The Inevitability of LDS Gay Marriage

Somewhere in the roiling sea of the Gay Marriage Debate ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú where the determined, but overmatched boats of Prophetic Proclamation, Scientific Speculation, Political Posture, and Bleeding-heart Babbling bob and weave, toss and turn ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú stand two immovable pillars.?Ǭ† Like towering lighthouses, they patiently endure the pounding sea, barely taking notice of the pitching and tossing boats, except for an occasional, bemused glance in their direction.?Ǭ†

The pillars are two immutable facts:?Ǭ†

  1. The Onward March of Civilization.
  2. The LDS Imperative to Maintain an?Ǭ†'Optimal Tension' with the World.

To support the first pillar, I turn to the sage advice of Levi Peterson:?Ǭ†

Many Mormons see little value in the process of civilization.?Ǭ† Some of them tend to regard the Church as a culture which gives to but does not take from its sister cultures in the world, particularly in such essential matters as theological insight and moral understanding.?Ǭ† Such things, in their view, come strictly through revelation, and it is the role of the Church to dispense them to the world through missionary work.?Ǭ† It is inconceivable that an increased understanding of perfection might come to the Church from the wisdom which slowly accumulates through the civilized development of the human conscience in many cultures.?Ǭ†

Certain other Mormons are even more militantly conscious of their disesteem for civilization, which they express by rejecting the world at large as the symbolic Babylon from which the Church, as God’s specially anointed society, is to keep itself unspotted.?Ǭ† This view tends to take on a doomsday color, for the changes occurring in non-Mormon cultures are often seen as totally corrupt and retrogressive, tainted by sin and worthy of destruction.?Ǭ† Everywhere are wars and rumors of wars without end and perversities and whoredoms beyond calculation.?Ǭ† Armageddon looms on the horizon, and the fearful settle into the fortress of their righteousness to await the imminent end of the world – something like Jonah, who supposed there was nothing in the city of Nineveh worthy of salvation.?Ǭ†

This cynical view of civilization is unfortunate.?Ǭ† The Church is not a detached and isolated island; it has a symbiotic, interdependent relationship with numerous other cultures, with whose people its members commingle on a daily basis.?Ǭ† Civilization is a social process which flourishes most dramatically precisely when such interaction takes place.?Ǭ† A new insight, a new value, a new tool passes from person to person, crossing boundaries and domesticating itself in various cultures, stimulating among its recipients further inventions and discoveries.

Civilization, what Peterson calls the incremental 'development of the human conscience,' inevitably marches on.?Ǭ† There seems to be little doubt, even in the minds of most conservative members, that the world will eventually accept Gay Marriage, whether Prop 8 is defeated this fall or not.?Ǭ† Heterosexual-only Marriage is taking on water like the Titanic, and?Ǭ†though the water may not have reached the tipping point, the end is a 'mathematical certainty.”

Bruce Ismay (a.k.a. Titanic’s venal businessman): But this ship can’t sink!

Thomas Andrews (a.k.a Titanic’s builder): She is made of iron, sir. I assure you, she can. And she will. It is a mathematical certainty.

So the question is not whether the World will accept Gay Marriage, the question is whether the Mormons will follow??Ǭ†

The answer to that question is the second pillar: The LDS Imperative to Maintain an “Optimal Tension” with the World:

Since shelving Plural Marriage in the late 1800s, the LDS have steered a course that allows us to be both 'in' and 'out' of the world. We maintain a healthy distance, or 'optimum tension' between the Church and the World, but we will never let the distance or gulf to grow too wide (or too close). Armand Mauss convincingly details this phenomenon in The Angel and The Beehive as the ongoing process of assimilation and retrenchment:?Ǭ†

If survival is the first task of the movement, the natural and inevitable response of the host society is either to domesticate the movement or to destroy it. In seeking to domesticate or assimilate it, the society will apply various kinds of social control pressures selectively in an effort to force the movement to abandon at least its most unique and threatening features. To the extent that the society succeeds in the domestication effort, the result will be the eventual assimilation of the movement. Failing to achieve sufficient domestication, the host society will eventually resort to the only alternative: persecution and repression.?Ǭ†

Movements which, like Mormonism, survive and prosper, are those that succeed in maintaining indefinitely an optimum tension between the two opposing strains: the strain toward greater assimilation and respectability, on the one hand, and that toward great separateness, peculiarity, and militance, on the other.?Ǭ† Along the continuum between total assimilation and total repression or destruction is the narrow segment on either side of the center; and it is within this narrower range of socially tolerable variation that movements must maintain themselves, pendulum-like, to survive.?Ǭ†

If, in its quest for acceptance and respectability, a movement allows itself to be pulled too far toward assimilation, it will lose its unique identity altogether.?Ǭ† If, on the other hand, in its quest for uniqueness of identity and mission, it allows itself to move too far toward an extreme rejection of the host society, it will lose its very life.?Ǭ† Its viability and its separate identity both depend on a successful and perpetual oscillation within a fairly narrow range along a continuum between two alternate modes of oblivion.?Ǭ†

So, unless the Church reverses its course to become a truly (not just 'sort of') 'peculiar people,' (think FLDS, Amish, or other fringe groups who doggedly refuse to shift with the World), it will continue to shift along the continuum with the rest of civilization.?Ǭ†

We're seeing it now ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú since the charged rhetoric of the 1960s and 1970s (i.e. homosexuality is an abomination on par with beastiality), the Church has slowly adopted a decidedly 'softer' stance towards same-sex attraction.?Ǭ†

At some point down the road ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the next generation? the generation after that? ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the 'optimal tension' between the Church and the rest of Civilization on the issue of Gay Marriage will become so strained that a revelation is likely to follow.?Ǭ† We have ample precedent ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the Manifesto of 1890 and the Revelation of 1978 are both fairly clear-cut.

Of course, reducing divine revelation to a mere sociological phenomenon, to worldly pressure, is a blunt and unnecessary conclusion.?Ǭ† But there is still ample room for the mystical or spiritual, for the guiding hand of the Divine.?Ǭ† I return to Levi Peterson and the process of civilization:?Ǭ†

Given the fact of proximity and interaction, the Church has inevitably influenced its sister cultures, not merely by proselyting converts from among them but also by the example it gives of Christian living.?Ǭ† But one does no dishonor to the divine mission of the Church by admitting that, in its turn, the Church is highly influenced by the world, sometimes even in matters relating to Christian living.?Ǭ† Evidence for this assertion may be seen in events preceding the revelation of 1978 which extended the priesthood to Mormon men of all races.?Ǭ† That revelation was an immense relief to numerous Mormons, whose united concern and questioning about the inequality of the former policy had moved the prophet to seek a revelation on the matter.?Ǭ† But why should Mormons of the 1970s have been so concerned when Mormons of the 1920s were not? The reason is that they had been influenced by the growing racial equality in other cultures.

Why can't the influence of Civilization be a part ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú sometimes even a key component ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú of Revelation??Ǭ† Don't we have ample precedent for this as well??Ǭ† Don't we have a long track record of accepting all truth, 'let it come from whence it may'??Ǭ† Don't we recognize that the Light of Christ shines on all of God's children??Ǭ† Don't we accept that many of Civilizations' greatest advances, whether spiritual, scientific, technological, industrial, etc., have come from non-Mormons??Ǭ†

(Pesonally, the idea?Ǭ†that God influences all of His children throughout the world, one person at a time, gives me goosebumps.?Ǭ† Sometimes, because of our unique gifts, our “readiness,” our sensitivity to this or that issue, Mormons are the first to hear God’s still small voice, and we set the example for the rest of the world.?Ǭ† But other times, other groups or cultures are better prepared, and God chooses them to reveal a new truth.)

With the Priesthood Ban against Blacks, the healthy or 'optimum tension' was stressed during the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s, but had become seriously strained by 1978.?Ǭ† By ’78, the major Civil Rights wars had been fought and won, and we were left standing on the wrong side of the line.?Ǭ† Today, were the Ban still in effect, the tension would be unbearable.?Ǭ† Without the Revelation, I am doubtful that Mormonism could have survived today, except maybe as a fringe group, like the FLDS or the Amish.?Ǭ† But its international footprint, its mainstream acceptance, (and even respect), in society today would be gone.

Is it not so hard to see that history will?Ǭ†likely again repeat itself??Ǭ†

1890.?Ǭ† 1978. ?Ǭ†20XX?


  1. Sid says:

    There is one thing all posters are neglecting to address.

    Why would God allow some of His choicest spirit children be burdened (gay not by choice) with something so difficult to understand by 95% of the world, let alone the church, that He not have a reason and a plan for them too?

    My marriage has been my greatest joy in life (over 30 years). Did I marry only for sexual satisfaction? Did I marry just to procreate children? Did marry because I found my soul mate? Did I marry to shout to the world – I AM IN LOVE AND I WANT TO BE WITH THIS PERSON FOREVER? Did I marry because my innate desires are to bond with someone I love? Did I marry because I longed for companionship?

    The answers are ALL YES!!!

    Would I deny my gay son this same joy? Would my Heavenly Father deny my son (His too) this same joy? Should the church deny my son this same joy? Should we be so afraid that the institution of marriage will be some how negatively affected by my son having this same opportunity for joy?

    The answers are ALL NO!!!

    There will be a time when we understand God’s purposes for gay children. I know one of the reasons is so we can learn Christ-like love. For you people who are so sure that God has spoken and he will NOT change, may I remind you that God allows change constantly. It is call eternal progression. We have always evolved to a higher level of spirituality, from one degree to another, from exaltation to exaltation. We are dynamic spiritual beings who are REQUIRED to forgive and love all. This allows us to become more and more like our Heavenly Father. It is part of the plan of happiness. Do gays not have a plan for happiness?

    This notion that you all seem to think you can judge a homosexual based on your own heterosexuality is showing nothing more than the condition of your hearts. Why can’t God have a plan for the gay members of our church? Why do you try to attribute human characteristics (which are so flawed) to a being that knows ONLY love?

    It is unreasonable to think that the church has placed the same laws and restrictions on gays which are designed to keep straight members in moral purity. The two are NOT the same. They deserve to be treated differently.

    It is very possible that all God really wants is for all of His children to love all and live righteous lives where each person does the best with what they have been given. Is it really so terrible that a gay man is “attracted” to another gay man, and that these two could actually fulfill the full measure of THEIR creation by being in a loving, committed relationship?

    I don’t think God has spoken to the church leaders (or the lay members, who don’t even want to talk about gays) simply because the leaders haven’t asked – there is no need when you believe you are right. Everything that is being taught by the church is nothing more than a long-held thought that homosexuality is evil. Times are changing. These people are NOT evil, just different. And different scares most people. History is replete with examples.

    Will the church ever find a place for gay couples? Yes, as soon as we realize they are not evil. They are just different (perhaps even more evolved than most).

  2. My dear Sid, you are so right on! Thank you for expressing so eloquently what some of us not gay rabbis, ministers, priests, bishops, fathers, and mothers of gay and lesbian children and congregants have been trying to express in our belabored way.
    May the day come soon and in my lifetime (I am 67 years old) when we see the barriers against gays and lesbians totally removed.

  3. evasquez says:

    God submitted His great Plan of Happiness to all of His spirit children in our pre-mortal estate (not just those who would later become members of the LDS Church) and we were all called upon to either accept or reject His plan. There was no call to submit our own plans. His laws of moral purity apply to all people, whether they accept or reject them in this life or the next. His children DO grow and progress, but God does not change.

    While God has commanded His children to live a “higher law” at certain times and not at others, even if “same sex marriage” were to be allowed in the future, anyone engaging in it now without the authority and command of God would be guilty of committing sin.

    The Lord directs His followers to ?¢‚Ǩ?ìalways have His spirit to be with them?¢‚Ǩ¬ù so that we can know for ourselves when Church leaders are speaking as representatives for God or not. There is not even one recorded instance in all of scripture or canon where people have disobeyed the direction of God’s chosen, living prophet and become more enlightened and righteous. In every instance, defying God’s prophet on earth ends in misery, destruction, and lost blessings.

    Your son was born innocent of sin like every other human being, and no soul was foreordained to evil or appointed to live a life of sin. Your son is a child of God who has made his own choices in the world just like everyone else. God loves Him just as much as He loves the rest of us. But God cannot bless your son or my son or you and I or grant us any blessing that is predicated upon obedience to a commandment unless we choose to obey that commandment.

    Compassion for those who choose to live differently is required for salvation-love for our fellow man/neighbors is a commandment, but so are obedience and repentance. If I obey every command of God except the one to love others, I will not obtain the kingdom of God. And likewise, a gay member might love all others on earth and treat them with compassion, but if he does not obey the other commands of God, he will not obtain it either.

    I do not think gays are evil, nor am I afraid of them or anyone else who might be “different” than I am. I desire to love them the way God loves them. God loves all of us enough to sacrifice His Son’s mortal life for our eternal lives because His perfect love goes beyond concern for our imperfect, mortal happiness and joy. Anyone who claims to love those in same-gender relationships the way God does should also have every concern for their happiness and joy in the world to come.

  4. In 1965 I learned that a mentor of mine had been “unchurched” (as the late Sam Taylor used to call it) for “perversion”. [Read: excommunicated for being gay.] We had not been in contact for years and I did not understand what or why this had happened or how he was taking it. So, I sought him out to renew our correspondence and went to visit him. As we got deeper into the realities of what had happened, he continued his role as mentor and we came to the subject of existentialism. I have always treasured what he wrote. It addresses the condition of isolation and ultimate freedom:

    “There is an existential attitude, and it is as old as mankind. To talk about it philosophically is to miss it. To talk about it experientially is to hit close to the mark. To attain to the existential attitude is the only way.

    “Our forty-hour visit?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ should have dealt with the dark night of your soul instead of mere references to that year-long experience, and mine as a nineteen-year-old to which I referred in answer to your inquiry?¢‚Ǩ¬¶and my [excommunication] experience of the past two years. Unless these experiences took us to the bottom we can only mouth brilliancies about the existential encounter, the encounter with the lone being, the stripped self. The best models are in the scriptures, and then the Greek tragedies, the most impressive modern one I know anything about is Jean-Paul Sartre and I want to quote what I have tried to reconstruct to you on a few occasions:

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ì’We were never more free than during the German occupation. We had lost all our rights, beginning with the right to talk. Every day we were insulted to our faces and had to take it in silence. Under one protest or another, as workers, Jews and political prisoners, we were deported in mass. Everywhere, on billboards, in the newspapers, on the screen, we encountered the revolting and insipid picture of ourselves that our suppressors wanted us to accept. And because of all this, we were free. Because the Nazi venom seeped into our thoughts, every accurate thought was a conquest. Because an all-powerful police tried to force us to hold our tongues, every word took on the value of a declaration of principles. Because we were hunted down, every one of our gestures had the weight of a solemn commitment. The circumstances, atrocious as they often were, finally made it possible for us to live in the hectic and impossible existence that is known as the lot of man. The basic question of liberty was posed, and we were brought to the verge of the deepest knowledge that man can have of himself. For the secret of man is not his Oedipus complex or his inferiority complex; it is the limit of his own freedom, his capacity for resisting torture and death. Total responsibility in total solitude?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùis not this the very definition of freedom?’

    “For one to comprehend this experience he must have had its equivalent, and the equivalent doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t require submission to an invading and occupying army or any other kind of physical submission. The equivalent may be found in being cast out, in being isolated, from the structure or institution through which the self has found easy, ritual, predictable, communal expression.

    “To be totally thrown back on the self so utterly that even his faithful and confident and loyal friends cannot restore his losses is to achieve that condition through which every value is tested for its compatibility to the self as separate entity. Everything must fail. Whatever then emerges is known by the self to belong to the self, intimately, indivisibly. All that is known is known only for its earned, realized, actualized meaning. The only meaning there is has been experienced. I think of Oedipus, Job, Lear.”

  5. Barry Schneider says:

    Sid #101
    “I don’t think God has spoken to the church leaders..”

    That really is the summa summarum of your position with regards to the church. Isn’t it?

    I’m trying to understand. If I became thoroughly convinced that the leadership of the church had lost its ties with the heavens, I would sadly bow my head and walk away. Unless I were to be commissioned as, say, Isaiah or Jeremiah to call the church to repentance. Has that been your commission?

  6. Sid says:

    God speaks to prophets when asked. This doctrine is taught throughout all the scriptures.

    I have said nothing about the leadership of the church losing its ties with heaven. I believe they just haven’t seen a “need” to ask about the entire gay issue. Why would our prophet say “I don’t know if gays are born that way. That is for the scientist – and I’m no scientist.” (paraphrasing Pres. Hinckley in several interviews) Clearly, he could find out if he would ask Heavenly Father, couldn’t he? Is he really just saying that he believes he has figured it out, and to find out something different would only upset the balance in the church? BTW scientists are pretty clear on this matter. But just in case you don’t believe them, try talking with a gay RM who has had to leave all his beliefs and heritage behind because there is nothing he can do about being gay. Being gay is the LAST thing they wanted!!!

    Throughout the history of the church the brethren have based their beliefs on what they have learned from the past – the traditions and interpretation of the scriptures by their fathers. However, just as President Kimball finally decided to “ask” about the blacks (priesthood and inter-racial marriages, etc.), someday a future church president will ask God about gays and the reasons He allows some of His choicest children to be burdened with something so revolting as to cause even the most righteous members to spew venom. When they do, there will be a whole new understanding. And it might be difficult for some to accept.

    As for my commission (LOL), I have been granted an opportunity to teach members of my church and community about the love our savior has for everyone, including gays. For someone on the wrong side of hate, we as a church are failing to live the greatest commandments ever given by Jesus. When a church policy is divisive and exclusionary of members and their families, it is sinking to a lesser commandment – not the greatest.

    Not only are we commanded to love ALL, we are commanded to “treat everyone the same way we want to be treated!” Can you honestly say that we treat gay members (and families of gays) the way YOU would want to be treated? Would you feel love toward someone who wants to take away a right you have been granted by law?

    It would be easy for me to bow my head and walk away. Many have done that when the church requires that we choose between our children and the church. I choose to stay so I can try to answer sincere questions that concern a very difficult situation – one that burdens more than just the gay members themselves. I could not continue in the church if I thought there was NO plan that included my gay son, as he was created by God!

    The day will come when enough people are willing to ask the difficult questions. For there are answers to this problem. Some just haven’t found them yet.

  7. evasquez says:


    I am sure you and your son are enduring much heartache and sorrow, and I sincerely hope and pray that the Lord gives you the comfort and peace you seek. Perhaps in your pain you are only representing things from one side or are unaware that you appear to state or infer some things to be facts that really aren’t.

    It is not doctrine that God can ONLY speak to or reveal truths to prophets when asked.(Moses, Saul/Paul, Brother of Jared)

    It is not fact that no prophet until 1978 asked/prayed about the priesthood issue.

    Church doctrine is that we are not allowed to live on “borrowed light” and that every member, including prophets, are accountable to obtain their own witnesses of the truths spoken by prophets-past or present.

    Scientists are NOT pretty clear on this matter. It has not been proven that being gay is genetic, and no officially sanctioned and accredited medical establishment in the country has stated unequivocally that it is.

    “the most righteous members” do not spew venom. We know someone is righteous when they bring forth good people, not bad.

    The Golden Rule is not the greatest commandment. When Jesus was asked “What is the greatest commandment?” He replied:?¢‚Ǩ?ìThou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Jesus also said “If thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments”.

    The Church does not “require” you or anyone else to choose between loved ones and the Church. The Lord requires us to love everyone without loving sinful behavior. There might be some who feel that we cannot do both, but I testify that He gives no commandments without preparing a way for them to be accomplished.

  8. John S. Harvey says:

    I’ve read this thread for a few days after my earlier post and it is only with a bit of trepidation I post now. but I feel somewhat compelled to do so.

    It is my understanding that commandments are principles which God requires people to bend their will to *if* they want to attain exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom. Commandments are optional only in the sense that people may choose whether to obey them; but God’s reaction to disobedience, and the subsequent consequences, are not controlled by the individual choosing to break the commandment.

    Any commandment that is “effectively binding” on a particular individual – in the sense that it requires them to forgo doing something they really want to do – is difficult. The fact that a commandment is difficult or that it will preclude someone from having what someone else has, or from living their life like someone else does, has no bearing on whether the commandment is from God or not.

    One of the commandments is to not have sexual intercourse (of any type) outside of a marriage which is recognized as valid by God. Currently that recognition includes many state/national sanctioned marriages, but clearly not all of them.

    Every person has a unique set of genetic and environmental “dice” which they must overcome if they intend to be a part of the Celestial Kingdom. We have been taught that God puts us here to find out if we will do all things He commands. If we do so we are promised we will gain all that the Father has; if we do not we choose what level of glory we will inherit.

    The fact that someone has a homosexual orientation (regardless of why they have it) has no bearing what-so-ever on whether they can be a member of the LDS church in full fellowship. Everyone (with the exception of murderers and a few special cases) can qualify for all of the ordinances of salvation. The homosexual, the alcoholic, the fornicator or adulterer, the greed crazed miser, the prideful, the what-ever – they are all given the same set of commandments, and as they live them they receive all that the father hath. Yes, the homosexual person has to give up having sex with everyone except their opposite gendered spouse (if they marry), the alcoholic has to give up all alcohol, the fornicator and adulterer have to give up having sex with everyone except their opposite gendered spouse (if they get or stay married), the miser has to learn how to share, the prideful have to learn humility, the whatever have to give up whatever it is which comes between them and God. Everyone has to give up whatever would keep them from living the life that God decreed they should *if* they want to be in God’s presence and have the Spirit to be with them.

    John Harvey

  9. Rick Jepson says:

    John, I agree that obedience and sacrifice are part of worship, and I appreciate what you’ve said. Nonetheless, it remains difficult to posit the immutability of any sexual commandments since they have been a moving target since the beginning of the Church.

    It is easy to project our current stands into the past to give them a fictional history and an authoritative ring–and we’re not the only ones who do this–but an honest look at our history shows that revelation is an evolution and that it proceeds both top down and bottom up.

    I do not pretend to know the future of homosexuality in the Church. Nor can I even begin to articulate or conceive of what an ideal future would be. I find both extreme scenarios (Chris Bigelow’s doomsday and Matt Thurston’s full embrace) to be unlikely, but I’m prepared to eat crow at either table.

    Our official statements now are far evolved from those of just a decade or two ago, and will surely continue to develop in nuance and understanding. For the time being–and despite what you’ve written–there really is no acceptable course for a homosexual in the Church. All the options are rotten.

    Although, again, I can’t figure out any great solution.

  10. Rick Jepson says:


    Also, please take note that you’ve clumped homosexuality in with a list of vices like greed, pride, addiction, promiscuity, etc. That illustrates very well the wrongheaded thinking that prejudices these conversations in the church.

    If you start your discussion with the outdated assumption that homosexuality is an illness, you’ve primed yourself to only think of solutions that involve overcoming or coping.

    I don’t see how the dialogue can move an inch so long as you start out saying that its “wrong” to be homosexual in the first place.

  11. Sid says:

    Well said.

    Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I believe the real question should be, “What are God’s intentions for having homosexuals on earth?”

    I do not believe they are sick. I do not believe they are a mistake. I do not think they chose to be gay. And I do not think heterosexual logic (and rules) can be applied to homosexuals.

    We live in a heterosexual world. Our church is run by heterosexuals. We cannot compare homosexual behaviors to heterosexuals’. So, what IS God’s purpose in all of this? There must be a valid reason to ask for such a tragic sacrifice from such a few individuals.

    The only option currently being offered to gay members is not even possible for most humans. The fact that gays are asked to live a life that no heterosexual person will ever be asked to live is unfair. (Please don’t tell me life isn’t suppose to be fair.)

    Imagine if the bishop called you in for an interview and said, You have been chosen by God to make a very difficult sacrifice. Today 1 out of 20 priesthood holders are being told they need to leave their families. They will not be allowed to live with them or even visit them for the rest of their lives. Their wife will be given to another man and they will continue to raise your children. The joy your family has given you will now only be a memory. If you can make this sacrifice for your family, you will have them for eternity.

    Should you decide that this sacrifice is too much or unfair, you will lose your membership in the church, but you will be able to keep your family while on earth. But remember, it is your choice.

    Now, can you accept this?

    This is similar to the option gays members are given, except they don’t give up an existing family, they just give up their hope of ever having the joy of a family. All the gay people I know want a family. They want to share their life with one person. They want everything heterosexual members have. But, they are forbidden from even trying. They are not allowed to date, hold hands, kiss, and certainly not marry. So, what do they do? They choose to live a life that gives them some sense of connection with other humans. And, thank God that there ARE other humans (gays) who will love them back. Remember, this is not only about sex.

    Applying the same rules and commandments that heterosexual members use to maintain their membership is not right. It is not right because there isn’t one of us (heterosexuals) who would agree to live that way ourselves – including the general authorities.

    So, why does God allow for some of His choicest spirit children to be homosexual? Their must be a valid reason. I wish the brethren would find out. They have evolved over the years, but they still haven’t shown me that they fully understand this situation.

    I predict God will answer this question someday, when, as a church, we are ready.

  12. evasquez says:


    God has spoken to His prophets anciently and in present day, and you are responsible for obtaining your own witness of their words. God cannot change your mind, nor can the brethren, you have the agency to believe what you choose to believe.

  13. Matt: in reflecting on your original inspired impulse for this thread together with Sid’s most recent response (#111) and Rabbi Gelman’s marvelous description of his ancient tradition’s cherishing of children (#102), it dawned on me that we in this discourse are actually experiencing the very process of “continuing revelation.” It happens spontaneously as we respond to each other! God speaks to each of us individually as our hearts are moved and our minds expand as we share our heart felt responses with each other. We don’t need some kind of hierarchy to bless our discourse or for them to pronounce doctrine or dogma in any final way. It’s all right here in our *faithful* exchanges!! This is truly a “marvelous-work-and-a-wonder” example of “faith seeking understanding”.

    Sid asks why God made homosexuals. This brought to mind a remark made by a black minister friend: “God don’t make no junk!” Right on! My black friend had risen above our society’s stereotype to realize that he was a member of a noble race. He learned to treasure his creativity and the spontaneity of his family’s tradition despite rejection and fear of others who saw his people as “cursed”. He learned to see and realize that “black is beautiful”.

    Such an assertion applies to our gay brothers and sisters. All they have to do is realize it from within.

    To haggle over the word “marriage” in legalistic terms seems silly and unproductive. Furthermore, it is clear to me that the gay condition is that of a SUPERIOR being! As such they are historically misunderstood in their vulnerability and often unconsciously take on society’s projection of the “fear of defilement”, as Rene’ Gerard puts it. Most of my friends and family who are gay are blessed with superior talents, intellect and sensitivity. All one has to do to realize this is to consider their historical contributions and how they have blessed the world. I think of Tchaikowsky, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Socrates to name only a few.

  14. Rick Jepson says:

    E, please consider taking your own pious advice. Your overview of revelation and church history demonstrates a thorough disinterest in examination or investigation.

    There is a great deal written out there that you should read and consider, but of course you won’t be compelled to and “you have the agency to believe what you choose to believe.”

    But just for kicks, I’d recommend starting here:

    1. Chapter on sexuality in Lester Bush’s “Health and Medicine Among the Mormons”

    2. Given your mention of the racist priesthood/temple ban, I’d also recommend reading “Neither White nor Black”, also edited by L. Bush.

  15. evasquez says:


    On the contrary, it was only through a deep and unbiased examination of Church history and scripture that I discovered the keys of knowledge and was able to exercise them to obtain the personal revelations and witnesses promised by God so that I can discern what is truth and what is not, what is foolish and what is wise.

    I agree with the premise put forth that we can obtain increased understanding from each other, but as you know, the history and canon of the Church make it clear that “new” information or ideas only qualify as the continuing revelation promised by God when it is obtained according to the eternal laws and principles clearly established by Him. There has never been a time in our existence when we did NOT need a hierarchy-as the origins of the word itself indicate. It is from the Greek words that mean “high priest/president of sacred rites” and “sacred leader or ruler”. God the Father and Christ belong to the ultimate and perfected hierarchy and that hierarchy constantly reminds us that divine/eternal truth is always both taught and received within His established parameters or it “is not of God and is darkness”.

    I know for myself that He lives and is the Savior of the world. He reveals Himself and His gospel to me line upon line in direct proportion to my willingness to act in faith upon what I already know. Understanding His laws and commandments through the influence of the Holy Ghost has permitted me to see their mercy and love, rather than their restrictions and punishments. Knowing Him personally has allowed me to understand my divine potential, talents and innate holiness and makes me responsible to overcome every desire or quality that does not make me more like Him or could prevent me from returning to dwell with Him.

    His promises are extended to every human being-gay, straight, LDS, Jewish, black or white, young and old. The only way to obtain them and dwell in the perfect peace and perfect unity we all seek is through the perfection and exaltation taught and modeled by our perfect Savior.

  16. evasquez says:

    Eugene said “it is clear to me that the gay condition is that of a SUPERIOR being!”

    I am not sure what you mean by “the gay condition”, could you elaborate?

    I ask because the general public understands the term “gay” to define male same-sex orientation (vs lesbian)and you listed only males in your examples, so your words could be taken to mean that gay men qualify as geniuses (the definition of extraordinary intellectual and creative power)more often than women no matter what their sexual orientation is along with heterosexual males.

    While I cannot dispute that many same-sex oriented individuals have made (and will make) significant contributions to the world, I would of course argue that history does not prove that the condition of being “gay” or “lesbian” is always a corollary trait in those with higher intellect, talent, and sensitivity.

  17. Rick Jepson says:

    “a deep and unbiased examination of Church history and scripture”

    No such thing. Our brains operate with bias as the default setting, even with basic observations about shape, color, and distance. Bias is the only way the brain works.

    Anytime someone is sure they are bias free, they are in grave danger of being overconfident in their views.

    I appreciate that you shared your testimony, and I’m certain that you’ve read your scriptures. But once you challenge yourself to trully examine the history and process of revelation, you’ll find an evolutionary process that’s clearly a two-way street between leadership and general membership. And one that clearly strikes a social balance with society. This doesn’t by my estimation, degrade revelation at all.

  18. evasquez says:


    We are not born biased, we learn biases consciously and sub-consciously, but developing critical thinking skills allows one to identify and eliminate preconceptions from the thought process when objectivity is necessary. The newest buzzword in this area is “unlearning”.

    I agree that the process of revelation is evolutionary in that additional/future revelations from God are predicated upon our ability to accept and live what He has already revealed. We receive “here a little, and there a little” “line upon line” until we obtain a fullness.

    The truth that our understanding changes as more truth is revealed should not be confused with the false notion that God’s truth changes or evolves. Like slowly pulling a draped sheet off of something concealed under it-the more we see, the closer we come to understanding the whole, but what is hidden underneath does not change.

    The truth remains that we as a Church body are only entitled to “more” revelation when the majority of those in the Church body obey what God has previously revealed to the Church body. However, you will of course agree that Church history is filled with examples of God granting individuals (and prophets) more knowledge or revelation than is given to “the Church body” based on their personal worthiness and obedience to what was previously revealed. Spencer W. Kimball said…”we testify to the world that revelation continues and that the vaults and files of the Church are full…Revelations come from month to month and from day to day, and since 1830, they have continued. As long as time shall last, a prophet, recognized of God, will continue to interpret the mind and will of God”

  19. Evasquez #118, did you miss the meaning of my statement in #113 “Such an assertion [i.e., WE are beautiful] applies to our gay brothers AND sisters. All they have to do is realize it from within”?

  20. Rick Jepson says:

    Unlearning’s a great buzword, and there’s no harm in trying. But it’s impossible to divorce yourself from bias….neurologically impossible. So any time you’re sure that you’ve succeeded, you need to remind yourself that you haven’t. That’s not just true for you or for just orthodox members….there are plenty of sunstoners who could remind themselves that they are inherintly biased–they also claim “pure objectivity.” Again, that’s a great goal and a great direction, but–like humility—the best evidence of its absence is a surity of its presence.

    Given that you agree that revelation evolves, and that we receive what we’re ready for, I’m not sure I understand your position on this topic of homosexuality in the church. I may have assumed I understood it (based on my own biases).

    I still believe that the best historical precedent is the renunciation of the racist priesthood ban. A number of factors played inot the ultimate act of unifying and asking as a presidency and quorum of apostles. Among those were scholarly inquiry and a general evolution of public understanding on race.

    As we investigate gender and homosexuality through scholarly inquiry and as the public understanding of sexuality continues to mature and evolve…….how can you be certain that the church won’t alter its view of homosexuality?

    (Again, I don’t know that it will. And I can’t myself come up with an ideal scenario to hope for.)

  21. Sid says:

    Still, there must be a reason God is asking special children (my son and his closest gay friends are unbelievably talented and their intellect and intuitive abilities are highly advanced) to bare this terrifying cross!!!

    Why should the church have to deal with these kids? Are they of worth?

    When church leaders don’t know and don’t care about these casualties, I, as a worthy member, have to ask for my own revelation to understand God’s purposes. And, as we are promised, we can receive answers.

    When the right questions are not being asked by leaders and members who have not had to suffer with a child whose life was nearly destroyed, sharing my answers will never be accepted by anyone in church leadership or even on this blog. But as more people begin to ask, and more people begin to question (just like the issue with the blacks), the brethren will be compelled to start to ask the right questions, i.e. is the a purpose for gays that we haven’t considered?

    Rick, the ideal scenario to hope for is that all people (gay or straight) will be given equal opportunity to live a life that is appropriate to their nature. To a homosexual man, loving another man is nothing more than love. It is not unnatural or icky to them.

    Can you see a gay couple being capable of contributing to the good of a ward? A Community? Your family? By your comments, I suspect you know gay people. Can you come up with any reason not to have them part of the church (in good standing) other than the beliefs that have been pasted down from the attitudes of our grand parents? And please don’t use the bible quotes about homosexuality as being an abomination. Everything was an abomination back then. Besides that, we don’t know if it was translated correctly anyway. There is nothing in modern scriptures about it, so lets keep that out of our discussion.

    If one is so sure that this cannot happen, then what does it mean to say, “with God all things are possible”?

    The surer we are (as humans), the more cause we have to be cautious. The time will come when we understand His plan – for ALL his children.

  22. Sid says:

    Rick and Matt, I think you would both enjoy reading BREAKING THE SPELL by Daniel C. Dennett. It is a study of religion as a natural phenomenon.

  23. evasquez says:

    No Eugene, I did not miss that statement, but I focused on your next thought and the fact that you listed only males in your examples. You have yet to define what you mean by “the gay condition”.

    Beyond the female aspect, my point was that same sex orientation is not proven historically to be related to genius.

  24. My goodness, EV, your question #125 feels like it is from a guard house lawyer! I meant nothing special by “gay condition”, but I suppose I should have used the more politically correct term “same sex orientation”. Nor did I mean to slight gay females. I just couldn’t think of any at the moment. Perhaps you can enlighten me (and the rest of us) with examples of those who have blessed us all?

  25. evasquez says:


    I do not equate the Priesthood ban with the Church’s stand on homosexuality for many reasons, for example:

    *God never declared black members holding the priesthood to be “a sin” or “an abomination”. He has declared homosexuality to be both.
    *The Prophets from the beginning said that one day the black race would receive the Priesthood and all the blessings of God. No Prophet has ever stated that those who practice homosexuality will.

    Another point is that regardless of what happens in the future, God’s commands today are what they are. Those who refuse to obey those laws as they stand today are guilty of sins that require repentance. If anyone had attempted to ordain black members to the Melchizedek Priesthood in 1976, they would rightfully have been excommunicated. Those who attempted to practice polygamy after the Manifesto were rightfully excommunicated. If you place homosexuality in the same category-then until there is a change, they rightfully will be also.

    The Church’s position is that the Lord never has and never will accept the concept of same-sex marriage. I can be sure this is true by following the same laws God has commanded me to use to establish for myself every other eternal principle.

  26. Rick Jepson says:


    I discussed this at length earlier on this very thread. Church leaders CLEARLY equated black skin with sin. Both the mythological (though taken literally) sin of Cain and the presumed premortal unrighteousness of ALL black people. Please see the above quotes if you don’t believe me.

    And while there was a “long promised day,” it was clearly to be after the second coming. Brigham Young made no mistake about that. Also, you revealed your lack of study on this topic by using a hypothetical example of somoene being excommunicated for ordaining a black member with the priesthood–this factually occurred. The fact that you don’t seem to be aware of that just makes it seem like you’re not willing to do the work to understand the history of the policy, its origins, and the process of the revelation that finally overcame it. And, so long as you are not willing to do that, I understand why you will never see the connection of that revelation to the future of homosexuality in the church.

    You say: “the Lord never has and never will accept the concept of same-sex marriage.” Again, the history of the church makes this very hard for me to believe outright, certainly not with the kind of confidence you have.

  27. evasquez says:


    Your love for your son is evident. Your love and acceptance for the commandments and doctrine of God…not so much. Everything the living prophets speak under the influence of the Holy Ghost is scripture according to God Himself. The teachings of the Brethren do NOT have to be canonized to be binding upon members.

    Elder Stephen L. Richards said:
    “?¢‚Ǩ?ìIn formulating their interpretations and decisions [the First Presidency] always confer with the Council of the Twelve Apostles who by revelation are appointed to assist and act with them in the government of the Church. When, therefore, a judgment is reached and proclaimed by these officers it becomes binding upon all members of the Church, individual views to the contrary notwithstanding. God?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Kingdom is a kingdom of law and order.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù (In Conference Report, Oct. 1938, pp. 115?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú16.)

    I am sorry, but it goes against the doctrine and laws of stewardship to assert that God has revealed to you- a)that His prophet and apostles are not asking the right questions, and that they do not care or know b)the course that the Church should be taking or will take in the future.

    I find it interesting that you ask Rick not to quote the Bible and then you do by saying “with God, all things are possible”. After all, that part might not be translated correctly.

  28. Rick Jepson says:

    Sid, I’m not sure what you make of your response to me. I suppose I haven’t been clear on my feelings…perhaps because I admit that they are muddled and no one likes that in such a polarizing discussion. Still, I think the whole body of my posts on this thread are fairly demonstrative……though I always think that it’s the writer’s fault if he or she isn’t understood by the reader. Not the readers fault. So, to clarify:

    I strongly want an evolution in the way that the church understands gender and sexuality generally, and homosexuality specifically. I can’t accept any notion of clear-cut gender boundaries. And I challenge anyone to define what it means to be male or female, whether genetically, anatomically, behaviorally, etc.—all definitions are riddled with gaping holes. If there aren’t clear deliniations–and there don’t seem to be–its hard to build a whole theology of gender and marriage around such a shaky frame.

    I ache for homosexual members (and nonmembers) and the impossible choices they currently face and difficult prejudices they encounter. It’s horrid. I want an evolution; I want a place at the mormon table–both for homosexuals to enjoy and for me to enjoy sitting by them.

    At the same time, I confess to not understanding the issue well enough to chart that course. I’m working very hard on that and will continue to do so. So, I’m not claiming to have the answers……..

    And thanks for the recommendation on Dennet. I’ve read a lot of his philosophy of mind and of biology, but not of religion. I’ll add it to that ever-growing “to read” list.

  29. Rick Jepson says:

    Evasq, again the problem with your objection to Sid is that its clearly not true in the view of history. If a member objected to the racist ban on the priesthood in 1977, felt that it was not based on any factual revelation, felt that its theological foundation was flimsy, felt that it was a social institution left over from a very different age, and felt that the Church needed to move away from it and ask for revelation to, as S.W. Kimball said, “release the ban and forgive THE POSSIBLE ERROR which brought about the deprivation.”………if some member thought all that in 1977, he or she would be CLEARLY going against the brethren and CLEARLY going against the doctrine and the mythological history being clung to and CLEARLY ignoring Brigham Young’s several pronouncements that black people would never have the priesthood until the end of the earth’s history. And if Sunstoneblog existed in 1977 and the member posted thoughts to that effect, I’m sure that you’d be there chastising.

    But….that member would also clearly be right.

  30. evasquez says:


    Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh You’re biases are killing me here.

    First, I mentioned being excommunicated for attempting to ordain black members in 1976 because at that point the civil rights movement was over and we were very close to the revelation of 1978 but it STILL would have been wrong. I have not studied the excommunication news of 1976-and obviously you have.

    Second, you either mis-read what I said or misunderstood. I said “God never declared black members holding the priesthood to be ?¢‚Ǩ?ìa sin?¢‚Ǩ¬ù or ?¢‚Ǩ?ìan abomination?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. To put it more clearly-God never declared “It is a sin for anyone with black skin to ever hold the Priesthood”.
    This is entirely different than saying “black members cannot currently hold the priesthood BECAUSE of a curse related to a sin” (implied by black skin or not). NOW do you see the contrast I was trying to make?

    Since God has NEVER historically stated that it is a sin and an abomination for anyone of African descent to EVER hold the Priesthood, the revelation of 1978 was not a contradiction or reversal of God’s revealed word. But because God has ALWAYS historically stated that homosexual behavior is a sin and an abomination, any future change WOULD be a contradiction and reversal of God’s revealed word.

    And lastly, I think that before someone insinuates that someone else is “unwilling to do the work” required to understand something, that person should at least be 100% positive that they have done all the work there is to do and know all the facts of an issue out. That way they won’t have to apologize for being a hypocrite when someone points out that they seem to be unaware of a HUGE historical FACT themselves.

    The teaching regarding a curse being upon the seed of Canaan did NOT originate with Brigham Young after the death of Joseph Smith. Want proof?-look for the letter Joseph Smith wrote to Oliver Cowdry which was subsequently published in the Messenger and Advocate in April of 1836. (hint History of the Church Volume 2 chapter 30)

    We can talk about who knows what more later.:-)

  31. evasquez says:


    Now you’re just being petty while you are misrepresenting me and gospel principles. Someone who “felt” all of those things about the ban is very different than someone who “KNEW” whether it was from God or not. The difference is that some people obeyed the principle, kept themselves worthy, and ASKED God to provide spiritual confirmation that it was His doing.

    There is also a distinct difference between thinking/feeling something and putting up a public fight against the Church’s stance on something. Thinking the ban is wrong is fine and the Church has never excommunicated people for thinking or feeling differently. Going out and ordaining black members without authorization is NOT fine.

    Sid and you and me and everyone else can think and feel all we want to, and that is FINE. But Sid doesn’t say “I feel this way” or “I think” that…he says “The Brethren are not doing this” or “Members who disagree with me are…” His words come across as facts whether that is intentional or not. What you call chastising I call making sure that facts get represented as facts and opinions get represented as opinions.

  32. Barry Schneider says:

    May I give one last comment and then I’ll be silent.(as this is a ‘comment’ section, not a debate board).

    Many times I hear the use of the priesthood ban/lifting as precedence for possible future actions relating to homosexuality. However, if we simply set aside the causal factors, we are still left with a disparity in precedence. There ‘is’ historical precedence for blacks holding the priesthood, along with teachings and sentiments supporting such an idea. That precedence simply does not exit in regards to homosexuality. At least I do not know of any. I may be ignorant in this regard. Hence, those that are wanting change, are seeking for something utterly novel to the LDS paradigm. The use of the priesthood ban as a parallel is not a parallel at all, and should be dropped. The same argument goes for polygamy as well.

  33. Even within Mormonism, I don’t think we hear enough about Satan’s role in tempting those with same-sex attraction (SSA) to make it far worse a challenge in their life than it would be without his influence, especially in these modern times when the gay lifestyle/movement has gotten the upper hand on PR and lures SSA people in that direction. I don’t know if Sunstone-type people even believe literally in Satan and his demons anymore, but I do, and so do a lot of Mormons.

    From my experience, I think we would be surprised just how much access demons have to tempt us, to whisper and suggest things to our spirits that can really mess us up if we heed them. I could tell stories about how my own devotion to Mormonism is largely based on having caught demons at their work in my own life and spiritual journey. I come from a family where the gift of discerning demonic activity is present. Our ancestor Heber C. Kimball saw one of the best-known open visions of demons in the church. Closer to home, when I had a sister struggling with bulimia, someone in my family had their spiritual eyes opened to visually see an actual demon ministering to this sister, feeding on her inherent weakness of self-esteem and goading her in this terrible vice. I imagine in today’s moral and cultural environment that millions of demons are swarming around people and whispering into their spiritual ears, “You are gay. You are gay. You are gay” and other temptations along those lines. Those with any inherent SSA weakness/disorder are the ones who take the bait. Those who feel they are 100% gay probably feel that way because these demonic messages have been so insistent and overwhelming, not because they really are created 100% permanently gay by God, which I personally hope does not ever happen.

    So I’d like to see the whole SSA thing approached from more of a spiritual warfare perspective than I think it is in the church. I’d like to see the priesthood used more boldly to rebuke and cast out the demons who are riding people and goading them into this sinful lifestyle. I’d also like today’s gay movement to be recognized as largely the product of these whisperings to people as well. I think we need to be less secular and politically correct in our thinking and acknowledge that the gay movement is a key battleground in these times between those who kept their first estate and those who didn’t. I think Mormons have gotten too timid and/or skeptical about this stuff, with our obsession to appear normal to the world and be more accepted or our prideful quickness to embrace human knowledge and understanding and not have the faith to go beyond that. But it’s very real to me personally, even if you think the devil and his minions are just some kind of allegory or something. I’ve got too many real experiences under my belt to deny it, and personally I don’t think it’s possible to win this battle on an individual or societal level without more of a return of 19th-century-style Mormon faith instead of our watered down corporate-style Mormon faith of today or, more common among Sunstoner, what I would call secular/worldly Mormonism.

  34. Sid says:

    We tried casting Satan out. Didn’t work because my son has had these feelings his entire life. As a six year old he remembers having to watch other boys in school so he would know how to act like a boy.

    Incidentally, after my son’s mission we had a blessing pronounced on my son by our stake president, in which the phrases “the Lord is well aware of your same-sex attractions” and “be patience for we don’t understand the hand of God in all things” were said. These statements lead me back to my original question.

    Does God have a plan for homosexuals that doesn’t include removal from the church but somehow allows them full fellowship? As a father of a gay son, and as a believer of Christ, I certainly hope so and hope that my fellow Christian members can hope for it too.

    As I re-read my earlier post, I can see how it sounded as though I may have misunderstood your position. Actually, I have been very impressed by your points. I just found it interesting that you often closed your postings with words that sound like you “can’t see a place for gays in our church”. I was trying to get you to have more faith, that all we are discussing can and should happen, just like we want it to.

    I wasn’t aware that the comment “With God all things are possible” is exclusive to the bible. I view it more as a belief of all Mormons. I could be wrong though.

    There are parallels to the blacks not being allowed to receive the priesthood, as Rick has explained, because the underlying doctrine the church followed was that they were “unworthy” for sins committed in the pre-existence.

    Homosexuals are deemed “unworthy” based on sins being committed today, according to current church doctrine. It is absolutely possible that we, as a church, don’t know the full extent of God’s purposes for gays, and that a revelation can change, not only the view of our current doctrine, but also our attitudes.

    What others like me want is for ALL people to be able to share in the blessings of the gospel, without fear of reprisals or rejection for being who God made them (gay or black).

    Our current attitudes drive gays away from the church (just as it kept black from joining), away from their families, away from the homes they love. That is not in harmony with the true purposes of the church and the gospel.

    We must find out if there is a higher purpose for gays in the plan of salvation, that we have yet to ask for.

    To simply say “gays are rejected by the church because of their homosexual behavior” is not a fair judgment because the rules for gays to remain in good standing “prohibit” the exercise of our God-given desires for love, affection, companionship, and our innate need to give love to others. Gay members are told they are NOT ALLOWED to associate, day-dream, hold hands, kiss, search for a companion, get married or have a family of their own. They are required to BE celibate, when no other person on earth is required to.

    There is a difference between being chaste and being celibate. Chastity is a condition we strive for because we are saving ourselves for the day we can legally have sexual relations with our chosen mate. Celibacy is suppose to be a choice men of God make on their own (priests in the Catholic church, for example), not a punishment imposed by a heterosexual leader on a young man (or woman) for being different from 90% of the world!

    If God has a purpose in allowing choice spirits to be burdened with a condition (gay) that church leaders are willing to sacrifice the greatest desires all men have as a God-given trait (need to love and be loved) in these choice spirits, wouldn’t it be prudent to find out His plan? The only way for that to happen is for us to stop thinking we have all the answers and humbly ask.

    An earlier post mentioned that the prophet speaks the will of God. True to an extent. He speaks the will of God as far as it has been given to him. To think God is finished, and all things regarding homosexuality are known by the prophet, would be very arrogant on our part. We have yet to decide whether we believe God has anything to do with whether a child is born with a sexual orientation or if they choose to live this miserable life!

    Try thinking this through without falling back on “follow the prophet for he is always right.” They have been wrong, or shall we say shortsighted, before. And that should be OK with everyone. They are human too and are prone to make mistakes once in awhile. When God steps in (when asked) He corrects things.

    One last point, then I will close my statements and refrain from trying to answer questions that are NOT being asked of lay members – specifically members who have not had to deal with this condition on a first-hand basis.

    A good indication of the success of a policy can always be found in the outcome of that policy. How can we say that the policy the church is following concerning gays is a success when probably 80% to 90% of gay members end up leaving the church?

    The role of the church is to bless the lives of its members (gay AND straight) not drive them away. I have yet to meet a gay member who wanted to be gay (and I have met with hundreds). Believe me, we haven’t figured this out yet!

  35. Courageous comment, Chris! I agree with your alert about spiritual warfare.

    However, I believe that most people in this blog community, whose primary perspective is from a rational, materialistic altitude, are literally asleep or blind to the issue you raise. This thread is not the forum for this subject except for this: there are undoubtedly dark forces at work in all of us as infesting presences. The main challenge for us all, including our gay community, is to become aware of our own true selves in the face of this infestation and become free of the false identities that are so often projected on us by a collective, corporate, ecclesiastic ego. Contrary to your assertions about whispering voices of false identity, I believe the gay population, whether they like it or not, is generally more aware of their true selves. [See my post #104.]

    If you wish to challenge my assertion, please write to me at enk33[at] Perhaps together we can find a deeper, more accurate truth.

  36. Rick Jepson says:

    Hi, Sid. Looking back, I can understand what you meant by your question. And I can appreciate it because I admit to being very confused on this topic. Not confused about how I wish things were as much as confused about how things will play out.

  37. Rick Jepson says:

    Evasquez, not sure at all where you’re coming from. I didn’t discuss the origin of the ban or attribute it to Brigham Young, and I’m certainly aware of Joseph Smith’s statement (which is included in the link that I recommended to you). But you should note that Joseph Smith himself ordained Elijah Abel, a black man, as an Elder in 1836–the same year that Joseph’s letter to Cowdery was published. So whatever contemporary mythology Joseph subscribed to, he clearly didn’t apply it to any priesthood or temple ban (Abel was also washed and annointed in Kirtland and served as a seventy).

    Joseph’s brother William ordained another black man, Walker Lewis, as an elder in 1844, And apostle Wilford Woodruf mentions him as “a coloured brother who was an elder” that same year.

    Not until 1845 is there any known reference to blacks being less valiant in the pre-existence. And it comes from orson Hyde. Still, just a year later, William McCary, also black, is baptized and ordained by Orsonn Hyde himself. So again, even the accepted mythologies of the time weren’t related to any ban, so it’s intellectually dishonest to cherrypick quotes and act like they support an organized, consistent, revealed policy.

    The first clear reference is in 1849 from B. Young.

  38. Rick Jepson says:

    Also, Evasq: “There is also a distinct difference between thinking/feeling something and putting up a public fight against the Church?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s stance on something.”

    I agree very much with this, and it causes me a lot of godwrestling. It puts me in a difficult position when I find that I do disagree strongly with the Church on something…it’s difficult to find an appropriate response. Although I share my feelings and insights in some forums (and not others), I also try very hard to be constructive rather than attacking or undermining the church. That’s a hard balance to achieve, and I’m sure I fail at it as often as not.

    To get a taste, try to imagine a scenario where the Church comes out and asks you not only to support a doctrine you disagree with but to even vote civily for something you abhor. That may be a difficult hypothetical exercise….but try it and understand my struggle.

  39. Rick Jepson says:

    To all: I’ll be gone for a few days, but look forward to continuing the discussion (if it’s still alive) in a few days. My brother’s flying home from his mission tonight and the whole family is in town. Lot’s of fun….but not much time for blogging.


  40. Barry (#136) says, “Many times I hear the use of the priesthood ban/lifting as precedence for possible future actions relating to homosexuality. However, if we simply set aside the causal factors, we are still left with a disparity in precedence. There ?¢‚ǨÀúis?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ historical precedence for blacks holding the priesthood, along with teachings and sentiments supporting such an idea. That precedence simply does not exit in regards to homosexuality. At least I do not know of any. I may be ignorant in this regard. Hence, those that are wanting change, are seeking for something utterly novel to the LDS paradigm. The use of the priesthood ban as a parallel is not a parallel at all, and should be dropped. The same argument goes for polygamy as well.”

    Come on, Barry. Why must “precedence” be the sole determining factor for a parallel? No parallel lines up with 100% accuracy. So what if there is no precedence for legitimizing (or sanctifying) same sex relationships? There is ample precedence for prophets being wrong, for prophets being overly influenced by surrounding cultural taboos, for prophets being slow to listen to the promptings of the Lord… such is all the precedence that is needed.

    There is also ample precedence for God withholding light and knowledge from prophets (or his chosen people) for a host of reasons.

    The comparison of the Black/PH Ban and Same Sex Marriage is a strong parallel because the Black/PH Ban demonstrates a case where LDS leaders wrongly discriminated against a group of people based on an in-born factor (in this case “skin color”) that was viewed by the dominant culture as inferior, as “less than.” Historical precedent, scripture, theological and doctrinal speculation, fear-based social arguments, etc. were used to justify the discrimination. Eventually, a more enlightened perspective emerged (strongly influenced by enlightened perspectives emerging throughout society) and the PH Ban was reversed. All of these factors share many parallels with the gay marriage issue.

    (I hope you won’t argue that God somehow wanted the Ban, that prophets were innocent of discrimination, that they were simply following orders… or that God allowed the Ban to remain in place until 1978 for his own reasons… these arguments are incredibly weak. They make “idols” out of prophets and demonstrate an immature understanding of “revelation” and the limits of prophethood.)

    (Note: the following is largely paraphrased from a comment made by John Williams at Exponent II Blog, which in turn is largely excerpted quotes from Greg Prince’s David O. McKay biography):

    So Pres. Monson?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s prophetic calling makes him privy to consequences and potential calamities that we are not aware of. If so, it might be interesting to review similar arguments that were made against inter-racial marriage and civil rights legislation.

    Walk with me, for a moment, down the path of history, to a meeting of the First Presidency in 1961. Henry D. Moyle (who joined the First Presidency in 1959 after Stephen L. Richards died) brought up the question of Kennedy?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s proposed civil rights legislation (desegregating buses, swimming pools, drinking fountains, among other things). Moyle was adamantly against it, arguing that ?¢‚Ǩ?ìit is unconstitutional because it takes away a man?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s right to contract, and to do business.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    Another apostle at the time, Mark E. Petersen explained that it was god?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sacred will that American society be segregated: ?¢‚Ǩ?ìI think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, ?¢‚ǨÀúwhat God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ Only here we have the reverse of the thing?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùwhat God hath separated, let not man bring together again.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    In 1961, Alvin R. Dyer (who would also be a member of the First Presidency) explained very clearly, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìThe reason that spirits are born into Negro bodies is because those spirits rejected the Priesthood of God in the Pre-existence. This is the reason we have Negroes on the earth, as a result of the curse placed upon them.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    In the 1960s, when the church was approached about its stance on segregation, President McKay argued, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìthe Church had better not take sides, especially on the question of segregation.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù When the civil rights bill eventually passed, McKay wrote, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìThe Civil Rights Bill is now passed and it is the law of the land. Some of it is wrong?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùthe Negro will now have to prove himself?¢‚Ǩ¬ù.

    Ezra Taft Benson, of course, was furious. As he would say in his general conference address of 1965: ?¢‚Ǩ?ìWhat are we doing to fight it [i.e. civil rights legislation]? Before I left for Europe I warned how the Communists were using the civil rights movement to promote revolution and eventual takeover of this country. When are we going to wake up? What do you know about the dangerous civil rights agitation in Mississippi? Do you fear the destruction of all vestiges of state government??¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    Barry, what sort of thoughts would you have had during all of this? Would you have agreed with all of these apostles and prophets of the lord? Be honest, now. Is it possible that our good leaders might sometimes overstep their prophetic responsibilities as they get involved in contemporary political debates? Clearly E. T. Benson was wrong. The Civil Rights Bill did not lead to the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìdestruction?¢‚Ǩ¬ù of the power of the state government. It did quite a bit to curtail American racism, though.

  41. Matt Thurston says:

    Final thought on “precedence”…

    I don’t want to diminish precedence, or “the way we’ve always done things”… most norms exist because they work, or they used to work. We should be careful to reverse or throw away longstanding societal norms.

    But time has a subversive way of upsetting historical precedence, of overturning cultural norms. New paradigms constantly emerge that tweak or completely eliminate outdated models. Just ask Galileo.

    We look back in History and shake our heads in wonderment at the blindness of our ancestors, at the way they doggedly clung to ideas about slavery, or the place of women, etc. Their ideas were not merely personal opinion, they were sanctioned by God, and they were sanctioned by Precedent, by prevailing Cultural Norms. How could they be so blind, we wonder? And then we hold just as doggedly to our own dogmas that discriminate.

    Our cherished religious truths are important and special… they help define who we are, they help light the path ahead of us… but valuing our dogmas over people is a big mistake. People are more important.

  42. The Arabs (and Jews of the Arab World) have a saying that I think Mormons also understand quite well; it is INSHALLAH! “If it is God’s Will!”
    The belief of the Mormon people in the Word of God as given through Scripture and revelation is unique among Christian peoples. To the Jew and Arab mind, and possibly, the Mormon mind, whatever becomes a fact on the ground becomes the Will of Allah (God). Thus, if a future Mormon President receives a revelation granting full equality of Temple rites and ceremonies to gays and lesbians, as I think will happen, the Mormon people will accept that revelation and will soon declare, as they have with the granting of full rights to blacks,that the LDS Church has ALWAYS supported the rights of gays and lesbians.

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