The Fourth Path: Gay, Mormon, Celibate

A fascinating discussion is taking place over at Mormon Mentality with regard to recent changes made to the BYU honor code on the subject of homosexuality. Most interesting to me is the news that a group of gay BYU students took an active part in initiating and approving the changes to the honor code. One of these students, a bright, articulate, self-described 'current, homosexual BYU student, [and] a committed Latter-day Saint,' named Tito took part in some of the meetings between the students and administration where this issue was discussed. He says, 'Since I'm choosing to remain committed to the Church, I obviously don't feel homosexual relationships are morally acceptable,' but goes on to explain that he supports his many gay friends who choose 'homosexual relationships for their path.'

I must admit that when I hear Tito's frank dual admission to be both a homosexual and committed Latter-day Saint, it makes my head spin in all sorts of dizzy, disparate directions, from feelings of admiration and wonder to feelings of sympathy and even pity. The dizziness comes from the difficulty I have in connecting the dots between the equally powerful need to both: 1.) Believe in something that gives one's life meaning; and 2.) Fully love (and be loved by) a partner. In the case of gay-but-committed-Mormons, these two life-infusing needs seem hopelessly incongruous. As such, gay Mormons would seem to have one of four paths to choose from:

1.) Reject the religion, choose/create a new faith/meaning, and enjoy a 'full' relationship with a same-sex partner. The examples of such people are endless.

2.) Enjoy a 'full' relationship with a same-sex partner and maintain belief in (and ties to) Mormonism, albeit on a more restricted/limited basis (i.e. no callings, temple, or priesthood privileges). Past Sunstone contributors Buckley Jeppson and John Gustav-Wrathall have both walked this path.

3.) Maintain belief and full membership in Mormonism and marry an opposite-sex partner. Ben Christensen is a good example.

4.) Maintain belief and full membership in Mormonism and remain single and celibate. Ty Mansfield, co-author of In Quiet Desperation, is a good example. (See also this excellent review of IQD by Robert Rees.)

This 'Fourth Path' is relatively new (or more openly acknowledged and accepted) and is made possible by growing awareness regarding sexual orientation in general, and by the Church's fairly recent position on gays that: 1.) Delineates between same-sex feelings (not a sin) and same-sex behavior (a sin); and 2.) Discourages opposite-sex marriage as a means of dealing with same-sex attraction. This leaves gay Mormons without a viable alternative other than the default option of perpetual singlehood and celibacy. To be sure, both the Church and many gay Mormons hold out hope that therapy and/or faith may lead to heterosexual marriage and family in the future for some, but both camps also seem to be equally pragmatic and stoic in the realization that such an outcome may be unlikely for many, and that the rewards of marriage and family may need to be put off until the next life. Same-sex attraction is likened to a Job-like or Abraham-like test of faith and endurance.

So it is this Fourth Path that fascinates me the most, and not simply for the head-spinning, at-odds competition between the powerful needs of faith/belief and romantic love mentioned above. And not just because of the striking incongruity that the Fourth Path of celibacy and singlehood offers when juxtaposed against the traditional Mormon cultural and theological standard/ideal of partnership and family?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù by far the most recognizable and emphasized aspect of Mormonism. Besides these aspects (and others), what interests me most is the unspoken political ramifications inherent in the success or failure of these gay, single, and committed Mormons. In fact, if the four paths above were represented as a four-man political race, without question all eyes, both gay and straight, both Mormon and ex-Mormon, would be on the man running in lane #4.

Certainly, from the point of view of the Church, until a successful therapy or 'cure' can be found for those who have same-sex attraction, its hopes are pinned on the happiness and successful integration of those who walk the Fourth Path. Otherwise, the gospel must either undergo a radical readjustment that accommodates same-sex marriage, or be content with being a gospel for only 90 to 95 percent of the earth's inhabitants. Those who support the Church (and/or believe same-sex behavior to be immoral) will be rooting heavily for the success of these individuals.

But what about those Mormons and ex-Mormons who do not think that same-sex behavior is immoral? What about Gays who walk the First and Second Paths? Are they as unequivocal and enthusiastic in their support of those on the Fourth Path? I'd imagine that most no doubt desire that all individuals who have same-sex attraction find happiness where they may, be it in Mormonism or out, be it in the arms of a man or woman, or out; in short, they want each individual to fulfill their maximum being or essence. Conversely however, the success of those on the Fourth Path will likely mean the continued opposition and/or disapproval and alienation of those who either walk, or support those who walk, the First and Second Path.

Therefore, given that this path or option is relatively 'new' (in that it bears the fairly recent mark of tacit official sanction), it would seem that the success of this new generation of young, gay Mormons, the Ty Mansfields and the Titos (assuming he chooses the Fourth Path), is possessed with a kind of latent political charge. Their success or failure will almost certainly play a part in the shaping of policy and even doctrine and revelation with regard to sexual orientation, gender, marriage, and family in the future.

(Note: The blog post at Mormon Mentality appears to have prompted a Salt Lake Tribune article.)


  1. Rilke says:

    Gay former LDS here.
    It amazes me that people still cling to the belief that homosexuality is chosen. As a gay man, I don’t recall ever making such a choice. In fact, had I ever been given the choice to be either gay or straight, I would have certainly chosen to be straight. Be heterosexual would have possibly saved me from self-esteem issues, given me the oppportunity to have my own family, and avoided ‘hiding out’ through much of my life; living a lie.

    Nick’s responses to heterosexual intimacy are not shared by all gay men and may not even be typical but there are gay men who tell of similar reactions.

    What many people do is forget the deep emotional components involved. That ‘something special’ that is involved in all romantic relationships. If those componants are absent in a gay/straight marriage how can the marriage be fulfilling?

    I miss the not be a father or husband but the decision not to ‘take the chance’ may have saved myself and any potential spouse and children from deep heartache.

  2. Nick Literski says:

    I agree with you. In citing my experience with physical intimacy, I was not pretending to speak for all gay men, by any means. In context, I was pointing out that this was an indicator to me of the biological involvement at hand.

    By all means, the more important element IS the emotional intimacy. I managed to stay married to a woman for 18 years, despite intense sexual frustration. It was only when the EMOTIONAL need became so obvious and intense, that I finally found the courage to come out of the closet.

  3. -L- says:

    Many apologies for being gone from the discussion until the discussion is essentially over. But…

    Regarding Matt in #16: From the several blogs of young gay LDS people, I would say there is quite a bit of variability in which “path” people feel is in their future. And, their assessment of which path changes frequently. It’s a fickle bunch. As are the folks who choose path 3 and then get divorced. 😉 j/k

    And regarding Nick in #26: Nick, I just don’t see how you can say without some sophist acrobatics that the church is still implicitly encouraging gay men to marry. I read the same Oaks interview you quote and I get the clear impression that chastity is the rule in the church, and marriage is an ultimate goal that may be achieved in this life and may not be.

  4. -L- says:

    Oops… I wish I could go back and erase that last comment and try again. “Sophist” was a poor word choice, and seems to reflect disdain for Nick’s view. That wasn’t my intent, I just disagree.

  5. Nick Literski says:

    -L- #55:
    Funny, but I just don’t see how *you* can say without some acrobatics that the church does *not* implicitly encourage gay men to marry women. In the same Oaks “interview,” he lays out criteria which should be met so that a gay man can marry a woman. He does so in a manner that conveys a strong subtext, that if a gay man doesn’t work his way “up” to these criteria, he is FAILING. He speaks of reptentance, and self-control—things that are very much a part of LDS teaching. Any latter-day saint who isn’t repenting and exercising self-control is falling short, right?

    I’m not saying it’s entirely intentional, -L-. In fact, I very much doubt that it is, when as you note, the official word no longer supports marriage as a “cure” for homosexuality. Still, the underlying expectation is there for every LDS person to repent, exercise self-control, etc. I don’t see how a young gay LDS man could escape feelings of inadequacy, if he chose to be single and celibate.

  6. -L- says:

    I think there is an assumption that eventually all faithful folks will have the opportunity to marry and enjoy all the blessings associated with that. But for some (including groups other than gays), this won’t be possible in this life. So, I can see how you’d sense that subtext, but I disagree with the implications of inadequacy. Such feelings would be based on a misunderstanding of the church’s doctrine, not the church’s mixed message.

  7. Nick Literski says:

    Actually, -L-, I think you miss my point entirely. I also think it’s uncharitable to sccuse the person who feels such things, rather than acknowledge the realities that give rise to such feelings.

  8. -L- says:

    It’s not an accusation, Nick, just an observation. And I think it’s uncharitable for you to call me uncharitable. So neener. The “realities” you perceive I think aren’t realities at all, merely your own perceptions. That’s my point, no blame intended.

  9. Nick Literski says:

    The fact remains, -L-, there is only one path acknowledged as “success” in the LDS church. That path is heterosexual marriage and childrearing. Platitudes such as “oh, you’ll marry in the resurrection, when you’re not missing both legs and one arm” don’t change this fact.

    Since you wish to speak of “understanding doctrine,” I would point out that such “after this life” promises are only extended to those who didn’t have the opportunity in mortality. In the case of homosexuality, Oaks has laid out his view that there IS an opportunity—-through repentance, self-control, and desire to marry and have children. The man who doesn’t “take this opportunity” will not, according to LDS doctrine, have it offered to him in the afterlife.

    Remember that for Oaks, there is no such thing as homosexuality. For Oaks, there are only “homosexual feelings,” and feelings are to be “controlled.” I don’t see the slightest hint in Oaks’ mock interview that lifetime celibacy is seen as a “success story” for gay LDS men.

  10. -L- says:

    It’s not a platitude, Nick, it’s a compassionate concession that is highly relevant and that you apparently feel you have to minimize so you can feel justified in being outraged that there are no concessions. As Tito has said elsewhere, the church focuses on the law of chastity as success, not lifetime celibacy. For some it’s the same thing and constitutes not having “the opportunity in mortality.” That’s the way I’ve always seen it anyway without trying really hard not to see it otherwise.

    I realize I won’t convince you, I just wondered if you had anything interesting to support your assertion that there is this implicit expectation of marriage despite the explicit advice against it as therapy. You having said nothing persuasive, that’s all I wanted to know.

  11. Matt Thurston says:

    I agree with both of you. -L- is representing the idealistic position and Nick is representing the realistic postion. -L-‘s position represents the official policy/doctrine; Nick’s position represents the inner hopes/expectations/prejudices of many, if not most, Mormons, be they lay members or leaders.

  12. Nick Literski says:

    I’m not sure what “concessions” you think I have asked for, let alone am “outraged” about. Feel free, however, to classify me as an “outraged” rabble-rouser, if that makes it easier for you to remain within your wilfully-ignorant comfort zone.

    For you to say the church focuses on “chastity as success, not lifetime celibacy,” fails to admit the established fact that “chastity” IS “lifetime celibacy” for gay LDS men who are wise enough not to marry. Of course, you can glibly blather on about how these men will be able to marry in the afterlife if they prove “faithful,” but such a claim flies in the face of LDS doctrine. Alma clearly taught that whatever feelings and attitudes a person holds at death will rise with him in the resurrection. Regardless of the false doctrine taught by Hickman, there is absolutely no revelatory foundation upon which to claim that homosexuals will suddenly find themselves heterosexual after death.

    Matt gets it. There is an official, ideal stance. There is also a widespread cultural, attitudinal stance.

  13. Rob Lauer says:

    Good point, Nick.

    Mormon doctrine has from its infancy taught that our basic character and mind does not change at death.

    Add to this another key Mormon doctrine: God did NOT create the mind/spirit of the individual. As Joseph Smith clearly taught in the Doctrine & Covenants, iintelligence (meaning the individual mind) was not created–“nor indeed can it be.”

    In his King Follett Discourse, Joseph taught regarding the mind of the individual “there was no creation about…the very idea lessens man in my estimation….God never had the power to create it [the mind of the individual] because God could not create himself….”

    So if the mind of the individual was not created by God, if it is “co-equal with God” (Joseph’s own words) and without beginning or end, whence comes the doctrine that God can change the mind of the homosexual in the next life if that homosexual is celibate and faithful to the Church until death?

    God can not change that which He never had the power to create and which is, by its nature, an eternal free agent with the power within itself to learn to become a God itself.

    Neo-Mormonism (the evangelical, Christian fundamentalist doctrines that the LDS Church and her apologists have adopted over the past 30 years) is at odds with traditional Mormon doctrine.

    I can think of no other area of currernt debate in which the short comings of Neo-Mormonism are more evident (and more out of touch with reality, reason and the findings of science and medicine) than that regarding the nature of human homosexuality.

  14. Rick Jepson says:

    I don’t actually accept that “intelligence” in mormon doctrine is strictly synonymous with “the individual mind.” And your overreliance on that idea seems to completely overlook the strong neurological and psychosocial influences on what it means to be an individual.

    If I have an extra Y chromosome, I’m incredibly more likely to end up incarcerated. If I’m sexually abused as a child, I’m incredibly more likely to have sexual issues in my adulthood (that might include abuse). To say that my sexual problems or my penchant for commiting serious crime are just a part of my “eternal individual mind” and co-equal with God seems ridiculous and ignores overwhelmingly strong evidence to the contrary.

    I don’t know exaclty how this applies to the debate about homosexuality. I don’t think anyone has grounds to claim either that it is eternal or not. Nor do I think it should matter. It is very clear that–for whatever biological or psychosocial reasons–many people are homosexual. to marginalize them and exclude them from spirituality is a travesty.

  15. Rick Jepson says:


    Are you actually suggesting that because some animals naturally change gender through their lifespan that homosexuals should likewise be able to “decide” to change their orientation.

    Lordy I hope I’m misunderstanding you, because that would be emberassingly naive and uninformed.

    Sexuality, even gender, is a great deal more “grey” than we commonly like to admit. It doesn’t actually mean much to say that I’m “male” or “female” or that I’m either hetero- or homosexual. These are more like points on a blurry continuum than actual categories. And you sure as hell aren’t going to clear anything up by looking at the rest of God’s creation—–where sex is so crazily varied and bizarre that it makes you realize we humans have taken it far to seriously. And it should go without saying that there is enough homosexual activity among other advanced species (dolphins, apes, etc.) to question any sense of “natural” law against it.

    If anything, nature shows that different sexual behaviors (e.g. fidelity and promiscuity) suit different species evolutionarily based on several important survival factors–and that our overemphasis on complete heterosexual fidelity is more a product of how we got here evolutionarily than any divine credo given to Adam.

  16. -L- says:

    Nick, are you always so insulting to people who disagree with you, or have I done something particularly egregious? I don’t consider being outraged to be a bad thing, and you seemed put out by the mixed message you believe comes from the church. If I’ve pegged you wrong, you can certainly clarify without being snarky and rude.

    I don’t think Oaks said that marriage IS possible for everyone in this life, but that it may be possible for some gays. I find that reassurance to be very nice, I take his many qualifiers to be a deliberate effort to avoid your exact conclusion–that this applies in any way to all gays. I’m telling you what I’ve noticed and how I interpret the message–is this being “willfully ignorant”?

    Further, I don’t read Alma’s reference to feelings and attitudes persisting in the afterlife as applicable to all sexual feelings or therefore to be as cut and dry as you feel your right to authoritatively claim (and a right to label Hickman as preaching “false doctrine!”). The exact spiritual, mental, and physical divisions of sexuality are explained nowhere in science or religion and it’s unreasonable to make strong claims about them. I read Alma as referring to some subset of the spiritual and mental feelings of sexuality persisting after this life. I believe many of the mental and physical aspects will be changed with the resurrection, and I’m not aware of why this is inconsistent with church doctrine.

    Matt, while I recognize that Nick is talking about, “hopes/expectations/prejudices of many, if not most, Mormons,” but I’m not persuaded we’re talking about most Mormons. That’s what I asked for examples for. The notion sounds more plausible to me as we talk about it, but I still wonder whether most Mormons see things as I have (without acrobatics, mind you), or how Nick does.

  17. -L- says:

    #67 “Lordy I hope I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m misunderstanding you, because that would be emberassingly naive and uninformed.”

    The idea that sexual orientation is completely immutable throughout life is indeed called into question by counter examples from across the biological spectrum. I think this is highly relevant and deserves respectful consideration, not scorn.

  18. Rick Jepson says:

    HA! You are wrong! Anyone who thinks that asexual reproduction by a komodo dragon somehow means that a homosexual can willfully change his orientation is so laughably naive that they totally, completely deserve my scorn.

    Did you have other “counter examples from across the biological spectrum” that outweigh his ridiculous examples, or were you just bluffing? If you do have some, I’d be interested to hear them and how you construe them to support an idea of reversing orientation.

    As I already stated, gender and sexuality are not cut-and-dry. Nature shows over and over that sex is as varied and bizarre in nature as anyone could possibly imagine (for a great read, check out “Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation). Case in point: several species change from one gender to another through natural development…but to somehow draw a social conclusion about that and use it as ammunition to marginalize homosexuals………….IGNORANT. And, again, deserving of all the scorn I have time to dish out.

  19. Rick Jepson says:

    If there is any social conclusion we can draw from the variations of sex in nature—and I seriously doubt that there is—it’s that we take sex way to seriously and have built up a strict moral code based on our evolutionary heritage and have tried to act like it is eternally binding.

    But masturbation, incest, sex changing, cross-dressing, etc., etc., etc. are all norms in nature.

    And that’s based on “examples from across the biological spectrum.” : )

  20. -L- says:

    I’m not going to create a bibliography for this discussion, so you can call it a “bluff” if you like. But I am aware that there are examples from nature above and beyond those mentioned by MAC that show that sexual orientation, phenotype, and behaviors change over time. Whether this fact suggests that humans may find circumstances that can accomplish the same thing would be an interesting discussion, and is indeed currently discussed scientifically. Whether a person can “choose” orientation by deliberately fostering said circumstances does not directly extend from these observations of nature (especially when it is oversimplified as you have done), but the possibility is a relevant and interesting one that I think about on occasion.

    If you want to heap scorn on this, well, I guess that’s consistent with the overall unnecessarily unfriendly tone I’ve noticed here. But I haven’t seen anyone marginalizing homosexuals here. And, being a homosexual, hopefully you’ll agree that that’s not my intent. And I’ll apologize in advance for being caught up in the contentiousness with the tone of my previous comments. I think I’ll try to tread more carefully in the future.

  21. Rick Jepson says:


    I don’t mean to be as punchy as I come off. I’m a nice guy deep down, just stuck in the body of an A-hole. And I have a special weakness for bad arguments. Just disregard my tone and understand that I’m smiling when I dish it out (and happily take it back when I get caught with my own bad arguments).

    This is something I’m working on.

    Now back to the discussion:

    You’ve accused me of oversimplifying, which really surprises me. I believe I was responding to an oversimplification rather than starting one.

    You’ve declined to “create a bibliography” which usually means that you’re not aware of one. If there is a meaningful discussion on how a komodo dragon’s asexual egg-laying relates to human’s choosing to stop being homosexuals, I’d certainly be interested in reading it.

    I do think that homosexuals are marginalized societaly and in the church….do you disagree with that? It’s an enormously complex issue that i don’t pretend to fully understand. Same could be said for sexual orientation itself. But what I do know is that it’s not good enough to say “Hey, clown fish can change from a boy to a girl, so I don’t want to hear any whining from you about how hard it is to be gay.” That’s repulsive to me and demonstrates a real ignorance of the same biology that it refers to.

  22. MAC says:

    “HA! You are wrong! Anyone who thinks that asexual reproduction by a komodo dragon somehow means that a homosexual can willfully change his orientation is so laughably naive that they totally, completely deserve my scorn.”

    Dude, I was being snarky.

  23. Ron Schow says:

    I hope I can navigate the waters here, although they seem a little murky at times. The discussion at least in part is dealing with the question of mutability and sexual orientation. I think it is important to remember that there are probably 3 or 4 times as many bisexuals as homosexuals, if we use the HH Scale and call 6s homosexuals and 1,2,3,4,5s bisexuals. (That at least has some validity, but we can revisit this assumption if anyone wants to) The evidence for this is strong and from several sources.

    It seems very obvious, then, that the largest group of those dealing with homosexual attraction–the bisexuals—actually have some choice. They can choose to focus on their heterosexual or their homosexual attractions. The ones, of course, who can do that most easily are the 3s. They are exactly in the middle.

    I believe this explains a great deal of what some call “change” or mutability in sexual orientation. Yes, change occurs. A person who is bisexual can change back and forth. Unfortunately, those who are 6s do NOT have that luxery. Even the 5s are probably challenged to function heterosexually because they have so little heterosexual interest compared to the homosexual. So this explains why the 6s or 5.5s like Nick who try marriage have such a rough go of it.

    Would this provide some kind middle ground …where Nick and Rick and -L- and others could all find some agreement?

  24. Steven B says:

    “I believe this explains a great deal of what some call ?¢‚Ǩ?ìchange?¢‚Ǩ¬ù or mutability in sexual orientation. Yes, change occurs. A person who is bisexual can change back and forth.”

    Ron, are you saying that significant changes in “attractions” occur or are you referring to a bisexual’s ability to function sexually in either direction?

  25. Rick Jepson says:

    “Would this provide some kind middle ground ?¢‚Ǩ¬¶where Nick and Rick and -L- and others could all find some agreement?”

    Yes, I think so. But I had the same question that Steven B. offered.

  26. Ron Schow says:

    Steven B and Rick

    I am referring to a bisexual’s ability to function sexually in either direction.

    On the surface it may look like “change” but actually the fundamental orientation has not changed. A 3 has the ability to focus in either direction. 4s and 2s do also, but not quite as equally.

    I like Elder Wickman’s term for it in the statement last August. He said…

    “There?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s no denial that one?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s gender orientation is certainly a core characteristic of any person…”

    “Core characteristic” sums it up pretty well. It is at the core, at the center of who we are. I don’t think it changes much. Therapists I have talked to at LDS Family Services stress that the brain is pretty fixed once we are in our late teens…20s.

  27. Rick Jepson says:

    And this is sort of what I worry about. That “success” stories of bisexuals who can function sexually and emotionally in either homosexual or heterosexual relationships give an impression to general mormondom that homosexuality really is a “choice” and that people need to get over it.

  28. Ron Schow says:

    As noted in my earlier post, a homosexual 6 is very different from a bisexual 3. You can’t lump them together. Period. But worry you should, because “general mormondom” has been doing exactly what you predicted they would. And in my opinion they have been doing it for a long time.

  29. Rob Lauer says:


    What the LDS Church now teaches is not necessarily what Joseph Smith taught. (which is why I am a Reform Mormon and not an LDS Mormon.)(

    In his King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith did specifically say that he was talking about the mind of man; he equated it with intelligence and with the spiriit of man…say ingthat the intelligence of man “is a spirit from everlasting to everlasting,” and that “there was no creation about it.” Also, that “God never had the power to create [the mind of man.]”

    My point was the same as Joseph’s: the mind/intelligence/spirit is an uncreated entity within the natural universe; it is what it is and cannot change its nature.

  30. Rick Jepson says:


    What I actually meant (and didn’t articulate well) is that I either disagree with your understanding of Joseph Smith meant or…if you’re right about J.S.’s intending meaning….I disagree with Joseph Smith. : )

    I don’t think there’s much current LDS doctrine on “intelligence” to agree or disagree with since basically no one ever talks about it. But I also don’t think that there’s any reason to feel married to the idea that it’s a complete “self” that’s largely immutable. As I said, I think that strongly contradicts obvious data.

    I’d actually be interested in talking with you quite a bit more about this in a month or two. I’ve started a major study about the doctrine of intelligence with a good friend….but won’t be able to really look at it until at least June.


  31. Villate says:

    I just read through all of these interesting and thought-provoking posts (and boy are my eyes tired), and wanted to add my two cents. Full disclosure ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú I am an active member of the Church and consider myself Mormon. My political and social beliefs are fairly conservative, though I respect the fact that others believe differently, and I think that people can disagree in good faith. I try to take people as individuals rather than as representatives of groups. In my adult life, I have had a number of gay and lesbian friends, including two of my closest friends in college who came out after I first met them, but other than a brief period of wondering if my large number of gay friends meant that I was gay too (and quickly rejecting that idea), I have not experienced same-sex attraction or a gay lifestyle directly. I am a married, heterosexual woman in a happy and fulfilling relationship with my husband. We have three children together. This is my only marriage and we were both virgins on our wedding night. My views come from my interpretation of the scriptures and LDS doctrine as it seems to be currently expressed. I have read a few of my own thoughts here and elsewhere, but a few other issues seem not to have been addressed. I would appreciate knowing what others think and if I am off base.
    It seems to me that ?¢‚Ǩ?ìhomosexuality?¢‚Ǩ¬ù is not and cannot be endorsed by the Church for one reason alone: that same-sex relationships by their very nature cannot become celestial. I was taught, and I think Church doctrine is that our purpose in this life (in which I include the spirit world before our resurrection) is to prove ourselves worthy and capable of becoming like our Father and Mother in Heaven, accepting the Atonement of Christ to make up for what we cannot do. If we do this, we will receive ?¢‚Ǩ?ìall that the Father hath?¢‚Ǩ¬ù and become Gods, as He and She are. By becoming Gods, we will have eternal increase (indeed, I think this is the definition of ?¢‚Ǩ?ìGod?¢‚Ǩ¬ù), or spirit children. Eternal increase can only come to a union of opposites, male and female. A man or woman alone cannot have children, nor can two men or two women. I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know what the logistics of eternal sexuality are, but it seems clear that somehow, there must be both a man and a woman together to receive exaltation by this definition. Our marriage relationships on Earth (and, I believe, in the spirit world, where we still have contact with each other until our resurrections) are crude and immature approximations of what this celestial relationship will be like, but they are a sort of practice for the real thing. Relationships that do not meet even this approximation are therefore sin. By the way, this also includes heterosexual marriages in which there is abuse, adultery, mistreatment, dishonesty, etc. If this is an accurate representation of Church doctrine, it is clear why the Church, whose mission is to ?¢‚Ǩ?ìperfect the saints?¢‚Ǩ¬ù in preparation for exaltation, cannot legitimize or countenance same-sex relationships.
    Now, for the tricky and more controversial part. It is also clear that some people, for some reason, experience feelings of same-sex attraction that make it difficult or impossible to make a pre-celestial marriage. What does this mean for their eternal salvation and for their lives on Earth? It seems to me, and I think that someone mentioned this above (I didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t note the number of the post), that we are subject to various difficulties because we live in a telestial world, including but not limited to mental and physical handicaps, illness, living in abusive or dysfunctional situations, poverty, etc. I believe that same-sex attraction is a result of this telestial condition. I do not believe that God ?¢‚Ǩ?ìcreated?¢‚Ǩ¬ù it, any more than I believe He created cystic fibrosis or schizophrenia. Our bodies are made to function in certain ways. For most people, these functions occur without a hitch. For others, there are glitches. I know some people are going to be upset that I am ?¢‚Ǩ?ìequating?¢‚Ǩ¬ù same-sex attraction with horrible diseases, but I can see no other explanation for why it exists. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s simply a side-effect of our telestial existence. I do not think that Amulek?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s statement about the same spirit possessing one?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s body after resurrection as before (Alma 34:34) applies here, since in my conception, same-sex attraction is not ?¢‚Ǩ?ìspiritual?¢‚Ǩ¬ù any more than mental or physical disease. Indeed, Alma tells us that when we are resurrected, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìall things are restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame?¢‚Ǩ¬¶corruption (physical, mental, sexual) raised to incorruption?¢‚Ǩ¬ù (Alma 41:4).
    As it pertains to same-sex attraction, which I believe is not intended to be part of our eternal condition, this doctrine of resurrection leads me to believe that whatever it is that causes same-sex attraction will be removed when our bodies are perfected. In the spirit world, because we do not have bodies, I think that sexual desire, per se, will not exist, though obviously people will be drawn to each other. Joseph Smith and many other Church leaders have taught that no one will be denied a blessing to which they are otherwise entitled, and that in the Millennium, proxy sealings for those who died without marriage and children will be performed. In my mind, this means that there will be an opportunity for those who did not marry in this life but who are entitled to the blessing of marriage through their faith and obedience to seek a companion free from the burden of the issues that prevented them before. (I realize that this conception does not address those who did not successfully marry because of issues of emotional trauma or abuse ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú I can only assume that they will be healed as well in some way. I haven?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t worked this out yet.)
    I read the Oaks/Hickman ?¢‚Ǩ?ìinterview?¢‚Ǩ¬ù and Elder Oaks?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ article in the Ensign on same-sex attraction some years ago (2001?) with great interest. I believe that the Church, as an institution, is trying to be more inclusive and to recognize the contributions of all members. The hierarchy is also trying to communicate the idea that we must love and care for all people, regardless of their situations in life, and that we are not justified in rejecting, marginalizing, or especially mistreating anyone. However, the Church and its members cannot risk ?¢‚Ǩ?ìadministering that which is sacred to those to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s a very fine and difficult line, and many people cross it either from ignorance, prejudice, desire to offend, or other unrighteous motives. I did not get the impression from either the article or the interview that members of the hierarchy consider anything less than ?¢‚Ǩ?ìself-control unto marriage?¢‚Ǩ¬ù to be a failure of the will or character flaw.
    I think that where the institutional and popular Church have failed is in promoting the uniquely Western idea that everyone is entitled to a romantic relationship that is the greatest (or even only) source of emotional fulfillment and happiness in one?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s life. I believe that although this may be to some degree true, it is not always feasible, yet this fact is glossed over. It annoys me to no end when General Authorities or Sacrament Meeting speakers go on and on about how marriage and parenthood are the greatest of life?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s joys etc. or when the Ensign publishes an article, as it did in the March 2006 issue, profiling someone who has married in spite of difficulties and knowing that the marriage is subject to unusual stress from the very beginning. It gives the impression that those who are not married are somehow missing out. I think Carol Lynn Pearson, in the most recent issue of Sunstone, summed up this attitude in her statement that falling in love is one of life?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s most remarkable experiences and needs to be honored no matter who it is that is doing it. Just because falling in love is good does not mean that people can fall in love at any time, with anyone, in any circumstance, and expect it to be sanctioned simply because it is love. Now, I am happily married, and my marriage relationship has indeed brought me a great deal of joy, but it is not my sole source of enjoyment and fulfillment in life, nor do I define myself by it.
    The Church does a slightly better job of combating the (in my view) unfortunate tendency in our culture to identify ourselves by aspects of our personalities or experiences. I am sexually attracted to men, specifically my husband, but that is not who I am. It is merely a part of me. My membership in the Church, role as a mother, job as an editor, and so forth, are other parts. I find it hard to comprehend my sexual attraction to men being so important, so vital to my personality, that I could not conceive of myself without it. The Fourth Way described in this blog and its attending comments seems to be a reasonable, if lonely approach to living a life as a person rather than as a gay man or lesbian. I wish the Church would emphasize and explain more that not everyone will have an opportunity to marry in this life, but that it is worth the sacrifice to give up a worldly relationship (this advice goes for a lot of heterosexuals too). I believe that the Lord will judge those who opted not to make that sacrifice much less harshly than we in the Church have judged them, but I also believe that blessings will not be given to those who are not entitled to them. I suspect, based on what Jesus said about those who gratify themselves in this life, that he will say to those who enter into unsanctioned relationships that they have their reward.
    This has been a very long post, and I hope I haven?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t put anyone to sleep. I have been wrestling with these thoughts for some time, and appreciate the opportunity to express them. I hope that others will comment from their knowledge, experience and perspective and help me continue to refine my understanding of this topic.

  32. Ron Schow says:


    What I find interesting about this whole long, detailed view of the afterlife that you have in your head is that it all is based on this nice tidy premise. The premise is that marriage can only be defined in this restricted way—

    You said,

    “Eternal increase can only come to a union of opposites, male and female. A man or woman alone cannot have children, nor can two men or two women. I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know what the logistics of eternal sexuality are, but it seems clear that somehow, there must be both a man and a woman together to receive exaltation by this definition.”

    I personally consider the idea that eternal increase is only about having baby after baby after baby, is a horrible, restricted, stifling view of the eternity. Creation is not just about children. To be eternally creative I hope will mean being creative in all kinds of ways. Maybe some persons would prefer to write beautiful symphonies, paint beautiful paintings, scult beautiful sculptures, write wonderful plays and wonderful books, create wonderful dances, etc etc etc. Maybe everyone won’t have to be eternally occupied in having babies and raising them. I have had wonderful children and enjoyed raising them, but life is much richer and fuller than just this one creative pursuit.

    If you want to create this very narrow view of the next life around our Mormon tradition saying that it only works with a “male and female baby machine process” then you can have that view, I guess. I prefer to believe our LDS view of eternity is much grander and richer and more wonderful and that those with ALL kinds of creative gifts will have a place there. Two men and two women working together as well as a man and a woman are needed. Men and women have and will create many wonderful, beautiful things as they work together in various ways and combinations. I can see them all having a place in eternity.

    Besides that, two women, a mother and a grandmother have raised many children. Two of our Church presidents were raised by widowed mothers (Joseph F. Smith and Heber J Grant, I believe). I suspect two men have also raised great kids, though I don’t know any examples right off. That process of women ONLY being involved, has produced very fine prophets. So, I don’t think even the tight little box you want to make around raising children can stand careful examination (oh, I think you are saying, you ABSOLUTELY have to have a father and a mother). It doesn’t HAVE to be done by a man and a woman.

    Finally, it just amazes me that we belong to a church that radically redefined marriage for fifty years, and now you want to build up this view of eternity that completely ignores that whole history. The truth is that when you began to look at your premise about marriage and eternity, Mormons, of all people, should resist the idea that eternal increase can only be built upon this nice tidy idea of “oh it can only be this one way.” Marriage in our LDS tradition has been defined in several ways.

    If we take away your premise that eternity can only be organized in this very restricted way (one man and one woman making babies), I believe all the rest of your argument in which you see gay people who don’t marry and have children as flawed and that they have to be fixed in the next life, as an idea that has no foundation and it falls down in a big messy pile once that foundation is gone.

  33. Nick Literski says:

    Villate #84:
    As a gay man who had his name removed from the records of the LDS church over a year ago, I’ll admit it’s difficult for me to see church doctrine as a final answer to complex questions of biology and social science. At the same time, I’ve been in that boat, and I think I understand where you are coming from. Most importantly, I realize you’re trying to make sense of a challenging topic, working from the perspective which you embrace.

    Though you’ve been delicate in saying it, by your own admission you’ve equated homosexuality with a “handicap,” a “mental illness,” or some other “defect.” This seems to be the evolving positon of the LDS church, as evidenced by the Oaks/Wickman mock interview. What I find striking about such an argument is that it is never taken to its logical end.

    For example, I have a dear friend who’s daughter is mentally handicapped. Rosemary (not her real name) is 42 years old, single, and still lives with her mother. She will likely continue to do so until the end of her life, which due to a physical condition may not be much longer. I have interacted with Rosemary, and do not find her to be “profoundly” challenged. She is quite bright in many ways, and my impression is that her challenges are in fairly narrow mental function areas. Now, it was one thing for Rosemary to be baptized at 8 years old. You should have seen, however, the turmoil that Rosemary had to go through, in order to satisfy her own desire to receive her endowment. She read all the Standard Works through more than once, and had repeated meetings with her bishop and stake president, in order to convince them that she was “accountable enough” to be allowed to make those covenants. In Rosemary’s case, her church leaders clearly did not see her as fully accountable for any alleged “sins.” They repeatedly told her she didn’t “need” an endowment, because she wasn’t accountable. After a couple years of constantly wearying the bishop and stake president, she finally received her endowment, and until her health prevented her, she served as a volunteer in the temple laundry for several years.

    So here’s the interesting comparison. Some LDS, including general authorities, would like to say that as a gay man, I have a mental or biological “defect,” which is no fault of mine, which may prevent me from being able to marry, etc. However, unlike a person who genuinely has a mental or physical defect, these leaders do NOT extend to me a different expectation as to accountability. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to call me handicapped, but unlike those with other behavioral-related “handicaps,” they want ME to hold to their full standard of accountability.

    Now, I’m a big boy, and I make my own decisions. I do think, however, that if LDS leaders want to push this “handicapped” theory, they need to be consistent, and also expect a different kind or level of accountability. If they don’t, then it reflects on their sincerity in making the argument in the first place.

  34. Villate says:

    Rob, I think it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s interesting that you use the word ?¢‚Ǩ?ìnarrow?¢‚Ǩ¬ù in such a negative way. There is nothing inherently wrong with ?¢‚Ǩ?ìnarrow?¢‚Ǩ¬ù; in fact, the Lord says that His path is narrow. However, some of your points are well taken. I thought about explaining that I believe there is more to eternal life than simply having babies. At least I hope so, in spite of what my seminary teacher told me. However, the post was just getting longer and longer, and I was despairing of ever being able to quit going on and on. Instead of writing ?¢‚Ǩ?ìeternal increase, or spirit children,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù I should have written ?¢‚Ǩ?ìeternal increase, which includes spirit children.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Let me clarify, though, that my view is not as restrictive (not to say ?¢‚Ǩ?ìnarrow?¢‚Ǩ¬ù ?جÅ?†) as it appears from my previous post, which only dealt with the aspect of eternal life that I thought was germane to the topic of the thread. As in our lives on Earth, which as I mentioned seem to be a sort of practice run for celestial life, there will obviously be more than merely baby machinery. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m sure you are correct that eternal creativity must mean more than just children and planets, even though the scriptures are ambiguous about exactly what that creativity will entail. I think there has been a great deal of controversy among the General Authorities as well about what it means to be ?¢‚Ǩ?ìeternally progressing,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù as well. The fact of the matter is that we just don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know. There are many mansions in the kingdom of heaven, and I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m positive that there will be all sorts of things going on in them.

    However, canonized modern revelation (which I understand there are all sorts of problems and controversies with and individuals may or may not accept it) as set out in D&C 132 and elsewhere states that ?¢‚Ǩ?ìcontinuation of the seeds?¢‚Ǩ¬ù is the glory of exaltation. I take this to mean that if you do not have continuation of the seeds, you are not exalted, but ?¢‚Ǩ?ìremain separately and singly, without exaltation, in a saved condition, to all eternity?¢‚Ǩ¬ù (D&C 132:16-17). Now let me be clear: I am not sure that this is a bad situation to be in. I think that we will be satisfied and even content with the judgment we receive and the mansion to which we are assigned. As Alma says, we will know perfectly our guilt and our righteousness. We have this idea in the Church that if we don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t ?¢‚Ǩ?ìmake it?¢‚Ǩ¬ù to exaltation, we?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve lost the competition or something. I find myself falling into this mindset, and it probably shows in some of my views. A couple of months ago, a Relief Society teacher (who experienced a bad marriage and nasty divorce) stated in her lesson that she thought the Celestial Kingdom would be her in a house in the country with a bunch of dogs. Several women anxiously tried to correct her, but she looked at them as if they were crazy. I first thought to myself, no, that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s not what the Celestial Kingdom is like at all! Then I thought, well, maybe for her that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s exactly what it will be. She is certainly trying to do her best to follow Jesus, and He will judge her reward perfectly.

    I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m not sure what the last part of your reply is referring to. I assume you mean plural marriage? I didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t say anything about that. I did say that I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know what the logistics of eternal sexuality are. Whether some or all celestial marriages will be plural, I have no idea. I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t think it matters in this case because plural marriage and same-sex unions are not the same thing at all. By my definition, a plural marriage can still be celestial because there is still a union of male and female creating in that aspect of creation. That is not a redefinition of marriage. An expansion, perhaps. However, a same-sex union cannot, by its very nature, do that. I think your parenthetical remark indicates that you got that I was saying that. I also didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t say anything about widows raising children or gay couples raising children. I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know how intelligences or spirit children or whatever are ?¢‚Ǩ?ìraised.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù I can only guess that there, as here, many individuals are involved over a very long period of time. If we have a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, I suppose we also have Heavenly Grandparents and Heavenly Aunts and Uncles. I imagine that the doctrine of sealing families to each other means exactly that, come to think of it. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s all academic, though because in this instance, I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m only addressing the idea of what it means to be exalted according to my understanding of Mormon doctrine. The sociality we will enjoy in our resurrected state is interesting to think about, but there hasn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t been a lot of authoritative description of it. Believe me, I wish the Lord would come to President Hinckley in a vision and say, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìLook, this is what it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s going to be like, and this is why.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù I even wish He would do that if I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m totally wrong and He could correct me! But he hasn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t, I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know why not. It seems there would be a lot less misunderstanding and grief for a lot of people. The basic set-up, though, of male and female creating an eternal family (among many other activities) seems pretty set in stone. Do you have scriptural or other doctrinal evidence otherwise?

  35. Villate says:

    Nick ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Thanks for seeing that I am trying hard to understand this topic and still hold to what I believe. I respect the fact that others may not accept my beliefs, and if they don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t, that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s their right. I am simply trying to explain why I believe what I do based on what the scriptures and Church leaders have said. I hope I can disagree without being disagreeable. Anyway, I understand what you said about viewing same-sex attraction as a defect that will eventually be corrected (I hate the word ?¢‚Ǩ?ìhomosexuality?¢‚Ǩ¬ù because it is so culturally loaded, that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s why I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t use it ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s nothing to do with the fact that the General Authorities use it, in case anyone was wondering). That?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s exactly what I meant, only the word ?¢‚Ǩ?ìdefect?¢‚Ǩ¬ù is so laden with negative connotation that I feel hesitant to use it. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s like the Old Testament?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s ?¢‚Ǩ?ìunclean,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù which didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t originally mean the same thing as ?¢‚Ǩ?ìdirty,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù but which unfortunately came to have that connotation. As you may notice, I put a lot of stock in words and their meanings. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s my business, I guess, as an editor. Back on topic. I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t understand what you mean by ?¢‚Ǩ?ìaccountability.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Your example confused me a little. Your friend was perceived by her Church leaders not to be ?¢‚Ǩ?ìaccountable?¢‚Ǩ¬ù enough to receive her endowment. She eventually persuaded them that she was in fact accountable and went to the temple. Are you saying that if your ?¢‚Ǩ?ìhandicap?¢‚Ǩ¬ù is having same-sex attraction, you should somehow have to persuade your Church leaders that you are released from certain requirements? Do you mean heterosexual marriage? If so, then I agree with you that people with same-sex attraction should not be required or encouraged to marry in this life if they cannot (I imagine that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s a very large percentage of them). However, they do not get to have a different set of rules because they are different. A person with brain damage or incapacity to understand the concepts of the gospel is in a very different situation from someone who can understand those concepts but feels they do not apply for some reason.

    I keep coming back to my hope and belief that things that prevent us from being happy and living as God intended for us to live in this life (yes, I do believe that heterosexual marriage is a part of what God wants and intends for us, though not the only part) will be corrected in the spirit world and that many people will be able to overcome the issues that plagued them here and receive all the blessings they should have. Same-sex attraction is only one of those things. However, people must in this life live as closely as they can to what they know to be right and rely on the Atonement of Christ to make up for the rest. I think many people take the easier way of giving in to whatever their situation may be without letting Christ take their burdens from them. I actually came to this conclusion when my mother, who was mentally ill for most of the last 20 years of her life, left the Church very bitterly and tried to take several of us children with her. By the end of her life, she had destroyed her marriage (and my father) and rejected nearly every belief she had once held in God, among other things. After she died, I thought a lot about her state in the spirit world and came to the conclusion (which I believe was communicated by the Holy Ghost in answer to my prayers) that once she was free of the chemical imbalances and other pains that she suffered because of her physical body, she would be able to see things much more clearly and perhaps understand what she needed to understand and repent of what she needed to repent of. I could go on about this, but that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s off-topic. As it pertains here, as I mentioned before, I do not believe that the conditions we suffer in the telestial world are necessarily part of the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìsame spirit that possesses our bodies in that eternal world,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù though those conditions naturally affect our development. I also believe that our judgment by God will be much kinder than our judgment by our imperfect and often cruel brothers and sisters, and I have to hope that what I can?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t figure out here will be explained to me later.

    I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know where that leaves someone like you, Nick. I really don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t. I feel like a jerk saying, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìToo bad, you just have to suck it up,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù but I guess that really is what I am saying. I wouldn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t wish your situation on anyone, but it seems you have made your peace with it and with God, which is the most important thing for you. In my ignorant view (meaning that I have not had your experience), the Fourth Path seems to be the best way to handle same-sex attraction, but I have not lived your life. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s easy for me to say that I could live without marriage and children when I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m married with children. Easier, probably! I feel like I can sympathize with the General Authorities, who must come across to people as mean and intolerant when they say that the Church cannot countenance gay marriage or accept in full fellowship those who live in same-sex relationships. They?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re really not bigoted homophobes, they?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re just trying to apply the rules they think are correct. I would like to know if I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve understood your analogy, though. Please enlighten me.

  36. Nick Literski says:

    First, let me say it’s a delight to read your posts, whether I agree with you or not. You have quite a talent for communicating how your views differ, without being critical of your audience.

    I do have one point for your consideration. Like you, I pay a great deal of attention to connotation, as well as denotation. Much of this, of course, relates to a particular audience. When you use the term, “same-sex attraction,” please know that you are using a term which originated with, and is perpetuated by, the advocates of so-called “reparative therapy,” such as NARTH and Evergreen. The phrase is used by these groups, because they do not wish to acknowledge that there are persons to whom the noun, “homosexual,” applies. It has become the language of choice for certain Christian groups (including many LDS, though not all), who teach that so-called “same-sex attraction” is a defective condition which the person needs to “fix,” primarily through prayer and therapy (and in the case of Evergreen, playing basketball). For these reasons, Villate, the phrase is often irritating to homosexuals, in that it trivializes very personal, very deeply-felt needs and emotions. You can imagine, I’m sure, how you would feel if someone described your love for your husband by saying, “Oh, she suffers from opposite-sex attraction.”

    “Same sex attraction” is also a namby-pamby, weak way for a closeted homosexual to describe himself, without having the courage to openly admit, even to himself, that he is GAY. I know. I’ve been there, and I did that.

    With a topic which many see as controversial, there are bound to be language difficulties, 99% of which are entirely unintentional. In the Oaks/Hickman mock interview, even stranger language is used. The article is presented as the church position on “same gender attraction,” and uses the curious term, “gender orientation.” In one spot, they clearly equate “sexual orientation” with “gender orientation.” As I’m sure you know, “sex” refers to biological identity, and “gender” to sociological or psychological factors. When these church representatives repeatedly use the term “gender orientation,” they focus (intentionally or not) on societal roles, rather than on biology. The trouble is, in using “gender orientation,” they convey the idea that a gay man is somehow confused about being a “real man,” or worse yet, that gay men want to be women. Despite the stereotypes of an earlier generation, I can assure you that most of my gay friends are quite masculine, as am I. The choice of words used by these men, even in such a carefully-crafted document, unfortunately causes those they allegedly want to reach to bristle.

    Use whatever words you like, of course, but just know that many gay men will NOT consider themselves “same-sex attracted,” and certainly not suffering from a “gender orientation.”

    Now…you asked about my analogy. After sending it, I realized it probably wouldn’t communicate well. My intention was to poke at this whole idea of homosexuality being a “handicap,” as Hickman presents it in the mock interview. In the case of Rosemary, church leaders assumed she couldn’t be accountable for sin, because they didn’t believe (initially) that she had the mential ability to fully comprehend her choices. Her alleged “handicap” carried with it a set of different, some would say lower, expectations. Some church leaders wish to present homosexuality as a mental “handicap,” much like that of my friend, Rosemary. If this were true, there would be questions as to the culpability of a homosexual person who committed what would otherwise be sins. The very fact that these same leaders expect a homosexual person to adhere to the full LDS concept of chastity simply illustrates that their relatively-new idea of looking at homosexuality as a “handicap” isn’t really taken seriously, even by them. I’ll admit, mine was not a perfect analogy by any means, but I hope that this explanation at least gets my point across better.

  37. Ron Schow says:


    As you say there is a lot we don’t know about eternal life. So what you think is set in stone, I don’t agree with. You define eternal life in a way I do not accept. You define eternal increase in a way I do not accept even though I use the same doctrine and scriptures. Then based on that you conclude gays are damaged goods and have to be fixed in the next life.

    I don’t accept the idea that “multiply and replenish the earth” is just about having children. Maybe I’m like your relief society sister who likes dogs and the country. I believe the scriptures have multiple meanings. To me, replenish the earth means with music and art and dance AND children and so forth. Eternal increase (or seeds) may be planting flowers for all I know. Maybe everybody doesn’t have to do exactly the same kind of creative work for eternity.

    So, presto. All of a sudden I don’t need to look at gays as damaged goods. They don’t need to be fixed. Sometimes I wonder why we want to put something in stone when we can look at it in several ways just as easily.

    In their First Presidency message, the brethren say they “respect individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.” That suggests to me that we don’t have to view homosexuality as a damaged condition. It is a respected condition.

    Certainly, Joseph Smith didn’t think of marriage in just one way. He was married to more than one woman and he was married to women who were married to other men, as I understand it. Once you start making radical changes to marriage, as he did, then it just doesn’t make sense to me to say, oh marriage can only be this ONE way.

    I just assume there will be a lot in the next life we don’t understand yet. And I don’t see the stone that you do.

  38. Villate says:

    Ron – Sorry I called you “Rob” before. Oops. Anyway, yes, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I can live with that. Maybe we’re both wrong. I remember on my mission tracting into a born-again Christian who railed at us for nearly an hour on his doorstep in the freezing cold about how we were going to Hell, etc. When we were finally able to get a word in edgewise, my companion said, “Well, we could say the same things to you.” I was pretty annoyed with her because that got the guy going again, but when he took another breath, I said something along the lines of “We’ll all find out when we get there, won’t we.” The guy just looked at me and shook his head. We were both certain we were right, but at least it stopped the argument. 🙂

    One thing I do want to clarify is that I do not consider gays “damaged goods” in the way you imply I do. Thanks for the note on the term same-sex attraction, by the way, Nick. I like it precisely because it identifies a condition rather than a person, but I didn’t realize that some consider it offensive. I don’t like the Evergreen and similar movements because they seem a little too glib and the people in them (I’ve known a few) often seem so desperate to conform that they will clutch at any straw. Kind of like the “rebirth therapy” people who prey on parents of children with autism or attachment disorders who are so desperate to fix their children that they will do anything. Anyway. Everyone has flaws, some more obvious than others. I think I made it clear that I believe that many of the afflictions (of all sorts) we endure here are temporary. A person who is gay or lesbian may have a flaw, in my view, but he or she is not somehow less of a person because of it. No one is justified in abusing or belittling someone for any reason, and I think that is the point of the “respect people who are attracted to people of the same gender,” not that it is ok and we should all be happy to let people do as they will.

    In my view, I have not set anything in stone, God has. I’m a pretty live and let live person, actually. However, just because I believe in letting people live their lives as they wish to doesn’t mean that I have to approve of them. My youngest sister lives with her boyfriend. I don’t approve of that and I think she is wrong to do it, but I can still love her and accept her as my sister even though I don’t think she’s right. I think this is a problem many people have – they can’t accept someone’s situation in life, so they reject the person. I think that is an incorrect way to approach people, and I think that Jesus would disapprove of it. Well, I know He would based on His actions and associations as reported in the New Testament. On the other hand, people who want to believe they are right, whether it be about their one true religion or their sexual behavior or the way they like to do their hair, often get defensive when someone disagrees with them, accusing them of being judgmental or intolerant or whatever as if those things are horrible sins (and they have become so in our culture, rightly or wrongly), when the person “judging” is simply expressing a belief or opinion. I believe that my interpretation of the scriptures and comments by Church leaders reflect the will of God in this case. Until President Hinckley has that vision that explains everything and describes it in General Conference, though, we’re stuck on either side of the issue. That’s fine. I just want to know what other people think of my ideas, since I don’t get much chance to discuss this topic with other people. I don’t have many close friends here that I feel comfortable discussing doctrinal matters with, and my husband and I have gone around and around about it and feel pretty much the same, so he’s no help there. I just want to know if my arguments are consistent, whether others agree or not. There’s nothing worse in writing than a specious argument!

  39. Rob Lauer says:


    I’m in complete agreement with what you wroe: “…I also don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t think that there?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s any reason to feel married to the idea that it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s a complete ?¢‚Ǩ?ìself?¢‚Ǩ¬ù that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s largely immutable. “

    Fact is I can’t find anything in Joseph Smith’s writings to indicate that he ever taught that there was a complete “self” that existed before birth. In the D&C he taught that “the spirit and the body are the soul of man.” To me that means that the soul–the ESSENCE of what it is to be a fully realized human being–comes into being at birth.

    In 2005 I wrote a couple of lessons on this for the Reform Mormonism Gospel Doctrine website. (You can access one of these lessons by clicking on my name abobe.) The speculations about our spirits taking part in a heavenly council and voting on issues og Agency, etc., seem to have come about AFTER Joseph’s death. (As did the doctrine that our spirits are sexually begotten by a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. THAT doctrine was first laid out by Orson Pratt–to whom Brigham Young gave the assignment of finding a theological reason for the practice of polygamy.) Brigham Young and others laid out the story of our spirits being “complete selves” and participating and voting in a pre-mortal council as a theological justification for deny the Priesthood to Negros.

    But I can find nothing like this in Jospeh’s teachings. In “The Book of Abraham,” the council is a council of Gods who are delibertaing how to best organize an earth so that eternal intelligences might become humans (“in the iimage of the Gods.”). Nowhere in “Abraham” does it say that these intelligences were fully realized, self-aware personalites; it only indicates that they “will be” made God’s “rulers.”

    I recently finished re-reading an excellent book “The Disappearance of God: A Divine Mystery.” The author is Jewish biblical scholar Richard Elliot Friedman. The book is divided into three parts–the last of which deals with modern science and monotheism–particularly the traditional understanding of creation ex nihlo and the Big Bang Theory.

    In this section, Friedman lays out a theory about the eternity of matter, the Big Bang and the evolution of some matter from an non-intelligent substance into intelligent beings. Basing his broad theory on science alone, Friedman comes up with a theological theory that bears a striking resemblence to the later tecahings of Joseph Smith. (He even uses the quote from the Book of Job “where were you when the foundations of the earth were laid”–a quote used by LDS Mormons as a proof-text for the pre-existence of spirits.)

    This book makes a very interesting read, so I highly recommend it. Below is the info on it. You can order it through Barnes and Noble.

    The Disappearance of God: A Divine Mystery”
    by Richard Elliott Elliott Friedman
    ISBN: 0316294349

    The reason I brought up this issue to begin with was to make a point: Joseph taught that the mind/psprit/intelligence of the individual is eternal and uncreated. Therefore one’s basic nature is set and cannot be altered–because, according to the new Mormon Paradigm that Joseph was presenting–God, being the same type of being as man, was unable to create himself–or alter himself.

    As a gay Mormon, this doctrine changed the way I thought of myself.

    If the basic elements that make up my being are uncreated and eternal (MEANING, if they are all NATURAL), then I cannot change them–and neither can God. Intelligent human beings–heterosexual and homosexual–are completely natural; they are not CREATURES (meaning,CREATED beings.) Their nature is part of the natural universe–which as a system, has no beginning and no end. In the Mormon Paradigm, it is Nature that is supreme–not any single intelligent being, including God.

    Nature can not be changed by man or God. Anyone–gay or straight–who honestly ponders their own sexual orientation and puts aside any religious or political agenda, will realize that they NEVER made a choice regarding their orientation; it simply is an aspect of their nature that they can either embrace or attempt to deny.

  40. Matt Thurston says:

    Villate (#84) said: “It seems to me that ?¢‚Ǩ?ìhomosexuality?¢‚Ǩ¬ù is not and cannot be endorsed by the Church for one reason alone: that same-sex relationships by their very nature cannot become celestial.”

    I haven’t had time to read all of the responses to Villate’s e-mails, so I’m probably parroting something that has already been said…

    It’s pretty simple… the danger with your reasoning is that the track record of religion (LDS or otherwise) with respect to defining what is and what is not right/true/holy/pure/moral/whatever is nowhere close to perfect. The church’s 100+ year mistake with regards to denying Blacks priesthood alone should give any Latter-day Saint pause. It is one thing to exercise faith in an unprovable tenet that only affects yourself, but quite another if it affects other people, especially if it is a class of people based on race, nationality, religion, sex, or sexual preference.

  41. Ron Schow says:


    I sense that you don’t mean to offend anyone, but I am amazed by some of the things you write.

    You say,

    “No one is justified in abusing or belittling someone for any reason, and I think that is the point of the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìrespect people who are attracted to people of the same gender,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù not that it is ok and we should all be happy to let people do as they will.”

    Our First Presidency is asking you to respect gay people, and you seem to think it is wrong to abuse or belittle someone. But you immediately imply that when someone is attracted to the same gender, it is NOT ok. And you imply that the attraction means they are going to “do as they will” like your sister who is living with her boyfriend, it seems you are saying Wow……attraction does not imply anything more than feelings. It is OK. It can be respected. It doesn’t mean anyone is doing anything. I would interpret what you say here as abusive, even if you don’t mean to be.

    Then you say

    In my view, I have not set anything in stone, God has.

    I wonder what is it God has said that makes you so sure? Did Jesus say anything that makes you feel this way???

    Then you said..

    “….same-sex relationships by their very nature cannot become celestial.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    OK, I have a relative who was a 2nd wife in polygamy. Her story was written up in a Church magazine. Polygamous wives were sometimes very, very close to each other. My relative was weeping when the 1st wife died. And the 1st wife said, “Don’t cry… we’ll be together soon again.” My relative was said to be “proud of the dying first wife’s love” right along with her love for her husband. But you seem to imply there is no “celestial relationship” between these two women. Here is yet another example of why I don’t really agree with your rather limited view of the next life. Nor do I believe anything you can find in the scriptures says there cannot be love and a “relationship” between these two women in the celestial kingdom. They are together in a marriage relationship after all. They have children of the same husband. Polygamy may be quirky that way, but I am really glad they could love each other when they might have felt otherwise.

    But I really need to back off, because I sense you don’t mean any harm and we seem to be talking past each other.

    All the best to you.

  42. Ron Schow says:


    By the way, I completely accept the authority of the prophet to determine the Church position on gay marriage. I simply have been discussing my thoughts about things like the next life, creativity, and whether gay people should be “respected” as they are or whether they have to be “fixed” in the next life.

  43. Villate says:

    Hi again Ron ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú

    You?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re right, I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t mean any harm. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m not even trying to convince anyone, I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m just trying to express my views and explain why I hold them. As I mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of opportunity to discuss matters like this, so I sometimes wonder if my reasoning makes sense to anyone but me. I understand that others may not agree with my premises, which is fine, but I hope that my arguments hold up, even if you or someone else disagree with my conclusion or the premises themselves. I did want to clear up a couple of things, however.

    You wrote, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìOur First Presidency is asking you to respect gay people, and you seem to think it is wrong to abuse or belittle someone. But you immediately imply that when someone is attracted to the same gender, it is NOT ok. And you imply that the attraction means they are going to ?¢‚Ǩ?ìdo as they will?¢‚Ǩ¬ù like your sister who is living with her boyfriend, it seems you are saying Wow?¢‚Ǩ¬¶?¢‚Ǩ¬¶attraction does not imply anything more than feelings. It is OK. It can be respected. It doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t mean anyone is doing anything. I would interpret what you say here as abusive, even if you don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t mean to be.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    I think I made it clear that same-sex attraction is not the norm and not intended to be normalized in God?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s eyes, and I think I was clear about my reasons for believing this way, which you may or may not agree with. I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t think that attraction necessarily leads to action. I think Wentworth Miller is very attractive, but I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t spend all day dreaming about him or write him letters or send him naked pictures of myself. If someone does act on desires that are inappropriate (engages in sex with a person of the same sex or someone of the opposite sex to whom she is not married, or sends naked pictures of herself to celebrities), I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t understand what is abusive about thinking that this is wrong or even telling the person that they are wrong. You think I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m wrong to believe as I do, but I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t consider that abusive. You think I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m wrong. If you started calling me names or flaming me or something, that would be abusive.

    You also wrote, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìI wonder what is it God has said that makes you so sure? Did Jesus say anything that makes you feel this way????¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    The Mosaic Law and Pauline condemnations of homosexual actions are somewhat problematic for me because of issues I have with the translation and compilation of the Bible, so although I agree with the Biblical declarations of same-sex sex as immoral, I prefer to rely on modern revelation. Church leaders have in many, many instances clearly stated that homosexual sexual expression is against the law of chastity. Their reasons and explanations have varied somewhat, but the prohibition is always the same. I believe that they are inspired of God in this matter and most others, particularly when they go so far as to put out a declaration and practically canonize it, something which was never done with ?¢‚Ǩ?ìdoctrines?¢‚Ǩ¬ù such as Blacks not holding the priesthood or Jesus being married. That?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s why I say that God Himself made this rule, not me. Not even the General Authorities. Jesus did not make many comments on sexual behavior in the canonized scriptures (though I imagine He made plenty that weren?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t recorded). He made a few in the Doctrine and Covenants, but those pertained to adultery, so I guess we really have no direct words from Him.

    And last, about your plurally married relatives: ?¢‚Ǩ?ìBut you seem to imply there is no ?¢‚Ǩ?ìcelestial relationship?¢‚Ǩ¬ù between these two women. Here is yet another example of why I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t really agree with your rather limited view of the next life. Nor do I believe anything you can find in the scriptures says there cannot be love and a ?¢‚Ǩ?ìrelationship?¢‚Ǩ¬ù between these two women in the celestial kingdom. They are together in a marriage relationship after all.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    You?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re right, there is a relationship, and that will continue eternally, like the relationships between all sealed family members and, I believe, between friends. However, these women are not in a lesbian relationship. They are both married to a man. Two women ?¢‚Ǩ?ìmarried?¢‚Ǩ¬ù to each other cannot have a celestial marriage relationship with each other by my definition. Correct me if I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m wrong about this, but I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m pretty sure that women in polygynous relationships were not sealed to each other, only to their husbands. Other wives sometimes took part in ?¢‚Ǩ?ìchoosing?¢‚Ǩ¬ù a plural wife and of course they often lived together and formed close friendships, but these friendships were not marriages to each other. Do you see the distinction I am making?

    I appreciate your ability to disagree without being disagreeable and hope that I have the same ability.

  44. Rob Lauer says:

    Villate (#84) said: ?¢‚Ǩ?ìIt seems to me that ?¢‚Ǩ?ìhomosexuality?¢‚Ǩ¬ù is not and cannot be endorsed by the Church for one reason alone: that same-sex relationships by their very nature cannot become celestial.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    If one reads what is actually written in D&C 132, the jist of the entire revelation is not (as the LDS Church teaches) that monogamous marriage is essential for Celestial Glory, but that polygamy is being commanded as essential for celestial glory.

    The current LDS theology is that to become Gods humans must be eternally married so that they can sexually beget the spirits of humans to live on the future earths that they will organized.

    But as has been pointed out by several LDS scholars and writers, Joseph Smith himself never taught such a doctrine. According to Joseph, the spirit/mind/intelligence is uncreatedm eternal, without beginning or end, and co-equal with God.

    The doctrine of eternally married husbands and wives sexually begetting spiritual children was originally put forth by Orson Pratt as a justification for the LDS Church’s 1852 command to all of its members to practice plural marriage.

    Perhaps procreation is not the purpose of marriage. In the scriptures, marriage is instituted to solve the problem of an individual’s (Adam’s) lonlieness. In earlier LDS endowments, the following dialogue took place:

    ELOHEIM: Is it good that man be alone?

    JEHOVAH: It is not good that man be alone, for we are not alone.

    Also according to the traditional Mormon account of Eden, Adam and Eve were married while they were stil by their nature unable to have sex, let alone bear children. (see II Nephi 2)

    So if companionship is the first purpose of marriage, why shouldn’t homosexual unions be allowed.

    I wrote about a Mormon approach to humans sexuality at the Reform Mormon Gospel Doctrine Class website. You can link on to that particular essay by clicking on to my name above.

  45. Ron Schow says:


    Does it occur to you that you simply dismiss, as if it had no importance, the fact that these two women love each other and care deeply for each other.

    You said…

    “Correct me if I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m wrong about this, but I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m pretty sure that women in polygynous relationships were not sealed to each other, only to their husbands. Other wives sometimes took part in ?¢‚Ǩ?ìchoosing?¢‚Ǩ¬ù a plural wife and of course they often lived together and formed close friendships, but these friendships were not marriages to each other. Do you see the distinction I am making?”

    OK. I’m correcting you. SMILE

    What is sealing, after all, except a formal process which only matters if there is, in fact, a deep connection manifest in real life. In other words, you said, same sex relationships BY THEIR VERY NATURE CANNOT BE CELESTIAL. But when I show you a same sex relationship which is obviously celestial you dismiss it on the basis that the love between these two women doesn’t matter–at least in your way of thinking. Don’t you realize that outward ceremonies are not nearly as important as a heartfelt connection?

    I see the distinction you are making , Villate, and I think you are focusing on the trivial and ignoring what is important.

    SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS CAN BE CELESTIAL. And these two women will have one.

  46. Villate says:

    I was out of town most of last week, and it seems the blog commentators have moved on to the PBS special, which I haven’t seen yet in its entirety, but I don’t want you to think I’m dodging your comment. OK Ron – let’s replace the word “relationship” with the word “union” or “marriage.” I did not dismiss the relationship between these two women as unimportant. I specifically said that it would exist, as would other friendships (which are not sealed) and relationships between relatives, siblings, and so forth (which are sealed). I just got back from visiting one of my very best friends who lives in another state – I imagine that should we awake on resurrection day as celestial beings, our relationship will continue and be “celestial” as well, and better than it can be here on Earth because it will be coupled with celestial glory, as Joseph Smith said. However, this relationship is not a marriage. Your relative and her sister-wife will continue to enjoy a relationship that will be deep and meaningful, but that relationship is not the same thing as a marriage between the two of them. They are united in marriage to a man, the same man in this case, not to each other. Their relationship as sister-wives or whatever you’d like to call them IS NOT A MARRIAGE BETWEEN TWO WOMEN. Their relationship with each other may be just as fulfilling and important as their relationship with their husband, maybe more, but it is a different type of relationship from a marriage. I’m taking a legalistic view of this, I suppose, which you obviously don’t share. One of my friends once told me that he didn’t believe he needed to marry his girlfriend in the temple because, in his opinion, they would be together in the afterlife no matter what because they loved each other. I, however, believe (and I think this is Church doctrine) that just loving each other is not enough, though of course it is important. My friend and his girlfriend will still have a relationship in the afterlife, but it will not be a marriage. The ordinance of sealing, done by proper authority in a temple, must be performed, and then the people involved (whether monogamously or plurally married – I know what D&C 132 is about) must live up to their covenants and Christ’s atonement must be in effect through their repentance and His mercy in order for them to receive the blessings promised in the sealing ordinance. But the sealing has to be performed. And it has to involve a male and a female, and I’ve given my reasons for believing that above. That’s why it’s so important to marry in the temple and identify our ancestors and do their work and blah blah temple work. God’s kingdom, according to the scriptures, is one of order. And record books, evidently. That order means that there has to be some authoritative and actual ritual performed for a relationship – sorry, a marriage – to be recognized as such in the afterlife. I don’t consider this trivial at all. As I mentioned before, I consider that God Himself (Themselves?) set it up this way, not the Church, and that’s one of the reasons for proxy temple ordinances and for the time between death and resurrection. You may disagree with that, but I think I’ve laid out my reasons for believing as I do. Before you get on my case about people in bad sealed marriages or whatever, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ANYONE WILL BE SEALED TO ANYONE HE OR SHE DOES NOT WANT TO BE SEALED TO. I don’t know exactly how all that will be worked out, but I have faith that God will not force people to be together simply because they were both righteous and there’s no one else. And, since I can’t say it often enough, there is more to a celestial marriage than just hanging out together and making spirit babies. I also do not believe that being sealed in the temple automatically gets an individual to the celestial kingdom, so don’t assume that, either. 🙂 Anyway, it’s bugging me that I don’t seem to be expressing myself clearly, since you seem to misunderstand or misconstrue my explanations. I hope this clears the air. Now back to “The Mormons.”

  47. Eugene Kovalenko says:

    Because it hasn’t been a passionate issue for me, I haven’t been following this particular thread until I read Villate’s latest comment (#100). That prompted me to start looking at the comments that came before. They all seem to originate with Joseph Smith, whether his part of the D&C or his private teachings, such as the King Follett Discourse.

    BUT, what if Joseph incorrectly interpreted his visionary experiences?! Suppose, for example, that when he traumatically separated from his body, his spirit encountered a reality–a Light–that differed surprisingly from what he expected? This is my assertion. I further assert that Joseph chose not to enter this Light in fear of having messed up. So, he chose to stick around and attach himself to another human being in order to fix things before daring to go into the Light.

    As is often the case with spirits who have suffered a violent death, his spirit did attach itself to other human beings. He became what some current psychologists call an “earth bound spirit” (EB). He had an agenda to try to fix what he had misconstrued. That first other human being was Brigham Young. [Consider the strange experience of some witnesses reporting Brigham taking on the visage–the mantle–of Joseph at a critical time after the martyrdom and the ensuing confusion of succession.]

    If you can even imagine such a possibility, what would be its implications? Certainly the very first would be a significantly different understanding of nature of God, celestial realms, manifest reality and us as human beings. The legalistic debate over the purpose of gender, marriage, gays, relationship, union, etc. would become irrelevant. Mormon (including LDS) theology would have to be over-hauled. All scriptures and related doctrines would need to be re-examined. Etc.

    Rob, what would you imagine an author or playwright could do with that scenario? Do you think we or your students could collaborate on creating a modern Mormon fantasy?

  48. Rick Jepson says:

    “He became what some current psychologists call an ?¢‚Ǩ?ìearth bound spirit?¢‚Ǩ¬ù (EB). ”

    We must be reading differen psychologists.

    The problem with your whole supposition is that it’s a “just so story.” You make certain claims that can’t possibly be scrutinized and then try to draw some conclusion from it. I personally don’t feel comfortable having my views of homosexuality in the church swayed by that sort of argument.

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