What think ye…

July 28, 2007 | 117 comments
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…about the Church’s new pamphlet on same-sex attraction?

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117 Responses to What think ye…

  1. Riker on July 28, 2007 at 11:15 am

    What else is there to be said in a pamphlet. Perfect for a pamphlet.

  2. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 11:16 am

    First thoughts after a very quick read –

    1. Members of the Church are being called out, gently, for intolerance.

    2. The Church continues to place emphasis on behavior, not orientation.

    3. I thought this quote interesting: “Same-gender attractions include deep emotional, social, and physical feelings. All of Heavenly Father’s children desire to love and be loved, including many adults who, for a variety of reasons, remain single. God assures His children, including those currently attracted to persons of the same gender, that their righteous desires will eventually be fully satisfied in God’s own way and according to His timing.”

    But which is the righteous desire? SSM, for which there is no option in the Church? Or “recovery”?

    4. And this: “However, the perfect plan of our Father in Heaven makes provision for individuals who seek to keep His commandments but who, through no fault of their own, do not have an eternal marriage in mortal life.”

    I know many activists in SLC are speaking out against it.

  3. Deborah on July 28, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Definitely an improvement from some of the previous pamphlets given to families and individuals (I know whereof I speak) . . . .

    Best lines:

    “Some people with same-gender attraction have felt rejected because members of the Church did not always show love. No member of the Church should ever be intolerant. As you show love and kindness to others, you give them an opportunity to change their attitudes and follow Christ more fully.”

    Best and Worst line:

    “While many Latter-day Saints, through individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement, overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life.”

    “Many” seems to be a potentially harmful overstatement — especially when the many are linked to “faith” and “atonement.” Too many saints still think that homosexuality can be overcome with a little extra prayer and scripture study. A recent piece in the Church News included this quote from a counselor that I wish they had used instead:

    ***Finally, he said, many Church members believe that a person’s faithfulness or lack thereof has something to do with their same-sex attraction. “They believe if you have more faith, then you will get better. If you prayed harder you would get better, fasted, attended the temple more, then you would get better. I have never seen it happen.” Having feelings of same-sex attraction doesn’t make someone bad, he said. “It doesn’t mean you have done something wrong or that there is no God or that He has abandoned you.”***

  4. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 11:18 am

    (I should mention — It liked it. I think it’s a great distillation of the Oaks/Wickman interview. But I can’t speak for those who may be actually dealing with SSA, so I’m not sure how it plays with the intended audience.)

  5. Julie M. Smith on July 28, 2007 at 11:29 am

    I agree that (based on the anecdotal evidence I have seen) “some” would have been a better choice than “many.” Other than that, I think that this is about as good a statement as we could hope for. And the statement

    “As you show love and kindness to others, you give them an opportunity to change their attitudes and follow Christ more fully.”

    is much better than I would have expected.

  6. Ardis Parshall on July 28, 2007 at 11:31 am

    #2 (point 3), queuno, there’s an unfortunate double meaning to “desire” here. In church discourse, the term “righteous desires” refers to desiring righteousness (as in this speech by Dallin H. Oaks) and doesn’t have any particular reference to sexual feelings.

  7. LizBeth on July 28, 2007 at 11:32 am

    I found it insulting and profoundly sad, especially where it implies that to live a happy life, gays must be asexual, and serving others will decrease the urge for sex.

  8. Adam Greenwood on July 28, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Its great. Queuno, I think the desire referred to here is the the desire to ‘love and be loved.’

  9. Matt Evans on July 28, 2007 at 11:41 am

    It’s a concise statement of the church’s position. Like others, what stood out most to me was the ambiguity in “righteous desires.”

  10. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 11:46 am

    I wasn’t talking about sexual desire, per se.

    “Their righteous desires will eventually be fully satisfied in God’s own way and according to His timing” is one of those statements you can twist to support your own preformed opinion. If you were already inclined to think that the Church should support gay marriage, that statement doesn’t eliminate the hope you’ll be right, one day.

    Then again … I’m not the target audience for the pamphlet.

  11. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 11:47 am

    As a foundation for this discussion, I can’t imagine the Church accepting homosexual activity and not simultaneously accepting non-marital heterosexual activity. If it were to sanction one, it would have to sanction the other.

    I understand that many practicing gay men and lesbian women want acceptance from the Church. I also understand that many practicing heterosexual men and women who are living together as members or investigators would like acceptance from the Church – would like to be baptized or serve in certain callings or attend the temple without being married. I just don’t see the Church allowing the latter, so I can’t see it allowing the former.

    With that as the theological foundation, I think the pamphlet is a very good thing. It simply can’t say, “We accept homosexual actions,” but it can and does say, “We accept that your feelings are deep and real and not of your choosing.” It can’t say, “You will have a chance to enjoy an eternal homosexual relationship,” but it can and does say, “You have the same access to grace that any other person does who struggles to deal with his/her own natural but prohibited inclinations – the same potential in the hereafter as any other member.” It can’t say, “All church members are counseled to accept homosexual activity as morally appropriate,” but it can and does say, “All church members need to repent if they are intolerant of someone who is gay or lesbian, just because of their sexual orientation.”

    I read the pamphlet and understand why it affects me differently than those whom it addresses, but, other than full acceptance of the activity itself, what more could the Church say? That’s what I would like to hear – not whether or not the Church should accept homosexual activity, but what else could they have said.

  12. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 11:56 am

    LizBeth, it doesn’t say asexual; it says fully sexual but in control of the exercise of that sexuality – which is the exact same standard to which I am held. (i.e., You might feel urges to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage, but you have to control those urges and not act on them.) I recognize that my wife and I have a release for our urges that a gay man and a lesbian woman do not have, but “asexual” doesn’t fit at all. At the risk of being too harsh, it is that type of over-the-top rhetoric that makes this type of discussion difficult to have.

  13. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 11:57 am

    LizBeth, to echo Ray’s point, what would rather have had the Church say? Are you disagreeing with the pamphlet, or the doctrine presented?

  14. Ardis Parshall on July 28, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Ray, your third paragraph is especially well written. However, it is not wise to build any argument on the linking of homosexual activity with non-marital heterosexual activty. If marital status were the only bar to homosexual acceptance, the stroke of a legislative pen would erase the prohibition and we could all support those changes in secular law. But does any Latter-day Saint really think that legal status is all there is to it? that there is no moral component beyond changing secular standards?

  15. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    I do think the pamphlet serves as a rebuke to Church members who continue to say that SS orientation is sinful. Again, it draws very clear lines between orientation and behavior. And since it’s now in pamphlet (read: Official Church Publication), it’s harder to dismiss than the Oaks/Wickman interview (which was dismissed as “personal opinion” by some members I know).

  16. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Ardis – I think the pamphlet does serve to reject the idea that a legislative change will change the Church’s position.

    “Many people with same-gender attraction respect the sacredness of their bodies and the standards God has set—that sexuality be expressed “only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). The lives of these individuals are pleasing to our Father in Heaven. Some, however, cross this boundary and indulge in immoral conduct. The desire for physical gratification does not authorize immorality by anyone.”

    This part seems quite clear — to me — that if gay marriage were approved by the laws of the land, the Church would continue to say “man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” as a criteria.

  17. DavidH on July 28, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    “I can’t imagine the Church accepting homosexual activity and not simultaneously accepting non-marital heterosexual activity. If it were to sanction one, it would have to sanction the other.”

    Analytically, I suppose the Church could decline to discipline those engaging in sexual activity in a same sex civil union, domestic partnership or marriage, but could discipline those engaging in any form of sexual activity outside of same- or opposite-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships.

    ********************************

    I gather this pamphlet is a significant improvement from the 1974, 1983 and 1992 pamphets on the subject. http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_6486440 I look forward to continuing revelation and to reading the 2016 and 2025 revised versions of the pamplet.

    I appreciate the emphasis in the pamphlet of God’s love for each individual.

  18. DavidH on July 28, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    “I do think the pamphlet serves as a rebuke to Church members who continue to say that SS orientation is sinful.”

    I live in a ward full of very conservative (politically and religiously) members; I do not recall anyone’s ever stating or directly implying that feeling sexually attracted to the same sex was itself sinful.

    Of course, I suppose one could argue that continuing to feel that attraction means that one has not “overcome” same sex attraction, and is therefore sinful. That is, that same sex attraction is not initially sinful, but becomes sinful if the attraction continues (whether or not acted upon). There are members of my ward who believe that.

    Of course, the new pamphlet may arguably imply the same (as Deborah suggests in 3), when it notes that many had “overcome” this by “individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement.” The implication is that if a person has not “overcome,” he or she must not have exercised enough “effort,” “faith” or “reliance on the enabling power of the Atonement.”

  19. LizBeth on July 28, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for the questions. Theres a lot to consider. I guess both the doctrine and the pamphlet trouble me. I still do not see how a gay person is expected to be sexual when they are not allowed to think about sex, masturbate, or anticipate kissing, marrying or making love to someone they are attracted to. The pamphlet just seems like salt in an open wound. It even says to avoid those who *act* gay.

  20. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Ardis, I understand the risk of linking homosexual activity and non-marital heterosexual activity, but I also can’t see any other way to address the issue fully. The doctrinal prohibition on homosexual activity is NOT due to the homosexual nature of that activity; rather, it is because homosexual activity is a type of adultery or fornication – defined as sexual activity outside the bounds of traditional, heterosexual marriage.

    Frankly, as bluntly as I can put this, Christianity or any other religion loses the argument over homosexual activity the instant it divorces that activity from heterosexual adultery and fornication – and/or when it calls homosexual urges “unnatural”, essentially turning it into a scientific debate. As the pamphlet admits, that’s an incorrect assumption; homosexual urges can be completely natural – just as heterosexual urges are.

    If we are willing to forgive/accept/tolerate/love/serve/etc. those who engage in adultery or fornication, and if we are wiling to uphold a standard that asks them to “Go and sin no more,” then we are hypocrites if we don’t treat all adultery and fornication in the same manner – no matter the orientation it manifests.

    That’s why I included the first two paragraphs. I know many of my gay friends don’t approve of that foundation, since they have told me so over the years, but most of them prefer it to “You’re going to Hell, but my cheating, heterosexual friend has been saved.” In theory, heterosexual fornication is not as bad as heterosexual adultery, since no marital covenants are broken by the former. In that light, heterosexual adultery is worse than homosexual fornication, also.

    As to official actions (#17), I could envision homosexual fornication resulting in disfellowshipment but not excommunication, but I can’t envision it carrying no administrative consequence when heterosexual fornication does. That was my central point. If we have a standard for sexual activity, it should be administered equally regardless of orientation. I think the pamphlet does as good a job as possible laying that foundation, without going into administrative options – which a pamphlet simply can’t do.

  21. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    LizBeth, I understand how painful the “avoid people and places and situations that might tempt you to exercise your urges” is to my gay and lesbian friends, but it’s the exact same counsel I give my heterosexual friends. Seriously, does anyone object to the Church or parents telling their heterosexual members or children to avoid people and places and situations where they are tempted to engage in heterosexual activity? Again, I think the best the Church and a parent can do is teach the same principles and “let them govern themselves” – understanding that the consequences of not living the principles will be the same regardless of orientation. That, more than anything else, IMHO, proves that I love each person equally – that I teach them and treat them equally.

  22. Tom on July 28, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    The great thing about the pamphlet is that it doesn’t just say that we believe homosexual relations to be sinful, but it gives doctrinal reasons why we must not accept them, like this:

    Heaven is organized by families, which require a man and a woman who together exercise their creative powers within the bounds the Lord has set.

    The prohibition has sound doctrinal basis. There are no doubt many who will see this pamphlet as hateful and bigoted—for many people nothing short of embracing and valuing homosexual relationships equally to heterosexual ones is acceptable—but given our beliefs about the family in the afterlife, I think the loving position is the one the Church is taking.

  23. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    I live in a ward full of very conservative (politically and religiously) members; I do not recall anyone’s ever stating or directly implying that feeling sexually attracted to the same sex was itself sinful.

    I grew up in the midwest, and this was a common theme during the standards talks from ward and stake leaders. When visiting my Utah relatives during the summers, (we’d spend half the summer) I occasionally heard this in their wards. I heard this at BYU, quite a bit, especially in Religion classes. I have heard it in my ward in TGSOT (although, not nearly as much). I read it on the ‘nacle in comments (although, the ‘nacle doesn’t attract that mindset).

    I would submit my own personal experience that, while diminishing, the idea that SSA being a sin is still alive and well amongst the general membership, although it is certainly a minority opinion (but not so minority).

  24. queuno on July 28, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I still do not see how a gay person is expected to be sexual when they are not allowed to think about sex, masturbate, or anticipate kissing, marrying or making love to someone they are attracted to. The pamphlet just seems like salt in an open wound.

    I don’t think that the pamphlet is speaking to those who would consider it an open wound. The pamphlet is attempting to offer encouragement and perspective to those who are truly struggling with their orientation and feelings. Frankly, those who consider it to be salt in an open wound are rejecting the doctrines expressed outright and hoping the Church changes their practices.

  25. DavidH on July 28, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Ray,

    I did not explain myself very well. I think you said that accepting, or failing to condemn, any homosexual activity meant that all heterosexual activity, inside or outside of marriage, must be accepted (or not condemned). I disagree with your analysis.

    My point was that a line could be drawn–accepting (or not condemning) sexual activity in a same sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union does not mean any and all heterosexual relations must be accepted or not condemned. The line could be the same for both types of relationships. (And, in Canada, Massachusetts, and a few other places, the dividing line would be whether the sexual activity was within a legally recognized marriage.)

  26. Carl Youngblood on July 28, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    LizBeth: “I still do not see how a gay person is expected to be sexual when they are not allowed to think about sex, masturbate, or anticipate kissing, marrying or making love to someone they are attracted to. The pamphlet just seems like salt in an open wound.”

    These same prohibitions apply to heterosexual church members. As I understand it, LDS teachings have been that members should not masturbate or indulge in sexual thoughts during a time when it would be unchaste to practice them, and even married members covenant to avoid unchaste thoughts and “every other unholy or impure practice” (left up to the interpretation of the individual).

  27. LizBeth on July 28, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Heterosexual members *are* allowed to kiss before marriage and have sex after. Homosexuals are prohibited from ever giving expression to their sexuality.

  28. Carl Youngblood on July 28, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    One annoyance to me is the way church members have hijacked the terms moral, immoral, morality and immorality. It is just plain bad English and also unpleasantly puritanical and provincial when members speak as if these words have only to with chastity. Many actions and thoughts can be moral or immoral without being related to sexuality.

    Much better terms, in my opinion, would be chastity, unchastity, sexual morality, sexual purity, sexual immorality, sexual impurity or sexual sin.

    I am also troubled by one particular paragraph in the pamphlet:

    “Some people have been abused during the early years of life or have engaged in sexual experimentation at a young age. If this has happened to you, please understand that abuse by others or youthful experiences should not create a present sense of guilt, unworthiness, or rejection by God or His Church. Innocent mischief early in life does not predispose a youth toward same-gender attraction as an adult.”

    I think the phrase “innocent mischief” is dangerous. What is “innocent mischief”? It seems like this should be defined before it can be stated unequivocally that it would not predispose somebody towards same-sex attraction later in life. First of all, is it really that innocent for kids of same or opposite sexes to make out or fondle one another? Secondly, I have read many accounts of individuals who were introduced to sexuality at early ages from relatives of same or opposite sexes who said that it DID predispose them towards new sexual temptations that they would not otherwise have fostered.

  29. MikeInWeHo on July 28, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    When I read the new pamphlet I wondered to myself “What would Carol Lynn Pearson say about this?” Can anybody get her to jump in here with a comment?

    While I can easily understand why many gay and lesbian people would find the new material quite offensive (no need to detail that here), I see incremental progress. It really does seem that the Church basically follows societal changes, lagging a few decades. The statement that “No member of the Church should ever be intolerant” is remarkable, as is the statement that “you give them an opportunity to change their attitudes.” Take a look backward: Twenty years ago people were debating sodomy laws and whether open gays should be allowed in the professions! Anybody here old enough to remember Anita Bryant? The locus of the entire debate has shifted dramatically in the direction of increased acceptance of gay and lesbian families.

    The trend is clear. Hope my partner and I sit next to you in Church in about 20 years!

  30. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    David, my “line” really is just equal application of fundamental moral law. I don’t know how else to say it other than how I did in the last paragraph of #20 and in #21. My point is that the only way for the Church to remove all administrative consequences from homosexual activity (of any kind) would be for it to change the fundamental moral foundation upon which it establishes its view of sexual activity – and I just don’t see that happening.

    In essence, the pamphlet says, “This is the theological foundation upon which we base our views of sexual activity. Due to how we view our potential in the afterlife, this is what we encourage and ask of our members in regard to the expression of their sexuality. We recognize that not all people are inclined naturally to feel the urges to fulfill our vision. We can’t alter that vision of eternity, but we do believe deeply and sincerely, that the fulfillment of that vision is available to all of God’s children – even those whose strong, natural inclinations put them at odds with that vision. We understand that accepting our vision is more painful and difficult for some than for others. We encourage these people to see and accept our vision, but we also admonish our members to accept and love and respect those who simply cannot do so – for whatever reason.”

    I could critique a few words of the actual pamphlet, and I agree with most of the critique I have read here, but – overall – I just can’t see how it could have been substantially better – or more acceptable to those who aren’t after a full and complete acceptance of homosexual activity.

  31. Russell on July 28, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    The pamphlet assumes that one has a fundamental understanding of and testimony of the basic tenets of the Church–Christ’s atonement, the reality of good and evil, the BOM, temple ordinances, etc. To expect the Church to forsake the divine sanction on heterosexual marriage would be to expect a COMPLETE 180 degree to turn in doctrine. Were that to happen, they would be discarding the Proclamation, the basis for the Church’s very public activism on behalf of “traditional” family structures. That’s an enormous request; you would basically be demanding of President Hinckley a revelation of the sort that would trump ANY revelation of the past 150 years in terms of influence.

    As it stands (and as I believe it will always stand), homosexual actions remain a sin. If you want to start your own brand LDS thought (others already have a la Affirmation), then the nation’s laws allow you to do so. But this is a bonafide example of trying to steady the ark and to dictate to the Lord his doctrine.

  32. Carl Youngblood on July 28, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    LizBeth: “Heterosexual members *are* allowed to kiss before marriage and have sex after. Homosexuals are prohibited from ever giving expression to their sexuality.”

    You are correct. While the Church seems to be trying to handle SSA in a more mature and tolerant manner, it is unwilling to change its core doctrine that only heterosexual sexuality within a marriage covenant is acceptable to God. Because the church’s doctrine is that no homosexual relationship is lawful, it holds that lesser expressions of homosexuality, such as same-gender kissing, should also not be engaged in. This does not seem difficult to understand given the original premise.

    To come up with a consistent message that alleviated your complaint, it seems that the church would have to abandon or radically alter its doctrine of eternal families, which seems unreasonable to expect it to do, at this juncture.

  33. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Mike, I hope so, as well. I wish we as a people were able to accept that now – or that you and your partner will even if the pamphlet remains the same 20 years from now. I know that the former is not asking as much of me as the latter is of you, but I would be glad to have both of you sitting with my family if you lived in our ward. I think you know I would not “approve” fully and completely, but I also hope you know I would welcome both of you as friends and brothers.

    Having said that, I also respect completely your responsibility to govern yourself, and I believe deep in my heart that the Lord will work it all out in the end – and that I will understand it better and accept it fully when He does.

    (I hope that came across as I meant it.)

  34. LizBeth on July 28, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    How exactly will the Lord make it up to faithful members on either side of the veil? Turn them magically straight?

  35. Russell on July 28, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    LizBeth,

    Frankly, to believe that homosexuality is something that is spiritually inborn and will persist into the afterlife is to deny the Church’s fundamental paradigm. I classify it in the same category as any mortal characteristic, such as a lost limb, athletic ability, or even great monetary wealth–it will not continue with us into the afterlife! While I bristle at the term “magically,” I do believe that the resurrection will heal us of all our imperfections–my asthma, my dad’s diabetes, and my friends’ homosexuality.

    I have great respect for those who suffer from such things; I’ve dealt with some VERY unusual issues (not homosexual attraction) that are somewhat comparable in terms of their oddity. Those among them who can hold to the faith, who can cling to what they know and deny themselves of all ungodliness (as ALL OF US MUST DO) deserve our high regards as men/women of sterling character, comparable to those who are glorified as they deal with the death of a spouse or a terminal disease.

  36. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    LizBeth, I don’t know.

    How will he change all of us, since each and every one of us has some kind of tendency, inclination, weakness, propensity, etc. that will need to be changed? I don’t know, but I believe He can do it for me, you, Mike, and all of the rest of us.

    If we believe there is a condition toward which we are striving, and that it is only through the grace and atonement of God that we will be able to overcome our natural selves and reach that condition, then why should we arbitrarily exclude anyone from that grace and from the atonement? I think the pamphlet finally states clearly and unequivocally that a gay man and a lesbian woman can be saved from their sins (whatever they are) in the same way that a straight man or woman can be saved from his/hers (whatever they are).

    I don’t know how; I simply believe that He can.

  37. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Also, LizBeth, the pamphlet NEVER says that faithful members will “magically be turned straight.” I understand the concerns expressed in other comments, but the pamphlet says clearly that some people will never be able to overcome their inclinations. Frankly, that’s the entire hope of faith in Christ – that we can be redeemed even if we can’t overcome our natural selves, however they are manifested in the flesh.

  38. Chino Blanco on July 28, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Look, if the Republicans, after all these years and all the rhetoric, still can’t run a national operation without the assistance of highly-competent gay staff, what makes you think any of us straight-shooters here are gonna be able to manage entire worlds without their help?

    There’s a place in the eternal scheme of things for these good folks, but we just don’t want to admit it, because we’ve got to maintain the appearance that we’re the ones coming up with all the brilliant ideas about how to run the place.

  39. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for the levity, Chino, but I thought that’s why men can’t be exalted without women.

  40. Russell on July 28, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Witty, Chino. While based on rhetoric, ENORMOUS (and probably unspoken) assumptions, and a bit of cheap sarcasm, your approach is a definitely an “old reliable” for jabbing at the status quo–a tradition with a healthy legacy in our faith. But if you actually want to be correct, smart remarks are always inferior to bonafide discussions of the doctrine.

  41. Amethyst on July 28, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Here’s the part I find strongly objectionable: (note, this is more than just saying “avoid tempting situations and people)–

    “It is better to choose as friends those who do not publicly display their homosexual feelings. The careful selection of friends and mentors who lead constructive, righteous lives is one of the most important steps to being productive and virtuous.”

  42. Chino Blanco on July 28, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    I see I’m not the only one capable of a little levity … touché, Ray, my wife would agree.

  43. Amethyst on July 28, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    The reason I find that quote offensive is the implication therein, that “those who…publicly display their homosexual feelings” do not “lead constructive, righteous lives.”

  44. Chino Blanco on July 28, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Well, I suppose I agree with DavidH: 2016 should be a very good year. According to the Chinese zodiac, for those born in 2016:

    “If they are not impatient and mouthy, they can gain more achievement.”

  45. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Amethyst, Good point. I wish it would have said “activities” instead of “feelings” – since that would be more in line with the rest of the pamphlet. I hope it was a oversight.

  46. Amethyst on July 28, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I hope so too.

  47. Chino Blanco on July 28, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    But if you actually want to be correct, smart remarks are always inferior to bonafide discussions of the doctrine.

    I am confident that Very.Serious.People will soon resolve all of these issues.

    If I give the impression that I think they might do well to speed things along, well, that’s just because I’m a Very.Silly.Person.With.Questionable.Bonafides.

  48. Amethyst on July 28, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Although, it could also be argued that there are many, many, many people who “display homosexual feelings” and peform homosexual (activities)” and manage to lead very productive lives. If we are all sinners of some sort, then NO ONE lives a “righteous” life. Why single out gay people who for the most part are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, unless they commit to being single and lonely the rest of their lives (possible, but so difficult most straight people don’t do that either)?

  49. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Again, I fall back on same verbiage regardless of orientation. If the admonition were about activities and not feelings, it would be appropriate for just about any activity that directly violates a core moral commandment – or even any restriction on action, regardless of its applicability to discussions of sexuality. None of us lead completely righteous lives, but not all of us choose to live in open opposition to a specific commandment. Also, I think it is hard to live a righteous life without living a productive life, as long as you define productivity differently than the world tends to do so.

    The Church has the responsibility to define a minimally acceptable level of action as “righteous” – even if it isn’t absolutely righteous. Would your reaction be any different if the word had been “worthy”? I doubt it. Do you object to the concept of a temple recommend interview? I hope not. Do you object to the implications of “Go and sin no more” relative to levels of righteousness? I doubt it.

    Finally, productive and righteous are very different things. The statement is just as easy to read as admitting “productivity” among the lives of gay and lesbian persons – as saying, “We ask you to live lives that are both productive AND righteous, not just productive.”

  50. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    PS. Please don’t take this to mean I think I am not a sinner but am “righteous”. I do not. All I am saying is that there are certain lines that one cannot cross – certain basics – and still claim to be “righteous” by the core standards of the Gospel. Also, that those lines are the same in principle for homosexual AND heterosexual activity.

  51. greenfrog on July 28, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks for the link to the pamphlet.

    I remain very surprised that the Church continues to argue that the basic underpinning of its opposition to same-sex marriage is the inability to procreate without two persons of different gender.

    That’s a mechanical operation, and like every other mechanical operation that our society faces, its contours are subject to change with development of technology.

    It would be like adopting a doctrine that says God wants X because the only way to write is with a stylus and a clay tablet.

    Once technology invents papyrus, the cuneiform-based doctrines look pretty irrelevant.

    A prediction: within ten years, either the Church will relax its position on same-sex marriage (doubtful, but not out of the question, based on this pamphlet’s insistence on the mechanics of offspring creation) or it entirely eliminates as a reason for its opposition the notion that procreation requires a male and a female.

  52. Russell on July 28, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    greenfrog–

    I would be startled indeed if the Church subverted Christ’s basic injunction that “neither is the man without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” The union between man and woman is a fundamental part of our temple ceremony; this change would be more fundamental than ANYTHING the church has supported to date. More than the 1978 revelation (after all, the nature of the priesthood wasn’t changed, only its recipients), certainly more than the 1st and 2nd manifestos (marriage between men and women was still the model, even the numbers were severely skewed to the “women” side”)

    No, the doctrine of heterosexual procreation is hardly a “mechanical process”, unless of course you doubt the divine origin of revelation on this matter, esp. the Proclamation. From what you say, greenfrog, it appears that you do. You might do well to at least be transperant about these assumptions so that we can all be on the same page re: where your doctrinal paradigm most clearly lies.

  53. Russell on July 28, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    greenfrog–

    I would be startled indeed if the Church subverted Christ’s basic injunction that “neither is the man without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” The union between man and woman is a fundamental part of our temple ceremony; this change would be more fundamental than ANYTHING the church has supported to date. More than the 1978 revelation (after all, the nature of the priesthood wasn’t changed, only its recipients), certainly more than the 1st and 2nd manifestos (marriage between men and women was still the model, even the numbers were severely skewed to the “women” side”)

    No, the doctrine of heterosexual procreation is far more than “mechanical process”, unless of course you doubt the divine origin of revelation on this matter, esp. the Proclamation and the pattern of all revealed Mormon cannon. From what you say, greenfrog, it appears that you do. You might do well to at least be transperant about these assumptions so that we can all be on the same page re: where your doctrinal paradigm most clearly rests

  54. MikeInWeHo on July 28, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    I would be very surprised if the Church relaxes its position on SSM marriage in ten years, greenfrog. That said, it’s easy to imagine a situation where the doctrine doesn’t change but ecclesiastical practice does. The Catholics maintain a very strict position against homosexuality (arguably more conservative than the Church’s), yet they no longer excommunicate non-celibate gay members or even openly gay couples. They won’t acknowledge your gay marriage, but they won’t kick you out over it.

    The tragedy of the status quo is that it has the unintended effect of pushing many (most?) struggling gay LDS out of the Church. We can argue the percentages–who knows??– but it should be clear to anyone familiar with the topic that thousands of gay Mormons wind up just, well, gone. Is that what Christ wants?

    There has to be a way to keep gay Mormons active in the Church, even those who can’t be celibate and just want to lead a quiet life with a loving partner.

    Right now, most of us in that category just leave (although the rare oddity pops up to blog….. : )

    Gotta run. We’re taking our daughter to The Simpsons movie. Priorities!

  55. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Just to add a little perspective, I wonder how most of my conservative Christian friends of other faiths would react to the pamphlet? I’m sure most of them would be outraged by how leniently the Church appears to view homosexual feelings – and that the pamphlet allows for those who simply cannot “overcome” those feelings having hope of eternal grace. Also, I know all of them truly would be alarmed at the depiction of our eternal destiny. Honestly, I’m not sure which would outrage them more.

  56. Russell on July 28, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    The Church kicks HETEROSEXUAL members out of the Church for having sexual relations outside of marriage (I’ve seen it; it rocked my home ward for about a month given that the adulterers were high profile members). If the Church does not recognize gay marriage, then how on earth could they even wink at homosexual relations? No, any change on this doctrine would be revolutionary and fundamental. There is “tweeking” or “nuancing” here. A change in “policy” would be a change in paradigm.

  57. Jonovitch on July 28, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Some of us here are straining at gnats — I think we all understand quite well what the Church is getting at with this pamphlet (which I actually think was written more for Church leadership than general membership — my first impression on reading it anyway), and it sounds like some are deliberately misunderstanding entire paragraphs while fighting a few individual words.

    If people have a drug problem, or a porn problem, or a gambling problem, the Church advises them to avoid hanging out with people who will drag them back down. In that same way, if you’re gay and you’re trying to stay true and faithful, the pamphlet is simply suggesting not to parade around with others and make a show of it. (By the way, “displaying a homosexual activity” is redundant — hence “feeling.” Displaying a feeling = activity. It was not an oversight; it was grammatically correct.) And in the same way, the Church doesn’t support people who flaunt their heterosexuality. I really don’t think that paragraph was that hard to understand.

    The Church standard (for procreation or absolutely anything else) is the same for my gay friend (since childhood) as it is for my straight, single friend (been that way all his life). One of them chooses to adhere to the standard, the other does not. One of them associates with constructive, righteous people (those who are trying to do right — “righteous” does not mean “perfect”), the other does not. One of them is living a productive life (i.e., fulfilling the measure of his creation to the best of his ability), the other is not.

    My single, straight friend is not expected by the Church to be sexual any more than my gay friend is. In fact they are both expected to not express their sexuality until they marry a woman — not likely to happen for either of them in this life.

    One specific comment here is particularly insensitive. I don’t expect God to make my single, straight friend magically married in the next life any more than my gay friend. That was not well thought out and showed a surge in emotion, to the deficit of reason.

    I get the feeling that some people here are dissecting individual words to show off their analytical skills or to vent their frustration, perhaps because they think they don’t agree with something that may or may not be in the text. Unfortunately they seem to be missing the forest for the trees. Trying to extrapolate meanings that just aren’t there is unproductive. The document says what it says. What it doesn’t do is take pot-shots, unlike some of the commentators here. Some of us smarty-pants need to take a breather and settle down.

    Jon

  58. Jonovitch on July 28, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    P.S. I think the opening two lines in the pamphlet are perhaps the most universally accepting (regarding this topic) that the Church has ever produced, and I agree that some über-conservative members might be wincing at the thought of sharing a piece of the eternities with those Use-to-gays.

    Personally, I welcome the statement and recognize the charity, the very true love, behind it.

    Jon

  59. greenfrog on July 28, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Russell wrote: No, the doctrine of heterosexual procreation is far more than “mechanical process”, unless of course you doubt the divine origin of revelation on this matter, esp. the Proclamation and the pattern of all revealed Mormon cannon. From what you say, greenfrog, it appears that you do. You might do well to at least be transperant about these assumptions so that we can all be on the same page re: where your doctrinal paradigm most clearly rests

    I’m neither so unavailable nor so remote that you can’t find what I think, if you’re interested. Visit my blog or google me with ssm. I decline to post a warning caption to every post I make, advising the unwary that I’m a demon in disguise. If you wish to know more about my views, please ask.

    In the context of what I’ve said on this thread, I said more and in more detail on this one:

    http://www.spinozist.us/2006/08/21/what-about-the-proclamation/christian-y-cardall/

  60. Dinesh on July 28, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    Amethyst: “Why single out gay people…unless they commit to being single and lonely the rest of their lives (possible, but so difficult most straight people don’t do that either)?”
    You are right; folks with SSA are not the only ones who sometimes fail to live up to the code. But my experience is that the real controversy lies not in what behavior is proscribed, but that engaging in proscribed behavior has consequences. My thoughts:
    1) LOSING AND FINDING YOUR LIFE: As the Bible says, some roads are wide and others are narrow. I have found that yielding to inclinations is easy while living up to a moral code is hard. I personally cling to the knowledge that those who lose their life for Christ’s sake shall find it (and vice versa). In other words, happiness is the ENDS of our existence—not necessarily our daily companion [discriminate here between happiness as comfort and happiness as a pure conscience]. Just as President Hunter gave up practicing music for the Lord, each of us will be asked to give up something. Elder Maxwell also said that we would be asked to do that which is hardest for us as individuals. Homosexuality is a popular topic, but what about the married person whose spouse is injured and paralyzed both physically and mentally in an accident shortly after their wedding. The healthy spouse cares for the other and changes bed pans for 50 years and is expected to keep the law of chastity as is the person who because of looks, circumstance or whatever is not married in this life.
    2) ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE: If this life were our only existence, then it would be odd not to cram it full of whatever we wanted. On the other hand, if this life is really a test then nothing but failing the test is truly tragic. Where many have gotten it wrong for all these years is we have felt that SSA was not meant to be in this life. But knowledge of God’s plan points out that we all “must needs be” tempted. In other words, God 1) allows for us to have wrong inclinations in this life and 2) wants us to not yield to them. Else what is a “challenge” if it is really not challenging?

  61. DavidH on July 28, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Regarding whether the standard espoused by our Church expects the same thing of heterosexual members as for gay or lesbian members–it is not just Sunstone types who recognize a very real difference and particular hardship borne by gay and lesbian Mormons who wish to participate fully in our Church:

    “And yes, some people argue sometimes, well, for the gay person or the lesbian person, we’re not asking more of them than we’re asking of the single woman who never marries. But I long ago found in talking to them that we do ask for something different: In the case of the gay person, they really have no hope. A single woman, a single man who is heterosexual in their thinking always has the hope, always has the expectation that tomorrow they’re going to meet someone and fall in love and that it can be sanctioned by the church. But a gay person who truly is committed to that way of life in his heart and mind doesn’t have that hope. And to live life without hope on such a core issue, I think, is a very difficult thing.”

    Elder Marlin Jensen http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews/jensen.html

  62. m&m on July 28, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    remain very surprised that the Church continues to argue that the basic underpinning of its opposition to same-sex marriage is the inability to procreate without two persons of different gender.

    Actually, the Church’s doctrine on marriage is about much more than just how babies can be made. (Technology has broadened that definition.) Doctrinally, marriage is about how things will be organized in the eternities. The only eternal organization that will exist will be a family, led by a husband and wife. (This is a fundamental premise of our doctrine.) For the prophets to support anything (from homosexual behavior and/or marriage to any other behavior we believe to be against God’s commandments) that allows someone to violate the requirements for exaltation would completely undermine the fundamental purpose the Church exists — to bring people back to God as families, or to make that blessing possible through “righteous desires” and a perfect-in-Christ life. Come to think of it, I think scripturally we learn that the sins would be on the heads of the prophets if they did that. (Think Jacob 1:19)

    I like what Russell said: “[A]any change on this doctrine would be revolutionary and fundamental. There is [no] ‘tweeking’ or ‘nuancing’ here. A change in “policy” would be a change in paradigm.” That change in paradigm would require a complete overhaul of the plan of salvation and the purpose of life and temple covenants and ceremonies and…. I just don’t see that happening. If there is something the prophets had better be right about (and I believe they are), it needs to be the plan of salvation, which includes eternal marriage (as defined by the prophets) at its heart. In my mind, it’s why we have prophets — to cut through all that we hear in our culture (maybe someday our laws?) about what is right and good and OK and desirable. If we could look to the culture and to politics to define what is right, why have prophets at all? IMO, this issue is one that, in general, tests our willingness to trust them perhaps more than any other.

  63. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    I don’t know to whom your comment is directed, David, but I agree with it completely – and I said so in more than one instance. I never said the standards expect the same level of sacrifice – only that the standard itself is the same.

    I hate to use other examples that do not equate, due to the connotations that can be applied that I do not mean, but there is a difference in the hardship borne by an adult convert alcoholic and a lifetime member who has never imbibed at all. There is a difference in the hardship borne by someone who inherited a very quick, very hot temper and someone who never feels deep anger and lack of emotional control. There is a difference in the hardship borne by my foster son in his struggle to accept male authority and my biological sons. Frankly, there is a difference in the hardship borne in regard to tithing by a multi-millionaire member and one who is struggling to feed his or her family. In all of these situations, however, the standard we preach is the same. For nearly all of us, there is something that is harder to follow than it is for others. For a gay or lesbian member, I have no doubt that such a difference is more pronounced and more difficult than mine is for me – specifically because they have no hope in this life.

    I am VERY glad that the Church is openly admitting there is a difference in hardship, and that it is allowing for the possibility that such a difference will be insurmountable for some – and, by direct extension, allowing for the possibility of redemption in those cases. I also am VERY glad that the Church is not applying different standards even with its recognition of different hardships.

  64. m&m on July 28, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    The tragedy of the status quo is that it has the unintended effect of pushing many (most?) struggling gay LDS out of the Church. We can argue the percentages–who knows??– but it should be clear to anyone familiar with the topic that thousands of gay Mormons wind up just, well, gone. Is that what Christ wants?

    I actually can’t help but feel that this pamphlet is an effort to reach out…at least by explaining more where we stand on this issue, to solidify the difference between feelings/tendencies/(what’s the preferred word here?…can anyone help? words matter with this tender topic!) and actions. Isn’t it possible this could be helpful, not harmful? .. At least in dispelling misunderstandings and such? (Am I off here?) And communicating God’s love. And calling members to repentance who are intolerant and unkind.

    I can’t imagine Christ wanting people to “up and leave.” But I also can’t imagine Him taking a “live and let live” approach, either. He always had standards that He taught.

    This comment that I quoted above reminded me of what Elder Holland said recently (PBS interview) — that there is a price for Church membership. I’ll just quote him…easier that way.

    “Now, for those that want the blessing of the church, … there’s a little bit of a price for that. Maybe it’s a big price in terms of sacrifice and loyalty. Maybe it’s a big price. But there’s some price that’s paid for the blessing, the participation, the identity and laying claim on the covenantal promises. …”

    We WANT people to be able to lay claim to those blessings. It’s the reason the Church exists. But we simply can’t alter the commandments to get more people to stay or to join. Christ’s hope isn’t just that we will come and fill the pews and the Church records (although I know that isn’t what you were necessarily implying). He wants us to come to Him, and we do that most completely through obediece to ordinances and covenants and commandments.

    That said, I don’t know of anything that suggests that someone who wants to come to meetings and isn’t currently living the standards as the Church can’t come to Church meetings. I would hope that we would all agree that quite the opposite is true. We can’t change the standards, but that doesn’t mean the doors are closed to come sit and learn and interact with us. So come! (I recently ran across a blog of an actively gay man who feels compelled to go to church, even though he knows he’s not in conformance with the Church’s standards in this regard. My heart warmed to read that, because don’t we all strive to respond to the Spirit where we are in our lives? The more we do that, the more the Lord can help us know what we can do to come to Him more fully.) So I say, come, sit, worship with us!

  65. Chris Williams on July 28, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    57–Jonovitch: Church doesn’t support people who flaunt their heterosexuality.

    People like, you know, parents? Most LDS church activities is one giant exercise in flaunting heterosexuality.

  66. Chris Williams on July 28, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Sorry for the bad grammar… Most LDS church activires are giant exercises in flaunting heterosexuality.

  67. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Chris, How do you spell that sound you make when you stick out your tongue and blow?

  68. Ray on July 28, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    To take m&m’s last paragraph and refer to Mike’s first comment, I would feel like I had died and gone to heaven if every member in my ward and stake really caught the vision in these comments and openly and sincerely invited everyone to sit with us as we worship in SM simply because they love them and want to share our worship with them. I would love to see our chapels packed to overflowing during SM, even if many of the attendees left the building and didn’t stay for the other two hours because they weren’t interested in the instruction that occurs in those meetings. I would love to sit with Mike and his partner and their daughter, to smell cigarette smoke in the pew behind me, to wave to the girl in the tank top in the back, to see what tattoo the man in front of me had added the previous week, etc – even if I had to wish them a blessed week after the meeting ended.

    In all seriousness, I believe that if we lived the true heart of the Gospel better, Mike and his partner and their daughter would be among us – especially if our efforts to share the spirit of our worship was not tied to “conversion” but just the joy of our worship. I think they would accept the occasional talk about the Law of Chastity, if it wasn’t directed at them and their lifestyle. (I apologize, Mike, if I am wrong with that opinion.) I have no problem telling the missionaries to stay away from a friend who comes to church with me, if that is what the friend wants. What matters to me is that my friend is there with me. Of course, I want that friend to accept the Gospel, be baptized and end up sealed to his family in the temple – but that’s not a condition of my invitation to worship with me. I wish with all my heart that we could open our arms and embrace anyone who walked through our chapel doors, sincerely and lovingly and unconditionally. I don’t think we have to compromise our doctrinal standards to do so, but we certainly have to experience a collective mighty change of heart.

  69. tracy m on July 29, 2007 at 12:27 am

    MikeInWeHo-
    I hope so too. Only I hope it doesn’t take 20 years.

  70. -L- on July 29, 2007 at 12:45 am

    I was very happy to see this pamphlet (it’s something I’ve been wishing for), but I was most excited that the online pamphlet included the invitation to offer feedback. I tried my hand at writing some feedback, but it feels very odd to do so.

    In regard to #4, #10 (and several others), I hope the intended audience of this pamphlet is all the members of the church, not just leaders, and not just those who are same-gender attracted.

    Again, I’m just really happy to see it.

  71. MikeInWeHo on July 29, 2007 at 1:29 am

    re: 68

    Wow, that’s really touching, Ray. Thanks. I’d love to see that happen too. Not sure if this new brochure will take the Church very far in that direction, though. The statement “It is better to choose as friends those who do not publicly display their homosexual feelings” doesn’t exactly make someone in my situation feel welcome, to say the least. Better keep those long-suffering celibate gay members away from my family lest they wind up pairing off, shopping for flatware at Ikea, and adopting abandoned Chinese baby girls. The horror!

    From my perspective, at best the new brochure is a very small and cautious step. I think I’ll focus on its call for tolerance and changed attitudes….and see it as a glimmer of hope.

  72. KyleM on July 29, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Mike,

    Ikea? And to think that up until 30 seconds ago, I wouldn’t have had a problem with you sitting next to my kids!

  73. Adam Greenwood on July 29, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Can’t agree with you, Ray. Smokers should be welcome at sacrament meeting, provided that they don’t think their smoking is OK, or, I suppose, if they’re investigating. But I don’t think the Mikes of the world think that gay sex is wrong or are seriously considering the church’s point of view on this matter. Mormonism is defined by distinctive practices and beliefs. If we waive those in the name of fellowship, why go for fellowship by sitting on a hard bench in a not particularly attractive building? The local hiking guild would do just as well.

    Lets show our respect for the UCC by not trying to infringe on their brand.

  74. m&m on July 29, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Adam,
    I think there is totally a place, though, for people who want fellowship in a spirit of humility and repentance (which is what spirit we all should have when we worship), and respect going the other way. It’s one thing to come smelling of smoke with a cigarette in hand thinking that the commandment is just stupid. It’s another thing to come smelling of smoke but realizing that that’s not the standard, and yet craving the Spirit and coming to feel His influence with the desire to draw closer to Christ in this Church (with its standards). There are people like that, who don’t feel safe coming and yet want to, want to come back, want to overcome whatever is keeping them from full fellowship. I’m not sure all our doors are as open as they should or could be to people like that.

    I think we need to take a combination of what Elder Holland said (you can choose another church if the standards aren’t your thing; we do expect sacrifice and obedience), but let’s not assume (in a general sense) that someone who wants to come and isn’t yet there with the standards doesn’t want to be. We need to leave room for people to feel they can come even if they aren’t there yet. I am not sure you would disagree with that, would you?

    My thought is let’s open our hearts so more people can feel the Spirit calling them to come to Christ, to make the changes necessary to full fellowship. It’s not as likely that they can feel that if we meet up at the local hiking guild.

  75. John Gustav-Wrathall on July 29, 2007 at 2:14 am

    I find the tone and the content of the pamphlet a great step forward. I would really like to see the Church work on practicing the hospitality and compassion that this pamphlet preaches. While I have a few quibbles over the way things are stated (such as, for example, the statement that homosexuality can be \”overcome\” through faithfulness, implying that those who fail are unfaithful), the pamphlet\’s discussion of the nature of homosexuality is relatively enlightened.

    It is my sincere hope that the pamphlet will encourage all gay folks — married, celibate, or in same-sex relationships — to seek ways to nurture a life of faith, come back to church and worship with their fellow saints, study the scriptures, pray, engage in service, and seek the guidance of the Spirit in their lives. In my attempts to do this, I\’ve gotten a relatively good reception in my ward (not from everyone, mind!), though people tell me my ward must be exceptional based on their experiences elsewhere. I must say, I had a perfectly horrid experience visiting my parents\’ home ward in Springville, UT.

  76. m&m on July 29, 2007 at 2:32 am

    I think they would accept the occasional talk about the Law of Chastity, if it wasn’t directed at them and their lifestyle.

    Ray, just to point out something that might create a problem with your hypothetical — we can’t have the price of fellowship be that we feel hesitant or unable to speak plainly of what we believe to be God’s standards. (Perhaps this is part of what Adam was reacting to?) e.g., If Mike and his partner wanted to come, great, but they shouldn’t be surprised (or offended) if someone reads a quote about the Lord’s standards of chastity, or of the importance of marriage as defined in the Proclamation, etc. Of course, we don’t need to pounce on every person with the intent to “convert” (although why wouldn’t that be something we would hope for?), but we shouldn’t and can’t be apologetic for our standards and teachings, either.

  77. MikeInWeHo on July 29, 2007 at 2:57 am

    re: 73

    You might be surprised, Adam! If I didn’t see something incredibly important and true in this Church, I wouldn’t be in here typing this. The local hiking guild will never replace what I felt when I was active in the Church. I miss it.

    Do you really require 100% agreement on every ‘distinctive practice and belief’ in order to fellowship with someone? Is that even possible in this fallen estate?

    I love my family and my life. Sometimes I think I am the luckiest person in the world. I have no desire to be heterosexual. You’re right: I do think the Church is wrong on this one and will eventually change even further in the direction of inclusiveness.

    Maybe I’m completely deluded. If that’s the case, will our Heavenly Father not have compassion upon me? I certainly hope so.

  78. Adam Greenwood on July 29, 2007 at 4:55 am

    I might be surprised, at that. I hope, MikeInWeHo, that in keeping up your hopes that the Church will change, you don’t forget to consider from time to time whether it might not be you that needs the changing.

    Three things are different in your situation from a garden variety disagreement over practice and belief.
    (1) By coming to church with your lover and the children you’ve adopted, you are in effect witnessing against revealed doctrine about the nature of the family. With most doctrines and practices, we ask folks to keep their heretical views out of official functions as the price of participation. But by coming with what you present to be a family, you are making your disagreement blatant. Even with sins like smoking, the smell of cigarette smoke isn’t necessarily a disagreement with the WoW, but how and in what company one comes to church is pretty discretionary.
    (2) There’s a sense in which you would be actually, visibly sinning by coming and participating in the services as a gay family. It would be like someone walking into the back of church and preparing their own sacrament.
    (3) Some sins are more serious than others. We could ditch the WoW tomorrow without much doctrinal consequences. But sex, gender, and family is very near to the heart of Mormonism.

  79. tyler on July 29, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Ray (#68):

    Many years ago I attended the funeral of a man who possessed an almost legendary ability to love in the manner you describe. He had served as a Bishop, Stake President, and Temple sealer, in addition to profoundly influencing his chosen field of study in the academy (he wrote one of the standard college-level introductory texts books in the field). His funeral, held at our wardhouse in a beautiful section of suburban Salt Lake City, was one of the most fascinating and encouraging meetings I have ever attended. President Hinckley presided and the most striking gamut of people filled the pews–it sounded, smelled, and looked very much like the idyllic situation you describe: the odor of cigarette smoke wafted through the air and many of the attendees looked about as though they had not been inside a church in many years.

    I’ve reflected on the meeting, and the man, many times–he practiced much of what you teach. It wasn’t that righteousness and personal purity weren’t important to him–they were, and he would have wanted all of us in that congregation to make changes in our lives to become more Christlike. His love for me and everyone else, however, shone so brightly that what you noticed when you were around him was how very keenly interested he was in you and what was important to you. Interestingly, however, when around him you found yourself changing, becoming better, almost in spite of yourself. His love, in some subtle but powerful way, drew you toward Christ. That is not to say everyone he touched became perfect, of course, but everyone who was around him could feel the pull of divine love.

    His memory and legacy are beautiful.

  80. Kevin Barney on July 29, 2007 at 9:03 am

    The pamphlet is certainly an advance over prior efforts and attitudes. (I personally think there is more advancing to do.)

    Mike, you and your family are welcome to sit with me in church any time you happen to be in the Chicago area.

  81. Jonathan Green on July 29, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Adam, I disagree with you very strongly with the substance of your argument. I accept your third point that gender and family is hard-wired into the core of church doctrine, but I think you’re mistaken about the nature of sacrament meeting attendance. I don’t see that the situation is any different from a cohabiting couple and offspring attending sacrament meeting, or someone who intentionally chose single parenthood. Each of these cases differs from the church’s norm of family organization, and in each case I want them attending church, and, in terms of my own salvation…so what? The particular constellation of sins and temptations that others in the congregation have is none of my business, and has no bearing on my own sins and temptations. The best way to meet the spiritual needs of those three or four people on a Sunday morning is for them to sit in the pews and listen to the word of God. Part of our worship on Sunday means agreeing to worship with whoever shows up. As far as you or I are concerned, they’re Heterosexual Bob, his adoptive daughter, and his best friend Jim. Everything else is just evil speculation on our part.

  82. Costanza on July 29, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Adam,
    This is an honest question, not some cynical rhetorical debating point. How do you square your position with the Savior’s commandment recorded in 3 Nephi 18:31? There he specifically states that those who are not only unworthy to partake of the sacrament but who are blatantly unrepentant are “not [to be] cast out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister….”

  83. John C. on July 29, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Adam,
    While I too believe that the basic doctrines in the Church regarding eternal progression, salvation, and family won’t easily accommodate gay or lesbian couples without a major revelatory overhaul of those doctrines, I wouldn’t see Mike’s presence with his family on our pews as an assault on our basic beliefs. Fundamentally, that argument is equal to saying that anyone who is happy outside of the church is arguing against the church’s beliefs regarding the plan of happiness and that, therefore, their continued happiness constitutes an assault of basic church belief. That Mike has found peace and joy in his life does not constitute in any way, shape, or form an assault on our way of life (unless you belief, contra the pamphlet, that gay and lesbian members of the church should be shunned and driven from our ranks (which I don’t believe that you believe)).

    Mike,
    I would be happy to have to sitting beside me in the pews as well.

  84. Jim F. on July 29, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Gee, MIke, it looks like you’re getting invitations to come to church all over the place. You’ll soon be set with congregations no matter where you should be. In case you ever happen to be in Provo, feel free to join my wife and me at the Provo Grandview East 4th Ward.

  85. MikeInWeHo on July 29, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    re: 78
    I appreciate your candor, Adam, because you get to the heart of the matter. Besides, we’re just discussing hypotheticals here anyway. My partner is pretty down on organized religion at this point so no one need fear our attending anybody’s ward together. I disagree, however, that the theological “heart of Mormonism” would require transplantation in order to somehow accommodate families that don’t fit the pattern of man+woman+children. That has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere in the Bloggernacle, as y’all know.

    FWIW, I have never claimed that my family represents some kind of ideal. It’s just the best I have been able to do over a very long road that began when I realized I was gay in junior high school.

    Do I need to change sometimes? Heck yes. Is it possible I am completely wrong on this one? It would be dishonest to deny that possibility. Your arguments are persuasive. I suspect, however, that even the most conservative LDS who got to know us would see the good in our home. If my options are that dark struggle of the single/celibate gay Mormon or my current life (Ikea and all), it’s a no-brainer and I feel zero spiritual dissonance over it.

    Just to clarify: our daughter is my partner’s biological child, the product of a very early Catholic marriage that did not end well. We’ve given some thought to adopting another child, but don’t feel it’s the right thing to do at the moment.

  86. MikeInWeHo on July 29, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    LOL, I see that Jim F. It’s very endearing, actually. I’ve yet to get up the nerve to visit SM at Westwood 1 right up the road from me, though. Provo…..yikes, that’s intimidating. Will I be force-fed green jello? : )

  87. Ray on July 29, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    There are so many things I want to say in response to #68, but every time I get through typing, I end up erasing what I wrote. After nearly 20 minutes, here’s all that is left:

    “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

  88. annegb on July 29, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    I was a single mom for six years and I was expected to remain celibate. However, if I were expected to substitute my natural desire to love and be loved by a man, to never touch a man, to subjugate those things by serving in the church, I might as well have become a nun. As it was, my behavior, most of the time would have qualified me for a convent.

    I thought this pamphlet was very well done and I appreciated it. It doesn’t address, nor could it, I guess, the very basic nature of homosexual urges. Are they deviant? If they are, then praying and serving would be appropriate. If they are not, then homosexuals are almost being asked to accomplish what would be impossible for heterosexuals.

    I’m not arguing for one opinion or another, it just seems a very catch-22 situation. And again, life isn’t fair, we all have difficult situations to deal with. Maybe that’s theirs.

  89. Kathryn Lynard Soper on July 29, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Adam, I’m wondering the same thing as Costanza (82).

    Mike, I know this is a big hypothetical, and a very personal question to boot–but I’m wondering, how would you feel about attending sacrament meeting if you would be expected to refrain from taking the sacrament?

    On a general note–What strikes me about this pamphlet is the evidence of change in the Church’s position regarding “fixing” SSA. I know there have been shifts like this (regarding other issues) in the past, but this is, I believe, the first one I’ve experienced in real time. It’s surprising, in a very pleasant way.

    My view is that top-down change re this particular issue will only go so far–and probably not much farther than it already has. But there’s a lot of bottom-up change that I expect to see (meaning attitudes and behaviors towards members with SSA). And I’m wondering how other aspects of the status quo might shift in the future.

  90. Sam B on July 29, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Adam,
    I find myself disagreeing with you politically on a relatively regular basis, but I cannot state in strong enough terms how much I disagree with your 78. By no means would a gay couple attending church be “witnessing against revealed doctrine.” They would be coming to church as they were.

    While I hope that our rhetoric about homosexuality changes, I willingly accept that it will not. But where you make homosexual relationships some sort sui generis sin where the very act of coming to Church as a family is witnessing against the church (and tell me again why coming smelling of smoke is different?), then you’ve made a group of people third-class citizens.

    As for me, I would love to sit on a pew with Mike and his family, and have his daughter make my daughter laugh. (Except that my wife, a consumate and life-long East Coaster, has made very clear that we’re never going to live anywhere near LA, so it would have to be at a ward in some neutral ground.)

  91. Ray on July 29, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Wow. Hilarious typo. I don’t disagree with my own #68, but rather Adam’s #78. Yikes!

  92. Amethyst on July 29, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    I’m intrigued by the question Lizbeth asked in comment #34. I don’t think anyone has answered it yet, and it does get to the meet of the matter.

    Will there be a qualitative material difference in a gay person’s makeup, preferences, physical desires and characteristics in the next life? If he makes it to the Celestial Kingdom, will he still be gay, or will he now all of a sudden be straight, and expected to find a partner of the opposite sex, marry and have children with that partner for time and all eternity/

    We know from doctrine that only male/female parents are eligible for exaltation. So despite anyone’s insistence that a gay partnered couple will certainly be welcome in church, somewhere along the line that partnership will have to break up and they will have to find other partners of the opposite sex in order to be acceptable to God.

    And that’s the sad thing about the doctrine and the pamphlet: regular ol’ ward members are much more willing to do what Heavenly Father Himself won’t do–let a gay couple sit in His presence forever and ever in the Celestial Kingdom.

  93. Thomas Parkin on July 29, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Amethyst,

    My understanding is that God’s arms are open to all. It is we who make choices that make it impossible for us to live with Him. We won’t live with Him, at least in part, because it will be impossible for us to desire it. It says we will rather have the mountains fall down on us than to bear His presence. The bitterness is called, among other things, the chains of Hell. God’s responce to that, according to Enoch, is to weep. Whatever our natures are, sexual or otherwise, they will have to be changed before we can bear to live with Him.

    I didn’t go to church for many many years. It had way more to do with the fact that I coudn’t stand the thought of sitting with Mormons than whatever difficulty they might have accepting me.

    ~

  94. MikeInWeHo on July 29, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    re: 89

    That’s an interesting question, Kathryn. I suppose it depends. As a visitor, I would certainly respect the policy and take no offense at not taking the sacrament. None of us in here should take the eucharist if we were to visit mass, so it’s kind of the same thing. No problem there. It would be much harder for someone in my situation who wanted to actually be an active, regular member of a ward. Essentially, every week I would be symbolically confronted with the sinfulness of my “lifestyle,” and since I disagree that there is anything fundamentally sinful about the existence of my family that would be highly problematic. I could probably tolerate the tension of being in disagreement with a core moral doctrine, but I don’t think I could tolerate being placed in quasi-public judgment on a weekly basis.

    The Catholics definitely have it right in that regard, imo: It is understood that each member must work out his own salvation in fear and trembling before the Lord. There are no “Judges in Israel” determining who is worthy to receive the Body of Christ and who isn’t. Excommunication and other ecclesiastical discipline is reserved for extreme cases, individuals who actively fight against the church, teach false doctrine, etc.

  95. Amethyst on July 29, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    I’m not sure what you are saying here, Thomas. When you say that Heavenly Father’s arms are wide open, are you implying that He will, indeed, accept, embrace and reward otherwise “faithful” gay people who happen to choose to love and commit to each other?

    No. According to LDS doctrine, Heavenly Father will only exalt straight couples who marry. No matter how good a gay couple is, they will never be good enough. And this is why invitations to church–to some gay people anyway–seem hollow.

  96. Kathryn Lynard Soper on July 29, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for that explanation, Mike. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments. I’ve always thought about church participation in terms of being an “active, regular” member of a ward, being an inactive member, or being an ex-member. Being a regular, friendly visitor–that’s something I hadn’t thought of. If you don’t mind me asking–why would you choose that kind of church participation in an LDS congregation over full participation in another? (Just friendly curiosity here)

  97. Ray on July 29, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Amethyst, don’t quote LDS doctrine incorrectly on this blog. You’ll get shot down in flames. At the very least, if you are going to do so, make sure what you say is in harmony with the source being discussed. I agree with the underlying emotion in Elder Jensen’s interview linked in #61 that the Church’s stance on homosexual activity probably is impossible for many people to accept, and I understand that most gay people can’t accept our standard (that it rings hollow), but to say that “Heavenly Father will only exalt straight couples who marry” is disingenuous for anyone who understands LDS doctrine or even read the pamphlet we are discussing.

    Not knowing you outside this blog, I can cut you some slack on the the doctrinal understanding issue, but I can’t cut you any if you didn’t even read the pamphlet – or if you read it and still feel comfortable saying that, “According to LDS doctrine, Heavenly Father will only exalt straight couples who marry.”

  98. Amethyst on July 29, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Ray,. could you help me,then? I truly don’t know any other way to say it, and i’m not the only one who’s said it on this very thread.

    Only married (straight) couples will receive exaltation. What is so inaccurate about that?????

  99. Kristine on July 29, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Actually, I think Amethyst was even more specifically exclusive–she said “We know from doctrine that only male/female parents are eligible for exaltation.”

    I’m unaware of any doctrinal source for the parenthood requirement.

    It seems likely to me that part of the reason we don’t know what will happen to gay people after the resurrection is that no one would have thought of asking the question until relatively recently. The fact that so far we only know about heterosexual couples (and, um, polygamous families) receiving exaltation should not be understood as the final word on the matter–we believe in continuing revelation, remember?

  100. Amethyst on July 29, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Would it be more accurate for me to say that gay couples will also be exalted? Will they? How? Then they’ll have to break up and find new partners? They wouldn’t have been sealed in the first place, and you MUST be sealed to be exalted.

  101. Amethyst on July 29, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Exaltation implies parenthood, does it not? Continuation of lives/seed… What am I missing?

  102. Kristine on July 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    “why would you choose that kind of church participation in an LDS congregation over full participation in another?”

    Kathy, Mike can speak for himself, but I know many gay Mormons who have a testimony and love the church, and don’t feel at home in any other religious tradition.

    What’s amazing and wonderful is that Mike would still want to have anything to do with us Mormons, given the way that gay people have been mistreated and are still stigmatized and misunderstood in the Church.

  103. Kristine on July 29, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    I must have misunderstood you, Amethyst–it seemed like you were saying only people who had been heterosexual parents in this life would receive exaltation.

  104. Amethyst on July 29, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    The pamphlet clarifies what I have been trying (apparently unsuccessfully) to say: that Heaven/Exaltation/A Life Like Heavenly Father’s/Whatever You Want to Call It supposedly consists of an opposite-sex married couple who can or will have children.

    “God has provided the plan of salvation, or plan of happiness, to help you receive the blessings of eternal life. This plan is set forth in the scriptures; men and women cannot rewrite it to accommodate their desires. God alone gives the reward of eternal life. Some of the greatest blessings promised by the plan, including eternal life, are not intended for immediate enjoyment. Eternity is long, and mortality is short. As you base your decisions on eternal principles rather than on earthly challenges or desires, you can have “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23).

    These blessings are based on obedience to eternal principles. The importance of families is one of these principles. Heaven is organized by families, which require a man and a woman who together exercise their creative powers within the bounds the Lord has set. Same-gender relationships are inconsistent with this plan. Without both a husband and a wife there would be no eternal family and no opportunity to become like Heavenly Father.

    In some circumstances a person defers marriage because he or she is not presently attracted to a member of the opposite gender. While many Latter-day Saints, through individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement, overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life. However, the perfect plan of our Father in Heaven makes provision for individuals who seek to keep His commandments but who, through no fault of their own, do not have an eternal marriage in mortal life. As we follow Heavenly Father’s plan, our bodies, feelings, and desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God’s children may find joy in a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and children.”

  105. Ray on July 29, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    There are aspects of judgment relative to understanding and ability that I do not feel comfortable discussing too deeply in a public forum like this, particularly about this specific topic. Suffice it to say that, while we preach what we perceive to be an ideal, and while that ideal must be maintained in any age in which it is revealed to be the governing ideal, we have very little idea how the final judgment will be determined on an individual basis. We are told that we will be judged according to the intent of our hearts – by what type of person we become as defined by how well we live what we individually understand. That is the heart of the Good News of the Gospel. Yes, it will be according to our works, but it will be to the extent that our works match our ability – and I have no way whatsoever of making that judgment even for myself, much less for someone else. Because of that lack of ability, I would FAR rather err on the side of forgiveness and grace and love and service than on the side of exclusion and rejection and damnation.

    We have to live our lives to the best of our own ability and understanding, trusting that the Lord who knows us all and knows all will sort it all out perfectly in the end. If I reach the Celestial Kingdom and don’t see Mike there, I will weep but I will understand; if I make it there and am able to embrace Mike, I will rejoice and understand. I probably will die believing homosexuality is contrary to the Plan of Salvation I must try to follow and preach, but I also am sure I will die believing that the Lord can look past my inability to follow the ideal I am taught and exalt me anyway if I am sincere in my efforts. If I die believing He can exalt me despite my many, many weaknesses and glaring character flaws, I am convinced I will die believing that He can do so for someone who, in other ways, is much stronger than I might ever be but simply is unable to live one law I am able to live. Again, I can’t figure out the “how”, but I can imagine the “what” and the “why” – and that’s good enough for me right now.

    Mike, FWIW, I hope I see you in the end where we both hope we will meet. I’m going to end my participation in this thread on that note, since it expresses everything I feel about the subject.

  106. Bookslinger on July 29, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    KLS wrote: “I’ve always thought about church participation in terms of being an “active, regular” member of a ward, being an inactive member, or being an ex-member. Being a regular, friendly visitor–that’s something I hadn’t thought of.”

    I believe it’s better to be a friendly visitor in God’s official and authorized church than a card-carrying member of an unofficial/unauthorized church.

    Missionaries can attest to the fact that many investigators get a testimony, but often still don’t get baptized.

    In those cases where investigators refuse to, or can’t, do the necessary things or to give up the things necessary for baptism, I think missionaries ought to push the “friendly visitor option” more. As it is now, if an investigator wants to join, but for whatever reason can’t or won’t comply with one or more of the baptismal qualifications, that person is essentially dumped.

    Can’t pay tithing? Okay, don’t pay tithing, but keep on attending our church because it’s still the true church. Can’t obey the word of wisdom? Okay, don’t obey the word of wisdom, but keep on attending our church, because it’s still the true church. Can’t do… whatever…, okay, but keep on participating because… etc.

    Being a “dry Mormon” in the church is still better than being no kind of Mormon at all outside the church.

    According to doctrine and policy such people can still attend and participate in everything that is open to investigators, which is just about everything outside of the temple. The only requirements seem to be that one must be on their good behavior when in the chapel or at ward events.

    As long as those visitors who show up act and speak friendly towards the church, the members, and the church’s teachings, and cause no contention, then what’s the problem?

    Costanza gave the doctrinal/scriptural basis for that in comment #82 with the 3rd Nephi 18:28-32 quote.

  107. Bookslinger on July 29, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Amethyst,

    We have been told that children who die before the age of accountability, and “those faithful saints who remain single through no fault of their own” will not only be in the Celestial Kingdom, but will also be exalted in the CK.

    Therefore, there are those who don’t marry _in this life_ who still have the possibility of exaltation in the CK. Your statements gave the impression you thought one must be married “in this life”.

    But if you were leaving open the possibility that those who died in childhood and the “righteous singles” would somehow get married in the afterlife, then you were still correct. Because according to the doctrines revealed so far, exaltation has to occur as a couple.

    I think people were interpreting your statements to mean that someone had to be married _in this life_.

  108. annegb on July 29, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Exaltation is over-rated.

    I think what we picture as eternity and exaltation are nowhere near the reality things will turn out to be. I have found it freeing not to care whether I’m exalted or not because I have faith that I will be happy and peaceful whatever cloud I land on.

    I’m often frustrated when people around me focus on this life and lack eternal perspective, but it’s self-defeating to focus totally on the future.

  109. Kathryn Lynard Soper on July 29, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Kristine (102): I don’t doubt it.

    Bookslinger (106): I agree. I was simply imagining the tension Mike described in #94, and wondering what made him so willing to show up in spite of that. IMO that’s pretty poignant.

    Mike, you mentioned missing your ward at one point–what do you miss most?

  110. AHLDuke on July 29, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I am glad to see the Church taking what seems to be a more compassionate stance. I know that many might argue that it is not compassionate enough. I think that the people who might need to see this pamphlet the most (and understand the more compassionate approach) are the members of the Church who struggle with SSAH (same-sex attraction hostility) and not SSA.

  111. MikeInWeHo on July 29, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    I think Kristine hits the nail on the head, Kathryn. There are other churches that are fully accepting, and I have attended the Episcopal church from time to time. My heart is just not in that. I read the BoM almost every day. When I pray, it’s in a way that would be very familiar to anyone here. There isn’t much that I know for sure….but I do know that if there are such people as prophets, Joseph Smith was one of them. So it leaves me in a bit of a bind. Stumbling into the Bloggernacle a while back was a huge blessing to me. It has re-activated (ahem) a side of my life that had been entirely marginalized for years. Remarkably, I find myself defending the Church from time to time (“No, they don’t all hate us…” “Why don’t you read it for yourself?” etc). So it’s a bit of a dilemma, but it doesn’t bother me at this point in my life. As for the afterlife, well, I have strong universalist leanings. I’ll probably wind up somewhere with Larry King and other friends of the Church. (Hmmmm, that doesn’t sound so great come to think of it… : )

  112. MikeInWeHo on July 29, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    re: 109
    Just to clarify, Kathryn. I never attended Church under those circumstances. When I was active, nobody had the slightest inkling that I was gay. I went inactive well before I “came out,” so I was never subject to excommunication, not taking the sacrament, etc. That’s probably why I have mostly positive feelings toward the Church; I avoided a lot of the drama that many gay Mormons experience when they come out. What do I miss? That’s a tough one. It’s a feeling, I suppose, if that makes sense. I can barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I remember sacrament meetings from 20 years ago as if they were on video tape.

  113. m&m on July 30, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Mike, thanks for your 111, for a little more of a glimpse into your heart and your feelings. They stirred my heart.

    It’s at times like this that I’m reminded that we can rejoice in the light that graces someone’s life, and simply hope that all of our progress will continue forward toward the Light of the World. While I’m always one to want to toe the line, I’m also growing more and more desirous to also rejoice in where people are if they are embracing light in some way. Line upon line for all of us, right?

  114. MSG on July 30, 2007 at 2:02 am

    Just curious….anyone read the book “In Quiet Desperation”?
    Comments? I found it very moving and cried during parts, especially in the introduction when the mother is putting forth her “credentials” knowing there will be members who will judge her for how her son turned out. I found it to be a very thoughtful insight into SSA and my heart went out to anyone dealing with this.

  115. Amethyst on July 30, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Hi Bookslinger,

    I wasn\’t of the impression that those were righteous yet died before the opportunity to marry were guaranteed exaltation–just that they would be heirs to the Celestial Kingdom. I have never been taught that, nor have I ever read it. Could you point me in the right direction?

    And thank you (and Kristine) for helping me say exactly what I meant: that those men and women who marry each other (on either side of the veil, in person or by proxy) and who are faithful, are eligible for exaltation. In the Celestial Kingdom, these are the only couples who will be exalted.

    I would be more than gratified to hear later that, through revelation, gay couples may also be exalted. However, the doctrine as explained in this pamphlet makes it abundantly clear that this is not the case.

    For those who \”aren\’t concerned about exaltation,\” or who claim that exaltation is over-rated, and that we shouldn\’t think about the next life; this way of thinking is also rather sad. If exaltation is overrated, why should we play favorites and shun each other vis a vis temple recommends, temple ceremonies, sealings, disfellowshipment, excommunication, etc.? Why don\’t we just live our lives, allow anyone who wants to come to church attend, hold callings, marry civilly if they like (e.g. in Massachusetts and Canada) and consider them married for time, embracing them wholeheartedly?

    Instead we issue pamphlets and claim that they can change if they close their eyes tightly and say three times \”There\’s no place like Home…\” Only that Home of which the Prophet speaks is closed to same-sex partnerships. How utterly sad.

  116. Adam Greenwood on July 30, 2007 at 10:07 am

    #82, #89:

    Good scripture. I’ll have to give it some thought. Initially, I’d say that at least my points #1 and #2 in 78 are going to different concerns than what’s addressed in those verses. Also, those verses give a picture of unrepentant sinners coming to church so their sins can be rebuked in the not-very-kindly Book of Mormon manner and I wonder if that’s what people here would really want

  117. Kathryn Lynard Soper on July 30, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Mike, thanks for 111 and 112. I’m learning a lot from you. I’m glad you’ve contributed so openly to this discussion.

    We’re now closing comments on this post. Thanks for all your input. If there’s a topic brought up in this thread which you’d like to see further discussion on, email me: kathryn at kathrynlynardsoper dot com.