Suggested Actions for Members Struggling with the Recent LDS Letter on Same-sex Marriage

LDS Church leaders recently had an official letter read to the teen and adult membership reiterating the Church’s stand that marriage is an institution for one man and one woman (against Mormon gay marriages).  For those struggling with the Church’s official stance, several options were suggested:

  • re-read the “Proclamation to the World;
  • resolve the issue through personal study and prayer; and
  • visit privately with your local Church leadership.

Robert Kirby, Mormon humorist and theologian, suggests an additional action:

  • adjust your medication levels.

Which made me think:  Certainly there must be other options:

  • re-read and aggressively study the Book of Leviticus;
  • review everything Christ said about same-sex marriage;
  • explain to a gay couple why their union is a threat to “traditional” marriage and give them a sincere hug;
  • talk to a biologist/geneticist about same-sex attraction;
  • interview a Catholic priest about the joys of celibacy; and
  • study GA statements about race prior to 1978.

Okay, I really don’t recommend an in-depth study of the Book of Leviticus.  In fact, I’m not a big fan of the Old Testament in general, except the Books of Job and Ecclesiastes.  And what does Ecclesiastes have to say about SSA?  “If two lie together, then they have heat.  How can one be warm alone?”  Notice, there is no mention of male or female in this verse.

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28 Responses to Suggested Actions for Members Struggling with the Recent LDS Letter on Same-sex Marriage

  1. rogerdhansen says:

    Your reference to a “pro-life” website with an agenda isn’t going to change my mind. I don’t think anyone believes that gay tendencies are 100 percent genetic. I have twins; if one was gay that would be fine with me. I would still love him and support him getting married. I certainly wouldn’t want him to be celibate (unless he personally chose to). Trying to force a celibate lifestyle on anyone is wrong. Trying to force a heterosexual lifestyle on gays is also wrong.

    Pushing the anti-SSM is unnecessarily dividing the membership of the Church.

  2. shematwater says:

    I find it interesting that you dismiss the report out of hand simply because of who it is from. Are we just dismissing things because they disagree with the accepted agenda?

    Would you prefer the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Maybe a practicing psychiatrist at Columbia University or a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. This is what they say
    “Recent studies postulate biologic factors as the primary basis for sexual orientation. However, there is no evidence at present to substantiate a biologic theory, just as there is no compelling evidence to support any singular psychosocial explanation. While all behavior must have an ultimate biologic substrate, the appeal of current biologic explanations for sexual orientation may derive more from dissatisfaction with the present status of psychosocial explanations than from a substantiating body of experimental data. Critical review shows the evidence favoring a biologic theory to be lacking. In an alternative model, temperamental and personality traits interact with the familial and social milieu as the individual’s sexuality emerges. Because such traits may be heritable or developmentally influenced by hormones, the model predicts an apparent nonzero heritability for homosexuality without requiring that either genes or hormones directly influence sexual orientation per se.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8439245

    If God has declared that Homosexual relations are not to be engaged in than the church stating this and standing to it is not unnecessarily dividing the church. God does not compromise, and those who want Him too are in for a rude shock.
    Christ said ” Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” (Luke 12: 51-53)
    What do you think they are going to be divided by except the philosophies and opinions that they hold. The gospel will bring individual peace, but it will also divide a family if even on of them rejects any portion of the truth it offers.

    • Susan says:

      Shem, surely you jest. I attended a Sunstone presentation a few years ago. One of the guest panel members was from BYU, a professor in genetics. He emphasized the differences that are in place at birth between gays and straights. Strictly genetic.

      Some people may decide later in life to adopt a gay lifestyle, more as a “free spirit”. Sexual experimentation.

      I was raised between two brothers, one 3 years older, one 3 years younger. Same genetic pool, same upbringing, same wonderful parents. My older brother loved fashion, art, decorating, fine dining, and travel. My younger brother loved football, basketball, music, sports. My older brother was never able to “come out” as should have been his right. Small town LDS Utah made it impossible.

      • shematwater says:

        I don’t really care where the man comes from. BYU professors are not infallible. They are not prophets, nor do they always speak for the scientific community in general. I have quoted professionals in the fields and I have found no one that agrees that it is anywhere near genetic.
        Of course, if you heard this a few years ago I would not be surprised. It seems that many of these studies were not concluded until recently and their findings published. During the last decade many people have simply accepted what the media told them on this issue, including the educated.
        The information is out there, however, and it does not support the theory that homosexuality is genetically determined.

      • rogerdhansen says:

        Susan, we spend too much time trying to put limits around people. You’re a woman so you can’t hold the priesthood or have a senior leadership position. You’re gay so you can’t get married and your celestial future is in doubt. You’re black so you can’t hold the priesthood or go to the temple. Imagine if you were a black lesbian?

        I’m tired of people trying to justify whatever their petty prejudices are.

      • shematwater says:

        And I am tired of people trying to change the Gospel to fit their personal philosophies. These men show forth a form of godliness, but they deny the very power of God. Truly we live in the time that Paul warned Timothy would come (2 Timothy 3: 1-5), when people honor God with their words, but their hearts are far removed from him (Matthew 15: 8).

        God has declared that the unclean cannot enter his presence, and who are we to tell Him what is and isn’t unclean?

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Shem, it’s not clear that God declared that acting on SSA a sin. And it’s clear many Mormons are in the same boat I’m in. Is this really where the leadership should be drawing the line in the sand?

      The reason I was less than thrilled with your reference is because that website is unlikely to present a balanced case. They have an anti-LGBT bias.

      • shematwater says:

        But did you bother to look up there references and see if the information was truly accurate, or did you simply dismiss it because of the source.
        The quote I just gave above I found through their references. Here is another source I found through their references. http://www.mygenes.co.nz/download.htm
        This is a book titled “My Genes Made Me Do It! – Homosexuality and the scientific evidence” The link is to an online copy that you can read. Pay particular attention to chapters 9 and 10 as they explain the scientific evidence, and even show that the man credited with finding the so called ‘Gay Gene’ denied any such discovery.

        As I said, competent scientists will tell you there is no evidence to support a claim that homosexual behavior is genetic. In the summary of chapter nine in the above link it says it beautifully.
        Proponents of the view that homosexuality has psychological and sociological explanations have no difficulty with the possibility of genetic linkages to homosexuality. They would argue that any genetic link to a physical characteristic that might heighten a person’s sense of gender nonconformity (the strongest known predictor of later ho
        mosexuality), could be held to be a contributing factor to later homosexuality. In a boy these might be, e.g. genes related to slightness of build or poor physical co-ordination (making a boy poor at sports). In a girl they might be factors like atypical physical strength, shape, height, or weight. Links? Yes, but weak and indirect.”

        As to it being a sin, how many times do the prophets have to say its a sin before it becomes clear?

    • Rob says:

      That study is 22 years old. 10 years after that study was published the Human Genome Project sequenced the genome for the first time. Since then we’ve found out all kinds of things, including the likelihood of a genetic link to homosexuality. Take this study published last year in Psychological Medicine. These guys scanned the genomes of 409 pairs of gay brothers and found genetic links.

      “Results, especially in the context of past studies, support the existence of genes on pericentromeric chromosome 8 and chromosome Xq28 influencing development of male sexual orientation.”

      http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=8B2E93F8E45EC2FD0034940DFE1577FA.journals?aid=9625997&fileId=S0033291714002451

      • shematwater says:

        Actually, the book I referenced was published in 2013. In chapter nine the author references a number of studies. Yes, the original Hamer study was in 1993, 22 years ago. However, he did a second study in 1995; then in 2005 he was a part of a “Whole Genome” study that contradicted his original findings (that would be only ten years ago). Between these two studies a researcher in Canada (named Rice) also contradicted the original findings in 1999. In 2010 (only five years ago) Rice again conducted a study that could not replicate the results of the 2005 study.

        Now, the author does mention that a new study was underway in 2013, but makes it clear that researchers are not optimistic on finding any statistically significant findings, and even Hamer states that it will never be possible to run a test for homosexuality.

        In the original article it was suggested we talk to a biologist or geneticist about same sex attraction. Based on the available information what I posted is going to be the most likely opinion that one is going to get from a professional in the field.

        Also, reading the link you gave (which seems to be only the abstract, and not the actual study, shows once again that there is only “support for a genetic link” and I have never denied that, nor does the author of the book that I referenced. A genetic link is very likely, but a genetic cause is not, and that is what is being argued.

  3. rogerdhansen says:

    Prophets are fallible also! Pres. Uchtdorf. I have a brain; I chose to use it. Gays are no threat to me or my family.

    • shematwater says:

      I have a brain as well, and I use it; and based on all sound reasoning and scriptural and doctrinal evidence Homosexual practices are an abomination to God and none one who engages in them or encourages others to do so will stand guiltless before Him at the last judgment.
      You say they are no threat to you or your family, but they are, as they will continue to lead many down the paths of destruction, preventing them from even attaining the greatest rewards in heaven. The threat is not in this life, but it is there.

      • rogerdhansen says:

        I feel just as strongly that continued discrimination against the LGBT community is wrong. I guess we just have to agree to disagree.

      • shematwater says:

        I also disagree strongly with discrimination against the LGBT community. But teaching that a certain behavior is against the laws of God is not discriminating, it is holding a belief.
        I think that these people should have all the rights and privileges that all other citizens do. That doesn’t mean I have to condone their chosen life style, nor does it give them the right to try and force me to accept it.

  4. rogerdhansen says:

    Trying to not allow gay marriage is discriminatory. There is clear evidence that some Mormon parental treatment of gay children is definitely discriminatory. To say that the LDS Church doesn’t discriminate against gays is clearly laughable.

    • shematwater says:

      Well, technically the church discriminates against murders, thieves, adulterers, rapists, and a host of other people as well. Like homosexuals, these are all choices that people have made that God has stated are sinful and so the church should discriminate against them.
      However, as most people want to use the term only to refer to discrimination based on uncontrolable attributes, like skin color, then in common usage it does not apply.

      • rogerdhansen says:

        Your comparison of homosexuality with murder, theft, rape, etc. is offensive. Homosexuality is no more a choice than heterosexuality. And trying to enforce chastity on gays is flat out wrong. So is trying to forbid them from marrying. Homosexuality is an uncontrollable attribute.

      • Susan says:

        It’s getting extremely old to continue comparing homosexuals with murderers, thieves, pedophiles, etc. Enough. If you truly believe in God, then it’s up to Her or Him to make any decisions that will be made. Shem needs to concentrate on his own problems and phobias and leave the judgements to someone who is a bit more loving and perfect.

      • shematwater says:

        Susan

        God has made the decision, and He has revealed that decision to fifteen men that He has called for the specific purpose of letting us know what His decision is.
        Now, I will never judge an individual, but I will stand by God and those whom He has called. You can reject the prophets all you want, but the Bible is full of examples of what happened to those who did so in the past.

        rogerdhansen

        I could compare it to any other choice that can be made which God has told us is sinful. Would you prefer lying, or pride, or more of the softer actions that people tend to overlook and gloss over.
        Homosexuality is not more uncontrollable that what profession a person chooses, and there is no evidence to prove otherwise. You might as well claim that a person is born a lawyer as to claim they are born homosexual.

  5. rogerdhansen says:

    Shem, fifteen men prior to 1978, had Mormons discriminate against blacks.

    • shematwater says:

      I am not going to get into a debate on the race issue, as it is pointless. I believe firmly that it was God who issued the restrictions and it was God who lifted them. Fifteen men were then, as they are now, the mouthpieces of God. To reject them is to reject God. It is as simple as that. I will stand by the Lord’s anointed rather than follow anyone who has only the philosophies of men.

      • rogerdhansen says:

        Blaming God for Mormonism historic racism is truly bizarre. Historians have pointed out that the life and times of BY were the likely source of Mormon racism. The Fifteen may be the mouthpiece for God but they are not perfect. To reject any of their ideas that you feel are wrong (through personal revelation if you will) is hardly a sin. And sometimes the “philosophies of men” are right.

        I predate (by a long ways) the 1978 lifting of the ban. I personally feel that I should have done much more to encourage the Church to lift the ban at an earlier date. Sometimes I wonder if my LDS mission time would have been better spent participating in the civil rights demonstrations of the 60s.

        To me the parallels between Mormonism’s racism and our current discrimination against the LGBT community are eerily similar. We seem to be making the same mistakes with the LGBT issue that we made with the black discrimination issue.

        Besides that, there is the bigger issue. Is the LGBT issue really where we want to draw the line in the sand? Aren’t there much more important issues that need to be resolved? Ending poverty (church members and non-). Getting women more involved in the governance of the Church. etc. I don’t understand the obsession with the LGBT issue. And why we need to be so upfront about it.

      • shematwater says:

        Historians can say what they want. But regardless, I said I was not getting into a debate on race, and I am not. God is at the head of the church, and it is through him that all major policy is given or retracted.
        As to why we draw the line here, it is really very simple.
        “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 6: 15
        If we can no longer feel any shame when we violate the laws of God; if abomination is the common practice of the people and they don’t seek to hide it; then is the time that we are ripe for destruction, as was Sodom and as was ancient Israel.
        It was not long ago that such sexual immorality was a shame to any who engaged in it. Today the people can no longer blush.

        I realize that you don’t regard the Old Testament as having any importance, but what you think on this doesn’t really matter. What matters is what the doctrine of the church teaches; for policy and action will be dictated by what the church holds to be true, not what any single member believes.

  6. rogerdhansen says:

    God may be the head of the Church, but you can’t blame Him for some of the mistakes the leaders have made including: baseball (or swimming pool) baptisms, black priesthood/temple ban, multiple financial crises, sanitizing Church history, Kirtland Bank, polyandry, poor treatment of women, etc.

    The Church is run by men, frequently inspired but not always. Members are given personal revelation or inspiration to deal with issues that the leadership may have gotten wrong. Before 1978, maybe I was inspired to disagree with the priesthood ban. Unfortunately, I did nothing to encourage the LDS leadership to overturn the ban, but the ban was clearly wrong. How many potential converts were lost because of the ban? Good people.

    Speaking of Sodom, everybody was supposedly killed: men, women, and CHILDREN. The same thing was alleged to have occurred during the Great Flood. Were all these people really guilty?

    Homosexual activities are not an abomination when they are an act of love. I don’t have the kind celestial judgment that allows me to condemn what two consenting adults do in their bedroom. Let’s follow Christ and “love one another.”

  7. shematwater says:

    “You can’t blame Him for some of the mistakes the leaders have made”
    I don’t, but then I don’t think they have made any real lasting mistakes. Again, I am not going to get into any side debates, but I will say breifly:

    “baseball (or swimming pool) baptisms”: Not sure what you mean, but if it is what I think than it was not the leaders that practiced or condoned it.
    “black priesthood/temple ban”: We will have to disagree on this because I credit God with this policy, not man.
    “multiple financial crises”: This was the fault of the members, not the leaders. When the members followed the covenants they had taken then there was no crisis.
    “Kirtland Bank”: See the financial crises.
    “Polyandry”: Never happened, so it is a non-issue (and yes, I have read and researched the evidence)
    “poor treatment of women”: That is a matter of opinion, one that every woman I know would disagree with. Just because someone doesn’t like they way they are treated doesn’t mean they are being treated poorly.

    “Members are given personal revelation or inspiration to deal with issues that the leadership may have gotten wrong.”
    Members are given personal revelation to guide them in their lives and to help them understand and become in harmony with their leaders. What you are proposing only leads to confusion, and that is not the way of God.

    “Were all these people really guilty?”
    The society was guilty, and it was so guilty that any children born into it would have been given no choice between the good and the bad. They would have only had evil to choose from because of the pervasive evil. That is what we fight against.

    “Homosexual activities are not an abomination when they are an act of love.”
    Then why do all the scriptures condemn the practice in any form? To say something is fine just because it is an act of love is a sure way to justify every form of sin and abomination.

    “Let’s follow Christ and “love one another.”
    Yes, let us follow Christ, who loved the woman taken in adultery, and yet still admonished her to “Go and sin no more.” Love does not mean condoning every act and practice, nor does it mean accepting every lifestyle. We can love others, and yet still believe their chosen actions to be wrong and sinful. As the saying goes, love the sinner, but hate the sin.

  8. rogerdhansen says:

    I think we all need to be less judgmental. The world isn’t always black or white.

    • shematwater says:

      Christ taught “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
      God wants us to discern the good from the bad so that we can make righteous judgment. For me to judge something as wrong when God and the prophets have declared it to be so is to judge righteously.
      Now, I do not judge any individual myself; I do not have that authority. But I have been give the spirit of discernment to judge the action, whether it be good or bad.

      No the world is not always black and white, but it is much close than people want to admit. God has given His law, and it is not our place to rationalize it away.

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