Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, October 22, 2004

First Presidency Statement on Same-sex Marriage

The First Presidency's October 19 statement on same-sex marriage makes a lot of sense to me, and recognizes the difficulty that those struggling with homosexuality may face. All Christians need to understand that change is possible, contrary to the propaganda of some activists. See PeopleCanChange.com, especially the page "Is Change Possible?"

For me, a truly uplifting resource with a message of profound hope for those struggling with homosexuality is the new video, "I Do Exist" by Dr. Warren Throckmorton. (And the music, much of it performed by Warren's band, is surprisingly good!)

Sadly, some Christian ministers buy into the misleading propaganda that change is impossible, and tell people that they can't "change their identity" when they come in for counseling. We do great harm when we pigeonhole somebody as gay because of a same-sex experience or temptations, or tell someone that they have no choice but to live life as a homosexual when there are other options. There is wonderful news for those who want to change: change is possible. It's a message that needs to be proclaimed across the land. Sadly, the opposite message is being taught to our children and to adults everywhere. It's terrible that young children in the schools are being told that if they are different, they may be gay - a permanent identity that they cannot choose or control.

17 comments:

Breon said...

Try preaching that being gay is OK, not that they need, should, or can change. Acceptance and love are two teachings you could learn.

Alisa said...

Whoever said that there wasn't love towards those struggling with homosexual feelings? Whoever said we rejected them? It's quite the opposite- they are very much cared for. We just believe that change is possible. How could you get lack of love and acceptance out of that statement?

cookiecaper said...

Jeff, I thought you didn't support a gay marriage amendment?

And I agree with Alisa. We both love and accept those who have homosexual desires. We, however, do not believe that such indulging or nurturing such desires is approved by God. Therefore, we are interested in helping those who are interested in helping themselves. Not everyone wants to have gay feelings, and we believe that they don't have to. That's all.

Breon said...

How can you say you are loving and open to someone in one sentence then in the next say that WHO they are is a sin.

To me that is wrong.

Alisa said...

Because we never said WHO they are is a sin, we said the act is a sin.

cookiecaper said...

1. Being gay shouldn't be the focal point of a gay person's existence.

2. They are gay because they choose to be. The same way Jeff Lindsay is a blogger because he chooses to be or an apologist or a patent lawyer or a chemical engineer because he chose to be. Maybe you would argue that Jeff Lindsay was born a blogger and must have been a blogger because he was just born that way, that's just who he is. I would argue against that. :)

Breon said...

What act?
Homosexuality is a part of WHO they are.
The only choice concerning homosexuality is coming out to a condescending, insular, and hurtful society.

You are right in that being gay shouldn't be a person's focal point in life, just like being a straight homophobe isn't the focal point in your life.

It's only when a group of people belittle who they are, and when they are constantly oppressed by a heterosexual dominant society that being gay becomes the focal point in their lives.

Interpretation of scriptures change, let's just hope that you realize this before you bring more harm and hatred into the world. Instead of being at the tail end of culture betterment, try keeping up with the times.

Roy W. Wright said...

You know what? Breon's right. I once stole some candy from a convenience store when I was a boy, and I've been denying who I really am ever since. Clearly I need to accept myself and be accepted as a thief.

nshumate said...

Let's simply reduce this to its most basic level:

Our religion says that what some people want to do is wrong, and that offends you.

Sorry, but that's what Christianity has always said: There are things people want to do that are wrong.

You are welcome to be offended, but your offense doesn't change the fact that this particular act, or any other particular act, is wrong. Nor is the Gospel about to give a special dispensation to any particular act and say, "Well, I guess we can't say that this one thing is a sin anymore since it offends so many people."

Anonymous said...

I'm sort of confused by many of the viewpoints expressed in the original post and following comments.

Why is homosexuality such a big issue here? I mean, there are a lot of supposed sins out there, why does homosexuality earn such a place of concern? I mean, where are the groups advocating an end to masturbation and contraception, or, more distantly, trying to put an end to usury? I mean, if you're taking the example of Sodom as your basis for calling homosexuality a sin, then these should be equally included in your activism.

I also question your right to try to condemn and subsequently change the lives of others. Christ himself condemned the practice of trying to "save" others when it is you, yourself, also are imperfect ("How can you remove a splinter from your brothers eye when all the while there is a great plank in your own?"). To state it differently, what right does anyone have to condemn others in the name of God, when they themselves are impefect?

Just some things to think about.

Mormanity said...

The call of Christ to all disciples is to help other people to repent. Christ was always challenging mankind to repent and follow Him. In the Church, we are called to warn each other and the world of many sins. Homosexuality does not get more attention than other sins in the Church, but it is a hot topic in our society - it's being used as a lever to overthrow the fundamental concept of the family and to advance the general cause of immorality for all. If we allow others to redefine marriage and to paint sexual activity of any kind as normal and acceptable, then we have lost the fabric of our society.

It is a contemptible lie to say that homosexual behavior has nothing to do with choice. I'm heterosexual, but my behavior is entirely a matter a choice, whether I choose my orientation or not. As for those who say they have no choice about their orientation, I agree that very few people say, "I think I'll become a homosexual now - it sounds like a good choice." But there is absolutely no doubt that change is possible for many who are homosexual. The "no change is possible" myth is an even more contemptible lie that paints sexual attitudes and behaviors as an identity with no hope of change. Many true homosexuals have been able to change. See http://www.JeffLindsay.com/gays.html and PeopleCanChange.com, and also see the fabulous new DVD, I Do Exist.

Alisa said...

I know this should probably stop, but I just wanted to reply to this statement:

"I also question your right to try to condemn and subsequently change the lives of others. Christ himself condemned the practice of trying to "save" others when it is you, yourself, also are imperfect ("How can you remove a splinter from your brothers eye when all the while there is a great plank in your own?"). To state it differently, what right does anyone have to condemn others in the name of God, when they themselves are imperfect?"

I may have misunderstood what you were saying, but it came off as if you were stating that we (the members of the church) are the ones who decided homosexuality was wrong. This is not so; God has said that it is wrong, and we follow what He says. We don't have the right to decide by ourselves alone (without God) whether a certain thing is a sin; we learn what is wrong through God.

Anonymous said...

Mormanity, you state that homosexuality is being used as a lever to overthrow "the fundamental concept of family" and to advance the cause of immorality "for all." I fail to see how homosexuality in any way affects the concept of family or how it advances immorality. I would think that any monogomous gay couple who is faithful to one another cannot be advancing immorality in the world, as they are only performing what is thought of by some as an immoral act in prevate and with each other. It has also been questioned how a loving couple who happens to be gay can be threatening the fundamental concept of family when there are so many unfaithful and disfuntional families in the world. Perhaps the real problem with the concept of family in this day and age is a societal problem with real commitment and love.

Alisa - what I believe the previous anonymous commenter was trying to suggest was that Christ taught to spread the message of love, ignoring all sins, and acknowledging that we are all sinners. The teachings of Christ and the Church suggest that there is no reason to be concerned with the sins of others, and that no matter what sins a person commits, spiritually, those sins are only of a concern between that individual and God.

Whether or not homosexuality can be changed or not, having a religious commentary that change is possible suggests that it is also recommended. This also suggests that what is being shifted away from is of great concern and a real problem.

The teachings of Christ, which are supposed to supercede any of those in the Old Testament, do not condemn homosexuality, but simply teach that if we love one another, and put the concerns of others before our own, we shall know salvation through Christ. Perhaps if you were to put the concerns of homosexuals before your own, you would simply accept them. After all, it should only be your own salvation that you are concerned with. The mission of the church, if you feel that outreach is necessary should only be to teach that love is the path to God, through Christ.

Burke (I didn't want to bother signing up)

Anonymous said...

In response to the last person who posted, you contradicted yourself in the last paragraph by saying we should "love one another, and put the concerns of others before our own" and then saying we should only be concerned with our own salvation. Well which is it? I believe the reason we send out so many thousands of missionaries each year is because we love our fellow man and are concerned for their welfare, as we should be. What could be more important and bring more joy to others than a knowledge of Christ's gospel and fellowship/friendship w/ others in His church?

Christ's directive in the Sermon on the Mount, to first remove the beam from our own eyes before trying to assist others, does not mean we should never help and support others who are having problems. It means we need to discontinue unrighteous habits that we have and to fix our own lives, so that we are not acting hypocritically, because no one is going to take advice from a hypocrite seriously.

We all need to pray daily that we will have much more love and compassion for our friends who are homosexuals, and speak and act less condescendingly towards them. We need to love the sinner but hate the sin, as Christ did; it says clearly in the bible that homosexual acts are an abomination, and we shouldn't condone them because breaking God's commandments always leads to pain in the end: "Wickedness never was happiness." Just as heterosexuals are not to give into temptation, homosexuals must practice restraint as well.

To be honest, I don't think the Church is any more condemning towards homosexuality than it is towards heterosexual fornication, adultery, or pornography and masturbation, which are also abominations to the Lord. If this doesn't seem accurate to you, it must be because society brings this issue to the forefront, because in the last General Conference, Brother Hinckley condemned those who watch pornography - he didn't mention homosexual acts, though they are still recognized as sinful.

Moreover, I think that even monogomous, loving homosexual relationships are damaging to the family unit, if only for the simple reason that it blurs the gender roles instituted by God. Infidelity and discord in heterosexual marriages are worse for the family unit in my opinion, but this doesn't make homosexual relationships any less unrighteous. They are abominations in the same way that monogomous and loving heterosexual relationships are, if they are premarital or extramarital. The Church simply condemns ANY sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage, without respect to desires or attractions. We do not agree with homosexual marriages because we believe marriage is sacred and instituted by God for the joining of one man and one woman. I hope homosexuals join with me in praying daily for divine assitance and grace from Christ, to help us overcome our natural urges, even our impure thoughts, which Christ says are just as wrong as the action itself (Matthew 5:28).

PS - Jeff, I absolutely love your site more than you could possibly imagine. It has helped me so much as I have tried to deal with my questions about the Church. The loving and fair way with which you address the issues is so important to me; it strongly contrasts how most anti-Mormon people write. Please keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

If masturbation is a sin, boy am I going to hell, btw, I'm masturbating right now... and I'll squeeze an extra one off for you and your homies ;-)

sb

Gaz said...

Why have Mormons strayed so far from the personal relationship with God to the judging and pointing finger that used to exist only in Utah. Whether someone can change or not is a moot point if God's will is for that person to live according to how he made them.

I testify the God did answer my prayers and reveal that his will for me was to love another man in contradiction to the church's interpretation of scripture (there has been no revelation on the issue even though policies on the matter changed with Spencer W Kimball). Can I change? No, I tried more than almost anyone. Because it was against God's will, he would not meet me half way.

Michael said...

I myself am not homosexual, and the thought of what such people do is discerning to me. However, this does not change the fact that it is in no way wrong. What ever happened to "free" will?

I am a Morman, and when a friend of mine came out to friends and family, the hell his family and pastor put him through was an outrage.

Who are we to decide what is wrong?

What should be looked down Upon?

Why is the writings voiced thousangs of years ago in a book constantly revised and rewritten by those in power taken so blindly?