Evolving LDS views on homosexuality

September 13, 2011 | 172 comments
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As I mention in my companion post, recent news stories have disagreed about the idea that LDS views on homosexuality are evolving. The history of LDS views on homosexuality is complicated, and I can’t fully do it justice in a relatively short post, but I’ll at least try to hit the highlights. Here’s a sketch of some of the ways in which LDS views on homosexuality have changed over the past 50 years — in very positive ways, I believe.[1]

Church views have changed substantially regarding causes of homosexuality. In 1969, then-apostle and future prophet Spencer W. Kimball published The Miracle of Forgiveness, in which he stated that homosexuality was caused by masturbation.[2] This book, which echoed his 1964 talk “Love versus Lust,” received widespread circulation among the LDS population.[3] The idea of masturbation as a cause of homosexuality was mentioned again in the 1992 church pamphlet Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems: Suggestions for Ecclesiastical Leaders, which makes the more limited statement that masturbation “intensifies sexual urges, making it difficult for the person to overcome homosexual problems.”[3] The church appears to have abandoned that claim. The idea does not appear anywhere in the church’s latest official statement, “God Loveth His Children.”[4]

Similarly, the past fifty years show significant change in the areas of naturalness, disease, and curability. The 1970s were filled with a variety of statements about homosexuality as disease, as curable, and as definitely not natural. In 1970, the church published Hope for Transgressors, a pamphlet which explicitly endorsed “therapy” programs designed to “cure” people of homosexuality.[5] In 1971, the church published New Horizons for Homosexuals, a pamphlet which stated that the idea that homosexual individuals were “born that way” was “a base lie.” It repeatedly referred to homosexuality as a disease, but also stated that homosexuality “is curable.”[6]

Elder Boyd K. Packer gave the most extensive attack on the idea that homosexuality might be innate in his 1978 talk “To the One,” [7] where he stated,

There appears to be a consensus in the world that it is natural, to one degree or another, for a percentage of the population. Therefore, we must accept it as all right. However, when you put a moral instrument on it, the needle immediately flips to the side labeled “wrong.” It may even register “dangerous.” If there has been heavy indulgence, it registers clear over to “spiritually destructive.”

The answer: It is not all right. It is wrong! It is not desirable; it is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression. . . . Do not be misled by those who whisper that it is part of your nature and therefore right for you. That is false doctrine!

The church has also moved away from that language. In 1995, Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated that “Some kinds of feelings seem to be inborn. Others are traceable to mortal experiences. Still other feelings seem to be acquired from a complex interaction of “nature and nurture.” All of us have some feelings we did not choose, but the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we still have the power to resist and reform our feelings (as needed) and to assure that they do not lead us to entertain inappropriate thoughts or to engage in sinful behavior.”[8] Elder Packer gave a talk in 2010 suggesting that God would not let individuals be born gay, but the print version retracted that claim.[9]

Meanwhile, attitudes about homosexual thoughts, as well as “therapy” to cure gayness, are also notable. As Joanna Brooks has discussed in her post about the church handbook, homosexual thoughts are no longer considered sinful. Also, references to “cure” therapy have been removed.[10]

Another area of significant change is the idea that gay and lesbian individuals are created by bad parenting. As Connell O’Donovan notes, this was an extremely common theme in past decades. In 1974, Elder N. Eldon Tanner blamed homosexuality on “poor example set by leaders in homes and communities.”[11] This was repeated in 1975 in an Ensign article by BYU instructor Victor Brown, which stated that “parents need to know that lack of proper affection in the home can result in unnatural behavior in their children such as homosexuality or inability to be an effective parent when the time comes.”[12] Also in 1975, church apostle and future prophet Gordon B. Hinckley wrote in the Ensign about counseling a gay man, “We talked of the influences that had put him where he is, of the home from which he came, of associations with other young men, of books and magazines read, of shows seen.”[13] J. Richard Clarke of the Presiding Bishopric articulated the view most strongly in 1977 in the Ensign: “It should go without saying that many of these problems would be alleviated if parents would spend more time teaching and rearing their children. Related to the story that I gave at the beginning of my talk is evidence of a clinical researcher who, after studying 850 individual cases, stated: “Homosexuality would not occur where there is a normal, loving father-and-son relationship.” Any of our people living in righteousness would normally avoid being involved in these problems.”[14] And apostle and future prophet Ezra Taft Benson wrote in 1982 in the Ensign that “Today we are aware of great problems in our society. The most obvious are sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, drug abuse, alcoholism, vandalism, pornography, and violence. These grave problems are symptoms of failure in the home—the disregarding of principles and practices established by God in the very beginning.”[15]

This idea began to wane around 1990. In particular, the church’s 1992 pamphlet stated directly that gay children were not the fault of bad parenting: “Be careful not to blame family members for choices made by a person with homosexual problems. Parents are especially inclined to blame themselves for the problems of a son or daughter.”[16]

Elder Packer’s 1978 talk also attacked gays and lesbians as selfish, and said that selfishness is the cause of homosexuality.[17] This claim also appears to have been abandoned.

The past few decades also show major changes in ideas about how to interact with gay and lesbian individuals. For instance, the New Horizons pamphlet repeatedly endorsed criminal laws against homosexual acts. And it asserted that gay men would abandon their partners once they were no longer young and attractive.[18]

Also, in 1976, apostle Boyd K. Packer gave a talk which [EDIT] contained an ambiguous anecdote endorsing violent reactions under some (unclear) circumstances.[19] The talk was reprinted as a pamphlet and was distributed widely.

The church has absolutely moved away from that stance. In 2005, Elder Oaks explicitly stated that physical attacks on LGBT individuals were wrong.[20] Recent statements from President Hinckley[21] and the church’s 2007 pamphlet[22] also make clear that the church certainly does not condone anti-gay violence. The church also appears to no longer endorse the criminalization of homosexual behavior. And the claims that gay men will abandon their elderly partners have also been abandoned.

The church’s views on Domestic Partner rights have also changed significantly.[23] Early statements opposed these rights. in a 2006 interview between the LDS Newsroom and Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman which was explicitly intended to”help clarify the Church’s stand”, Elder Wickman vocally opposed domestic partner rights for same-sex couples, stating that “If you have some legally sanctioned relationship with the bundle of legal rights traditionally belonging to marriage and governing authority has slapped a label on it, whether it is civil union or domestic partnership or whatever label it’s given, it is nonetheless tantamount to marriage. That is something to which our doctrine simply requires us to speak out and say, ‘That is not right. That’s not appropriate.’”[24] However, the church reversed its position in the August 2008 Divine Institution of Marriage press release, stating that “The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.”[25] Since then, the church has even endorsed Salt Lake City’s law protecting same-sex couples.[26]

Finally, the past few decades have seen a major shift in church attitudes, as numerous publications have emphasized God’s love for LGBT people. President Gordon B. Hinckley was a key in this shift, as he repeatedly stated that God loves LGBT people.[27] Similar statements are found in statements like Elder Holland’s 2007 Ensign article, Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction.[28] Recent comments by Elder Uchtdorf follow the same theme.[29]

The recent church-issued pamphlet God Loveth His Children may be the most high-profile statement along these lines.[30] The publication of the pamphlet led to an Oakland Tribune article in 2007, titled “Mormon Church Changes Stance on Homosexuality.”[31] In that article, religion reporter Rebecca Rosen Lum wrote that:

The Mormon church has quietly moved further from defining homosexuality as evil and the result of faulty parenting. An unheralded new church publication, “God Loveth His Children,” says gay feelings are neither learned nor chosen, and it counsels against rejecting a gay child. Seemingly aimed at young people, the statement gently counsels individuals who feel attraction to and love for same-gender people to trust in God’s plan and not act upon the transitory desires of mortal life — a period of “probation during which we face a variety of temptations and challenges.” It repeatedly warns against feelings of guilt: “Attractions alone do not make you unworthy. If you avoid immoral thoughts and actions, you have not transgressed even if you feel such an attraction.” It also says: “The Lord’s command to ‘forgive all men’ includes the requirement to forgive yourself.”

Spokesmen for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would not say what led the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency — the two highest governing bodies of the Church — to publish the pamphlet at the end of July. “I dont know either,” said Jan Shipps, a scholar and historian specializing in Mormons. But its placement on the church’s Web site makes clear “that it would have to have been approved by the general authorities of the LDS Church.”

Those close to the Mormon Church say the publication is neither the result of a religious revelation nor a policy change. “This represents a continuation of a direction they began going in several years ago,” said Terry [sic] Givens, the author of four books on Mormonism and a religion professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia. A 1974 church pamphlet excoriated homosexuality as evil and castigated parents of gays for having raised their children poorly. By 1992, a new teaching suggested that biological factors could be at work.

It is clear that we are seeing evolving LDS views on homosexuality. Over the course of the past three decades, the church’s stance has evolved from virulently anti-gay and homophobic, to its current soft-heterosexist approach of “love the gays, hate the gayness.” It is a limited sort of shift, as the changes have largely involved rhetoric and attitude, while many of the underlying church doctrines have remained relatively constant. There have been some recent setbacks in rhetoric regarding Proposition 8, but even the most charged official statements about Proposition 8 focused on perceived legal or political consequences, not on more personal claims such as bad parenting of gay individuals or predictions that gay people would be abandoned in old age.[32]

As gay LDS blogger Ty Mansfield told the Salt Lake Tribune, “We’re going to be hearing more and more statements like [Elder Uchtdorf's], calling church members to a greater expression of compassion and kindness. Doctrine will remain the same, but we’ll see a pretty radical shift in the culture of the church in how we relate both to the issue of same-sex attraction and to those who experience homosexual feelings. We’ve made some significant strides over the last few years, and I think this is only the beginning.”[33]

[Note: I moved a few cites, and my supras all went to hell. I'm just going to post as is. It's not that hard to locate the supra notes.]

[1] Some of the points I note here were mentioned in an earlier blog post at Doves and Serpents. In addition, many of these and other statements have been collected by Connell O’Donovan in his article The Etiology of Homosexuality from Authoritative Latter-day Saint Perspectives, 1879-2006.
[2] Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness 77-78 (1969).
[3] Spencer W. Kimball, Love vs Lust, January 1965. (1975 reprint available here.)
[4] See God Loveth His Children (2007). I believe that masturbation-origin claims were last made in 1980 (in Spencer W. Kimball, “President Kimball Speaks out on Morality.”)
[5] See “Hope for Transgressors,”
copy available here.
[6] See “New Horizons for Homosexuals,” copy available here.
[7] Boyd K. Packer, “To the One,” 1978.
[8] Dallin H. Oaks, “Same-Gender Attraction,” 1995.
[9] See discussion of Elder Packer’s talk at http://mormonsformarriage.com/?p=299 . The official church position is that the changes were clarifications.
[10] See Joanna Brooks, Homosexual Thoughts and Feelings Not a Sin, Says New LDS Handbook.
[11] N. Eldon Tanner, “Why Is My Boy Wandering Tonight?”, Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 84. This paragraph is drawn from O’Donovan, supra note 1.
[12] Victor L. Brown, “Two Views of Sexuality”, Ensign, July 1975, p. 50.
[13] Gordon B. Hinckley, “Opposing Evil”, Ensign, November 1975, p. 38
[14] J. Richard Clarke, “Ministering to Needs through LDS Social Services”, Ensign, May 1977, p. 85
[15] Ezra Taft Benson, “Fundamentals of Enduring Family Relationships”, Ensign November 1982, p. 59. This talk was reprinted in 1992 as well.
[16] See “Understanding and Helping Those who have Homosexual Problems” (1992). The 1992 pamphlet also moved away from prior advice that gay men should cure their gayness by marrying. It stated: “Marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems. The lives of others should not be damaged by entering a marriage where such concerns exist.”
[17] Packer, To the One, supra note **
[18] New Horizons, supra note **
[19] Boyd K. Packer, To Young Men Only, 1978. As I have discussed previously on blog, the meaning of the talk is controversial, and there are other potential interpretations. The permission to beat up a gay man is clear. What Packer leaves unclear is the circumstances in which this kind of behavior would be permissible.
[20] Oaks, supra note **. Elder Oaks stated that “our doctrines obviously condemn those who engage in so-called “gay bashing”–physical or verbal attacks on persons thought to be involved in homosexual or lesbian behavior.”
[21] Hinckley, supra note **
[22] See God Loveth His Children, supra note **
[23] I discussed this in a prior blog post.
[24] LDS Newsroom, “Same-Gender Attraction,” 2006.
[25] LDS Newsroom, “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” August 13, 2008.
[26] See Jennifer Dobner, “Salt Lake City Oks Gay Rights Laws with Mormon Backing,” Huffington Post, November 11, 2009.
[27] See, e.g., Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World, Ensign, November 1995. President Hinckley stated that “Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and our sisters. However, we cannot condone immoral practices on your part any more than we can condone immoral practices on the part of others.”
[28] Jeffrey R. Holland, Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction, Ensign October 2007.
[29] Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, comments at the 24 October, 2010 Tooele/West Salt Lake Regional Conference. See discussion at Peggy Fletcher Stack, “High-ranking LDS leader weighs in on same-sex attraction,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 29, 2010.
[30] See God Loveth His Children, supra note **
[31] Rebecca Rosen Lum, “Mormon Church Changes Stance on Homosexuality,” Oakland Tribune, __ 2007. A variety of other news reporters have similarly noted and discussed the change, including Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune. http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=6486440&itype=NGPSID&keyword=&qtype=
[32] The full extent of LDS statements on Prop 8 is beyond the scope of this post. A summary can be found in Kaimipono D. Wenger, The Church’s Use of Secular Arguments, in Six Voices on Proposition 8: A Roundtable, 42 Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 99 (2009).
[33] See Stack, supra note ** (citing Mansfield).

172 Responses to Evolving LDS views on homosexuality

  1. Al on September 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Virulently anti-gay? I am pushing 60 and that hasn’t been in my lifetime.

  2. Jon Miranda on September 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Society is experiencing a big push by militant homsexual activists to normalize gay sex. Gay sex is unhealthy, spiritually and physically. Society needs to keep up the battle to prevent this from destroying us.

  3. chris on September 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    It’s interesting how two people can see things differently. I see many of the examples cited as evolving as being one side of a multi-faceted die. Does the fact that we have rolled a 3 and a 6 and now a 1 and a 2 make the prior sides of the 3 and the 6 obsolete? I don’t see much contradiction if any just emphasizing different things and I might say that makes perfect sense in a dynamic society — that oberservations about origins and motivations that were true then need to be adjusted as generations change. I think there are grains of truth to all of what was said but I’d never take the militant interpretative stance that some members scorn in other areas and now readily apply to these statements. By doing so we confuse authoritative with definitive.

  4. Kevin Barney on September 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I didn’t study your lengthy OP in detail, so maybe it’s already there and I missed it, but another area of evolution is the distinction we now clearly draw between inclination and action, a distinction that was usually not clearly made in the past.

  5. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I didn’t read your whole comment, Kevin, but you’re right that that’s another important shift. :)

  6. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    (On the broader point, and to build on Kevin’s comment — there are many other areas in which church views have changed. E.g., the thought-action distinction is a big one; marriage as a cure for gayness is another; the use of “therapy” programs is another. This post just barely scratches the surface.)

  7. Julie M. Smith on September 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for this post. I was very disturbed by the Newsroom post that prompted this, and I appreciate the work that you have done here.

    I think Kevin is right that the inclination/behavior distinction is the single most important change. I believe that there was a formal change to the BYU Honor Code reflecting this?

    There’s also the fact that the Ensign published an article celebrating a member’s friendship with a lesbian in Mar 2005. Hard to imagine that in the 70s! Or the Mitch Mayne situation, for that matter.

    In other words, Newsroom’s claim that there has been no evolution is so patently false that . . . I am at a loss for words, honestly.

  8. Kevin Barney on September 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Oh yeah, Kaimi, not pushing marriage as a cure for gayness is a huge shift in thinking. And one way for the better.

  9. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Kaimi,

    This was a fascinating post but I think you did Elder Packer a terrible disservice by stating he “gave a talk which stated that it was okay to beat up gay men under some circumstances” I was disturbed by this and followed your link, which I was surprised to see take me to “For Young Men Only”. I have a copy of this I was given as a youth and have read it several time in my life and never remember learning that it was okay to ‘beat up’ a gay person. So I reread it. I found the story you mention and found that the circumstance he allows for violence is in protecting yourself.

    Here’s the story:

    While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.

    After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, “I hit my companion.”

    “Oh, is that all,” I said in great relief.

    “But I floored him,” he said.

    After learning a little more, my response was “Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn’t be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way”

    I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.

    I assume the companion who got floored was gay, but the story never tells us that. We don’t know what the ‘little more’ is that was related to Elder Packer, but he explicitly states that he does not encourage this type of violence (“I am not recommending that course to you”) but makes it clear that it is an option as a means of self protection (“I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself”)

    Your sentence in the article made it sound like he gave a talk and said that if you beat up the neighborhood gay kid that it was just fine or that it might be good to knock the gay out of him. You made it sound like he was advocating violence. He wasn’t. He said it was fine to defend yourself.

    In situations were you need to defend yourself it is not only ‘okay to beat up gay men’ (which was YOUR phrase, not his), I would encourage people to beat up gay men, straight men, women, children, or to even to kill them IF necessary to protect yourselves. A person’s being gay is NOT eason enough for violence. And you know that Elder Packer wasn’t advocating that it was. The article was good, but that line was shameful.

  10. Ben S on September 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Jax, that’s the common reading among certain advocates. It’s not original to Kaimi.

  11. Sam Brunson on September 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the post, Kaimi. It’s well-documented and interesting (and I’m in awe of the number of footnotes: I have a new standard to which to aspire!).

  12. Kaimi on September 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Jax,

    That portion is immediately preceded by this:

    “Now a warning! I am hesitant to even mention it, for it is not pleasant. It must be labeled as major transgression. But I will speak plainly. There are some circumstances in which young men may be tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another physically in unusual ways. Latter-day Saint young men are not to do this.

    Sometimes this begins in a moment of idle foolishness, when boys are just playing around. But it is not foolishness. It is remarkably dangerous. Such practices, however tempting, are perversion. When a young man is finding his way into manhood, such experiences can misdirect his normal desires and pervert him not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.

    It was intended that we use this power only with our partner in marriage. I repeat, very plainly, physical mischief with another man is forbidden. It is forbidden by the Lord.

    There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.”

    This makes clear, I think, that the companion in question was gay.

    It also says directly that “If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that [that is, gay behavior], it is time to vigorously resist.” And then Elder Packer gives the example of physical violence as one approved option.

    The details are unclear. As stated, it is sufficiently flexible that it could be read as suggesting that it is appropriate to punch a gay man who asked you to go to dinner with him. (This is the classic “gay panic” defense in which any gay advance is used to justify violence.)

    The more innocuous reading is that the missionary may have been sexually harassed by his companion. I don’t support sexual harassment, and I can certainly understand responding to repeated sexual harassment with physical violence.

  13. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Ben S,

    Then “certain advocates” are equally shameful for misleading people about what Elder Packer said, and if Kaimi just copy and pasted the remark without checking, then she shares in that. Under the circumstance Elder Packer names, self protection, it IS okay to ‘beat up’ any one posing a threat. The story makes it clear the person hit wasn’t hit because they were gay, but that is how Kaimi (and possibly others before her) made it sound and that Elder Packer condones such violence.

  14. Kaimi on September 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Jax,

    Huh? As I noted in the footnotes, I’ve discussed this talk at length on this blog before, and I linked this discussion in the OP. As I wrote previously, there is a genuine ambiguity, and it is problematic:

    What did Elder Packer Mean?

    As it is, the statement is ambiguous. It includes:
    (1) Statements that men should “vigorously resist” homosexuality and “protect yourself.”
    (2) The disturbing remark that “Somebody had to do it” — possibly implying that it is normal for gay men to be beaten up.
    (3) The ambiguous mission story.

    The key question, of course, is “what happened prior to the fight?”
    (a) One possibility, which would make the elder’s behavior acceptable, is that his companion attempted to rape him or forcibly molest him. If that was indeed the background, then the missionary certainly had every right to defend himself from rape, using such force as was needed to do so.
    (b) The other possibility is much more disturbing. It is the possibility that the second missionary “made a pass” at the first, or tried to (using Elder Packer’s words) “entice” him into participation in homosexuality, and that the first missionary reacted violently, with Elder Packer’s eventual approval.
    This is a more problematic interpretation.

    Since Elder Packer is an apostle of the church, I’m inclined to give him the more reasonable reading and assume that the missionary’s violent reaction was in response to a legitimate provocation — an attempt to rape or forcibly molest him. But I’m worried because it can easily be read the other way.

    And I believe that some church members have that impression — that if a gay man hits on them, it is appropriate to assault that gay man in retaliation.

  15. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Kaimi,

    I don’t think being asked to dinner qualifies as being ‘approached to participate in anything like that (homosexual acts, specifically stated as fondling each other). I think it’s a stretch to read it that way.

    He does leave the specifics out of what occurred. But he is telling YM that it is okay for violence to defend yourself from homosexual fondling. I don’t being asked to dinner qualifies, and I don’t even think a reasonable person would resort to immediate violence even if asked to participate in fondling, but he does leave his meaning ambiguous, which is unfortunate. I think you owe an apostle a bit more benefit of the doubt.

  16. Kaimi on September 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Maybe so, Jax. I do think that any apostolic endorsement of violence needs to be clear in its scope, which this is not. Especially given the extent to which anti-gay violence has been condoned in society. (Just a few years ago, another prominent religious leader (not LDS) told people that it would be acceptable to attack a gay person who so much as looked at you romantically. And these kinds of statements have been very common for many years.)

  17. clark on September 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    For the record were someone to attempt to fondle my daughter (be they of either sex) I’d think it OK for her to smack them in the face with her fist.

  18. SNeilsen on September 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Ben S

    All I can say is,“Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.”
    Perhaps certain posters should be beamed to a planet and gay bashed.

  19. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Kaimi,

    it is clear in its scope that the violence was for self protection (“You must protect yourself.”) He doesn’t say what qualifies as a threat though.

    Your initial claim in the OP though is this “Most alarmingly, in 1976, apostle Boyd K. Packer gave a talk which stated that it was okay to beat up gay men under some circumstances.” While he might have been ambiguous about what constitutes a threat, you were definitely misleading, and doing so on purpose it appears. Your sentences suggests he was advocating violence just because someone is gay (your last comment does similarly) What he really said is we should be willing to use violence to protect ourselves. He leaves the circumstances of that up to us. Do you want him to spell out every possible circumstance in which a person might need protection? Or can you just accept that his lack of clarity is because there are various and diverse means in which it could be needed? you know, something similar to “I cannot tell you all the ways in which you might commit sin [be threatened]”

    (Just a few years ago, another prominent religious leader (not LDS) told people that it would be acceptable to attack a gay person who so much as looked at you romantically. And these kinds of statements have been very common for many years.)

    While these comments may have been common for years, your [mis]quote from Elder Packer is not one of them and it is shameful that you would tarnish an apostle thus. It is an otherwise great post that outlines the change in church positions and policy, and does it quite well, but misleading people about an apostles position is not up to a standard of decency and honesty.

  20. Ardis E. Parshall on September 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Somebody has to say it, and it might as well be someone else who is so often transsexed through ignorance.

    Jax, “Kaimi” is not “Cami” or “Camilla.” “Kaimi” is “Kaimipono.” If you’re going to take part at T&S, it would be well to know that Kaimi, one of the FATHERS of the entire Bloggernacle, is Brother Wenger.

  21. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks Ardis. I fret about my pronouns alot when writing because I don’t know who is who. If noone corrects me I never know I’ve made a mistake. Thanks!

  22. Hera on September 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    “What he really said is we should be willing to use violence to protect ourselves.”

    And what did Christ say about that?

    But, really, in a culture where people are beaten just because they appear to be gay (or because they work at a hair salon), we’d all be better off if we condemn rather than condone violence.

    What if it were a straight kid who was beaten just because somebody thought he looked gay? Doesn’t really matter that he was straight, now, does it? He was beaten up/teased/bullied/harassed anyway because we, as a society, regularly look the other way when violence is directed toward The Sinful Other.

    I’m glad the church has shifted away from BKP’s stance and that Mormons are being asked to show Christlike love for others, no matter what their orientation is. As we gain more light and knowledge, we make changes in policies and ask for guidance and revelation to change doctrine.

    When you know better, you do better. When you’re willing to let go of your long-held beliefs and admit you’re not an omniscient expert on something, you open the door for learning and growth. Thank goodness the newsroom blogger is so wrong on this subject. Perhaps he’ll take the opportunity to educate himself on life as it was before blogs.

  23. Sonny on September 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    “If noone corrects me I never know I’ve made a mistake.”

    It is “no one” and not “noone”. :-)

  24. Winterbuzz on September 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Oh Kaimi, will you have my babies? Thanks so much for writing this. I will be sourcing this forever and ever to come.

  25. Kaimi on September 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for your comments so far, everyone. Let’s see,

    Al (1), I think that’s the best description for some of the material, especially from the 1970s. The _New Horizons_ pamphlet is really awful, e.g.,

    Think for yourself what would these persons do for you should you suddenly fall victim to an incurable disease. Suppose your body shriveled; suppose you could no longer satisfy sexually; suppose you could no longer be “used.” How long would the alleged friendship and this distorted so-called “love” last?

    Suppose you lost your reason. Would vicious men still want you? To whom would you flee? Where would you find your real friends? When you are old and wrinkled and undesirable and nauseating, will any man who has defiled you pick you up and nurse you and provide for you?

    It’s true, however, that a positive shift has been taking place for years.

    Jon (2), thank you for, um, alerting us to the danger of the militant gays, and of the gay sex. But have you considered the even greater danger posed by Militant Gay Sex?

    Oh, mylanta. I need to sit down for a minute.

    Sam (11),

    My work here is done. I can now return to my home planet in peace.

    Ardis (20),

    Thank you. :)

    Hera (22),

    I’m glad the church has shifted away from BKP’s stance and that Mormons are being asked to show Christlike love for others, no matter what their orientation is. As we gain more light and knowledge, we make changes in policies and ask for guidance and revelation to change doctrine.

    Me too. I’m very happy with the direction that the church has taken.

    And Winterbuzz, of course! — but only if you promise that you won’t abandon me in my old age when I’m no longer young and beautiful. :P

  26. Sandy on September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    You know maybe someday you will move toward acceptance and then generations later realize the damage we have done. Just like the acceptance of blacks, inter racial marriages and then we can start talking about the transsexual issue. What scares me most is the dangerous teachings of Gods will, as if we human kind can possibly understand it. What we really need to teach is to love our neighbors as our self and step away from trying to interpret others as less than ourselves. Then we can talk about other social injustices and how to make the world a more equal place for all. I am blown away by how much time and money is wasted on such a worthless argument. If we had all spent our money on social injustice think of how we could have been making the world a better place. Why do we waste resources on a petty argument that we don’t fully understand? All we are doing is putting laws and efforts in place to make the glbt seem less than others. These people already have huge social issue to overcome to just be who they are. Sorry fed up with the blatant disregard for others without knowing all the facts. You are the church, be the forefront of these social issues not the last place of acceptance and love. Instead you have taught intolerance… May God have mercy on your souls.

  27. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Oh, and I’m sorry, Chris (3), I totally left you out. Sorry about that, I got stuck making fun of Jon in #2.

    I think you’re right that there are multiple ways to interpret or characterize the history. I’ve suggested that we’ve seen an evolution of sorts, but one could reasonably suggest that we’re simply seeing different facets which were less prominent before.

  28. Aaron B on September 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks for this, Kaimi. Very useful write-up.

    The question that your historical romp raises — which everyone is thinking about, but no one wants to ask — is this: If past LDS churchleaders were (morally or factually) wrong in numerous ways as they talked about homosexuality, in what ways is the current leadership also potentially wrong? Should those who botch their descriptions of homosexuality’s cause, mutability, etc. be taken seriously with respect to homosexuality’s morality? This, it seems to me, is one of the core questions that divides LDS people in the homosexuality wars.

  29. Brad on September 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Wow. Excellent post. I am saving this on my computer and recommending this to friends and family.

    The problem is that so many members are in denial that there has been any evolution on homosexuality whatsoever, dismissing changes in handbooks as minor editing. Furthermore there is denial that the church at one point was hostile toward mere homosexual tendencies. I don’t see how encouraged shock therapy as a ‘remedy’ for homosexuality isn’t evidence of a ‘virulently anti-gay’ homophobic attitude in the leadership.

    I believe and hope that as the older generation passes and the younger replaces them in the leadership and as the mainstay church members, that both the members and the leadership will espouse even greater tolerance and understanding toward gays and lesbians.

  30. Nick Literski on September 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    #25:
    Think for yourself what would these persons do for you should you suddenly fall victim to an incurable disease. Suppose your body shriveled; suppose you could no longer satisfy sexually; suppose you could no longer be “used.” How long would the alleged friendship and this distorted so-called “love” last? Suppose you lost your reason. Would vicious men still want you? To whom would you flee? Where would you find your real friends? When you are old and wrinkled and undesirable and nauseating, will any man who has defiled you pick you up and nurse you and provide for you?

    I think it’s important to point out just how dramatically false these mean-spirited “inspired words” turned out to be. When “an incurable disease” did strike the gay community during the decade following these words, the love and friendship of gay men for one another became manifest in an enormous way, as they picked one another up, nursed one another, and provided for one another. Even now, after the worst part of that crisis has passed, gay men are taking care of of one another during times of illness and incapacity.

  31. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Clearly things are changing, denial among the membership notwithstanding. The Evangelicals are evolving too. It seems closely linked to age: Older leaders espouse more extreme “anti-gay” positions than younger ones. Mormonism is correlated so there’s less overt diversity of opinion, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist even at the highest levels.

    Have you heard of the I’m Sorry campaign among Evangelicals? Check out some of the videos:

    http://www.themarinfoundation.org/ImSorry/

  32. DifferentLight on September 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    How do you respond to FAIR’s analysis of the talk? They claim Elder Packer never said that same-sex attraction can be overcome, but that “That may be a struggle from which you will not be free in this life. If you do not act on temptations, you need feel no guilt.”

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Boyd_K._Packer_October_2010_conference_talk

    Just wanted your take on it.

  33. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    re: 30 Nick and I don’t always agree, but he makes a good point here. The rhetoric in earlier Church materials is just shocking when read today. FAIR can spin all it wants, but from what I am told at the ward level terrible things are still said about gay people on a routine basis without much rebuttal. Are gay men and lesbians your neighbors? What about the ninth commandment?

  34. Pablo on September 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    This is an intriguing post and comments. Thank you, Kaimi, for an informative, well-sourced overview. Change in the LDS church is too incremental and too inconsistent for most people. But that’s okay. Lots of us have left and will continue to leave, to the frustration of the compassionate, and to the glee of the fear-mongerers whose greatest fear is of themselves.

    Three points in relation to Jax’s comments:

    1) I grew up in the church. I was taught by my Aaronic Priesthood advisors that Boyd Packer’s “protect yourself” comments did indeed condone a violent response to something as benign as flirting by a gay person (or a person who might be assumed to be gay). I know others were taught the same. Surely, someone as educated as Packer can understand where ambiguity usually leads: zealous extremism. And to take decades to correct the violent application of that ambiguity indicates to me that the brethren aren’t listening to the God of love carefully enough.

    2) Not everyone in the world accepts that Boyd Packer or any of those designated apostles by the LDS church are representatives of God, and therefore are owed no special deference. To most people, he is an individual man with opinions. If he wants to persuade people, he has to support his assertions with facts rather than relying on “because I’m a watchman on the tower and I said so” appeals to his own authority. The day many years ago when I read the following statement by Brigham Young, I began to be very skeptical of anything spoken by an apostle of the LDS church. Brother Brigham said: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African Race? If the White man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” If you needed a clear statement endorsing violence, there you have it Jax.

    3)People like Jax who troll threads about homosexuality or other things they despise are often more effective advocates for compassion and understanding than they realize. When reasonable human beings read the kinds of dehumanizing things people like Jax write, they begin to see that there are indeed people in this world who just don’t get it, and that fear should never win the day. Perhaps someday, Jax can go volunteer anonymously at a gay community center and listen to people who have been assaulted and denied their basic human dignity because of the actions of another person who believed their inhuman treatment was sanctioned by God. And maybe Jax will learn a little about him/herself too.

  35. Ryan on September 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Pablo/Kaimi, to contribute to the discussion of Packer’s ambiguous comments on violence, I think it is relevant to point out the talk was directed toward young men. When I was 14, my bishop read this part of the talk to our quorum. After that, I didn’t feel too safe at church. In short, I didn’t trust my peers’ interpretation of Packer’s comments. How would they respond if they somehow found out my secret? Would they “floor” me too? And would my bishop be okay with that like Packer was? So, when we talk about how ambiguous Packer’s admonition was, it is important to remember it was being read and interpreted by young men ages 12-16 (i.e., the target audience).

    One last thought. I’ve always found it interesting that Packer said something along the lines of “it wouldn’t be well for a General Authority to resolve the problem this way” (not an exact quote). I was taught that GAs are examples of how lay members of the Church should behave — we look to them as examples. If it isn’t right for a GA to “floor” someone, then why is it okay for a missionary to do it? It communicates to me Packer was more concerned about the Church’s public image than he was with treating all people with dignity and respect.

  36. Brad on September 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    DifferentLight, I took a look at the FAIR article. Given the amount of space that they took to defending BKP it appears that the notion that same-sex attraction can be cured is clearly a sensitive one to them and something that they are very defensive about. However, I don’t think that they have much of a case. When BKP said the following over the pulpit,

    “Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, He is our Heavenly Father.”

    it is implied in the question “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” that BKP is rejecting the notion that homosexuality is inborn and natural. This wasn’t a knee-jerk response to an interview question. He not only had plenty of time to think about this statement, but his talk was probably written out beforehand. My belief is that BKP personally believes that homosexuality can be cured, but that the majority of the church leadership feels uncomfortable taking any open stance on that issue. And it certainly does not want to encourage gays to change their sexuality. So leaders, based in part on their own personal disagreement with BKP and in part on worries about bad PR, encouraged BKP to make a minor redaction (which actually spoke volumes about the division in the leadership over the question).

    Bear in mind that FAIR will openly criticize church culture, folk doctrines, and speculative theories by members who are not high-ranking leaders, but it will always stop short of criticizing anything the twelve apostles and first presidency say and thinks twice before calling any attention to divisions among them. Many FAIR scholars appear to also rank among the denialists of the well-evidenced notion that the church has evolved in its position on homosexuality.

  37. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    But, really, in a culture where people are beaten just because they appear to be gay (or because they work at a hair salon), we’d all be better off if we condemn rather than condone violence.

    What if it were a straight kid who was beaten just because somebody thought he looked gay? Doesn’t really matter that he was straight, now, does it? He was beaten up/teased/bullied/harassed anyway because we, as a society, regularly look the other way when violence is directed toward The Sinful Other.

    I’m glad the church has shifted away from BKP’s stance and that Mormons are being asked to show Christlike love for others, no matter what their orientation is.

    Hera, there is nothing in Elder Packers “For Young Men Only” that encourages violence toward anyone, nor anything that says he would disagree with you about being Christlike. That is why Kaimi’s OP was misleading.
    Elder Packer said we should protect ourselves…is that hateful or inflamatory. The behavior he said we need to protect ourselves from was

    There are some circumstances in which young men may be tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another physically in unusual ways. Latter-day Saint young men are not to do this.

    Sometimes this begins in a moment of idle foolishness, when boys are just playing around. But it is not foolishness. It is remarkably dangerous.

    and

    There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.”

    I don’t know if the missionary companion was gay and it doesn’t matter. I’ve seen many instances, both as a missionary and since, of men acting in these ways and lead to violence – justified violence.

    There are the two times in our mission where a missionary woke up with his companion trying to reach down his pants, four times when they were just trying to get into there bed with less than adequate clothing (these were all gay missionaries). Then there are the non-gay missionaries who having a moment of “idle foolishness”. Like the Elders who find a sleeping companion who t-bag or mushroom stamp their companions. Or the one who thinks he is a stud and walks around the shower holding himself and trying to compare himself to the other missionaries (MTC experience with shared showers).

    Now I don’t care if the missionary is gay or not, if he slides up next to me in the shower and asks me to compare my stuff with his, then he’ll be lucky to leave on anything except an ambulance. The comment by BKP wasn’t targeting gays, which is why I think he left out telling us whether his companion was gay or not in the story. It is very good advice to tell YM that if anyone tries to fondle or otherwise touch their genitalia, or to touch theirs to you, then defend yourself. In a world where organizations like NAMBLA exist, this is unfortunately necessary advice. He wants to let kids know that they can defend themselves, using violence if necessary to protect themselves. He DOES NOT say it is okay to beat up/belittle/mock kids to are gay or who look gay.

    It is incredibly narrow minded to read his story and think the most common real world similarity would be with gay people. My experience says it is much more likely and common for it to be some who thinks it funny to do mushroom stamps or t-bagging(if you don’t know what they are, google it because I don’t want to explain it), or other guys who just want to compare size. This is much more common that being hit on, and a much more likely scenario for BKP’s story. It is also a scenario where young men should ‘vigorously resist’ such actions by friends, gay or not.

  38. NewlyHousewife on September 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973, then in 1980 ego-dystonic homosexuality (indicated by: (1) a persistent lack of heterosexual arousal, which the patient experienced as interfering with initiation or maintenance of wanted heterosexual relationships, and (2) persistent distress from a sustained pattern of unwanted homosexual arousal) was added to the DSM and then later removed entirely in 1986. [1]

    Given that context, the off the wall statements seem to reflect the scientific understanding at the time instead of a religious tendency towards bigotry. Especially since by the 1990s psychological students were solely taught homosexuality as normal and sexual prejudice being the real danger to healthy livelihood.

    [1]http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html

  39. DifferentLight on September 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Brad,

    This is the full quote from the talk after the correction:

    “We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.” 13

    Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.”

    Moral conduct can be changed. Relationships that are not in harmony with the principles of the gospel can be changed. You cannot tell me he was talking about same-sex attraction. He was clearly talking about same-sex relationships.

  40. Pablo on September 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you, Jax, for making my point once again. You’re losing ever more credibility. So my suggestion is to stop while you’re WAY behind.

    By the way, if you send someone to the hospital for as you put it “slide[ing] up next to me in the shower and ask[ing] me to compare my stuff with his,” it very likely that you’d be lucky to leave in anything except a police cruiser. You’d also be invited to a lovely party we in the civilized world call court where a person with non-magical authority can sentence you to spend time in a place where tea-bagging, mushroom stamping and all the others things you seem to know a lot about aren’t always done for fun. Find yourself a good anger management program before you end up with a criminal record. I’m serious. Good luck.

  41. Pablo on September 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Sorry for the typos. Should have been “it’s very likely” (not “it very likely) and “all the other things” (not “all the others things). My bad.

  42. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    re: 37 “I’ve seen many instances…..”

    Must. Bite. Tongue.

  43. Ben S on September 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Anecdotal evidence cuts both ways, Mike. If you can call on “from what I am told at the ward level…” he can certainly invoke “I’ve seen many instances of…”

  44. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Oddly enough, I agree with portions of Jax’s #37.

    The MTC and the missionary experience are often the site of hazing and taunting which may consist of ritualized sexual humiliation. That kind of behavior is absolutely wrong. If someone tries to sexually humilate another person, a violent response is absolutely understandable. I would quite possibly respond that way myself.

    I wonder if the missionary experience contributes towards attitudes towards LGBT people among church members. If the extent of someone’s experience with same-sex sexual contact is hazing and humiliation, that seems very likely to lead to negative perceptions about any same-sex contact.

  45. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I think you’re missing my point, Ben. I don’t doubt that Jax has found himself on the receiving end of a few mushroom stampings (whatever that even means — I will Google later when not at work) and perhaps these events have contributed to his obvious anger. Such a shame when that kind of thing ends in violence, though, whether it’s directed toward self or others. It’s a tale of woe all around. You won’t convince me that a reversion to 70′s style rhetoric about homosexuals will improve the situation, though.

  46. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    re: 44
    That really happens at the MTC and on the mission field, Kaimi??? Good grief.

  47. Neal on September 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Kaimi,

    Thanks for this great overview. Very well done!

  48. Nick Literski on September 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    #37:
    I’ve seen many instances, both as a missionary and since, of men acting in these ways…

    Jax, if this is true, I can only say that you (and your missionary companions??) were hanging out in the WRONG kind of bars for a good Mormon boy!

  49. Diane on September 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    This is an awesome post. I don’t understand the negative responses of Jax.

    I am a heterosexual female and have sat thru many a Sacrament, Sunday School and Relief Society meeting in which Gays are openly discriminated against( all done lovingly of course because that’s what Christ taught) In my opinion using scripture to justify bigotry of any form is disgusting and this Church has mastered this since its inception.

  50. Neal on September 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    #1

    In spite of recent strides forward, there are indeed some notable areas where “virulently anti-gay” sentiments are still manifest in Church policy. Particularly disturbing is this one from the General Handbook of Instructions regarding the annotation of Church Records:

    “6.13.4 Records with Annotations

    In areas authorized by the First Presidency, an annotation may be placed on the record of a member whose conduct has threatened the well being of other persons or of the Church.

    Church headquarters will automatically annotate a person’s membership record in any of the following situations:

    1.) ….the person was disciplined for incest, sexual offense against or serious physical abuse of a child, plural marriage, an elective transexual operation, repeated HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITIES (by adults), preadory conduct, or embezzelment of Church funds or property.”

    The annotation that is added to the member’s record says this: “No callings whatsoever with children.”

    So a homosexual who acts out with an adult is automatically labeled as a “threat” to children and forever barred from holding a Church calling involving children or youth. There is no evidence that I know of that gay adults inherantly pose a threat to children or are somehow automatically pedophiles. I would say this qualifies as a “virulently anti-gay” policy, and will hopefully be dropped as the Church continues to evolve its stance on this issue.

  51. Alice (Alliegator) on September 13, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I was just trying to say this same thing in a (less-well documented, much shorter) blog comment over at fMh.

    It’s a comfort to me that there is a trend of change that is going in a good direction.

  52. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    @ Nick Literski

    I’ve seen many instances, both as a missionary and since, of men acting in these ways…

    Jax, if this is true, I can only say that you (and your missionary companions??) were hanging out in the WRONG kind of bars for a good Mormon boy!

    You mean those ‘wrong’ places likes high school locker rooms, or the military barracks, or MTC shower rooms? Even missionaries are young men, and for whatever reason sometimes young men like to brag (maybe you haven’t noticed). In locker rooms (even in Utah) that braggins includes other guys they have beat up, girls they have slept with, or how big their ‘junk’ is. That last one sometimes leads to those young men (even missionaries) having an one-site comparison. This makes everyone around uncomfortable, gay or not. What reaction would you have in a shower when this is taking place and someone (doesn’t matter if he’s gay or not) comes up to you and tries to grab you as ‘part of the game’? Well I broke his jaw. Didn’t go to jail though.

    Or in the military barracks when some 19 yr old heterosexual was walking around and mushroom stamping the guys who fell asleep immediately after our 12 mile road march. Do you think it’s okay for someone to walk around and slap their penis on the face of sleeping companions? Should they react with love?

    If you are a parent who DOESN’T tell your child, male or female, that when someone tries to touch them inappropriately they have every right to defend yourselves, including using physical violence, then IMO you are a bad parent for sending your child out in the world unprepared. How do you want your son or daughter to react when approached by a teacher, neighbor, or other person who tries to harm/abuse them?

    I have never seen a gay person do anything sexually inappropriate toward another man, they have the good sense not to. But non-gay guys in that 14-24 yr old range seem to think it is funny. In my experience, these are much more common than being asked to dinner by a gay guy, and many times more threatening since I have NEVER seen it done by just one guy, but always by a group of them. And I have told my son that if anyone ever tries to convince him it is okay to treat his body in that way, or to force their body on him, that he is to defend himself violently in necessary, and I will continue to teach him both how to act violently and how to wisely decide when that violence is necessary.

    @Diane

    I also think this was an awesome post. I just think it was unfair to portray an apostle as advocating pro-gay violence when what he said is that YM should defend themselves against anyone who tries to fondle them or approaches them about inappropriate behavior. IMO, those approaches are more often than not from other non-gay guys, and that Elder Packer’s excuse for violence is more likely to result in violence against non-gays than against gays.

  53. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    re: 50
    Wow I didn’t know it said that. Totally creepy.

  54. Jack on September 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    So it’s OK for a woman to mace (kick, claw, or KO with her MMA skills) a man who’s trying to rape her, but not OK for a man to throttle another man who’s trying to have his way with him.

    If I saw some dude going after one of my daughters that way I’d crack his head open with a metal pipe — if she didn’t do it first.

    Evolving views, indeed.

  55. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Amen Jack! There are circumstances when it is okay to commit violence. It should never be done against someone who is gay BECAUSE they are gay. Much more often, it should be focused on heterosexual males – they are far more likely to commit acts worthy of violent responses.

  56. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Jax,

    I think it’s interesting that different people see the story very differently, depending on their context.

    People who have been the target of hazing (which often takes the form of sexual humiliation) see the elder as reacting properly to violence acts which were directed at him.

    People who have been the target of anti-gay violence see the elder as overreacting and hitting a gay man because of his sexual orientation.

    And the original account seems to blend the two:

    “There are some circumstances in which young men may be tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another physically in unusual ways. Latter-day Saint young men are not to do this.

    Sometimes this begins in a moment of idle foolishness, when boys are just playing around. But it is not foolishness. It is remarkably dangerous. Such practices, however tempting, are perversion. When a young man is finding his way into manhood, such experiences can misdirect his normal desires and pervert him not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.

    It was intended that we use this power only with our partner in marriage. I repeat, very plainly, physical mischief with another man is forbidden. It is forbidden by the Lord.

    There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.”

    Someone will be tempted to become a victim of sexually harassment? That seems unlikely. So some of the language (“you may be tempted”) seems directed at non-harassing homosexual behavior. Other language suggests that Elder Packer is talking about harassment.

    One possibility is that he did not really view these as different — for instance, he may have believed that harassment is often done by gay men, so that he was treating homosexuality and harassment as essentially synonymous.

  57. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    “I have never seen a gay person do anything sexually inappropriate toward another man, they have the good sense not to. But non-gay guys in that 14-24 yr old range seem to think it is funny. In my experience, these are much more common than being asked to dinner by a gay guy, and many times more threatening since I have NEVER seen it done by just one guy, but always by a group of them.”

    I agree that it is entirely appropriate to defend oneself, including by force, from sexual harassment. I think it’s definitely true that this is largely the province of certain aggressive straight men. I’m sure that there are some gay and bisexual men who also harass, but the kind of behavior you describe is classic hazing.

  58. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I have edited the OP in response to Jax’s concerns. It now reads:

    Also, in 1976, apostle Boyd K. Packer gave a talk which [EDIT] contained an ambiguous anecdote endorsing violent reactions under some (unclear) circumstances.[19]

  59. Pablo on September 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Jax and Jack: It would be an enlightening exercise for each of you to make a written list of when you believe violence is an appropriate response. Then take that list down to your local police precinct and ask the captain to tell you whether you’re on the mark or not. Physical defense (as opposed to violence, which involves being the aggressor) can be appropriate and necessary in a variety of situations, no doubt. But you’re advocating responses so disproportional, they reveal your core values, which don’t line up with the teaching of Jesus Christ himself to turn the other cheek. (I also believe there is a seventy times seven injunction regarding forgiveness that you might want to look up.) And even if you aren’t a Christian, there are many traditions that value turning to authority figures for help in times of need rather than resorting to the base vigilantism you advocate.

  60. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Kaimi,

    thanks for editing the OP. I now completely concur. Thanks for the great post and I apologize for the uproar I may have caused.

  61. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Pablo,

    Thanks for the advice, but I think the metal pipe in response to seeing someone trying to rape your daughter IS the appropriate response. And the police commending me for defending myself.

    Forgiveness is off topic though, since you have no idea how my relationship with that man is today.

  62. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I should point out that, Jax’s reaction to harassment is understandable. But the language from Elder Packer’s talk also seems to be used in broader and more problematic ways (as Pablo notes from his own discussions).

    And we live in a world in which anti-gay violence, sparked by flirting, has happened. A lot. It was the attacker’s alleged motivation in the Matthew Shepard killing, for instance. It came up in the Brandon Teena case. It happens *a lot*, even now. And it certainly happened in the 70s.

    Given that context, I think that Elder Packer’s ambiguous anecdote, without clear limitation on its scope, was dangerous and irresponsible.

  63. Ryan on September 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    “I think that Elder Packer’s  ambiguous anecdote, without clear limitation on its scope, was dangerous and irresponsible.”

    I agree. WIthout clear examples of what does and does not warrant “flooring”, Packer’s statements have the potential to be taken out of context and used to justify violence.

  64. Lorian on September 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Kaimi, I agree with those who read Packer’s comments as suggesting that violence is an appropriate response to a “come-on” from a gay man. While I agree that violence is a very appropriate response to someone attempting to rape you, or to molest you by forcibly contacting you with his genitalia in some way, it has, as has been pointed out, been a long-standing tradition among many heterosexual men, to treat gay men and transgendered persons with extreme acts of violence simply because the gay or trans individual demonstrated sexual interest in the straight man — asked him out, offered to have sex with him, told him he was attractive, etc.

    It is in that context that I understand Packer’s remark about “defending oneself.” Many people perceive an offer of intimacy (of *any* kind) from a gay man as an “offensive” act, in and of itself, and as something which merits a “defensive” response. Women are used to getting “come-ons” from men, often persistent, unwanted, and even sometimes highly pressured “come-ons.” And yet, it is not tolerated for us to shoot a man, or beat him up, or kick his privates simply because he is being an obnoxious jerk. Yet these types of responses have traditionally been acceptable for straight men to use against a gay man, even one whose advances don’t rise to the level of “obnoxious jerk.”

    Packer needs to be far more specific when defining what sorts of behaviors qualify as meriting a “violent” response. His ambiguous story has, I’m certain, been used to justify more than one hateful, violent attack against a gay man who did nothing more than have the nerve to ask someone out.

  65. Lorian on September 13, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Incidentally, Kaimi, not to pick nits ;) , but this statement is a bit misleading:

    Since then, the church has even endorsed Salt Lake City’s law protecting same-sex couples.

    Salt Lake City does not have, to my knowledge, any law or ordinance protecting same-sex couples (you made this statement in the context of discussing domestic partnership/civil union laws in other states). What SLC instituted was a basic civil rights ordinance which was intended to protect gay and lesbian persons from employment and housing discrimination, and nothing further, and which the church endorsed ONLY with the provision that the church, itself, would be exempt from following the ordinance, as an employer, landlord or seller of property. The church remains free to refuse employment, housing or the sale or use of property to gay and lesbian persons solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, even in areas where the property or business in question is secular in nature and not related to church function.

    And no GLBT people in SLC, on church property or off, have anything like domestic partnership rights.

  66. Lucy on September 13, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Once again, more unsurprising evidence that T&S “tolerance” is heavily weighted toward those who share their own viewpoints. Why is this “evolution” as you call it, a positive thing? What is it “evolving” toward? The most intolerant comments on this blog usually seem to be directed at those who are thoughtful enough to defend the truth and the authorities of the Church. Really, any time the label “bigot” or “homophobe” or “unreasonable” is used against someone who is telling the truth, that person who employs those labels looses credibility.

  67. Lorian on September 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    And what is “the truth,” Lucy? Do you believe that gay people choose their sexual orientation? Do you believe the church was right to pressure them into heterosexual marriages? To use electrical shocks to torture their genitals and emetics to force them to vomit in an effort to “change” their sexual orientation to heterosexual?

  68. Jack on September 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Pablo,

    So I should allow my daughter to raped 70×7 times before I kick the guy’s ass?

    Do you still want to talk about core values?

  69. Lorian on September 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Jack, where did Pablo say it was wrong to defend oneself or one’s child against rape?

  70. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I agree, Lorian. I’m sure that Packer’s talk has been used to justify violence.

    To channel Judith Butler, I think it’s pretty obvious that many people perform heterosexuality and particularly straight cisgendered masculinity in American culture through exaggerated statements about anti-gay violence. For instance, Swaggart’s “I’d kill anyone who even looked at me that way” statement seems to fit into that category. But it’s a frighteningly thin line to go from exaggerated performative claims about violence, over to actual violence.

    As for being asked out — I’m generally of the opinion that someone who isn’t interested should probably just say no. But I’m not sure whether that oversimplifies things.

    I remember when I was in undergrad prior to my mission, having a gay classmate and feeling very intimidated. We never really talked, but if he had asked me out, I’m sure that I would have felt very threatened. Not because he was threatening me, but because I did not have the emotional tools to deal with it. And really, because I did not have a clear sense of the dividing line between gay men and all of the boogeymen who LDS culture tends to connect to homosexuality — the child molester, the harasser, the gay person who wants to “convert” straight neighbors, and so on.

    I think that can change. It certainly has for me. A few years ago, a gay man very clearly started trying to flirt with me at the airport. And — I was flattered. I mean, gay guys are supposed to have good taste, right? Clearly, I must be doing something right. I politely let him know that I wasn’t interested — well, basically I just didn’t respond to his flirting, and he got the idea and moved on. But it wasn’t threatening at all. It’s interesting to compare with what I’m certain my horrified reaction would have been at age 18.

    And I’m not entirely sure what to say about unwanted advances. I mean, ideally, the initiating person will realize early on and avoid an awkward interaction. But if that doesn’t happen — how *should* we treat unwanted advances?

    My initial reaction is to say that a person should just politely decline and move on, and shrug it off. But I wonder if that’s going to be fair. I don’t want to impose unrealistic standards on gay and lesbian individuals (“never flirt with anyone unless you’re sure that they’re into you”), but I also don’t want to be too cavalier about the fact that unwanted advances can be seriously disturbing, and not just because of homophobia.

    There was a long and complicated discussion a few months ago on feminist blogs about unwanted male advances towards women, sparked by an incident where someone rather crudely propositioned a woman (“hey baby, let’s go back to my hotel room”) and she declined, and he then left her alone. Several feminist blogs, including Shakesville and Hugo, strongly condemned the man’s actions and framed the interaction as an instance of sexist oppression. Richard Dawkins said that the woman was overreacting and should just brush it off, and he was pilloried for that.

    I’m not sure if our reactions aren’t — well, Dawkins-esque. And I want to avoid being too cavalier about the feelings of people who are genuinely upset about unwanted advances — a view which is, I think, separable from homophobia, although the two are often connected.

    Sheesh. I don’t know what I think about this. And it’s complicated because one of the ways in which LGBT people can be viewed as threatening is because they challenge some of the heteronormative baselines that straight cis folk simply take for granted (i.e., that women rather than men will be the targets of any advances). So I don’t know that we can entirely separate it from homophobia, can we? I am not sure.

  71. Lorian on September 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Kaimi, it is homophobia, I have no doubts about that. It is also a function of the differences between how women behave in terms of initiating sexual advances vs. how males behave in such situations. Males are expected (in heterosexual encounters) to be the “aggressor” (to use an unpleasant term for the context), while women are supposed to be passively receptive. For this reason, you very rarely find a woman accused of sexual harassment, whether she be a heterosexual making advances towards a man, or a lesbian making advances towards a woman. Women, straight or gay, simply don’t tend to go about it as persistently, overtly or aggressively as men do.

    Men, on the other hand, are often noted for being shamelessly overt and persistent in their attempts to gain the sexual interest of a potential mate. I think gay men, in general, are less overt and persistent in their attempts to interest a potential partner than their straight counterparts are in attempting to gain the attention of a woman. But men are sexually more overt than women as a general rule.

    I believe that any action which would not merit a physically violent response from a woman to a man who was propositioning her does not merit a physically violent response from a man towards another man who is propositioning him. And yet, “gay panic” is still seen as a valid defense in assault and even murder cases.

    If I had murdered every man who ever shouted an obscene proposition to me as I passed by on the street, or tried to get me to go to bed with him, or put his hand on my breast or other portion of my anatomy, or staired at my breasts while talking to me in the office…wow. I’d be in prison for several life terms served sequentially. Or long since dead of a lethal injection, more likely.

  72. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I’m not sure it’s as complicated as you make it out to be, Kaimi. Why not separate the gender of the individual making the proposition from the proposition itself?

    Being politely asked out of a date is different from a crude proposition for sex. The former merits a polite response, the latter something more assertive and limit-setting. You could continue to gropes right and on to attempted rape.

    Doesn’t common sense (not to mention the law) dictate a proportionate response in every case, regardless of the genders of both parties? If someone grabs my butt and I beat him in the head with pipe, I deserve to be held criminally accountable regardless of any psychological baggage I may be carrying.

  73. Lorian on September 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Well said, Mike.

  74. Kaimi on September 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Wow, my earlier comment was rambling. I need to learn not to comment on issues that I haven’t fully thought through.

    I think what I think is that there are a few separate issues here. The first is a universal human dignitary interest that arises when anyone (male or female) is objectified. The response to cat-calls, unwanted leering, and so forth reflects the universal desire not to be made into an object. And I don’t think that we want to criticize that response.

    However, in many of the gay-panic cases, that universal response becomes combined with homophobia. The two may be inseparable. That is, it may be impossible to separate the unified claim of “I don’t want to be objectified by a gay person” into separate claims of “I don’t want to be objectified” (which seems reasonable) and “I don’t want to be spoken to by a gay person” (which does not).

    In addition, a huge complicating factor is that, to build on Lorian’s point, straight men are generally not objectified in their straight relationships. Given that backdrop, it’s quite possible (and even likely) that the *only* time straight men ever assert their dignitary right not to be objectified is against gay men, and in cases where this claim is hard to separate from homophobia.

  75. Lucy on September 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    What is the truth? That sounds like an infamous statement by a certain Roman procurator in Judea who once washed his hands. I am simply asking what does this “evolution” in “LDS thinking” evolve toward? Evolving denotes a direction.

  76. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Good question, Lucy. Perhaps it’s evolving towards an approach of love and acceptance for our LGBT brothers and sisters, as compared to the prior approach of shunning them, telling them that they were raised poorly, and sending them to “therapy” where they would be shown gay porn while being electroshocked into straightness.

  77. Neal on September 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Kaimi,

    As a gay person I can tell you that, in general, straight people – especially straight men – have an irrational fear of homosexuals. I think an “advance” by a homosexual is seen by them as a direct threat to their “macho” identity. They also (erroneously) think that every gay person in the world is somehow “attracted” to them and wants to come on to them. The vitriol we’re seeing here in response to this post is proof of what I’m saying.

    The fact of the matter is that homosexual attractions are really no different than heterosexual attractions, other than that they are directed at the same sex. Don’t assume that just because I’m gay I am somehow rabidly attracted to every man I see. I’m not, any more than you are attracted to every woman that you see. In fact, I’m pretty picky, and I find realtively few men to be truly “attractive” from a physical standpoint. Nor is it something that I dwell on or spend a lot of time on. I rarely think about it, and interact with other males just as you would. Ultimately attraction is driven by a combination of physical and personality traits which are complex and highly individual. We’re no different in that respect.

    That said, if someone makes an unwanted advance, the polite thing to do is turn them down. For 99% of us, that’s all we need to know. You should feel flattered that someone else found you attractive enough to enquire. A violent reaction is a last resort in my opinion, and only if you’re truly being attacked. When was the last time you saw a news article about a stright person being sexually assaulted by gays? Hmmm? When was the last time you saw the news that gays had beat a straight person senseless and sent them to the hospital??? Right, I didn’t think you had. So let’s keep this in perspective here.

  78. Jack on September 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Lorian,

    If you read both my comments and Pablo’s then you’ll see where I’m coming from.

    Yeah, I’m being over the top. But just to clarify: I would hope that we all understand that it’s possible to forgive an aggressor and still kick his butt 70×7 times — theoretically, of course. Sure, I agree with going to the police and all that — and trying to be like Jesus. But sometimes there ain’t no good options — you just have to shoot the pitbull or shout-down the black bear or wallop the sexual predator.

    Not to do so would be akin to sending the hungry away while saying, “be thou warmed and filled” — only in this case it would be, “be thou unmolested and safe.”

    Well, anyway, this is beating a dead horse. Kiami has already edited the OP for Jax — good show.

  79. Jax on September 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    It’s seems odd to me that my name is used so often as an example of hate and bigotry when my position here was that an apostles words shouldn’t be taken out of context AND that the context does not tell anyone to be violent toward gays. It says defend yourself if necessary. That message includes gays, who should feel free to wallop anyone who threatens them. Can someone tell me why I’m hateful, homophobic, vitriolic for telling everyone to reasonably defend themselves (especially youth from sexual predators*), telling Kaimi that this is a great post, and thinking that we should give apostles the benefit of the doubt?

    *note: being gay does not make you a sexual predator.

    @ Lorian,

    “And yet, “gay panic” is still seen as a valid defense in assault and even murder cases.” I didn’t know that was an valid legal excuse…can you (or any of our lawyers) point to legal cases where murderers were set free because of the “gay panic” defense? That would be shameful indeed.

  80. Ziff on September 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Great post, Kaimi! Thanks for putting all this together.

    In addition, a huge complicating factor is that, to build on Lorian’s point, straight men are generally not objectified in their straight relationships. Given that backdrop, it’s quite possible (and even likely) that the *only* time straight men ever assert their dignitary right not to be objectified is against gay men, and in cases where this claim is hard to separate from homophobia.

    That’s a really interesting point. As you said, the two are really hard to separate, but it’s interesting to think that maybe straight men simply lack experience in being objectified (that as Lorian points out so well, is widely had among women) so they (we) aren’t practiced at how to respond.

  81. Mark S on September 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks for this overview, Kaimi–good detail and thought went into it. I think (in line with comment 38) that it would also be interesting to correlate the church’s stance with societal and scientific attitudes of the time. The church has seemed to have a ‘trailing edge’ effect, at least in this area.

  82. MikeInWeHo on September 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    re: 81
    It had a very similar trailing edge effect on race and civil rights as well. Would be even more interesting to correlate them both with social and scientific attitudes of the time. Next project, Kaimi?

  83. Cameron N on September 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Most of the increase in homosexuality is curiosity and the gay gospel being preached and cunningly advanced by the community.

    In any case, we would do well to focus on the negative effects of the whole spectrum of sexual immorality. Sure, homosexuality is among the strangest to those who don’t have those feelings, but, as the now-retired famous BYU Marriage Prep teacher Brent Barlow (an many others) have pointed out, heterosexual couples living together is a much bigger problem for our generation – we would to well to focus on the bad effects of the collective category of sins, rather than singling out homosexuality.

    It is morally prudent to oppose gay marriage just as much as it is morally prudent to oppose common law marriage and heterosexual couples living in sin.

  84. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    It’s totally true, Ziff. And I think that factor definitely plays into the violence that sometimes happens. *Not* to excuse it. But I think that this is a factor, and we can’t ignore it.

    The average girl lives delightfully free of personal experience with objectification (she gets messages, but they don’t affect her personally) until say seventh or maybe fifth grade, when she starts to grow breasts, and her classmates start to enter puberty. And suddenly she is objectified constantly, every day, as her formerly friendly classmates suddenly want to do nothing except stare at her chest. And she is horrified, and freaked out, and extremely self-conscious, and totally emotionally scarred over it. But she’s 12, and 12 year old girls don’t have all that much access to easy tools for inflicting permanent damage to people or things around them. And she slowly gets over the shock, over the course of a thousand negative interactions. By the time she’s an adult, she knows how to deal with it. She doesn’t *like* it — it’s still extremely negative — but the (unfortunately) everyday experiences of objectification no longer cause her to completely freak out.

    Meanwhile, a straight man doesn’t encounter objectification like that for his entire life. He has no idea how to process it emotionally. And suddenly he encounters it for the first time and reacts — well, like a freaked-out 12-year-old girl. Except that he’s 30, and he has a gun.

  85. Kaimi Wenger on September 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    MikeInWeHo writes,

    Being politely asked out of a date is different from a crude proposition for sex. The former merits a polite response, the latter something more assertive and limit-setting. You could continue to gropes right and on to attempted rape.

    and Neal writes

    As a gay person I can tell you that, in general, straight people – especially straight men – have an irrational fear of homosexuals. I think an “advance” by a homosexual is seen by them as a direct threat to their “macho” identity. They also (erroneously) think that every gay person in the world is somehow “attracted” to them and wants to come on to them. The vitriol we’re seeing here in response to this post is proof of what I’m saying.

    The fact of the matter is that homosexual attractions are really no different than heterosexual attractions, other than that they are directed at the same sex. Don’t assume that just because I’m gay I am somehow rabidly attracted to every man I see. I’m not, any more than you are attracted to every woman that you see. In fact, I’m pretty picky, and I find realtively few men to be truly “attractive” from a physical standpoint. Nor is it something that I dwell on or spend a lot of time on. I rarely think about it, and interact with other males just as you would. Ultimately attraction is driven by a combination of physical and personality traits which are complex and highly individual. We’re no different in that respect.

    That said, if someone makes an unwanted advance, the polite thing to do is turn them down. For 99% of us, that’s all we need to know. You should feel flattered that someone else found you attractive enough to enquire. A violent reaction is a last resort in my opinion, and only if you’re truly being attacked. When was the last time you saw a news article about a stright person being sexually assaulted by gays? Hmmm? When was the last time you saw the news that gays had beat a straight person senseless and sent them to the hospital??? Right, I didn’t think you had. So let’s keep this in perspective here.

    QFT. The both of you. Very well said.

  86. Lorian on September 14, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Jax, I didn’t say that the Gay Panic defense was universally successful, but the fact is that it IS a valid legal defense allowable under the law, and has been used successfully in this and other countries. In fact, it was just invoked last week in the trial of the young man who shot and killed a gay teen by the name of Larry King, because King flirted with him. Brandon McInerney’s defense attorneys invoked the Gay Panic defense, and presented reams of testimony (allowed by the court) showing how the victim was gay and had made “unwanted sexual advances” against the defendent. The result was a mistrial due to a hung jury. It’s not clear whether there will be a retrial. There’s a good chance McInerney will get off free and clear.

  87. Kaimi Wenger on September 14, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Lorian, I’m not a criminal law expert. My understanding is that the gay panic defense is actually a subset of a complicated issue in criminal law, of whether self-defense is an objective or a subjective test. I believe that different jurisdictions handle it differently. Under an objective test, you have to ask whether the defendant was actually threatened when he acted. But under a subjective test, you only ask whether he _felt_ threatened.

    I know for sure that this issue came up extensively in the Bernie Goetz case, where there was mixed evidence at best that he was actually threatened, but there was good evidence that he felt threatened, in part because he had previously been robbed by a Black man, and he had a strong fear of Black men as a result. (Of course, some people can lie about that, but I believe in the Goetz case there was pretty good evidence that he did in fact feel threatened by basically all Black men.) Of course, Goetz was not convicted in the shootings.

  88. MikeInWeHo on September 14, 2011 at 12:24 am

    “Most of the increase in homosexuality is curiosity and the gay gospel being preached and cunningly advanced by the community.”

    As a gay person, I’d like to point out that this is the kind of thing we deal with. If you really parse that sentence, it’s remarkable: Factually inaccurate on every point, utterly libelous, and quite frankly hateful toward gay people.

    Yet apparently people in the Mormon community can still blithely make statements like that without much response. What would happen if Cameron N said that in your ward?

    If you wonder why gay people seem angry and defensive at times, please look no further.

  89. Kaimi Wenger on September 14, 2011 at 12:29 am

    “What would happen if Cameron N said that in your ward?”

    In my ward, a lot of folks would nod and agree. I think that’s probably the case for most wards.

  90. hawkgrrrl on September 14, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Neal – good catch. That is clearly very outdated and very very wrong.

  91. wondering on September 14, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Nice post, Kaimi, but I think you left out one big thing. You listed lots of things that leaders said or wrote, but it is also important to remember what they DIDN’T say.

    I grew up in the church, and I don’t ever remember being told even once time that we need to treat gay people with compassion and kindness. You could argue that it was inherent in the general teachings about charity, but I know from experience that the members weren’t getting the message. Members routinely expressed attitudes and used language that was the opposite of compassionate, and the leaders apparently didn’t see any need to correct them.

    The first time I can remember any leader specifically telling us to treat gays with compassion was President Hinckley, sometime in the 1990s.

    Today, church leaders rarely say anything on this topic without mentioning something about how we need to treat gays with compassion and love. I’m sure some of the members still aren’t getting the message, but still this is a BIG CHANGE.

  92. wreddyornot on September 14, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Thank you for your post, Kaimi, and for all of the comments responding to it. I like the direction the Church is moving on this. I enjoyed reading and learning from the post and hearing from all of you who have commented. I am personally opposed to individual violence and believe in deferring to the laws of the land and to law enforcement to purvey it. The proper authorities should execute justice, not me. I personally like that Joseph fled when Potiphar’s wife did what she did. I think it may apply in many of the situations suggested here.

    As a heterosexual man, a temple-married indiviual, and a member of the LDS Church, I pray that the Prophet may soon learn that sexual activity within a long-term (hopefully entered into with the intent for it to be eternal), loving union between two individuals of the same sex (I’d say marriage, but it seems the Church so far has co-opted the term within its thought in too limiting a way to include that) can be holy and sanctified, just as it can within heterosexual-unions (to which the Church presently permits the term marriage) between two people.

    When I had similar convictions relative to blacks and the priesthood long before 1978, I remained hopeful but silent. I often regret doing so but rejoiced on June 8th back then. I choose now not to do the same (remain silent), although I know my voice and words are weak and probably no one who believes otherwise will give it any heed. I do believe the call is the Prophet’s to make for the Church. On the other hand, I already believe the Lord agrees with me. Maybe many of you do too.

  93. MoHoHawaii on September 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    The comments on this thread are interesting, but I think they miss an important point. Elder Packer introduced the story of the missionary hitting his companion as comic relief. The story got a big laugh.

    Humor is a window into culture, and that’s true in this case. Elder Packer was able to get laughs from this story because of shared cultural beliefs. He didn’t need to state these beliefs; his audience already knew them, and that’s why they got the joke.

    The first of these was the belief that homosexuals are not fully human. Cunning and devilish, they are not people whose hopes and dreams deserve any validation whatsoever. They are (in this view) as much “the other” as any can be. The common attitude at the time was “I thought men like that shot themselves.” The story could be played for laughs only because the role of the gay missionary that of a clown or comic villain. If the real plight of the young gay missionary had been acknowledged, the story would be tragic, not comic.

    The second cultural assumption that Elder Packer and his audience shared was the idea that straight men may properly use violence to defend their honor. The dishonored missionary didn’t break anyone’s jaw, but his actions did evoke the straight male prerogative of honor-saving violence for Elder Packer’s audience. Elder Packer’s comment that a general authority couldn’t do this recognized that such hotheadedness was reserved for young men. Again, it was only funny because the audience shared the cultural expectation of violent preservation of male honor.

    The story in its original context is revolting. Although I don’t read it as a call to gay bashing, it does effectively deny the personhood of the gay missionary and by extension the personhood of all gay people. This kind of judgmental, reductive thinking has been a consistent and recurring theme of Elder Packer’s discourse on homosexuality for four decades, even up to October 2010. He is now out of step with the evolving consensus among the other church leaders.

  94. Jim H. on September 14, 2011 at 2:41 am

    “What would happen if Cameron N said that in your ward?”

    Unfortunately, comments like Cameron N’s are common in ward meetings. But I have been realizing lately how many Mormons disagree with hateful comments like Cameron N’s, and don’t say anything.

    Last Sunday in Elders Quorum, someone made a comment about homosexuality being “not OK”. I spoke up and pointed out (in a kind and loving manner) that church policy is that gay people can hold callings and we want them to be here worshipping with us. Talked a little about Mitch Mayne and how his calling was perfectly in line with church policy even though he is openly, currently gay (and not “reformed” gay or “cured” gay), but lots of Mormons are really struggling with it because we’re not ready to accept and love gay people the way we need to.

    It was fantastic to see how many people in the room were nodding in agreement with everything I said, and the original commenter started backpedaling.

    And I don’t mean to insult Cameron N, either, because I can tell from the rest of your post that you have staked out an opinion that seems progressive and accepting to you. I think you are a good guy that didn’t think his opening statement was hateful.

    But when you repeat hateful phrases like “the gay gospel being preached and cunningly advanced by the community” you are aligning yourself with hateful people, and repeating a phrase specifically designed to dehumanize gay people and ascribe nefarious motives to them.

    The truth is the “gay gospel” is actually the reaction of human beings that are hated and discriminated against in terrible ways, and they don’t want to convert you they just want the world to accept them and love them for who they are.

    The current church policy is going to be a real challenge and it’s going to require a lot of growth on the part of the membership of the LDS church. It takes a lot of soul searching for people to shed prejudices, and just when we think we’ve rid ourselves of prejudice we find we have to look a little deeper and rid ourselves of another layer, but I see the progress starting already.

  95. Stan Beale on September 14, 2011 at 4:41 am

    One of the things I learned about my faith is that in matters of the world, most of us are terribly naive and ignorant. As a teacher of Sociology in the High School I could have brought up some unbelievable examples of deviant heterosexual and homosexual behavior. It was not appropriate for me to have taught those things to students or for Mormons to be aware of them.

    Unfortunately, this ignorance or naivete can cause individuals to exascerbate or make problems worse. I do not believe that Eler Packer would ever intentionally encourage people to physically attack gays.

    But Psychologists and Sociologists could have pointed out to him why it was dangerous saying what he did and how he did. There are a variety of reasons why individuals or groups attack others which often are the results of psychological fears or needs, In the 1970′s Gays were often the victims because they were few in number, most men react negatively to them and would not defend them, and the homosexuals could not complain to the police because they were lawbreakers.

    The attackers would have reasons or rationales for what they did. Because Elder Packers statement was as ambiguous as it was, young Mormon hooligans could read a justification for violence in his words. Totally not Elder Packersd intion, I am sure.

    We have a similar problem of language today. The very high suicide rate of young Mormon gay males. Remember these young men are almost always in the closet, so just imagine the messages that they hear from fellow Church members and the effect that it has on them.

  96. Norbert on September 14, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Fascinating. Would it be safe to say that the church’s evolution has a relationship to America’s evolution on the topic? The stuff about weak fathers was common currency in the 1950s and 60s at least, I think.

  97. Brad on September 14, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Different Light #39,

    I think that to any impartial and outside observer, BKP is clearly alluding to the question of whether or not homosexuality is natural and inborn, not the broad scope of intimate relationships!! How could using the word “inborn tendencies,” which was later changed to “inborn temptations,” be a reference to relationships? No one talks of relationships as if they are inborn. But people always talk about sexual orientation using the words inborn and natural/unnatural.

    This belief that BKP was unfairly misinterpreted about his stance on homosexuality smacks of denialism: denial that the church leaders are doctrinally fallible. BKP has a long track record of expressing disgust toward homosexuality, sticking his foot in his mouth, and bad PR. This blip comes as no surprise.

  98. Peter LLC on September 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

    so just imagine the messages that they hear from fellow Church members and the effect that it has on them.

    Indeed. And imagine just how ineffective it is to tell them in retrospect, “you need to develop a greater appreciation for nuance.”

  99. Ray on September 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

    #94 – Jim, something similar happened in my ward a few weeks ago in our HPG meeting. One of the men simply mentioned that we have to be VERY careful in how we judge those who are different than we are and whom we don’t understand very well. Someone else pointed out that, scripturally, adultery is worse than fornication – and made the comment that, in that context, homosexual sex is not as bad as someone in the room having an affair.

    There are about five former Bishops and a former Stake President in our HPG, and not one person disagreed in any way. Everyone was nodding their heads in agreement.

    I live in a wonderful ward in the Midwest, and I know what I just described couldn’t happen in a lot of wards and branches – but I do believe that FAR more members feel that way than most members realize, mostly because the non-piccolos of our congregations normally don’t play as loudly as the piccolos (to use an analogy from Elder Wirthlin). These things will get better in direct proportion to how often they are stated in a setting like General Conference AND how often those who believe differently than the traditional norm speak up, since that act of speaking up will empower others who also believe differently to speak up, as well.

    I’m convinced there are plenty of areas where the majority of members believe differently than the traditional orthodoxy, but it’s not realized due to our collective aversion to conflict and our general (and often misapplied) niceness.

  100. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I think the Church as been clear that Homosexuality is wrong, and has been since ancient times. Homosexuality (active sexual activity with someone of the same sex) is a sin, has been sin, and will be a sin forever.

    Those that suffer from those sexual urges but do not act on them are to be commended for their resistance.

    The only thing that might have changed is the amount of “tolerance” we are willing to give it.

  101. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Granted, I probably need to get out more, but @100 is the best use of scare quotes that I’ve ever seen.

  102. Jax on September 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I have to step in again even though my only concern with the post was resolved.

    MoMoHawaii said this

    Humor is a window into culture, and that’s true in this case. Elder Packer was able to get laughs from this story because of shared cultural beliefs. He didn’t need to state these beliefs; his audience already knew them, and that’s why they got the joke.

    The first of these was the belief that homosexuals are not fully human. Cunning and devilish, they are not people whose hopes and dreams deserve any validation whatsoever. They are (in this view) as much “the other” as any can be. The common attitude at the time was “I thought men like that shot themselves.” The story could be played for laughs only because the role of the gay missionary that of a clown or comic villain. If the real plight of the young gay missionary had been acknowledged, the story would be tragic, not comic.

    I don’t think that was why this was humorous at all. Imagine your a GA sitting in council with a missionary who is telling you he needs to make a confession and is acting like it is the end of the world. He doesn’t want to tell you what he did. You’re thinking to yourself that he has committed a crime, been sexually active with someone, is breaking the WofW, or something similarly serious. Instead, after patient reassurance he blurts out that he hit his companion. Whew! What a relief, that ISN’T a big deal. YM have personality issues and hit each other all the time, even missionary companions. That was the humorous part, the fact that the missionary was all distraught over something so minor.

    It’s like when your daughter sits you down and says you need to have a talk, tells your she’s pregnant, lets you rant, and then tells you she isn’t but she got a bad report card. Your don’t condone or want the bad grades, but you are relieved and even laugh at yourself for perspective you’ve gained. BKP wasn’t ocndoning violence and the humor was because of all the terrible things a missionary could say, Elder Packer got all worried about a punch – which like bad grades, is very small in the scheme of things. And when it is much more likely the punch against a straight companion who did something like take a picture of his companion while he was in the shower, or made a vulgar comment about his sister/mom, or tried to play one of those jokes I mentioned earlier, then it is quite narrowminded to assume that Elder Packer was making an allusion to gays. He never said the companion was gay, and it is much more likely that he wasn’t; so how about we start assuming WITH the odds, instead of against them?

  103. Jon Miranda on September 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Lorian:
    A gay man needs to be very careful before propositioning another man. A gay man takes a big risk if he decides to do this. In fact, wouldn’t you say he risks life and limb?

  104. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Fast forward a couple decades, asking whether the gender of a kitten ought to be put up for a vote also garnered guffaws from the assembled crowd. Go figure.

  105. Manuel on September 14, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Jax,

    I think it is troubling that you think punching someone “ISN’T a big deal” (emphasis yours). You chastise speculation towards the obvious (given Packer’s remarks previouso to the story that he used to set the bacgkround of what he was intending to communicate), yet you do speculate about the not so implicit, such as the punch was warranted by the situation.

    Furthermore, Elder Packer contradicts himself in his problematic statement by saying “Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it…”

    So, he is “not recommending that course” but he thanks and reassures the missionary that someone had to do such a thing? Huh?

    Additionally, the fact that he does not “recommend that course” also implies to me that the punch was not really warranted. In other words, the missionary wasn’t being raped or assaulted.

  106. Steven B on September 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Jax, I don’t know what parallel universe you reside, but punching out missionary companion is not something I would consider “so minor.” Neither is physically assaulting a gay person “very small in the scheme of things.”

  107. Manuel on September 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

    The more I think about it, the more disturbing it sounds. I can see how Jax’s rationale could fit the mentality of the criminals that have viciously assaulted homosexual men in Salt Lake City.

    “It’s no big deal, I just punched a gay guy… gees it’s not like I broke the law of chastity or the word of wisdom… that would have been really bad.”

    Gosh, this Church really needs to speak up about their cultural shortcomings.

  108. DifferentLight on September 14, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Brad #97

    I think to any impartial and outside observer, they would have a hard time figuring out what it had to do same-sex attraction. Of course, it is hard to get an impartial outside observer given the amount of press that insisted his talk was about same-sex attraction. And of course, the constant quoting of his remarks out of context serves to contribute the partiality.

    There was not one even remote reference to same-sex attraction in his whole talk. Same-sex attraction is not a “counterfeit for marriage”. That is more close to same-sex relationships.

    You talk about BP’s history. He has been clear that same-sex attraction is not a sin, and that same-sex attraction “may be a struggle from which you will not be free in this life.” Why the sudden switch of views? Why now is he preaching it can be overcome in this life?

    “No one talks of relationships as if they are inborn. But people always talk about sexual orientation using the words inborn and natural/unnatural.”

    Speaking of the word gay, Elder Oaks said

    “It is wrong to use these words to denote a condition, because this implies that a person is consigned by birth to a circumstance in which he or she has no choice in respect to the critically important matter of sexual behavior.”

    If you go back and read the comments by our leaders, it has always focused on rejecting inborn conditions that give us no choice as to our behaviors. Elder Packer taught:

    “If a condition that draws both men and women into one of the ugliest and most debased of all physical performances is set and cannot be overcome, it would be a glaring exception to all moral law.”

    Again, the focus is on behavior.

    Church leaders have always focused on behavior. Homosexuality is as much of a behavior as it is a sexual orientation. Look it up in the dictionary. Or for fun, look up the APA’s definition of sexual orientation. It says “Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.”

    Look at:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Terminology

    Or even look at the terminology used by Joanna Brooks.

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/3720/homosexual_thoughts_and_feelings_not_a_sin,_says_new_lds_handbook

    She says : “It does not create space for LGBT Mormons to attend church on Sunday with their partners, as I am able to do.”

    She uses LGBT to refer to people with same-sex partners (which means she really doesn’t understand bisexuality or transgenderism.) She knows full well about half of gay Mormons are married to opposite sex partners, as I am.

    It is comments like that make it seem people believe that you are born with a condition called homosexuality that forces you to want to have gay sex. That is false. I was born with same-sex attractions, but I do not want to have gay sex. I have chosen not to want to have gay sex.

    The problem is that you re-interpret every mention of homosexuality to be about same-sex attraction, and then claim the church is asking people to change sexual orientation, but then you use it to refer to same-sex relationships when you talk about gay rights.

    Which is it? Does being gay mean you seek a same-sex partner or that you are attracted to the same sex? Make up your mind.

    When Church leaders talk about homosexuality, they usually talk about having gay sex or wanting to have gay sex, not same-sex attractions.

  109. Kaimi Wenger on September 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

    It seems to me that part of the problem with Elder Packer’s story is that he himself doesn’t recognize gay people as a category. He said this numerous times during the 1970s, and has repeated it since.

    So there is no gay identity to distinguish harassers and abusers from people who just want a relationship or a date. Within Elder Packer’s frame, they are all simply “people who do homosexual stuff.”

    And he appears to be saying in the talk, “people do homosexual stuff, sometimes aggressively. If you’re the victim of this kind of behavior, fight back. Violently if necessary.”

    The problem is that this framing doesn’t distinguish between abusive behavior (as Jax describes in #52) and non-abusive behavior. People subjected to abusive behavior *should* feel that they can fight back. But the specific language of the talk is broad enough to potentially include much more than abuse.

    From the language of the pamphlets of the era, it may be the case that church leaders (including Elder Packer) did not really understand the distinction between abuse versus normal LGBT interaction.

  110. Chris H. on September 14, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Jon #103 said:

    “A gay man needs to be very careful before propositioning another man. A gay man takes a big risk if he decides to do this. In fact, wouldn’t you say he risks life and limb?”

    If this is the case (I live in Matthew Shepards hometown, I know that it can be), then this is a horrible condemnation of our society and straight-men.

  111. john f. on September 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

    One problem might be seeing someone who is simply asked out or flirted with by a member of the same sex as a victim. It is a small step to suggest that such a victim can punch the victimizer. The fact that punching someone in response to being whistled at is an immoral response seems to get lost.

    As has been repeatedly pointed out in this thread, society does not seem to view a woman as being justified in punching a man who has winked at her, i.e. it is not an acceptable or legal reaction to the offense/provocation. But there seems to be uncertainty as to whether Mormons either historically or currently to some extent view punching someone in response to a homosexual flirt as a correct or acceptable response.

  112. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 10:18 am

    @Chino Blanco

    Yes, you need to get out more.

  113. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 10:28 am

    @Chino Blanco

    For the record I was referring to Elder Oaks 9/11/2011 CES talk about tolerance. I put the word “tolerance” in quotes because of the variations on definitions that exist. I support what Elder Oaks said.

    http://newsroom.lds.org/article/-truth-and-tolerance-elder-dallin-h-oaks

    However to call this this some sort of policy shift on behalf of the Church is absurd. The Church has never told anyone to disinherit their kids or to physically assault anyone over a disagreement of faith.

    That would go against the teachings of Christ about loving your neighbor.

    As a formerly excommunicated member of the Church (meaning I returned tot he fold at some point) I appreciate the “tolerance” shown me by family members and my Ward Family.

    However, to be honest, homosexuality wasn’t the issue I contended with.

  114. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

    @112: No doubt. That (repeated) self-effacing admission aside, what’s the backstory with your reference to “tolerance”?

  115. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 10:42 am

    @114 Chino Blanco

    I’m not exactly sure what you asking.

    I guess the best answer to what I am *thinking* you might be asking is the difference between the current world view of “moral relativism” and the LDS/Christian view of “moral absolutes”.

    To quote Elder Oaks:

    “My young brothers and sisters, we know that the existence of God and the existence of absolute truth are fundamental to life on this earth, whether they are believed or not. We also know that evil exists and that some things are simply, seriously, and everlastingly wrong.”

    “We live in a world where more and more persons of influence are teaching and acting out a belief that there is no absolute right and wrong, that all authority and all rules of behavior are man-made choices that can prevail over the commandments of God. Many even question whether there is a God.”

    “Tolerance is defined as a friendly and fair attitude toward unfamiliar opinions and practices or toward the persons who hold or practice them. As modern transportation and communication have brought all of us into closer proximity to different peoples and different ideas, we have greater need for tolerance.”

    “Our tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs does not cause us to abandon our commitment to the truths we understand and the covenants we have made. That is a third absolute truth. We are cast as combatants in the war between truth and error. There is no middle ground. We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them.

    While we must practice tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs, including their constitutional freedom to explain and advocate their positions, we are not required to respect and tolerate wrong behavior. Our duty to truth requires us to seek relief from some behavior that is wrong. This is easy as to extreme behaviors that most believers and non-believers recognize as wrong or unacceptable. For example, we must all deplore murder or other terrorist behavior, even when done by extremists in the name of religion. And we must all oppose violence and thievery.”

    Being tolerant to people does not mean that we need to change our belief of absolute wrongs. People sin, people do bad things, we abhor the sin; but now more than ever we must love the sinner.

    *Doctrine and Covenants 121:43

    43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

    Perhaps the time has come where we reprove with less sharpness; and how forth an overwhelming increase of love.

  116. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Ah, OK, I think I understand now where your scare-quoting proclivities are coming from…

    I have chosen to speak about truth because teachers in schools, colleges, and universities are teaching and practicing relative morality. This is shaping the attitudes of many young Americans who are taking their places as the teachers of our children and the shapers of public attitudes through the media and popular entertainment. This philosophy of moral relativism denies what millions of believing Christians, Jews and Muslims consider fundamental, and this denial creates serious problems for all of us. What believers should do about this introduces the second of my twin subjects, “Tolerance.”

    Well-noted that DHO did, in fact, include “tolerance” — in quotes — in that passage.

    Moving on to more important matters, you’re delusional if you think no Mormon family has ever disinherited its offspring over disagreements regarding the Church.

  117. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

    “Moving on to more important matters, you’re delusional if you think no Mormon family has ever disinherited its offspring over disagreements regarding the Church.”

    I know that many misguided families have indeed done that. My best friend growing up was thrown out of his house by his own intolerant LDS parents. His crime… playing rock tunes on the piano on Sunday.

    I was fortunate enough to have parents who took him in and helped him get on his feet, graduate high school, and join the Navy.

    His parents actions caused my family, for the first and only time in my memory, to have to raise arms to the square in objection to a person holding a calling in a Stake conference. (My friend’s father was in the Bishopric)

    While the one example does not excuse the poor behavior and un-Christ like actions of my friend’s family, at least there was a happy ending.

  118. Jon Miranda on September 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Chris:
    Any choice you make will involve consequences that are usually not under your control. Think before you talk or act. Sage advice for any situation.

  119. Chris H. on September 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Jon,

    I of all people could use that advice. However, it applies more the the perpetrator of violence than to anyone else. I would love it if straight men were more aware of how their flirting may be hurtful towards women at times. You seem to imply that they deserve it since they knew it could happen. Please tell me I am wrong.

  120. Brad on September 14, 2011 at 11:07 am

    DifferentLight #108

    You’re quibbling about semantics and still in denial of the self-evident. Also, you’re moving away from the central point, which is that BKP in his conference address was strongly implying same-sex attraction, and that the claim that it is inborn is wrong. Even after he edits his address, he still implies the same thing, just not with as much scorn. Regardless of his past statements, this implication is clear by itself and within the whole context.

    You do exactly what FAIR does in defense of BKP: claim that implication is not strong enough evidence that he was talking about same-sex attraction (he has to actually mention it) and use his past statements to inform what he must of meant. Past statements are irrelevant to meaning. People change their minds, contradict themselves, and use careful wording to hint at their beliefs on touchy issues (without taking full and outward stand) all the time. If anything BKP, in this instance, makes an implicit jab but then does not fully own up to it.

    Yes, being gay is having same-sex attraction, whether you act on it or not. I don’t know how you inferred that I have confusion over that.

    Also there was once a time when the majority church leaders openly claimed or implicitly supported the claim that homosexuality (yes, even mere same-sex attraction) was unnatural and encouraged people who had same-sex attraction to change. They privately encouraged local leaders to recommend reparative therapy to those with same-sex attraction. At BYU they even engaged in shock therapy for a period of time (ask anyone in the BYU psychology department). Why does it surprise you that some leaders are still akin to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural, chosen, and not inborn? BKP’s statement is solid evidence that division exists among leaders over this question. The only reason that he is not more explicit about his views is that he is held back by other brethren, hence the implicit jab.

  121. MikeInWeHo on September 14, 2011 at 11:07 am

    re: 103
    That’s one of the scariest comments I’ve ever read in the Bloggernacle.

    I know a few gay dudes here in West Hollywood (understatement du jour). I can’t think of a single instance where anyone ever propositioned a heterosexual guy. On the other hand, on a few occasions I’ve had carloads of young straight guys drive by me and scream “die you f-ing faggot” or some-such. This kind of thing has happened to lots of my friends, although thankfully none of us have ever been physically attacked. It’s pretty safe around here. We band together; we fight back.

    The stereotype of homosexual male as cunning predator is insidious, and ironic as all heck. Ask the gay guys who got bashed in Salt Lake City recently about who the real predators are.

  122. Nick Literski on September 14, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Different Light #107:
    The urgency with which you deny the obvious subject matter of Mr. Packer’s October 2010 comments tells us virtually nothing about his speech, but it tells us a great deal about you.

    Like many gay LDS men before you, you’re going through a particular growth stage, in which you convince yourself that “gay” only means “actively having sex with other men,” and thus, you aren’t gay. You’ve even adopted deceptive, pseudo-scientific terminology invented by anti-gay evangelical groups, which was subsequently adopted by LDS leaders, so you can bemoan your plight of being “born with a condition” of “same-sex attraction,” yet deny that you are “gay.”

    Yours is an enormously stressful situation, and that stress is evident in your convoluted prose. In order to avoid the cognitive dissonance resulting from Mr. Packer’s words, you’ve created a dizzying maze of “homosexuality,” “same-sex attractions,” and “gay,” each of which you seem to define differently. The most telling part is where you claim to have been “born with same-sex attractions,” but that you “don’t want to have gay sex,” because you “have chosen not to want to have gay sex.” So, we’re to understand that you are naturally sexually attracted to men, but that you’re not sexually attracted to men, because you’ve chosen not to be sexually attracted to men? How’s that working for you, DL? For the straight men here, how many of you were born sexually attracted to women, but are NOT sexually attracted to women, because you’ve CHOSEN NOT to be sexually attracted to women? Yeah, I hear the crickets chirping….

  123. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

    @117: Pardon me if I’m unable to imagine a happy ending for a society ordered along the lines of DHO’s prescriptions. Life on this earth does not, in fact, rely on anything I’ve just read in your quotes. If anything, my sense is that you’re arguing from an outlier position and it’s my job (as a compassionate fellow traveler) to acknowledge your objections while impressing upon you that the caravan moves on.

  124. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

    @120

    “Why does it surprise you that some leaders are still akin to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural, chosen, and not inborn?”

    I don’t believe that science has been able to identify any single biological and/or genetic factor that causes homosexuality. Until such is found and is conclusively proven with peer-review and other methodologies, I refuse to believe in a biological reason for homosexuality.

    I personally subscribe to a sociological reason at this point.

  125. Jim H. on September 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

    #99 – Ray, thank you for that story. It is wonderful to hear. It confirms what I think is happening. I think there are more and more Mormons all the time who “get it” and I love that your story included local leaders.

    I think there are still a lot of Mormons who hear the ‘piccolos’ and think their judgmental views are what Mormons are “supposed” to believe, while the large number of Mormons who think differently tend to remain silent because we don’t want to start an argument or make the original commenter feel bad.

    Our conversation in EQ went on to talk about how easy it is to feel like you don’t fit in at church. If you are gay or black or divorced or you smoke or you’re a democrat, it’s really easy to feel unwelcome. It only takes one or two bad comments to make you feel like you don’t belong in the LDS church at all.

    That means it is really important that we speak up when the piccolos start playing. We don’t have to condemn them or fight with them. It can be done lovingly. But it is immensely more important to love the “outsider” in a Christ-like way than it is to protect one piccolo from being embarrassed in Sunday School.

  126. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

    @122 Chino Blanco

    Well, it is your right to move your caravan along in any direction you choose to do so. However, as many others have warned in the past; your going the wrong way.

    Best of luck to you.

  127. Manuel on September 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

    MikeInWeHo,

    I would like to talk to you about a statement that you made in private. Is there a way I could get in contact with you, email, etc (I don’t do twitter). Thanks.

  128. Neal on September 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

    “They privately encouraged local leaders to recommend reparative therapy to those with same-sex attraction.”

    This still goes on a lot. They refer you to LDS Social Services, who many times refer you to Evergreen or other reparative groups. Although Evergreen claims not to be associated with the Church, I see it as a technical, legal separation only. Its ironic that much of its Board and the guest speakers at its conferences are General Authorities. Some of its clinicians are in official Church headqaurters administrative roles also, and have published articles in the Ensign relating stories of gay people who changed. The idea that gay people can eliminate or “diminish” their homosexual attractions was latched onto early by the Church and supported the earlier teachings that beign gay was “fixable”. I think the latest statements on the subject leave therapy choices “up to the individual”.

  129. Jon Miranda on September 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Mikeinweho:
    It needs to be scary. People, including gays, need to stop and think of any possible consequences before making a choice.

  130. Lorian on September 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

    EL Frederick #123 – You can refuse to believe whatever you want. The fact is, there is strong scientific evidence pointing to *several* biological causative links in the etiology of homosexuality.

    Perhaps you’re not aware of the twin study done which showed that dizygotic (fraternal) twins where one twin was homosexual had about the same chance as any other blood siblings of being, themselves, homosexual, while in monozygotic pairs (“identical twins”), if one twin was homosexual, the other twin had about a 75% chance of also being homosexual. The conclusions are clear: While there are certainly other influences at play (most likely intrauterine environmental influences), genetics play a *strong* role in the causation of homosexuality in humans.

    The role of genetics in other animals may be even greater. A single gene in fruit flies can be turned on and off to create a homosexual individual. While it is highly unlikely that a single gene is responsible for human homosexuality, there is a good probability that a number of different recessive alleles, working in tandem, when expressed simultaneously, result in a homosexual individual.

    Another interesting study demonstrates that when a woman gives birth to a series of sons, the youngest one(s) have a dramatically increased likelihood of turning out to be gay. The probable mechanism is similar to that by which an Rh(neg) woman who gives birth to more than one Rh(pos) baby will have no problem with the first pregnancy, but will be sensitized to the Rh factor of subsequent Rh(pos) pregnancies, and will produce antibodies which attack the Rh(pos) fetus. In the case of the sequence of sons, it is theorized that the woman’s body is gradually sensitized by the first several male pregnancies, and produces more “feminizing” hormones in response to subsequent pregnancies.

    Just because you aren’t aware of or do not understand the scientific evidence being accummulated regarding the causes of homosexuality does not mean that they don’t exist. If you disbelieved that the earth revolves around the sun, that wouldn’t actually cause it to stop doing so.

  131. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

    @125: Yeah, thanks a bunch for the warm regards. Not to put too fine a point on it, but here’s the deal: I don’t think you’re capable of articulating the values that Dallin H. Oaks suggests you share with Christians, Jews and Muslims.

  132. Lorian on September 14, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Jon Miranda, Mike is right. Your comment #103 sounded sinister and threatening. While I agree with it at its most basic level — that gay men *do* sometimes take their lives into their hands when they ask someone out, this is certainly *not* as it should be. Your comment sounded ambiguously ominous, as though you were suggesting that perhaps such men were getting what they “deserved.” If this is not your intent, then you might want to clarify, and I’m sure those who have responded will be more than willing to retract.

  133. Sonny on September 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

    “It needs to be scary. People, including gays, need to stop and think of any possible consequences before making a choice.”

    Sure, if you live with the Taliban.

  134. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

    @129

    All of that is interesting but does not equal proof of anything. Does it demonstrate that there may be a biological component, sure. However does it clearly show that there is a gene at X location; no.

    There are just as many studies linking Homosexuality to depression and alcoholism as their are showing a biological influence.

    None of that moves beyond the realm of loose theory, it is far from fact.

  135. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

    @130

    Well, then I guess I have a goal :)

  136. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

    @129

    “If you disbelieved that the earth revolves around the sun, that wouldn’t actually cause it to stop doing so.”

    The same can be said of those who believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Wishing doesn’t make it so.

    “Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful”. Benjamin Franklin

  137. Alice (Alliegator) on September 14, 2011 at 11:55 am

    ““Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful”. Benjamin Franklin”

    Does that mean that if it’s not hurtful, it’s not sin?

  138. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 11:56 am

    @134: On this we agree. You quoted Dallin, not me. If you can’t explain him, that’s your problem, not mine. Once you’ve figured him out, I’ll be glad to follow along.

  139. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    @136

    “Does that mean that if it’s not hurtful, it’s not sin?”

    I suppose that depends on how you define “hurtful”.

    Perhaps that is something you should ask Ben.

    All *snark* aside, can you think of a single commandment that isn’t in place to prevent hurtful behavior?

    1) Love one another
    2) Honor thy mother and father?
    3) Do not commit adultery?
    4) Don’t kill
    5) Don’t go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

    I’ll grant you that the harmful effects of some commandments is a bit loose… such as Coffee and Tea.

    However, I think that it could be argued, by someone (much) smarter than me, that all commandments are in place to prevent some sort of harmful effect.

  140. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    @137

    “Once you’ve figured him out, I’ll be glad to follow along.”

    Why follow my lead? I’m just a lousy human being. Get your own light and knowledge and follow your own heart. I have a hard enough time making sure I have at least one hand on the rod at all times.

  141. Ardis E. Parshall on September 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I will not comment on #139 … I will not … I will not …

  142. Chris H. on September 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Don’t hold back, Ardis.

  143. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    @140

    I don’t pretend to be anything more than a lousy human being. I definitely have human weakness and flaws. I am far from perfect, and not worth leading any one anywhere.

    And worse, I have kids and a wife I am responsible for leading already. I don’t need anyone else going in circles with me.

    I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got. Most days I end up feeling like I haven’t done enough, but I still manage to sleep at night.

  144. Neal on September 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    “All *snark* aside, can you think of a single commandment that isn’t in place to prevent hurtful behavior?”

    The Law of Tithing

    Here are several more:

    Fasting
    Praying (the most frequently mentioned commandment in the scriptures)
    Attend Church meetings

  145. Bryan on September 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Well one could argue that not paying tithing and not praying and not attending church meetings is harmful to your spiritual being and your ability to find happiness in life.

  146. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    @143

    “The Law of Tithing
    Fasting
    Praying
    Attend Church meetings”

    I can think of several reasons for all of them preventing harm.

    All of them are designed to keep you humble and on the path towards the tree of life.

    Tithing is something that helps the Church, pays the bills, sure, but it also shows a willingness to recognize the creator. Humility is a good thing, it helps us tune our spiritual compass. Without it we are lost.

    Fasting, also the fast offering goes to help the needy. It goes to prevent harm to others by sacrificing a little bit of your own money to the good of humanity. If it was a government operation, it would be called taxes.

    Praying, once again, it helps us keep in tune with Lord and keeps the line of communication open. It helps us keep from falling into forbidden paths and falling prey to temptation.

    Attending Church meetings, helps us pick up our fellow church members. It allows us to be picked up ourselves. It is a good thing that we socialize with each other, keep our ears open to how to help our fellow church members and to all be edified.

    If you don’t do any of the above is there a promise of something harmful happening? Perhaps not. However it was when I was not doing those things, that I fell into temptation and got myself excommunicated.

    That is not an experience I would wish on anyone.

  147. Jon Miranda on September 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Lorian and Mike:
    Why do gays think they are above the law/common sense? There was a news story not too long ago where a man propositioned a woman. When they were in the room together, she pulled a knife and killed him. Gays just like anyone else can make stupid decisions where you cannot control the consequences. Common sense. Leave people alone. You hear stories all the time of people saying or doing the wrong thing and it leaves you thinking why didn’t the person just leave well enough alone and just move on? People can be like animals. You have to be just as careful sometimes with people as you would a wild animal. Think before you act or speak because you never know if the consequences spiral out of control. You can control your actions but not of others.

  148. Neal on September 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    OK, this is getting weird, folks…

  149. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    @140

    … and yes I did see the humor in saying “hand on the rod” in a discussion about homosexuality.

    You can giggle like a school girl if you want…

  150. Peter LLC on September 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Any choice you make will involve consequences that are usually not under your control. Think before you talk or act. Sage advice for any situation.

    Though not as sage as you might think since the consequences are not under your control one way or the other. Who can say how an the professed erratic Jon Miranda might react? Actually, with tired predictability, raging at the LGBT machine at every opportunity.

  151. Chino Blanco on September 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    @145: So let’s call it even. Trudging through the navel-gazing comments in the ‘nacle is also not an experience that I’d wish on anyone.

    At this point, I’m mostly interested in Parshall’s views regarding “hav[ing] at least one hand on the rod at all times.”

  152. Lorian on September 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Different Light #108 –

    She uses LGBT to refer to people with same-sex partners (which means she really doesn’t understand bisexuality or transgenderism.) She knows full well about half of gay Mormons are married to opposite sex partners, as I am.

    Certainly there are “subsets” within the designation “LGBT” in which individuals may end up partnered with someone of the opposite sex, as many bisexuals do. That does not, by any means, however, mean that such persons will find themselves feeling accepted by their local Mormon community (as per the example of Kathryn A., above, who, though a closeted bisexual, still feels the pain of her ward-members’ hateful comments about gay individuals). You, interestingly enough, criticize others for their ambiguous usage of the word “gay,” and yet you apply that term to yourself in the above quote, despite the fact that you have chosen to define yourself as “experiencing same-sex attraction” and have, despite this fact, opted to marry a person of the opposite sex. That’s a pretty ambiguous usage of the term “gay,” in my book. Not that I begrudge you the word, by any means. I just find it interesting that you adopt it when it suits your argument and shun it when it does not.

    As for transgendered individuals, many *do* end up with a partner of their own sex or gender. In fact, you could well say that *whatever* partner they may find will be either of their own sex or of their own gender, either pre- or post-operatively. Any way you look at it, they rarely find much acceptance except in the LGBT community. Rarely from conservative church communities such as LDS. Even the law refuses to allow them a legal status that is viewed consistently from state to state. One state views them as female, the next as male. One state allows them to marry someone of their pre-op sex, the next, someone of their post-op sex. So, I’d say Joanna’s comment made a great deal of sense, regardless of subsets who fall outside of her descriptor.

    It is comments like that make it seem people believe that you are born with a condition called homosexuality that forces you to want to have gay sex. That is false. I was born with same-sex attractions, but I do not want to have gay sex. I have chosen not to want to have gay sex.

    The fact is, most of us (I’d venture to say *all*) who are born with a homosexual orientation *want* to have sex with someone of our own sex. That’s kind of the definition. ;) However, there is a great deal more to it than just “wanting sex.” People don’t generally marry someone just because they “want sex.” That’s only a small part of the package. Gay people don’t spend their days and nights having constant sex. We make homes, cook dinner, go to work, mow the lawn, talk to friends, watch TV, raise kids, go to the park. Defining our sexual orientation simply as “wanting sex” is truly a disservice to who we really are. We want emotional intimacy and companionship and love and support and friendship with our spouses every bit as much as any heterosexual.

    The fact that you have chosen to *forego* same-sex intimacy does not necessarily imply that you no longer *desire* same-sex intimacy. You say that you have “chosen not to want gay sex.” I would propose that you have chosen not to *have* gay sex. You have chosen to struggle against both your desire to have sex with someone of your own gender, and your desire to engage in a deep, loving, emotional, committed relationship with someone of your own gender. This is certainly your right (though I *always* question the wisdom of persons of a truly homosexual orientation — not bisexual — in entering a straight marriage, because most of these situations end so abysmally for all concerned, and especially for the children). But don’t confuse “choosing to forego” with “choosing not to desire or want.” There’s a distinct difference. We choose our actions, not our feelings. I, personally, find no “moral advantage” in choosing to forego a loving, committed relationships with someone of my own gender. If you do, more power to ya. That’s your choice. But it’s a personal choice, and not one which should be urged upon others.

    The problem is that you re-interpret every mention of homosexuality to be about same-sex attraction, and then claim the church is asking people to change sexual orientation, but then you use it to refer to same-sex relationships when you talk about gay rights.

    The problem, actually, is the false dichotomy you attempt to establish between “same-sex attraction” and “homosexuality” or “being gay.” One is homosexual or gay or lesbian regardless of whether one is in a relationship or not. It is an orientation, whether acted upon or not, just as a person is heterosexual whether or not they are married, in a relationship, dating or celibate. They are a celibate heterosexual, or a married heterosexual, or a partnered heterosexual. Your sexual orienation does not change depending upon your relationships status (even if you choose to marry someone of the opposite sex to the one towards which you are oriented). A gay man who marries a woman is no less gay. A lesbian who marries a man is no less a lesbian. She will still be attracted to and even fall in love with other women — a fact which will threaten her marriage for however long her marriage may last.

    The gay rights movement is movement which is all about creating space for LGBT persons to be themselves — to be true to who they are. If they choose to remain celibate, the gay rights movement is still there for them, protecting them from discriminatory treatment on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation, defending their rights to define themselves however they choose, and, ultimately, defending their right to fall in love with, cohabitate with, and even marry the person they love, even if they never choose to access those rights.

    Which is it? Does being gay mean you seek a same-sex partner or that you are attracted to the same sex?

    Yes.

  153. MikeInWeHo on September 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    re 126
    No problem, Manuel. I use this same name on Facebook or at yahoo dot com. You can reach me at either of those places.

  154. Jon Miranda on September 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    If I had known what Matthew Sheperd was going to do, I would have done almost anything to prevent him from going to the bar that night.

  155. Chris H. on September 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Jon, shut up, already.

  156. MikeInWeHo on September 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    re: 153
    I would have stopped the methed-out guys who tortured and murdered him but hey, that’s just me.

  157. Chris H. on September 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Mike, come on, if Matt Shepard had not been gay around them, none of that would have happened. It really is the gay guys fault.

  158. Lucy on September 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    @109 “It seems to me that part of the problem with Elder Packer’s story is that he himself doesn’t recognize gay people as a category. He said this numerous times during the 1970s, and has repeated it since.”

    Why is “gay people” a category? Why should one’s “sexual orientation” define who he or she is as a person?

    From the proclamation: “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

    All human beings merit respect and dignity because they are children of a loving Heavenly Father. I do not doubt in the least the sincerity of people’s feelings, I am only asking why “sexual orientation” is such a defining factor in identity?

  159. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    @156

    It (in theory) is easier to stop a rationally thinking VICTIM than three meth’d out violent idiots. The best chance for saving the person’s life; while not becoming a victim yourself, would be to stop the ONE; instead of taking on the THREE.

    I don’t think it was the victim’s fault, but if the goal is saving his life; you can do it by not putting yours at risk.

  160. Ray on September 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    EL, you have spammed other posts elsewhere about the topic of homosexuality, so I’m not going to engage you fully. I only want to make it clear here that the LDS Church now officially states that homosexual attraction is not a sin and that it can be natural and genetic. You are fighting the LDS Church itself when you claim otherwise.

    If you doubt that, actually read the most recent pamphlet the Church has produced, “God Loveth His Children”. There are many issues in it that are difficult for homosexual members to believe and accept, but it absolutely contradicts your primary assertions here. If you doubt that, read it carefully and slowly.

  161. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    @159

    Would you please point out where on THIS THREAD I said that?

    Otherwise, please go back to your original plan of “not going to engage you fully.”

  162. Ray on September 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    #158 – I feel like Ardis with regard to that comment. It has to be the worst comment in the history of the BLoggernacle, since the ONLY way to not “put yourself at risk” in that situation would be to stay inside your entire life – or kill yourself.

    Can the admins do something official about these comments? It’s gone WAY beyond acceptible, imo.

  163. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    @159

    Please review post 100 very carefully.

  164. Ray on September 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    You also wrote #123 – and now I really am done.

  165. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    @158

    I didn’t read what as said as an attack on the victim. Granted, I don’t have much to do with the person who made the comment, but there are multiple ways to read it.

  166. Bryan on September 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    @Ray, I think you are missing El’s point and I don’t believe he is spamming. El’s deserves just as much respect as anyone else.

    @El, Despite the fact that yes maybe in retrospect he could have done things to save his life it doesn’t really further this discussion at all. I think the point is that he shouldn’t have to worry about his life when approaching someone. Add the fact that the two people who murdered Matt were posing as gay, it is a terrifying precedent. Gays can’t even approach gays.

    So could he have avoided death? Well yes, but the point doesn’t really serve any purpose. The latest fatal car accident victim could have avoided death by not getting in the car too, but I don’t see a point in it.

  167. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    @163

    Oh yes, please flog me for pointing out that the science isn’t settled. Who do you think you are are? Al Gore?

  168. E L Frederick on September 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    @165

    I was only responding to what I felt was an over the top response to @155. I didn’t see it as blaming the victim.

    However, I agree, that wishing to go back and change the past is futile.

  169. DifferentLight on September 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Brad,

    Simply saying is so doesn’t mean it is so. I see nothing that relates to same-sex attraction in BP’s talk. He uses the same terminology of it not being inborn as when he talked about same-sex relationships. That “inborn” terminology has been used for opposite sex relationships too. Bishop McMullin said:

    “But as with all mortal conditions, if the inclination of same- or opposite-gender attraction leads a person to violate the laws of God or to mar one’s immortal possibilities, this inclination needs to be controlled and overcome.”

    “They privately encouraged local leaders to recommend reparative therapy to those with same-sex attraction.”

    How the Heck do you know what they do privately? It is a baseless accusation. The church has never recommended reparative therapy. They have talked about therapy, but never what type.

    “Why does it surprise you that some leaders are still akin to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural, chosen, and not inborn?”

    Because I have never heard a leader teach that, unless you reinterprete the remarks about homosexuality to instead be about same-sex attraction. Same-sex attraction is not the same thing as homosexuality.

    “BKP’s statement is solid evidence that division exists among leaders over this question”

    BP’s statement is inline with every other leaders statement. Read Elder Oaks talk about overcoming desires in the April 2011 conference. It confirmed everything Elder Packer said.

  170. Neal on September 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I think its time for the moderators to close this thread before it degrades towards Outer Darkness any further. The trolls need a cave break anyway…

    Admin: That’s a fine idea, Neal. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

  171. Neal on September 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    “The church has never recommended reparative therapy. They have talked about therapy, but never what type.”

    You are grossly misinformed. I have a gay friend in Alaska who’s Bishop will not give him a Temple Recommend unless he submits to a reparative therapy program through Evergreen. LDS Social Services has already put him through it once, with no effect.

  172. Kaimi Wenger on September 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for participating, everyone. I’m going to close the thread for now. If you have anything non-trollish and really important which you would like to add, please e-mail me and I will consider adding it. If you would like to make trollish comments, please direct them to the fine folks at By Common Consent.

WELCOME

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