Thoughts on Same-gender Attraction

NoSurfGirl–I admit this is for you. It didn’t start that way, but since we so often talk about it… well, we kind of dance around it anyway….

I’ve really struggled for a long time to adequately organize my thoughts on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear–I have never opposed or disagreed with the Church on its stance. Rather, I just have never figured out for myself how to articulate my response. You might say that I’ve been searching for the faith and testimony to stand in defense of what I’ve long believed to be true and right.

I’ll admit a certain fortune in never having my beliefs outright questioned on the issue as well, though I imagine that time is fading. And in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll point out that I have several gay friends.

So, without further ado, I bring you the single best piece I have yet seen on explaining the Church’s position on Same-gender Attraction. And I challenge you (everyone, not just NoSurfGirl) to read the whole thing start to finish despite the length. I was amazed to find that by the end, literally every question I had ever asked, heard, or wondered about had been answered. For me, it cleared up so many of those gray issues, so many of those “I’m not quite sure,” things, and, yes, it even fortified my own testimony.

Enjoy!

Note: I want to make it perfectly clear that this is in NO WAY intended as a critique of NoSurfGirl, her ideologies, her beliefs, or anything else. She and her husband are two of my best friends and people I admire to the extreme in more ways than I could ever count. They both already know that and would never take this post the wrong way, so please don’t make the same mistake.

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9 Responses to Thoughts on Same-gender Attraction

  1. NoSurfGirl says:

    Hey Dave,

    I appreciate the shout-out, and your time on this issue. The fact that you would consider it because I struggle over this issue does prove you to be, in fact, a true friend.

    I have read this a few times. Each time I feel great about it. This line in particular catches my attention:

    We do not accept the fact that conditions that prevent people from attaining their eternal destiny were born into them without any ability to control.

    This is so true, especially because the statement does not say that God wouldn’t send people to this earth with homosexual feelings, it says he WOULD but that we should be able to handle whatever God has thrown our way.

    I feel like homosexuality is multi-faceted. There are those “born that way,” who for no explicable reason find themselves attracted to the same gender. Then there are those who have had trauma experiences that make them deeply distrust and fear and feel uncomfortable with the opposite gender, which makes them gravitate to their own gender when they start experiencing the natural sexuality and start feeling those needs for intimacy with one person above all others.

    And then there are the Pop-culture homosexuals who do it because it’s cool to them, they like the idea.

    Anyway… causes aside.

    My problem has never been the church’s stance on homosexuality, or even on marraige. My problem is the church’s politicking. And saying that civil marriage needs to be limited to a man and a woman and that’s it. I feel like, the church has every right to say who goes through the temple, but that it’s up to people to make their own decisions otherwise. As soon as the church starts saying that adultery and fornication should be illegal, and people who do it should not be allowed to get married, that’s when I’ll start feeling like there’s some consistency at least.

    (anyway.) 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    i agree with you nosurfgirl. sometimes i think “the church” should mind its own business–this is one of those issues that they should keep quiet about, i felt glad i didn’t live in california when prop 8 was being voted on, because i think i would have gotten pretty annoyed with “the brethren”. i believe, truly, that the church should have its doctrine but not make it the local law….we already fought the revolutionary war once…..

  3. daveloveless says:

    And that is where I soundly disagree. I found it very interesting that President Benson’s 14 Fundamentals of Following the Prophet was referenced three different times in the most recent general conference, with one of those fundamentals being that the Prophet can speak on any matter.

    This is not a non-religious issue, and if you read the article I linked to, you would see that. You would also see clearly why the Brethren feel so strongly about the issue.

    Prop 8 might not come to other places, but other, similar and more difficult battles will. The decision to stand by the Prophet and the belief that he really does have the right to that revelation is a decision we make today, not then.

    I choose the Prophet. I choose obedience.

  4. Obedience is really important. Just make sure you know whom and whym (:D) you’re obeying.

  5. daveloveless says:

    Yes, and if this was a question of following an ordinary person, that (who and why) would certainly be a very important question to ask. But this is the prophet.

    Either he does or doesn’t act as the mouthpiece of God. And yes, while there are certainly times when the prophet may speak as a man, I seriously doubt this particular conversation is one of them, especially since Elder Oaks, also recognized as a prophet, seer, and revelator, was one of the primary authors of the article I linked to.

    Naturally that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t understand who and why, but I worry when we seek a testimony so that we might know what the prophet has prophetically spoken is correct. He _is_ the prophet. I believe that that pursuit of knowledge/testimony in this case is more the solid assurance of obedience and faith, not the correctness of the witness borne.

  6. nosurfgirl says:

    is it the prophet, though? That’s the question I’m asking.

    The first presidency message, read across the pulpit to the California members, bascially said the church was going to engage in the political discussion about same-sex marriage, and encouraged members to participate in it as well. It said encourage, not “you must.”

    I personally feel that this does not separate the wheat from the chaff, as so many lately have said. I feel like people who openly opposed the reading of the letter by walking out of sacrament meetings were being disrespectful, but those who sat quietly pondering to themselves how they were going to get through it, whether they would actively participate or not, were just doing what a lot of us, in our lives, do. Figuring out what we believe, feeling out our own testimonies. In a situation where the church goes into politics, I feel like you don’t have to be a banner-waver to be “right with god.”

    Speaking of which… how do you feel about this, Dave? 😀
    http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-salt-lake-city/utah-compact-calls-for-federal-immigration-law-has-lds-support

    Low blow, I know.

  7. daveloveless says:

    First question first…. I don’t think the issue (and the purpose) of my post was a commentary on Prop 8. It was, however, a commentary on the Church’s stance regarding same-gender attraction. I don’t think there is _any_ doubt on the source of that stance. Prop 8 is another matter all to itself, but I still have difficulty allowing for the cop out. Sorry if that is offensive, but I take “suggestions” from the Brethren with as much force as I take commandments.

    I guess I’ve never struggled with that. I just believe, and I am very grateful that I do.

    As for the low blow (deserved, I know)…. 🙂

    I actually agree with it. I really do. The point of that legislation is largely one calling for the fair treatment of immigrants and especially that families not be separated. Both are things I strongly agree with. As for the issue I specifically struggle with (illegal immigration in general), the Church has not said anything in that arena _except_ that it is a matter for the government, and I also strongly agree with that.

    But one last point, if the Church announced today that we should give strong consideration to advocating actively for the immediate acceptance of all illegal immigrants as citizens, not only would I do so, I would also strive to gain a testimony of the principle. For those that would claim that to be blind obedience or blind faith, I know in Whom I have placed my trust. That is not blindness, especially given that He can see the end from the beginning.

  8. Sarah L. says:

    The way I feel about it is that laws are based on morals and we have a right as a group to fight for what we believe is healthy for our society. If I remember correctly, there were comments that the church favors civil unions. I have no problem with that myself. There are cries that same sex partners don’t have the same rights like hospital visitation. Wouldn’t the same thing go for heterosexuals who have lived together for years? We all have options to make who we want power of attorney or to have living wills.

    This isn’t a matter of criminalizing homosexuality. It’s a message that we’re not going to embrace the behavior as right and good when it is emotionally and physically unhealthy. The argument has been made that it wouldn’t affect *my* marriage and that heterosexuals have made a real mess of marriage too with all of the spousal abuse and infidelity; therefore, we aren’t protecting marriage. I’ve also seen comments that if we wanted to protect marriage, we should make divorce illegal. I can’t really take that comment seriously because who would honestly recommend that a woman stay with a violent man?

    Because I believe marriage originated with God for the purpose of joining man and woman to create and support families, it feels very wrong to me to call a man another man’s husband or a woman another woman’s wife. It’s hard to explain how I feel about this. If I were to refer to a man as another man’s husband, I would feel like I committed blasphemy because I consider the ordinance sacred. It is a religious institution that was later recognized by government as being good for society. It would violate my religious freedom to be forced to acknowledge same sex unions as a marriage.

    People say, “What about the children?” I have no doubt that children love whoever loves and nurtures them, but I can’t help but feel that they are pawns in an effort to push an agenda. None of those children were created by two men or two women. As the Family Proclamation says, I believe children are entitled to a mother and a father, and yes, a mother and father who are faithful and refrain from abusing their families. To be frank, I think it’s highly manipulative to expect others to validate these children’s parents’ relationships as marriages, saying that it would make them feel better about their families. Those in same sex relationships with children chose to put the children in that awkward position. Often they are born from previous heterosexual relationships or marriage, but now there are adoptions and sperm donations taking place. I do not consider homosexuals to be the equivalent of an infertile heterosexual couple.

    I have also heard, “Yeah, but would you rather a child end up with a loving homosexual couple or an abusive heterosexual couple?” I would rather the child be with a loving heterosexual couple. It is what nature and God intended and I think it’s terrible that innocent children have been allowed to be used as guinea pigs. Yes, I can understand why everyone would want to have children, but that is part of the sadness of homosexuality: You will never be able to produce a biological child with the mate you want. It is physically impossible.

    That being said, I know quite a few wonderful homosexuals and plenty of heterosexuals who suck. I don’t know why people have same sex attraction though and it must be very hard to deal with. A friend of mine in the church struggles with it and even joined the church while feeling that way, but he refuses to act on those feelings or to marry a woman if he doesn’t truly love her. He is one of the people I admire most.

    As off-putting as politics can be, the church does not support parties or candidates. It speaks on moral issues and encourages us to be active in our communities. It has always been that way. Going back to the Family Proclamation, it says the disintegration of the family will bring about the calamities foretold. That consequence affects everyone and the same sex marriage debate is just part of that. Rotten heterosexual behavior is disintegrating the family too. When teaching about the Law of Chastity in Relief Society, I came across a quote from President Kimball and he said to do everything we could to fight immorality in our society and I have taken that to heart. I can’t fight every issue, but I did get our local grocery store to stop displaying Cosmopolitan Magazine at check-out stands. It took three or four trips and each time the manager said he would make sure it got moved somewhere else. The last time I went in, I said, “I was going to shop here and now I’m not. You know I shop here a lot, but I won’t be coming back until those are gone.”

    That is just one small thing I fought for, but it has been wonderful to go back a year or two later and see that they are gone. There isn’t even a slot reserved for them anymore and those covers were just one more thing to possibly teach my children that immoral behavior is OK and even something to be celebrated.

    Sorry for the long ramble, but I believe our prophets are inspired, even when we don’t understand the reason for their counsel. And yes, it is hard to follow knowing that feelings are being hurt or that it is far from popular, but Heavenly Father knows what is best for all of His children.

  9. daveloveless says:

    Thanks, Sarah. I _greatly_ appreciate that you pointed out the issues with heterosexual marriage as well. This argument is so often tied closely to the issues in heterosexual marriage, and that is both fair and unfair. I think you pointed out both sides accurately.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

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