Most of us have at some point checked our phone while driving. However, for a small minority of cases somebody walks in front of us and gets killed. We then (somewhat rightfully) blame the distracted driver for the death, even though most of us have inadvisedly checked our phone while driving, and it’s just the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time that led to it being much more serious than a peccadillo of checking our phone when we know we shouldn’t. This principle is known in philosophy as “moral luck.” We often blame people for things that they do not in fact have control over. In this case, we have control over checking the phone, but not in somebody being in the wrong place and the wrong time and interacting with the phone checking leading to an accident.
A while ago I had a conversation with a friend where the issue came up whether we would prefer if our child was “Actually Gay”™ or “Fashionably Queer”™. (As I’ve mentioned before here, this discussion is less theoretical for me, since given what we know about fraternal birth order effect on male homosexuality, and my own family structure, I have about an even chance that at least one of my sons will be gay.) After thinking it over, I decided the former. If I had a son that was biologically gay, I’d assume that the moral luck, grading-on-a-curve would kick in.
Now, in segueing this to the issue of sexual minorities in the Church I am NOT making the standard, made-a-bajillion-times argument that God couldn’t possibly expect sexual minorities who are members to live by the parameters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather, it’s a more interesting argument that, even if we accept the premises of the Church’s heteronormativity, then the implications of “moral luck” means that a fair God will, in the final judgment, judge people according to not only what they did given their actual circumstances, but also according to how they would have acted in a other circumstances, including being gay. (Also, to hedge off an accusation, it takes a lot of motivated reasoning to think that I’m comparing killing somebody in an auto accident to being gay–the point is the principle of moral luck, not the object of moral luck).
If person A was born straight in a Latter-day Saint family and did all the things required for exaltation, and his otherwise identical doppelganger in a parallel universe was born gay and ended up leaving the Church, then the essence of the two individuals being judged by God is the same, net of external factors outside their control, in this case sexual orientation. (Again, this is not saying, he can’t control who he is, therefore the Church should…, even though it superficially sounds the same). There is doctrinal/scriptural support, such as Joseph Smith seeing his brother Alvin the Celestial Kingdom, for the idea that God judges us based on what we hypothetically would have done given certain circumstances, or grades on a curve, or judges while controlling for background variables, or whatever other analogy you want to use.
Of course, this does not mean that what we actually do is irrelevant, and how our works interface with the implications of “moral luck” is a little fuzzy, but it should give us a sense of humility about where people will end up in the hereafter. Also, in this case you can replace “homosexuality” with any other biological proclivity or other external factor beyond the individual’s control, so the implications of the moral luck concept extend far beyond that particular sexuality issue.