Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

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dande48
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Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by dande48 » 01 May 2017, 13:43

I was talking with a friend, who happens to be gay, and on the topic of "If you could time travel, where would you go?", he mentioned that he would like to ask Joseph Smith his stance on homosexuality. To be honest, I always assumed the Church has always considered it an abomination, but slowly softening its stance over the past decade or so. I tried to look up the views of early church leaders on Homosexuality, but couldn't find any.

The only thing I could find was D. Michael Quinn's "Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A MORMON EXAMPLE", as well as the Church's response here: https://web.archive.org/web/20070808011 ... 280#note21. Quinn's claims felt like they were "reaching" at best; much like the historians who believe Jesus Christ, King David, or Abraham Lincoln were gay. But on the matter, it feels like they were mostly silent.

Have any of you come across anything that could've implied a more tolerant outlook to homosexuality, rather than a silent abhorrence? Or any record of early church leaders speaking on the topic?
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

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SamBee
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Re: Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by SamBee » 01 May 2017, 15:07

There was a nineteenth century member who dragged up.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 01 May 2017, 15:30

Four things:

1) Quinn over-reached greatly in his work. I rarely support apologetics fully, but this is one case where I think the response is generally accurate regarding its criticism of his work - although I don't support its general view or tone about homosexuality.

2) The response is not from "the Church" if that is meant to be the church leadership. It is from the Maxwell Institute, a group at that time dedicated largely to apologetics. (I say "at that time" due to the recent shift under Blair Hodges to more proactive scholarship.) That is a minor point, perhaps, but it is an important one. The response absolutely was in line with the views of perhaps all of the top leadership at the time, however. (I say perhaps only because there might have been one or two apostles who would have responded differently, if asked privately.)

3) I think there is a lack of records about the issue from that time for the same reason there was a lack of understanding for so long about the number of people who were homosexual: being open about it was dangerous and even deadly.

4) The total lack of commentary by Joseph Smith about the subject makes me think he was opposed. He wasn't exactly close-minded or ultra-conservative when it came to sexual matters, and he was a reformer extraordinaire, so I think he would have written or spoken about it at some point if he differed from the societal norm significantly.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Roy
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Re: Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by Roy » 14 May 2017, 08:23

I am not particularly well versed in the subject but I did see an interview in which Bro. Quinn responded to some questions regarding his book. He seemed to be saying that the church was never tolerant of homosexual sex but that male-male intimacy (things like brotherly hugging or kissing as a greeting [like the French do]) was much more acceptable. It seemed that he was saying that showing platonic or brotherly or father/son affection was more culturally accepted back then.

That is related to but also different than discussions of homosexuality.
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dande48
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Re: Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by dande48 » 14 May 2017, 08:51

Roy wrote:
14 May 2017, 08:23
I He seemed to be saying that the church was never tolerant of homosexual sex but that male-male intimacy (things like brotherly hugging or kissing as a greeting [like the French do]) was much more acceptable. It seemed that he was saying that showing platonic or brotherly or father/son affection was more culturally accepted back then.
I wish that was more true now. My biggest problem with modern "sexual liberation", is how all affection and expressions of love seem to be condensed to sex. I even saw an article some time ago, that suggested Christ and his apostles were homosexual because of their expressions of love. To quote Flight of the Conchords,
Why can't a heterosexual guy tell a heterosexual guy that he thinks his booty is fly?
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

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SamBee
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Re: Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by SamBee » 14 May 2017, 16:05

Sexual liberation only works if you are attractive.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Beefster
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Re: Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by Beefster » 05 Aug 2017, 10:14

I think the reason Homosexuality isn't really mentioned by Joseph Smith is because it was a given at the time. Nearly every church stood against it. It just wasn't an issue at the time, so nobody felt the need to talk about it.

The only society I can think off the top of my head that accepted it was the Greeks.

In short, whenever you look at history, you need to be careful about not injecting modern norms into the past- especially considering that things are very different today than even 10 years ago. There were probably still plenty of historical people who were gay, it's just the society at large probably would have drawn and quartered them if they acted on it, for the majority of history.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

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Shawn
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Re: Views on Homosexuality, within the early Church

Post by Shawn » 16 Nov 2017, 16:37

I consider what was said by early church leaders regarding monogamy and conclude that it doesn't matter what their successors say about homosexuality. Here's one example from Brigham Young:
Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman Empire.... Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a hold sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers....

Why do we believe in and practise polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord's servants have always practiced it. “And is that religion popular in heaven?” It is the only popular religion there, for this is the religion of Abraham, and, unless we do the works of Abraham, we are not Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise. (Deseret News, August 6, 1862, p. 1, column 4, utah.edu)

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