Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

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Roy
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Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

Post by Roy » 03 Oct 2019, 09:54

In all the excitement about the policy change about women being allowed to serve as witnesses - not much has been said about the comments of Elder Oaks:
President Dallin H. Oaks
In a continuation of the teaching given two weeks ago by President Nelson at Brigham Young University, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, offered remarks about the eternal nature of God’s children, His plan for them and the commandments to love God and to love our neighbors.
“While God’s commandments forbid all unchaste behavior and reaffirm the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, the Church and its faithful members should reach out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same sex or whose sexual orientation or gender identity is inconsistent with their sex at birth,” President Oaks taught. “We do not know why same-sex attraction and confusion about sexual identity occur,” he continued. “They are among the challenges that persons can experience in mortality, which is only a tiny fraction of our eternal existence.”
President Oaks spoke of three fundamental doctrinal truths that God has revealed:
“First, … that God created ‘male and female,’” and that this “binary creation is essential to the plan of salvation.”
“Second, modern revelation teaches that eternal life, the greatest gift of God to His children, is only possible through the creative powers inherent in the combination of male and female joined in an eternal marriage (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). That is why the law of chastity is so important.”
“Finally, the long-standing doctrinal statements reaffirmed in [The Family: A Proclamation to the World] 23 years ago will not change. They may be clarified as directed by inspiration.” For example, “the intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation and as used in Church statements and publications since that time is biological sex at birth.”
“When counseling with any members experiencing challenges related to their sexual orientation, Church leaders should affirm that God loves all His children, including those dealing with confusion about their sexual identity or other LGBT feelings,” President Oaks said. “Such members and their families have unique challenges. They should be offered hope and be ministered to as directed by the Spirit according to their true needs, remembering the admonition of Alma to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort (see Mosiah 18:9).”
“Because we love God and understand His great plan of salvation and the significance of His commandments, we manifest our love for our neighbors by helping them come unto Christ, repent, and keep His commandments. This is part of bearing one another’s burdens that they may be light.”
https://www.localnews8.com/news/top-sto ... 1128106131

This seems to reiterate that male/female identity is eternal while "confusion about their sexual identity or other LGBT feelings." only exists in mortality. I believe that the Family Proclimation is the most authoratative place to say that gender exists in the premortal spirit realm. Elder Oaks seems to be saying that "confusion" in these matters is a mortal abberation that will be straightened out (back to one's biological sex at birth) by the time the afterlife rolls around. I assume that some individuals have read the eternal nature of gender as possibly indicating that a mistake could have been made in the birth process and that a male spirit could have been accidentally placed in a female body or that a female spirit could have accidentally been placed into a male body. Those individuals might feel that after mortality they would be restored to bodies that matched the gender identities of their spirits. Elder Oaks here refutes that interpretation.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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felixfabulous
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by felixfabulous » 03 Oct 2019, 12:23

IMO the Church is venturing into very dangerous territory by taking positions that are so easily refuted by science and life experience. What about people who are born intersex? From what I understand a small percentage of the population is born with both sets of equipment and the parents usually decide which to go with. If the parents get it wrong and this baby could have been a boy or girl and they chose girl and the eternal gender was boy, what happens? It just seems so easy to poke holes in Oaks' logic.

I understand the desire to set boundaries and establish (create?) doctrine that preserves established conservative norms, but there is a huge risk that these stances make the leaders seem out of touch with science and reality and continue to lose legitimacy.

I love this quote by Richard Rohr: “If change and growth are not programmed into your spirituality, if there are not serious warnings about the blinding nature of fear and fanaticism, your religion will always end up worshiping the status quo and protecting your present ego position and personal advantage as if it were God.”

Those are harsh truths, but I think there is a huge temptation to attribute to God all kinds of things that are really our own desires and biases (even if they are well-meaning).

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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Roy » 03 Oct 2019, 12:50

Yes, I agree Felix. Perhaps one of the easiest conundrums to deal with theologically is that of the transgender. If a gendered spirit is placed into the body of the opposite gender then that is something that could be easily corrected in the resurrection while honoring the gender identity that the individual is claiming. It is easier in my mind for God to fix your reproductive plumbing in the afterlife than it is to expect transgendered individuals to swallow that their minds and spirits will be so fundamentally changed as to feel completely at home in the body and biological sex of their mortal birth.

I have taken pause at the suggestion sometimes used to avoid labeling oneself. That we are first and foremost children of our heavenly father sent here on a mission to ultimately become like him and share all that he has. That is a worthwhile exercise in my opinion.
It becomes hard to say that with a straight face while simultaneously preaching that male heterosexuality is an eternal part of our nature and even critical to become like God because, you know … God is a male heterosexual. :roll:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Oct 2019, 20:55

Yep. It is out-of-date and factually incorrect.

The 14 Fundamentals are wrong. Prophets and apostles should stick to spiritual matters. That is their calling.
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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Re: Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

Post by nibbler » 04 Oct 2019, 05:49

I hate to say it, but this is more of Oaks being Oaks. He has a real stick in his craw when it comes to this subject and too often uses the platform people have given him to stump his pet issue.

It's a tough issue to get around given the church's theology. So much of the Mormon purpose of life centers around heterosexual reproduction.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

Post by DarkJedi » 04 Oct 2019, 05:59

I agree that with other news the Oaks comments got lost in the shuffle. And, I only saw it in the Tribune, thus it wasn't hitting a mainstream audience (not that the mainstream would actually care).

I do not have the full text of course, but one thing I did notice was that he referred to "biological sex at birth." This is a slight departure from his usual definition of gender as eternal, although I don't know if he made that reference elsewhere (and the reference is made in the Proclamation).

Oaks and BKP occupy a strange place in my own mind and heart. I liked BKP, and he bore some marvelous testimonies about the Savior. But if asked most people would probably focus not on that but on other things he said, principally in talking about sex and sexual sin. I liked and hated BKP at the same time. Such is also the case with DHO. I really do appreciate much of what he says, and I appreciate that most of what he says is well researched and backed up by scripture. The exception is when he talks about these issues on which he is not an expert and which are not backed up by scripture.

I was typing at the same time as Nibbler, and I agree - he does have this stuck in his craw. He needs to let go and focus on his commission to be a special witness of Christ.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

Post by hawkgrrrl » 04 Oct 2019, 10:22

This is very unfortunate. We are losing young people in record numbers, and teens (at least outside of Utah) all know kids who are non-binary.

I feel like Oaks (and probably some others) are, like Trump, getting their information from Fox & Friends, catered to their own specific brand of prejudices, and they will do whatever they have to do to simplify the complicated world in which we live. All women are feminine, nurturing and fertile, all men are masculine, provide & preside, and there's no further discussion. If this doesn't match your lived experience, please go away so we can continue to pretend this is all there is, just as God ordained. That's not compassionate, realistic, wise, or helpful. And it really has very little to do with the actual gospel. It's very off message from what Christ actually talked about. Are we so perfect that we have to take this on next? We've eradicated interpersonal conflict, pride, selfishness, and dishonesty, and now we have to erase trans and intersex people and force all men and women into a mold? We've got a real issue with hobby-horse leadership, and I suppose we always have, but it undermines rather than bolsters their authority.

The other thing is that this makes us "matter over minds" people. I don't think he's thought this through on that level, but rather than teaching people to rely on their inner spiritual guide (including who they perceive they are), what other people think of their genitals is the only deciding factor. The Lord looketh on the heart, but when a doctor sees an infant's androgynous genitalia and makes a decision, apparently that overrides one's internal guide. That's consistent(ly off-track) with the message to override your own feelings if they contradict what Church leaders say, but it's not healthy mentally or spiritually. This is very unwise.

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LookingHard
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Re: Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

Post by LookingHard » 04 Oct 2019, 12:12

Amen Hawkgrrrl

Roy
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Re: Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

Post by Roy » 04 Oct 2019, 14:52

Oaks’s statements Wednesday made it “a dark day for transgender Latter-day Saints,” Laurie Lee Hall, senior vice president of Affirmation, told The Salt Lake Tribune. Affirmation is a support group for LGBTQ people who are or have been members of the church, plus their families and friends. “It will send shock waves through our transgender community,” she continued. “They are going to be traumatized and damaged by this statement.”
Hall, a transgender woman who was excommunicated from the LDS Church for refusing to renounce her female identity, “believes that gender is eternal but that she was born in the wrong body,” the Tribune reports. “That is a view shared by many transgender Latter-day Saints who continue in their faith and practice with the church.”
Oaks “has now warped the family proclamation to be of no use to me at all,” Hall added.
https://www.advocate.com/religion/2019/ ... th-eternal
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: Oaks' recent comments on LGBT+

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Oct 2019, 12:22

I won't go into it, but there are people here who have challenges, sexual or otherwise, that may not be rooted in same sex attraction, or sex-change preferences etcetera. But they are somewhat related. They can put people in similar, but admittedly, probably not as dire situations as people with SSA and related challenges. But they are stressful and difficult to bear nonetheless.

The way these have been explained to me is that they are just like any other problem a person gets hit with, that is beyond their control. The challenge these people face are just part of the mortal existence, even though these other problems are extremely rare.

I tend to disagree with this write-off. As soon as we minimize any challenge as simply being part of the overall challenges of this life, the empathy goes out the window. Particularly when organizations or policies or cultural biases amplify the pain of those challenges.

It also bothers me that the church, which claims to have more answers than other churches (you know, the only TRUE church),can't answer this one. It seems the "we don't know" card gets played a lot when underlying beliefs about the cause of SSA are just too politically incorrect to be shared, or we would rather not dip into our pool of divine knowledge. Remember how we explained away the priesthood ban in the Gospel Topic Essays? "We don't know where the doctrine came from". How convenient. It's like Freud said in psychotherapy. He knew the answer to a person's mental problems existed just beyond the point where the person could no longer free associate. Where the free association stops is where answers start.

And do we know that SSA will disappear in the next life? For sure? No one will be able to say that definitively over the pulpit. Is the "just world hypothesis" really a sound hypothesis? The BOM I think says that in the end, we will declare all of God's judgments are just. Can I believe that?

I'm really looking forward to what happens after I pass this earth. I really want to know what new knowledge it gives us, if any. As no one seems to have a clue on this earth really. There are theories, doctrines, etcetera, but I feel that no one really knows. And if there is an after-life, God has REALLY strict rules about who gets to cross over the lines between the afterlife and life on earth.
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