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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : The Homosexual’s Biggest Obstacle » The Homosexual’s Biggest Obstacle

The Homosexual’s Biggest Obstacle

Rusty - January 24, 2006

This is not a part of Silus’ series but a personal musing within the topic.

Wanna know why so many people loathe homosexual behavior? It’s not because God has forbidden it (we can list scores of sins that don’t get the airtime this does). It’s not because it’s destroying our economies, our environment, or even our own families (because it’s not).

It’s because it’s gross.

If I saw a guy on the street kissing a woman (not his wife) my first thought would be “bastard” and then “is she at least hot?”. If I saw two men on the street kissing my first thought would be “gross” followed by “don’t think about a man kissing me, don’t think about a man kissing me… dammit, I thought I told myself to not think about that!”

I wonder how much more productive our conversations about homosexuality and same sex marriage could be if we could completely separate our own personal tastes from the real issues at hand (“What is the Church’s official stand on homosexuality/SSM?” “How should I personally react to it?” “What REAL effects do homosexuals/SSM couples have on society?” “Do homosexuals have the capacity to raise children in a loving and healthy environment?” etc, etc.

(And please don’t call me a homophobe because I abhor the thought of being with another guy. Gay men abhor the thought of being with women and we don’t call them heterophobes. Who we are and aren’t attracted to determines our sexual orientation, that’s all.)

163 Comments »

  1. No, you are not a homophobe. Revel in your hetero-coolness, R-man.

    But yeah, this “gross-out” factor may be part of the problem. Another thing about male homophobia is the (irrational) fear of being hit-on by another man, either benignly or malevolently.

    Comment by Ronan — January 24, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

  2. Rusty, kudos on bringing up something that isn’t frequently acknowledged. I believe that the vast majority of the straight world sees homosexual activity as both gross and funny. I know that it shapes my view of homosexuality, even though I support SSM and the like. Completely aside from the moral issue, I think most people see homosexuality as being something like, say, the kid that eats worms. And be honest now: were you that kid’s friend? Even if you knew he was lonely and did not deserve to be?

    Nice post.

    Comment by D-Train — January 24, 2006 @ 8:33 pm

  3. It’s okay, Rusty… your secret is safe with me.

    : P

    Comment by Silus Grok — January 24, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

  4. Thank you for saying this. I hope you don’t get blasted for it. I tried to post something along these lines once but did a terrible job of it. Thinking homosexuality is gross does not make one a homophobe, I think it is part of being heterosexual.

    Comment by Eric — January 24, 2006 @ 8:42 pm

  5. I am heterosexual and I don’t think it’s gross–at least not any more than imagining seeing a heterosexual couple engaging in similar behavior. My reaction to friends who are straight and who tell me about sexual behavior and my friends who are gay and tell me about it is the same. I feel like I’ve heard the “gross” reaction from men more than women. But that might just be weird sampling.

    Comment by Hannah G. — January 24, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

  6. I don’t think it’s gross either Hannah and neither does my husband, Mr. Straighty McHetero.

    I think we get conditioned by society to think it is gross and once that’s overcome, it’s simply just like everything else. No big whoop!

    Comment by Wendy — January 24, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

  7. Rusty, certainly this is part of the equation, but I don’t think it’s all of it. You mention “scores of sins that don’t get the airtime this does.” But I don’t think the airtime given to this one can be really be explained by the aversion factor. Rather, it’s because those in favor of it won’t stop arguing on behalf of it. I don’t think there is any comparison, because I don’t think there are any other sins that get this kind of airtime from their supporters.

    Most gamblers aren’t constantly howling that most states illegalize gambling. If you say you think gambling is wrong and should be illegal, they don’t call you a gamblephobe. They don’t have TV shows showing how happy gamblers are and they don’t make movies saying that people who don’t approve of gambling are judgemental and unchristian. While there are certainly groups out there petitioning on behalf of gambling, they aren’t out there in droves marching on behalf of it. They don’t try to make you feel guilty because you think gambling is wrong.

    Perhaps most telling in the LDS community – despite the church’s official position on gambling AND the church’s position on the legalization of gambling, you don’t have tons of members of the church supporting the legalization of gambling and getting defensive about gambling whenever other members of the church express their disapproval of either gambling or the legalization of gambling.

    The airtime that homosexuality gets from its detractors is purely in response to the airtime it gets from its supporters.

    Comment by Eric Russell — January 24, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

  8. hmmm…I’m not sure. Sure I think that there is an aversion factor, but there is also an attraction factor. How many strait guys like porn with lesbian elements?

    I don’t know how women react either, being less visually sensitive.

    I think it has to do with gays being “other.” The heterosexual can empathize with the deviant heterosexual. The attempt to empathize with the deviant homosexual is impeded by aversion. They always remain “other.” As such it is easy to treat them worse.

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 24, 2006 @ 10:04 pm

  9. Eric,
    The problem with your example is that gambling is a choice, you can stop being a gambler. If you want to suggest that homosexuality is a choice, fine, but I don’t think it is.

    J,
    Men are attracted to lesbians because they’re women… twice the amount of women. It’s got nothing to do with the homosexual element. (I’ve always said that if I were a woman I’d be a lesbian.)

    It’s funny that the two women who have commented here have both said there is no “ick” factor for them. Hannah’s sampling is probably pretty accurate.

    Ronan,
    I’ve gotta tell ya, I’ve received MANY more looks from men in this city than I have from women. That and I work in an office with about 30 gay men (cosmetic industry) and I’ve never been (seriously) hit on by a gay man.

    Comment by Rusty — January 24, 2006 @ 10:36 pm

  10. Maybe the “ick” factor is less for women because culturally we (women) see a lot more of it. It’s not uncommon for two women friends to meet up and give each other a hug or a kiss on the cheek (I’ve been kissed on the lips by women friends several times, and did feel a little strange…), however, it’s not very usual to see 2 guys to walk up to each other and give each other a kiss on the cheek (unless maybe you live outside No. America).

    Comment by meems — January 24, 2006 @ 11:19 pm

  11. Rusty, I don’t think that has anything to do with the point I’m making. I’m saying that some members appear to be especially concerned about homosexuality simply because the other side is so vocal.

    So whether or not someone is born with it is completely irrelevant. Even if we assume that people are indeed born with homosexuality, the gambling example still holds.

    Comment by Eric Russell — January 24, 2006 @ 11:43 pm

  12. I’m saying that some members appear to be especially concerned about homosexuality simply because the other side is so vocal.

    Why should church members be concerned at all? Homosexuality isn’t a crime. Shouldn’t church members worry about their own lives and let gay people live theirs? This micromanaging really astounds me.

    Comment by Wendy — January 25, 2006 @ 12:00 am

  13. I think you are illustrating Eric’s point, Wendy…

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 12:11 am

  14. Wendy,

    My perspective comes from how I interpret the last line of this document.

    Comment by Eric Russell — January 25, 2006 @ 12:12 am

  15. The last line of the Proclamation sounds like mob mentality to me…and is extremely limiting in its definition of ‘family’.

    Gay people are such a small minority. They aren’t recruiting your children. I guess I just don’t see the threat.

    Comment by Wendy — January 25, 2006 @ 12:20 am

  16. I do agree that homosexuality is just a matter of taste. Some people like blue curtains. Some like green curtains. Neither is more correct.

    However, I’ve kissed many women and not felt remotely grossed out. Get over it, Rusty, lips are lips.

    I really don’t like to see anybody making out in public; gross, get a room.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 25, 2006 @ 12:42 am

  17. I think all of the comments have avoided the elephant in the room. Men are socialized from a very young age to “not be gay” and that being gay is gross. It is also a common perception (thankfully diminishing) that you can “choose” to be gay.

    Men react the way they do because that’s the way they have grown up, and also because they have a subconscious fear that they could turn gay if they enjoy watching two men go at it.

    Comment by NFlanders — January 25, 2006 @ 1:04 am

  18. If that is the case, Ned, why do you think it is that women do not receive a similar socialization (or do you think they do as well)? My only guess for why this would be the case (if it is) is that some men find the idea of two women together to be hot. So if it can turn on straight men, it’s cool. If it’s not, it’s gross.

    Comment by Hannah G. — January 25, 2006 @ 1:17 am

  19. “I think all of the comments have avoided the elephant in the room. Men are socialized from a very young age to “not be gay”….”

    You sure got that right. I could write all night about kids’ taunting of other kids with “Faggot!” and about extreme homophobes who physically attack guys they perceive to be gay.

    I never once, by the way, heard a kid taunt another kid with “Gambler!”

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 1:58 am

  20. Hannah, it is my perception that the anti-gay socialization is much stronger for men than women. It should also be pointed out that straight men and straight women rarely find the sight of a lesbian couple erotic when one of the women is very butch.

    Frankly, what men and some women fantasize about is pretty far away from realistic lesbianism.

    I think young women do suffer from the socialization that acting to “mannish” makes them “dykes.”

    Comment by NFlanders — January 25, 2006 @ 2:23 am

  21. I still don’t quite understand.

    Some say there may be a genetic/biological element to alcholism – should these people not attempt to control their behavior. Is there a biological element to violent bahavior? If so should people with strong feelings of violence not try to control their behavior? What if someone feel a sexual attraction to their kids? Should they give in to their feelings and have sex with their kids? With what I understand about the church’s stand on homosexuality should members who have SGA not try to control their behavior – as hard as that may be?

    Comment by Eric — January 25, 2006 @ 7:14 am

  22. On the question of the nature of our aversion to homosexuals, whether it’s a result of socialization or hard wiring, I just want to say that nobody knows and in the absence of evidence we should not make assertions one way or another. The fact is, we call something socialized when it fits conveniently into our conception of life and of homosexuality and we call something ingrained or hard-wired for the same reason. People who think there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality say that sexual orientation is naturally (biologically) ingrained and there’s no element of choice or socialization involved, but the aversion that we feel toward homosexuality is entirely a result of socialization and there’s nothing ingrained or natural about it. People who think homosexual activity is wrong make the opposite assertions. Bottom line: just because we want something to be true or because we perceive something to be true doesn’t make it true.

    Sorry. Pet peeve.

    Comment by Tom — January 25, 2006 @ 9:02 am

  23. “The Homosexual’s Biggest Obstacle” is overcoming the lie that same gender attraction is determined from birth. I am working on my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I have read every study that gay advocates use as evidence that homosexuals are born that way, and none demonstrate that homosexuals are born that way.

    Unfortunately, a false dichotomy is often set up between “being born that way” and “choosing”. It sure doesn’t feel like a choice for most gays, and I’d say because it was not a choice in the way that we usually use that word.

    There is an alternative in between determinism and complete free will. In fact, this alternative is where we spend most of our lives. There are influences upon us that shape our likes and dislikes, preferences, and attitudes. These influences are repeated exposures, modeling, pairing with positive or negative stimuli, reinforcement history, etc. But, these preferences become the default setting, not chosen, but through choice one can overcome the default setting if one wants to and uses similar influences to create new preferences. This is the same way all preferences are changed from learning to like broccoli to overcoming racism to learning to have charity for people you once hated.

    Therapists have changed people from having same gender attraction to having opposite gender attraction. Ingrained preferences are difficult to overcome and there is often some residual vulnerability just like recovering porn addicts will always have to be particularly careful.

    But, people with same gender attraction will never even have the chance to choose what they want for themselves as long as they are still being fed the lie that they have no choice. What frustrates me even more is that my profession is buying that lie and is failing to scrutinize those studies that were poorly conducted and do not support the claims made about them. It is nearly impossible to get approval to do research that goes against the prevailing assumption.

    I encourage you readers to learn how to critic research and then review those studies. Once you know that homosexuals have a choice even though they did not choose their preference, that knowledge turns this whole debate on its head.

    One of the strongest pieces of evidence for my position is that many sets of identical twins that have one homosexual have one heterosexual. That only shows that homosexuality is not 100% determined by biology, but it is a start in refuting the “born like that” theory.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 9:53 am

  24. Aren’t the twin studies also used to support the idea that sexual preference has a genetic component? I seem to remember that the genetcially identical sibling of a homosexual is significantly (though not overwhelmingly) more likely to be homosexual than non-identical siblings? Of course, this would have to be done on separated twins in order to draw any sort of conclusion as to a putative genetic component and I’m not sure it was done that way.

    Comment by Tom — January 25, 2006 @ 10:13 am

  25. Men react the way they do because that’s the way they have grown up, and also because they have a subconscious fear that they could turn gay if they enjoy watching two men go at it.

    Precisely!

    Which explains why they think it is a choice. They know its is one they could potentially make. Prisoners, for example, make that choice all the time.

    Comment by Last Lemming — January 25, 2006 @ 10:15 am

  26. Prisoners make the choice to engage in sex with one another all the time, not idenitfy as gay and live life openly as gay. I’ve never been to prison, but I’m willing to bet that prison sex is probably more about domination and power than it is about attraction and sexual/emotional gratification. I’m also guessing that it’s not really the right population from which to draw any broadly applicable conclusions about normal sexuality and behavior. Prison by its very nature is an abnormal environment.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 25, 2006 @ 10:22 am

  27. enochville:

    What difference does it make if homosexuals are born gay or become gay due to a combination of biological/social/environmental factors beyong their control?

    Also, you wrote: Therapists have changed people from having same gender attraction to having opposite gender attraction.

    My understanding of this therapuetic approach is that it has a high rate of failure, that it works best with those who are more likely bisexual rather than homosexual in their attractions, and that those who do successfully change their orientation don’t really change it — rather, they learn how to more successfully suppress their same-sex desires.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 25, 2006 @ 10:27 am

  28. Chris:
    The difference I am trying to emphasize is the difference between attraction that is unchangable from attraction that is changeable, even if it was not consciously chosen in the beginning.

    You said, “My understanding of this therapuetic approach is that it has a high rate of failure, that it works best with those who are more likely bisexual rather than homosexual in their attractions, and that those who do successfully change their orientation don’t really change it — rather, they learn how to more successfully suppress their same-sex desires.”

    I suppose that you could say the same about any kind of recovering addict. They only learn to suppress their desires for alcohol or porn, etc. I agree that there is a vulnerability for relapse. But, addicts gain more and more strength with time. Intrusive thoughts appear less and less often. The desires fade into the background and hardly ever come up in normal life. They are activated during times of stress and vulnerability.

    The issue here is that homosexuality is not something you “are” and choosing to no longer entertain homosexual desires is therefore not a matter of not being true to yourself, it is a matter of choosing a different preference. Alcohilics who choose to not yield to their desires for alcohol are not failing to be true to themselves, they are choosing a different path for themselves.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 10:47 am

  29. Eric (not Eric Russell),
    I’m not suggesting that homosexuals within the Church shouldn’t suppress those desires (for a good example of this we have both Silus and D Fletcher), I am just trying to tease out the ick factor away from the real questions. Your question of whether or not they should abstain is one of those. I guess another one (that enochville is studying) is whether or not gays are born that way and if they can be changed.

    Lips are lips.

    HA! Sorry D, that’s sounding a little too much like Vanilla Ice for me… still gross.

    Comment by Rusty — January 25, 2006 @ 10:52 am

  30. “One of the strongest pieces of evidence for my position is that many sets of identical twins that have one homosexual have one heterosexual. That only shows that homosexuality is not 100% determined by biology, but it is a start in refuting the “born like that” theory.”

    Enochville,

    Being the true critic of clinical psychology that you are, you will note that your comment above is incorrect. If you have a set of twins with one homosexual and one heterosexual, it shows that homosexuality is not 100% determined by GENETICS, not BIOLOGY. Biology refers to a number of factors that occur outside the genetic coding of a person and could be different for a set of twins depending upon their upbringing, their environments and what they were exposed to in childhood.

    I would suggest taking some biology and genetics classes before you finish the PhD. in psychology so you can better
    refine your critical analysis skills.

    Just my thoughts.

    Comment by Michael — January 25, 2006 @ 11:00 am

  31. Rusty, I’m sorry to be the one to do this, but I’ve got to call you on the carpet. Your sense of the grossness of man-to-man kissing is in fact, homophobia. It’s fear, my friend. If you were completely secure in your sexual preference, you’d have no trouble in approving the sexual choices of others, and might even take a little pleasure in it. I have plenty of straight, married, male friends who will kiss me on the mouth as a greeting and ask me about my love life. If this is gross to you, you should probably examine the reasons.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 25, 2006 @ 11:05 am

  32. enochville:

    The only way that your analysis holds is if homosexuality, like alcoholism, is a pathology. So let me ask you this: Is it possible, from your perspective as a clinical psychologist in training, for a homosexual to be happy? (…for lack of a more clinical word — I’m thinking here about emotion and pyschological stability; healthy self esteem; stable relationships; that kind of thing.

    The issue here is that homosexuality is not something you “are”…

    Actually, I think you mean to say that “homosexual” isn’t something you are or the state of one’s being. Frankly, I think this is a silly semantic point. Using this logic with your example of alcoholism, we should never say someone is an “alcoholic,” because that’s not who they are. They are only “alcohol attracted” or “alcoholicly inclined.” People are homosexual.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 25, 2006 @ 11:08 am

  33. D., calling someone insecure in their sexuality is extremely presumptuous and, frankly, abusive. It’s the kind of hack phsychoanalysis that we should all stop doing to each other.

    Comment by Tom — January 25, 2006 @ 11:44 am

  34. Michael,

    You are of course correct. I noticed it after I posted it and was unable to correct it, due to this board not having a “edit” function. There are a few more errors in my original post as well.

    These were errors created by my haste not in my understanding.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 11:46 am

  35. enochville:

    Thank you for your perspective.

    Comment by Eric — January 25, 2006 @ 11:49 am

  36. Sorry, I’m not calling anyone insecure in their sexuality. But homophobia is triggered visually, and in this way is akin to racism (which also has a visual trigger). If Rusty wishes to be accepting and supportive of everyone, he needs to get over his revulsion. I think he posted his original post in order to get validation that, yes, two men kissing is indeed gross. And he got some validation — a number of people agreed. And nobody else has bothered to call this what I think it is — implied homophobia.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 25, 2006 @ 11:49 am

  37. Chris:
    A homosexual can be happy. My analysis continues to hold even if homosexuality is not a pathology. It is a preference that can in some measure be changed. Now, whether someone should change is another question. As a psychologist,I’d say if it is not bothering you, then there is no need to change. But, if one can change, then the question about whether one should change can be a moral and religious question.

    Gay advocates have tried to make homosexuality above reproachment by claiming that gays cannot do otherwise, therefore God cannot condemn their behavior.

    I use the term homosexual because it is in common usage and it is less cumbersome than people with homosexual desires. The difference between “being” and “having” or “doing” is far more than semantic. Saying you are a human being denotes that you cannot change. Saying you have an interest in airplanes implies that you can change.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 11:56 am

  38. enochville:

    Thanks for your clarifications. You seem quite interested in the question of change, the possibilities of change, and the ethics of change therapy. Why should a homosexuual seek to change his or her orientation? And what are the clinical psychologists ethical obligations in counseling a homosexual around the issue?

    In other words, what would be your goal as a clinical psychologist treating a homosexual patient who is open to or at least neutral on the idea of trying to change?

    And how do you account for the high rate of failure in efforts to help homosexuals change their orientation? Where does the blame for such failures lie?

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 25, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

  39. Chris,

    Many years ago homosexuality was taken out of the DSM as a psychological disorder and as such psychological training programs no longer study or teach how to help a person change their sexual orientation. Psychologists cannot bill insurance companies for this type of therapy because it is not in the DSM. Many in my field consider it unethical to try to help someone change their sexual orientation.

    The only information that we have about the effectiveness of the attempts to change sexual orientation is quite old. The technology of changing orientation has not been developed because of the unavailability of grants to research this.

    Political sensitivities has killed this branch of therapy. This is one reason why I am trying to push against the current. As long as it is taboo to suggest gays can change, we cannot scientifically develop an effective approach. So, I blame the failure on this.

    Before we can call anything a disorder, it needs to disrupt the clients life (job, relationships, health, legal trouble, etc.) I do not believe it is the job of a psychologist to independently develop treatment goals for a client. Nor, do I feel a therapist must help a client work on a goal that the therapist cannot feel good about pursuing. They should refer the client to someone who would be comfortable helping them.

    Presently, I am not willing to help anyone try to change their sexual orientation because I would be practicing outside my area of competence. But, if I were competent in the area, I’d only help someone change their orientation if they wanted it and in my opinion it would not do more harm than good for them. Examples of when it would do more harm if they changed might be if the client is changing only because they want their dad’s approval, etc, anything that would make a psychological mess. But, if they saw their same gender attraction as a weakness that they wanted to overcome, then I’d feel comfortable helping them.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

  40. A few points:

    Eric, I think you miss the point when you’re talking about responses to supporters of homosexuality. Gambling is a bad analogy because it isn’t as important as sexuality. It also doesn’t have the nature/nurture component the way that homosexuality does. You’re also mistaking support for SSM or arguing that SSA is at least partially inborn as support for homosexuality. This is a critical flaw. Virtually no believing members of the Church think that it’s just OK to have gay sex. There are some, but not many. You’re responding to support for certain societal actions toward homosexuals as if it were support for having gay sex as much as one likes. Not to have the SSM debate yet again, but that’s one reason that I’m just not willing to seriously engage most Church members on the issue. The argument is (consciously or not) disingenuous and tries to mobilize all of the “disgust” that Rusty is talking about against an argument of a wholly different character.

    Comment by D-Train — January 25, 2006 @ 3:36 pm

  41. Many years ago homosexuality was taken out of the DSM as a psychological disorder and as such psychological training programs no longer study or teach how to help a person change their sexual orientation.

    You view this as a mistake. Why? Why should we consider homosexuality a psychological disorder?

    Were there not legitimate reasons to remove homosexuality from the DSM?

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 25, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

  42. Rusty,
    Homophobe!

    Comment by Bret — January 25, 2006 @ 3:59 pm

  43. Enochville,

    You state very naively that you would help someone change their orientation if they wanted it. You also state that it would not do more harm than good for them.

    You go on to state that if they saw their same gender attraction as a weakness that they wanted to overcome, then you’d feel comfortable helping them.

    However, what you do not mention is that by encouraging them to change their orientation rather than accept it, you are perpetuating their belief that there is something wrong with them and that they have the power to change it if they only try hard enough.

    I am sorry but it is the perpetuation of this myth that has caused many of us to grow to hate ourselves and for others to go on and take their own lives when they fail. In addition, there are many men that think they are “cured” and go onto marry women and father children. When these marriages fail and the women are left holding the emotional baggage, the men dive into the deep end of the worst part of gay society — indiscriminate sex and drug use.

    You are very cavalier in playing with other people’s lives without considering the consequences. As Elder Oaks said in a very good talk, you need to ask yourself “Where it will lead?”

    If I may ask you a question, do you use the same approach with large, overweight men and women? Do you tell them that they definitely can become “model thin” if they just try hard enough? If their self-esteem is very low, do you continue to tell them to lose weight or do you help them get comfortable with themselves as they are?

    Comment by Michael — January 25, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  44. D-Train, I’m happy to engage you, but I must admit I don’t thoroughly understand your objection.

    First, “Gambling is a bad analogy because it isn’t as important as sexuality. It also doesn’t have the nature/nurture component the way that homosexuality does.”

    I agree with this. But I don’t think it has anything to do with the analogy because the analogy doesn’t seek to explain the actions of those who support either homosexual activity or SSM. Rather, it simply seeks to explain why it appears that many members of the church give it more attention to homosexuality than other sins or give more attention to SSM than to other legal issues.

    Second, it seems to me that your objection is that I am equating homosexual activity and SSM. I realize that I may have given this impression, but it was not intentional. The analogy was intended to roughly equate the two to gambling and the legalization of gambling. There are many people who are anti-gambling who support the legalization of gambling. Similarly, there are people who do not approve of homosexual activity who nonetheless support SSM. Perhaps, for reasons of clarity, I ought to have addressed the two separately, but I grouped the two together in the analogy simply to provide a reason for the behavior of those who are against one or both.

    Comment by Eric Russell — January 25, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

  45. Chris,

    I think removing homosexuality out of the DSM ended the discussion and research prematurely. I don’t think it needs to be in there necessarily as a disorder, but it should be included in the back as an area of study and as a reason why someone may seek out therapy.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

  46. “Therapists have changed people from having same gender attraction to having opposite gender attraction.”

    I don’t think so.

    Please point me to one — just one — study in which the following results were noted:

    – Sexual “attraction” was determined to be same-gender (not by observation or self-reporting, but by scientific measurement of sexual arousal response).

    – The subject underwent therapy (or whatever).

    – Sexual “attraction” was determined (by scientific measurement) to be opposite-gender.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

  47. enochville:

    You’re dodging my question. Why do you think homosexuality is a condition that should be treated and, if possible, changed?

    If you reject the consensus view of the field that homosexuality is not something that should treated and changed — and it seems that you do — then, why?

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 25, 2006 @ 5:10 pm

  48. Don’t worry Chris. Enochville has not yet answered my post either. He (or she) sounds very young and not too experienced in clinical practice. He (or she) is reading too much NARTH stuff.

    Comment by Michael — January 25, 2006 @ 5:15 pm

  49. It’s not because it’s destroying our economies, our environment, or even our own families (because it’s not).

    That is quite an assumption that you make there. My divorce was a direct result of Homosexuality.

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  50. Tell us more, Russ!

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 25, 2006 @ 5:39 pm

  51. Michael,

    As I said before, I will not be doing any therapy helping people to change their orientation because I am not competent in this area and have no desire to become so. I said that if I were to enter into this field I would only help them if in my opinion it would not do more harm than good, acknowledging that there are occasions would it would do more harm than good.

    I stand by my position that it is not a myth that people can change their sexual orientation, in either direction, though it is not easy, but is made a lot easier when utilizing psychological principles.

    In clinical practice I would never say this, but I don’t mind saying it in an LDS setting. Very few beliefs are more damning than the doctrine that we can never repent, we can never change and thus we should embrace our sinful natures. I have struggled with how to present what I want to say. Don’t think that I am not sensitive to the struggles of homosexuals simply because I don’t agree with you. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death with many tortured souls. I have deep empathy with people who are in the depths of self hatred and despair. As a psychologist, I know how to help people back from depression without ever mentioning Christ.

    But, as a member, I know that the only way to truly have abiding peace and salvation from all the horrors of this world is to be one with Christ Jesus. And the lie that homosexuality does not move you away from God and the lie that homosexuality is just the way you are puts souls miles away from being able to truly, completely heal. Those lies teach homosexuals that their healing is in embracing and accepting their sins and throwing off the discomfort they feel.

    I acknowledge that many gays move from a state of great pain to a state of relief by moving to a state of acceptance of their homosexuality. I believe that so much of what caused them pain in their old life was not the belief that homosexuality was a sin, but from many other messed up factors that just were not right (people who did not treat them right, etc).

    I do not mean to add pain to any tortured soul. The gospel is a message of hope, that one can change, that weak things can become strong. But, with the message comes the pain of recognizing that one does need to change. Will power alone won’t do it. We, as psychologists, have so many tools at our disposal to help people change. But, as long as the the belief that gays cannot change nor should they consider changing prevails, we are not free to do research on effective techniques to help people change their orientation.

    I understand your disappointment (at the very least) in my views. I suppose that we will have to agree to disagree. I respect your freedom to do whatever you see best. I hope that you will respect the freedom of other gays if they want to try to change. My fear for them is that our technology has not been developed enough to assist him as much as we could if we were only allowed to research effective techniques to help people change their orientation if they want to for healthy reasons.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

  52. It’s simple. My wife decided that she didn’t love me but that she did love a woman that she met back in her college days. My two children get to enjoy the confusion that comes from a father that teaches that practicing homosexuality is immoral and a mother that tells them that God has told her to marry a woman. I get really tired of the rhetoric that claims that a person fulfilling their homosexual desires doesn’t hurt anyone.

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  53. “I stand by my position that it is not a myth that people can change their sexual orientation, in either direction, though it is not easy, but is made a lot easier when utilizing psychological principles.”

    In either direction? Are people trying to change from straight to gay?

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 25, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

  54. by the way, that college friend had a husband and daughter that also “benefitted” from that “harmless” expression of love.

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

  55. Russ, I’m very sorry this has happened to you. One of the real tragedies presented in Brokeback Mountain is that a couple of men who are prevented from pursuing their natural inclination by society, create misery and havoc in their other partnerships, i.e., the women they marry and their families.

    No one has suggested that your wife hasn’t brought a lot of heartache to you and the family.

    But had your wife simply felt at ease to partner the women from college, and not married you, perhaps your life would have been easier and more fulfilled (with a woman/wife who would really have loved you).

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 25, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  56. Russ J, I’m sorry for the pain of your situation.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 25, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  57. Chris asked: “Why do you think homosexuality is a condition that should be treated and, if possible, changed?”

    If people with homosexual desires don’t want those desires anymore, they should have the option to receive therapy to help them get rid of those desires. That is my answer.

    Dave Walter: As I am sure you know no study has been that well conducted on this subject. My point is that it is forbidden to even try to conduct a study that would provide the evidence you asked for.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

  58. But What it really comes down to is this:
    Is practicing homosexuality immoral or is it not. If it is, and we do not try to prevent it from being an accepted part of our society, then we will pull down the judgements of God upon our own heads. The BOM is clear that those judgements can include the destruction of our society. For another example, look at what happened to the children of Israel. They were commanded to destroy all of the former enhabitants of the promissed land. They chose not to do it and that act eventually led to their worshiping false Gods and their captivity.

    It is pretty clear to me that it is not an accepted practice in the eyes of God.

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

  59. “forbidden” should be replaced with so culturally unacceptable.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 6:10 pm

  60. “No one has suggested that your wife hasn’t brought a lot of heartache to you and the family.”

    Why is it that the wife, rather than circumstances, is blamed for bringing the heartache? Had she not been indoctrinated early on to reject her true being, the marriage probably wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

    The biggest elephant in the room — but an elephant that’s invisible to most Mormons — is the entrenched antigay bias within the Mormon Church. (And, sorry, but loving the homosexual, but regarding his/her homosexuality as an affliction or sin is still antigay bias.) Continuing bias among humans, including the prophet, is the problem. God is not antigay.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

  61. Dave,
    I agree that God is not anti-gay. But are you claiming that he is not anti-immorality? Are you suggesting that we should support wickedness?

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 6:23 pm

  62. Dave,

    I can take it if you say that it is only my opinion that homosexuality is not anyone’s true nature. But, you need to see that it is only your opinion that homosexuality is anyone’s true nature. I hate that that idea is gaining such acceptance in our society as I am sure you hate that some of us hold unto my idea.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 6:27 pm

  63. Is practicing homosexuality immoral or is it not.

    That is the question isn’t it?

    I know one thing for sure. Practicing homosexuality after taking covenants with God to obey the law of chastity is immoral.

    This line that Dave Walter pulls about how Russ’s wife was an innocent victim of circumstances is a load of… rubbish (new word of the day — yesterday I would have said “crap”). Mormonism has a bias against immorality of all kinds — not just adultery or other breaches of the law of chestity among its members. Freely choosing to break sacred covenants is immoral.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 6:37 pm

  64. Russ: No, God is not anti-immorality, and we shouldn’t support wickedness. But, in this case, it is Mormon Church doctrine — developed by humans — that holds homosexual behavior to be immoral or wicked.

    What if the Church deemed that being left-handed is immoral and wicked? Would you not question that?

    I so wish that the prophet would be blessed with further enlightenment on this issue.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 6:58 pm

  65. Echoville: I will grant you this: Homosexuality is no more anyone’s true nature than is heterosexuality.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

  66. Russ,
    I’m so sorry for you and the pain of your situation. I want you to know that when I said “…it’s not because it’s destroying… our own families (because it’s not).” I was speaking of homosexuality in general, not unfortunate byproducts of homosexuality, in your case the lies, broken covenants and pain. These kinds of lies are not inherent in all homosexual relationships and can similarly be found in straight relationships.

    We need to separate that which is an inherent part of homosexuality from that which is an inherent part of all-human nature.

    D said I think he posted his original post in order to get validation that, yes, two men kissing is indeed gross.

    I’m sorry you chose to read my post as me needing to get validation in my own homophobia because it wasn’t intended that way. I was in fact trying to point out that we allow our emotions/own sexuality to get in the way of having an objective conversation about these hot-button issues (perhaps our own sexuality = that hot button).

    If Rusty wishes to be accepting and supportive of everyone

    No, I don’t wish that. I am accepting of everyone (nice try D), but I am not morally obligated to support someone in wickedness. Whether or not it’s wickedness is another question, but you can’t expect everyone to support everyone no matter what they all do.

    And I think your definition of homophobia is crap. According to you, if I want to avoid homophobia I must be ambivalent about the idea of a man kissing me (or doing more). Sorry, that’s what makes me straight, I have a (strong) preference for doing those things with women (actually, just one, I’m married).

    D, I love ya man, but you’re going to have to do more than call me a homophobe and tell me I don’t accept gays to get me to rethink the man-kiss.

    Is practicing homosexuality immoral or is it not.

    Yes, that is the question. The exact kind of question that I was trying to tease out of the rhetoric that we usually hear.

    Comment by Rusty — January 25, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

  67. Dave,
    What I just heard you say is that the church leaders are not inspired on this issue, but if they said what you want to hear then you would think that they were inspired.

    Does Korihor ring a bell?

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

  68. Dave Walter: What if the Church deemed that being left-handed is immoral and wicked? Would you not question that?

    Bad analogy. The church has not deemed same sex attraction immoral, it has deemed breaking covenants and the law of chastity immoral.

    A better analogy might be the church deeming stealing with one’s left hand immoral for lefties or righties.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 7:25 pm

  69. I think Rusty is right D. If finding the sight of two men kissing unpleasant is homophobia, is finding the sight of a butt-ugly man and woman kissing unpleasant ulgiphobia? I think not. Over-application of the term homophobia is causing it to lose its meaning I think.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

  70. Russ,

    I regard the Korihor story as intended to suppress dissent.

    If church doctrine changed tomorrow to hold that heterosexual behavior were immoral and wicked and that homosexual behavior were good and wholesome, would you adhere to the new doctrine?

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

  71. Geoff,

    “A better analogy might be the church deeming stealing with one’s left hand immoral for lefties or righties.”

    I think a better analogy is the church deeming doing anything with one’s left hand immoral.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 7:34 pm

  72. Geoff,

    I agree with you that it’s inappropriate to label someone a homophobe just because he or she is repulsed by the sight or thought of two men kissing.

    But why am I, a homosexual, not repulsed by the sight or thought of a man and woman kissing?

    The answer, I believe, is that I was not socialized to so react.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 7:39 pm

  73. Walt: I think a better analogy is the church deeming doing anything with one’s left hand immoral.

    Why do you think that?

    Isn’t the comparison between being gay (as in experiences same-sex attraction) and being a lefty (as in preferring one’s left hand for most tasks)? If we follow your analogy then the church would say doing anything is this world while being gay is immoral. That is just not the case.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

  74. Oops, I meant Dave, not Walt.

    You could be right about the socialization thing, Dave. I’m not sure. It’s another in the list of nature vs. nurture questions I guess. I suspect as with many others, it might be some of both.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

  75. If church doctrine changed tomorrow to hold that heterosexual behavior were immoral and wicked and that homosexual behavior were good and wholesome, would you adhere to the new doctrine?

    I don’t believe that this question has merit, but I would choose to be celibate.

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 7:50 pm

  76. Geoff,

    Here’s the point I’m trying to make with the analogy:

    God made you (gay)(left-handed) in a (heterosexual/right-handed) world. Accept that. Embrace it. Know that (engaging in gay sex)(using your left hand) is not per se immoral. But ignoring other church doctrine, such as (engaging in sex in unacceptable contexts)(using your left hand to steal) is sinful.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

  77. Homophobia means “fear of homo,” nothing more. Fear of homosexual behavior in the abstract, and in the immediate visual sense of seeing it with your very eyes. And possibly, fear of finding it pleasant.

    Rusty, you’ve expressed what I think is a perfect model of that fear (“don’t think about a man kissing me, don’t think about that”), the same way I try not to think about a terrorist bombing the subway I’m riding. I’m trying not to think about my fear.

    You’re entitled to your feelings, of course, but thinking that calling homosexual behavior (of men only) “gross” is going to free up the discourse around here is ludicrous — what you’ve really done is shut it down, by putting it on the plane of what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not, and encouraging your friends to agree with you, so that anybody who doesn’t is instantly suspect and has zero authority.

    The real question isn’t whether or not it’s gross, but whether or not it’s wrong to deny somebody the right to kiss in public, based on your perception of who is gross and who isn’t. If you saw a horribly diseased person that needed help, I bet you’d overcome your revulsion to help them in their need.

    Help us! Don’t put us in a box of sickness and grossness and wickedness.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 25, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

  78. Geoff,

    Why don’t you think the question has merit?

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 7:52 pm

  79. Sorry, I meant to address that last question to Russ.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

  80. Dave: Know that (engaging in gay sex)(using your left hand) is not per se immoral.

    Again you are assuming the answer to the question that has not been sufficiently answered here. “Is homosexual sex universally immoral for humans or simply immoral for those that covenant to abstain from it?” It is an interesting question. I’m not aware of any definitive revelation from God on this specific subject. However, for Mormons it is largely moot (in practice at least) because we have covenanted to obey the law of chastity.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

  81. Geoff,

    Yes, but the fact that the question is largely moot is what I see as the root of the problem.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 8:08 pm

  82. Dave,

    So your complaint is with God and what he has or hasn’t revealed about this subject then? Or are you convinced that you know the answer to the universal question and the leaders of the church don’t yet? If not, then what do you mean?

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 8:13 pm

  83. Geoff,

    I believe the church leaders, as human beings, are fallible. I also believe that religions change with the times, as perceptions change to reflect shifts in social paradigms. Accordingly, I don’t think God is going to reveal anything about the subject — and I don’t believe He ever did.

    I believe the church leaders who developed the homosexuality-related doctrine, and who continue to perpetuate it, were and are acting according to their own conclusions about what is immoral and what is not.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 8:23 pm

  84. Dave,

    Let’s start with the one of the commandments that were give to Adam and Eve. Multiply and replenish the earth. It is very dificult to continue to perpetuate the species without heterosexual activities.

    Add to that the statements that the procreative power is sacred. There is no evidence that God would ever make such a decree.

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 8:25 pm

  85. Geoff,

    Why not interpret “multiply and replenish” as a command to heterosexuals and therefore inapplicable to homosexuals?

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

  86. Dave Walter said:

    “If church doctrine changed tomorrow to hold that heterosexual behavior were immoral and wicked and that homosexual behavior were good and wholesome, would you adhere to the new doctrine?”

    I’d embrace homosexual behavior and attraction wholeheartedly if commanded by the Lord. I honestly would. I truly believe that sexual attraction can be turned to anything, albeit not easily at all.

    I can’t imagine anything God would ask me to do that I would not keep striving to do. There is nothing too repulsive to my sensibilities. We have plenty of examples: Nephi found killing Laban repulsive, Abraham found sacrificing Isaac repulsive, some of the early saints found polygamy repulsive. I would have to be convinced that it was God’s will and then I’d do it.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 8:39 pm

  87. Well Dave,

    I had assumed you were Mormon. After seeing your blog it appears that that is not the case. Therefore, we may not share the same thelogical assumptions about revelation.

    In any case, as a believing Mormon I feel it is safe to assume that God has an opinion about about the covenants we make with him and that he has reveled that opinion through living prophets. Perhaps this revelation issue will cause a disconnect with you and the straight or gay Mormons you encounter.

    (BTW — that last comment you responded to was from Russ)

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  88. Echoville,

    There are many gay Mormons who feel as you do. They’re wholly committed to their faith and their church. But many of them struggle, to put it very simplistically, with the question: If homosexual behavior is immoral, why did God make me gay?

    The struggle ends up with some sucessfully resisting their natural sexual urges and remaining true to the church’s teachings. Others cannot reconcile the church’s teachings with their homosexuality, and leave the church. The rest fall somewhere between those two extremes.

    As I said before, I wish the church would become more enlightened — or, if you wish, “current” — with regard to homosexuality.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

  89. The answer to the question: “If homosexual behavior is immoral, why did God make me gay?” is He didn’t make you that way.

    What you call “enlightened” or “current”, I call a mirepresentation of the truth. It misleads people and keeps them from even trying to repent.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

  90. By the way, it does nothing for your case to immaturely turn my username in a way to mock me. Once, could have been a mistake. Twice, and you are obviously doing it on purpose. I respect you while disagreeing with you.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 9:03 pm

  91. Geoff,

    Yes, you’re right, I’m not Mormon; I’m an ex-Catholic. And yeah, our theological assumptions are different.

    I have no disagreement with people who are faithful to their church’s teachings. I find no fault with Mormons who believe the church is right about homosexuality.

    I do believe, though, that religious beliefs are malleable. I believe that if I do what I can to cause people to think about homosexuality in different ways, that, over time, my efforts and those of others will result in changes to churches’ doctrines that are beneficial for gays and all of society.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 9:04 pm

  92. “By the way, it does nothing for your case to immaturely turn my username in a way to mock me. Once, could have been a mistake. Twice, and you are obviously doing it on purpose. I respect you while disagreeing with you.”

    I did not type the username incorrectly on purpose. My eyes aren’t so good at reading small print on the screen. : ) After I saw the username once, that stuck in my mind for later posts. I certainly didn’t mean to offend you.

    I respect you as well.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 9:08 pm

  93. Thanks Dave. That helps in understanding your perspective better.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 9:25 pm

  94. Thanks, Dave! Sorry, for the mistake. I understand you better now that I know that you were never Mormon.

    We are both just trying to influence public opinion. I understand that you believe that you are acting in the best interest of homosexuals. I also believe that I am.

    Although, I know that it can be painful to hear the message that one needs to change especially when it is so hard to. But, it is most painful if one believes that something they “are” is unacceptable before God rather than something they’ve done or feel. If people accept both our messages (i.e., that you “are” gay and gay behavior is unacceptable), it is the worst of both worlds.

    I recognize the relief that comes from accepting one’s gayness. A disconnect between one’s beliefs and one’s behaviors cause cognitive dissonance. There are two ways to get rid of dissonance. Bring one’s beliefs in line with one’s behavior or bring one’s behavior in line with one’s beliefs.

    But I feel the greatest joy can come from forsaking gay behavior and retraining one’s desires to become untied with God. Not just because they would now be living consistently with some religion’s beliefs, but because it truly is the way to achieve ultimate happiness.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

  95. My second to last sentence should say “united with God” not “untied”.

    Comment by enochville — January 25, 2006 @ 9:37 pm

  96. I believe the church leaders, as human beings, are fallible. I also believe that religions change with the times, as perceptions change to reflect shifts in social paradigms. Accordingly, I don’t think God is going to reveal anything about the subject — and I don’t believe He ever did.

    I believe the church leaders who developed the homosexuality-related doctrine, and who continue to perpetuate it, were and are acting according to their own conclusions about what is immoral and what is not.

    I totally agree Dave. I truly feel it’s all socialized prejudice, but that is hard to see when you’ve been indoctrinated with it since birth. Just wanted to let you know that some LDS agree with you.

    Comment by Wendy — January 25, 2006 @ 9:46 pm

  97. “But I feel the greatest joy can come from forsaking gay behavior and retraining one’s desires to become united with God. Not just because they would now be living consistently with some religion’s beliefs, but because it truly is the way to achieve ultimate happiness.”

    I understand. And my belief is that ultimate happiness can be achieved only by being true to oneself with regard to homosexualiy.

    Oh well. I’m glad we can disagree respectfully.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 9:54 pm

  98. Thanks, Wendy.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 25, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

  99. I’m completely heterosexual and I am uncomfortable with anybody kissing or any deeply sexual scenes. I don’t care who they’re between, I guess I’m like that little boy who covers his eyes during the kissing.

    It’s all just too intimate for me. And unnecessary. As far as I am concerned.

    Comment by annegb — January 25, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

  100. “Let’s start with the one of the commandments that were given to Adam and Eve. Multiply and replenish the earth. It is very dificult to continue to perpetuate the species without heterosexual activities.

    Add to that the statements that the procreative power is sacred.”

    It is a long held position in the LDS faith that the “power of procreation” is sacred. I do not wish to question that point of view, but I have to ask what is it about sex between loving, committed gay people that would be inherently profane? Why do we not forbid sterile people or those who are past the age of procreation from engaging in sexual activity? Would not unprocreative sex make a mockery of the sacred procreative activity? Or for that matter, recall that no one who was “wounded in the stones” or had blemishes could approach the holy tabernacle. Wouldn’t it follow that the sacred powers of procreation should be withheld from people with acne or birth defects, or for that matter, from unbelievers?

    I simply do not see why all these people, who find themselves attracted to the same sex, and therefore do not fit into the ideal model for mankind as set forth in Genesis, should be considered so flawed, so blemished, that they are unworthy to enjoy the sacred blessings of sex in their unions.

    Comment by MahNahvu — January 26, 2006 @ 1:07 am

  101. MahNahvu,

    I don’t think anyone does really. We can come up with all sorts of ideas why it might be wrong, but at the end of the day, it’s only wrong for one reason – because the prophet said so. So essentially, it’s a matter of faith and testimony; it all comes down to whether we really believe the prophet is indeed a prophet of God.

    Comment by Eric Russell — January 26, 2006 @ 4:49 am

  102. enochville:

    What you call “enlightened” or “current”, I call a mirepresentation of the truth. It misleads people and keeps them from even trying to repent.

    Every gay Mormon I know, to a person, has tried to change his sexual orientation at some point in his life, at both the urging of church leaders and from their own desires to be something else. Don’t denigrate their efforts and their pain with quips about them not even trying to “repent” because they’ve been led to believe they can’t change.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 9:36 am

  103. Geoff J: Bad analogy. The church has not deemed same sex attraction immoral, it has deemed breaking covenants and the law of chastity immoral.

    True. However, this is a fairly recent distinction. For mamy years, the Church condemned homosexuality broadly, without noting any difference between attraction and action.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  104. Chris,

    What’s your point?

    Comment by Geoff J — January 26, 2006 @ 11:18 am

  105. The homosexual’s biggest obstacle is that he must live his life according to the dictates of people who have never felt the attraction of same-sex, and wish for him to choose a lifestyle based on tradition, even though it goes against his grain, so to speak. This sets up a dissonance that isn’t easily harmonized, for anyone. When will the homosexual get to choose his life for himself, without dissonance?

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 11:34 am

  106. Geoff J: What’s your point?

    That the church’s position/point-of-view on homosexuality has evolved and, IMO, is likely to continue to evolve.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 11:45 am

  107. A couple of years ago, President Hinckley appeared with Larry King on a Christmas special, and when asked about gays and marriage, President Hinckley replied “I don’t know, it’s a very difficult problem” very sadly.

    I think this is further evidence that the Church’s position (and perhaps God’s) is evolving.

    It may be the defining issue for the Church in the 21st century.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 11:52 am

  108. The homosexual’s biggest obstacle is that he must live his life according to the dictates of people who have never felt the attraction of same-sex, and wish for him to choose a lifestyle based on tradition, even though it goes against his grain, so to speak.

    D, this is exactly my point. I’m just suggesting that the reason that those “who have never felt the attraction of same-sex” feel the way they do is because they think it’s gross.

    Comment by Rusty — January 26, 2006 @ 12:09 pm

  109. Chris said: “Don’t denigrate their efforts and their pain with quips about them not even trying to “repent” because they’ve been led to believe they can’t change.”

    You have misunderstood what I was saying. I did not say that homosexuals have not tried or are not currently trying to “repent”. I am saying that the the message that has become so popular in our society that gays cannot change zaps the motivation to even try to change.

    My whole job revolves around helping people change. I very well understand the efforts involved and the pain of set backs and would never denigrate people’s efforts. Futhermore, I have had my own addictions that I have struggled with and I know several gays and lesbians, some within the church and many without. My first clinical supervisor is a lesbian as is my professor that trained me in intelligence testing. I shared a office space with a lesbian classmate. As a member of the Bishopric, I have helped a member who engaged in homosexual activities through the repentence process.

    There are no adequate analogies for same sex attraction. The best I can do is draw analogies with certain aspects of the experience. I want to point out some things with cigarette addiction. Here are the stats for successfully quitting smoking after the first attempt with each of these different methods:
    cold turkey: 3%
    patches: 25%
    Pharmacology: 25%
    Intensive psychotherapy: 30%

    The vast number of people who try to quit smoking the first time fail even with helpful methods. But, if they try again and again if necessary, they can succeed.

    Now, homosexual desires are even more difficult to overcome, especially if one has been deeply involved in it for many years. It is expected that most will fail the first or even second go around. Especially since there are a lot of crappy therapists out there and the technology has not been advanced because gay activist groups would put pressure on any group that funded the research to stop it.

    I see the reversals as set backs not as evidence that one cannot change their nature.

    Porn addiction is an extremely powerful addiction. I have successfully treated people for it. It is very difficult and there are set backs. Lest you think I created the treatment goal for the clients, I did not and neither were not very religious. In one case, the client came in because he was being violent and angry with his fiance. I knew that he was doing this because of his unrecognized low self-esteem. As we looked for where his low self-esteem came from, he came to realize that his porn addiction caused him to feel bad about himself because he was powerless to stop and he hid it from his fiance. Once he overcame his addiction, he felt much better about himself and no longer put his fiance down.

    The key to success in all change is to set things up so that it requires minimal will power. It is possible to change; people have done it. They usually have an episode of backsliding, but can eventually regain and maintain.

    Comment by enochville — January 26, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

  110. Rusty, saying someone has never felt same-sex attraction is pretty different than saying someone thinks same-sex attraction is gross.

    I guess it’s a matter of degree. You may think it’s gross, but saying it so plainly doesn’t help the situation.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 12:23 pm

  111. I think this is further evidence that the Church’s position (and perhaps God’s) is evolving.

    Now this hints at a point that I have issue with. Some people seem to have the idea (maybe not you D.) that they do not have to follow the councel of our leaders because they are fallible and may change their stance in the future.

    We are welcome to speculate all we want on what may happen in the future. The fact of the matter is that God expects us to follow the law as it is revealed to us now.

    Comment by Russ J — January 26, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

  112. enochville: I am saying that the the message that has become so popular in our society that gays cannot change zaps the motivation to even try to change.

    I would think repeated failure might zap the motivation to try to change as well.

    I don’t find the addiction comparisons helpful. Addiction involves a clear pathology. What’s pathological about homosexuality?

    You see, what I do not understand in dialogue with you is why you think homosexuality and homosexual behavior is wrong. I’ve asked you why you think it’s wrong, and you haven’t really answered my question.

    Promiscuity is wrong. Deceit is wrong. Infidelity is wrong. But none of those things are inherent to homosexuality. Heterosexuals can be and often are just as promiscuous, deceitful and unfaithful as homosexuals.

    So, I’ll ask again. Other than Rusty’s “ick” factor, why is homosexuality wrong?

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

  113. Russ J, I suspect you and I would part company on the nature of revelation.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

  114. “Now this hints at a point that I have issue with. Some people seem to have the idea (maybe not you D.) that they do not have to follow the councel of our leaders because they are fallible and may change their stance in the future.”

    I guess I do think this way. So many things have changed in the Church (over the years) that I have hope that the Church will recognize that many believers who are homosexual will happily return to the fold when their unions are blessed.

    Being homosexual doesn’t automatically make you a disbeliever.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 12:35 pm

  115. Chris:

    When I am in the world, among non-members, I have no evidence that anything about homosexuality is wrong or pathological. My argument with them is that there are people with same gender attraction that want to get rid of it, and they should have access to mainstream psychological services and research. We deliver services to others without disorders that want to change such as clients having difficulty with a partner, adjusting to a new job, or with a child.

    In the case of SSA, they are having trouble with unwanted thoughts or feelings that are causing trouble in their lives. If it is not causing trouble then they would not seek treatment (there are many in this category). Gay activists think it is bigotry to even consider treating someone who is having trouble with their same gender attraction by trying to get rid of the thoughts and feelings. They think the only way to help these people is to help them to be comfortable with their feelings, not try to change them. I do believe that the option to help them become comfortable with their feelings should remain available as well. Some gays say conservatives are oppressing homosexuals. I say gay activists are oppressing people with SSA by not allowing them to get rid of their feelings if they don’t want them.

    Now, in an LDS setting, it should be obvious why I think homosexuality (behaviors and feelings) are wrong and should be actively overcome. Granted only behaviors are a sin, but the thoughts alone move us away from God and His Spirit.

    Comment by enochville — January 26, 2006 @ 12:49 pm

  116. enochville:

    Assume it isn’t obvious in an LDS setting. Assume that I’m a Mormon who isn’t at all comfortable with the church’s approach to homosexuality.

    Why is homosexuality wrong?

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 12:54 pm

  117. Chris:

    From the For Strength of Youth Pamphlet: “Homosexual activity is a serious sin. If you find yourself struggling with same-gender attraction, seek counsel from your parents and bishop. They will help you.” http://tinyurl.com/b8rwd

    From the True to the Faith pamphlet: “Our Heavenly Father has given us the law of chastity for our protection. Obedience to this law is essential to personal peace and strength of character and to happiness in the home. As you keep yourself sexually pure, you will avoid the spiritual and emotional damage that always come from sharing physical intimacies with someone outside of marriage. You will be sensitive to the Holy Ghost’s guidance, strength, comfort, and protection, and you will fulfill an important requirement for receiving a temple recommend and participating in temple ordinances.

    Like other violations of the law of chastity, homosexual activity is a serious sin. It is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality (see Romans 1:24–32). It distorts loving relationships and prevents people from receiving the blessings that can be found in family life and the saving ordinances of the gospel.

    Merely refraining from sexual intercourse outside of marriage is not sufficient in the Lord’s standard of personal purity. The Lord requires a high moral standard of His disciples, including complete fidelity to one’s spouse in thought and conduct…If you find yourself struggling with sexual temptations, including feelings of same-gender attraction, do not give in to those temptations. Be assured that you can choose to avoid such behavior. You can receive the Lord’s help as you pray for strength and work to overcome the problem. As part of this process, you should seek counsel from your bishop or branch president. He will help you.

    Control your thoughts. No one commits sexual sin in an instant. Immoral acts always begin with impure thoughts. If you allow your thoughts to linger on obscene or immoral things, you have already taken the first step toward immorality. Flee immediately from situations that may lead to sin. Pray for constant strength to resist temptation and control your thoughts. Make this a part of your daily prayers.” http://tinyurl.com/b7c2r

    I could keep going. It is wrong because the prophet and the apostles, who speak for God have said it was wrong. If you are seeking an explanation, I could speculate, but echo the answer of Adam when he was asked why he offered sacrifice to the Lord, “I know not save the Lord commanded me”.

    It has the been the test of every generation whether they will following the living prophet. As Ezra Taft Benson said, “It is more important to following a living prophet than a dead one.” People err when they disobey the living prophet by practising polygamy today. People also err if they disobey the living prophet to follow what they suppose to be the direction of a future prophet. We cannot get ahead or behind the Lord. Nephi would have sinned if he refused to follow the Spirit kill Laban and thus follow Moses, a dead prophet. Whatsoever the Lord commands is right.

    There is not a soul on the earth that can prove that people with same gender attraction cannot change. They have no basis on which to declare the prophet wrong in this thing. There is no reason one should not follow the prophet in this matter and never cease to forsake their same gender attraction.

    Comment by enochville — January 26, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

  118. A couple of years ago, President Hinckley appeared with Larry King on a Christmas special, and when asked about gays and marriage, President Hinckley replied “I don’t know, it’s a very difficult problem” very sadly.

    I remember that interview differently than you do. So I just read through it and I can’t find that statement. Am I looking at a different transcript than you?

    Comment by Russ J — January 26, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

  119. Perhaps I’m remembering a different interview, or perhaps I made it up. I want it to be true, that’s clear.

    Hey, I’m human.

    :)

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

  120. I remember President Hinckley saying that homosexuality was something that he didn’t know very much about and wasn’t an expert on. I also recall that he reiterated the position that the church loves homosexuals and welcomes those who do not engage in sexual behavior.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

  121. This is what President Hinkley did say, “I don’t know. I’m not an expert on these things. I don’t pretend to be an expert on these things. The fact is, they have a problem.”

    I personally don’t see the big change in the churches view. I do think that church leaders are trying to be more gentle about it, but the message is still the same. Practicing homosexuality is a sin and requires repentance.

    Comment by Russ J — January 26, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

  122. Russ, if that is the transcript, then I wasn’t so far off, was I?

    The fact that President Hinckley said “I don’t know,” is hopeful to me. It’s evolved from the Church’s position of only a few years ago, when he might have said “they are wicked and need to repent.”

    I saw a psychologist! at BYU in the late 70s, who told me the only way to change was to repent. Repent! I hadn’t done anything. It’s like asking me to repent of liking certain kinds of music or food. Or insisting that I change writing with my right hand, to writing with my left. Repent?

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 1:53 pm

  123. Enochville:,

    “I say gay activists are oppressing people with SSA by not allowing them to get rid of their feelings if they don’t want them.”

    I say gay activists know that people with SSA can’t get rid of their feelings. There’s no proof that a single person ever willfully changed his or her sexual orientation.

    This is just one of those matters we’ll have to agree to disagree about.

    Comment by Dave Walter — January 26, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

  124. Eric,

    I appreciate your clarifications. I’m sorry that I wasn’t clearer and I think that I misread your initial comment a bit. My only real objection was that there isn’t a debate in the Church about whether homosexual activity is OK. There is a debate about SSM and I am frustrated that many Church members see the two issues as identical. I see now how you were using the gambling example and agree that it was appropriate for your argument.

    It was my understanding that you were defending the linkage of the immoral/disgusting view of gay sex to the SSM issue. It seems, though, that you’re just explaining why Church members get so defensive about it. In which case, we have nothing to disagree about. My apologies!

    Comment by D-Train — January 26, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

  125. Dave,

    OK We can agree to disagree. I’d say that there is not any proof that people with SSA can’t get rid of those feelings. There is anecdotal evidence that they can change, but that isn’t worth anything. The political climate won’t let proof be collected, so I say the fact that we don’t have proof that any have changed isn’t worth anything either.

    Comment by enochville — January 26, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

  126. But nobody has answered Chris’s question.

    Most of our moral questions can be analyzed intellectually. Drinking and gambling are bad for you. Obviously, adultery may be disastrous to a family, and to self-esteem. Even pre-marital fornication can be analyzed as potentially hazardous to a productive and long-lasting marriage.

    But taken out of a religious context, what is wrong or bad about homosexuality? If two men or two women connect, fall in love and wish to partner each other for life/eternity, why is this a bad thing?

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

  127. D:

    Perhaps nobody has answered Chris’s question to your satisfaction. I did answer it. Presently, I know of no non-religious evidence that demonstrates the wrongness of homosexuality. Religiously, it is wrong because the Lord commands against it.

    We have plenty of precident. Why is it right to partake of the sacrament? Why is it wrong to not be baptized? Why is it wrong to work on the sabbath? The only reason is because the Lord commands it. His ways are not our ways. He can see things and has a perspective that far surpasses ours. These things are for our good even if we cannot see how right now.

    I can speculate that homosexuality is not preparing us for the roles we are to take on in heaven and is contrary to the order of the Gods. Intimate friendship is encouraged within the genders, but we cross the line once we desire members of our own gender sexually. If we ever wish to be like God the Father, we must walk the path he has and have a wife so that we can have spirit children, and those children can benefit from the strengths of both genders in the home.

    I repeat, that was speculation. All we need to know is that the Lord commanded it.

    Comment by enochville — January 26, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

  128. Thank you, enochville, for taking the time more than anyone else, to explicitly state what’s on everybody’s mind.

    As a psychologist, though, I still don’t think you’ve answered the question. Perhaps the answer really is, there’s *nothing* wrong with homosexuality, except that God taboos it. If that’s the case, then it’s time for me to find God elsewhere than the LDS church (which is sad, because that will mean 48 years down the tube).

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

  129. D.,
    Outside of a religious context, I don’t believe there is a compelling reason to label homosexual activity as wrong.

    I can take a crack at why it is wrong in God’s eyes (this is from a (my) Mormon perspective). All of God’s directives are given with the aim of steering us to exhaltation. One of the requirements for exhaltation is that we need to be part of a successful man/woman marriage. Anything that steers us away from that ideal is bad for us in an eternal sense and God, because He loves us, forbids it. Fornication, adultery, pornography, and homosexual behavior, among other things, put us on a path that makes participation in a successful man/woman marriage more difficult than it already is.

    Comment by Tom — January 26, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

  130. Tom, finish your thought. I think I might know your answer but I’m curious as to why you think God needs us to be part of a successful man/woman marriage. (I would imagine it has something to do with children and so forth)

    Comment by Rusty — January 26, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

  131. D.,

    There is a fundamental difference between “it’s a very difficult problem” and “The fact is, they have a problem.” Your bias shows in your memory of the interview. You expect the church to change. President Hinkley puts the onus on you to change.

    Here is the text of that part of the interview:

    KING: … we were all people.
    But as the mores have changed – for example, I know that the Church is opposed to gay marriage.

    HINCKLEY: Yes.

    KING: Do you have an alternative? Do you like the idea of civil unions?

    HINCKLEY: Well, we’re not anti-gay. We are pro-family. Let me put it that way.
    And we love these people and try to work with them and help them. We know they have a problem. We want to help them solve that problem.

    KING: A problem they caused, or they were born with?

    HINCKLEY: I don’t know. I’m not an expert on these things. I don’t pretend to be an expert on these things. The fact is, they have a problem.

    KING: Do you favor some sort of state union?

    HINCKLEY: Well, we want to be very careful about that, because that – whatever may lead to gay marriage, we’re not in favor of.
    We – many people don’t get married. Goodness sakes alive. You know that.
    Many people who have to discipline themselves. If they transgress, they become subject to the discipline of the Church. But we try in every way that we know how to help them, to assist them, to bless their lives.

    Don’t try to tell me that he is not saying that you must repent. That is, after all, one of the primary purposes of church discipline.

    Comment by Russ J — January 26, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

  132. The God card is played. The debate… as always, is futile.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 26, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

  133. If your referring to my comment D. then I disagree. You are claiming that the churches stance is changing and I haven’t seen the evidence yet.

    Comment by Russ J — January 26, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

  134. Well, Rusty, I figured that might be the next question that came up. The fact is, I’m not so confident giving a precise reason why being part of a man/woman marriage is required for exhaltation. That get’s deeper than I’m usually comfortable going. I prefer the shallow end of the pool. One could speculate, though, that, as you suggest, it is only as part of a man/woman marriage that we can participate in the creation of spirit children, which is an integral part of our attainment of a fullness of joy.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 26, 2006 @ 3:30 pm

  135. Russ J:

    Evidence that the church’s position is changing –

    1. The relatively recent emphasis on the difference between attraction and behavior.

    2. The publication of In Quiet Desperation by Deseret Book.

    3. The recognition that “many” homosexuals may never be able to overcome their attraction to the same-sex.

    4. The explicit acknowledgment that marriage should not be viewed as a cure/therapy/recommendation for someone who experiences same-sex attraction.

    These are not particuarly big steps. But I do think they represent some movement in the church’s point of view on the issue.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 3:36 pm

  136. D.,
    I agree the debate is futile if there is not a shared faith among the parties of the debate. My reasons for homosexual activity being wrong cannot convince anyone who doesn’t believe that God exists, that he makes the truth known through prophets, and that Joseph Smith and the subsequent presidents of the Church are legitimate prophets of God. Heck, my reasons might not even convince some people that do share those beliefs.

    If you’re looking for reasons why homosexual relationships shouldn’t be given the same status in society as heterosexual relationships, that’s a different question. My answer to that one is long, and I’m conflicted on the issue.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 26, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

  137. I don’t know why my name didn’t show up at the bottom of my two last comments.

    My last comment is the one just after Chris Williams’s where he has numbers 1 through 4.

    My other one is the comment just before the same comment by Chris Williams. It’s a Chris Williams sandwich on Tom.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom — January 26, 2006 @ 3:42 pm

  138. It is quite a stretch to assume that better undersanding of the problem equates to changing the doctrine.

    Comment by Russ J — January 26, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

  139. Tom, I could make a variety of inappropriate remarks about the Chris Williams sandwich, particularly on a thread about homosexuality. I shall refrain. :)

    Russ J, doctrine and policy are two different things. The movement I see is in policy and perspective. I don’t think any of the doctrines used to justify the church’s positions on homosexuality have changed.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 3:48 pm

  140. Chris,
    I was aware that I was treading dangerously with that one. I shouldn’t have provided the temptation.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 26, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  141. Chris,
    That was a distinction that I was not making and I will concede that point.

    Comment by Russ J — January 26, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

  142. There is certainly nothing wrong with some members hoping the church’s policy on SSM will eventually change. It is no more wrong than if some members hope that the policy banning polygamy will eventually be reversed. Either change would require clear revelation from God. But of course in the meantime we members have covenants to keep with God.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 26, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

  143. “doctrine and policy are two different things.”

    I have no idea how you can make a clear distinction between what is or is not doctrine.

    The fact is, the church teachigns about homosexuality have changed over time, where “teachings” is defined as the things that actually get taught through official channels (whether or not you think they qualify as “doctrine.”)

    Comment by ed — January 26, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

  144. ed: I have no idea how you can make a clear distinction between what is or is not doctrine.

    Here’s an example relevant to this thread –

    Doctrine: Homosexuality is unnatural and frustrates the plan of salvation and happiness.

    Policy: Homosexual members of the church should be disciplined only for homosexual behavior, and not simply for experiencing homosexual attraction.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

  145. But “teachings” changing over time works for me, too.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 4:47 pm

  146. Russ J…

    I can certainly relate to your anger and frustration about how your marriage ended. I am in a similar situation, probably a bit more recent than yours, but one I’ve struggled with for the 13 years of my now-ending marriage.

    I wrote a blog entry all about this issue yesterday. Perhaps there are some aspects of it that might be on interest to you.

    more perfect: Brokeback Families

    Comment by Timothy — January 26, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

  147. There is certainly nothing wrong with some members hoping the church’s policy on SSM will eventually change.

    Or it’s policy on wine :)

    Comment by Rusty — January 26, 2006 @ 5:45 pm

  148. Lush wannabe.

    Comment by Chris Williams — January 26, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

  149. D. said: “As a psychologist, though, I still don’t think you’ve answered the question. Perhaps the answer really is, there’s *nothing* wrong with homosexuality, except that God taboos it. If that’s the case, then it’s time for me to find God elsewhere than the LDS church (which is sad, because that will mean 48 years down the tube).”

    I have given this statement of yours a lot of thought. Some people have had the idea for sometime that marriage between heterosexuals was unnecessary. They’d say, “A marriage certificate is just a piece of paper, right?” It was not until relatively recently that we began to detect the harm that is caused by unmarried heterosexuals living together. Marriage does make a difference.

    We may find that homosexual relationships cause harm to the individuals involved or deny them certain benefits from heterosexual relationships, or we may not find them. In America, there is a confound because almost all homosexual couples are not married, so it would be expected that on average they would have the same problems non-married heterosexuals have. But, there are many countries that allow homosexual marriages and they would serve as a good control group.

    The only research that looks at homosexual relationships right now sets out to prove that homosexual relationships cause no harm to the individuals involved or the children they raise. One would think that that research would detect any problems as well. Maybe, but I understand enough about research to know that the agenda of the researcher makes a difference. It goes both ways, so you need agenda driven researchers on both sides of the issue and reviewers from both sides of the issue to critic the research. But, as I’ve said before no one is doing research looking for harm because of the political climate and the fact that most psychologists buy the argument that homosexuals are “born that way”, not because the research has proven that, because it hasn’t, but because they are as a whole not very dogmatic about religion and lean more toward determinism than free will.

    Anyway, what I am saying is that leaving the church simply because science has not, yet, detected any harm in homosexual relationships, does not make much sense to me. If Pres. Hinckley does not speak the Lord’s will, why belong to the church at all; why wait until you learn that we don’t have any evidence of the harm in homosexual relationships? On the other hand, if Pres. Hinckley does speak God’s will, why leave the church no matter what; where else would you go to receive the living will of God and learn how to obtain the blessings of heaven in this life and eternity? I would hope that your testimony would be stronger than an absence of scientific findings.

    Comment by enochville — January 27, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  150. enochville,
    Why don’t researchers ask an open question like “What are the differences between people in homosexual relationships and people in heterosexual relationships?” Or, “What are the differences in their children?” It seems to me like a good truth-seeking scientist should be able to design studies that answer an open question and that this would yield more conclusive results than designing a study to support a preconceived conclusion. I understand the value of hypothesis-driven research, but in soft sciences where bias confounds, researchers should do whatever it takes to eliminate the effects of their own bias. Otherwise they aren’t scientists at all.

    So basically, I disagree that there needs to be agenda-driven research on both sides. What is needed is honest truth seeking.

    Comment by Tom — January 27, 2006 @ 10:44 am

  151. So, there is no evidence (for whatever reason) from scientific studies, no criteria from an appeal to logic, no convincing evidence from scripture, and the president of the church announces on national television that he doesn’t know about these things. We would expect that the attitude of the church would be ambivalent on the matter of homosexuality. Yet the majority of members are united in condemning homosexual behavior as a serious transgression, next to murder, and overwhelmingly vote to write discrimination into their state constitutions. And church leaders release the Proclamation on the Family, the primary purpose of which is to help defeat gay marriage legislation, further painting the church into a theological corner.

    Comment by MahNahvu — January 27, 2006 @ 1:12 pm

  152. A perfect post, MahNahvu, thanks for that.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 27, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

  153. I think Ned’s correct as far as homophobia, but the gross issue is different. The thing that used to gross me out was thinking about fudge packing, what AIDS stands for, etc. But I’m more tolerant now, because if two guys want to do that, and don’t get in my face about it, it’s none of my business. Lesbians never bothered me because I understand them. I’m a lesbian too, just one trapped in a male body.

    Comment by Steve EM — January 27, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

  154. “The answer to the question: “If homosexual behavior is immoral, why did God make me gay?” is He didn’t make you that way.”

    While that is just cruel BKPish narrow minded hooey, I actually agree with the part about G-d didn’t make someone that way, but not for the reasons eunuchville thinks. I don’t know if some people are born gay or not, transsexual or not, but to preclude the possibility is to naively ignore the reality of our chaotic existence. Such dogma pretends that chaos is precluded in some areas of our existence, such as sexual orientation during fetal development, which is just nonsensical given all the other random chaotic birth defects we deal with. Related to orientation, are the likes of BKP even aware that some people are born intersexed? What sex was the intersexed person in the preexistence?

    IMHO, the human mind is so complex, I wouldn’t be surprised if sometimes something happens during fetal development resulting in some born w/ same sex attraction, transsexuality, etc. But does it really matter to the person dealing w/ these issues? They are dealing w/ issues we reproductive heteros can’t possibly understand. If we accept chaos in some areas of fetal development, and I don’t see how anyone can’t, we then have to accept the possibility in all areas and not pretend to know the mind of G-d on this. If a biblical construct helps, paradise was lost with the Garden of Eden and we experience a lot of random crap here. Since mankind chose this existence under the same construct, if some are born gay, G-d had nothing to do w/ it.

    Comment by Steve EM — January 27, 2006 @ 2:48 pm

  155. MahNahvu,
    My reaction was different from D.’s. I found your comment to be imperfect.

    President Hinkley’s statement to Larry King did not reflect any ambivalence on the subject of homosexuality. He made it very clear that he believes that homosexuals “have a problem” and that the Church wants to help them solve that problem. And he expressed no ambivalence on the question of gay marriage. What he said he doesn’t know about is the nature of how homosexuality arises, whether it’s something people are born with or it’s something that they cause themselves. And he was noncommital when questioned about civil unions.

    Regarding homosexual activity as serious transgression is entirely consistent with the Plan of Salvation that has been consistently taught by the Church.

    The Church doesn’t wait for scientific evidence or appeals to logic before they take a stand on any given issue.

    Given all of the above, I see no reason to expect that the Church would have an ambivalent attitude on the matter of homosexuality.

    If the “theological corner” that the church is painting itself into with the Proclamation is the corner of the truth, then I would say that that is unequivocally a good thing. Whether it’s the truth or not is entirely a question of faith.

    Comment by Tom — January 27, 2006 @ 3:15 pm

  156. MahNahvu,

    Alma said all sexual transgressions are serious sins — not just homosexual activities.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 27, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

  157. Geoff, Alma said all sexual transgressions are serious sins — not just homosexual activities.

    That is true. But you will understand that I included that bit in my comment to heighten the contrast between what seems so inherently benign based on empirical evidence and that which is dividing churches and the nation.

    Comment by MahNahvu — January 27, 2006 @ 5:22 pm

  158. Tom: President Hinkley’s statement to Larry King did not reflect any ambivalence on the subject of homosexuality

    …Which further emphasizes my point.

    Regarding homosexual activity as serious transgression is entirely consistent with the Plan of Salvation that has been consistently taught by the Church.

    If, by the Plan of Salvation, you are referring to the command for men and women to multiply and replenish the earth, I would say that the Plan assumes a perfect world. The Plan and the Proclamation define a narrow ideal to which many people, for whatever reason, will simply never be able to conform. I have no problem with the Plan of Salvation as an ideal. It is wonderful. But to think that whatever does not fit neatly into that picture, because of some aberration, defect or handicap, to be inherently sinfull just boggles my mind!

    Comment by MahNahvu — January 27, 2006 @ 5:43 pm

  159. Tom said,
    “I understand the value of hypothesis-driven research, but in soft sciences where bias confounds, researchers should do whatever it takes to eliminate the effects of their own bias.”

    Inferential statistics test hypotheses. Descriptive statistics describe the data collected on the sample, but can say nothing about the larger populations we are actually interested in and cannot test hypotheses, etc. In other words, you can’t just ask a neutral question of the data in an attempt to find a trend or some generalized statement of the truth because you would be taking an unfair advantage of chance. The explanation would take nearly a whole course in inferential statistics.

    And if you have a hypothesis, you have a bias. There are methodological and statistical controls for bias. All peer reveiwed papers are examined to make sure the rules of research have not been violated. The fact is bias will exist; but we don’t want falsified data and we want to be upfront with our bias. We are deceiving ourselves if we think we can do research without bias.

    Comment by enochville — January 27, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

  160. MahNahvu,
    I read your comment as suggesting that President Hinkley’s “I don’t know” attitude was toward the question of whether homosexual activity is wrong and that this was a reason to expect that the Church would have an ambivalent attitude toward homosexuality. Musta’ read it wrong.

    By “Plan of Salvation” I am not referring to the command for men and women to multiply and replenish the Earth. I am referring to the opportunity that Heavenly Father has provided for us to attain exhaltation. In my comment posted on January 26, 2006 at 03:02 PM (why no comment numbers, Rusty?) I explained how I believe the Lord’s directive to not participate in sexual activity outside of man/woman marriage fits into the Plan.

    I understand what you’re saying about the difficulty of living up to the Church’s ideal (which, I believe, is the Lord’s ideal) in a world where nothing is as neat and tidy as we would like it to be. The world is fallen and random and inhospitable and God is so quiet. It can be frustrating.

    Comment by Tom — January 27, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

  161. enochville,
    Thanks for the response. I’m not too familiar with the ins and outs of research methods in soft sciences. I had a feeling that the explanation would be too complicated.

    Statements like this: “We are deceiving ourselves if we think we can do research without bias,” make me glad I study biology. They also make me distrust every word you crazy psychologists say ; )

    Comment by Tom — January 27, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

  162. Tom, Thank you for your thoughtful and cordial comments.

    I understand what you’re saying about the difficulty of living up to the Church’s ideal (which, I believe, is the Lord’s ideal) in a world where nothing is as neat and tidy as we would like it to be. The world is fallen and random and inhospitable and God is so quiet. It can be frustrating.

    The gay community has long described homosexuality as being part of the great diversity of mankind. I have never been willing to totally accept the idea that a homosexual orientation is simply a varient of human makeup like being left-handed or having blue eyes. It just seems too “broken.” It doesn’t take a scientist to convince anyone that men and women are physically designed for sexual coupling with each other. Yet, it is clear that homosexuality does widely occur in the animal kingdom. And coupled with the estimates that between 5 and 10% of the human population is homosexual, it does suggest that it is a “natural” aspect of life on this earth.

    I see homosexuality as “diversity” more akin to the idea of “opposition in all things,” which I don’t believe is strictly black and white. Homosexuality, like left-handedness, diabetes, mental illness, gray hair, imperfect teeth, or olive colored skin, is part of the wonderous and complex fabric of the human condition. Sometimes tragic, sometimes beautiful, sometimes plain, these things are all part of the rich experience that mortality provides. And what matters is how we intersect and interact with the variety of people and situations with which we come in contact.

    If we seek a divine purpose for human sexuality, the model in Genesis seems to fit, where men and women are called to join together and multiply and fill the earth. LDS doctrine gives this model its ultimate expression. Yet not everyone can achieve this ideal state, nor fulfill the command to bear children. Some people find that they cannot pair with the opposite sex. Others discover that they are infirtile and cannot produce offspring. A portion of humanity, for whatever reason, finds itself outside of the norm, the ideal, the divine plan for mankind. Yet here too, we believe that there is divine purpose underlying the incongruities of life. When we sorrow for the childless couple, we hope that, somewhere in the grand plan of the Creator, there is meaning to the apparent deficiency. I believe that somewhere in the wisdom of God there is purpose behind what we might perceive as the homosexual’s broken existence.

    Comment by MahNahvu — January 28, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

  163. As I have said, homosexuality is an aberration, but aberrations are indeed normal, a part of nature. Shouldn’t homosexuals be encouraged to seek love, and to commit? I believe they should, despite “aberrant” sexual behavior confirming that love.

    Comment by D. Fletcher — January 28, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

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