Help with the issue on homosexuality.

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EuSouScott
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Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by EuSouScott » 15 Jan 2014, 14:16

I have a sincere question regarding homosexuality and wonder if anyone has been able to work their way through this issue who could offer any insight.

For the most part, Prop 8 is what kicked off my faith crisis. It seemed so odd to me that every 4 years around election time we get a message from the 1st presidency stating that as a church, we try to stay out of politics, but then when the gay rights issue comes up, they start asking for donations to help fight it and then ask us to go knock doors. It truly felt like they were asking me to knock doors and share a message of hate and intolerance. The feeling I felt was the exact opposite of every other truly spiritual feeling I have ever had.

Since then I have slowly and gradually moved to the far left on this issue and would today happily carry a rainbow flag in any pro gay-rights march. But there is one argument against gays that seems valid to me. Here it is:

I can accept or even promote the idea that the church’s stance on gays is similar to their stance on polygamy or blacks; cultural biases and/or mistakes that lead to church policy. But it truly is contrary to nature and the eternal plan of families. How can we be expected to propagate if we are promoting same sex marriages? God created men and women to go together (I mean that literally, our parts were made to go together).

This is the sticking point for me and always the argument to comes up in my head when I am trying to work this out. Does anyone have any thoughts that could help me move past this ‘hang-up’? I sincerely want to be able to dismiss this thought in an effort to have a more accepting view of gays and how they might fit into mormonism.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Jan 2014, 14:52

It is a sticky one. Like you, I think, I have come a long way in the past few years in regards to homosexuals. I may not go march in the parade, but I certainly feel for those in the church who struggle with this and the church's attitude. I do not know any active gay members of the church, but my daughter does. I do know inactive gay members and I know why they're not active - in their cases it is that simple. I have this great conundrum in my own mind. For instance, BYU has become pretty open about saying they admit gay members and there is a vibrant organization there to support them. They are expected to live the honor code like everybody else, which I agree with. BUT, everybody else (who isn't gay) will have the opportunity to marry and have sex and still be living the honor code. In my mind this leads to a discrimination against gays. Then on the third hand there's the whole thing about the very purpose of marriage itself, which, I believe, is procreation and thereafter providing a stable home for that offspring (yes, I do agree that gay parents can provide that stability as well as heterosexual parents and they can procreate - just not with each other). I don't know what the answer is. Will it all get sorted out in the hereafter? Are we to judge gays because they commit fornication because they can't marry? Will the church accept civil unions? Frankly, I think it's government that should stay out of marriage, but where does that leave gays? Should it be the other way around and should it be religion that stays out of marriage?

Just a side point. The church makes that announcement every four years specifically related to elections. It's part of the very misunderstood separation of church and state, and is actually rooted in IRS rules. Religious organizations that become involved with elections could indeed lose their tax exempt status, and campaigning in churches is expressly forbidden (I know it happens). Political activism outside of elections, whoever, is a whole different ballgame.
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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On Own Now
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by On Own Now » 15 Jan 2014, 15:03

Hey, I'm no BRM, so I can't deliver doctrine to you, but I will put out a couple of thoughts:

- Do we really know that we will be male and female in the hereafter? I would say we assume, projecting our current selves forward.

- It is one thing to say that overall the plan is male and female mating, but when you get down to the level of a specific individual, the sample size is exactly one. Most people might be right-handed, but can you imagine a grade school teacher forcing a left-handed student to write with their right hand (as they used to) or to not write at all because they do it contrary to the norm?

- Commandments to multiply and replenish the earth are general, not specific to each individual. God isn't going to keep someone out of Heaven because they died as an unmarried child or an unmarried adult or because they were not able to have children. There are plenty faithful members of the Church in male/female marriages where they cannot physically have children together and this is logically no different from a union between two same-sex partners, when it comes to procreation.

- The idea of eternally having offspring is something we don't even understand in a male/female scenario in Heaven, so I wouldn't worry about it or use it as a baseline of understanding.
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“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
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"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." ― Romans 14:13
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Jan 2014, 15:10

Religions can't explicitly endorse particular candidates in elections, by name. They can get involved in "political issues", including things like ballot initiatives. They can get around the endorsement issue in ways like making "doctrinal" statements about issues that would lead some members to vote for a particular party, but they can't openly endorse any particular candidate. Thus, while I didn't like it, the LDS Church could get involved in Prop 8 without risking its tax-free status.

I just wanted to get that out of the way first.

As for the issue you raised regarding homosexuality, I would say three things:

1) Homosexuality is NOT "against nature". There are lots of species where homosexuality exists, and even the LDS Church now acknowledges explicitly that homosexuality ("same-sex attraction") is not a choice for many people. It absolutely is "natural" for many people.

That's an incredibly important point, since SO much of the justifications for various stances throughout history have been based on the assumption that same-sex attraction is strictly a choice.

2) We allow people who can't have children to marry. Period. Therefore, as much as I understand the issue of incentives that stabilize the raising of children, I can't accept the idea that gay people can't marry because, "It's all about the kids." It's not all about the kids, especially in our modern times when many people know they are sterile (or simply that they don't want to have kids) before they marry. If we let them marry, even though they can't or have no intention to have kids, I can't accept denying homosexuals marriage simply because they can't have kids. It's a double standard, and my first priority is equal treatment within the law.

3) I do not believe spirit children are created through a process of sexual intercourse. It makes no sense whatsoever to me, since they are radically different in "physical nature" than the resurrected beings who create them. Think about that for a second. We teach that resurrected beings "create" spirit children out of "intelligences" - but they are not the biological replicas of those "Heavenly Parents" that our children are here. They have to go through an evolutionary process to become like their parents, physically. To me, that means there is no "gestational birth process" in the next life, so women don't "give birth" to spirit children like they do here.

That is a HUGE point to me, since simply recognizing and admitting that can change SO much about how we talk about issues like homosexuality.

Btw, if you have participated here long enough to know turinturambar, you know an active gay member - although it has been getting harder and harder for him to remain active, even with a wonderful Bishop whom I love dearly. If you want some incredibly insightful comments about homosexuality, search for his name and read what he was written here. Some of his comments truly have been deeply profound.
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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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EuSouScott
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by EuSouScott » 15 Jan 2014, 15:33

DarkJedi wrote:
Just a side point. The church makes that announcement every four years specifically related to elections. It's part of the very misunderstood separation of church and state, and is actually rooted in IRS rules. Religious organizations that become involved with elections could indeed lose their tax exempt status, and campaigning in churches is expressly forbidden (I know it happens).
This is something I didn't know anything about. Very interesting and thank you for sharing.

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EuSouScott
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by EuSouScott » 15 Jan 2014, 15:42

Ray Degraw wrote:
1) Homosexuality is NOT "against nature". There are lots of species where homosexuality exists, and even the LDS Church now acknowledges explicitly that homosexuality ("same-sex attraction") is not a choice for many people. It absolutely is "natural" for many people.

Let me clarify my comment (as well as play devil's advocate). If I were to approach this issue from a scientific basis, one could argue that it ISN'T natural.

Evolution teaches us about natural selection and that the desire to have sex and the reward for having sex (orgasm) is a very 'reptilian' and subconscious motivation to produce offspring and expand your progeny. (This is of course assuming that the theory of evolution and natural selection are accepted as truth)

Combine that with the fact that [explicit descriptions deleted] homosexual sex in many cases is harmful to the anatomy (which I believe is a primary cause for the spread of HIV amongst the gay population).

I hate to sound crude or irreverent. I don't mean to belittle or offend. These are (in many cases) the arguments used against me in my small sphere of advocating for gay rights. But I am tempted to give the arguments validity.

Can anyone help me punch holes in this argument?
Last edited by EuSouScott on 15 Jan 2014, 20:45, edited 1 time in total.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Jan 2014, 15:58

First as an admin: We don't use explicitly descriptive language regarding sex here, simply because lots of readers (and even some participants) are not comfortable with it. The last thing we want is to lose readership among people who read but don't comment simply because they would classify explicit descriptions as pornographic. The same points can be made without graphic descriptions. As a relatively new commenter, you probably aren't aware of that, so please understand I'm not upset or angry - and that I'm smiling as I type this.

Now as a personal commenter: We are sexual beings - at least, the vast majority of us are. We are wired to want sex, generally speaking, and perhaps a better way of saying that would be that we are wired to want sexual gratification. Thus, "bad sex" is difficult for many people to accept in a relationship, even if it is heterosexual in nature. When we talk about something being "natural", at the most basic, "pure" level, we are talking about something that comes naturally to people (or animals) - and homosexual activity (and bi-sexual activity) absolutely comes naturally to many people and animals.

Further, "natural" sexual gratification happens in ways outside of heterosexual intercourse. Masturbation is a perfect example of that, since it doesn't involve anyone else - homosexual or heterosexual.

Finally, talk with any gay or lesbian person who has felt attracted to the same sex, and only the same sex, for as long as they can remember. Try telling them that attraction (and even the subsequent activity) is unnatural. For them, it absolutely is natural - and, again, the LDS Church (in its latest pamphlet, "God Loveth His Children", and on mormonsandgays.org) no longer makes the claim that it is unnatural. That alone is instructive. They also no longer advise reparative therapy or heterosexual marriage as a "cure". If the Church itself no longer makes that claim and has jettisoned previous practices that attempted to "cure the unnatural", the membership ought to follow suit and let go of justifications based on it being unnatural.

Once we finally understand something better than people did in the past, we have an obligation to stop teaching what they taught - or, at the very least, stop justifying what they taught in the same way.
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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

church0333
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by church0333 » 15 Jan 2014, 16:33

Many great points have been made by others so I will just add my 2 cents worth. If God did make all his children, he made the gays ones also and therefore it can't be unnatural for them to act the way God made them. I don't understand what makes us all tick but I have come to accept that we have little choice of what those ticks are. We can change some things but a duck will never become a swan.

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Daeruin
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Re: Help with the issue on homosexuality.

Post by Daeruin » 15 Jan 2014, 17:52

EuSouScott wrote:Let me clarify my comment (as well as play devil's advocate). If I were to approach this issue from a scientific basis, one could argue that it ISN'T natural.

Evolution teaches us about natural selection and that the desire to have sex and the reward for having sex (orgasm) is a very 'reptilian' and subconscious motivation to produce offspring and propitiate your progeny. (This is of course assuming that the theory of evolution and natural selection are accepted as truth)
I looked into this a while back. I was also confused about the status of homosexuality from an evolutionary perspective. If homosexuality is genetic, and people who have that gene don't reproduce (as often, if at all), how does the trait get passed on? How does it keep popping up in new generations? Wouldn't it just die out?

There are a few answers. I'm no expert and I might mangle them a bit. One possible answer is called the "gay uncle" theory. The idea is that the "gay uncle" could absolutely contribute to the survival of the species—by protecting the women and children, helping to hunt, or whatever else needs to be done—without posing a threat to the reproducing males of the community. And the gay uncle would be more likely to help their own kin who would share more of their DNA that might get passed down. Another theory is that the genes could have been passed down by bisexuals rather than strictly homosexuals.

Another important consideration is that genes aren't always strictly binary. Some genes have more than one purpose or are linked to the expression of other genes. So the gay gene could be essentially tagging along with another essential gene that has a stronger evolutionary purpose and that outweighs the negatives of potentially producing some gay offspring that don't reproduce. Some genes also interact with the environment and only get expressed under certain conditions, or they change how they are expressed as the environment changes. Our environment has changed quite a bit since the advent of agriculture and more advanced technology. One example of an environmental change that could potentially affect our genes is bottle feeding (just as a random example).

Of course, these are all just ideas. Nobody has proved anything that I know of. But it goes to show that there are possible scientific explanations.
"Not all those who wander are lost" —Tolkien

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cwald
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Post by cwald » 15 Jan 2014, 18:10

Science has made it quite clear, at least IMO, that SSA is biological. The science will prove that between 5-7% of all mammal species experience SSA.

Science also tells us that the more boys a female conceives, the more likely that off spring will have SSA. Has something to do with the exposure to estrogen through the placenta....

This, IMO, is evolution....nature countering the affects of an influx of males in a species.

There is a BYU professor who did a fantastic presentation on this science. What is his name?

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