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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Voices in My Head, Part II: On Doctrine & the Great Plan of Happiness » Voices in My Head, Part II: On Doctrine & the Great Plan of Happiness

Voices in My Head, Part II: On Doctrine & the Great Plan of Happiness

D Christian Harrison - September 13, 2005

As a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the doctrinal perspective on homosexuality is of particular interest to me. To be frank, I need more study on the matter to have any concrete opinion… but I think my current thinking on various doctrinal questions may be of interest to you. Whatever your interest, I am certain that _your_ opinion on the matter is of interest to _me_.

Isn’t This Resolved?

In a word: no. The scriptures have much to say on the subject, of course… but we have a rich history of setting-aside scriptures; modern prophets have spoken, but our current prophet has demurred… himself setting aside language of “abomination” and “sin next to murder” for a decidedly conciliatory tone. From where I stand (dripping in bias), I sense a sea change.

I don’t know what is coming… but something, I submit, is.

Scriptures

So let’s start with the LDS canon… what is said, what is not, and what have we misread?

Old Testament

The Sin of Sodom

Let’s tackle the big one first… what is the sin of Sodom (Genesis 19)? Read the story… no act is ever undertaken. A mob (I imagine them drunk) comes to Lot’s home to cause trouble. They make gross sexual advances against Lot’s (male) guests and his daughters… but nothing happens, so it’s difficult to really settle the matter. If something had happened, though… what would have been the crime? Homosexuality? Or would it have been rape? They’re not the same.

So what is the sin of Sodom spoken of with such venom in Isaiah and 2 Nephi? Joseph Smith said with no hesitation (and no citation, sadly, until I can find the source) that the sin of Sodom was rejecting the prophets. A reading of Isaiah (3) and 2 Nephi (13) suggests that the sin of Sodom was a wanton disregard for their fellow man… “grinding the face of the poor” (13:15) and pride and haughtiness (13:16-23) (see also Ezekiel 16:48). For an even bigger wrench, check out Joseph Smith’s interpolation, marked “Genesis 19:11″ in the JST.

Leviticus

Leviticus is a different matter, of course… it seldom minces words. But it’s not hard to set the quote in Leviticus aside, as we’ve already set so much of it aside already. Some argue that such a categorical assignation of Leviticus is justified by Christ’s declaration that all things are done away in him. But I find that argument lacks nuance.

Deuteronomy

The sodomites referred to in chapter 23 are “qadesh”, male sex workers whose trade is a part of their religious devotion. I’m not sure what to make of this reference… except that, once again, we are not talking about homosexuality, but something rather more complex.

New Testament

Though Paul made several comments that allude to homosexuality (Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1, and Jude 1), the person whose words I most want to hear on the matter has nothing to say. Christ, as quoted by the authors of the New Testament, has nothing to say about homosexuality.

Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, & the Book of Doctrine & Covenants

The Book of Mormon is also silent on the matter — unless you hold to a traditional interpretation of “the sin of Sodom” — as are the other books of the restoration.

Modern Prophets

There have been many statements on homosexuality various general authorities… but in looking to our prophet, today, I see a marked difference in doctrine and tone. No longer is homosexuality an “abomination”, no longer are saints excommunicated for their attractions… even Elder Packer’s talk “To the One”, a mainstay of bishops of the last few decades, is noticeably missing from the modern church’s library.

The Proclamation on the Family

Before addressing what the Proclamation says, it should be noted that the Proclamation is not canon… it is a publication (special as it is) of the Church, not horribly dissimilar from a manual or instruction booklet. It was crafted by committee (several, some say), and holds no special place in our canon — though it has captured one in our hearts.

So… what does the Proclamation have to say on the matter? Nothing.

It has plenty to say on family, and its importance… and on chastity. But it says nothing about homosexuality. Indeed, the closest it comes to saying anything about homosexuality is to say that “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose”. Gender… but not orientation.

Interesting, too, is the “powers of procreation” comment… which would leave the more legalistic among us to wonder whether gay sex is covered, as it is not in the least bit procreative. Though I would say such a stance is far-fetched, and probably not in-keeping with the spirit of the sentiment.

The Great Plan of Happiness

Families are central to the God’s plan for his children… and while I can think of many ways that earthly family life is a crucible, preparing us for the eternities… the exact nature of family life in the here-after is (at best) foggy.

We also know that temple marriage plays a vital role in setting the legal stage for inheriting the greatest glories of the Celestial Kingdom… but the playing field is littered with exceptions: the unlucky, the unwise, the unhealthy — all, it seems, have some degree of non-culpability, and are told that it will all be sorted-out in the here-after.

For me, then, as a homosexual, I wonder if those exceptions apply to me. I certainly hope so. And if they do, then I can certainly endure the portion of loneliness that any single person in the church must bear… no less and no more.

But why do I bring this up at all?

Well, it goes to an argument I’ve heard that says that since homosexuality doesn’t “fit” into God’s plan of eternal marriage, then it must be evil. But I would counter that my singleness is not categorically different from the singleness of so many of my brothers and sisters in the Church who are, likewise, outside the marriage mainstream.

It also goes to an sentiment that I hear from my gay and lesbian friends, which goes along the lines that its unjust to be denied sexual fulfillment… and that somehow such denial reeks of oppression. To them I say that I have no more claim to sexual fulfillment than the dear single sister on the back pew who shares in my oath to not have sex outside of marriage. If she can bear her cross with dignity, then so can I.

The Long View

So what do I make of the paucity of reliable commentary on homosexuality in the scriptures, and the recent shift in tone from the Brethren?

For me, I see a societal corollary to how the Holy Spirit works on an individual… a person exits the waters of baptism and takes upon themselves a life-long agreement to let the Lord work a mighty work on them through the promptings of the Spirit. The Spirit moves in and begins slowly remodeling our hearts. For the most part, it’s light and constant… but in the end, we are new people, with our agency intact.

At a societal level, the Church insinuates itself into the fabric of society, using the structures which already exist while it goes about its business of reforming society, one person at a time. It engages societal ills as questions and opportunities arise.

I see much of what the Church has said in years (and eons) past on homosexuality as the Church parroting larger social standards… but now that society is no longer holding to that standard, I see the Church struggling to formulate a response… an inspired rhetoric that can appropriately address the questions of the saints.

Until now, homosexuality was seen as lascivious… but today members of the church world-wide — and many, many Brethren — know homosexuals that are anything but. And we’re all wondering what the Lord would have us do. Today, more than ever, the Brethren are asking the Lord “whither the homosexual”. I, for one, am eager for the reply.

Please stay tuned for Part III, The Church Going Forward.

86 Comments »

  1. “The scriptures have much to say on the subject”

    I tend to think the opposite. I don’t have the scriptures memorised, but everything I have read is implied at best.

    Comment by Kim Siever — September 14, 2005 @ 8:06 am

  2. Jesus never explicitly addressed homosexuality, but he did address matters of sexual immorality, and his responses were “he whom thou now hast is not thy husband” (John 5) and “go, and sin no more” (John 8). He plainly endorsed the OT views of chastity. He said that looking on a woman with lust was effectively already committing adultery (Matt 5:28). How could anyone take a view so spiritually refined as this, that men may not even look with lust, and then say it doesnt apply to homosexuality? Because its not literal heterosexual adultery? That would be the equivalent of saying this doesnt apply to unmarried heterosexuals. But, finally, Jesus explicitly prohibits “fornications” in Matt. 15:19, which Greek term “porneia” would include any form of illicit sexual activity, to include homosexuality.

    Jesus also plainly endorsed and abided the Law of Moses during his lifetime, which Law flatly prohibited any form of homosexual conduct among them. Regardless of its being fulfilled in letter with his Sacrifice, the spirit of the Law of Moses lives on in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which the Law was meant to point Israel to. The BofM and D&C does also implicitly address it as well, as they clearly address matters of sexual immorality and flatly prohibit it in any form.

    Trying to get homosexuality, in any presentation, out from under the umbrella of sexual immorality is impossible in a Scriptural setting given the entire purpose of Creation is to be fruitful and multiply.

    Insisting the Scriptures explicitly address specific particulars of homosexuality is like saying you can do methamphetamine at raves because D&C 89 doesnt say anything about either.

    If you anticipate the LDS Church endorsing monogomous homosexual relationships and gay marriage, you will be disapointed.

    Comment by Kurt — September 14, 2005 @ 8:56 am

  3. Although only implied, I believe the Proclamation was actually designed and written specifically to provide doctrinal grounds for denial of same-sex marriage (as it was being promoted in Hawaii at the time). The leaders of the Church were told that nothing existed in writing which showed the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage, so they wrote the Proclamation. Notably, it isn’t yet canonized, though many speak of it as if it were.

    I don’t have the Proclamation handy, but it does speak of marriage as being between a man and a woman, and seems to frown on alternative choices such as a woman raising a child on her own. This would imply that other kinds of marriages are inappropriate.

    The language is strong enough that I saw the implication immediately, the night I first read the Proclamation.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 8:57 am

  4. With the scriptures focusing on sexual immorality, wouldn’t this mean when gay marriage becomes legal sex between homosexuals would no longer be immoral? Is the act itself immoral, or the fact that it is between two unmarried people? Because I don’t remember the church ever coming out with a laundry list of sexual acts and telling us which are allowed.

    Comment by jjohnsen — September 14, 2005 @ 9:11 am

  5. jjohnsen,

    The Church doesnt need to produce a list of permissible acts, as the act in an of itself is not the issue. The issue is the who, not the what, when it comes to matters of sexual morality. If the act is between a married man and woman, then it is moral. If it is not, then it is immoral, whatever the combination, or lack thereof. The Scriptures have never dictated the sexual behavior between married couples (with minor exceptions dealing with ritual purity).

    Adultery is effectively no longer illegal in our society. That has no bearing whatsoever on whether it is a sin or not, and whether it is harmful to individuals, families, and societies.

    Comment by Kurt — September 14, 2005 @ 10:21 am

  6. With all due respect, if you think that the “sea change” coming is the legitimization of monogamous same-sex sexual relationships, you’re living in a fantasy world.

    It is true that nowhere in scripture are such relationships explicitly, directly, unequivocally condemned. But, that said, it is hard to read scripture — including the quasi-scriptural Proclamation on the Family — without coming to any other conclusion than that it is immoral and disapproved of by God.

    I also wouldn’t view President Hinckley’s remarks as giving any hope that such relations will be legitimized. Again, with all due respect — and you’ve obviously thought about this a lot more than I have — I think you’re looking for some sort of acceptance that just isn’t going to be there.

    It is true that some attitudes are changing. At the very least, we are being told that homosexuality isn’t the unpardonable sin, that all of God’s children should be treated as such, and that there is a distinction that should be made between desire and behavior. But I think the message is more against judgmentalism than anything else. It’s a reminder that the scriptural standards are extremely high for all of us — Jesus condemned even lust itself, and I wouldn’t be surprised if all our church leaders have crossed that line at least once in their lives.

    But saying that we should love gays and accept them as God’s children isn’t the same thing as approving of their behavior. In that regard, I see no change forthcoming.

    Comment by EricG — September 14, 2005 @ 11:03 am

  7. D. Fletcher, I agree. You’ve nailed what I see as the primary public purpose of the proclamation (excuse the inadvertent alliteration). Several factors make your interpretation compelling to me. First, the timing: the proclamation was issued in (I think) the middle of the struggle over same-sex marriage in Hawaii, and shortly before similar struggles began in several other states including California.

    Second, there’s the fact that the church hasn’t really exerted a lot of political efforts on behalf of the other causes implied by the proclamation. For instance, where is the vigorous effort to recriminalize and/or enforce laws against adultery?

    Third, there is repeated language in the proclamation that suggests immense unease with (and limited understanding of) homosexuality. The statement that gender is an essential, eternal characteristic of personal identity, which Silus cited above, seems to me to me based in the old misconception that most homosexuals want sexual reassignment. The proclamation also says that, “the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman.” If taken at face value, this statement is pretty stupid: it says that nobody other than a man and a woman should have children together. As far as I know, that’s the only current biological possibility, anyway, so why even mention it? (A point raised by Silus as well.) But we all know that the church uses “powers of procreation” as a euphemism for “sex acts.”

    Fourth, the folk usage of the proclamation (other than as a totem to frame and hang on your wall) is, in my experience, strictly and exclusively to oppose homosexuality.

    So I conclude that the proclamation was really intended as an anti-homosexual document. However, it’s so indirect and bureaucratic that it ironically leaves this central message unstated and fails to foreclose the possibility of reinterpretation at a later date, when a different generation has been called into leadership. (That it may be so is my fervent prayer.)

    Comment by RoastedTomatoes — September 14, 2005 @ 11:04 am

  8. I agree with you, Eric, that the Church will not approve of homosexual behavior for a long, long time.

    But legalized same-sex marriage is coming, and coming fast. Despite efforts to stop it, it does seem modern and democratic.

    And when it comes, the Church will have to deal with the fact that it approves some legal marriages (the heterosexual ones) but not others (the homosexual ones). I think this is the chief reason the Church is opposed to legalized SSM, because it doesn’t want to have to make a distinction.

    One of the central tenets of the Church, #12 Article of Faith, is “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates; in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

    If same-sex marriage is legalized, and the Church actively dismisses some of those marriages, it could have lawsuits and other problems it does not want.

    I actually think, the same-sex marriage issue is the defining issue for the Church in the 21st century — how separatist are we from society?

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 11:13 am

  9. Roasted Ts:

    I have actually heard from a very good source that the “proclamation” was originally written by lawyers for the Church who were working on the Hawaii SSM propositions, later edited by Elder Oaks, specifically for legal use. Elder Oaks read it over to the 12, which jointly decided to publish it in the newspaper and use it in talks, etc.

    Makes sense to me.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 11:19 am

  10. Hey everyone, good morning.

    My word y’all are up early.

    I was up late writing, but got to tired to finish… I didn’t want to start a second post for what was essentially the end of this one, so I amended my post. Specifically, I added several paragraphs at the end.

    A couple of comments:

    Kim… you are right. The scriptures have little to say on homosexuality… but we have a lot to say on the little that is said.

    : )

    Kurt… it would appear that your line of reasoning is as follows: homosexuality is a sexual sin; Christ (and the scriptures in general) have a lot to say on sexual sin; Christ (and the scriptures in general) therefore have a lot to say on (against) homosexuality. The problem with this line of reasoning is that I don’t grant your premise. I agree that lust is bad… but everyone can lusts. I agree that infedelity is wrong… but infedelity is a problem across the board. Homosexuality is _only_ an issue of whom I love, not how I love them. I can be a craven, lascivious, maliscious homosexual… or a tender, loving, self-sacrificing homosexual. The scriptures teach me to be the latter.

    The entire purpose of creation is to be fruitful and multiply? So my infertile freinds, and my single friends (who have no hope of marriage) might as well off themselves now, I take it? Good heavens, Kurt… think about what you’re saying.

    As for the meth analogy… I am not (yet) drawing any conclusions from the lack of a concrete doctrine on homosexuality. I am merely sketching-out a hole that I hope (and believe) is ripe to be filled.

    As for how it will be filled, I do not know… but I look forward to it. In the mean time, I live a chaste life, celebate… and gay.

    I do not anticipate the Church endorsing gay marriage… I don’t myself. What I do hope for, though, is the subject of my next post… so I’ll save it for then.

    D… I’ve never heard that about the Proclamation being in response to the situation in Hawaii. Of course, everything we do is in response to something else… and I would not be surprised to see that the Lord used this opportunity to begin crafting a more coherent rhetoric around the family in society. That is may have been crafted by lawyers only lends credence to my contention that it does not address homosexuality. Lawyers seldom address issues obliquely.

    As for gay marriage… a statement against gay marriage shouldn’t be construed as a statement against homosexuality. I am a homosexual, but I’m not for gay marriage… and I don’t feel the least bit conflicted.

    JJohnsen… legalizing something doesn’t make it moral. Though I’m certain that the Brethren are sensitive to that line of logic playing-out among the members of the church.

    EricG… you should note that I took care not to say what I think will be coming, only that I believe that it is coming, and I am eager to receive it.

    It is hard to read scripture — including the quasi-scriptural Proclamation on the Family — without coming to any other conclusion than that it is immoral and disapproved of by God.

    I don’t have the same difficulty that you appear to… though I will say that I am laboring under a different circumstance.

    RT… The irony in using the PotF as an argument against homosexuality is that it never mentions it… Gender is not orientation. I am a man. I have a male spirit. I know that. I accept that I was a male before I was born, and that I’ll be a male in the hereafter.

    And for everyone wanting to read it, here’s a link to the Proclamation on the Family, until I have a moment to make a PDF of it (as Church web links are notoriously ephemeral).

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 14, 2005 @ 12:21 pm

  11. Funny story about the Proclamation. The night it was introduced, at the Relief Society conference, I was playing the piano at Gordon Bowen’s wedding reception in SLC. After the conference, President and Sister Hinckley came over to the reception. My sister was there, and she asked Sister Hinckley if anything unusual had been mentioned at the conference, and Sister Hinckley said “no, same ol’ same ol’.”

    P.S. The Proclamation doesn’t mention homosexuality, it’s true, but the point of the Proclamation was to state doctrinal truths which would show cause for dismissal of same-sex marriages.

    “We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

    That’s pretty clear to me.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 12:39 pm

  12. Silus,

    It is explicitly identified and prohibited in the OT in Leviticus. It is explicitly identified and prohibited in the NT by Paul. And, it is implicitly included in Jesus’ prohibition of all fornications because the word used includes homosexuality, as is established by contextual usage. How is this a hole? Because it doesnt explicity say that “a tender, loving, self-sacrificing homosexual” relationship is prohibited? Thats just a fallacious argument from silence.

    Imperfections due to the Fall have no bearing whatseover on the purpose of Creation. Anymore than people not keeping the commandments makes the commandments invalid.

    I commend you for living your life chaste and celibate.

    Comment by Kurt — September 14, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

  13. Kurt: there are plenty of things specifically prohibited in Leviticus that we completely ignore… similarly Paul.

    As for the term “fornications” including homosexuality, I’d like to see your basis for that.

    As for the fall, you specifically say that homosexuality is a sin because it doesn’t fit within a creation whose purpose is to be fruitful and multiply… but that’s a very broad stroke you’re painting, one which includes being straight and single.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 14, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

  14. … you should note that I took care not to say what I think will be coming, only that I believe that it is coming, and I am eager to receive it.

    Noted. I too will be interested to see what comes, as well as what you have to say in your next installment.

    Comment by EricG — September 14, 2005 @ 1:30 pm

  15. “As for the fall, you specifically say that homosexuality is a sin because it doesn’t fit within a creation whose purpose is to be fruitful and multiply… but that’s a very broad stroke you’re painting, one which includes being straight and single.”

    And it might include married people who can’t have children. Perhaps we should demand the annulment of these marriages, so one or the other can find a partner they can procreate with, and let the other partner (the one that’s sterile) die in shame and loneliness.

    :)

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 1:37 pm

  16. D,
    I understand your point on that, though with a straight-sterile couple you could argue that they will have a chance to procreate in the afterlife, whereas a homosexual couple couldn’t (at least according to our current understanding/belief of how procreation happens in the eternities).

    Comment by Rusty — September 14, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

  17. Still, the argument that sex is exclusively for replenishing the earth does imply that sterile married couples should be totally abstinent. Which I haven’t heard taught.

    Comment by RoastedTomatoes — September 14, 2005 @ 2:01 pm

  18. Silus…

    I’ve been following your postings here with interest. I wasn’t sure where to post this message, since it deals with the overall project you’ve undertaken here, and not specifically with this latest installment. However, I’ll ask here since this is the most current discussion.

    The seeming premise of your series here is to argue that it is not irrational to be gay and maintain allegiace to the LDS Church.

    Suppossing I have that correct (and I recognize that I may not), let me ask you this…

    Can you identify for me the type and style of organization to which it would be irrational for a self-identified gay individual to support?

    Comment by Timothy — September 14, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

  19. Rusty,

    I don’t think we know what procreation will be like in the next life. The Proclamation does say that genders are eternal, but you and Kurt have already mentioned that actual sexual behavior may be very different in the next life, perhaps not physical at all. Perhaps spiritual procreation will spring from the very souls of the couple, and if that’s the case, I don’t see why it couldn’t spring from the souls of a couple who are the same gender.

    I recognize that this is using human/mortal logic to describe the completely unknowable…

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 2:26 pm

  20. Hey Timothy… what a great question!

    First, your understanding of my premise is pretty much spot-on.

    Your question, though… wow. I have a testimony of the Gospel, so I can’t ever imagine not supporting the Church… so I’ll speak in the abstract: as a self-identified gay man, I don’t think I could support an organization that advocated violence towards gays or whose stances were openly hostile toward gays as a group (regardless of individual circumstances).

    But that’s just me shooting from the hip.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 14, 2005 @ 2:28 pm

  21. Thanks Silus.

    So, for you, the entirety of the case comes down to your testimony of the gospel.

    If so, then why spend the energy to lay out your case (for example, a study of the scriptures)? Wouldn’t it just be easier and more accurate to say, in regards to the question of why you support the LDS church “because God told me to.”

    [note: I have more thoughts on your other points, but I'll save them for later]

    Comment by Timothy — September 14, 2005 @ 2:42 pm

  22. Ooh, Timothy, trying to be subversive!

    ;)

    I can only speak for myself, but I think there is a great deal of truth in the Church (if not the absolute truth), so regardless of how I may feel about certain ideas, I still want to participate. I also feel that I’ll have more influence as a gay celibate man living in the Church’s boundaries, than I would have as a gay not-celibate man living outside the Church.

    But I do think of the Church’s teachings as a smorgasbord — I like some things, but don’t really bother trying others.

    I am hopeful that the Church/God will come around to the idea of a moral lifestyle for homosexuals, who could be allowed to date and marry and adopt children and live happily among the other Saints. I’m not holding my breath, though.

    :)

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 2:49 pm

  23. I have a testimony of the Gospel… but I am a man who is driven to understand things. I accept on faith alone many things… but I never stop trying to understand.

    This effort is my own initial attempt at relating my faith and my orientation.

    But you’re right: when it comes down to it, I’ve prayed about many of my decisions, and I feel good about them. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 14, 2005 @ 2:53 pm

  24. D,
    You’re right (regarding eternal procreation). We don’t know what it will be like. My comment was stated under the common Mormon assumption that procreation can only happen between man and woman (and that mostly because the plumming fits :)

    Also, wanting the Church to come around to an idea and God to come around to an idea is two different things. In his famous pride talk President Benson suggested pride was when we want God to come around to our way of thinking. Now, the Church actually does come around on some things so that is entirely plausible.

    Comment by Rusty — September 14, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

  25. OK.

    So, really, there’s no required “logic” to the position. God gets to state what is and what is not. It wouldn’t matter if the scriptures can be wrested to support this position or that, since God can say anything, and is not limited to human understanding (God’s ways, man’s ways and all that).

    In other words, trying to “logic” this out from the perspective that this is God’s will doesn’t have much merit, since God’s logic and our own are not required to match. In fact, would you agree that according to LDS Doctrine, when there is a difference between man’s logic and God’s will, God’s will wins?

    Comment by Timothy — September 14, 2005 @ 3:01 pm

  26. I think there is a BIG difference between being a homosexual and participating in homosexual acts. Participating, I think is a sin. Being homosexual and living a chaste life is probably as difficult or more so (I wouldn’t know for sure) as it is for a heterosexual.

    I don’t know that gender orientation when “controlled” is any worse than other other “desires” that are controlled. What about the alcoholic who lives the WofW? Or the gambler who refrains? Or the married guy who wants sex 5 times a week but only gets it once…but doesn’t commit adultry?

    We all have desires that have to be controlled. I think the key is, do we control our desires, seek the spirit to help us and rely on the spirit to guide us? If we do then does it matter if we are homosexual or an alcoholic?

    I don’t think a resurrected body will still have the alcohol cravings. Can a homosexual look forward to the same, I don’t know, I hope so.

    Comment by don — September 14, 2005 @ 3:02 pm

  27. Moving on…

    Silus States: I don’t think I could support an organization that advocated violence towards gays

    What if God wanted you to? (Think Abraham and his son)

    Silus States: whose stances were openly hostile toward gays as a group (regardless of individual circumstances).

    And you would argue that the LDS Church is not openly hostile towards the Gay community?

    Finally, is “violence” only physical?

    Comment by Timothy — September 14, 2005 @ 3:07 pm

  28. Timothy… while I must concede the point that God’s will wins, I am of the opinion that God makes sense. That his will is a will wrought in reason… the god we worship is one of reason, of law. Man’s logic only fails when man doesn’t have all the information.

    Don: What do you mean by “homosexual acts” and “chaste”?

    I’m not trying to split hairs, here… I am gay, and live a chaste life. I am a virgin (and not just a “technical” one). I also date.

    Do I fit in your definition?

    I’ve learned more about being chaste and gained more interpersonal skills dating men than I ever did dating women… and I love the companionship.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 14, 2005 @ 3:11 pm

  29. Don, I’ll put aside arguing your comparison of a homosexual to an alcoholic, since I know you meant well.

    ;)

    “I think there is a BIG difference between being a homosexual and participating in homosexual acts. ”

    I do not think there is a difference. I am a homosexual, whether actually having sex or not, just as someone is a heterosexual, whether having sex or not. The Church would like to believe it includes gays, but it really doesn’t. It doesn’t want me to be gay at all, in my attraction, in my mind, in my behavior. The Church believes I choose my attractions, but I don’t.

    I’ll use the example I’ve used since I knew what my attractions were: what if I fell in love with a quadriplegic like Stephen Hawking, and moved in with him, called him my husband, and tried to get a legalization of marriage with him, *all with no possibility of sexual activity/union whatsoever?*

    Everyone I have ever put this question to has said, it would be a sin. The non-sexual love of two men who wish it were sexual, is a sin.

    I am a terrible sinner, even in my celibate state, because I still hope for love which cannot be.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 3:13 pm

  30. Timothy.

    If God wanted me to jump off a bridge, I would. But I’d have a hard time coming to the conclusion that God wanted me to.

    As for violence, I was speaking largely of physical violence.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 14, 2005 @ 3:15 pm

  31. Silus…leaving the abstract, can you identify for me a single significant organization that advocates physical violence towards gays?

    In other words, haven’t you defined your criteria so narrowly that there isn’t a single organization that would fit? Does that mean that there’s not a single organization to which it is irrational for a self-defined homosexual to support? (except for a few clearly whacko, tiny and insignificant groups).

    For my part, I think violence spans much more than direct physical harm. Do you disagree?

    Next question: would you work for a business or a corporation that refused to hire homosexuals? (assuming, of course, that they didn’t know you were homosexual and were thus willing to hire you)

    Comment by Timothy — September 14, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

  32. Speaking as a committed Mormon who has, on occasion, been told that he doesn’t fit in the church, I want to express my profound lack of sympathy for Timothy’s project in these comments. If Silus and/or D. Fletcher wanted to leave the church, I’m sure they would. They’re grown men. If they choose to stay, with their eyes open to the personal and sexual costs they will incur by doing so, then I think we ought to conclude that they have good reason for making that choice. Furthre, I would argue that it is unfriendly to try to talk them out of it.

    On the other hand, it seems perfectly reasonable to ask what it is in the church that they find to be of sufficient value to motivate them to stay in spite of the costs.

    Comment by RoastedTomatoes — September 14, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

  33. Rusty,

    Its very difficult to keep track of things where there are a lot of comments on nine-moons. Is is possible to invoke something in the scripts so that after 15 or 20 comments it starts numbering them sequentially?

    Silus,

    there are plenty of things specifically prohibited in Leviticus that we completely ignore… similarly Paul.

    This is a weak argument. It is clear that matters of sexual morality have been both persistent and consistently applied throughout all dispensations and are not given to deal with isolated cases of culturally normative behavior (e.g., anti-Canaanite laws in the OT, and anti-Greek statements by Paul). Using that line of reasoning you may as well throw out all of the Bible altogether. But, even if you did, you would still have modern revelation to deal with, which plainly endorses Biblical views with respect to sexual immorality.

    As for the term “fornications” including homosexuality, I’d like to see your basis for that.

    Take a look at the relevant Strong’s entry

    As for the fall, you specifically say that homosexuality is a sin because it doesn’t fit within a creation whose purpose is to be fruitful and multiply… but that’s a very broad stroke you’re painting, one which includes being straight and single.

    I did not say that. I said you could not extricate homosexuality from blanket condemnations of fornications because it, like all the other forms of sexual immorality included in the blanket condemnation of “fornications”, go against the purpose of Creation, which is to be fruitful and multiply.

    I never developed the argument you suggest here. I presented a counter-argument to your attempt to extricate your especially benign form of homosexuality from the other types of sexual immorality broadly banned under the label “fornications”.

    As such, your inference that my argument necessarily incriminates straight and single, and DFletcher’s addition of married and childless, is incorrect.

    Comment by Kurt — September 14, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

  34. Kurt, you said, “It is clear that matters of sexual morality have been both persistent and consistently applied throughout all dispensations.”

    I would argue that this is not at all clear. Polygamy is an inherently sexual matter, and yet the morality of it has differed dramatically over time. Likewise, the commandment to raise up seed to your dead brother by getting his wife pregnant is sexual in nature and no longer applies. Several of the norms revolving around menstruation in Leviticus are also sexual in nature and apparent purpose–yet they, as well, are no longer considered. So a lot of sexual morality norms have certainly changed over time.

    Comment by RoastedTomatoes — September 14, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

  35. I’d like to answer the question of “why I stay” both for my champions to hear (RoastedT!) but also for those that seem to be in contention with me and my choices.

    But is it perhaps misplaced? Should I be waiting for another thread on another day?

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 4:02 pm

  36. One thing that is clear to me, from my lifetime experience, but also from these threads:

    There are people within the Church that would like me/gay people to leave it, and there are people outside the Church that want me/gay people to leave it, too.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 14, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

  37. D., I would hope it is equally clear that there are some in the church who think that we’re a stronger and better community if you/gay people feel free to stay. This may or may not be a majority opinion, but it does exist.

    Comment by RoastedTomatoes — September 14, 2005 @ 4:19 pm

  38. RoastedTomatoes…Silus has invited the scrutiny per this very project that he’s undertaken. He has posited the question as to whether or not it is rational for him to remain within the Church, and is attempting to argue that indeed, it is. I’m not so much arguing that he should leave the church as much as I’m engaging him on his central thesis.

    As I think I’ve shown, this question cannot be about rationality, since he’s made the claim that he simply believes that this is God’s will (I’m paraphrasing here). That position is not one of rationality, and renders the discussion, in my opinion, somewhat pointless. It is not rational to use rational-basis arguments to support a position that does not have its foundation in rationality. If you say “because God said so” you’ve left the point where rational disagreement and discussion can occur.

    As adults (per Roasted’s comments), I think it is incumbent upon us not only to recognize our own personal desires in a given situation, but also to recognize the reverberations of our choices upon the larger community.

    In this instance, to openly declare oneself to be gay, and to simultaneously support one of the leading anti-gay organizations in the world, is simply irrational, insofar as one claims to be in support of the larger community of homosexuals and the so-called gay agenda (Silus very well may not fit into this category, and his comments on gay marriage tend to suggest that he does not). While various people may justify their lives into the closet, those justifications stop short of the resultant harm that is caused by the offending organization outward towards the larger gay community.

    Ironically, Silus stated that he would not support an organization whose stances were openly hostile toward gays as a group; I posit that there are few if any organizations in the United States that are more openly hostile towards the homosexual community. Can Silus’ stance in this instance be reconciled? I don’t believe it can.

    Comment by Timothy — September 14, 2005 @ 4:41 pm

  39. I second R.T., but add the more controversial addendum that whole point of staying is to add incentive and give support to not engaging in homosexual behavior. Anything else, to my mind, is a balancing act that is bound to fail.

    Comment by jimbob — September 14, 2005 @ 5:19 pm

  40. I really appreciate the way these postings have challenged my thinking and expanded my horizons. I have a close lesbian friend. I honestly believe that she would make a great Mormon, if she weren’t such a militant lesbian. I just realized how strange many people must think it is when they realize that a militant lesbian and a Mormon past-bishop are good friends (ex-bishop sounds too much like exed bishop. Is there a decent term for people who have previously been bishops?).

    I first met my militant lesbian friend when I was interviewing her to be my assistant. At the end of the interview she said out of the blue that he was a lesbian. I asked her if that would be a problem in the job. She asked what I meant and I asked her if she was going to be hitting on the other women working there. She got a shocked look on her face and said no. I told her that we wouldn’t have any problems with her being a lesbian then. She then asked me what I thought of homosexuality. I don’t know where the reply came from, probably my heart, but I said that it was hard enough to find love in this world. Later when she learned that I was LDS, she asked what the church thought about homosexuality. I said that the church only approved of sexual relations within marriage (this was several years ago before legalization of gay marriage in some states) and that it was as much a sin as adultery. She thought that made sense although she did not agree.

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — September 14, 2005 @ 5:49 pm

  41. Floyd, try “former bishop.”

    Comment by Chris Williams — September 14, 2005 @ 5:51 pm

  42. Or “Bishop, ret.”

    Comment by Justin H — September 14, 2005 @ 6:14 pm

  43. Regarding the source of Joseph Smith’s comment on Sodom:

    Speaking on the subject of the setting up of the kingdom of God, Joseph Smith stated (in part):

    “Some say the kingdom of God was not set up on the earth until the day of Pentecost, and that John did not preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; but I say, in the name of the Lord, that the kingdom of God was set up on the earth from the days of Adam to the present time. Whenever there has been a righteous man on earth unto whom God revealed His word and gave power and authority to administer in His name, and where there is a priest of God—a minister who has power and authority from God to administer in the ordinances of the gospel and officiate in the priesthood of God, there is the kingdom of God; and, in consequence of rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Prophets whom God hath sent, the judgments of God have rested upon people, cities, and nations, in various ages of the world, which was the case with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that were destroyed for rejecting the Prophets.

    Now I will give my testimony. I care not for man. I speak boldly and faithfully and with authority. How is it with the kingdom of God? Where did the kingdom of God begin? Where there is no kingdom of God there is no salvation. What constitutes the kingdom of God? Where there is a prophet, a priest, a righteous man unto whom God gives His oracles, there is the kingdom of God; and where the oracles of God are not, there the kingdom of God is not” (Jan. 22, 1843; HC 5:256-57).

    Comment by Justin B. — September 14, 2005 @ 7:06 pm

  44. Kurt,
    I’m working on the numbering thing. If anyone knows how to do it in Typepad let me know. I can’t find a way to do it in the template and I’m not smart enough to write the code myself.

    I posit that there are few if any organizations in the United States that are more openly hostile towards the homosexual community.

    Whoah, are you serious Timothy? I think your pitting stereotypes against stereotypes. In addition, many of the things Silus has brought up (i.e. recent remarks from the prophets) suggest our need to be compassionate, not hostile. Are you suggesting the doctrine we teach is hostile (non-physical violence)?

    Comment by Rusty — September 14, 2005 @ 7:56 pm

  45. Rusty states: Whoah, are you serious Timothy?

    Entirely.

    Rusty states: I think your pitting stereotypes against stereotypes.

    In the game of stereotypes, the LDS Church has me beat by an eternal mile.

    Rusty states: many of the things Silus has brought up (i.e. recent remarks from the prophets) suggest our need to be compassionate, not hostile. Are you suggesting the doctrine we teach is hostile (non-physical violence)?

    Seemingly pretty words can lead to hostile acts, and insofar as we recognize that hostile acts can include non-physical violence, then again, yes.

    The acts of the LDS church relative to the gay community are hostile.

    I’ll go further. The words and actions of the LDS Church do far more damage to the gay community than all of the organizations that preach physical violence against gays combined.

    Comment by Timothy — September 14, 2005 @ 8:13 pm

  46. Timothy,
    First of all when you say “LDS Church” what are you talking about? Jesus? The Prophet? The Book of Mormon? The Family Proclamation? The GA’s? Stake leaders? Bishops? General membership? Or the buildings themselves?

    And please give an example or two. I don’t want an example of one member who said some terrible things or even a GA that said some terrible things. I want an example of your definition of the “LDS Church” being hostile to the gay community.

    Comment by Rusty — September 14, 2005 @ 9:04 pm

  47. Roasted Tomatoes,

    As it doesnt pertain directly to the subject immediately at hand, I will not comment on the specifics, but I dont see the Lord’s position effectively changing on polygamy all that much at all over the dispensations. As for the levir’s duty, thats only tangentially sexual, as is the case with the menstruation issue, which is more ritual purity than anything else. But, regardless, I will grant that around the fringes there have been some minor changes. But, that doesnt address the core issues of sexual morality.

    I am ducking out of this thread.

    Comment by Kurt — September 14, 2005 @ 9:24 pm

  48. I apologize if this has been discussed already, but does “celibate” mean no kissing?

    Comment by Tess — September 14, 2005 @ 9:50 pm

  49. Timothy,

    Is it possible for the church to be against homosexuality and not be “hostile” or is it hostile purely by virtue of preaching against it?

    Comment by Eric Russell — September 14, 2005 @ 10:20 pm

  50. Silus, two things…

    One, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what “The Miracle of Forgiveness” has to say about homosexuality and what you believe president Kimball to be saying.

    Secondly, the church only seals a man and a women together for time and all eternity and those who are sealed are the only ones that recieve exaltation, right? If this is so, what is it you hope to happen at judgement day, assuming you’ve lived an exaltation-worthy life?

    Quite a fascinating discussion! I just wish all you people were on my schedule so there wouldn’t be 47 comments before I even see the dang post!>8)

    Comment by Bret — September 14, 2005 @ 10:24 pm

  51. Kurt is now gone–but I still want to point out that you once couldn’t get a high calling in the church without being a polygamous husband. Now, you can’t be a polygamous husband without being excommunicated. That sounds like a change in moral standards to me. The other changes that Kurt acknowledged but claimed were minor further serve to prove the point–in retrospect, a hundred years from now, I expect LDS apologists to be explaining that the (still future) changes with respect to the morality of homosexual relationships were minor and more policy-oriented than doctrinal.

    N.B. Less than a hundred years ago, our church sometimes taught that it was immoral to have sex that wasn’t an attempt to get pregnant. That idea has also gone the way of the dodos–so major change in sexual morality has a precedent within living memory.

    Comment by RoastedTomatoes — September 14, 2005 @ 11:37 pm

  52. Interesting to see how people dance the line on being trolls.

    Been an interesting series so far.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 14, 2005 @ 11:38 pm

  53. Hey folks, I’m going out of town until Monday night and won’t have internet access. This is a topic that can get heated very quickly and I won’t have access to kick your ass off (I’m looking right at you Steve EM :) so please, please be civil and thoughtful (like you have so far).

    Comment by Rusty — September 15, 2005 @ 12:27 am

  54. Thanks for the very interesting posts, Silus. I hope that in some small way your posts make it easier for you and other homosexual members to stay in the LDS Church.

    Regarding the rationality of your choice to stay in the church, in some sense it’s not the most rational decision. But then, I’d also agree with those that say there isn’t much rational thought behind one’s sexual orientation (i.e. no conscious choice). Given two irrational urges, you have to make a rational choice to pick one over the other. Is it fair to conclude that your irrational attraction to God through the LDS Church is stronger than your irrational attraction towards men.

    I think I would at least try to make the same choice were I in your shoes.

    Comment by Matt Jacobsen — September 15, 2005 @ 12:30 am

  55. Tess… Celibate means no intercoarse — oral, anal, or simulated.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 10:12 am

  56. Bret… I’ve only read snippets from the Miracle of Forgiveness. So I really have no opinion.

    As for Judgement Day… every day is judgement day for me, and I pray that I am faring well. As for the Great and Last judgement day, I cannot even imagine it. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me, and that I will go where I will be happiest. My regrets in the afterlife won’t be regrets of where I end up, but in not having done what was required of me (which is such a very little bit). My greatest fear is that I am somehow not doing that little bit which is required of me. My hope is to live with my Father in Heaven, and to be joint-heir with my Savior. The marriage stuff, well, who knows. When I was 8 years old, I couldn’t fathom _not_ liking Legos or _liking_ a lot of what adults did. But I grew up, and now Legos hold little for me but nostalgia… and my life is filled to the brim with the delightfully mundane.

    Timothy (et al)… Depending on whether you’re looking at the trees or the forest, doctrines regarding sexual conduct have either varied wildly (sleeping with your father-in-law… polygamy… holy prostitution… coitus-interruptus… in-marriage rape… ) or not at all. I do not believe that God’s will regarding how we conduct ourselves has changed, but how that will manifests itself — depending on myriad variables — does. Our job is to suss-out the greater law from the messy details. Timothy appears to be arguing from the perspective of defending a greater law, others seem to be arguing from the perceived disparities in the canon. I hope that I am arguing from the greater law, as well… believing that the canon and other important sources appear to leave room for inquiry to the Lord (by the Brethren) as to how homosexuality stands before the greater law.

    Matt (et al)… I do not believe that my belief in God, or adherence to my understanding of his divine will is irrational in the least. I know that I lack the skills and the data to wholly defend my stance in an exhaustive review, but that is not the same thing. That said, Matt, your comment that my “irrational attraction to God through the LDS Church is stronger than [my] irrational attraction towards men” brought tears to my eyes, and all symantics aside, I’d have to say “yes”.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 10:54 am

  57. Silus, per your penultimate response today, are you saying that as far as you understand, kissing, petting, etc. between two people of the same gender is not considered sinful in the LDS body of beliefs?

    Comment by Char — September 15, 2005 @ 12:22 pm

  58. Char… I follow the same rules of dating men that I would follow were I dating women. And I’m fine with that. Petting is a big fat no-no for straight couples… as are a bunch of other recreational activities.

    Comment by silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 12:24 pm

  59. Silus:

    Regarding your dating men… to what end? Is it just for companionship? Given that you can only go so far in your dating relationship, both emotionally and physically, what are you ultimately looking for?

    Comment by Chris Williams — September 15, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

  60. Chris… I date for companionship — which is no small thing. Of course, it’s not just for the companionship… I date because dating is a wonderful place to learn all sorts of things — about ourselves, about interpersonal relationships, about control.

    Why do 16 year olds date? Aside from “practicing for the real thing”, what are the reasons for them to date?

    My first date with a man was an eye-opener… I thought I’d understood what dating was about when I dated women, but suddenly I knew what all those songs were about… I felt like a 13 year old again.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

  61. Silus, thanks for your response, but I’m not sure you answered this part of the query: What are you ultimately looking for?

    Is companionship the end game? For what it’s worth, I agree with you that companionship is no small thing. I’m just wondering if that’s enough for you.

    Comment by Chris Williams — September 15, 2005 @ 2:17 pm

  62. I thought I had answered that… companionship will have to suffice, as anything more would be a violation of the current understanding of the Law of Chastity.

    In my heart of hearts, though, I would be in a committed relationship.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 2:21 pm

  63. Silus…

    Say you met and befriended a non-member gay couple who had been in a happy, committed relationship for a number of years, and were very happy in their relationship.

    Would want them to join the LDS Church?

    Comment by Timothy — September 15, 2005 @ 2:22 pm

  64. You’re back!

    : )

    I hope I got it right on the whole forest/trees comment.

    As for your question… I want everyone to join the Church. But what are the ramifications? They’d most likely have to separate and refrain from sexual relations.

    And while the thought makes me sad, it’s not substantively more than we ask co-habiting straight couples to do — with obvious difference that this separation would (in all likelihood) be permanent.

    Funny thing … I was thinking along these lines last night, as I drove home from work.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 2:26 pm

  65. Does the church now (or will it ever) teach young men and young women that they can date either sex? Does it encourage them to explore their sexuality to the extend that they can within the bounds of the Law of Chastity?

    At what point in a youth’s or single adult’s life is it acceptable or encouraged to date one’s own gender? Is it acceptable in wards to come out? To put one’s arm around one’s partner in church? To introduce one’s dating partner to others?

    At which point is it prejudice, church culture or revealed practice/doctrine?

    Comment by Char — September 15, 2005 @ 2:30 pm

  66. Does the church now (or will it ever) teach young men and young women that they can date either sex? Does it encourage them to explore their sexuality to the extent that they can within the bounds of the Law of Chastity?

    At what point in a youth’s or single adult’s life is it acceptable or encouraged to date one’s own gender? Is it acceptable in wards to come out? To put one’s arm around one’s partner in church? To introduce one’s dating partner to others?

    At which point is it prejudice, church culture or revealed practice/doctrine?

    Comment by Char — September 15, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

  67. Silus…

    I am bowing out of this conversation.

    I wish you well on your journey out of the closet, a journey that in many ways has yet to begin. I wish you strength and the courage it will require of you to continue on that journey.

    While in many regards you are a victim of an authoritarian religion and a victorian society that have helped to construct the strict boundaries of your closet, you are also playing the role of a foot-soldier in that army of oppression.

    Closeted gay men are often the authors of some of the most hateful and damaging rhetoric and policies relative to the gay community. You are in a dangerous position, and the role you play in this battle will hang over you for many, many years. I find your attempts to persuade others that life in the closet is an acceptable choice to be a damning indictment upon your character.

    I’m hopeful that this is but a brief moment in your journey. But, still, you’ll have to answer for the part you’ve played in this, even if only to your own self and your own conscience.

    Closets are not healthy places to live. To the extent that your influence acts upon other closeted gay mormon boys and men, encouraging them to remain in that unhealthy place, I suggest that you will have much to answer for.

    Choose wisely. Your choices have consequences, not only for your life, but for others as well.

    Comment by Timothy — September 15, 2005 @ 2:59 pm

  68. I understand bowing out of a conversation after you’ve said your peace, but I would like to call you on your hap-hazard use of the term “closet”… but it would appear that I am just shouting at the wind.

    For the record, I am not in the closet — my orientation is not a secret — and your use of the term is both condescending and incorrect.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 4:03 pm

  69. You’ve built a closet with a view. You’ve installed a window through which the world can take a peek in, and you can peer out.

    Still, it is a closet nonetheless.

    Comment by Timothy — September 15, 2005 @ 4:24 pm

  70. I haven’t commented today, because I saw a lot of this conversation yesterday descending into … futility. Sadly, in my experience, no one in the gay community understands the irrational but positive attraction of faith and deep spiritual feeling (or they don’t want to know), and no one in the Church understands the positiveness of same-sex attraction (or they don’t want to know). It’s a fence I’m doomed to sit on until I die.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — September 15, 2005 @ 4:55 pm

  71. D, you write:

    no one in the Church understands the positiveness of same-sex attraction (or they don’t want to know).

    Could/would you elaborate? I’m not sure what you mean by positiveness. Do you mean the joy and fulfilment that come of a committed, intimate (and sexual?) relationship? Or do you mean the sheer power of the emotional/physical attraction?

    Is it something you can explain?

    Comment by Justin H — September 15, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

  72. Timothy: I agree that Silus is about as out as he can be. Would you prefer he start wearing a sticker that says “Gay”? Is it only upon the act of intercourse that one is truly out of the closet? Seems to me that your way of coming out is the only way to come out.

    Similarly, I was under the impression that one of the major goals of the gay community was to make it safe for people to come out of the closet if they wanted to. Assuming I’m correct, isn’t part of that credo the realization that some won’t want to come out of the closet even when it’s safe? You seem to be uncomfortable with that idea. Your “bow out” comment seems to suggest that if someone doesn’t embrace his sexuality in the way that you do, then it’s time to brow-beat them until they do, which would seem to run against that whole “making it safe” idea. Or is “making it safe” code for “now that it’s socially acceptable, everyone must come out”?

    Comment by jimbob — September 15, 2005 @ 6:58 pm

  73. Silus: Don’t you think that dating other homosexuals is a little like deciding to go on a diet, but then placing open bags of M&M’s all over your house? Is the affection worth the temptation?

    Comment by jimbob — September 15, 2005 @ 7:05 pm

  74. Jimbob… not to put to fine a line on it, but I am as able as any straight person to go on a date that doesn’t end in bed.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 7:38 pm

  75. Silus,

    What about gay PDA in church? I’ve lived in a lot of wards and have never witnessed it even though the LDS church has more flammers than any organization I’m involved in. If “gays are welcome in the church” is more than a slogan, where’s all the gay PDA? Why are all LDS gays in the closet at church?

    Comment by Steve EM — September 15, 2005 @ 8:05 pm

  76. Hey Steve.

    * shakes head *

    I don’t know… but I wish the straight people out there would keep the kooing during sacrament to a minimum. I just want to scream “get a room!”.

    : )

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 15, 2005 @ 8:14 pm

  77. Choose wisely. Your choices have consequences, not only for your life, but for others as well.

    Very true. Whether one can heed the Spirit and obey the true and living God or not has true consequences.

    I’ve been paying attention to Church history and the incredible sacrifices people were asked to make and it has given me pause.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 15, 2005 @ 9:24 pm

  78. Just out of curiosity, Silus (and D. Fletcher): what do you see as the “plan of happiness” for you?

    The church stresses sealings of families consisting of a man, woman and children (or potential children) but is mute on same sex pairings (if not outrifht against them).

    It would seem that if there is to be a “place” in the plan of “happiness” for gays, it would be in the lower of the three kingdoms-within-the-highest-kingdom or ministering angel status. It would seem that a gay person could progress no further until his/her orientation changed.

    Does this bother you about the LDS theology? Does(n’t) it seem discriminatory, contrived and implausible? Would this mean that all gays everywhere are expected to either turn straight or be predestined NOT to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus forever?

    Finally, it would seem as per LDS theology that all gays are expected to be lifelong celibates. While single heterosexuals can and do remain celibate for life if necessary, their numbers are very, very small. Yet all gays are supposedly expected to abstain.

    And even kissing is sexual. Apparently, non-passionate kisses are the only kinds of affection gays are expected by the Lord to exchange. Doesn’t seem very plausible to me.

    Comment by Intrigued — September 16, 2005 @ 10:08 am

  79. Interestingly, there’s an out gay (active) Mormon on this season of Survivor. He’s pictured on his website with his boyfriend.

    Comment by Noname — September 16, 2005 @ 10:19 am

  80. Silus and D. – I think you’re both wonderful people. I respect your choices, and I wish you the best.

    I hope you know that for every person voicing disapproval, there are more people who love you and who respect the difficult choices you are making. Whether that is to stay in the church and remain celibate, or to leave the church and start over again.

    Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us here.

    Comment by Tess — September 16, 2005 @ 11:41 am

  81. Intrigued… I have the same options (assuming that there isn’t something _fundementally_ different about being gay) afforded me in the afterlife as those afforded other singles, so I’m not too worried. (Too worried… I’m still a little worried, though… but I’m guessing straight singles are, too).

    As for kissing being sexual… that’s a tough one. But whatever the determination, it is _just_ as sexual for heteros kissing as it is for me — unless I’m just really that much better at it.

    :)

    Noname… Yup, but he’s not active. Shame really.

    Tess… Thank you. That is very very sweet.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 16, 2005 @ 11:52 am

  82. When you say you have the same options in the afterlife as unmarried straights, are you saying that you feel that if you remain worthy you will be married to a partner for eternity? Because that’s what straight singles are promised.

    If you believe that you will somehow magically change orientations, marry a woman and live happily in the eternities, more power to you. If you believe that you will be partnered, married and sealed to another man in the hereafter, where do you get this idea?

    Comment by Intrigued — September 16, 2005 @ 12:05 pm

  83. I think that our understanding of the eternities is very very limited, and that the idea of “forever families” is true, but horribly diluted for mortal consumption.

    In the end, I think that the Atonement will make up for my short-comings.

    I don’t, however, have any idea how that will happen.

    Doctrinally, we are told that the same sociality which exists here will exist on the other side, so I doubt my orientation will change… that said, choices are made using available data, and it’s the available data that will most-certainly change.

    So who knows?

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 16, 2005 @ 12:24 pm

  84. Could you please expound on your assertion that the Atonement will “make up for all (your) shortcomings”? Are you saying that your homosexuality is your shortcoming? Or are you addressing shortcomings such as we each have?

    You say that you would share the gospel with other gay friends, but that you would expect that they (even if long-partnered) give up their sexual relationships. “Families are forever” is a selling point for heterosexual families when it comes to the church. What can the LDS church offer gays that any other church cannot?

    Comment by Intrigued — September 16, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

  85. Not being married in this life is the shortcoming I’m referring to. Well, that, and a whole host of others that we all share in some measure.

    : )

    What can the LDS church offer gays that other cannot? Well, the fulness of the Gospel, for one… and priesthood authority, the benefits of membership in the Kingdom… gosh: everything.

    When I taught smokers on my mission, it was my desire that they be touched by the Spirit and moved to do what was necessary to join the Church. I can’t really expect anything different from gay couples.

    The difference, of course, is that I hold-out hope that the Lord, in revealing more on the subject, permits greater liberty for gays and lesbians based on the greater light and truth we’re finally ready for.

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 16, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

  86. I happen to believe the Proclamation is slogan, not policy. But, how does the Proclamation apply to homosexuality? That may have been the intent, but it falls well short: “We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

    No procreation going on if the semen goes anywhere but a vagina. Even pre and extra marital intercourse w/ contraception complies w/ the proclamation (but not with the whole of LDS teaching).

    To use the Proclamation as a club against gays is a stretch only a BRM or BKP would attempt to pull off on the GA groupie types.

    Comment by Steve EM — September 16, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

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