live in an environment where some of the views present here were in the majority. California was created for people like us, and I am thankful for it every day. You’re all going to be fine, and your kids are very lucky to have such a sensitive gay dad.

  206. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 13, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Mike (#206):
    I’m always sad when a post like this shows up. You want acceptance and tolerance, but sometimes it feels like it doesn’t go the other direction. “You can’t even imagine living” among people such as those in this group who believe what the prophets have said. I realize we have a long way to go to show love within the bounds of God’s laws, but doesn’t it go the other way, too? Divisiveness is not just coming from “Zion.”

    How I wish the printed word could somehow communicate that the positions taken are not meant to be personal, although I know they end up sounding that way. But I always end up feeling like we reach an impasse. Because I (I’ll use the first person here for argument) won’t give up my beliefs to “prove my love” then somehow “living among people like me” is seen as a curse. If you lived in my ward, I would certainly try to show my love and concern in any way that I can. But sometimes I feel like we are not given a chance because we won’t show love in the way you demand it. *sigh*

    I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I DO care. Hurricane, I’m sorry you are hurting. Good luck to you and your family as you adjust to all the changes in your lives.

  207. hurricane on April 13, 2006 at 8:01 am

    MikeInWeHo (206)–

    I live in New York, so I spend most of my time in a very liberal and gay-friendly environment. I keep returning to discussions such as these so that I can work through the lingering issues I have with the LDS Church. Overall, I’m in better shape than it may appear here. My wife has been incredibly supportive of me (and I of her) and our older child is aware of what is going on (our younger is too young to understand) and she, too, has been very loving of her gay dad. None of this is easy, but to quote Thomas S. Monson, that which is easy is rarely right.

  208. Chance on April 13, 2006 at 8:34 am

    Yes, Mike, I am saying Seattle has a few that I personally know of. Do you not believe me? These men are not even LDS, so if I were to put you in touch with them you will need to find other points of contentions prior to meeting them.

    As for re: 203, you are trying to take personal accountability out of the mix and placing the blame entirely on society. Give me a break, this isn’t 1945. This man was not raised in an LDS home, yet made the choice to convert on his own when he turned 18 (against his parents’ better judgment I might add). He then made a choice to serve a mission. When he returned he made a choice to marry (in the temple), and later chose to have 3 children. He then made a choice to leave. Where oh where is society to be found amongst all these choices?

    While society may seem like a faceless scapegoat that can be easily blamed, I won’t let you blame society because his history demonstrates otherwise.

  209. a random John on April 13, 2006 at 9:14 am

    BYU’s honor code is vague enough on the issue of expressing support for a “homosexual lifestyle” that some students might have felt that it could be construed as an honor code violation to witness it.

  210. hurricane on April 13, 2006 at 9:26 am

    Chance (209)–

    With this brief description, this man’s experience sounds a lot like my own. I was a teenage convert, I served a mission, I married, I had children, and I served faithfully in the church. What you seem to be overlooking or ignoring is that if this man’s experience was at all typical, he was struggling with his sexuality through all of this as I was. I made the choices I made in part because I desperately didn’t want to be gay. Why? Because I had been conditioned to believe that it was wrong to be gay from the time I was a small child, and that was reinforced when I joined the church. I was a good Mormon because I thought it would help me conquer my same sex attraction. It didn’t. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be gay. It was something I struggled with for as long as I can remember.

    I’m not blaming society for my lot in life. I made the choices I made and I accept responsibility for those choices. But to suggest that I (or other gay people) was not influenced in my choices by the broad societal diapproval of homosexuality is to ignore the reality of the my experience.

  211. MikeInWeHo on April 13, 2006 at 10:31 am

    RE: #207 M&M, I really do know how loving most LDS are (and not just these leftie Bloggers! : ). I’ve had a number of active member friends over the years, and the relationships have been tremendous. It always did boil down to agreeing to disagree on certain topics, which worked fine. In fact I was officially declared a “friend of the Church” by one SP High Counselor (whatever that means….no hands were laid on, but ya’ know with the whole gay thing looming in the background I suppose that’s understandable). His family and mine are friends.

    My previous post was inaccurate. I didn’t mean to imply that I would hate to live around lots of Mormons. What I meant was that I would hate to live in an uber-Republican ‘red state’ environment. Now of course there is a lot of overlap in the case of Utah, Idaho, etc, but last I heard baptism isn’t automatically followed by induction into the Republican party.

    As for my own intolerance, I totally own that. Nobody’s forcing you to practice any lifestyle you find sinful, but there sure as heck are people trying to strip me of my protections against job discrimination, prevent my partner and I from sharing health insurance and other domestic partner benefits, on and on and on. So I can easily tolerate someone disagreeing with me (per above), but when those views begin to directly impact MY family’s well-being, I will vigorously protest. Hopefully you can see my perspective. A certain devisiveness is unavoidable.

    Chance, I absolutely believe you have such friends. It was just the broad sweep of your previous post that I found less than credible. As for it not being 1945, well, in some regions it certainly is pre-1969. A lot really hinges on where one lives. I have also pondered the question of what responsibility is to be laid on a gay guy who gets married, has a family, etc, in this day and age. Certainly once the marriage line is crossed it’s no longer just about him and his needs, but the solution is never simple. You seem to imply he should just stick it out, but it many cases that has led to huge other problems (cheating, etc). Do you really think it would be better to go back to a time when most homosexual men married women (which was the case until quite recently)?

  212. Adam Greenwood on April 13, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    “Do you really think it would be better to go back to a time when most homosexual men married women (which was the case until quite recently)?”

    That’s not the point. We’re talking about people who are already married. Once you get married, you have responsibilities. I have no sympathy with men who abandon their families to satisfy their lusts. Makes no difference who or what those lusts are for.

  213. greenfrog on April 13, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Is that the meaning of “Damned straight”?

  214. MikeInWeHo on April 14, 2006 at 12:14 am

    #213 I don’t necessarily disagree with that, although you seem to have no sympathy for how much some of these guys suffer. And that suffering is what leads to all these suicides. Does it concern anyone here that gay Mormons tend to commit suicide while gay Episcopalians (and gay Jews, etc) tend to look for sales at Pottery Barn after spin class gets out?? The contrast between how these two segments of the homosexual population get by in life is really quite striking.

    My point is that if these young gay guys weren’t overtly- and subtly- pressured by Mormon culture to get married (which they most certainly are much of the time), these situations could be avoided in the first place.

  215. hurricane on April 14, 2006 at 7:27 am

    213–

    What about the spouses? Are you sure staying married is what is best for them?

  216. Chance on April 14, 2006 at 9:45 am

    Are you sure leaving is best for any part Hurricane? It may feel right at the time, and while you may use a Monson quote to support your decision (and my friends), I can produce 100 other Monson quotes that disagree with your decision. Monson is a member of the presidency that issued the Proclamation of the Family, which not only states that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children�, but also states that “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children�. That details the reasons why I believe my friend should have stayed, instead he chose the easy way out. What often is the right thing to do is not often the easiest. Rather than staying, fighting, testing, and proving what he once proclaimed to be his faith he chose the easy way out.

    And Mike, I doubt you have any hard numbers on the religious and sexual affiliation of men who have committed suicide (not to mention the reasons behind the suicide). Once again you are drifting back into the ‘society is to blame’, completely ignoring the individuals accountability. I personally cannot buy into the society argument, especially as a Mormon living in a society that is dominated by Lutheran’s, Baptists, Atheists, and Catholics, many of which believe it would be more acceptable to be homosexual than Mormon.

  217. greenfrog on April 14, 2006 at 9:56 am

    Does it concern anyone here that gay Mormons tend to commit suicide while gay Episcopalians (and gay Jews, etc) tend to look for sales at Pottery Barn after spin class gets out??

    The suicide rate of gay Mormons concerns me profoundly. As we insist that by our fruits we shall be known, I think it demonstrates that aspects of our culture and doctrine are evil and need to be changed.

    Even so, I’m not aware of any statistical compilation that compares suicide rates for gays of various religious traditions. Are you?

  218. greenfrog on April 14, 2006 at 10:04 am

    Are you sure leaving is best for any part Hurricane?

    Despite our rhetorical flourishes, certainty is not a characteristic of mortal life.

    It may feel right at the time…

    …a standard that we urge in many circumstances, including conversion…

    …That details the reasons why I believe my friend should have stayed, instead he chose the easy way out. What often is the right thing to do is not often the easiest. Rather than staying, fighting, testing, and proving what he once proclaimed to be his faith he chose the easy way out.

    Who determines what is easy? I don’t know your friend, at all. But I’ve known hurricane for years. His path seems far from easy to me.

  219. D. Fletcher on April 14, 2006 at 10:16 am

    Greenfrog, so happy so to see you posting here! We need a voice of reason — it’s a debate that doesn’t seem to have any middle ground.

    One of the reasons I’m interested in legalized marriage for gay people, is that I’d like to see a model of morality for them. Right now, gay relationships or thoughts of any kind stand outside what we normally think of as moral behavior. Gays are wrong in even thinking that way, even though the Church might say, as long as they’re not doing anything it, they’re welcome. And yet, exaltation is really only for the married, so someone who is purposely not married is behaving, is “doing something about it,” the gay impulse. You see the conundrum?

    But if we had a model — same-sex couples, married and raising children in the Church — we could show that the impulse to love someone of your own gender is unusual, but not immoral or bad, or hurtful, either to society or to one’s mental self.

    It boils down to a choice of whom to love.

    I don’t see the Church taking this step (to a model of morality for gay people) anytime soon, but it’s always seemed a logical, sensible next step to welcoming gay people back to the Church.

  220. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 14, 2006 at 10:21 am

    greenfrog,
    I completely agree that hurricane’s situation is NOT easy, but please don’t compare leaving the church and going against the prophets’ teachings with joining the church. I know hurricane is doing what makes sense to him, and, in the end, that is between him and God. But let’s be careful that we not equate two totally different general situations, ok? It felt almost like you were mocking what we encourage in missionary work. If I am misreading you, then I apologize.

  221. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 14, 2006 at 10:25 am

    we could show that the impulse to love someone of your own gender is unusual, but not immoral or bad, or hurtful, either to society or to one’s mental self.

    The premise of our doctrine is that the impulse itself is not bad, but the acting on the impulse is. You make it sound so easy to just “change the doctrine” of morality. It seems like there is no middle ground because there isn’t. This isn’t the Church’s position. It’s God’s position. We are not to change God’s laws but to conform ourselves to them. I don’t understand why people think this is up for grabs.

    But we are probably going in circles now, as always happens on this topic….

  222. hurricane on April 14, 2006 at 11:07 am

    Chance (217)–

    Regarding the use of the Monson quote, I was being ironic.

  223. greenfrog on April 14, 2006 at 11:22 am

    D. wrote: And yet, exaltation is really only for the married, so someone who is purposely not married is behaving, is “doing something about it,� the gay impulse. You see the conundrum?

    I do. I believe it stems in large part from the unstated implication in our current doctrine that God’s plan is that a gay person should really get married heterosexually and just “tough it out” until after death, when God will fix everything, since that is the only way that a gay person can receive the ordinances that we currently teach are unqualifiedly required for each person to obtain exaltation. In this model, physical attraction is entirely irrelevant to the operation of the saving ordinances.

    That such an understanding is, in fact, not as clearly correct nor as doctrinally definitive as I’ve sketched it is evidenced by the fact that, at present, Church leaders do not urge this course. Rather, to the contrary, I believe current instruction is for gays to avoid heterosexual marriage unless and until their sensibilities are no longer homosexual. Given the fact that the hypothesized attraction transformation appears not to occur in a not-insignificant number of cases, I think the Church remains not exactly “on the fence” but rather on bot sides of the fence as to the potential implications of the combination of that fact and our teachings. Some possibilities: by urging gays not to marry the Church might be (1) suggesting that the ordinance of marriage is not, actually, definitively required for exaltation of each person (otherwise, gays would need it as much as straights do, and so straights should be willing to marry gays in order to extend the benefits of marriage to them, even though it means each is married to another who lacks any physical attraction for the other); (2) suggesting that the obtaining of saving ordinances during earth life is not necessary for each person (which presents an interesting question — if marriage is not only not required during mortality, but specifically counseled against for gays, why, and does whatever rationale is proffered also apply to other saving ordinances, such as baptism, confirmation, and the like?), but that God will make everything right pertaining to saving ordinances in the hereafter; (3) suggesting that physical attraction is, in fact, an element of the saving ordinance of marriage (curiously Calvinistic theological implications for those who are physically incapable of experiencing such attraction). There are probably several other potential implications, but I do have to work a bit this morning. Those are the ones that occur to me most immediately.

    But if we had a model — same-sex couples, married and raising children in the Church — we could show that the impulse to love someone of your own gender is unusual, but not immoral or bad, or hurtful, either to society or to one’s mental self.

    I agree.

    mulling&musing (m&m) wrote:

    I completely agree that hurricane’s situation is NOT easy, but please don’t compare leaving the church and going against the prophets’ teachings with joining the church.

    Why not? That is the choice I understand him to be presented with. Should he (and derivatively I) not make the comparison of the relative merits of each approach?

    I know hurricane is doing what makes sense to him, and, in the end, that is between him and God. But let’s be careful that we not equate two totally different general situations, ok? It felt almost like you were mocking what we encourage in missionary work. If I am misreading you, then I apologize.

    Mocking making choice guided by feelings? Not at all — I’m endorsing it. Rather it appeared to me that you were rejecting such a criterion for persons such as hurricane. I surmised that it was a criterion you were prepared to employ and endorse in missionary work. Based on that assumption about your belief structure, I raised the point to query why you conclude that such a criterion should only be followed in certain circumstances (such as conversion), and not in others (such as making other life-changing decisions).

  224. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 14, 2006 at 12:02 pm

    greenfrog,
    I guess perhaps this ties in with the “agree to disagree” thread. I would like to speak in generalities because I don’t want this to be about hurricane — like I said, what he does is between him and God and I know his situation is not easy.

    My response to your post was based on the following concepts: I am not convinced that the same Spirit that leads people to conversion would guide one to forsake the Church and choose one’s own path instead of God’s path. For example, if someone “feels” the Book of Mormon is true, or that the Church is not God’s church and thus leaves the Church, I feel pretty confident that they are not being led by the Spirit. It makes no sense to me that the Spirit would encourage the complete opposite of conversion, that is, leaving the Church and/or forsaking Truth (doctrine, commandments, etc.) One might choose to leave because it doesn’t “feel” comfortable to be in the Church in a difficult situation, but I would submit that is a product of personal dissonant feelings, not the Spirit saying “go away from the Church.” That is not the Lord’s way.

    2 Nephi 26:25-29
    25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
    26 Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
    27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
    28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.

    The Lord is always saying “Come unto me” — and the way we do that is by staying close to His Church, His leaders, His priesthood, His commandments. So when someone “feels” to “go away” from these things, I am certain those feelings are not from God.

  225. Kristy on April 14, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    D. Fletcher, are you saying you think someone who has homosexual feelings, and follows church guidance and therefore doesn’t marry, is going to be in trouble or be denied blessings in the hereafter? Whatever for? They clearly weren’t in a position to marry, and if they faithfully endured their challenges in mortality I see no reason whatsoever for them to be denied any blessing in eternity. I think you set up an inaccurate dichotomy.

    Also, we can’t show a model of homosexual living as being perfectly within morality, if we have been expressly told that it is NOT moral. Of course, a constant thread in this discussion has been whether or not church leaders are wrong on this. Saying “gee, if only we’d believe it was ok, and act like it was ok, and the church would see the light and say it was ok, it would be ok” seems like a sneaky way of saying you think the prophet is wrong on this one.

    I have found this discussion interesting and I’ve enjoyed how calm people have been, so I’m sorry if I sound irritated. What has been frustrating throughout is understanding, in practical terms, what people mean by what they say. When someone says that it’s painful to be gay in the church, or that we should welcome gays back in, I listen up because I want the church to be a welcoming place for those who feel same-sex attraction, and are living faithfully, and keeping the commandments. I feel really strongly about this. So I listen, and try to see if there are things we can do better there. But if we are being asked to make the church welcoming for practicing homosexuals, well I can’t accept that. I believe it is against the counsel of current church prophets and apostles. I’m with m&m on this one.

  226. MikeInWeHo on April 14, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    I’m not sure there are suicide statistics broken down by religious faith. There’s plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence, however, that gay Mormons are at exceedingly high risk of suicide. It is well documented that gay teens have an the highest suicide rate in our society, and also documented that Utah has a very high suicide rate.

    Affirmation has compiled some info, here:

    http://www.affirmation.org/suicide_info/

    Here are some other facts about suicide rates (not LDS-specific but useful):

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/sui_fact.htm

    Google around a bit and you can find lots of info.

    The “empathic” position that Kristy so well articulates in #226 does not work, as evidenced by outcomes. You’re setting up a situation where the homosexual member remains in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance at the deepest level of being. There really is no solution without a new revelation, imo. I’m currious about the LDS Safe Space Coalition (www.lsdsafespace.org). Are there really any active, non-gay members involved there?

  227. Chance on April 14, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    I’m glad I hit refresh before I post. Fully agree with M&M and Kristy.

    D. Fletcher – First off one thing needs to be made clear, thoughts do not constitute sin. If that were true, none of us would stand a chance in this life or the hereafter. It is the basis of why we are here, to receive those thoughts, and to act upon them accordingly. It is when we act upon them incorrectly that we find ourselves in a spot of trouble.

    Also D, “It boils down to a choice of whom to love. I don’t see the Church taking this step (to a model of morality for gay people) anytime soon, but it’s always seemed a logical, sensible next step to welcoming gay people back to the Church.�

    We are commanded to love all, even love all deeply, it is when that love is expressed contrary to the commandments that we once again find ourselves in trouble. As for the church ‘logically’ ‘welcoming gay people back’, well, I do not recall a time when that behavior was actually allowed, so logically things will stay exactly as they are.

    I honestly think it is a good thing that so many of you continue to cling to the Church, yet I just do not have the capacity to understand why when it has been so plainly written (and declared) on so many different occasions, you still refuse to accept that what you are doing is wrong, clinging to the hope that someday what is deemed a sin today will somehow be acceptable tomorrow. You can believe in a boy prophet, you can purport to support latter-day prophets and apostles, yet you refuse to follow the messages that they are charged to deliver under the false pretense that they do not apply to you.

    Even if it were to someday change, what is wrong today is wrong today, logically meaning that you must immediately obey until things have changed.

    What you may hope will someday change, I firmly believe (and daresay know) will not. Though you may believe otherwise, your sin is no different than any other. In fact, your denial is only compounding it. The prophets have spoken, and the only advice that I can give to you is if you truly believe in their words you will heed them.

  228. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 14, 2006 at 1:30 pm

    The “empathic� position that Kristy so well articulates in #226 does not work, as evidenced by outcomes. You’re setting up a situation where the homosexual member remains in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance at the deepest level of being. There really is no solution without a new revelation, imo.

    But a new revelation would not reveal anything new. The outcomes reflect a lack of understanding about the Atonement, not a need to change the laws of God. The key to all of this for the homosexual is to trust in the Atonement…as is, ultimately, the answer to all of us. These are not idle words. This is not easy to do.

    The “deepest level of being” for each of us is that we are children of God. He gives us commandments for our eternal good. Obeying them allows us to have the Spirit which…
    1. Helps us understand more about who we are and about the plan of salvation, and about the Atonement;
    2. Can change our hearts, line upon line, which helps us keep keeping the commandments, which keeps the Spirit in our lives…which is all an upward spiral;
    3. Can give peace and comfort as we struggle with the gap between where we are and where we know we need to be (because there is that right combination of grace and “all we can do” (which is to obey and repent)
    4.Give us “hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of…faith in him according to the promise.” (Moroni 7:41) This hope is available to ALL people who have faith, repent, are baptized, and endure faithfully to the end.

    We do not need a new revelation. These principles apply to EVERYONE. I am not saying this is easy for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. But the answer to their problem will never be to change God’s laws…because then you change the whole foundation upon which our existence, God’s existence, and the Atonement are built.

    2 Nephi 2:13
    13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

    Alma 42:27-30
    Therefore…whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds.
    If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.
    And now…let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
    …deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.
    …bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them.

  229. D. Fletcher on April 14, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    I’ve made the point about a “moral model” for homosexuals many times on about 8 blogs and websites. Apparently, the point doesn’t need to be made for those who understand it and agree, and it is impossible the others.

    Greenfrog, what a brilliant analysis! I hadn’t really appreciated how not getting married is antithetical to the doctrine of earthly ordinances, though I think I see now! It’s an even greater conundrum for a gay person to live celibate in the Church (as I myself have been trying to do).

  230. greenfrog on April 14, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    kristy wrote: D. Fletcher, are you saying you think someone who has homosexual feelings, and follows church guidance and therefore doesn’t marry, is going to be in trouble or be denied blessings in the hereafter? Whatever for? They clearly weren’t in a position to marry, and if they faithfully endured their challenges in mortality I see no reason whatsoever for them to be denied any blessing in eternity. I think you set up an inaccurate dichotomy.

    I’m guessing this is in response to my comment, rather than D.’s, to which I was responding when I proposed the various potential implications I see of the Church’s current guidance with respect to gays avoiding heterosexual marriage.

    What does it mean to be “in a position to marry”? The account that hurricane has provided of his own life demonstrates that, in fact, he was in a position to marry, despite his homosexuality. In fact, he reports that he did marry. If by “in a position to marry” you mean that a person should have a particular set of physical attractions and repulsions, why are those pre-requisites to marriage? What doctrine accounts for their status as prerequisites? I hypothesized a few. I imagine that there are potentially others, as well.

    Also, we can’t show a model of homosexual living as being perfectly within morality, if we have been expressly told that it is NOT moral. Of course, a constant thread in this discussion has been whether or not church leaders are wrong on this. Saying “gee, if only we’d believe it was ok, and act like it was ok, and the church would see the light and say it was ok, it would be ok� seems like a sneaky way of saying you think the prophet is wrong on this one.

    Again, assuming this is directed to me, I don’t intend to be sneaky at all. I believe the teaching to be wrong. If I’m right, it won’t be the first time (nor the last) that Church leaders have been wrong. If I’m wrong, it will also not be the first (nor the last) time. Nonetheless, I must reach decisions with the faculties and information available to me. It is on the basis of those abilities and information that I have reached this conclusion.

    I have found this discussion interesting and I’ve enjoyed how calm people have been, so I’m sorry if I sound irritated. What has been frustrating throughout is understanding, in practical terms, what people mean by what they say.

    Communication is complex and difficult, particularly with respect to matters that affect many different areas of thought or experience.

    When someone says that it’s painful to be gay in the church, or that we should welcome gays back in, I listen up because I want the church to be a welcoming place for those who feel same-sex attraction, and are living faithfully, and keeping the commandments. I feel really strongly about this. So I listen, and try to see if there are things we can do better there. But if we are being asked to make the church welcoming for practicing homosexuals, well I can’t accept that.

    I think I understand your position, though I believe it to be misguided, and I believe some of the fruits of that position include the rate of suicides of gay Mormons that MikeinWeHo has referred to. I do not believe that we can effectively assert that a person is incapable of receiving saving ordinances and yet should consider her or himself to be equal to those who can receive them.

    I believe it is against the counsel of current church prophets and apostles.

    I agree I did not intend to suggest otherwise. The potential implications of the Church’s tradition teachings combined with the current instruction for gays to avoid marriage are not implications that I have seen LDS leaders discuss. Nonetheless, I think that those issues exist, nonetheless, and make the Church’s current position appear to be more of a transition from one position to another than a final stopping point. I do not know what the future position will be, though I have hopes.

  231. greenfrog on April 14, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    apparently I need an editor. sorry for the grammatical incompetencies.

    Chance wrote Even if it were to someday change, what is wrong today is wrong today, logically meaning that you must immediately obey until things have changed.

    From my perspective, the wrongness or rightness of an action does not usually depend upon authoritative pronoucements regarding its wrongness or rightness.

    What you may hope will someday change, I firmly believe (and daresay know) will not.

    Knowledge of such matters appears to be mutable.

    Though you may believe otherwise, your sin is no different than any other. In fact, your denial is only compounding it.

    Even so, I do not choose to submit to your authority to make such decisions for me, no matter what additional imprecations you may feel the need to add.

    The prophets have spoken, and the only advice that I can give to you is if you truly believe in their words you will heed them.

    I believe their words to be offered in good faith and informed by the experiences of their long lives of faith and service and such contact with divinity that so living and acting affords each person. Accordingly, I esteem them highly. Even so, I do not choose to submit to their authority to make such decisions for me, either.

  232. Chance on April 14, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    I do not know why I insist on feeding trolls…

    Even so, I do not choose to submit to their authority to make such decisions for me, either.

    Their authority? Their authority? I only direct this at you because you brought it up, but you are ridiculously incredulous, and are in possession of a serious case of denial.

    Prophetic authority is the power to speak for God. By denying ‘their’ authority you are denying the existence of the restoration, and are in effect denying God.

    Deut. 18:18

    I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

    Your logic has revealed some extreme flaws, and your refusal to accept what is written in black-and-white wreaks of ignorance and denial. The prohibition of the practice of homosexuality is not a ‘tradition’ as you have put it. Do not try to minimize it or place another less-threatening label upon it. This is not a ‘tradition’, this is a commandment, and you are only further encouraging the delusional characteristics that yourself and others such as Fletcher are exhibiting by continuing to refer to a commandment in such language.

    Good luck Greenfrog.

  233. D. Fletcher on April 14, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Trolls?

  234. Kristy on April 14, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    Greenfrog, actually I was responding to D. Fletcher’s #220 post, and didn’t see your comment # 224 until after I had posted mine. But your post did explore his ideas further.

    Regarding ordinances and the need to enter into them in mortality, I think we are only accountable to receive the ordinances we are able to. For example, if you have the opportunity (opportunity being determined by Christ), and you are over age 8, and you have sufficient mental capacity, you should get baptized. If you don’t meet these qualifications, then you aren’t held back after this life if you weren’t baptized in mortality. Marriage must be similar.

    You said, “I do not believe that we can effectively assert that a person is incapable of receiving saving ordinances and yet should consider her or himself to be equal to those who can receive them.” Why not? Are children who die before they are 8, and those with mental disabilities not the spiritual equals of those who are whole?

    If children who die before they are eight don’t need baptism, and those without the mental ability to understand the covenant they would be making don’t need baptism, then why do you think someone who can’t find a suitable spouse, someone who through not fault of their own can’t presently be a suitable spouse, would be in trouble for not marrying? God would have to be awfully unfair to give someone such a trial and then tell them that no matter how they responded to it, their reward will always and forever be 2nd best.

    I think Hurricane showed us that you may be able to find someone who will *get* married to you, but not be someone who is a suitable spouse for you to *be* married to (at least not at this time). Whether you are “in a postition to be married”, or you have found a “suitable spouse”, or whatever the specific wording of the official counsel is, will be between you and the Lord. He’s merciful. He wants to bless us. It is not His goal to keep things forever beyond our reach.

  235. Steven B on April 14, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    Chance (228), I honestly think it is a good thing that so many of you continue to cling to the Church, yet I just do not have the capacity to understand why when it has been so plainly written (and declared) on so many different occasions, you still refuse to accept that what you are doing is wrong, clinging to the hope that someday what is deemed a sin today will somehow be acceptable tomorrow.

    Part of the problem is that many gay LDS people receive conflicting information. Church leaders oppose homosexuality, whereas the personal revelation received by homosexual individuals says something different. EVERY gay person whom I have heard relate the answer to their prayers indicates that Heavenly Father intended for them to be homosexual and that he loves them just the way they are.

  236. Steven B on April 14, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    (whoops, corrected formatting) Chance (228), I honestly think it is a good thing that so many of you continue to cling to the Church, yet I just do not have the capacity to understand why when it has been so plainly written (and declared) on so many different occasions, you still refuse to accept that what you are doing is wrong, clinging to the hope that someday what is deemed a sin today will somehow be acceptable tomorrow.

    Part of the problem is that many gay LDS people receive conflicting information. Church leaders oppose homosexuality, whereas the personal revelation received by homosexual individuals says something different. EVERY gay person whom I have heard relate the answer to their prayers indicates that Heavenly Father intended for them to be homosexual and that he loves them just the way they are.

  237. Seth R. on April 14, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    You know, I’m open to the idea that many homosexuals have had a pretty rough time of it from the society they live in. I’m open to seeing them as victims.

    But I’m also open to the possibility that many homosexuals are selfish twits.

    I’m also open to the idea that some homosexuals are neither victim nor libertine.

    I refuse to pass judgment as to which camp hurricane and Mike belong to.

    But I also refuse to grant blanket amnesty to all homosexuals simply because there has been a great deal of unfair treatment. My gut instinct is that a lot of these people need to grow up. I know I do.

    Adam is right. Once you take on the responsibility of a family, you need to suck it up and act like a man (regardless of sexual preference). Leaving a marriage primarily because you are gay is not acceptable behavior (no idea if this describes hurricane or anyone else).

    And no, the argument of “I’m not happy or fulfilled in a heterosexual relationship” isn’t going to cut it.

    It might be acceptable if the sole purpose of life was being happy all the time. But it isn’t. Being a fulfilled, deep, useful, and righteous person doesn’t really depend on whether you are primarily happy in life.

    My experience is also that mainline Americans tend to demand an unreasonable amount of “happiness” and “fulfillment” from life given how much lack there is of both those things in the majority of the world and much of US society as well.

    You say you’re unhappy? Well, that entitles you to my sympathy, but not much else.

  238. BrianJ on April 14, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    re suicide rates: I tried to do as MikeInWeHo suggested in post 227 and “google around a bit,” but I didn’t find anything that supported his claims. (I have heard the same claims many times before, so I am not blaming MikeInWeHo for creating or repeating them.)

    Affirmation.org had a lot of news articles and essays, but no statistics that I could find. ReligiousTolerance.org summarized some data by writing, “It appears that about one in three teen aged suicides is by a gay or lesbian. Since homosexuals represent only about 5% of the population, gays and lesbians are greatly over-represented,” but prefaces that statement with, “Data concerning young homosexuals is somewhat unreliable.”

    I found three other sites that had more statistical data: Suicidology.org, AFSP.org, and CDC.gov (though it is somewhat misleading to say that I found “three” sites because the first two used data almost exclusively from the CDC). AFSP did have this to say:

    To date studies have not produced definitive findings on the relationship
    between sexual orientation and suicide, in large part because national suicide
    data does not include information about sexual orientation. In particular, there is
    no research evidence to support recent claims that gay, lesbian or bisexual youth
    are much more likely than heterosexual youth to die by suicide. A number of
    reliable studies have reported that individuals who identify as homosexual or
    bisexual have somewhat higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
    Among youth, this may be linked to conflicts related to sexual identity, but the
    overwhelming proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual youth do not show any
    evidence of suicidal behavior.

    I think it is important to note that, while Utah had higher than average suicide rates, it was no different than its neighboring states: 8 out of the top 10 states were in the Western/Rocky Mountain regions. Furthermore, the statistics show that other factors are much more correlated with a high suicide rate: being over 65 yrs old; being male (females attempt more but males “succeed” more); being white or Native American; living in 1905, 1930, or 1987;

    Searching PubMed showed a good amount of recent research on the subject of homosexuals and suicide. I found some of the papers to be quite interesting, but I do not know how to judge those papers. Specifically, I wouldn’t know if the researchers used accepted methods, overlooked important controls, or published in poor quality journals–any of which would leave me skeptical of their conclusions. So, when groups like AFSP state that there is “little data” on the subject, I think I have to go with them.

    I could not find anywhere that broke down statistics by religion or sexual orientation, which I found rather surprising. If I were truly interested in preventing a tragedy, I would want to gather as much information as possible about its victims in order to determine correlation and causation: age, race, religion, orientation, occupation, income, shoe size, favorite food–anything that might possibly be helpful.

    Anyone know of a source that I missed?

  239. DavidH on April 14, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    “But if we are being asked to make the church welcoming for practicing homosexuals, well I can’t accept that.”

    I would hope the Church would be a welcoming place for everyone, including a sinner of any type.

  240. Kristy on April 14, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    My son has just been diagnosed with a condition that leaves him deficient in a couple of vitamins. I have been told that this makes him moody, irritable, and prone to angry outbursts. It’s unclear whether vitamin therapy can have any effect. This is interesting to me, because I have felt guilty about my short-fuse my entire life. I have always seen this as a character flaw. It’s the sort of thing that you worry will keep you from ever feeling at home in heaven, around all those truly good people. Well, I have realized with my son that this anger is NOT a part of his spirit, it is a physical condition with which he is being tested, that he will probably have to endure through his entire life. And he will be healed from it so easily in the resurection.

    My son has a number of other physical issues that make him think and feel differently than other people. I am certain that if he were to pray about why he is different, he would get that comforting confirmation that he is exactly the way he is meant to be, and that he is loved. But he is not this way so he can go through life angry and isolated. He is this way because he has something to learn from it, and because struggling with this challenge is the best way to learn what Heavely Father wants him to learn. Because of my experiences, I consider homosexuality to be a similar (although much more challenging) condition.

    BTW Greenfrog, I envy your ability to point by point answer another post in a thoughtful and sucinct way. Thanks.

  241. Chance on April 14, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    Kristy, though I have only read a few posts authored by you, you have demonstrated a great amount of wisdom and thoughtfulness. I appreciate that, as it reminds me to temper my posts (though I am sure they oftentimes do not seem tempered in the least bit).

  242. MikeInWeHo on April 14, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    RE: # 238 My options are selfish-twit, libertine, or victim? Well. You’d be sorely disappointed if you knew how ordinary I am. I’m just a middle-aged professional gay guy. Like many inactives, I never completely lost interest in the Church. Thankfully I never went the angry, anti- “ex-mo” route and like to think of myself as a friend of the Church. Occasionally I feel sad that my family can’t be involved. My 16 year old stepdaughter could benefit from participation in the Church, but there’s no way that’s going to happen under current circumstances. My partner and I occasionally attend Episcopal services, but it’s just not the same. He thinks my participation in the bloggernacle borders on the psychotic, but what can you do? Irony abounds. So many LDS men have a secret internet porno habit (or so I read in here). The gay guy in WeHo stays up too late shamefully reading T&S. Guess we’re all drawn to the forbidden. And honestly, you guys are way more fun than Conan O’Brien.

    Kristy, I’m sorry about your son’s disability.

    re: 239 I agree there is no hard data at this point re: gay Mormon suicides. But I’m confident it’s a real problem. Maybe the Church can fund a study through LDSFS? : )

  243. Kristy on April 14, 2006 at 7:29 pm

    David H., now there’s a real conundrum. The Savior may constantly welcome everyone, but Nephi also observed that unrepentant sinners take the truth to be hard. I suppose they may be welcomed, but not feel welcome.

    Thanks Chance, I appreciate it.

  244. Kristy on April 14, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks also, Mike. My son’s brain is just wired differently. I think if we can just get through the teenage years without too much scarring, he will be a fine, if a bit odd, adult.

    A shameful addiction to Times & Season….I love it!

  245. Chance on April 14, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Mike, studies on suicide are all purely speculative, which unfortunately lends themselves to bias, because of one big reason: The subject is unavailable for further analysis. Rarely (if ever) can you say it is as easy as they were LDS and that they were struggling with homosexuality (even if a note is left). There are always other factors such as financial difficulties, substance abuse, etc. Besides those factors, other more deep physiological or psychological issues must exist. It is an unnatural act, and though it is easy to attempt, it is very common to fail because one of those last two essential components is missing.

  246. BrianJ on April 14, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    “Mike, studies on suicide are all purely speculative,”

    Not true.

    “…because of one big reason: The subject is unavailable for further analysis.”

    Two reasons this is not correct:

    1) Huge amounts of objective demographic data are collected on deceased persons: age, weight, finances, race, etc. That doesn’t include data that aren’t normally collected but could be for this kind of study: religion, church attendance, medications/drugs, etc.

    2) Even more data are collected from the thousands of people who survive suicide attempts.

  247. BrianJ on April 14, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    MikeInWeHo: “But I’m confident it’s a real problem.”

    I can’t share your confidence without the data–call me a sign-seeker. The biggest problem is that the population that is allegedly most vulnerable is the very population that is reporting the concern. I have read too many studies (disclaimer: not related to suicide in any way) that showed that self-reporting is very inaccurate.

    “Maybe the Church can fund a study through LDSFS?”

    While I would want to see a different organization actually run the study, I LOVE the idea of the Church funding such a study! (I don’t think it will ever happen, of course.) I think it is both an interesting scientific question and (more importantly) a worthwhile social question. Even more pressing is that I imagine that much of the necessary data is just sitting there, waiting for someone to collect.

  248. anonymous on April 14, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    Those of you who think gay men should just fulfill their responsibilities by staying married ought to think just a little harder about what it might be like for a woman to be married to a man who does not and cannot love her, but stays out of a grim sense of duty.

    I am one of those wives, and I assure you that the kindest thing my husband could do would be to take responsibility for the decision to leave me and let me have the hope of finding love with someone else, or at least let me be honest and alone. His insistence that he wants to be faithful to his covenants, despite the fact that he feels no desire for me, makes him feel manly and responsible, but leaves me every bit as lonely as his leaving would, and compounds the loneliness with hopelessness.

    It would be nice if those of you who haven’t found yourselves in such an impossible position would be a little less certain in your judgments. You don’t know–you CAN’T know–what hurricane or any other gay man or his wife should do, and your self-righteous certainty compounds their pain, and mine.

  249. D. Fletcher on April 14, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    Anonymous, I feel your pain very vividly. I was engaged in 1982, but felt it was more honorable to my sweetheart to let her find someone else, than enslave her in my own miasma of sexual problems. We cried together before we parted. She found someone else, who wasn’t LDS; he joined the Church, and they had two exceptional children who are probably in college now. I have remained in the Church since that time, gay and alone, and have always wondered how it might have been for us.

  250. MikeInWeHo on April 15, 2006 at 12:38 am

    Those last two posts are incredibly sad. Honestly, it leads me to the thought that all gay people should probably just get out of the LDS environment asap, grieve the lost friendships, and move on. There are so many gays who are quite happy, and only have to deal with the ordinary issues of life. But they don’t seem to be able to live that way in a Mormon community. D. Fletcher: You need a nice boyfriend. I have some single friends….. : )

  251. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 15, 2006 at 2:21 am

    Actually, D. Fletcher, I applaud you for your efforts to stay true to your faith. Don’t give up! Hold onto the promises of better days to come. At some level, we all have to hold onto those promises. Don’t give up what you want eternally for what you want now…. i know, easy to say, but this is the test for all of us…if we will stay true to our faith regardless of what comes our way. Godspeed, brother!

  252. D. Fletcher on April 15, 2006 at 10:00 am

    I’m sorry to have written my last post in such a sad way, but I was trying to properly commiserate with Anonymous. My choice to break up with my former fianceé led to (what I think was) an incredibly happy life for her, and in my own odd way, a much happier life for me.

  253. Sara R on April 15, 2006 at 10:37 am

    237: [i] EVERY gay person whom I have heard relate the answer to their prayers indicates that Heavenly Father intended for them to be homosexual and that he loves them just the way they are. [/i]

    God may love us just the way we are, but he doesn’t want any of us to stay just the way we are. He can’t save any of us in our sins.

  254. Seth R. on April 15, 2006 at 10:38 am

    Anonymous,

    It isn’t necessarily just about whether the wife is happy either. It might be, but not necessarily.

    Mike,

    I guess you didn’t see option D: “none of the above.” I did offer it. But my post was lengthy and I imagine you just missed it.

    Also, being “normal” doesn’t exempt one from the possibility of being selfish. Lots of selfish people are pretty average.

    I’m not trying to fix a label on you. But I am trying to inject a bit of perspective here. These discussions often end up leaving the reader with the impression that all homosexuals, all women, all minorities, all inactives … (pick your group of choice) are simply oppressed martyrs. Victims of “the man.” Absolving all homosexuals of any responsibility for the unsatisfactory state of affairs today is not an honest response to life. Furthermore, it does violence to homosexuals’ identity as responsible human beings.

    I suppose my overall tone in my posts is conveying some additional information beyond the mere words ….

    Well, I have been a bit grumpy the past week …

  255. Seth R. on April 15, 2006 at 10:41 am

    The fact that God loves you is vitally important and of great comfort to all of us.

    But honestly, it really doesn’t tell you anything about what you should do with your life.

    Science is the same way. Assume (as many scientists do) that homosexuality is genetic.

    So, God loves you and your condition is genetic.

    So what?

    This gives absolutely zero guidance as to what you should be doing and how to conduct your life.

  256. Kristy on April 15, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Those two posts brought tears to my eyes. Annonymous, you are right, it is difficult for others to understand the pain involved in such situations. I am sorry about what you are going through, and I hope things get better for you. I hope you have a good friend to help you. D. Fletcher, I have deep respect for what you have done and what you are doing. I think you’ve made wise, but very hard choices. I’m really impressed, and wish you the best.

  257. MikeInWeHo on April 15, 2006 at 11:10 am

    Got it now, Seth. OK, I’ll go with “none of the above.” While I appreciate your willingness to refrain from judging me (just some anonymous online inactive gay guy, after all), you seem to imply that self-affirmed homosexuals are intrinsically selfish by definition. I have heard that old canard before and understand the reasoning that leads to it. But perhaps I’m reading too much into your statements.

    For what it’s worth, I do not feel the least bit victimized by the Church (if you read my other posts you’ll see I really quite fond of it), or even society really (certain unfair marriage and tax laws notwithstanding). The victim stance is so lame; I can’t stand it. No thoughtful person observing my life would call me oppressed. “Out” urban gay men at least tend to be strikingly affluent, although the hedonism label doesn’t really stick under scrutiny. But the situation of some of these people in the rural, conservative, red-state areas is totally different. I’m increasingly inclined to give up on hoping for social change in those areas and just focus on helping them get out.

    And believe me, I have plenty to say to my g/l peers about their role in unsatisfactory state of affairs today, but that’s on a different blog.

  258. Casual Observer on April 15, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    #228 “First off one thing needs to be made clear, thoughts do not constitute sin.”

    Prov. 24:9
    The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

    Mat. 5:28
    But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

    Matt. 7:23
    All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

    Prov. 15:26
    The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

    Alma 12:14
    … and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God…

    Sounds like thoughts can very easily constitute sin.

  259. hurricane on April 15, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    anonymous–

    I wish that my wife and I could reach through cyberspace and offer you a hug and a listening ear. We understand, and we sympathize. God bless.

  260. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 16, 2006 at 12:00 am

    #259
    Of course we all need to work to have good and virtuous thoughts, but for the sake of the discussion here, the position of the Church is that those who struggle with homosexual tendencies are not at risk for loss of membership or “worthiness” for their inclinations — only for acting on those tendencies. Let’s not make this harder than it already is. Those scriptures are for all of us to consider, but I don’t think they should be brought up in this already touchy discussion.

  261. Ben S. on April 16, 2006 at 9:38 am

    Casual (#259) if you’ll consult some other translations, you’ll see that all of your Bible scriptures make the point that committed sins result from internal intention to do so, not that the temptation or thought itself is a sin.

    For example, Pro. 24:9 in the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh- “The schemes of folly are sin, And a scoffer is an abomination to men.”

    The passage in Alma is specifically applied to those who have completely hardened their hearts to block out the gospel completely, not a general statement.

    “Alma 12:13-14 13 Then **if*** our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned. 14 For [if that preceeding condition is met, then] our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.”

    Further, if temptation or thought to do sin is sin itself, how did Jesus remain sinless while undergoing temptation?
    Heb. 2:18 “he himself hath suffered being tempted” and
    4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

    There are no sins charged to our account because we are tempted, provided we shall resist the temptation. But we have no right to go near temptation, or in fact to do or say anything that we cannot honestly ask the blessing of the Lord upon; neither to visit any place where we would be ashamed to take our sister or sweetheart. The good Spirit will not go with us onto the Devil’s ground, and if we are standing alone upon ground belonging to the adversary of men’s souls, he may have the power to trip us and destroy us. We can’t handle dirty things and keep clean hands.
    -Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 3, 1944.

    It should ever be borne in mind that sin does not consist of simply being tempted to do, to say, or to think wrong, but that the sin is in yielding to the temptation. One strong safeguard against doing evil is to cultivate good thoughts, and when evil ones are presented, to promptly and manfully reject them, to dismiss them from the mind at once. This habit, together with never knowingly or heedlessly putting yourself in the way of temptation, will greatly aid in proving to you the truth of the scripture which saith, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” And further, this course will assist in cultivating that high moral and religious tone which is indispensable to those who would wield the power of the holy priesthood. Brigham Young, LETTERS OF BRIGHAM YOUNG TO HIS SONS, p. 153

    To *cultivate* evil thoughts, to mentally plan sin, or enjoy the thought while stopping short of the action is indeed a sin, though surely a lesser sin than committing the action. To struggle with recurring evil thoughts and temptation is not.

  262. greenfrog on April 16, 2006 at 10:02 am

    D. — slow response on my part — I honor your decision and your actions.

    They seem most Christ-like to me, this Easter morning.

  263. D. Fletcher on April 16, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you all for your kind words. I wish I could view my decision to break-up with my fianceé as some sort of huge self-sacrifice, but it was done for far more selfish reasons. I knew that I’d be miserable, and that she’d be miserable. After years of dating and feeling no more intimate than on our first date, it was a fairly easy decision to make (to break up), and one that I’ve never regretted. On the plus side, someone found the Church who might not have otherwise (her husband).

    Though I have lived my life alone in the Church, I continue to think that gay people should be allowed to have relationships, and allowed to stay in the Church and serve, like everyone else. My own yearning for companionship and love remains… unresolved, though I still have great hope that God won’t forget me before the end of my life (the mortal one).

  264. SteveSGU on April 16, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    Dear friends!

    There is certainly a lot to be said about the issues surrounding Soulforce’s recent visit to Provo, which I witnessed firsthand. Although I don’t think they convinced many people at all to believe what they believe, I admire their youthful idealism and thank them for their efforts to improve the world in some way.

    The most important issue here is the desire of good people to follow the teachings of the Holy Spirit in their heart and to learn how to turn our lives over to Christ’s direction. There are many people who are dealing with the challenges of homosexual feelings and related issues in a way that actually increases one’s spirituality.

    I’m happy to report that there are many support resources available for people who desire to find the answers that the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides. As a simple start, I would note the extensive lists of good literature and support organizations found at:

    LDS SSA Resources
    http://geocities.com/LDS_SSA

    I’m not here to debate with anybody, and I wish everybody much happiness and success in doing the best they can to be the best they can be. But if anyone who desires to be a sincere disciple of Christ would like to talk more about where to find help and encouragement, feel free to e-mail me directly at SteveSGU@yahoo.com. You truly don’t have to live gay if you desire something else!

    Aloha,

    Steve

  265. Adam Greenwood on April 16, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    “It would be nice if those of you who haven’t found yourselves in such an impossible position would be a little less certain in your judgments.”

    When people use their personal lives as an argument to persuade others that sin isn’t sin, their personal lives become open to discussion. But the remarkable thing is that the discussion of them has been pretty one-sided. Those who are on the Church’s side have tried hard to stick to general principles and have not applied them to individuals. This is as it should be. Jesus said, ‘Judge not.’ Jesus did not say, ‘don’t have principles.’

    General principles are always subject to nuance and exceptions. But even so, given your situation, I can understand why this is a sensitive topic for you. Let me be clear that no one wishes to accuse you or your ex-husband of anything.

  266. MikeInWeHo on April 17, 2006 at 12:09 am

    “General principles are always subject to…..exceptions” ????? Huh? Seems like you’re contradicting what you said in #213, Mr. “I Have No Sympathy.” You say you don’t accuse her or her husband of anything, yet there’s no other way to interpret your previous post where you so casually toss out phrases like “abandon their family to satisfy their lusts.” Claiming you’re only speaking in generalities in #213 and therefore don’t judge the specific couple in #249, well, that’s a total cop-out. Verily you are judging them, as well as any other gay person who makes life decisions with which you disagree.

    There is no compassion in evidence in your posts. Your tone and mindset are indistinguishable from Pat Robertson, et. al. Perhaps you admire them.

  267. hurricane on April 17, 2006 at 8:21 am

    266–

    Anonymous’s husband isn’t an ex-husband. Indeed, that appears to be a primary source of her pain. He stays married to her out of a sense of duty despite a complete lack of desire for her and they are both miserable for it.

    I’m with MikeInWeHo–there isn’t any compassion evident in your posts, just judgment, made all the more evident by your careless reading of her actual situation. In your haste to make sure we all know you hate the sin, you completely look past not only the sinner, but those who are close to him as well.

  268. anonymous on April 17, 2006 at 8:36 am

    The only thing I wanted to show using my personal life as an example is that sometimes the bold statement of principle misses the mark. While it is unarguably true that husbands should, as a general rule, honor their marital covenants, I wanted to point out that a gay man who has gotten married may, in fact, honor his wife *more* by leaving her than by staying. I would not, of course, argue for the virtue of leaving as a general principle. I only hoped to point to the fact that homosexuality complicates (even, I would argue, confounds) our neat theology of families, and that simply restating that theology more forcefully doesn’t solve any real world problems. That’s all.

    Adam, thanks for the expansion of your comment.

  269. D. Fletcher on April 18, 2006 at 11:27 am

    I read an essay about the phenomenon of the movie “Brokeback Mountain,” in which Larry McMurtry (the screenwriter) was quoted as saying “it’s the tragedy of emotional deprivation,” which I think is relevant to our discussions here.

  270. annegb on April 18, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    D. I read Brokeback Mountain. I don’t see the tragedy. Without any kind of context at all, without explaining how they knew to do it, they suddenly, without any emotional conversation at all, begin to have sex, homosexual sex. Then it’s over and they never discuss it. Then the next day, same thing. For years, they simply have sex. There is no, repeat no, discussion, conversation, platonic intercourse, loving interchange.

    I think Annie Proux is a good writer, but she didn’t make the love affair come real for me. I’m assuming the movie was true to her story, and the scenery was so beautiful, the minute I saw, but the tragedy of emotional deprivation just doesn’t work for me, because neither man seemed to crave emotion in the relationship. She failed in her attempt to portray homosexual love, as far as I’m concerned. And I wanted it to work, I wanted to understand it, I wanted to, I know, see love as I feel it, the tenderness, the looks that my husband and I exchange across a room that say I love you. Just didn’t see it.

  271. D. Fletcher on April 18, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    Oh, I didn’t mean to start a debate about Brokeback Mountain, which I like, but agree is pretty flawed. I do think that at least one of the men, the Jack character played by Jake Gyllenhaal, tries very hard to connect with Ennis on an emotional level, but can’t — and Jack is the one who finds real tragedy (his death). But “emotional deprivation,” as it is relevant here, could be seen to be the cause of the misery in a number of marriages; the men are deprived of their emotional connection with someone of their choice, presumably the same sex, and then the women married to these men are also deprived; it’s a tragedy for both.

  272. MikeInWeHo on April 18, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    annegb: did you actually see the film? It’s a much more emotionally robust than the short-story, although it follows the same basic plot line. I took it more as a Romeo & Juliette-esque tragedy of lost love. But you’re right, D., this could easily become a tangent about that movie’s merits and flaws. (Which I am sorely tempted to indulge in, but must resist!)

    There are plenty of other (non-pornographic) films that capture “homosexual love,” as you so clinically put it. The old Merchant Ivory film “Maurice” comes to mind.

  273. annegb on April 18, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    No, I didn’t watch the movie. I’m embarrassed when men and women kiss in the movies, I don’t think I could handle this one.

    I can see myself falling in love with either of those guys, but I didn’t see them falling in love with each other. But now we’re on #273, why not go off on a tangent?

    I watched a movie one night when I had satellite, I can’t remember the name, but it was about this guy in a concentration camp. He didn’t tell them he was gay, it was for some other reason. First his homosexual lover gets killed on the train, then he falls in love with another guy and in the end they’re all dead. I think I’m challenged in this way, I can’t see men falling for each other. Or women, either. I just don’t comprehend it.

    It was a very sad movie, very touching. It didn’t show sex, just love. But I still didn’t get it. It was profound, though. Brokeback Mountain isn’t the first movie like that, just the first one maybe showing explicit sex.

  274. MikeInWeHo on April 19, 2006 at 1:48 am

    Maybe the movie you saw on satellite was called “Bent” ??

    I think you have some mis-information about Brokeback Mountain. It’s about love, anguish, and the horrible dilemmas that gay people sometimes face. I’ve seen much more explicit stuff on cable TV. In fact, after pre-viewing it first, I took my 16 year old. We agreed that I’d cover her eyes during a 30-second sex scene in the tent. There’s no nudity in that scene, but I still found it inappropriate for her.

    It was a fantastic experience and led to some great conversation afterward. I definitely made the right choice.

    Try to make some gay friends, wherever you are. That would help you understand, even if you ultimately continue to disagree.