Departing the Text: Changes to Elder Packer’s Conference Talk – UPDATED

MCQ - October 7, 2010

As I thought might happen, the text version of Elder Packer’s controversial talk from conference was changed from the spoken version.  There are two (in my view) very important changes made to the text at the most controversial passage of the talk.  I want to discuss what the changes mean, whether you think they went too far or not far enough, and any other thoughts you might have about the changes. 

UPDATE: The full transcript, with changes shown, is available at Mormons for Marriage. HT: Heather.

Here are the two versions of the talk:

The version spoken in conference and transcribed by a random John at Mormon Mentality:

We teach the standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes and 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. Some suppose that they were pre-set, 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 Father.

Paul promised, “God will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (paraphrased I Cor 10:13)

You can if you will, break the habits, and conquer the addiction, and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must watch and pray continually. Isaiah warned of them that call evil good and good evil. That put darkness for light and light for darkness. That put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

The text version on LDS.org today:

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.”

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.

Paul promised that “God . . . will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”14 You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must “watch and pray continually.”

Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

I haven’t compared the other parts of the talk yet, so there may be more changes, but this is the most controversial passage. 

What do the changes mean?  To me, the change from the word “tendencies” to the word “temptations” is highly significant.  It reflects the fact that the Church is not comfortable with saying that some “tendencies” are not “preset.”  This is an important change to the original version that ought to be celebrated.

Second, the rhetorical question “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” was simply deleted.  This is also important, since that question is highly suspect as a rhetorical device.  It gives rise to all kinds of further questions which are not relevant to the subject of the talk, and not easily answerable.

Overall, I’m grateful for the changes, as I see them reaffirming the distinction the Church has drawn between attraction and behavior.  It is not sinful to have sexual attractions, only to have sexual relationships outside of marriage.  One could even read the changes as bringing the talk closer to being completely about pornography and taking the issue of homosexuality completely out of it. 

How do you read these changes?

 

283 Comments »

  1. Wow. Interesting! Looks like they should have correlated BKP’s talk before he gave it.

    Comment by ECS — October 7, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  2. Good moves. The remove much of the doubt about the church’s position on the attractions vs. actions issue.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

  3. Someone needs to call the HRC and call off the campaign against BKP.

    Comment by ECS — October 7, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  4. Well, I admire your skill to see the glass “half full.”

    I agree with your analysis of the changes as clarifications.

    I am not terribly thrilled. To me, it also seems like they are publishing a significantly different message and pretending that’s what Packer said or meant, since no clarification is offered. I think to not make reference of the significant changes, or in other words, to not disclose openly that this publication is Revision B of the talk violates my sense of ethics.

    It’s like a clever way to avoid an obvious “oops, I take that back.” Except not having to admit anything needed to be taken back, but simply sending the message “that’s not what I said, instead, this is what I said,” and well, that is not true and seems a familiar technique used by the prideful to not admit any wrongdoing or mistake.

    The Church can now adopt the position: “Huh? What? When was homosexuality mentioned? We don’t have record of that being said…” Similar to “I don’t know that we teach that…”

    I don’t know. I am not thrilled. This shady handling of rhetoric is kind of tiresome. I have downloaded the talk, so I can have record of what was actually said. I am grateful they kept the digital sound files. If it wasn’t for them, and for the efforts others have done in transcribing the actual talk, what was actually said would have been lost to a clever cover-up.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

  5. Does he mean “Conquer the *physical/ outward* addiction?”

    -=

    “Why would Heavenly Father *do* that to anyone?”

    Who says Heavenly Father would “do” that to anyone?; what about “allow” that to happen?

    Why would Heavenly Father “do” war, murder, famine, birth defects, illnesses, etc. to those who don’t deserve it?

    I wonder if someone asked President Packer why in the world he goes around with oxygen, he should just pray with faith and get rid of it, why would Heavenly Father do that to anyone, He’s our father, it might …?

    Big difference between “do” and “allow”.

    Comment by grego — October 7, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

  6. Thanks for the heads up. I hope you’ll take a closer look at other points from the talk.

    *sigh* I’m afraid that I think Manuel has some good points about the changes being a little problematic.

    I personally, when I heard him pose the Why would HF do that to anyone question, wondered in that moment if that was an ad libbed comment. To me it sounded so, but very well could have been just part of the prepared remarks. Probably no telling, but interesting that that part changed.

    Comment by Jared T. — October 7, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  7. The arm of Correlation has grown long, indeed, if they can send a memo to the President of the Twelve and change the content of his published General Conference talk. It would be nice if Correlation (or whoever is pulling the strings) would issue an explanation.

    New entry for the Correlation Stylebook for General Authorities: The use of rhetorical questions is strongly discouraged.

    Comment by Dave — October 7, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

  8. Come on Manuel. A “cover up”? You think recordings of the talk will just disappear from the earth? Or that no one will remember the conniptions people have been having about the talk? That is ludicrous.

    Further, do you really think the text of the talk would be changed without the consent of the President of the 12? Also silly. Not everything is a conspiracy.

    This is real life not the X-Files. And despite Dave’s fears, the faceless Correlation boogeyman is not pulling all the strings in the church. Real people make these decisions and Elder Packer surely was part of that decision making process.

    Having said that, I do think the point about not openly retracting, clarifying or explaining is short-sighted. Especially in light of all the hub-bub this caused.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  9. I think they need to clarify why they felt like having this discrepancy remain for the foreseeable future between the written word and the spoken word. They can’t go back and edit the video and audio. And in this day and age when the church is not in charge of disseminating written word, why do they think this will work?

    I think the change is for the better, but he never should have said those words in the first place. As BiV noted over on Times and Seasons, President Packer has not minced words before on this subject, so no one should really be surprised. It seems that everyone else has moved well past his type of rhetoric on the subject.

    Comment by Dan — October 7, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  10. Given the, um, resurgence of the 14 points, I wish this statement by Monson in the General Relief Society Meeting was getting more play than Packer’s rhetorical question.

    I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.
    I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others. There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action.

    Comment by Deborah — October 7, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  11. Agree completely, Geoff.

    for those who are unaware, this is far from the first time that the published version of a talk has differed from the original. My understanding of the process is that it would involve discussions between the author of the talk and the first presidency and apostles. Changes would not have been made without Elder Packer’s input and consent. It is unlikely to have involved the correlation committee.

    Comment by MCQ — October 7, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

  12. In my experience, it’s pretty much SOP for speakers, reviewers, and editors to make revisions in published proceedings of conferences, rather than use an unedited transcript of the oral presentation. At least that’s standard procedure in the sciences.

    Comment by Left Field — October 7, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  13. Dan, what do you mean by “work.” They’re not trying to fool people. The published version of the talk is the official version. That’s all. The FP and the 12, with the presumed agreement of Elder Packer, felt that these changes were necessary before the talk was officially published by the Church. End of conspiracy.

    Comment by MCQ — October 7, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  14. Amen to MCQ and Geoff J. When Elder Packer said something like “we have nothing to apologize for” during the October 2006 Conference, the statement was missing from the transcript version of the talk. During a subsequent discussion at BCC Connor Boyack mentioned that he asked the guy in charge of the lds.org archives about it and got the following answer:

    The text posted online has been reviewed by the speakers after the conference. They sometimes contain minor edits to make them ready for publication.

    See here.

    Comment by Mephibosheth — October 7, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

  15. Geoff J,

    Interestingly (or should I say ironically?), you were accusing someone in Mormon Mentality (same topic) about putting words in Packer’s mouth because you obviously ignored that he actually said that and that those were is very own words.

    I am going to venture and speculate that your ignorance can be linked to the fact that the little factories talk is one of those controversial talks that the Church has quietly removed from their files; therefore, naive Mormons like you don’t even know they exist.

    You are the poster child of the effects of the type of cover-up I am talking about. And no, this doesn’t have to do with science fiction, the x-files, the boogeyman, or any of your ridiculous attempts at linking our comments to fantasy (clever aren’t you) to discredit, minimize or dismiss them.

    You can probably go talk to a librarian to find out how many people revisit audio files for a topic when transcripts are available. People go to the text in the vast majority of cases.

    You are disingenuous to suggest the audio files will be have the usage of written media. Of course, thanks to the Church, a transcript doesn’t exist per say… but a sanitized version with a different message.

    Additionally, I never suggested they made any changes without the consent of Packer.

    Definition of cover-up:
    a : a device or stratagem for masking or concealing.
    b : a usually concerted effort to keep an illegal or unethical act or situation from being made public

    Nice try.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

  16. I just did the whole talk using the Track Changes feature on Word.

    Comment by Heather — October 7, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

  17. MCQ and Left Field,

    I am also aware of that practice, with the exception of when the edited versions change the actual substance and essence of the message, in which case, proper documentation is also the practice.

    That change of substance and essence of the message is what is taking place in the case of Packer’s talk. Add to that the context of recent events surrounding this talk and regarding this topic and I think your claim loses quite a bit of validity.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  18. Manuel,

    If you were subscribed to the official LDS YouTube channel (MormonMessages), you would already have a copy of Elder Packer’s spoken talk in your lineup. You can watch it here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C1wUI5xuhs

    It’s got the original language.

    Some “cover-up.”

    Comment by Seth R. — October 7, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

  19. Manuel: consider this a friendly warning. Your suggestions that these changes are somehow unethical or part of a cover-up are stupid, and have been answered. Further comments of that nature will be deleted. Thanks.

    Comment by MCQ — October 7, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  20. Thank you Seth. I hope quotes in articles, essays, books, dissertations and such give a link to your youtube lineup, instead of the official transcript published. You are right, I am such an explosive and exaggerated individual. I just didn’t have that vision before. Thanks for clarifying.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

  21. MCQ,

    I’m not going to belabor the point much more, as I actually agree that those words needed to be removed. The difference between previous times when a sermon was edited for clarity and this time is that in this case, the words changed or removed actually caused harm and were controversial, and it gives credibility to those who charge that the words were removed from the “official” version so as to back away from that controversy. There still remains the video which will still have the controversial words in it.

    Comment by Dan — October 7, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

  22. Manuel (#15),

    I was right over in that Mormon Mentality thread when I contended that the spoken version of the talk was not conniption worthy. Even in spoken form it didn’t actually say what critics were hoping it said. (Critics and DAMU types hoped it said awful things so they could pounce all over it). But parts of the talk were somewhat ambiguous before. These edits simply validate my point over at that other thread about what Elder Packer really meant.

    Second, I have read the little factories talk before. But I don’t have it memorized like the some of the Packer-obsessed critics out there. The bulk of the criticism this week has rested on the assumption that Elder Packer has had zero change in his opinions in the last 35 years. Since he was involved in the editing of this talk, that already questionable assumption is even more suspect today than it was yesterday.

    As for your complaints about differences between the spoken versions versus written version, see comments 11,12, and 14 here. (Sorry to burst your bubble on the conspiracy theory and all).

    And as for your argument based on the definition of a cover up… FAIL. The talk is already very, very public at this point. It is way too late for a “cover up”. But nice try Agent Mulder.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

  23. MCQ, I am sorry you are offended by my opinion. I didn’t think it was out of line with many other opinions of old time commenters here and elsewhere in the nacle.

    I know there have been responses, it is just natural for me to explain why some of those responses don’t hold.

    Sorry if in the process I crossed the line of appropriateness.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

  24. I am also aware of that practice, with the exception of when the edited versions change the actual substance and essence of the message, in which case, proper documentation is also the practice.

    Nope. Not even close. Published versions of scientific presentations are revised by their authors for publication and then go through peer review. Both authors and reviewers may make or recommend substantial revisions, possibly even modifying the conclusions of the report. The oral presentation is not peer-reviewed; the published version is. And there is never any indication of changes that might have been made during the review process, any more than any scientific publication makes note of revisions made in the first draft. Nobody (except you, evidently) expects an oral presentation to meet the standards of a peer-reviewed publication.

    Comment by Left Field — October 7, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  25. Geoff J,

    I agree with you about the extreme portrayal of harsh critics of the talk as hateful. I agree with you they are wrong and out of line with what was actually communicated in the talk.

    I don’t know about his change of mind over the last 34 years. It seems to me that if he did, why then did he said what he said, and why then is this being corrected after an endless uproar of media criticism? Why not correct it 48 hours ago and not let it go from the pulpit? I am still not sure about those assertions that he meant something different. Sorry.

    As for your reference of 11, 12 and 14. 17 is why those explanations don’t hold water for me. Sorry.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  26. Left Field, OK. I guess I have different expectations from a man sustained by a congregation as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator; whose congregation uses his words as the guidance from God to light their lives, than I have for scientific research. I still believe proper documentation is due in this case. Call it wrong, call it not the practice, call it whatever you want, but that is how I feel.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  27. OK, if that’s how you feel. But if a congregation was using my words as the guidance from God to light their lives, I’d sure as heck want the opportunity to review the written version prior to publication to make sure it says what I want it to say. That’s how I feel.

    Comment by Left Field — October 7, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

  28. Fine, I guess we simply differ in the point in time when the revision has to be made.

    Comment by Manuel — October 7, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

  29. I agree with Manuel on this one. The written changes change the meaning of the spoken word too much.

    Comment by LasoLet — October 7, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  30. Lasolet,

    The edits clarified the meanings of those ambiguous passages. The fact that you think it changed the meanings just shows how much that clarification was needed.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  31. I liked the way he said things before, and wasn’t at all confused or bothered by it. I thought the distinction between same-sex attraction and same-sex behavior was clear in his talk.

    I’m disappointed they changed it, but it isn’t a big deal. The message seems pretty much the same to me.

    Comment by James — October 7, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  32. Isn’t it troubling to anyone that one of the men proclaimed to be closest to the Spirit, speaking in the name of God, has to revise his words? That is, if he is a mouthpiece of God, what went wrong? I agree that minor changes in wording or grammar are totally OK to edit post-talk. But, white-washing it so that it isn’t as offensive and more politically correct doesn’t seem like a process that would need to happen if this man was speaking the word of God.

    Comment by WhiteShirtandTie — October 7, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

  33. The edits changed the meaning of the passages – there was nothing ambiguous about them.

    Comment by LasoLet — October 7, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

  34. Geoff J, Packer’s key argument is eviscerated by these changes. To the extant that you disagree with his argument (like I do), these changes validate your position. But the fact that it was changed constitutes a repudiation of his argument, not a clarification.

    Your conclusion that this is what Packer meant to begin with is preposterous. It’s like trying to argue that Harold B. Lee wasn’t being racist when he argued in 1960 that blacks shouldn’t be admitted to BYU or objected in 1969 to a black student receiving a BYU scholarship.

    I also resent your assumption that anyone who has a problem with Packer’s talk is not listening with an open heart and mind. On the contrary, you seem to be the person here who insists that GA’s only say things that suit your prejudices.

    Comment by DKL — October 7, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

  35. Departing the Text: Changes to Elder Packer’s Conference Talk…

    It is not uncommon for minor changes to show up between the printed versions of General Conference talks and the talk as it was given orally in conference. Some interesting changes were made to the printed version of Boyd K. Packer’s controversial tal…

    Trackback by yourmon.org — October 7, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

  36. I should add, Geoff, that there’s a reason they the Church Office Building has received thousands of calls over the past 2 days concerning Packer’s talk.

    Comment by DKL — October 7, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

  37. MCQ,

    Thanks for posting this. That way I don’t have to.

    I am glad that the problematic rhetorical question was removed.

    I am concerned that the central ambiguity remains in the edited text. What exactly is being supposed and what exactly is “Not so!”? That could have been clarified and wasn’t.

    I am not sure about the temptations/tendencies switch. So is the claim now that some people are come with “inborn temptations”? Is that how we’re going to classify homosexuality? As an inborn temptation?

    I agree that getting rid of the implication that “tendencies” can’t be inborn is a positive step, but is this that much better?

    Comment by a random John — October 7, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

  38. BlueShirtandAscot,
    Dude, either you’re setting yourself up for major disappointment or you’re a troll. For a variety of reasons I’m inclined to think the latter. But to humor you, I will just say that leadership in the Church is not the black and white world you think it is.

    All,
    Of course the edits changed the meaning, that’s why they edited them. That is a clear sign that the Church intends a different message. According to all of those who are “troubled” by this, isn’t this a GOOD thing??? That the Church DOESN’T want that other message out there? So it’s disingenuous to be bothered by the change. The only thing left to argue is whether or not they should call out the fact that a change has been made. My opinion is no because it would be distracting to anyone without the context.

    Comment by Rusty — October 7, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

  39. #7 Dave-

    As others have stated, it’s not that uncommon for edits to be made before publication of the text. Talks by all general authorities and officers given in the conference are reviewed prior to publication and at times clarifications are suggested. However, recognizing that we sustain the First Presidency and Twelve as prophets and seers, they are excluded from that requirement. The only way that President Packer’s comments would have been edited is if he took it upon himself to make his intent more clear, or it was suggested to him by the First Presidency. This wouldn’t have come from some former institute director in the correlation department.

    Comment by BigOC — October 7, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

  40. Obviously, it’s good for the speakers to have an opportunity to review their talks before the “official” written version goes out to millions of members in the mail to be used as the basis of Sunday School lessons, cross-stitch pillows, etc…

    That said, given the news generated by this talk, the Church should be forthright about edits made to the talk.

    The flaw with the comparison conference proceedings in peer-reviewed journals is that the community reading those journals has no delusion that what they are reading is the same as what was said. In most cases there is even a disclaimer noting that the content of the article is not identical to the content of the presentation.

    I am confident that most members believe that the Ensign/Liahona contains the text read by Packer and others. If the Church wishes to do anything beyond copy editing of the most basic sort, it should clearly disclose to readers that what they are reading is different from what was presented in conference.

    Comment by Zack — October 7, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

  41. Laslolet #33 — I think you are wrong. The talk was ambiguous before but it certainly didn’t mean something different than the printed version. The printed version is what I argued he meant all along.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  42. DKL #34 — I think you are wrong. The talk was ambiguous before but it certainly didn’t mean something different than the printed version. The printed version is what I argued he meant all along. Just because you couldn’t figure out what he meant before the edits doesn’t mean I couldn’t.

    As for the open heart and mind thing — that has nothing to do with me.

    (#36) Yes, the reason people were having a conniption about the talk was because Elder Packer has a rep and his critics were waiting for a misstep to pounce. Unfortunately for them the text of the spoken talk didn’t even say what they hoped he was saying. But it was sloppy enough to some clarifications in the final version are useful in showing what he meant.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  43. I completely agree on the merit of striking the sentence that reads “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”

    Comment by Mark D. — October 7, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  44. Rusty #38 — Ol’ WhiteShirt is pretty clearly a troll.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

  45. The truth is simply that the talk was edited because as delivered it was unacceptable.

    Comment by DKL — October 7, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  46. I think that goes without saying DKL. I mean if Elder Packer found it acceptable he wouldn’t have made those clarifications right?

    Comment by Geoff J — October 7, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

  47. Elder Packer found it acceptable as delivered, because he delivered it. Adverse reaction led to a reconsideration. Whether Packer edited it or someone else edited the talk, the changes clearly accommodate the emergent need for the talk to be more moderate in tone.

    Comment by DKL — October 7, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  48. arJ:

    I didn’t read the change as saying that homosexuality is an inborn “temptation.” Rather I read the change as editing out any possible reference to homosexuality; or at least homosexual attraction.

    Note that homosexuality, same sex attraction, or any other references to orientation are found nowhere in the text, before or after the change. Yet, in the original version, it appeared that, when Elder Packer referred to “tendencies,” he was making a reference to homosexuality. With the change to “temptations,” it’s much less possible to read that section as referring to homosexuality at all. If it is referring to homosexuality, it’s referring only to the temptation to engage in sex outside of marriage, not the attraction to members of the same sex. But the section could now be just as easily read as applying to temptations in general.

    Certainly many might feel that they have temptations toward certain sins as part of their makeup, and might feel that these temptations cannot be overcome. This talk says otherwise.

    And now it cannot be read as denying that SSA has a biological component. It was not totally clear before that Elder Packer was denying that, but it was a possible (some would say likely) reading. Now, that reading is an impossibility.

    That’s my take on it.

    Comment by MCQ — October 7, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

  49. The truth is simply that the talk was edited because as delivered it was unacceptable.

    The talks are read over and reviewed before they are given to millions of people in a broadcast. It is obvious that the church is trying to smooth over what he said in an attempt to pacify those who are upset over his harsh words.

    Why didn’t they change it before he delivered it to millions of people on live TV? Oh, thats right, because he was defending Prop 8. The church wasn’t ready for the backlash. Whoops.

    I think its horrible they changed the words. Its just more proof that the leadership of the church is living in a bubble and has no idea how damaging correlation can be once the truth comes out. 20 years down the line some gay kid is going to hear the original quote rather than read the PR friendly version and feel like he’s broken beyond repair and get suicidal over it. Its not right that Pres. Packer was allowed to say any of it in the first place.

    Comment by Anon — October 7, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

  50. The edits clarified the meanings of those ambiguous passages. The fact that you think it changed the meanings just shows how much that clarification was needed.

    There was no ambiguity. Infact, it was very clear what he meant to say. God doesn’t make broken people, and all things can be solved with faith, prayer, and priesthood power. That doesn’t sound the least bit ambiguous to me.

    It is very obvious that they are changing the meaning because of the response they received from members and non members who were saddened and hurt by what he said because he refuted claims that homosexuals are biologically born gay.

    Comment by Anon — October 8, 2010 @ 12:18 am

  51. Its not right that Pres. Packer was allowed to say any of it in the first place.

    Right or wrong, apostles do not take kindly to the suggestion that they are not “allowed” to say things. That doesn’t mean they aren’t open to suggestions from trusted reviewers of course. The idea that an informal review process is going to prevent anything contrary to the position of the Church to be mentioned even in passing is unsupportable.

    Individuals have a diversity of opinion, and ultimately the _speaker_ not the organization he represents is responsible for what he says, due to the extemporaneous nature of speaking. When it comes to the printed version, both are responsible and both have veto power (to the point of withdrawing from publication in some cases) just like an author and a publisher.

    Comment by Mark D. — October 8, 2010 @ 12:24 am

  52. members and non members who were saddened and hurt by what he said because he refuted claims that homosexuals are biologically born gay

    That is not even close to what he said, which was rather that God would not cause/allow individuals to have irresistable tendencies to the improper. Wording aside he quoted an excellent scripture on that subject, one that is more than germane to anyone who takes the New Testament seriously.

    Comment by Mark D. — October 8, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  53. Perhaps questions like “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” are part of the unwritten order of things!

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 12:29 am

  54. I thought Mormons were supposed to be honest in all their dealing with other people. So, how is revising what he said being honest? To be honest, the text version should say exactly what he said.

    Comment by Frank — October 8, 2010 @ 12:39 am

  55. Critics and DAMU types hoped it said awful things so they could pounce all over it

    Oh, please. I can’t speak for the entire DAMU, but the people I know certainly did not want BKP to give that talk or anything like it. That is an unfair and unfounded accusation. And if there does exist a person out there who actually was hoping that BKP would say things that would make the church look bad, it’s still not the critics’ fault that BKP chose to say what he did.

    Comment by chanson — October 8, 2010 @ 1:09 am

  56. What are the chances that the phrase “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” was not in the original address as intended for delivery, but rather that BKP improvised that line as he was delivering the talk? Perhaps the talk published on the church website is more in line with what was intended to be delivered. The church has these talks weeks in advance and sends them out early for translation. Perhaps someone with an original version (pre-delivery) would be willing to step forward and set the record straight?

    Comment by Mister Curie — October 8, 2010 @ 1:39 am

  57. I don’t think the correlation committee changed the talk. I suspect that it was reviewed by the correlation prior to the delivery. The changes were made, I suspect, because other members of the 12 or 1st Pres. were unhappy with it.

    Comment by Aaron R. — October 8, 2010 @ 1:43 am

  58. In contexts where the spoken word is important, the typical disclaimer for printed texts distributed in advance (admittedly, not a feature of GC) is to “check against delivery.” Once the texts have been delivered, corrected and reissued, they are marked “as delivered.” Even if the latter is not always 100% true, it is the version that the speaker is going to be held to. At any rate, it strikes me as a useful clarification in certain circles where even an inartful comma can ignite a dispute.

    the reason people were having a conniption about the talk was because Elder Packer has a rep and his critics were waiting for a misstep to pounce.

    First, is “conniption” the new “inane”?

    Second, attributing cynical motives to your opponents is no doubt satisfying but ultimately says more about you than them.

    Comment by Peter LLC — October 8, 2010 @ 2:59 am

  59. @51. “Individuals have a diversity of opinion, and ultimately the _speaker_ not the organization he represents is responsible for what he says, due to the extemporaneous nature of speaking.”
    Just to be clear, are you saying that the church has no responsibility for what is said by the president of the 12? And that in a GC talk a GA may express an opinion that diverges from the views of the church?

    If Pres Packer did express an opinion that is not endorsed by the Church, would the correct thing to do not have been to issue a retraction/explanation immediately after the conference?

    Comment by malkie — October 8, 2010 @ 4:51 am

  60. I am a little surprised that some seem to be upset or take issue with the fact that the final, printed version of the talk has been amended to clarify what Elder Packer intended to say.

    Even before the changes to the print version, it was not clear that Elder Packer intended to ignore the orientation/action distinction that seems to be the current position of the Church on the issue of homosexuality.

    Now in the printer version it is very clear that the talk does not alter that position — the orientation/action distinction does not really come into the picture now because the word “tendencies” was changed to “temptations”, which fits better with the quote from Paul in the very next paragraph anyway. Perhaps the talk as written in advance of conference even had the word “temptation” and Elder Packer just fumbled it in the delivery.

    As we see in the print version (and as many interpreted already from the oral version), Elder Packer is saying that God has not created people to be unable to resisttemptations, whether temptations to engage in homosexual intimacy or heterosexual intimacy outside of marriage, or any other of the non-sex-related things people are tempted to do that are contrary to God’s will (stealing, lying, corruption, greed, slander, hypocrisy, violence, abuse, murder, etc.)

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 5:51 am

  61. I think the change from tendencies to temptations is trivial at best.

    I think removing the rhetorical question is the biggy. This gets in to the whole problem of evil and creation out of nothing.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — October 8, 2010 @ 5:54 am

  62. I think the changes are highly significant. And I see it from two different angles.

    First, the overall edits are good from the Church as a whole’s perspective. Packer’s unedited comments did not, IMHO, reflect the doctrine, gospel, or opinion of the church in general or many of its members. On the whole, the organization and the majority of the members are good, loving, compassionate people who dilligently practice their beliefs to the best of their ability. I have to applaud the church for making the “official” version more in line with what I feel the church stands for.

    On the other side, it signifies to me the extent that President Packer stepped out of line. He knew it (if he had consent to edit the final draft), the others leaders knew it, and it was wrong. Those changes, while insignificant to some, are the difference between night and day to others. His message as a whole was not wrong, nor should he be repudated for trying to instill higher moral values for his congregation. However, he, as a general authority should have known better than to state such aside comments as those that were edited.

    Either way, I am very happy to see the edits (and have the originals), and to have clarification for the world on the church’s stance. Whether right or wrong in anyone’s mind, I think its perfectly okay for any organization to clarify it position despite one man’s words.

    Comment by Arik — October 8, 2010 @ 6:10 am

  63. There is no point in speculating about what Elder Packer “meant” to say. No one here really knows. While we can debate what his words as delivered are most reasonably read to mean, none of us can crawl into his head to see what he was actually thinking. Further, no one here really knows why the printed version of the talk was revised or what motives there may have been for making the changes. Perhaps Elder Packer simply misread his prepared script, perhaps he was improvising and later thought better of it, perhaps President Monson was disturbed by the language and insisted on the change even though Elder Packer still stands by it. The fact is we just don’t know. For better or worse, all we have to go on is the text. And I, for one, am delighted by the revisions. Like arJ, I don’t know that they completely resolve the ambiguity, but they are a substantial improvement and bring his words more clearly in line with the church’s current position. I say well done.

    And Geoff, give the overheated rhetoric a rest.

    Comment by Randy B. — October 8, 2010 @ 6:23 am

  64. Well, as long as we have access to the original, I guess it’s a good thing the changes were made — especially since I have no desire to see the Proclamation referred to as an official revelation. I much prefer the word “guide.”

    However, as I said elsewhere, I find all of this parsing of Elder Packer’s talk fascinating. I don’t see how anyone can suggest that his meaning wasn’t clear when he has addressed the subject in so many other public venues. For example:

    “It is wrong! It is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression. 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. Do not be misled by those who whisper that it is part of your nature and therefore right for you. That is false doctrine!” (Boyd K. Packer, Devotional Speeches of The Year, Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1978, pp. 33-34)

    He has said this over and over in Conference talks and speeches all over the Church. All Elder Packer needs do now is allude to the subject, and his meaning is obvious.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 8, 2010 @ 6:39 am

  65. I, personally, think that Elder Packer was talking about much more than homosexuality, and that people read it that way because they are looking for something to argue and something to use as a weapon.

    “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

    For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

    Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

    Isaiah 29

    I know this will probably offend a lot of people, but I think that homosexuality is really a very small issue in an eternal sense. Far more important is an understanding of the Atonement and a demonstration of charity.

    Comment by SilverRain — October 8, 2010 @ 6:40 am

  66. An equally interesting change is in the third paragraph, where the phrase “It qualifies according to scriptural definition as a revelation” (referring to The Family: A Proclamation to the World) was removed.

    Comment by zytines — October 8, 2010 @ 6:44 am

  67. Also, we should now use the priesthood to “combat evil influences” rather than “cast out these influences.”

    Comment by zytines — October 8, 2010 @ 6:45 am

  68. Finally, and this is much less significant since it’s not really a change to the talk itself, the key quote from the talk online (the one they use as a kind of subtitle to give a quick summary of the topic) yesterday was “To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.” Today, it’s “Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance.”

    Comment by zytines — October 8, 2010 @ 6:48 am

  69. Religious leaders are supposed to protect and shelter children, Silver Rain. Instead, Packer tells them that they an unnatural abomination that will never have access to salvation.

    Imagine what it would be like to grow up as a faithful, gay, Mormon child.

    The sad thing is that the greater your faith, the more you will suffer from the many aggressive and irrational statements by Boyd Packer about our children and neighbors.

    That might be a minor thing to you but Jesus was quite clear that anything that we do to the little ones, we might as well have done to him.

    Comment by Hellmut — October 8, 2010 @ 6:52 am

  70. zytines #68, I think that’s a VERY significant change. It takes his remarks out of the political arena completely.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 8, 2010 @ 6:56 am

  71. Can’t…stop…commenting. Sorry.

    I found it interesting that while they were making edits, they didn’t fix this apparent contradiction:

    “In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay.”

    “Sometimes, even after confession and paying penalties, the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive one’s self.”

    Comment by zytines — October 8, 2010 @ 6:57 am

  72. BiV #70 — To clarify, this was not a change to the talk itself. The political statement regarding legalizing immorality is still intact in the body of the talk. Therefore, I don’t think this takes his remarks out of the political arena, it just shifts a bit of emphasis to repentance rather than politics.

    Comment by zytines — October 8, 2010 @ 7:00 am

  73. BiV # 64, that quote, as aggressive as it is, does not ignore the orientation/action distinction. It affirms Elder Packer’s belief that engaging in homosexual sex is wrong no matter what, even if society says that engaging in homosexual sex is not wrong because homosexuality is natural, i.e. inborn. But this is still focused on actions rather than orientation.

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 7:05 am

  74. Way back on #16, someone said they had a track-changes document of the whole thing. Is that accessible anywhere? It would be fantastic to have such a document for all general conference talks. The hosting website could be called something like: Conference Correlated or something.

    #6 and #56–Sorry, you’ll just have to take my word for it, but I have it on good authority that the question Why would HF do that? was in the prepared remarks.

    #64, wow, its really interesting that the reference to the Proc being revelation was changed to guide.

    Comment by You Know — October 8, 2010 @ 7:11 am

  75. I agree with Chanson. The people that I know want to create a save space for our beautiful Mormon children. That’s why we were excited about Elder Jensen’s words in California.

    To us, Boyd Packer’s talk was a disaster because it endangered children.

    Comment by Hellmut — October 8, 2010 @ 7:11 am

  76. John #73, I don’t have space here, but Packer has taught his views on orientation in many, many places. Here is a more specific quote, if you like, which focuses on orientation rather than actions:

    “Is this tendency impossible to change? Is it preset at the time of birth and locked in? Do you just have to live with it? For example, the shutter of an expensive camera is calibrated at the factory and cannot be adjusted in the field. If such a camera, by chance, is thrown out of calibration or damaged, it cannot be fixed locally. It must eventually go back to the factory, for only there can it be put in order. Is perversion like that? The answer is a conclusive no! It is not like that.

    Some so-called experts, and many of those who have yielded to the practice, teach that it is congenital and incurable and that one just has to learn to live with it. They can point to a history of very little success in trying to put whatever mechanism that causes this back into proper adjustment. They have, to support them, some very convincing evidence. Much of the so-called scientific literature concludes that there really is not much that can be done about it.

    I reject that conclusion out of hand. And there is a very sensible reason. How can a conclusion on a matter like this be valid when the studies have ignored the part of our nature most affected by it? It has not been fully studied as a moral and a spiritual disorder.

    It is not unchangeable. It is not locked in. One does not just have to yield to it and live with it. Test it against moral law and you learn something very quickly. 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. If that were so (and it is not), it would stand out as a strange and peculiar exception, one that can be applied to none other of the kinds of mischief that relate to the power of procreation. Such a thing is totally inconsistent.

    The Lord does not work by exceptions. He works by rules. Put a moral or a spiritual test upon it and the needle flips conclusively to the indicator and says “correctable.” Almost every major physical disease was once thought to be incurable but yields now that the cause is fully known and the right combination of remedies is applied.

    When we understand fundamental moral law better than we do, we will be able to correct this condition routinely. The solution to this problem rests with the “thou shalts” and the “thou shalt nots.”

    If someone is heavily involved in perversion, it becomes very important to him to believe that it is incurable. Can you not see that those who preach that doctrine do so to justify themselves? … You hear them claiming that a large percentage of the population is involved, in one way or another, with this activity. Do not be deceived. If you are one of the few who are subject tot his temptation, do not be misled into believing that you are a captive to it. That is false doctrine! (To the One, Address given to the Twelve Stake Fireside, Brigham Young University, March 5, 1978)

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 8, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  77. BiV, I was addressing your choice of quotation in # 64, not Elder Packer’s entire ouvre. . . .

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 7:22 am

  78. Sorry for changing the subject, but the following change in the talk (about the Family Proclamation) made me really happy too:

    “It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it.” was changed to now read:

    “It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.”

    Thank you church for demoting the family proc from ‘revelation’ to a ‘guide.’

    Comment by Geoff N — October 8, 2010 @ 7:32 am

  79. John, #77, but that is my point. Packer’s remarks in conference need to be put into the context of his entire oeuvre. Given what he has said in the past, his words were not subtle and/or ambiguous. They were very clear to members who have been listening to him preach on the subject for the past 48 years.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 8, 2010 @ 7:35 am

  80. BiV, his words, even in the oral talk, were not entirely clear. They did not clearly repudiate the orientation/action distinction, even though certainly very inartfully expressed. The print version is much clearer and manifestly does not repudiate the orientation/action distinction that more or less constitutes the Church’s position on the issue.

    Elder Packer’s oral talk should have been received in the context of the Church’s current position rather than in the context of Elder Packer’s own past positions. We can make a safe assumption that Elder Packer himself is not going to attempt to steer a new course for the Church through a conference talk. As you know, these days there is an immense amount of importance among the General Authorities put on unity, so Elder Packer would not have been articulating a position out of line with statements by Elders Oaks, Holland, Wickman, Jensen, etc. relating to the orientation/action distinction.

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 7:40 am

  81. I was going to engage in speculating about what Packer really meant, but Randy B convinced me not to. Then BiV and zytines pointed out the change to how the Proclamation is characterized. This is not the first time Packer has tried to elevate it to quasi-canonical status. That it has been downgraded in this transcript from “revelation” to “guide” is very telling. It means the Proclamation will not be canonized any time soon.

    Comment by Last Lemming — October 8, 2010 @ 7:53 am

  82. John, #80
    Thank you for your reply. I am not confident that the Church has clearly articulated an official current position on the issue of homosexual orientation, other than what the Proclamation states (gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity). This seems to me to validate BKP’s statements over the years. Perhaps you could elucidate upon what you consider the Church’s official current position? I am open to correction on this point.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 8, 2010 @ 7:55 am

  83. I suspect John here is referring to Elder Oaks’s statement: “The church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions – whether nature or nurture – those are things the church doesn’t have a position on.”

    Comment by Randy B. — October 8, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  84. OH, so their position is that they don’t have a position.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 8, 2010 @ 8:05 am

  85. BiV, to my understanding, the Church’s current position is that the causes for homosexuality are not well understood but even if inborn (the result of a genetic characteristic or biological inputs) it is against God’s will to engage in homosexual sex. This is the orientation/action distinction. It’s the old “being attracted to a member of the same sex is not a sin but acting on those feelings is”. I’ve seen this distinction respected in practice with gay Mormons who hold callings etc. In other words, they acknowledge they are gay but live a life of sexual celibacy.

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 8:09 am

  86. Thank you for the clarification, John. I still think it is difficult for members to receive President Packer’s words “in the context of the Church’s current position rather than in the context of [his] own past positions,” when they have been so public and so strident.

    Hopefully members will see the editing and softening of the talk as a repudiation of these past harsh remarks, however, I still think Packer’s choice to even skate close to the subject at this time was ill-advised.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 8, 2010 @ 8:21 am

  87. #85: It is also the official Honor Code policy at BYU. Students may be gay, and that may be freely known, and they are not out of harmony with the Honor Code. But they must be totally celibate, including no kissing etc, and not advocate that homosexual acts are not immoral.

    Comment by Cynthia L. — October 8, 2010 @ 8:26 am

  88. With the change to “temptations,” it’s much less possible to read that section as referring to homosexuality at all. If it is referring to homosexuality, it’s referring only to the temptation to engage in sex outside of marriage, not the attraction to members of the same sex. But the section could now be just as easily read as applying to temptations in general.

    I agree. I read the official version talk last night and tried to imagine how I would have understood it not knowing the background of the talk he actually gave. And as I read (the printed version of) the talk I thought primarily about cohabitation — a far more serious problem in the church than homosexuality ever will be. In that context, his comments about laws legalizing immorality could just as well refer to California’s marijuana initiative, abortion or liberalized gambling laws as it could to gay marriage. With homosexuality less clearly referred to early in the the talk, if at all, the comments about laws becomes far, far more general.

    More than that, without the inflammatory language, this talk seemed much more like it was about repentance than it did before. And I really like the counsel he gave at the end, which I see now as the main point of the talk:

    President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.

    In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt. Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”

    She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”

    “Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!”

    Strangely enough, it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.”

    Excellent, excellent advice.

    Comment by F — October 8, 2010 @ 8:28 am

  89. Randy B,

    I assume you were talking to me in #63. Which specific comments of mine here do you read as overheated?

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 8:32 am

  90. I don’t know if this point has already been noted or not (lots of comments and too little time to do anything other than skim quickly), but here are three ideas on the issue of a cover up:

    1. Silently editing the published version of speeches is for better or worse pretty standard practice. For example, this happens all the time with the Congressional Record, where the published transcript of remarks does not match the court-reporters transcript of the remarks. The changes are made by staffers in small rooms in the basement of the capitol where they edit the files produced by the court reporters. Generally this is done to eliminate the uhs, ohs, ums, etc. or to fix grammatical mistakes or confusing formulations of ideas. Sometimes it is used to eliminate whole colloquies. Among staffers it’s known as “scrubbing the record.” My understanding is that the White House press office does the same thing with the published versions of presidential addresses.

    2. If this is a cover up, it is a wholly ineffective one.

    3. I doubt that the changes were done by Correlation, which is an actual department in the church bureaucracy. My bet is that the changes were done by President Packer himself, probably at the request of members of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve. From what I have seen of the way that the Church bureaucracy runs from my father’s career working for the Church it is extremely unlikely that the Correlation department would try to tell the President of the Quorum of the Twelve to change a general conference talk. They are bureaucratically powerful, but not that bureaucratically powerful.

    Comment by Nate Oman — October 8, 2010 @ 8:34 am

  91. I agree on all three points Nate. (Those three points were madee arlier but they warrant being repeated independent by you.)

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 8:43 am

  92. Re: #9

    “They can’t go back and edit the video and audio.”

    They’ve done it before (See R. Poelman, 1984 address), completely changing the message of a talk. They actually re-filmed it, complete with fake “cough” track to make it sound live. Why couldn’t they do it now?

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2600407/posts?page=4

    Comment by Oaxaca — October 8, 2010 @ 9:27 am

  93. For those disillusioned because the actual words spoken were edited for publication–please do not read the Joseph Smith Papers, which show edits, not just by the Prophet Joseph, but by others to the revelations before they were published with changes like the ones to Pres. Packer’s talk. My father, a patriarch, told me that when he transcribes blessings he has given, he sometimes makes changes in the language for clarification, grammar, or other reasons when the words spoken may not say what he meant to say.

    Thus, I do not buy that it is the actual words spoken that are “scripture”, even if inspired. It is only after they have been written, considered, even subject to consideration by others who are inspired, that they might become such.

    Some of the prior comments on other blogs had fierce defenders of Pres. Packer saying in effect “He is an apostle, what he said must be true, if he was wrong, then Pres. Monson should have corrected him immediately. Otherwise, what Pres. Packer said aloud is TRUE.” Perhaps the Church should operate that way, but it is an organization of human beings with feelings and emotions. I think a quiet change to the record that will be read and discussed in quorum and RS meetings is correction enough, without humiliating Pres. Packer, who is a very good man.

    Comment by DavidH — October 8, 2010 @ 9:44 am

  94. Clarifying the talk is great news. I do not understand the argument that it is somehow sinister. Isn’t this what we want — for unclear ideas such as this to be clarified and corrected?

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  95. BiV, I’m really disappointed that you can’t get over remarks given in 1978. You keep repeating them like a mantra, here and elsewhere and I find it odd.

    Are you suggesting that Elder Packer can’t change his mind? You seem to suggest that because he said those things over thirty years ago(!) anything he says now, however ambiguous or nuanced, must be read in the context of those former statements. In other words, unless he comes right out and explicitly repudiates them, you are allowing him no leeway in moderating his stance and taking a more nuanced position now. That is just wrong in my opinion. Especially when other leaders such as Elder Oaks have articulated positions which clearly contradict those old statements by Elder Packer.

    When the Church leaders stop stating positions that they have taken in the past, and especially where some have stated different positions recently, it’s silly and counterproductive to keep repeating previous statements of relatively ancient vintage in order to contradict or lock in more recent, and more nuanced positions.

    This is true of issues like birth control, women in the workplace, and a host of other social issues.

    In other words, I don’t care what anybody said in 1978. I care what the Church leaders are saying now, and I care what the Church is doing now. Statements that old, unless repeated or reaffirmed by the Church, have no meaning whatsoever to me and we should let them go and move on.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 10:08 am

  96. john f, your continued insistence that this was a clarification rather than a defanging keeps you from being a credible voice on this topic.

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 10:09 am

  97. DKL,

    You are wrong.

    1. It was a clarification.
    2. John F. is at least as credible voice as you.
    3. You claims about who is a credible voice on the subject or not are completely laughable.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 10:29 am

  98. Oaxaca #92: Why couldn’t they do it now?

    Sigh…

    Ever heard of this new-fangled device called a VCR? Well they have even more new-fangled technology that that these days to record and publish the original.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  99. I’m not sure how this wouldn’t be considered a clarification. In any event, the print version is what is now official and represents the message that he now intends to send.

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  100. Cynthia, #87, Is that really true? Standards for heterosexual behavior are different at BYU than standards for homosexual behavior? Does that imply that kissing is immoral if done by homosexuals? It seems that the position of the Church is a little more draconian that simply “it’s ok to be a celibate gay in the church.”

    Comment by Kari — October 8, 2010 @ 10:33 am

  101. From my position as an active, calling-holding, chaste, “gay” Mormon, I’m happy with this change. The live talk left me with a sour feeling, because I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to make sure members of the church understand that what I see as the official church position does not call homosexual tendencies themselves sinful. In fact, I was part of the group of students at BYU who contacted the administration to point out that the Honor Code wording on SSA was ambiguous and potentially hurtful. The administration heard us out and changed the Honor Code wording to be more clear.
    President Packer’s live talk wasn’t clear on the distinction between feelings and actions. Since Sunday, I’d read some of his other statements on the topic and concluded that he does distinguish between feelings and actions, so I concluded that he communicated this poorly in his live talk and felt better about it. To me, the edits confirm this and now that I can see past the hurt, I actually love the message.
    For those who are looking for clear statements from the church on SSA, I recommend the Oaks/Wickman interview and the 2007 pamphlet God Loveth His Children–both available at lds.org.

    Comment by Tiago — October 8, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  102. MCQ #95,

    Amen.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  103. Re: #98 Geoff

    They physically could re-tape the talk if they wanted. But, yes you’re correct that, with YouTube and such, it’s harder for the Church to make stuff said from the pulpit that they don’t like (like Elder Poelman’s talk) go down the memory hole, so there’s not so much point in trying.

    Comment by Oaxaca — October 8, 2010 @ 10:40 am

  104. Re:78

    Wow, that is very interesting and IMO very significant and telling of the Church’s stance whether the proclamation is revelation or not.

    Anyway, I am looking at the news and this issue seems to be taking a whole new level. Thousands protested last night at Temple Square and Gay Rights leaders are coming to UT to deliver 100,000 letters regarding Packers talk.

    I think we are seeing history being made and can’t wait to see how this whole mess unfolds.

    Comment by Manuel — October 8, 2010 @ 10:42 am

  105. Dave: The arm of Correlation has grown long, indeed, if they can send a memo to the President of the Twelve and change the content of his published General Conference talk.

    Nate Oman: it is extremely unlikely that the Correlation department would try to tell the President of the Quorum of the Twelve to change a general conference talk.

    Yeah, that would be like trying to stage-manage a grizzly bear.

    Comment by DTR — October 8, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  106. I don’t mind the whole record being out there. Not at all. I don’t mind the changes. I like clarity and wonder why this particular talk didn’t have more to begin with. What I anticipate, however, is that anyone who brings up the whole record will be seen as contentious, muckraking, and an ally of the evil one.

    What I desire is the same kind of engagement and sensitivity, which some have suggested is the case in post-talk editing, by leaders, like Elder Packer, the First Presidency, the Quorem of Twelve, etc., in addressing members’ genuine questions. For example, I would like to understand why engaging in sex is limited to just a man and a woman or, as in the case of polygamy, men and women in marriage? I’d like a clear, comprehensive and concise answer to that question. And such might elicit other questions. And hopefully more ever-insightful answers.

    “God says so” is so much like a parent who keeps telling a maturing child “because I say so,” which may work when the child is young, not as inquisitive or sophisticated in thought and understanding as they are later on as they grow up.

    I know there are masses of us out there who still seem like kids, who love and simply accept without trying to understand parents’ and prophets’ commands. Aren’t some of us growing older and becoming more mature in our ability to understand and don’t we deserve to understand and question the why behind the “commandment” or “policy” or whatever it is? Isn’t a discussion, a dialogue, a good-old-suppertime give-and-take possible with the leaders of the Church? Or is the assumption still and always: we aren’t old enough, progressed enough, faithful enough, holy enough?

    If men of such experience and stature within the Church have to make corrections and clarifications to their General Conference talks, can’t we as members ask questions and seek answers too? And can’t those who do question be cast in the role of those who ask, seek, and knock rather than as those who doubt and dissent and are allies of the devil?

    As it stands I feel hurt, but I imagine mine is insignificant to what this issue does/has done to some.

    Comment by wreddyornot — October 8, 2010 @ 10:52 am

  107. I don’t think there’s ever been a prohibition or stigma on asking questions. Ask away.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  108. I did and I do. Why is sexual intercourse between married people wrong?

    Comment by wreddyornot — October 8, 2010 @ 11:04 am

  109. #101 Tiago–

    Thanks for your comment. I hope to hear more from you. Is there a site where others who feel the way you do gather? Active, chaste gay mormons. Their voices need to be heard more often.

    Comment by Jared — October 8, 2010 @ 11:05 am

  110. I hate to say it, but I don’t see these changes as entirely positive. It’s great that they eliminated the “Why would Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” part, but the change from “tendencies” to “temptations” only makes the statement worse. The fact that they made this particular change strongly reflects a view that homosexuality is a “temptation,” rather than a matter of genuine feelings and attractions. “Temptations” is more closely associated with “sin” than “tendencies” is. Whoever edited the printed version, assuming they have any grasp on the connotation of words, evidently wanted to reinforce that idea. If homosexual orientation is considered a “temptation,” then you’re essentially denying biological factors and assigning it to the category of “things people say or do just to piss off god.”

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  111. wreddy, I’m not sure what you mean. Are you saying that you have asked your questions already and they have not been answered?

    If you want my answer to that question, it would be that sex between married people is not wrong.

    The Church does take a position on what constitutes marriage, however. The Church’s position is that marriage is between a man and woman and other forms of marriage are not recognized. Therefore, sex between people in those relationships would be considered a violation of the law of chastity.

    Does that answer your question?

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 11:16 am

  112. Nick I think that’s a misreading of the edited version. Please see my comment #48 above.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 11:18 am

  113. #109:
    Is there a site where others who feel the way you do gather? Active, chaste gay mormons.

    Of course not! The most recent LDS publication, “God Loveth His Children,” expressly teaches: “It is better
    to choose as friends those who do not publicly display their homosexual feelings.” Ergo, only “unfaithful” chaste gay LDS would “gather” anywhere.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 11:19 am

  114. People are free to take other positions, of course, but I don’t think the edited version of the talk is intended to address homosexuality at all.

    It is addressing the temptation to engage in sex outside of marriage, and of course homosexual sex would be included in that as one form of sex outside of marriage, but that’s the only possible reference to it that I see.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 11:21 am

  115. Nick, I think the point is that one can be born gay but still work to overcome the temptation to engage in homosexual sexual intercourse. Admittedly, to a non-believing gay person, this is still a non-starter because engaging in homosexual sexual intercourse is simply considered part of being gay and not an action that would be contrary to God’s will.

    But by changing that word there is no longer ambiguity in the statement that could have potentially supported an argument that homosexuality is not an inborn trait.

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  116. Also, I think #113 is wrong.

    There are quite a number of active gay members now. I believe that these members do gather to support each other somehow, and I don’t think the Church has any problem with that at all.

    The Church wants gay members to be remain active members. I don’t think most people have any illusions that doing so is easy. Support groups for such members would be a great idea. Anyone with knowledge about such support groups please chime in.

    Paging Silus Grok.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 11:39 am

  117. #112:
    Yes, MCQ, I saw your #48. I understand that you believe that Mr. Packer wasn’t speaking about homosexuality at all, and that the edited version of his speech couldn’t possibly be understood as denying that the imaginary diagnosis of “same sex attraction” (whatever that is) has a biological component.

    I disagree with those conclusions, MCQ, and ultimately consider them an effort to resolve the cognitive dissonance that naturally results from hearing a ecclesiastical leader you respect make bold assertions that fly in the face of scientific research. These Herculean efforts to wrest Packer’s words into something reasonable seem motivated by the desire to maintain faith in his alleged divine calling, more than by the desire to accurately report what he said.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 11:41 am

  118. MCQ

    Thanks for responding. So, in your opinion the Church’s view (EP and God’s view?), lawful marriage isn’t lawful marriage. Okay. That seems a lot like the polygamy debacle: the church says its lawful, but the world doesn’t, and the church bends to the world on that one (even where polygamy might be lawful, it isn’t for Church members), right? So a more central question is what makes sexual intercourse and/or other prohibited sexual activities in and of themself between two committed men or women bad? Why are such acts exclusively conditioned to a marriage between a man and a wife/wives? What specifically is wrong with it? What implications in such engagement are there that causes it to be an immediate or a long-term problem? Why/how will it hurt a person who does so? Has the church addressed those questions?

    Comment by wreddyornot — October 8, 2010 @ 11:47 am

  119. #115:
    115.Nick, I think the point is that one can be born gay but still work to overcome the temptation to engage in homosexual sexual intercourse.

    There is no question that any person, whether gay or straight, can choose to live a life of celibacy.

    But by changing that word there is no longer ambiguity in the statement that could have potentially supported an argument that homosexuality is not an inborn trait.

    I’m sorry, john, but I just don’t see that being the case. I don’t think these changes have altered the meaning of Packer’s words at all. I think that at the very least, his words were highly ambiguous in this regard (and that’s being hugely charitable). I think you chose to believe he didn’t mean what he said to begin with, and now you’re choosing to believe that the editorial changes affirm your view. Perhaps you’d say the same to me, but this is a case of honest disagreement. I just can’t begin to read either version as teaching the same doctrine as found in recent LDS publications like “God So Loveth His Children.”

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  120. So you are saying that even as edited Elder Packer is saying that homosexuality is never an inborn trait?

    Comment by john f. — October 8, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  121. Nick, I guess I could say right back at ya. I consider your point of view to be unreasonable and colored by the animosity you are obviously harboring for the Church and its leaders. And that’s ok.

    But come on, can we please at least agree on the definition of terms? “Same sex attraction (SSA)” is at least a somewhat reasonable and generally accepted term (at least, for purposes of discussion, not scientific study) for the feelings experienced by homosexuals for those of the same sex. It’s a way of differentiating the feelings of attraction from the behavior of homosexual sex. If you don’t like that term, can you supply another one? Otherwise we may as well abandon any pretense at dialogue.

    I don’t expect you to accept the Church’s claims of divine origin and authority, because you are a non-believer, but I do expect you to remain somewhat civil and at least attempt to discuss these issues in a way that has a chance of being productive. Maybe you could meet us halfway on term definitions so we all know what it is we’re talking about.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  122. These Herculean efforts to wrest Packer’s words into something reasonable seem motivated by the desire to maintain faith in his alleged divine calling, more than by the desire to accurately report what he said.

    Actually, I didn’t even break a sweat. But thanks for the appraisal of my powers. As for my motivation, I’m not a fan of Elder Packer, as a rule, though I do consider him to be an inspired, if flawed, leader.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  123. #120:
    So you are saying that even as edited Elder Packer is saying that homosexuality is never an inborn trait?

    I’m saying that even as edited, Packer is claiming that because (a) he believes his deity would never cause someone to be born with a homosexual orientation, (b) it is impossible in his mind for any person to be born with a homosexual attraction, and (c) anyone who thinks they were “born gay” is deceived by Satan.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  124. If these changes take place righ under our noses, why wonder that he bible is not what was originally set with the many additons over the centuries? Translation (as in..”as long as it is translated correctly”) was not the problem at all. It’s so simple for the church just to say: “These changes were made by BKP, we trust it will not confuse anybody.”

    Comment by Bert Romero — October 8, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  125. wreddy #118:

    Those are excellent questions, but not really the topic of this thread. Research at lds.org might be helpful to you, and if others want to respond to you, that’s fine.

    For me, I would just say that questions about the reasons behind a particular commandment are often not addressed by God or the Church. When asked, Adam didn’t know why he was offering sacrifices, only that he was commanded to. His answer is held up as a model for Church members to follow to this day.

    That’s not a very satisfying answer, however, so I will just add that I believe most commandments are given for the reason that certain behaviors result in inherent spiritual benefits while other behaviors result in inherent spiritual harms. Sometimes the benefits and harms are temporal too.

    I believe that commandments come as the result of God trying to steer us toward the benefits and away from the harms. He doesn’t always tell us what they are or why they exist. He apparently doesn’t feel the need to explain himself much.

    That’s my take on it. There may be others.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  126. Nice try, Geoff. In the spoken version of the talk, Packer said that the Proclamation on the Family was revelation, but in the printed talk, he said that it was a guide. That’s not a clarification. That’s a repudiation of the original message of Packer’s talk, and Packer would be guilty of apostasy against the church if he were to disagree with the change.

    The problem with your defense of the original talk is that you’re basically defending the apostasy of a major leader in our church. Nobody who loves Christ should do that.

    Why can’t you just admit that Packer is fallible, that Packer advanced apostate doctrines over the pulpit, that he was not following the Holy Ghost’s promptings when he prepared it, that he was fooled by the Satan into saying things that contradicted church doctrine, and that this has now been corrected.

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  127. Nick, please show us where those statements are found in the talk.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

  128. Can’t people make mistakes without Satan being involved DKL? Seems to me there’s plenty of opprtunity to mispeak without going down to the crossroads and selling your soul to ol’ scratch. But maybe you have more experience in this area than I do.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  129. #121:
    “Same sex attraction (SSA)” is at least a somewhat reasonable and generally accepted term (at least, for purposes of discussion, not scientific study) for the feelings experienced by homosexuals for those of the same sex.

    Actually, MCQ, it’s a term invented by religiously-based anti-gay ministries to avoid admitting that homosexual orientation actually exists. To these groups, such as Exodus and Evergreen, nobody is “gay” or “homosexual,” they just “suffer” from “same sex attraction.” The term was purposely coined to sound like a scientific/psychiatric “disorder” or “diagnosis,” in order to lend credibility to those who make a lucrative practice of “counselling” gays and lesbians to “pray away the gay.” In fact, some of these so-called “therapists” are even more blunt, to the point of referring to “same sex attraction disorder.”

    While I’m sure you don’t harbor any ill intent in using that term, MCQ, it’s offensive to most gays and lesbians who accept their own sexual orientation. It carries a strong connotation that there is something wrong or broken with us. If you want to have a productive dialogue, that’s honestly not a good way to start.

    It’s a way of differentiating the feelings of attraction from the behavior of homosexual sex. If you don’t like that term, can you supply another one?

    I don’t know whether you’re married or not, MCQ, but suppose you were a virgin, and I said that you were not heterosexual, because you hadn’t engaged in “the behavior or heterosexual sex.” That probably sounds silly to you, right? A heterosexual person doesn’t “become” heterosexual when they have sex with someone of the opposite sex, nor does a homosexual person “become” homosexual when they have sex with a person of the same sex.

    I’m fine with being referred to as “gay” or “homosexual.” I find it irritating, presumptuous, and generally offensive when someone tries to tell me I “have same-sex attraction.”

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  130. #127:
    127.Nick, please show us where those statements are found in the talk.

    MCQ, if you’re going to insist that my understanding of Packer’s speech ignore its implications and connotations, being limited strictly to the bare wording, then I must insist the same from you—and neither of us will be able to support our respective interpretations. :-)

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  131. DKL
    Are you confusing me with Geoff J? I haven’t ever claimed that the change was clarification. I only pointed out the change of the status of the family proclamation. I don’t think disagreeing on one doctrine that still seems fluid counts as apostasy against the church. Pres Packer is fallible as are all men. It doesn’t mean he isn’t following the Holy Ghost’s promptings. If someone had to perform flawlessly while under the influence of the spirit, then no one could do anything under the influence of the spirit. Besides, even if Elder Packer and the church are wrong on this doctrine, I have faith that with time it will be corrected. You seem to have an ax to grind, or are looking at things in a very black and white manner.

    Comment by Geoff N — October 8, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  132. Well, I’ve already supported my interpretations, I was just asking you to do the same thing: explain where you’re getting the conclusions you reached. It’s up to you whether to go through that exercise, but I think it would be helpful to us for you to show how you reached the conclusions you did.

    As for terminology, I don’t know the origin of the “SSA” term, but I’m not using it to refer to any disorder, nor does it appear to be pejorative in that way on its face. I understand if you think that term carries baggage, however, and I won’t use it if you find it offensive.

    I need to think about your other assertions. Are you saying that it is not possible to differentiate attractions from identification as heterosexual or homosexual?

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  133. Ha! It’s kind of fun to see the return of the bombastic DKL.

    Your arguments are so silly in #126 that I suspect you are just yanking our chains DKL. (Either that or someone is posing as DKL in this thread — quick someone check the IP address.) You can’t seriously contend that apostles can’t misspeak on occasion.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  134. Geoff N,

    May I suggest you adopt a different handle in the Bloggernacle? It is already confusing enough with me and Geoff B. around these parts.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  135. If I decide to actually participate regularly, I’ll do that. Good to know there are many other Geoffs

    Comment by Geoff N — October 8, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  136. Geoff (J!):

    It appears to be the real DKL. If there is such a thing as the real DKL. To me, the jury’s still out.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  137. For many here, the Church is in a no-win situation here. For them, if Packer’s remarks aren’t edited, the Church hates gays. Yet if the remarks ARE edited, the Church is being disingenuous and staging some sort of cover-up. How about the opposite: the dual act of giving the original talk and the act of editing it demonstrates the Church’s active position on homosexuality and homosexual sex (as well as the Proclamation’s revelatory status). This act shows that the Church wants to communicate something and that something wasn’t what Packer first said, it’s what it was changed to say. (I’m not suggesting this was all planned, only that it is a seemingly positive result).

    Comment by Rusty — October 8, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  138. Packer said that the Proclamation on the Family was revelation, but in the printed talk, he said that it was a guide. That’s not a clarification.

    Actually this is a good point here. Most of the controversial aspects of the talk I’d interpreted more in line with the edited talk when it was given. So I tend to be more sympathetic to the “clarification” angle. However the bit about calling the proclamation a revelation was amazingly confusing to me. That does seem like a correction.

    Of course I’m not sure why folks are upset. Can’t we all agree that if someone misspeaks, perhaps because of carelessness or not seeing how ones audience will interpret a particular phrasing, they should correct it? The whole “clarification” vs. “correction” angle is a bit of a subtle point. And a lot rests upon what Pres. Packer intended. But whether he was clarifying himself, correcting himself, or was reacting to Pres. Monson requesting the same the end result is the same. As for what happened and why I doubt we’ll know that until fifty years from now when historians have access to private accounts from those involved. Since, as much as I would like to be, I doubt I’ll be alive then I’m not going to spend too much time worrying about it all.

    In any case the actual position of the Church (agree with it or disagree with it) seems reasonably clear. I think many of us would love some further light and revelation on the subject but thus far none is coming. I also think that we can all agree that the Church would be much, much better off if members in the church wouldn’t demonize those with same sex attraction and reacting in love and charity to them.

    Comment by Clark — October 8, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  139. Geoff J, so we have a talk that was prepared and carefully enough worded to be ostensibly about porn, but that was about homosexuality without even mentioning homosexuality. And you’re going to call the mistakes misstatements. Look, I’m glad that you’re willing to forgive Packer his apostasy — we all should, even if he never actually apologizes for it or attempts to make restitution — but he clearly intended to convey the idea that the proclamation was a revelation and that God does not make people gay. His teachings in both of these regards is apostate, and it’s our duty as priesthood holders to say so. Thankfully, the talk has been changed so that it agrees with revealed truth. That makes our jobs as priesthood holders much easier.

    But your attempt to sweep this under the rug is a pretty abhorrent abdication of your priesthood responsibilities.

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  140. The scientific community uses the term.

    Same-sex attraction (Google scholar)

    Same-sex attraction(Google book)

    Comment by Justin — October 8, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

  141. To add, calling someone misspeaking “apostasy” seems pretty ridiculous DKL (126). I’m open to the “correction” vs. “clarification” distinction. However to suggest a major opposition to Pres. Monson and the talks of Elder Oaks and company seems beyond even hyperbole.

    Comment by Clark — October 8, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

  142. Clark, the differences between the two versions of the talks (spoken vs. written) speak for themselves. The spoken version was unacceptable, and that’s why it was changed when transcribed. If you look at the changes, it’s pretty obvious that Packer was in open rebellion against the established order of the Church, testifying in Christ’s name to teachings that the church repudiated years ago. There’s no better definition of apostasy than that.

    Don’t get me wrong: I love Elder Packer, and I was sad to see him fall away like that. I am glad that things have been made right, so that is seniority in the church leadership is no longer in jeopardy.

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  143. I’ll say at the outset that I’m not trying to be inflammatory or a troll. I’m truly looking for advice/input. I am honestly imploring those commenting so tediously on this post about the ins and outs of wording, intent, relationship to previous statements, and meaning behind action to take the larger issue seriously. That is, the foundational claims of the church come in contrast with what actually happens. Furthermore, what actually happens many times runs contrary to the Mormon morality as well as morality morality more generally (human rights, etc.). AND, this is not O.K. In other words, what is the point of debating these small and intricate details of the issue if they are blatant evidence against the veracity of the church as a whole? I guess I’m looking for advice. Should I get caught up in the “trees” and miss the “forest”? This approach allows me to maintain my status as Mormon holding “alternative” rather than traditional beliefs. Or, should I actually notice the “forest”, requiring me to act on the evidence that perspective provides?

    Comment by WhiteShirtandTie — October 8, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  144. What I wish everyone understood about talks and quotes from LDS Apostles is that not everything they say is doctrine of the church. The men who lead our church have opinions, too. They are not perfect, and they don’t have all the secrets of the universe. They speak for God, but many of the things they say are their own thoughts. It’s unfortunate that they would express such a controversal opinion in conference because conference is usually limited to hard and fast doctrine. I wasn’t even sure whether it was an opinion until they edited the transcript. You can tell the difference between doctrine vs. opinion by comparing their comment with what has already been taught on the subject.

    Comment by JenY — October 8, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  145. Lol. You are on a roll with the ridiculous arguments DKL (#139). I assume you are going for laughs though.

    The section with “why would God do that” was always about God never allowing anyone to be tempted beyond their power to resist. It seemed obvious to me with the original but a lot of people were confused by the wording. The edits made that point even more clear. Not much of a story there. (The more interesting story is how hysterical people got after misunderstanding the original intent).

    The gaffe with “revelation” versus “Guide” is the more interesting case. My guess is that Elder Packer chose the wrong word there. But of course he approved the correction (this one was more than a clarification) in the official version so there isn’t much more to gripe about there.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  146. It’s a good thing that President Monson has lived this long. Otherwise, Elder Packer would have tried given this talk as prophet, and God would have struck him dead in order to prevent his leading the church astray. Thanks to President Monson’s longevity, Packer will live to preach another day!

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  147. Are you saying that it is not possible to differentiate attractions from identification as heterosexual or homosexual?

    Sexual attraction toward someone who is of your same sex is, by definition, homosexual. Sexual attraction toward someone of the opposite sex is, by definition, heterosexual. Sexual attraction toward persons of both sexes is, by definition, bisexual. Of course, each of these is about far more than just sexual attraction—there are emotional and relational components to our sexual orientations, which are important considerations.

    I think you’re getting hung up on “identification” in the sense of coming out. I would suggest that this is precisely the same religious-based attitude that spawns deceptive monikers like “same sex attraction.” I was married to a woman for 18 years, MCQ, and during that time, I fathered five children. That did not, by any means, make me heterosexual. Rather, it meant that I engaged in heterosexual sex, regardless of my sexual orientation, due to what I then understood as a religious imperative. Not to be too graphic, but let’s just say my thoughts were often elsewhere during that “heterosexual activity,” which is a sad state of affairs for both partners.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  148. “Why is sexual intercourse between married people wrong?” We discuss this regularly during FHE.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 8, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

  149. #143 WhiteShirt:

    You’re going to have to be a lot more specific if you want an actual answer.

    So far, it looks like you’re saying that the editing of the talk violates some general principle of morality and this troubles you and you wonder how anyone can stay in this cChurch in the face of this fact. Is that it?

    My answer to that question is that you’re very deeply mistaken. There is no violation of any principle of morality here on the part of the Church.

    Do you want to clarify your question?

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

  150. #140:
    The scientific community uses the term.

    So how do I gently say that scholars employed by religious ministries and/or church-owned universities do not necessarily reflect the broader “scientific community?”

    William Bradshaw, a BYU professor of biology since at least 1984 when I had his class, doesn’t use “same sex attraction.” He refers to homosexuality, plain and simple.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  151. In October 2009, Primary children were taught that the Proclamation “is modern-day revelation (D&C 68:4; Articles of Faith 1:9).”

    From “‘My Eternal Family,’ 2009 Outline for Sharing Time and the Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation”:

    “Explain that prophets have always received revelation. Display ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’ Teach the children that it is an example of modern-day revelation. Sing ‘The Ninth Article of Faith’ (CS, 128), and testify of the reality of modern-day revelation.”

    Comment by Justin — October 8, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  152. Your claim that anti-gay ministries invented the term is false. You may want to review the links again.

    Comment by Justin — October 8, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  153. With all the discussion of the Correlation Department getting involved after the fact, I thought this might be interesting from Packer’s May 18, 1993 speech to the All-Church Coordinating Council:

    “After one of my first general conference talks, I received a call from Joseph Anderson. In a very polite way he said that President McKay and his counselors suggested that I add one word to the text of my talk. Would I mind doing that? Actually the word was in my text, I just failed to read it at the pulpit. A most embarrassing lesson — the First Presidency! It was easier when Elder Evans corrected my work; even easier when one of my associates was kind enough to do it.

    “Only last Friday while putting together some things for a presentation, I read part of it to some brethren from BYU. I noticed they looked at one another at one place in my reading, and I stopped and asked if there was a problem. Finally one of them suggested that I not use a certain scripture that I had included even though it said exactly what I wanted to convey. How dare they suppose that a member of the Twelve didn’t know his scriptures! I simply said, “What do you suggest?” He said, “Better find another scripture,” and he pointed out that if I put that verse back in context, it was really talking about another subject. Others had used it as I proposed to use it, but it was not really correct. I was very glad to make a change.

    “Now you may not need a correlating hand in what you do, but I certainly do. This brother lingered after the meeting to thank me for being patient with him. Thank me! I was thankful to him. If I ever make that presentation, it will only be after some of our Correlation staff have checked it over for me.”

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  154. Nick, I think we’re talking past each other a bit. I get what you’re saying about identification, and I’m not disputing any of that. My problem is that we need some way to talk about the attraction (sexual, emotional, mental, what have you) that people feel apart from the sexual activity itself.

    The reasons for this should be clear. Our Church is attempting to differentiate between the two in order to make the point that there is nothing sinful or wrong about being attracted to someone, whether that person you are attracted to is of your same sex or the opposite one. We all are attracted (hopefully) to other people on occasion.

    The Church does want to assert that having sexual relationships with people you are attracted to is sinful and wrong unless you are first married to that person.

    I think we all know all of that. But how do we talk about the attraction part (which is ok) if we have no way of differentiating it linguistically from the behavior part?

    Can you supply terms which meet your approval Nick? Otherwise, I think we have to stick with the ones we’ve got.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  155. #152:
    Then pray tell, Justin, who coined the term, when, and under what circumstances? Further, who employed the person or persons who coined the term?

    If you’re going to accuse someone of falsehood, you should provide more evidence than a Google listing dominated by religious-based “therapy” references.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  156. Look, everybody is getting up in arms over nothing. The Lord’s work will roll forward with or without Elder Packer. The fact that Elder Packer apostatized for a brief season doesn’t change that. In any case, he’s now reconciled himself with the doctrines of the church, so that he’s no longer in open rebellion against Christ, and that’s definitely a good thing.

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  157. My problem is that we need some way to talk about the attraction (sexual, emotional, mental, what have you) that people feel apart from the sexual activity itself.

    You mean homosexuality, vs. homosexual activity? :-)

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  158. Silly DKL. Can’t you see that the nature of the universe just changed between Sunday and Thursday?

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  159. Nick, the word game you are playing is a complete bore.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  160. #154:
    The Church does want to assert that having sexual relationships with people you are attracted to is sinful and wrong unless you are first married to that person.

    I think this is the crucial issue, MCQ. Even if the LDS church accepted homosexuality and/or marriage equality, gays and lesbians would be expected to remain celibate until married to a person of their same sex, and to remain sexually exclusive with their spouse.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  161. Then pray tell, Justin, who coined the term, when, and under what circumstances? Further, who employed the person or persons who coined the term?

    If you’re going to accuse someone of falsehood, you should provide more evidence than a Google listing dominated by religious-based “therapy” references.

    You made an unsupported allegation that anti-gay ministries invented the term. I provided links showing that the scientific community uses the term. Even if I conceded that the listings are dominated by religious-based references, how do you explain the use of the term in the other listings?

    Comment by Justin — October 8, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  162. Geoff, I’m sorry to completely bore you. Would it completely bore you if we were discussing the offensive behavior of some christians, who are fond of referring to your church as “The Church of the Latter-day Saints,” purposely omitting the name of Jesus Christ from your church? I know that when I was an LDS believer, I found that behavior quite rude and offensive.

    Since people like MCQ are rarely offensive on purpose, it’s best to educate them, even if you “completely bore” a few others.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  163. You mean homosexuality, vs. homosexual activity? :-)

    Yeah, and you can see why that’s a little confusing. A term that doesn’t sound the same is helpful in differentiating those two concepts.

    #160:

    I think this is the crucial issue, MCQ. Even if the LDS church accepted homosexuality and/or marriage equality, gays and lesbians would be expected to remain celibate until married to a person of their same sex, and to remain sexually exclusive with their spouse.

    And? Are you saying gays and lesbians can’t do that? What is it exactly that you want if not that? I would think that would be a home run.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  164. Thank you, Justin, from backing off from your unsupported accusation of falsehood.

    It’s only natural that when you have religiously-motivated but credentialed individuals such as A. Dean Byrd using the term, it will show up in some scholarly usage. Perhaps you could count how many times “same sex attraction” appears in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, compared with how many times “homosexuality” appears therein, to get a better idea of what the “scholarly community” acknowledges.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  165. #163:
    And? Are you saying gays and lesbians can’t do that? What is it exactly that you want if not that? I would think that would be a home run.

    I’m not saying that at all, MCQ! In fact, before the Prop 8 crusade, my best friend said that he would gladly return to the LDS church and be celibate until marriage, if the LDS church accepted homosexuality. I think it would be perfectly reasonable for any church that accepted marriage equality to impose the same “no premarital sex” rule on gays and lesbians, as they do on heterosexuals. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  166. 2010 journal articles

    How many of these articles were authored by Dean Byrd or others working for anti-gay ministries?

    Comment by Justin — October 8, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  167. #149 MCQ
    If you look at the history of the church and in particular correlation, you see a repeated pattern of cover-up and whitewashing in an attempt to control how people inside and out see the LDS church. As many have pointed out it is becoming increasingly harder to do so (with YouTube, the internets, etc.). You can’t look at this event, knowing the history of “put only your best foot forward history” and not see this event as more of the same. We could get into why or why this isn’t the case, but this isn’t my point.

    My point is that shielding your members from the truth is lying. Telling everyone polygamy is done with, yet practicing it anyway is lying. One could provide many more examples, but you get my point. Yet, lying is immoral according to the church. They don’t teach the members that the morality of lying is relative to what the situation is. Hence, my dilemma Should I ride this reoccurring and consistent pattern evidence off as imperfect “men” acting in the name of God or should I begin to think there is something wrong with this God.

    Comment by WhiteShirtandTie — October 8, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  168. I agree with Nick. SSA, and especially the phrase “struggling with SSA,” are terms that belittle members of the GBLT community. These are terms that encourage people to refer to homosexuals as “sexual deviants” and compare SSA to alcoholism or other demonstrably destructive behaviors. These terms are consistent with attacks on healthy, monogamous same-sex relationships based on the a priori assumption that homosexual activity is destructive in-and-of-itself.

    It makes me sad to say this, but the truth is that our church has nothing to offer gay people but isolation, sadness, loneliness, and the empty pretense of empathy. Nothing. As I’ve said a million times: Jesus will not change your sexual orientation, but He will make you pretty miserable if you try.

    Comment by DKL — October 8, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

  169. WhiteShirt your questions are not honest inquiries in my opinion. I think you are a troll.

    But even if you aren’t, suffice it to say we disagree on the facts you assert and leave it at that. Your questions are off topic for this thread and further comments in that vein will be deleted.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  170. Funny, WSAT. As a lifelong Mormon, I’d always thought it would be OK to–say–lie to the Gestapo when they ask if you’ve got any Jews in the house. But you tell me my church says I’ve got to answer “why, yes, Anne Frank just happens to be in the attic!”

    I feel so shocked right now. Deceived, even. Clearly, it’s all Boyd Packer’s fault.

    Comment by JimD — October 8, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  171. Justin, you directly accused me of falsehood, and I provided you with an opportunity to support your accusation. It is incumbent upon you to demonstrate the actual evidence for your accusation, but instead of doing so, you attempt to hold me “guilty until proven innocent.”

    Just why are you so devoted to defending such ill-conceived, misleading, offensive language, Justin? Are you a big ol’ closet case, desperately clinging to any word to describe yourself that doesn’t start with a “G?” Are you a student in BYU’s marriage and family therapy program, where they explicitly teach their students that “same sex attraction” is the universally approved scholarly term for homosexuality? Why are you so invested, when you already know the term is so fraught with problems?

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  172. I apologize for using the phrase “big ‘ol closet case.” I was inconsiderate in doing so, and I may well have been unintentionally hurtful to others. I should have found much kinder, more appropriate ways to express my thought.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  173. That said, I was at one time a “big ol’ closet case, desperately clinging to any word to describe [my]self that doesn’t start with a “G.” It’s not a phase in my history that I admire, and sometimes I’m not as patient with others who find themselves in a similar struggle.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  174. DKL #168, neither I nor the people I know are using SSA in that way. As I said, if there’s something wrong with the term, I’m fine with not using it, but we do need a way to differentiate attraction from behavior.

    I agree with your second paragraph, with the caveat that I don’t think the Church is actively advocating trying to change orientation at this point. It is sad to tell people that you expect them to remain celibate for life. Hopefully, the empathy is not just an empty pretense, but I can see why people might see it that way.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  175. Nick #171, it is pretty easy for you to make a claim about the origins of the SSA phrase and then tell everyone to prove your assertion wrong. Have you provided any evidence to support your initial claim at all? As far as we know you made your claims up out of thin air.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  176. Geoff, Wayne Besen has written some good material on the history of that term. For starters, there’s his book, Anything But Straight. He also wrote a very concise, useful article on the subject for ther Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review three or four years ago, but I don’t have it in front of me right now to give a precise citation.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 8, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  177. The wiki on that term appears neutral.

    It doesn’t discuss the term’s origins though.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  178. MCQ

    Thanks for pointing out that my questions were good but off track to the topic engaged here. I agree. And thanks for taking a stab at answering them anyway.

    I don’t think my point about engagement/questioning is off topic to the EP conference talk retrenchment, however. I read the changes as an invitation to make things better.

    Seeing through the glass darkly, as Adam is characterized in the episode you allude to, might be an apt metaphor for proceeding in faith without knowing or understanding something at first. But it’s not an excuse for remaining ignorant.

    It seems that many of the (once) faithful in this particular arena planted seeds in faith, nurtured them along, and saw crops unlike the ones they had hoped for. They have/are wondering why. They have/had questions and concerns and didn’t/don’t understand, I assume like Adam. The questions need to be addressed like they are/were with Adam. Surely you don’t advocate a blissfull ignorance or blind obedience?

    The changes to me signal that change is viable and necessary.

    Comment by wreddyornot — October 8, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  179. When you google SSA, you get mostly religious references or reparative therapy references, not scientific ones.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  180. It took a few tries for DKL to find the right vehicle for the joke here, but I’m glad to see he finally nailed it in #146. Well done.

    Comment by Anson Call — October 8, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

  181. General conference talks are written weeks in advance of the actual address being given. Chances are the printed version is the original talk, and the spoken one was…well, spoken. You don’t necessarily read things word for word from the teleprompter.

    Comment by Anon — October 8, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

  182. wreddy, I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I never advocate ignorance, blissful or otherwise, and I never advocate blind obedience. I merely pointed out that those who want reasons for every commandment are often going to be frustrated because reasons are not often given. One can certainly speculate about reasons, and good reasons for keeping the law of chastity are not hard to find.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

  183. Anon, that’s pure speculation, and not likely to be the case here. You can’t pitch these changes that way, because the changes make the meaning quite different, especially with regard to the family proclamation. Read that part again, there’s no way it was just a reading error. That was a substantive change. No question about it.

    While we’re on that subject, some (I think it was Justin) have tried to say that the Family Proclamation has always been taught as being revelation. But there is a big difference between saying that the FP is “an example of modern revelation” and saying it is a Revelation from God (Small “r” vs. big “R”).

    There’s a reason the Church changed Packer’s text on this point, and it’s clearly because the Church is not interested in pitching the FP as a (big R) Revelation. I think we should all be glad about that.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

  184. Jared (109). Thanks for the welcome and question. MCQ, also thank you for your comments. I saw your comments earlier this week on another blog (mormonmatters ?) and really appreciated what you were saying. You definitely get my perspective, and I think, the perspective of most faithful gay Mormons.
    So Jared, where do faithful, chaste, SSA/gay/homosexual tendencies Mormons/Latter-day Saints congregate?
    There are a lot of us with personal blogs (I gave mine up after college), but a good place to start is Northstar (northstarlds.org and ldslights.org). I haven’t done much there, but the people I know who are involved three are solid.
    Everyone probably knows about Evergreen International. They sponsor an annual conference in SLC and affiliate with local support groups. I haven’t attended their meetings, but have heard good and bad. This is the first organization many questioning LDS kids find.
    When I lived in Utah, I attended a monthly FHE hosted by Bro and Sis Matis in their home. They are a sweet couple who became involved with gay Mormons cause of a personal tragedy-the suicide of their son.
    I would love to see the church community become more open to discussing this topic, like has happened in the Oakland Stake so we could talk about this openly in our families, quorums, with home teachers, etc. It feels like part of the reluctance stems from a fear that gay is contagious and talking openly will spread the germs. The idea that homosexual feelings are chosen as opposed to inherent can contibute to this fear–which is why it’s toxic to me and I care so much about clarity from church leadership.

    Comment by Tiago — October 8, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  185. Can I humbly suggest that the wrong talk(s) were repudiated? The real issue is twice sharing the 14 Fundamentals which are demonstrably false doctrine (unclarified doctrine)? If the list is repudiated, then we allow Packer’s talk to be personal opinion, not binding doctrine (which is incidentally what the church office building is telling those who call to complain).

    Comment by hawkgrrrl — October 8, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

  186. hawkgrrrl: I have some problems with the 14 fundamentals as well, but I think that stuff is mostly harmless. Some of the things alluded to by Elder Packer in his original version were potentially harmful.

    How do you know what the COB is saying? Did you call to complain? Would you care to elaborate on what they said?

    I now have it from an authoritative source (which I will not disclose) that the changes to Elder Packer’s talk were not found in the original text, but were changes made after the talk was given.

    This confirms what I said to Anon in #183.

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  187. At the Mormons for Marriage site, referenced in the OP above, there is an account of the process the Conference talks go through before being published. It is in the comments here.

    Comment by Steven B — October 8, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  188. #184 Tiago,

    Trying to determine the source of SSA is not nearly as important as what you and others are doing about it–doing all you can to be followers of Christ.

    Thanks for the info and sites.

    Comment by Jared — October 8, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

  189. Please, “SSA” is pure propaganda. To dehumanize your adversary, the first thing you do is depict them as sick or handicapped. “Struggling with same-sex attraction”…

    How about, “I believe we should have compassion for those struggling with lifelong indoctrination.”

    See how this is played?

    Comment by a man Zed — October 8, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

  190. There is a HUGE difference between using SSA as a descriptive term and saying something judgmental like “struggling with SSA”.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 8, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

  191. People who are attracted to the opposite sex are considered to be heterosexual, not to have OSA (Opposite Sex Attraction). If they are not married, and don’t have sexual relations they are called chaste.

    Should people who are attracted to the same sex,be referred to as homosexual, or having SSA? If they are not married, and not having sexual relations, should they be considered chaste?

    Do we always equate “homosexual” with promiscuity and porn?

    Just some thoughts. Not sure they belong on this thread.

    Comment by Kate — October 8, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

  192. Zed, no one is portraying anyone as sick or handicapped here.

    Do we always equate “homosexual” with promiscuity and porn?

    No and who said that Kate? Did you read the thread?

    Comment by MCQ — October 8, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  193. Wow!(I guess I like that word!)

    A little question.

    This is a really long thread. Will it still be here tomorrow? How do you decide when it is finished?

    Comment by Kate — October 8, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

  194. Sorry MCQ.
    I was just wondering. I have actually read almost the entire thread. I am still trying to figure out the whole thing. I wondered why people have such a negative opinion of homosexuality, that is all. I will admit that I am not the brightest bulb in the box (or whatever). I don’t seem to word things the way they I mean them. I think I rely too much on body language and tone of voice. I grew up in the church and stayed active. I served a mission. I am trying to add things up in my mind.

    Comment by Kate — October 8, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

  195. And didn’t you think my first thoughts were worth commenting on. I think that really ties into what has been said. It just seems to make sense to me when the language of the communication has been brought to question.

    Comment by Kate — October 8, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

  196. Hang in there, Kate. You’ll learn the ropes. Some of us have been doing this for a very long time. (I’ve been involved in some kind of internet “discussion” or other since 1994.) A lot of it has been pretty ugly … I mean my grammar. ;)

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — October 9, 2010 @ 12:37 am

  197. Sorry Kate. Late night first reaction. I should have read more carefully. I interpreted your comment as continuing to argue that SSA is a pejoritive term. Instead, you were just asking questions, which is fine.

    Threads are never really finished unless the author of the post decides to close comments. We intend for them to be here indefinitely, but sometimes server issues happen and we lose some posts and threads. Barring that, it will be here for a long time.

    Your thoughts are definitely worth commenting on. As for your question about OSA, I suppose that would be an acceptable way to describe the feelings that heterosexuals have. I think the reason we don’t use that term much is that OSA is the norm. The vast majority of people have that type of attraction, so there’s no need to create a term for it. Perhaps it would be more even-handed to use that term, if we are going to use SSA. But as we discussed previously, there are apparently problems with using SSA, so probably I won’t be using it.

    I note however, that the Tribune uses that term.

    I suppose chaste is a term that may be used to describe anyone who has not engaged in sex, whether they are gay or straight. It’s a bit victorian sounding to me though. You don’t hear the word chaste much these days, outside of the 13th article of faith. But it is descriptive.

    Obviously, we don’t equate “homosexual” with promiscuity and porn. Not sure where that came from. Are you talkig about the word “homosexual” or are you talking about the state of being “homosexual”? Neither is associated with promiscuity and porn in my mind.

    Comment by MCQ — October 9, 2010 @ 12:49 am

  198. MCQ,
    Thanks for responding.I appreciate that you took a second look at my comment. I guess the last stupid comment I made was because somehow I had that in my mind growing up. I don’t know where it came from. Utah culture? Media? Maybe just my own childhood interpretation of why it is so “wicked”? I guess I have become more open minded and compassionate since I have grown-up and known homosexual people.

    Thomas,
    I appreciate your words of encouragement. Nice to see some humor in this very intense thread, though I do like to see the passion people have for this subject being discussed.

    Comment by Kate — October 9, 2010 @ 3:20 am

  199. Wayne Besen has written some good material on the history of that term. For starters, there’s his book, Anything But Straight. He also wrote a very concise, useful article on the subject for ther Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review three or four years ago, but I don’t have it in front of me right now to give a precise citation.

    I looked through Anything But Straight. As far as I can tell, Besen does not discuss the history of the term same-sex attraction (the closest thing I could find is his reference to Cohen’s use of the term same-sex attachment disorder). As far as I can tell, Besen’s 2007 article for The Gay & Lesbian Review, “The Politics of the Ex-Gay Movement,” never mentions the history of the term.

    Comment by Justin — October 9, 2010 @ 4:58 am

  200. Regarding #201,

    It’s looking like Justin pwned Nick…

    (Advice to Nick — never mess with The Wasp)

    Comment by Geoff J — October 9, 2010 @ 9:10 am

  201. I’ve deleted the latest comments related to SSA as a term. That subject is done.

    Chino, you’re done here too.

    Manuel, consider this your final warning.

    This thread is not the place to bash Elder Packer. If you want to disagree with his words, that’s fine, please feel free to let us know what you think. Those who have nothing better to offer than personal attacks or name calling can go elsewhere.

    Thanks.

    Comment by MCQ — October 9, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  202. #201:
    Justin, Besen’s book actually describes how Richard Cohen and other anti-gay “therapists” have used the term to suggest a disorder–one that is not recognized in any legitimate scientific literature. The article you found is not the one I had in mind, and I’ll have to go digging in order to find my copy of the article I described. The article I described goes into how the anti-gay evangelical industry sought to “soften” their language for political purposes, including the use of “SSA” as a substitute for homosexuality. In much less detail, Besen discusses the anti-gay “therapist” use of the term here: http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2010/02/6983/ One of the earliest usages seems to have been from Christopher Wolfe (surprise–an evangelical anti-gay writer) in his book, Homosexuality and American Public Life.

    None of this, of course, supports your claim that “same sex attraction” is the accepted scholarly term for homosexuality. Your curious attachment to the term raises the question of your motivation—a question you’ve refused to answer thus far. Regardless of whether any legitimate scholars have used the term, “same sex attraction,” as a substitute for homosexuality, the fact remains that this term has become the propeganda tool of choice for religiously-based anti-gay forces, including unlicensed “therapists” (several of whom have actually LOST their credentials, due to scholarly misrepresentations and/or sexual advances toward their clients).

    Thus far, your only real point seems to be that you don’t care whether your term of choice is inaccurate or offensive, you’re sticking with it. You’re welcome, of course, to use any words you like. Just realize that not everyone is foolish enough to accept your propegandistic word game as the “scholarly” effort you piously pretend.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 9, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  203. MCQ, it appears you were deleting comments while I was drafting my #202. Since you’ve left Justin’s alleged “pwning,” I ask that you allow my response to stand.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 9, 2010 @ 11:01 am

  204. I really don’t have much to offer this string, except an interesting persepctive Chris Bigelow offered on his blog with this letter to Elder Packer:

    http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com/2010/10/letter-to-president-packer.html

    Tasty food for thought.

    Comment by David T. — October 9, 2010 @ 11:55 am

  205. Um… that would be “perspective”…

    Comment by David T. — October 9, 2010 @ 11:56 am

  206. Nick,

    Are you trying to mock the gay stereotype of assuming everyone that disagrees with a pro-gay argument must be a closet gay? Or are you just the living embodiment of that stereotype?

    Justin is providing evidence that real scholars use the term SSA like the links to the Google scholar report. All you have provided is an unsupported claim that the term is somehow really just a slur, or at least originated from a source that was hostile to homosexuals. Even if the origins of the term were less than charitable it is a pretty innocuous term in itself. No one here is using the terms in a derogatory way at all. Rather, we use it because it is important to separate attraction for action in these discussions. I personally would not mind seeing opposite-sex attraction (OSA) used in these discussions as well to keep that attractions vs. actions parsing clear.

    Also your harping on the term SSA strikes me as similar to members of my Church objecting to being called Mormons because the terms Mormon has been used in a derogatory way in the past. (You know, the lame “it’s latter-day saints” line some Mormons pull out). I think that is also a silly and oversensitive complaint by fellow Mormons — especially when there is no malice intended at all in the term.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 9, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  207. Again, the SSA subject is over. Move on.

    Comment by MCQ — October 9, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  208. But, how can “God’s anointed” get it wrong in the first place? God was sending down mistake vibes?

    Comment by Daniel — October 9, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

  209. Geoff, you’re starting to sound intentionally obtuse. I doubt very much that you can find a single instance of anyone using “Mormon” to describe an imaginary psychiatric disorder.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 9, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  210. Nick, try just about every gay blog, and atheist forum I encounter on the Internet.

    Just about every-last-one-of-them is full of twits who consider Mormonism to be prima facie evidence of mental disorder.

    If I had a nickle for every secularist twit on the Internet who thinks that intentionally mispelling “Mormon” as “Moron” is witty….

    Comment by Seth R. — October 9, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

  211. Seth, I’ll grant you that many non-LDS (not just gays or atheists) seem to think that a person must be mentally deficient in order to believe the teachings of the LDS church. Many non-christians think the same way about christians in general, for that matter. As soon as you find one that actually refers to the status of being LDS as a psychiatric disorder (which is quite different), then I’ll be happy to draw the comparison you’ve inaptly made.

    By the way, I think you’re creating quite the stereotype of gays and atheists. I’m gay, and I don’t “consider Mormonism to be prima facie evidence of a mental disorder” at all.

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 9, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  212. Daniel, on the off chance that you’re actually asking a sincere question, it should be obvious that we do not believe our leaders to be infallible. Yes they make mistakes. Not because God sends “mistake vibes” but because, as God has said, he doesn’t command in all things. That’s what agency is all about. It means we are all free to make mistakes, even prophets.

    Nick, Geoff is not being intentionally obtuse. As science has shown, obtuseness is not a choice. It’s a matter of biology. Geoff was born that way.

    Comment by MCQ — October 9, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

  213. Yes, it’s true. As it turns out I have also been fully awesome and devastatingly handsome since birth. Genes are a funny thing that way.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 9, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

  214. When I was Elders’ Quorum instructor back in the 1980′s, I would have the class members follow along on printed copies of GenCon addreses as I played the recorded version in class so that they would be focused on them.
    .
    The printed versions NEVER matched what the speakers said word for word. I’ve noticed differences whenever I’ve compared the audio and visual versions of GenCon addresses.
    .
    IMO, the commonality of this should be the context for this discussion.

    Comment by manaen — October 10, 2010 @ 1:52 am

  215. 210
    Just about every-last-one-of-them is full of twits who consider Mormonism to be prima facie evidence of mental disorder.
    .
    Of course,
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. – ! Cor 2:14

    Comment by manaen — October 10, 2010 @ 1:56 am

  216. #212:
    Nick, Geoff is not being intentionally obtuse. As science has shown, obtuseness is not a choice. It’s a matter of biology. Geoff was born that way.

    ROTFLOL!!! MCQ, if you’re trying for a Niblet, I think you just won! :-)

    Comment by Nick Literski — October 10, 2010 @ 8:33 am

  217. Thanks Nick. It’s always nice to be appreciated.

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  218. What person among us has not mis-said something? Or used a similar word when it was not in fact the precise term we were intending? I’ve had many years of teaching both in and out of the Church (not the least of which includes teaching my children) and I have definitely found a need to clarify or change wording to better get my point across. Often this need has come to my attention after I have seen the effect of my words as spoken on my ‘student.’

    Of course the reaction to those words could have spurred “the need” for changes. Because at the reaction Elder Packer could see what the perception of what he said was. At that point he can decide if that was what he meant or not.

    I would say that how his words were taken was probably not exactly as he meant them. I come to this conclusion because he changed them. Elder Packer does not generally mince words. If he wanted to make a certain statement then he would have. Obviously what he said was not received as exactly the message he intended. Why is this so inflammatory?

    On that note, I suppose I could see the need for a notation in the printed document that some words were changed from the original oral presentation. I don’t believe the exact changes would need to be listed. If someone was so moved, they could research it as I did and listen to the original talk while reading the written version to find the changes. For the Church to publish the original version in a written format would be putting out there with “endorsement” exactly something they felt needed to be changed.

    Comment by Nichole — October 10, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

  219. Interesting comments all around. In light of Isaiah’s injunction to “reason together,” lets us all be civil, eh?

    With the flurry of concerned over spoken v. printed words, keep in mind the practical contexts of conference talks. Sermons are written out beforehand to lessen translators’ work, but moving through a talk the speaker also functions in the moment. That reality is not unique to Mormons and does not necessarily reflect either censorship or a conspiracy. Twenty years of amateur theatre, recording textbooks for the blind, speaking in church and professional conferences, and teaching college have lent an appreciation for the impromptu nature of reading and departures from text.

    The key message in Packer’s comments is not marriage but apostasy–putting any individual or social priority ahead of gospel covenants. We might argue forever about the reality of revealled truth, but keep in mind that conference talks are not political statements (though admittedly, since I live in the South, they have a powerful social dimension). They are, rather, general counsel and advice in scriptural terms from individuals who are primarily acting as religious leaders. Whether one agrees or disagrees with them, Acts 5:29 applies–and complicates matters in the conduct of a liberal republic.

    Comment by Richard S. — October 11, 2010 @ 6:32 am

  220. Richard, you seem to be implying that Elder Packer may have changed his talk as he was speaking. Though that is not unheard of, it is my understanding that, in GC, that rarely happens. Also, please note that the changes to the text were made after his talk was given and were not the result of his making any impromptu changes while speaking.

    Comment by MCQ — October 11, 2010 @ 6:45 am

  221. I know I am really, really late to this conversation, and that this isn’t a terribly original observation, but it seem to me that differing reactions to Pres Packer’s talks show more about the listener than to the talk itself. People hear and interpret it the way they are predisposed to hear and interpret it.

    FWIW, I am of the camp that believes that if Pres Packer himself didn’t think it needed to be edited for publication, the written version would not have changed a word.

    Comment by CS Eric — October 11, 2010 @ 7:30 am

  222. Eric, I think you’re exactly right about that. My understanding is that the author always participates in the process and his consent would be required before making changes. Having said that, I can’t imagine that Elder Packer would argue with the First Presidency if they asked him to make certain changes.

    Comment by MCQ — October 11, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  223. Packer’s been a huge problem for the church for decades, and he’s been on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of revelation for too long to have members of the church still trying to stand behind is ridiculous and offensive pronouncements.

    This is the same man who opposed scholarly history, arguing that Mormon historians should write history selectively, as Mormons, so that they promoted faith rather than write history objectively as they learned in graduate school. This is the same man who said that intellectuals, feminists, and gays were the biggest threat to the church. This is the same man who advised church employees not to “give voice” to unorthodox concerns of members, regardless of whether these concerns were legitimate.

    Let’s face it: Packer has got to go, and no amount of editing of his talks is going to change that. It’s time for Mormons around the world to step up to the plate and toss this guy out on his ass. If he wants to lead, let him lead some other church, because he’s got no business leading this one.

    Comment by DKL — October 11, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  224. Strong words DKL. Don’t you think they might be a bit over the top for this particular circumstance? It seems to me that, as inflammatory remarks go, this one from Packer was a huge improvement over past remarks, even if you ascribe the worst possible meaning to his words (which I do not).

    Moreover, it’s not clear to me exactly what you are proposing. How do we exactly step up to the plate, here? What’s the mechanism for that, even if we agreed it was needed? (which I do not)

    Comment by MCQ — October 11, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

  225. Are you still joking DKL? I can’t tell. And I’m afraid your comedy act is bombing if this is a part of your routine.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

  226. I don’t think these remarks were an improvement at all–I think they demonstrated pretty clearly that he hasn’t changed his mind on these issues one little bit. I think the editing of his talk (which I very much doubt was his own idea) is indicative of progress. And while it’s less satisfying that “tossing him out on his ass,” it’s bound to have been pretty humiliating for him, especially being smacked down on the status of the Proclamation on the Family. Moreover, the refusal to label the Proc. revelation indicates a HUGE change, since it was drafted precisely for opposing gay marriage in Hawaii. If we’re unwilling to canonize it, that leaves room and hope for progress.

    Comment by Kristine — October 11, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  227. Kristine: since it was drafted precisely for opposing gay marriage in Hawaii

    I didn’t realize that. Is this documented or analyzed anywhere that I could refer to?

    Comment by Anson Call — October 11, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

  228. MCQ, the thing that is silly about this whole thing is that everybody is treating Packer’s words like it is unreasonable to believe that Packer would every say anything controversial. In fact, he has a history of being wrong on important issues. Before we had an environment that allowed for real Mormon scholarship, Packer was the most vociferous opponent of real Mormon scholarship — personally orchestrating the excommunication of scholars who published things that he didn’t like. Thankfully, the church abandoned his position. Over and over again, the story is the same.

    This time, Packer had some small price to pay; viz., being corrected in public. Honestly, if this small correction is humiliating for him, then he will burn in hell for the excesses that his pride have driven him to.

    Geoff J, whatever the options are for standing up, they involve doing more than defending his indefensible behavior.

    Comment by DKL — October 11, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  229. Kristine, they certainly don’t look the same as his 1978 remarks to me, but then I may be misreading, because I wasn’t even convinced this talk was about homosexualty at all.

    I didn’t say the editing was his own idea, I said it was done with his consent. He has spoken elsewhere about having his talks edited, and his willingness to make changes suggested by others. I take him at his word on that.

    I agree that the change to the language on the proclamation is a big deal, but I had not heard that about Hawaii either. Care to elaborate?

    Comment by MCQ — October 11, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  230. DKL, we’re Mormons. We don’t believe in hell.

    Comment by MCQ — October 11, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  231. DKL,

    First, nobody is disputing the fact that Elder Packer said something controversial. That is indisputable.

    The argument here is over how Elder Packer’s spoken comments should have been interpreted. I and lots of others interpreted the original talk to be in harmony with the current church position on homosexual attractions vs. actions. But others interpreted his comments as being contrary to that position. That was a legitimate disagreement because the spoken talk was ambiguous. So the written version came out and it was more clearly in harmony with the current church position.

    Second, you are free to have a beef with past actions by Elder Packer. I actually agree with you when you say he has chosen the wrong and ultimately losing side of some controversial debates in the past. But do you have any evidence that the edits to his recent talk were humiliating to him or are you making that part up? Your leap from that assertion to worrying about his soul burning in hell is no doubt touching to him.

    As for Elder Packer’s “indefensible behavior” — I assume you mean his grievous sin of disagreeing with you right? I personally don’t think disagreeing with DKL qualifies as indefensible behavior.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

  232. There are 2 ways at looking at the corrections:

    1. On the one hand, you can look at them as corrections to the original talk, like the famous talk by Elder Poelman. In this case, the talk should have been interpreted as Elder Packer gave it, and it was the validity of this interpretation that prompted the need to change it.

    2. On the other hand, you can view it as a clarification of the original talk, in which case, the purpose of printing the correction was to eliminate the ambiguity and end the argument.

    Your assertion “the argument is over how Elder Packer’s spoken comments should have been interpreted” begs the question because it is based on assuming #2 above.

    Since I believe #1, and since this is supported by Elder Packer’s past history of extreme positions that have ended up being inconsistent with the restored gospel, when I use the term “inexcusable behavior” I’m referring to the apostate position the he expounded in his original talk.

    Comment by DKL — October 11, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

  233. Ok DKL, so your position is that Elder Packer was intentionally in open rebellion against the First Presidency and the stated positions of the church regarding 1) the causes of same-sex attraction, and 2) the status of the family proclamation (revelation vs. “guide”). Is that right?

    If it is right what evidence do have to support those serious charges?

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

  234. Also I think you were wrong when you said “Your assertion “the argument is over how Elder Packer’s spoken comments should have been interpreted” begs the question because it is based on assuming #2 above.” I was not assuming #2 in my comment. Rather, I was agreeing that in this thread the merits of #1 vs. #2 have been debated.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  235. Yes, he was in open rebellion. He’s been willing to sacrifice his positions on history, on intellectuals, on scholars, on mixed-race marriages, and on excommunication. I think that this was his one attempt to cling bitterly to the position that he’s clung to for decades, and that the felt that he could get away with it for the same reason that David McCay never made an effort to publically distance the church from Mormon Doctrine. The church has a long history of allowing ultra-conservative messages to be pronounced over the pulpit without correction, and Packer was likely counting on this.

    He’s never apologized for any of his previous positions. He’s just allowed them to slip into obsolescence relying on the fact that his minions in the church would never hold him accountable. There’s no way he thought he’d get called on this one.

    Comment by DKL — October 11, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

  236. re:hawaii

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:niU0WSWx-aoJ:www.mormonsocialscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Crapo-R1997-Chronology-of-LDS-Involvement-In-Same-Sex-Marriage-Politics.pdf+crapo+hawaii+timeline&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjRylxWWMeQAnmZyzMB3y-ebk7eDjE0aHe681Wwi6yW8OkFu6vucMpN72jU99WbWywdBBXLYcIEJ1r3V0UjIBMmNGx9qypK7VYUU-YAFo9YCrqKNgoeEg4aZ_Lp7g7fTWjbmdKP&sig=AHIEtbRnlQJZ4Huya0euJIjAlCcpS4fVGg

    Sorry for the long url.

    Comment by Kristine — October 11, 2010 @ 8:41 pm

  237. See also here: http://www.qrd.org/qrd/usa/legal/hawaii/baehr/1997/brief.mormons-04.14.97

    Scroll through to Appendix A.

    Comment by Kristine — October 11, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

  238. Ok DKL, so how about some evidence to support these charges of yours? Did the Holy Spirit reveal to you Elder Packer’s inner intentions?

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

  239. Let’s leave the Holy Spirit out of this, Geoff. Packer was happy to do that, and we should be, too.

    Comment by DKL — October 11, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

  240. Yeah that’s what I thought. You have zero evidence to back up your allegations against Elder Packer about his intentions with this talk.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

  241. Kristine 226 (236, 237- links) “since it was drafted precisely for opposing gay marriage in Hawaii.”

    In my opinion, neither in the links you provided or in any other research I’ve found is this statement provable. As often happens, current “hot topics” in the social and political world are addressed within the Church. This makes sense as members are looking for guidance and it becomes necessary for the Church clearly denote its position.

    What you’re suggesting is that the Proclamation was made to oppose gay marriage (specifically in Hawaii). If that is the case, there are a lot of extra words in the document and there are some very specific words that are missing from the document.

    Yes, same sex marriage was a current hot topic in Hawaii at the time the Proclamation was released. No where within the document is Hawaii mentioned however. Nor is gay marriage mentioned. Yes, it appears as an Appendix used in the court case cited. However, it was used as an Appendix- and no where was it stated that it was drafted for the purpose of this court case or any other legal matter.

    You also seem to be suggesting that the Church will perhaps one day abandon some of the ideas outlined in the Proclamation. I would be surprised were that to happen whether it be “a guide” or “revelation.”

    Comment by Nichole — October 11, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

  242. Nichole, you’re right. It’s not provable–the evidence is all circumstantial.

    However, there aren’t any words missing. The anti-gay rhetoric is subtle and a little ambiguous, perhaps, but it’s certainly there.

    Comment by Kristine — October 12, 2010 @ 5:52 am

  243. The Proclamation is a political document, primarily. It is also an attempt to give scripture status (whether revelation or guideline) to conservative views of the post-WWII “traditional” family which cannot be supported by scripture.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 12, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  244. Exactly, Chris. When the church tried to get itself named as co-defendant with the state in Hawaii, it had to show that marriage was central to our doctrine. Alas, Section 132 was, uh, problematic.

    Comment by Kristine — October 12, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  245. Nice try, Geoff. I stated my evidence before you even asked. It’s inconsitent with his MO to moderate his tone due to authority. You’ve got zero evidence yourself, just your own blind assertions of fruitless and fruity reverence for authority and circular arguments. The guy has issues. There’s a reason he’s so frequently at the center of controversy.

    Comment by DKL — October 12, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  246. DKL,

    I wish I could call your tries here nice, but they don’t even rise to that level. You are now the one begging the question. Your only evidence of rebellion by Elder Packer is a highly questionable interpretation of the spoken talk. You then assume malicious and rebellious intentions by the speaker. It is of course logically possible that you are right. It is just not at all probable based on the complete lack of real evidence you have to work with. (Unless of course you are a mind reader).

    Hey man, if you want to be a BKP hater, hate away. You just don’t have a remotely compelling argument when you start attributing evil intentions to him. Rather, you make yourself look ridiculous.

    Again, let be clear that I don’t think BKP is infallible or beyond criticism. In fact I agree that he has a history of being too conservative and wrong on several issues in hindsight. And I am not even opposed to people criticizing BKP so don’t make some lame hero-worship accusations against me. The problem is that you have gone absurdly over the top with your criticisms here. So far over the top that I thought I was laughing with you earlier in this thread. Now it looks like you weren’t joking which means I was just laughing at you. (That surprises me based on how strong your arguments usually are.)

    Comment by Geoff J — October 12, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  247. I love a good throw-down.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — October 12, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  248. Geoff, your arguments don’t even rise to the point of seriousness.

    You’re on record saying, “There was nothing wrong at all with Boyd’s talk. It’s perfectly clear what Boyd meant.” Then you went about explaining how Boyd’s talk meant exactly the opposite of what Boyd said. Then, when Boyd’s talk got corrected to mean the exact opposite of what Boyd had said, you claimed “See! I told you that is what Boyd meant,” and you added (without a hint of irony), “That proves that I was right all along.”

    If fact, what you’d been claiming all along was that their was nothing wrong with Boyd’s talk, from which is follows that Boyd’s talk need not be changed. Of course, Boyd’s talk was changed, and it follows immediately from this that there was something wrong with Boyd’s talk, which means that you’ve been wrong all along. But you’ll never admit this, because you want to treat Boyd like a child, because you think that, as an apostle, Boyd’s can’t handle being wrong. But Boyd’s not like you. Boyd can handle being wrong.

    You call me a hater, but I’m the one who loves and respects Boyd enough to treat Boyd like an adult, to acknowledge Boyd’s opinions and disagree with Boyd’s opinions, to validate the importance of Boyd’s opinions by engaging Boyd’s opinions.

    Plus, I’m the one who’s willing to give Boyd credit for repenting. I mean, seriously, that’s pretty darned valiant.

    Comment by DKL — October 12, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

  249. DKL, you also said he was in open rebellion against the brethren and influenced by satan. That’s a little extreme, even for you. I think it’s fine to say Packer was wrong or is wrong, but I don’t think it’s fair to ascribe evil intent to him. As Jeff has shown over at your blog, the man’s a true saint. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on his motives, even when we disagree with him.

    Comment by MCQ — October 12, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

  250. MCQ, all Jeff has shown is that if you’re intent on ignoring all of Boyd’s bad qualities, then you can pretend that several of Boyd’s photo-ops were bona fide good deeds.

    Regarding whether Boyd was influenced by Satan, come on. Even Joseph admitted that he was influenced by Satan. Are you saying that Boyd is greater than Joseph?

    Comment by DKL — October 12, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

  251. We’re all influenced by satan, DKL. Some more than others, of course. But Packer can’t be as bad as you claim because if he were that much of a minion of the devil, you would have seen him at the meetings.

    Comment by MCQ — October 12, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

  252. DKL: you went about explaining how Boyd’s talk meant exactly the opposite of what Boyd said

    There you go begging the question again.

    Look, we can legitimately disagree on what his original talk said. I think it said one thing, you think it said another. We obviously won’t agree on that part. I have conceded that the original talk was ambiguous all along. The changes made it much less ambiguous. But now I am repeating myself.

    But you’ll never admit this, because you want to treat Boyd like a child, because you think that, as an apostle, Boyd’s can’t handle being wrong.

    Har! MCQ can you double check that IP again? These shockingly ludicrous arguments are so laughable that I am suspecting it is an impostor. Either that or DKL is playing this “joke” out way too far all in the name of art…

    Plus, I’m the one who’s willing to give Boyd credit for repenting. I mean, seriously, that’s pretty darned valiant.

    Lol. See — that was funny. I swear you are just yanking our chains here DKL. Come on man, the jig is up. Admit you are busting some Joaquin-Phoenix-like stunt with this absurd argument.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 12, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

  253. Geoff, DKL is always performance art. He doesn’t need to make a documentary ala Joaquin Phoenix. Although, if you ever do, DKL, I want to direct.

    Comment by MCQ — October 12, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  254. Geoff, I presented a formally valid argument. That’s not circular. When I caught you using a circular argument, I showed exactly how. And if you’re going to claim that my reasoning is circular, then you need to do the same.

    Boyd has repeatedly tried to pass off extra-doctrinal claims as though they were doctrine. That is apostasy. According to the Church Handbook of Instruction, apostasy “includes those who repeatedly present information as church doctrine that is not church doctrine.” Bingo. That’s Boyd.

    Let’s be serious. Your definition for a laughable position is anything that disagrees your idiotic and simplistic viewpoints.

    Comment by DKL — October 14, 2010 @ 9:23 am

  255. Hehe. In some weird ways I like this retarded version of DKL. It makes me laugh.

    It is especially funny how completely impervious to reason this new version is.

    Let us know when you move beyond this latest obnoxious phase of your performance art DKL.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 14, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  256. I rest my case.

    Comment by DKL — October 14, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  257. Ok I’ll keep playing DKL. You misread the meaning of the original talk. Then you made lots of arguments on that misreading. When I called out your misreading your used your misreading as your support. That is classic question begging.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 14, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  258. Here is my formally valid logical argument:

    You’re on record saying, “There was nothing wrong at all with Boyd’s talk. It’s perfectly clear what Boyd meant.” Then you went about explaining how Boyd’s talk meant exactly the opposite of what Boyd said. Then, when Boyd’s talk got corrected to mean the exact opposite of what Boyd had said, you claimed “See! I told you that is what Boyd meant,” and you added (without a hint of irony), “That proves that I was right all along.”

    I invite you to point to where I did what you describe, either in the preceding argument or in the thread as a whole.

    Comment by DKL — October 14, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

  259. DKL, your logical argument fails miserably on this assertion: “Then you went about explaining how Boyd’s talk meant exactly the opposite of what Boyd said.”

    You are and have been dead wrong in that claim. The arguments you have built based that assumption are therefore also wrong.

    I have repeatedly pointed out that you have been wrong in your claims about what the BKP actually said. You have repeatedly begged the question by erroneously assuming the you weren’t out to lunch in your reading of the original talk and then building other arguments on top of that as if they supported your original mistaken interpretation. That is you have been using circular reasoning here.

    As I have conceded all along though, I can’t prove what BKP really meant with the original talk. But of course neither can you.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 14, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  260. You’re saying that my valid argument isn’t a sound argument. But you’re wrong there, too. It is enough for my argument that you maintained that Boyd meant something different from what he said.” If it makes you feel better, substitute that for the statement, “Then you went about explaining how Boyd’s talk meant exactly the opposite of what Boyd said”

    And yes, I do have proof about what Boyd said. The spirit told me, and in Mormonism, that’s enough.

    Comment by DKL — October 14, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  261. Elder Packer meant what he said. And what he said is that God will never give anyone a temptation that they cannot overcome.

    Of course if your argument about what he said is based on a personal revelation of yours (sort of a gift of translation or something?) then I suppose we are at an impasse.

    BTW — what happened to your BKP-bashing post at your blog? Did you chicken out?

    Comment by Geoff J — October 14, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  262. Regarding #214, and, in a broader sense, the bickering of DKL and Geoff J, I don’t think the main issues have been brought up. Elder Packer tried to set forth the Proclamation on the Family as canonized scripture, and the edited version of his talk changed his words to “it is a guide”. That is a significant difference to me. Although it probably supports DKL’s position more than Geoff J’s, (and I don’t want to fuel the fire between them) I still consider this change to a “guide” evidence that Elder Packer made a mistake and that he probably wasn’t the one to point it out to himself; he likely had to conform to someone telling him to change that. This is not just an editorial, minor change.

    Comment by kevinr — October 14, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  263. I actually largely agree with you on that revelation vs guide gaffe kevinr. See #145. (Although BKP did try to cover his butt a bit in his original comments by using a very loose definition of the word revelation)

    Comment by Geoff J — October 14, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  264. Geoff, and the fact that he tried to cover his butt counts as evidence that he knew that he was off-base in the first place; i.e., open rebellion. If he’d had just come right out and called it revelation, then it might be argued that it was an honest mistake.

    Comment by DKL — October 14, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

  265. DKL,

    Here is what Elder Packer originally said:

    It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it.

    The qualifying statement is “according to the definition”. I believe the definition he was referring to is in the D&C. Here it is:

    D&C 68: 4
    4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.

    Elder Packer no doubt believes the that the authors of the Family Proclamation were “moved upon by the Holy Ghost” when writing the document and thus by that loose definition it could be called a revelation. But conference talks are not good places to be using loose definitions of words like revelation. So I am glad it was edited. And no, it was not open rebellion.

    But speaking of open rebellion — what happened to your BKP-bashing post at your blog? Did you chicken out?

    Comment by Geoff J — October 14, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

  266. There is a HUGE difference between using SSA as a descriptive term and saying something judgmental like “struggling with SSA”.

    The latter isn’t remotely judgmental if it is in accordance with the individual concerned’s own views.

    Comment by Mark D. — October 14, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

  267. Geoff, you’re having an exchange with the guy who never apologized for fooling the bloggernacle into thinking that he was a super-hot, long-necked feminist living in Lewiston, ID in an unhappy marriage to a man who worked the night shift at toilet paper factory. You should know better than to ask whether I “chickened out.”

    Comment by DKL — October 14, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  268. So, you’re admitting that you chickened out of apologizing.

    Comment by MCQ — October 14, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

  269. Egad.

    Talk about coming late to the party.

    So here are a few comments. And as Official Token Gay™, here at Nine Moons, I reserve the right to comment on issues that are otherwise “closed”.

    About the talk: I started listening to the talk part way through, Sunday morning, and was interrupted a couple of times by children. But what I heard, led me to believe I was hearing a thinly veiled screed against homosexuality and the battle to legalize gay marriage. That night, I went to bed in tears … it had been the first time I’d ever come away from Conference without having been recharged. And now, talking about it again, those feelings return. I’m exhausted. Good heavens, what a burden.

    That said … I finally read the talk (via the handy dandy link to MfM’s annotated transcript) this evening, and you know what? I think there’s an argument to be made that President Packer’s talk wasn’t about homosexuality at all — but, rather, a poorly worded and mealy mouthed commentary on pornography. I don’t know. The talk is vague from start to finish.

    So I don’t know what to say, but that I’m grateful that the edits to the talk will likely relegate the talk to the oubliette of history.

    About SSA: whether the term was coined by religious zealots or not is moot, as it’s consistently used by them to frame the discussion in terms better suited to discussing a terrible illness. If you want to differentiate between someone who’s having sex and someone who isn’t, the term you’re looking for is “celibate”. Gays and straights alike run the gamut of sexual activity, so there’s no reason to coin a term just for the gays.

    Speaking of celibacy, a story:

    I was renewing my temple recommend a few weeks back, when I said to my bishop: “Which is odder … that I’m attracted to men, or that I’m in my 30s and still a virgin? It’s that I’m still a virgin; bishop, I am a freak of nature.”

    Anyway, back to SSA: stop using the term. It’s silly. It’s almost as bad as the term-du-jour from a few years back, “gender confusion”.

    Blech.

    About support groups: I can see some wisdom in the advice to young gay members of the Church not to hang out with “out” peers. Some. In fact, I suggested something vaguely similar to a mother worried about her son, in response to request for help:

    … Now this is where it becomes a little tricky: orientation is a complex creature, and because he’s young, and because his self-perception is based on incomplete data, he should be given as much room as possible to be straight. If there is any chance that he can live as a healthy and honest straight man, that should be fostered. Fostered — but in a way that doesn’t discount his eternal value based of his final orientation. With this in mind, there are very real consequences in whom he choses to tell: the likelihood that most people — especially his peers — will differentiate between “I think I might be gay” and “I’m gay” is low. Which means that the reaction he will likely get will based on the latter, rather than the former. Depending on their upbringing, their maturity, and their personal experiences, those whom he tells will react differently — but all of their reactions will likely be towards Forrest as a gay youth [, instead of toward Forrest as a questioning youth]. People unfriendly towards gays will be provoked and people friendly towards gays will be encouraging. Neither reaction is what you want, as neither reaction will give Forrest the space he needs to come to his own conclusions. To this end, Forrest should be encouraged to keep the matter to himself. How you do that, though, may make all the difference in how he perceives the request.

    Of course, as an adult who knows full-well that he’s gay, I have no problem associating with out adults — and I would likely take umbrage at being told to avoid so-and-so.

    Frankly, there are lots of groups wanting my attention as a gay Mormon, and while I find each of them proffers their own value, I find none of them can offer me anything that compares to what a thriving Elders Quorum can offer me — a Quorum filled with men who haven’t retreated into their marriages or into their jobs, but take joy in and make a joy out of associating with their brothers. That’s why I’ve loved Conference talks, in recent years, putting the Quorum at its rightful place in the lives of men of in the Church.

    (For those familiar with the Journey into Manhood approach, my endorsement of a thriving Quorum shouldn’t be confused with their snake oil.)

    And, finally, … DKL: wow, where’s this anger coming from?! Brother, I seriously suggest you check those notions at the door. The Brethren are human, and I’m willing to afford them the room and the grace to make mistakes — even serious ones. Calling wayward apostles out isn’t your job. And that’s “President Packer” to you and me; you’re not his friend or relative. Show some respect.

    Comment by Silus Grok — October 15, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

  270. Oops … forgot one: on the Proclamation: I, personally, think it’s only a matter of time before the Proclamation on the Family is canonized (at which time it will graduate from being a “guide” to being something authoritative). I look forward to that day. In the mean time, I think it’s inappropriate to treat the Proclamation as Scripture™, as it currently has all the rhetorical weight of a Sunday School manual.

    And how could I possibly look forward to that day? Easily. I see the Proclamation as a slightly subversive document. Everyone’s convinced it’s an anti-gay tract (and, considering its genesis in the Hawaiian gay marriage fight, can you blame them?), but it’s not. It talks about gender and it talks about sex — but not orientation. Yes, it’s a fine line … but I think it’s a strong one. The Proclamation, in my humble opinion, is nothing less than the embryo (pun intended) of a Mormon Theology of Life™ (inasmuch as anything Mormon could be described as a “theology”) — and that it will be the document around which we build, over the next few generations, a thoroughly grounded approach to such far-reaching subjects as human sexuality and euthanasia, stem cell research and in vitro fertilization.

    Comment by Silus Grok — October 15, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

  271. Very very helpful, Silus. Thanks.

    Comment by MCQ — October 16, 2010 @ 2:31 am

  272. Silas, I stand all amazed! I believe that I’ve “met” the very first highest degree of celestial glory gay Saint. Although, I have always been intrigued by Joseph’s comments to the early Saints, “If I told you all I know about the Celestial Kingdom, you would string me up!” (paraphrased) It might very well be that things ‘up there’ are not exactly a mirror image of how things are down here in mortality. Nibley inferred this also in one of his books, opining that there could be other ways of reproduction there and that we might see a far larger array of animals than just those who call this realm home. But a strict adherence to the concept that eternity is going to just be an extension of mortality, precludes the possibility that the Almighty just might have a far broader vision than ours, especially when it comes to selfless, eternal love in all of its myriad expressions. Without being droll, I expect that being a celestial being will be like visiting a foreign country for the first time. There will be a lot of laws, customs, and ways of doing things which one will have to learn in order to full integrate oneself into celestial society. By the way, I enjoy your subtle reference to “Dune”, a story which had great emotional significance to me in my youth.

    Comment by Torrey — October 16, 2010 @ 11:45 am

  273. Apologies, Silas, the reference is actually from Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”, for which I still have a deep affection. Standing out too long in this southern Utah sun is burning out my cerebral circuitry!

    Comment by Torrey — October 16, 2010 @ 11:55 am

  274. @Torrey: I’m fairly certain that the hosts of Heaven are doing what they can to speak to us in terms we understand … and when we finally see the Holy City, it will be a strange and wondrous place in very deed. As for the Dune/Stranger reference, I’m afraid it’s imagined — though what an imagination! I’d love to know what my subconscious mind dug up … what did I say?

    :)

    Comment by Silus Grok — October 16, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  275. @Silus; Robert Heinlein wrote “Stranger in a Strange Land”, which some have labelled an ‘escapist’ sci-fi story that was actually quite thought provoking. He most likely invented the word, “grok”, because it plays an important part in his novel. Some others believe that it may have Balkan Slavic roots. I personally don’t know. Your selection of it as an online surname is indeed an unusual coincidence, if you are unaware of the book and its message.
    I concur that we are spoken to in terms that we can understand, and if our minds are not prepared to accept and comprehend more of the fullness of the reality of eternal life, then the divine knowledge will be kept from us until such time that we attain that level consciousness and open our minds to receive it. It is conceivable that our mortal opinions and prejudices would create a barrier within ourselves to receiving any such personal revelation(s) for our own enlightenment.

    Comment by Torrey — October 17, 2010 @ 1:42 am

  276. * smacks forehead *

    I wasn’t even thinking about my moniker — I was trying to figure out what I had said in my comments that rang out as a Heinlein reference. I thought, perhaps, that you’d zeroed in on my quip about the “oubliette of history”. Anyway … yes; I know that “grok” is a Heinleinism — but I borrowed it from the software development world.

    :)

    Comment by Silus Grok — October 17, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  277. I have some friends over at the LDS sites for Gay/SSA/? whatever-term-you-like forums. They are good people and do offer one another friendship and support. They have also been great to talk to me and answer questions that I had concerning my friends and family. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all. Plus, there is Evergreen and other retreats etc. that people participate in. From what I have read, some people really benefit from these meetings and others don’t like them at all.

    I think it is getting silly to argue over terminology. Anyone can find just about anything offensive. I know some Mormons who are offended by the word gay and some offended by SSA. I find SSA best and do not feel it is offensive. Gay is a word that has had it’s meaning changed with every generation. I think that is rather annoying.

    I happen to think the word homophobic is offensive. I don’t think someone is scared of homosexuality just because they don’t agree with the political mindset of gay activists. To me, it is just another hate term meant to caste others as psychologically disturbed. I can argue against it for many of the same reasons that the term SSA can be argued against.

    The fact is that none of these terms are going to go away. Those who use the term homophobic don’t really care if it offends me. And while I really don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings, no matter what terms I happen to use, there will be somebody who doesn’t like it.

    Comment by AJ — October 18, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  278. AJ, the difference is that you don’t really have to live with the term “homophobic” being applied to you every day of your life (I hope), whereas gay people who are out have to self-identify as something and have to engage in discussions about that label.

    Because of that, the label that is used to describe them does matter. You’re right that anyone might be offended by a particular term, but have you really run into people who are offended at being described as “gay” or “homosexual?” That would be unusual.

    The only reason I was suggesting SSA as a possibility was to differentiate between attraction and behavior. But since it is offensive to some, I agreed to drop it, so we won’t be using it on this thread any more. Thanks for your cooperation.

    Comment by MCQ — October 18, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  279. MCQ, there was an argument over at one of the lds forums over the term homosexual. One man uses it to describe himself and that offended another man who (I think) preferred SSA. They had to hash it out a little.
    There have been other threads discussing the terms as well. I think the church prefers the term SSA but of course that does not mean that every individual within the church agrees with that.
    Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that I really have run into people offended by those terms.
    I can see why you would want to go by majority rules on this site,though. I am really only a random visitor anyway.

    Comment by AJ — October 18, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  280. The only person who might have authorized any changes to the written version of the talk would have been Elder Packer himself. There are no outsiders pulling strings, here.

    Comment by KG — November 22, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

  281. KG, that’s not strictly true. the story I got, from people who know, was that changes were recommended by others which were then agreed to by Elder Packer.

    So the impetus for the changes came from others, but the changes were in the end authorized by Elder Packer. Would the talk have been changed if Elder Packer did not agree? We may never know, but my guess is yes, if there was otherwise unanimity on the need for the changes.

    Comment by MCQ — November 23, 2010 @ 12:25 am

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