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Why would God allow his children to be born homosexual?

This question was posed at General Conference Sunday morning: “Why would God allow his children to be born homosexual?”

Why would God allow his children to be born poor? or right-handed? or green-eyed? or Mormon? or Jewish? or Muslim? or rich?

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe, just maybe, God loves us, no matter how, where or when we are born.

Maybe, possibly, the only reason we think being born gay is a problem is because we “see through a glass darkly” and don’t understand the mind and will of God.

Maybe what matters more than what we are when we are born is what we are after we’ve lived our lives. Have we tried to know and understand those who are unlike ourselves? Have we fed and clothed the hungry and naked? Have we cast out the beams from our own eyes and repented of our misdeeds and shortcomings? Have we visited the lonely? Have we spoken up for those who cannot speak?

We all begin life innocently. We fill our lives with meaning and leave legacies. What will your legacy be? How will your friends and family remember you? Will they remember you first for being homosexual or for being kind? For being heterosexual or for being sincere? For being bisexual or for being considerate? For being formerly gay or for being thoughtful?

Why would God allow his children to be born homosexual? Because God loves all his children, none is better – or worse – than another.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”

Update: For those of you wondering, here is a link to the official transcript of his talk. Observant readers will notice changes between what he said and what made it into the printed version of the talk. It’s not unusual for minor changes to be made between the time the talk is given and when the transcript is approved for release. Now, if the video or audio versions of the talk are edited, that would be more unusual, but not unprecedented.



Filed in gay,Help & Support - LDS,homosexuality,mormons | 133 responses so far

133 Responses to “Why would God allow his children to be born homosexual?”

  1. 1Reese Dixonon 03 Oct 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Just wonderful Laura, this helps me cope.

  2. 2Susanne Pappanon 03 Oct 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Beautiful post.
    Why does God allow children to be brain dead when they are born, yet live in an institution for many years?
    Why does God allow severe deformities and life threatening defects and illnesses?
    Why does God allow babies to be born and live their entire lives with Hemophilia?

    I can go on and on, but you said it simply and the best.

    I as yet have not been able to post.
    I truly believe that our tolerance and attitude towards homosexuality, and how we treat them, is going to be asked us one day, in this way:

    Did you follow my Greatest Commandment, by loving ALL of my children, and did you remember that Jesus Christ atoned for All?

  3. 3Madame Curieon 03 Oct 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you for this. You have done a much better job than I could have at articulating a response to this talk.

  4. 4Madame Curieon 03 Oct 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you for this article, Laura. You have articulated so well an answer to the unanswerable. I now know where to send friends who quote to me from Elder Packer’s talk.

  5. 5Bryceon 03 Oct 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Have some faith in the Prophets of God. He’s given them to us for a purpose. We can gain personal revelation that their counsel is God’s counsel. This only occurs after our hearts are softened and we humbly ask God with real intent.

    Also please don’t leave out President Henry B. Eyring’s testimony in the talk before that:
    38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. (D&C 84:38)
    You’re absolutely right that God does love us. Our Father loves us enough that he was willing to give His Only Begotten Son as a sacrifice for us. Because of the Infinite Atonement of our Lord He understands our trials and our struggles even more deeply then we ourselves do! He knows more about the temptations of homosexuality or any temptation because he suffered for these. He did it for us:

    Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. (Alma 7:13)

    Christ knows. And President Boyd K. Packer is led by Christ. This is Christ’s Church. It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    I know that each of us as can be enabled by His grace to overcome any temptation whether it be homosexual behavior, or pornography, or disbelief in His words.
    So please, if you have made sacred covenants with God to stand as witnesses of Christ then have the faith to follow those whom He has called. Christ called President Packer as an Apostle. I know that anyone will be blessed as they follow the Savior. He loves each one of you with!

  6. 6Kim Sieveron 03 Oct 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Bryce, I don’t think D&C 1:38 means what you think it means.

    It doesn’t mean that whatever the prophets say is the same as what the Lord says.

    What it does mean is that whether all shall be fulfilled by the Lord’s voice, or whether all is fulfilled by his servants’ voice, it doesn’t matter. The end result is the same: all is fulfilled.

  7. 7Melodyon 03 Oct 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Bryce, Christ can’t talk to President Packer or anyone else if they won’t open their hearts to the possibility that their own deeply held opinions are not correct.

  8. 8Dr. Boneson 03 Oct 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I stand with my good friend who writes, “When people are taught, in the name of God, that they can change something that they CANNOT CHANGE, they kill themselves. And this is why I will never, ever shut up. Amen.”

  9. 9Claireon 03 Oct 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Laura is my prophet today.

  10. 10paulon 03 Oct 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I agree with Bryce. It is clear we all need to love everyone and care for them. But it is also clear from the teachings of the church you either belief the Prophets are God’s servants or not. What we were reminded of today by a Prophet is that God loves all of us and we can all overcome challenges and sin no matter what it maybe. I for one fully support the brethren, the proclamation on the family and prop. 8.

    I also believe we must show love to those who struggled with homosexuality but that does not mean we can or will support that lifestyle.

  11. 11Jacqueon 03 Oct 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Amen, Laura.

  12. 12Mitch Mayneon 03 Oct 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Laura, well said. I’ve often been a firm believer in this: It matters less how fast we travel, and more in what direction we are headed. Being gay is not a choice–but being a kind person, regardless of orientation, is. I fear many of our straight brethren have forgotten this.

  13. 13Erikon 03 Oct 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I’m quite disappointed in this take from President Packer’s talk, and especially disappointed that what seems like a member of the Church (I’m not familiar with this site or its author, but from the title it seems that she is a member) so blatantly misinterpreting the quote.

    From the SL Tribune, as the text of the talk isn’t yet available, “…they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural,” he said. “Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember he is our father.”

    He is NOT denying that people can be born with homosexual tendencies. What he IS denying is that God would allow us to be born with ANY tendency/attribute that cannot be overcome. This was not a talk about whether people are born with tendencies/attributes or not, rather that ALL of us can overcome anything that would prohibit us from obtaining exaltation.

    In this same light, he counseled that anyone dealing with addiction can overcome it and be forgiven, thus showing the tender mercies of our Father in Heaven. I do not understand how that message could be portrayed into what Laura said it was.

    While we certainly need better understanding and compassion towards any and all people in the Church, we also need to refrain from construing what our prophets and apostles teach, especially when such messages do such a great job of teaching the love our Heavenly Father has for all of us.

  14. 14Sandraon 03 Oct 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I think people are understanding his talk wrong… or maybe I just interpret it differently. I personally don’t think that the question was actually meant to be “why did Heavenly Father make people homosexual”. I personally think that what he was saying here is that He doesn’t make anyone homosexual. We are created with a specific gender, and a loving Heavenly Father would not create us to be homosexual. If someone is homosexual, it is a choice that they have made…

  15. 15Lauraon 03 Oct 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Sandra -

    There is a difference between Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. Most people who are attracted to people of the same sex do not question their own gender – they recognize they are male or female.

    Gender Identity – whether you’re born a boy or a girl or something in between is not always black and white. Go luck up “intersex” or “hermaphrodite” on the internet. Children all over the world are born with ambiguous genders – one could easily ask the question why a loving Heavenly Father would do something like that to a child as well. But President Packer was not discussing why children are born with no clear indication whether they are boys or girls. He was discussing why a loving Heavenly Father would “pre-set” someone toward living a sinful, unnatural, addictive life.

    People who are homosexual are people who are attracted to someone of the same sex. This is generally referred to in Mormon circles as “same-gender attraction.” If you cannot fathom choosing to be attracted to someone of the same sex; if you have always been attracted to people of the opposite sex; then you are heterosexual (or, to put it another way, you “have opposite-gender attraction”). If you grew up attracted to people of the same sex, you are homosexual.

    Now, people always have the choice whether to act on your sexual attraction. That is where agency comes in. The Church would have all members choose celibacy or heterosexual marriage.

  16. 16Benjaminon 03 Oct 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I did not hear this talk given by Elder Packer but I asked my mother about the talks given Sunday morning. She told me about Elder Packer’s talk and I simply cringed at the fact that he was chosen to give such a talk. I grew up with the talks he gave on this subject and read the pamphlet “To Young Men Only” and not only did those talks and his writings on the subject of homosexuality become deeply ingrained in my psyche but as a gay man struggling inside conflicted about my orientation that pamphlet helped in bringing me into serious depression and I later had suicidal thoughts. It took me many years to completely shake off and transcend the conflict causing and toxic messages that I had internalized as a youth. I once went through Elder Packer’s “To Young Men Only” with a fine toothed comb and noticed that the majority of the words he used about sexuality were very shame based and negative in general. I did not find his words to be helpful. There are several of us who have asked the Church not to re-publish that pamphlet but to no avail.

    We keep making excuses for these men which I believe enables them and yes they are human men who make mistakes, have problems of their own including deeply ingrained biases along with their amazing and noteworthy gifts, qualities and talents. It’s almost as though the title “apostle” is a shield against any constructive criticism that may be of help to them. Even Brother Joseph was not above respectful constructive criticism as he received it from Emma, his family, his friends and others. Even Eliza R. Snow said to Brigham Young that a Latter-day Saint women who stays home and says yes sir all day to her husband is being disloyal to his best interests and that of her own. We need people in the Church who will stand up like she did and like others did in respectful ways as opposed to saying “yes sir” all of the time. These men are not God’s. We should not treat them as such.

    I’ve seen so much of this stuff come from Elder Packer from when I was a kid that it’s frustrating. I am not really interested in reading another shame-based talk by Elder Packer. I am sure I’ll probably force myself to look at it and see if there is some change in his worldview but I am doubtful that there will be as I have seen his modus operandi over the years and that has left me feeling nothing short of depressed. I’m sure God has called him to this calling for some special purpose. Many of his other talks about charity and other discussions have given me hope and have inspired me. It is unfortunate that when Elder Packer is given this topic to talk about his words are so rife with negativity and shame. It simply proves that he does not understand who we are. I do know God knows who we are and rejoices in the fact that His creations are diverse and beautiful. I believe one reason why we are created different is to humble those who think they know it all when in all reality they do not and never will as long as they continue thinking they do know all of God’s will on this subject. I believe our Father will continue sending His children who are “different” into LDS households until finally family truly becomes more important than the Church as an institution when the choice is put up to embrace your gay and lesbian children or reject them (and those they love) for the Church’s sake. Keeping that in mind what is the Church if not the members? The Church as an institution is made up of many families and gay and lesbian people are part of that tapestry. One day that tapestry will be celebrated as part of that beautiful quilt and not shamed as a mistake in the weave.

  17. 17Emilyon 04 Oct 2010 at 8:57 am

    Thank you so much for this. I am a married heterosexual woman, a convert who has always struggled with the church’s view of homosexuality. I ran from my house sobbing yesterday after hearing Elder Packer’s talk. I thought that I might be the only one who felt ashamed to be a member of the LDS church after that talk. But I’m not. I honestly felt like I could never return to church, that I would strip off my garments and never wear them again. But I realize now, that without people like us, things will never change. We must continue to attend, continue to be strong and faithful members, so that one day, our opinions will be heard… So that one day, one of us, or one of our family members, will be called as a prophet or an apostle, and one day, we can make things right.

  18. 18fiona64on 04 Oct 2010 at 9:55 am

    Congratulations, Bryce, Paul and Erik: Words like yours (and Elder Packer’s) are why five young people killed themselves last week. Do you think that’s what Rabbi Yeshua ben Yussef, who healed the centurion’s “dearly beloved slave” (a relationship which, in Biblical times, would most assuredly have been understood as sexual), would want you to say?

    “Pretend to be something you’re not; who you are is icky.”

    Not exactly words of love and concern, wouldn’t you agree?

    Laura, as always, thank you for standing up against the Church of LDS’ lies about our GLBT friends, fellow citizens and fellow believers.

    Love from someone with nice Mormon parents,
    Fiona64

  19. 19fiona64on 04 Oct 2010 at 9:57 am

    Sandra wrote: If someone is homosexual, it is a choice that they have made…

    Question for you, Sandra: When did you choose to be straight?

    My gay and lesbian friends had no more choice over their sexual orientation than I did. Therefore, if *you* believe it’s a choice, it must be because you chose to be straight.

    Science disagrees with your assertion, madame. I think that’s all that needs to be said.

  20. 20Chrison 04 Oct 2010 at 11:38 am

    In this whole discussion we must remember Elder Packer is a hardliner on the subject. This is his point of view on the homosexuality issue. He has spoken on it before and believes homosexuality is unnatural. Other general authorities as well as bishops, stake presidents who all are good people and inspired can see this issue differently. Just like the blacks and the priesthood issue, McConkie and J Fielding Smith to Brigham Young had a very strong testimony that blacks shouldn’t have the priesthood ever. Others including President David O McKay and Elder Hugh B Brown did not see the issue as cut and dry as the other two. They wrestled with the issue long before the 1978 revelation and even attempted to change the policy (see gegory prince’s, David O McKay and rise of Mormonism book) So even Apostles and Prophets disagree and have varied opinions on difficult matters including the homosexuality issue.

    So I am bothered by such certainties from those that blog on Elder Packer’s talk that what he is saying the is the very mind and will of God. In my opinion, it is his mind and will as he sees it.
    Regardless of Packer’s opinions on the subject, one thing Im fairly certain of is that the church will never accept gay marriage. They will always oppose same sex marriage, because traditional marriage, male and female, is seen as the stabilizing force in society. Not the only way to raise children or is it true in all cases, but primarily provides the best atmosphere to raise children.
    But here is the difference between Elder Packer and other leaders; attitudes, tolerance, and a willingness to accept homosexuals for who they are, without trying to change them, and allow them to participate in church more fully, will change over time. I think the vast majority of church members and supporters of traditional marriage wouldn’t have an issue with civil unions giving all the same legal rights to same sex couples. The issue is calling it marriage with state sanction. So despite what seems like a very hardline by Elder Packer and even tacit approval by the First Presidency, the issue has room for different points of view. Especially on the issues of natural vs. unnatural, born with genetics traits or not, and acceptance. The church has already changed from the stance it took even 10 yrs ago, not on the definition of marriage but on attitudes towards same sex attraction.

  21. 21Buck Jeppsonon 04 Oct 2010 at 12:09 pm

    The damage to our families and our relationships goes on. My own relationship with my partner of 13 years and husband of 6 is hurt by this type of speech. He knows Mormonism is an intrinsic part of me and when he hears that he and I can never be accepted, he starts to wonder why bother. This is an unspoken part of the collateral damage of such hate. I have a family reunion this coming weekend and I wonder if my relationship will survive it. I am very, very sad today. All the work over all the years seems to be crumbling. I visciously hope that the next young man who cannot be stopped from killing himself does it on Boyd K. Packer’s front steps.

  22. 22fiona64on 04 Oct 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Chris wrote: The issue is calling it marriage with state sanction.

    Well, you know, marriage is a civil contract. Churches are allowed to perform binding marriages only as a courtesy to the state, and must cite that authority (“By the power vested in me …”).

    We’re not talking about forcing any church to perform liturgical services against its beliefs; we’re talking about the legal right of same-sex couples to seek civil marriage, which may or may not include a solemnization of said marriage in a church that accepts them. No same-sex couple I know of wants to be married in a church that doesn’t want them.

  23. 23newconvertkimon 04 Oct 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I’m so glad to have found this site! As a pretty new convert to the church, this issue has been on of the hardest things for me to reconcile. As someone who is a big advocate for gay marriage and for my many gay and lesbian friends, I’ve had a difficult time trying to balance what I believe to be true spiritually and what I believe to be right morally. I feel encouraged to know that I’m not the only one who was saddened by the talk yesterday, and to know that there are others who are working to balance their faith and love/support for friends and family.

  24. 24kryson 04 Oct 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I wish someone would take Packer aside and tell him how hurtful this is — I wonder why no one has? Although it is hard to argue with someone who believes God is on their side and their side only.

    Maybe Uchtdorf was presciently asking members to cut Packer some slack when he felt he had to speak about patience recently?

    Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Continue in Patience,” Ensign, May 2010, 56–59

    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=5317b73f64838210VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

  25. 25Angelaon 04 Oct 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I too am a convert. Ever since joining the church in 2005, the one thing that has plagued my conscience and caused me to question my testimony is the church’s stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. I was also very upset by Elder Packer’s talk yesterday. I thought of all the gay members of the church and their loved ones who might be listening and my heart went out to them. I cannot imagine how painful it would feel to have my church tell me that my love for my husband was sinful. How could love ever be a sin? I am so glad to have found this site and to be able to read the thoughts of others who are also supportive of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. My sincerest hope is that one day, we can open the minds and hearts of those who are not, so that we may all be allowed to love without fear of persecution. Laura, thank you for a truly inspiring post.

  26. [...] given to the soppy yet sweet talk on gratitude by CEO Monson, the headline-grabber was Boyd K. Packer’s latest assault on The [...]

  27. 27Samanthaon 04 Oct 2010 at 5:11 pm

    President Packer was not saying to leave your gay or lesbian children in the dust or to be demeaning toward people who struggle with such temptations, he was merely saying to have hope and know that this temptation like any other in life can be overcome. Marriage is ordained between a man and a woman. Think about it, procreation and the powers within that miraculous event can only be employed between a man and woman. We are created in God’s image. He created us in his image so that we may become like him in our full capacity. Homosexuality is a blatant attack on those very scared powers to be held between a man and woman to further create families with the needed differences men and women bring to relationships. No one ever said, in this conference that gays and lesbians are any lesser of people than any of gods other children, so don’t lie to yourself and make it seem that way. They just want to give hope to people who struggle with this temptation (just like porn addicts, drug addicts, people addicted to wealth, to sports, to anything) that there is a way out and they are not alone. Prophets, seers, and revelators – the leaders of the church are in communication with Jesus Christ as he is the head of this church. They are in communication with God. What makes you think they don’t speak one on one, or receive divine assistance from his ministering angels? Rise up. Do not preach false doctrine of the church. We don’t have all the answers, but someday God will show unto us all things. Don’t question, just walk in faith believing upon all his words. God does love all his children, it would be foolish to interpret President Packer’s talk of saying anything but that.

  28. 28Dave Hoenon 04 Oct 2010 at 5:11 pm

    At this time of national attention on teen suicide because of hate speech and hate crimes against them, you can bet that Boyd Packer’s speech will bring about many additional suicides of young Mormons.

    If God judged us not on our good works but instead on how much sorrow we’ve brought into the world, I have no doubt that Boyd K. Packer and a few others of the Twelve would be cast into the deepest darkest depths of Outer Darkness.

    I regret that I only have but one excommunication to give for the sake of the young LGBT members of the Church.

    Dave Hoen

  29. 29Karion 04 Oct 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I have a testimony of the plan of Salvation. We were sent her to be tested. It is the gentle promptings of satan which cause us to desire sin. Each person is individual and you had better bet that Satan knows us well. He is our brother after all. Each of us has extreme weak points. But just because we are weak, it does not mean that we will fail. And the Lord is willing to help us in any way possible.

    I think that it is sad when people get mad at a church that fights for what they know is right. We believe that you have to be sealed together as a man and wife in order to gain eternal salvation. Why is that so wrong. I have never heard an apostle come out and say “you should be ashamed of yourself you had better change right now or you are going to hell” No they say come unto christ and repent. be made whole. Christ loves you. Homosexuality is a sin. Just as stealing a car is a sin. Just like telling a lie is a sin. It doesn’t mean that a person is bad because they sin. We are all guilty of it. I accept other’s choices to live a lifestyle of homosexuality. I think there are alot of great people doing good things. And i know the lord will commend them for that. By all means there end will not be hell.

  30. 30Nanetteon 04 Oct 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I’m so upset by this whole issue. Christianity is about community. Helping and loving one another… and ourselves. I think that this talk is just another wedge separating the masses.

    They. Them. Gay mormons. Straight mormons. Shouldn’t it be an Us? As christians? Or as children of God?

    As for homosexuality being an addiction… aren’t you glad to be addicted to being heterosexual? Wasn’t that the best and most righteous conscientious decision you ever made?

  31. 31Joshuaon 04 Oct 2010 at 6:38 pm

    This is the exact quote:

    “Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”

    I don’t think he is saying that no one is born with inborn tendencies toward the impure. There is plenty of evidence towards inborn tendencies towards violence and alcoholism. He says we are not preset. Many church believed in predestination. We don’t. That shouldn’t be news to anyone. He says we can overcome. All of us have inborn tendencies towards the impure and the unnatural. That is only natural. But to be a saint, we have to put off the natural man. We can and must overcome. That doesn’ t mean it won’t effect us, but
    that we will give it no heed.

    “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

    I am very thankful for President Packer. He is here to offer us hope that we can overcome whatever temptation is before us. That privilege is not just for those struggling with opposite sex attractions, but for us gay people too!

  32. [...] Read More Here. [...]

  33. 33BBon 04 Oct 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I as a member of the LDS church with many friends who have chosen to follow their carnal desires and have given up on overcoming this particular challenge am blown away by what I have read here today. It seems everyone just wants to fight for their own personal opinions. No I never chose to be straight but I have my own demons and vices that my LOVING father in heaven gave me that I might overcome them and learn to control my carnal desires. I in no way condemn gays lesbians or bisexuals or anything else and with that said neither does my church or its leaders. You all That actually believe in the bible or have read parts of it, it clearly states that man shall not lay with man or beast but shall cleave unto his wive and none other..In the King James Version, Leviticus 18:22 is translated: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” The following verse reads… “A man must not defile himself by having sex with an animal. And a woman must not offer herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it. This is a perverse act.

    the majority of us on this blog are all believe in the bible yet we reject its teachings.. The LDS church is only following what it is being guided and directed by God and his book, THE BIBLE. We in no way hate gays I love very dearly all of my gay friends even those who served honorable full time missions. But I will reiterate…We as a human race are all born with defects and challenges and weaknesses.. were placed here on this earth to learn to overcome them and return to our god through the grace( grace being after all that which WE can do) of our redeemer Jesus and to hopefully stand at the judgement bar to be sealed up his forever… I pray all soften their hearts and realize this isn’t out of hate but love for all that we may all overcome our defects and enjoy salvation with our brother Jesus Christ

  34. 34Lauraon 04 Oct 2010 at 9:55 pm

    For those of you who are new to our little community, welcome; we enjoy new names and stories.

    Please take some time to explore the sidebar and other posts – many of the questions and concerns you raise have been addressed elsewhere in detail.

    Also, please remember that conversations need to remain civil and thoughtful:
    -We try to share experiences and respect others’ viewpoints.
    -We avoid personal attacks.
    -We do not call into question the righteousness or membership standing of other posters – if you’re not the bishop, you don’t get to vote in that battle, so just avoid going there to begin with.

    Feelings are raw and tender on this subject, and there’s been more than enough blame, shame and pain to go around. Let’s not add to others’ burdens.

    People who cannot moderate themselves will receive assistance from our volunteers.

  35. 35andyon 04 Oct 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I’m. Afraid that as a person who has chosen to leave the church I didn’t hear about the talk until the news covered it today. I was disheartened that it seems to me that many church leaders and members are forgetting the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have them do to us, or another core teaching of Jesus’- love thy neighbor (I don’t think sexual preference is mentioned) . I have often wondered what Jesus would actually do himself. I fear that he would act very differently from what some LDS members choose to consider “Love” Christ’s love isn’t conditional nor does he speak negativeley about “sinners”, didn’t he even say of his murderers ” forgive them for they know not what they do” would he despise or fear Gays? Surely not, his was a message of tolerance, a message we could all take to heart and that goes for all sides of this issue.
    Thanks for the article and for the forum, I feel better knowing that I am not alone in caring for those of us who are Gay without needing to judge or recriminate them. I have a family member who is gay and I can’t imagine how they might have felt if they heard what was said and how it was said.
    Thanks again!

  36. 36Steven Bon 05 Oct 2010 at 12:43 am

    I thank Joshua for posting the correct quote from Elder Packer. I think Joshua’s understanding is correct and the thrust of Elder Packer’s statement has to do with the ability to overcome temptation and not whether God allows people to be born gay.

    That said, I believe Elder Packer misunderstands homosexuality. Anyone who speaks of homosexuality as “tendencies” fails to comprehend what society has come to call “sexual orientation.” Gay people are not heterosexuals with “tendencies” to pair up with those of the same sex. They are simply “oriented” towards those of the same sex and have no natural attraction to those of the opposite sex. And there is nothing inherently impure or unnatural in same-sex relationships.

    There is a very good response to Elder Packer’s Conference address at this link: http://wisdomlikeastone.com/04/10/elder-packer-axis/

  37. 37J.J.on 05 Oct 2010 at 7:27 am

    What I do not understand is why you feel the need to have any connection at all to the church if you do not wish to follow the guidance of God’s Prophets. I don’t mean this in a rude way at all. I am very sincere about this. In my mind the church is true or it is not. If it is, then the leaders speak for God on the earth and are removed from earth before they are allowed to misrepresent His will. If it is not true then why belong? Do you pick and choose other beliefs in the church and do you vilify and misrepresent other church leaders?
    I wonder if the people commenting here listened to the same talk that I heard because I did not hear a talk of hate I heard a talk of hope. I did not ever hear violence from this GA only love. The only violence I am hearing is from people like Buck (above#21) and others who are wishing this GA great sorrow and in some cases death.
    Do any of you know for sure that President Packer didn’t sit at home in tears as he prepared this talk knowing that it was required of him by a loving Heavenly Father. Knowing what the backlash would be for him, the church and his fellow leaders. I would guess that not one among you know the sacrifices and pressures of this man. Nor have you the responsibility.

  38. 38Markon 05 Oct 2010 at 7:47 am

    It wasn’t so long ago that President Packer or one of his associates might have preached about it being ok to segregate by race, keep blacks from the priesthood and such things.. They needed enlightenment then, and they still do. (There are writings from the church’s past that seem downright evil). What makes people think that the church of today has it all on the mark?

    I doubt Jesus would have chosen to devote so much energy to an issue like this when there are so many greater problems plaguing the world. The heavy handed involvement of the church in political matters like this strikes me as un-Christlike. Let the church lead by its own example, and if it is good, people will embrace it.

  39. 39fiona64on 05 Oct 2010 at 9:49 am

    Samantha wrote: They just want to give hope to people who struggle with this temptation (just like porn addicts, drug addicts, people addicted to wealth, to sports, to anything) that there is a way out and they are not alone.

    See, gay and lesbian people? We don’t hate you. It’s just that we’ll compare you to porn addicts and drug addicts and tell you that you can “cure” who you are. But we don’t hate you. Really. We don’t. We just hate your “sin.” So, either hide who you are in a closet-case hetero marriage or be celibate. But remember, we don’t hate you. We just think that who you are is no different than a porn addict or a drug addict.

    And you wonder why young GLBT kids suicide at a rate 4 times that of other youth?

    Who would Jesus lie to?

  40. 40fiona64on 05 Oct 2010 at 9:49 am

    Samantha wrote: Don’t question,

    Yeah, we wouldn’t want anyone to apply critical thinking to hate speech from the pulpit, now, would we?

  41. 41fiona64on 05 Oct 2010 at 9:52 am

    BB wrote: You all That actually believe in the bible or have read parts of it, it clearly states that man shall not lay with man or beast but shall cleave unto his wive and none other..In the King James Version, Leviticus 18:22 is translated: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” The following verse reads… “A man must not defile himself by having sex with an animal. And a woman must not offer herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it. This is a perverse act.

    You know, BB, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to educate you. The word “abomination” was not even coined until the 16th C. It is from the Latin “abominatio.” I guarantee you that no ancient Hebrew used that word.

    In fact, the word in Hebrew is “toevah,” which means ritually impure. Hint: women on their periods are “toevah.” If one is toevah, one must be ritually purified before returning to the temple. One is not an abomination, nor anything else like it.

    I am always shocked at how little Christians seem to know about their own faith and its documents.

  42. 42Chrison 05 Oct 2010 at 10:24 am

    So far people in this thread have sided in two major camps:

    1) The prophets and apostles must condemn gay and lesbian lifestyles because it’s god’s will (and as a consequence god sounds very cruel to those who are born with same sex orientation).

    or

    2) The prophets and apostles are spouting their own opinions on gay and lesbian lifestyles and are not fully open to god’s inspiration because of their own deeply held opinions.

    Isn’t the following much much more likely? :

    3) The church is not inspired. The Book of Mormon is not true. (I left the church a year ago because I found the Book of Mormon to be completely false.) And now I see this ridiculous gay/lesbian issue being raised — it is exactly what I would expect from a false church. It’s a repeat from the church’s anti-black garbage. When will people learn the truth?

  43. 43Philon 05 Oct 2010 at 11:49 am

    This whole discussion on here is painful to read.

    Way too many self-loathing gays who agree with Packer.

    Way too many mormons who follow blindly and without thinking and keep using the same buzz words like “temptations” and “overcome” when those things are all hogwash.

    They have nothing to do with homosexuality. It’s not something to overcome. Its not something to tempt anyone. Thats a blatant lie.

    Straight people are not tempted by homosexuality. Gay people are not tempted by heterosexuality.

    Get real.

  44. 44Bitherwackon 05 Oct 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Forgive the following if it comes over as flippant. It was written in earnest. Sometimes humor can highlight hypocrisy better than hurt and angry words…

    How Can Heavenly Father Allow His Servant to be Homophobic?

    We need to act with love and compassion for those confused and struggling with homophobia. It is a form of selfishness, and it is a lifestyle choice. We need to help them realize that homophobia comes not from nature, but nurture. An environment where homophobia is given tacit approval is bound to encourage flamboyant homophobia later on. Through prayer and right living, I know Elder Packer will be able to overcome the temptation to lash out at homosexuals. (Just as people with the genetic predetermination towards Down’s Syndrome are able to fast and pray their way to normalcy.)
    Perhaps we should enroll him in one of the Everpink seminars. Each time Elder Packer is tempted to act on his feelings of homophobia, he experiences disapproval from the membership as a form of aversion therapy. Disapproval works. The other day I had a missionary confess to me that as the result of an unwelcome homophobic remark he felt he had to floor his companion. I’m not recommending that kind of action, but sometimes it becomes necessary.
    There is always the chance that he will get what is often known as the GA cancer, or ARSE (Acquired Revulsion for Sexual Equality). We need to make sure that we can prevent him and others from spreading this deadly disorder. ARSE kills. How many innocent people will die because we were silent? We should encourage adequate protection for church members by the proper use of condemns. Condemn his reckless attitude toward the value of life. Condemn his choice of this particular time to come out of the closet and declare himself a homophobe. People are not homophobes, people may do homophobic actions, but that does not make them homophobes. We are not attacking Elder Packer the homophobe, we are attacking his homophobic actions. So if he were to become depressed or suicidal, it is the fault of his actions and his guilty conscience, not as a result of our disapproval. It is better that he should die than to lose his soul to homophobia. We hate his homophobia, but we love him. In fact, some of my best friends are GAs.
    How could Heavenly Father allow his servant to be homophobic? It is because Elder Packer needs to learn to live his entire life in constant control of his homophobic urges. He is not to share his homophobic feelings with anyone in this life. It may mean that he will need to forego all association with church members. That is the price he must pay. But if he remains faithful, we can guarantee that in the next life, he will be resurrected free of all homophobia.
    I’d like now, to speak to the youth of the church. Some of you may be tempted as Elder Packer to say homophobic things. Homophobia is a vile attitude. It makes it difficult to recognize the love God has for all His children. Homophobia is a filthy habit. If you give in to such urges, the little factory that creates homophobia in your heart may increase production. Stay in control of your thoughts. Some of you may already be guilty of experimenting with homophobia. Resist this urge; you will find it harder to feel God’s love. There are ways to conquer this habit. You must leave homophobia alone long enough for it to die down. I want you to know this, there is no transgression so great that the Lord could not forgive your contrite spirit. So next time you are tempted to give in to this habit of hate speech so unworthy of the Lords anointed, exercise self mastery and hum your favorite hymn.

  45. 45Sam Okraon 05 Oct 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I have read all of these comments with interest. I have read Elder’s Packer’s talk several times. Elder Packer does not expressly or impliedly state that that God would not allow his children to be born homosexual–or that anyone can change or should try to change same sex attractions. I agree with Joshua. I think many of you are implying what Elder Packer did not infer. He is referring to overcoming temptation which leads right into Laura’s statement about agency:

    “Now, people always have the choice whether to act on your sexual attraction. That is where agency comes in. The Church would have all members choose celibacy or heterosexual marriage.”

    I agree with Laura, that the church IS SAYING that members have two choices–celibacy or heterosexual marriage. Are you advocating that the church accept and condone homosexual sexual relations–perhaps in the context of same-sex marriage? If so, I am very curious as to how this would fit in with temple marriage, procreation, etc.

  46. 46Bitherwackon 05 Oct 2010 at 1:17 pm

    @21 Buckley, I am concerned about your situation. I pray that you and your husband will have the strength to weather this additional storm. There is no need for you to be in a place that doesn’t build you up, or recognize you for the person that you are. Sometimes we find ourselves standing in for all the things people fear. That is not a healthy way to live. Don’t sacrifice your marriage for the acceptance of people that may never understand. When you are strong, you are in a good position to stand up for yourself. When you aren’t, there is no point in seeking out abuse.

    I have been in awe of you and your husband ever since I first read about you on Affirmation.org. It can’t be easy. Things are hard enough for someone born in the church, there is the added stress for your husband in dealing with such unfamiliar ways. He deserves credit for the extra baggage. I am rooting for the both of you, and thank you for always doing your best.

  47. 47Sherion 05 Oct 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I wonder if all these members who are trying so hard to sound loving by stating and reiterrating that Gods loves all his children and will help us overcome all challenges, have ever considered the possibility that they themselves have the biggest challenge of all to learn; of doing unto others as they would like done unto them (not legislating away the rights of the entire gay community) and loving their neighbors as themselves (not just the straight ones) and Judging not lest they be judged. Could it be it is they who have the greatest lesson to learn from the loving Heavenly Father they claim to follow?

  48. 48Joshuaon 05 Oct 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Chris,

    I don’t think you understand the Mormon view of a God. We believe he gives us weaknesses so that we can turn to him. Many people have a weakness for heterosexual problems, and are learning to come to God with their weaknesses. Would God deny us the same privilege to come to him that he affords straight people.

    According to Mormon theology, we all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. The idea that gay people aren’t sinners just doesn’t make sense. Why would gay people be sinless and not straight people.

    I don’t think you understand his comment about overcoming illicit behavior applies equally well to straight people. Does the Mormon Church hate straight people?

    Joshua

  49. 49fiona64on 05 Oct 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I’m sorry; I have a hard time feeling sympathy for the man who, not so very long ago, advocated for beating up gay people:

    http://www.lds-mormon.com/only.shtml

    Quote:

    There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.

    While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.

    After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, “I hit my companion.”

    “Oh, is that all,” I said in great relief.

    “But I floored him,” he said.

    After learning a little more, my response was “Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn’t be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way”

    I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.
    —–

    Somehow, I doubt very much that the man who advocated gay-bashing not so many years ago was “in tears as he prepared this talk,” as JJ suggests.

  50. 50Dave Hoenon 05 Oct 2010 at 3:49 pm

    In answer to J.J.’s question as to “why you feel the need to have any connection at all to the church if you do not wish to follow the guidance of God’s Prophets”.

    We do it for the family members who are still members of the Church who are being made to feel ashamed of and in many cases have been estranged from their gay sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers.

    We do it for the thousands of gay children that have yet to be born into the Church.

    We do it for the thousands of gay youth and young adults in the Church who are being made to feel like they are failures and are feeling suicide is their only option.

    We do it in honor and memory of the thousands of gay members who have already committed suicide.

    We aren’t a race of people who can just decide not to be a part of the Church as the Blacks did before 1978.

    We are your families.

    Do you know of the tears that have been shed by the families of those who have committed suicide? Multiply that over and over again and any soul searching that Boyd Packer may have done before he gave his speech, pales in comparison.

    Dave Hoen

  51. 51fiona64on 05 Oct 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Joshua wrote: I don’t think you understand his comment about overcoming illicit behavior applies equally well to straight people. Does the Mormon Church hate straight people?

    How many of your compatriots, Joshua, compare straight people to drug addicts, porn addicts, gamblers, etc.? I’m just curious, because I’ve never seen that happen from anyone in your heterosexist/heterocentric church.

    I have, however, seen gay people being compared to those folks in this very thread, maintaining that they are merely choosing to be gay. I know that you and your Evergreen friends define things in ways that the rest of the world does not … but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

  52. 52BBon 05 Oct 2010 at 5:17 pm

    @FIONA64

    FIONA WROTE: You know, BB, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to educate you. The word “abomination” was not even coined until the 16th C. It is from the Latin “abominatio.” I guarantee you that no ancient Hebrew used that word.
    In fact, the word in Hebrew is “toevah,” which means ritually impure. Hint: women on their periods are “toevah.” If one is toevah, one must be ritually purified before returning to the temple. One is not an abomination, nor anything else like it.
    I am always shocked at how little Christians seem to know about their own faith and its documents.

    I WOULD LIKE FURTHER EXPLANATION FROM FIONA THE HEBREW SCHOLAR AND LINGUIST. SINCE YOUR NOT HEBREW AND DONT SPEAK HEBREW THIS WOULD ONLY BE CLASSIFIED AS OPINION AND NOTHING MORE….YOUR PERSONAL OPINION!! SO ARE YOU SAYING JUST DONT LAY WITH A WOMAN HINT WHILE SHES ON HER PERIOD BUT FEEL FREE TO LAY WITH ALL THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD? AS WE ALL KNOW WHEN THE BIBLE WAS TRANSLATED MANY WORDS DIDNT EXIST IN THE NEWER LANGUAGES SO THEY USED OTHER WORDS THAT WERE CLOSE TO THE SAME MEANING…..AND i DONT BELIEVE A BLEEDING WOMAN IS AN ABOMINATION! YET LAYING WITH A MAN..(WHICH WE ALL KNOW DONT HAVE PERIODS) IS THE ABOMINATION OR LIKE YOU SAID IMPURE
    YOUR CASE DOESNT HOLD MUCH WATER…BUT I THANK YOU FOR THE EDUCATION WHERE CAN I PICK UP SOME MORE OF YOUR SCHOLARLY ADVICE??

  53. 53Lauraon 05 Oct 2010 at 5:21 pm

    BB-

    Stop shouting. Not only is it rude and irritating, it makes it harder for people to read.

    If you want the explanation from a Hebrew Bible expert, here you go:

    http://mormonsformarriage.com/?p=30

  54. 54Marcos Puertaon 05 Oct 2010 at 5:38 pm

    @Fiona64
    “Somehow, I doubt very much that the man who advocated gay-bashing not so many years ago was “in tears as he prepared this talk,” as JJ suggests.”

    So are you suggesting Elder Packer is just lying about being in tears?

    To say he is supporting the reprehensible practice of gay-bashing is absurd. This sounds like a missionary defending himself against sexual assault. I would hope my daughter would do the same in the face of unwanted advances. It isn’t an issue of violence against gays, its about self defense.

  55. 55Marcos Puertaon 05 Oct 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Sorry, didn’t re-edit my above post. It should read:

    “Somehow, I doubt very much that the man who advocated gay-bashing not so many years ago was “in tears as he prepared this talk,” as JJ suggests.”

    So are you suggesting Elder Packer is just lying when he said “I am not recommending that course to you”?

    To say he is supporting the reprehensible practice of gay-bashing is absurd. This sounds like a missionary defending himself against sexual assault. I would hope my daughter would do the same in the face of unwanted advances. It isn’t an issue of violence against gays, its about self defense.

  56. 56Teresaon 05 Oct 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Here is the piece I continue to be confused about. I have no problem with a religion saying that one act or another is sinful and could cause damnation and exclusion from participation in that religion. But a religion that expresses a belief in the pre-existence, a war in heaven between one group who thinks people should be free to choose and another group that thinks people should be forced (legislated) into following “God’s” laws. The resultant winners, followers of choice, or Jesus, are the same people who say we should donate our time and money to force (legislate) what they believe are “God’s” laws. To oppress others and deny them the opportunity for the same civil rights that another has, based on religious beliefs, seems
    so contrary to what I believe are some of the core teachings of the LDS Church. It just baffles me!

  57. 57Matton 06 Oct 2010 at 6:12 am

    I have listened to Packer’s talk and read the text of it. I am not finding anything in there that is even close to the topic of this blog.

    Either it has been redacted from the archive, or this blog pertains to someone else’s talk…..I would like to see the actual talk. Does anyone know where it is?

  58. 58fiona64on 06 Oct 2010 at 6:24 am

    Marcos wrote: To say he is supporting the reprehensible practice of gay-bashing is absurd.

    In response to a kid saying he flattened a guy, his response was “Oh, is that all?”

    I quoted him directly. He also said that one should not omit gay-bashing from one’s armamentarium. If someone expresses an interest in you, it is NOT the same as an attempted sexual assault. I am a survivor of the latter, and yes, use any means possible to get away. However, if someone expresses an interest in you, and you are not interested, a polite “no, thank you” is the correct response — not physical violence.

  59. 59fiona64on 06 Oct 2010 at 6:26 am

    @BB:

    I am an anthropology major. I have been to a magic place called crackadangedbooksometime dot com. There are a great many translation errors in the Bible, and “toevah” is one of them. “Toevah” is not about sex; it is about ritual impurity. You went directly to the idea that I was referring to having intercourse with a woman on her period; I wasn’t. Even being *around* a woman on her period was not allowed because she was “toevah.”

    Among the other Levitical laws are avoiding rabbits and not eating shellfish. How are you doing with your strict obediendce to *those*?

  60. 60Matton 06 Oct 2010 at 6:28 am

    Re Bryce’s comments:

    Again I am not finding anything Eyring’s talk that reflects anything like what you say he said.
    Am I in the twilight zone?
    What are all of you seeing or hearing that is not in the archives?

  61. 61fiona64on 06 Oct 2010 at 6:44 am

    I can’t help wondering whether some of the new posters were “called” to try to defeat Laura’s (and other pro-equality folks’) voice in standing up against the religious prejudices that lead to so much gay-bashing.

    Another young gay Mormon was found dead on Sept. 30. That’s *six* LGBT youth suicides last week *that we know of.*

    I find Packer’s timing with this “message of hope” reprehensible at a minimum. It wasn’t a message of hope, but of hopelessness. No amount of praying will make a young gay person straight; it’s how they were born. Telling a young gay person that “well, we aren’t asking anything of you that we don’t ask of the straight kids” is disingenuous. A young straight kid has the *hope* of getting married to someone to whom he or she is actually attracted and can love fully and not living a celibate, lonely life. A young gay kid is not offered that hope.

    How do you think those kids feel, sitting in the pews each week or at general conference and having this message shoved at them? “You’re not good enough as you are; pray hard to be something you’re not. But remember, we love you — even if you are the same as a porn addict, gambler or drug addict, whether or not you’ve even had sexual intercourse.” Come on. Do you really think that kids are so stupid that they don’t understand the message that’s really being sent?

    This is absolutely no different than the anti-GLBT bullying that kids do in schools. In fact, I think it’s *worse,* because adults are supposed to be the ones who know better.

    Ever wonder how coyotes manage to kill prey much larger than themselves? It’s because they work in packs. One coyote runs out front, harassing the prey for a while. Then it drops back and another takes over. It’s only one at a time, but after a while, the prey is worn out. It sees no other option but to fall down. And that’s when the kill takes place.

    You may think, “Well, the bully is just one kid, how bad can it be?” or “Well, Packer is just one man, how bad can it be?”

    Now remember that it only takes one at a time to kill … and I think you’ll understand how the cumulative effects of bullying work.

    I don’t remember Rabbi Yeshua ben Yussef approving of that kind of thing … can you show me in the scriptures, please, where he says “love your neighbor as yourself, unless they are gay” or anything like that? I’ll wait. Really, I will.

    In the mean time, think about the coyotes.

  62. 6204on 06 Oct 2010 at 7:24 am

    Matt its not president Eyrings that they are talking about, its Packers.
    I have posted 3 times since and nothing posts for me I believe someone doesn’t like what I have to say..

    philosophies of men mingled with scripture is all I have read on most of this website.

  63. 63fiona64on 06 Oct 2010 at 8:18 am

    @04 – This is a moderated board; sometimes it takes a while for things to come up.

  64. 64Joshuaon 06 Oct 2010 at 10:46 am

    I likewise think that the message that gay people are incapable of finding peace and happiness in the church is harmful to gay people like me who love the church. I think that false belief drives many to suicide. I think we agree suicide is a problem. The question is how do we fix it? Do we tell gay people they are not able to control their sexual feelings like straight people can, or do we tell them that their Christ all things are possible?

    I think gay suicides would go done if we reaches out with love to them and gave them hope that they can overcome the natural man just like straight people can.

  65. 65Charityon 06 Oct 2010 at 10:51 am

    In Brigham Young’s day, it was widely held that people of certain races were eternally inferior. Even Brigham Young believed it and taught, from the pulpit, that very thing. He was a prophet but he was, in this belief, incorrect. Because the priesthood was denied to some races in Young’s day, there were many who believed wholeheartedly (Young included) that this was an eternal principle – that there were different classes of human beings and that the lower races had never been designed to receive the fullness of the gospel in the same way that the upper races had. Even in the Celestial Kingdom, a class of servants was established from the preexistence. Of course, this sounds strange to us today. But maybe someday, the idea of a loving Heavenly Father wanting to deny loving eternal partnerships to some of His children, will also sound strange.

  66. 66Joshuaon 06 Oct 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Charity,

    I don’t think you understand the Church’s stance on the priesthood. Brigham Young said that eventually black people will be able to “possess the Priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we are now entitled to” including those who were alive in his day. The idea that there were lower races that had never been designed to receive the fullness of the gospel is not Mormon doctrine, but Protestant doctrine. Mormonism never adopted that. You are confusing the teachings of other churches with Mormons. Mormon doctrine has always been that all mankind may be saved through obedience to the laws and the ordinances of the gospel. That includes black people and it includes gay people. All blessing which we are now entitled certainly include celestial marriage.

    The ministering angels, to which you allude, was not based on race.

    When taking old quotes out of context, it is helpful to remember the law of witnesses. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. ” 2 Corinthians 13:1

    One quote does not constitute doctrine under this law.

  67. 67fiona64on 06 Oct 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Oh, Joshua. Are you really this ill-informed about your own church’s history?

    http://www.exmormon.org/blacks1.htm

    http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_racism.html

    http://www.yhvh.name/?w=548

    I’d be embarrassed to be apologizing for such indefensible remarks, to be honest … but OTOH, you’re always apologizing for indefensible remarks by the *current* church leadership. I’m saddened, but not at all surprised.

  68. 68Lauraon 06 Oct 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Anyone who is old enough to remember Sunday School, seminary, priesthood, Relief Society or institute lessons prior to 1978 is familiar with these teachings (which were used regularly to justify denying priesthood and temple blessings to blacks):

    - Blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence and/or on the fence
    - Blacks have the mark of Cain (either as a curse or a protection)

    It’s also quite likely they had heard that black people were sealed to (white) prophets as servants.

    Thankfully, those teachings have been jettisoned from official teachings and publications (and quasi-official writings like Mormon Doctrine are no longer in print).

    Now we can rest assured that ministering angels will be the folks who aren’t sealed for time and all eternity.

  69. 69Lauraon 06 Oct 2010 at 2:04 pm

    There are participants here who have shared their experiences staying in the Church without marrying persons of the opposite sex. You might check out Mitch’s story or you might enjoy reading through some other stories like these or these.

  70. 70fiona64on 06 Oct 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Joshua wrote: I think gay suicides would go done if we reaches out with love to them and gave them hope that they can overcome the natural man just like straight people can.

    “Overcoming the natural man” is, I assume, Joshua-speak for being celibate until marriage?

    Where’s the message of hope in “be celibate and alone, or marry a woman to whom you’re not really attracted”?

    Where’s the message of hope in “God didn’t make you the way you are, so pray really hard to be something you’re not. And if you can’t pray away the gay, well, your faith just isn’t strong enough?”

    Where’s the message of hope in Proposition 8? In Proposition 22? In the increasing number of hate crimes against GLBT people? In the parents who put their kids out of the house when they reveal their sexual orientation? In the churches that insist on using a mistranslation of Leviticus and other parts of the bible to condemn those whom they find distasteful?

    What message of hope would you have given to these people, when their own church was organizing an army to make war on their rights — to TAKE RIGHTS AWAY FROM THEM (and yes, the shouting was intentional), as was done with Prop 8? And, for once, save me your disingenuous response that “they have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex as anyone else.” You know, and I know, that isn’t the point.

    Re-read the story about the coyotes, Joshua, and (for the love of whatever god you worship), recognize your own yipping in the cannaille.

  71. 71Dave Hoenon 06 Oct 2010 at 3:02 pm

    From Elder Packer’s speech:

    “Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”

    Elder Packer’s supporters here are interpreting this to mean that he is not saying people aren’t born gay, but rather we all have temptations and that God would not do this and not provide a way to overcome those temptations.

    I think it is very clear what he is saying. He is saying Same Sex Attraction is a choice and God did not create us that way. Regardless of your interpretation of what he is saying on this particular occasion, we know that in the past he certainly spelled it out as a choice caused by various factors. Elder Packer has been itching to give this speech for years and he has had plenty of time to figure out how to succinctly say that Same Sex Attraction isn’t a choice. We all know that most members ignorantly believe SSA is a choice and Elder Packer not only didn’t say anything that would change that ignorance, but said many things to further enforce it.

    With so much scientific information and human experience available these days, Elder Packer is either choosing to remain ignorant and keep the general membership likewise ignorant or choosing to withold exculpatory information from the general membership. Either way, his actions are shameful. While SSA is not a choice, ignorance is.

    In the past, Latter-Day Prophets have said things that at the time were believed to be the inspired words of Prophets. Later on when those statements were shown to be false or said in ignorance or fear, the Church distanced themselves by stating that those things “were said when he was acting as a man and not as a Prophet”. Often the Church wherever possible has gathered those embarrassing things up and sealed them behind lock and key in the Church Archives. Or should we simplify this by just saying, they were swept under the rug?

    Likewise, there will come a time when the Church will try to distance itself from Elder Packer’s speech. Of course by then, Elder Packer will be long gone and won’t have the opportunity to atone for the harm he has done to thousands of families.

    Dave Hoen

  72. 72matton 06 Oct 2010 at 4:37 pm

    PLease could someone post a link to the speech of President Packer that is causing all this chatter.
    I have looked and listened to his speech on Sunday morning of conference several times and I cannot find any reference to this topic.
    I would really like to hear what he says in context.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  73. 73Lauraon 06 Oct 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Matt –

    The transcripts are generally not available immediately. I think they’ll come out tomorrow (Thursday). This is a link to an MP3 version of the talk.

    There are probably some unofficial transcripts floating around on the internet by now. Haven’t tried searching.

    Once the official transcripts are up, I will update the OP as well.

  74. 74matton 06 Oct 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks Laura

  75. 75Sam Okraon 06 Oct 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Dave:

    You are simply ascribing the idea that same sex attraction is a choice to this statement without considering the context of the comment and the “flush” language of the statement. Where in all of his talk did he discuss choice” in the context of choosing to be gay. He didn’t. Period.

    Please read it again:

    “Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”

    What is the action word? Choose? No! The action word is “OVERCOME”. “Overcome” means to master inborn tendencies. Elder Wickman stated (see below): “But what matters is the fact that we know we can control how we behave, and it is behavior which is important”. This is clearly what President Packer is talking about. If you have a beef with that doctrine, fine, but at least make sure that we arguing about the same concept.

    I have a good friend who is gay. I have known him from the age of 10. He has always been gay and and I am sure will always be gay in this life. His life has been very difficult. He tried to marry and quickly divorced. Was he counseled to do so by priesthood leaders? Yes, he was and it was a disaster for everyone involved . These are hard things for sure. Now he has more respect and is no longer persecuted by his family, friends, and church. However, he has remained constant, faithful, and full of hope and love. He frequently bears his testimony on blogs and other forums. He served a faithful mission and serves in the church. He lists his favorite book on his facebook page as the Book of Mormon. He understands that everyone makes mistakes–including his family and church–but he has forgiven them and lives without much of the bitterness that I see on the websites.

    The question is how do we approach these issues on both sides. With love and respect or rancor? The moment of decision is at hand for all of us. Do we believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is led by a prophet–or do we kick against the pricks? The church will continue to evolve and things will get better for many who have felt ostracized such gays, single women, and others who don’t fit the “profile”. The race thing was not doctrine. It was policy and the Lord reversed it. David O McKay tried to move this issue forward, but many of the brethren were not onboard–but he paved the way. President Kimball told blacks well before the revelation that they would have the priesthood “very soon”. The revelation on the Priesthood was inevitable and made perfect sense. Same sex marriages are not the same thing and will never be sanctioned.

    I am curious as to what you really think the church should do at this point. It is a mystery to me. If you you were “king” or “prophet” for a day what would you do?

    Specifically, what would you put in the church handbook of instructions?

    See below on nature/nurture:

    http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/official-statement/same-gender-attraction

    PUBLIC AFFAIRS: You’re saying the Church doesn’t necessarily have a position on ‘nurture or nature’

    ELDER OAKS: That’s where our doctrine comes into play. The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.

    ELDER WICKMAN: Whether it is nature or nurture really begs the important question, and a preoccupation with nature or nurture can, it seems to me, lead someone astray from the principles that Elder Oaks has been describing here. Why somebody has a same-gender attraction… who can say? But what matters is the fact that we know we can control how we behave, and it is behavior which is important.

    Sam

  76. 76Henry Clayon 06 Oct 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Several points:

    1. The prophets and apostles will not lead us astray. We have been thusly promised.

    2. We are not meant to blindly follow any doctrine in the Church. We are meant to ask God for wisdom, as Joseph did. Moroni’s promise applies to any teaching where we might need additional direction. If you have not yet prayed to know whether Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, is an inspired man of God, you should do so. If you have not prayed to know whether his recent talk was divinely inspired, you should do so. Keep in mind that the First Presidency keeps tight control over what is taught from the pulpit at general conference.

    3. It behooves no one to blindly follow any teaching, regardless of its source; many of us are torn. May I offer the counsel of Abraham Lincoln: “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.” Seek wisdom and understanding in prayer.

    4. We can still love and support others, even if we do not agree with them or their lifestyle.

    5. So that none of us is counted among the foolish virgins at the last day, it is of utmost importance that we be wise, and take the Holy Spirit to be our guide. Follow the Spirit, seek wisdom.

    Brothers and Sisters, if we turn to the Father in prayer, with faith and real intent, He will give us the answers and faith we require to weather this difficult time, and to overcome any difficulty. All things are possible unto God.

  77. 77Sam Mooreon 06 Oct 2010 at 7:47 pm

    I read this whole post and much of the links that were provided. I have to stand behind Sam Okra and especially Henry Clay. You men have it right. To all, I say let’s just keep learning and stay hopeful.

  78. 78Lauraon 06 Oct 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Part of the problem with euphemism and ambiguity is that it’s hard to tell exactly what somebody means, leaving the door wide open for (mis)interpretation.

    In the case of Elder Packer, it might be helpful to realize that this is not at all the only time he has addressed this issue, and it is not the only time he has used this terminology to describe homosexuality and the legislation surrounding it.

    One of his most renowned speeches was at a 12-stake fireside at BYU on March 5, 1978. The speech was later made up into a pamphlet and distributed to members seeking spiritual advice on homosexuality.

    At that time, Elder Packer said in part:

    And so, now to the subject, to introduce it I must use a word. I will use it one time only. Please notice that I use it as an adjective, not as a noun; I reject it as a noun. I speak to those few, those very few, who may be subject to homosexual temptation. I repeat, I accept that word as an adjective to describe a temporary condition. I reject it as a noun naming a permanent one.

    I have had on my mind three general questions concerning this subject. First: Is sexual perversion wrong?

    There appears to be a consensus in the world that it is natural, to one degree or another, for a percentage of the population. Therefore, we must accept it as all right. However, when you put a moral instrument on it, the needle immediately flips to the side labeled “wrong.” It may even register “dangerous.” If there has been heavy indulgence, it registers clear over to “spiritually destructive.”

    The answer: It is not all right. It is wrong! It is not desirable; it is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression.

    There is much in the scriptures that applies to this subject indirectly as well as a number of very direct references. In all of them, this and every other form of moral mischief is condemned. I read but two. This, from Romans, chapter one:

    For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:26-27)

    More recently, in fact, exactly one decade ago, Elder Packer told members gathered at the October 2000 General Conference:

    Now, I must speak of another danger, almost unknown in our youth but now everywhere about you.

    Normal desires and attractions emerge in the teenage years; there is the temptation to experiment, to tamper with the sacred power of procreation. These desires can be intensified, even perverted, by pornography, improper music, or the encouragement from unworthy associations. What would have only been a more or less normal passing phase in establishing gender identity can become implanted and leave you confused, even disturbed.

    If you consent, the adversary can take control of your thoughts and lead you carefully toward a habit and to an addiction, convincing you that immoral, unnatural behavior is a fixed part of your nature.

    With some few, there is the temptation which seems nearly overpowering for man to be attracted to man or woman to woman. The scriptures plainly condemn those who “dishonour their own bodies between themselves … ; men with men working that which is unseemly” (Rom. 1:24, 27) or “women [who] change the natural use into that which is against nature” (Rom. 1:26).

    The gates of freedom, and the good or bad beyond, swing open or closed to the password choice. You are free to choose a path that may lead to despair, to disease, even to death (see 2 Ne. 2:26–27).

    If you choose that course, the fountains of life may dry up. You will not experience the combination of love and struggle, the pain and pleasure, the disappointment and sacrifice, that love which, blended together in parenthood, exalts a man or a woman and leads to that fulness of joy spoken of in the scriptures (see 2 Ne. 2:25; 2 Ne. 9:18; D&C 11:13; D&C 42:61; D&C 101:36).

    Do not experiment; do not let anyone of either gender touch your body to awaken passions that can flame beyond control. It begins as an innocent curiosity, Satan influences your thoughts, and it becomes a pattern, a habit, which may imprison you in an addiction, to the sorrow and disappointment of those who love you (see John 8:34; 2 Pet. 2:12–14, 18–19).

    Pressure is put upon legislatures to legalize unnatural conduct. They can never make right that which is forbidden in the laws of God (see Lev. 18:22; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:9–10).

    It really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s been listening to conference talks and firesides that Elder Packer is reiterating these messages once again. Perhaps the difference this time is the immediacy of the internet and the timing of the talk, coming so soon after some very publicized gay suicides.

    Or perhaps the difference this time is that Elder Packer is obviously nearing the end of his life and there is always the possibility that this talk might be one of, if not his final conference talk.

    It might also be appropriate to remember that moderation is not really his style. His biography, A Watchman on the Tower, points out again and again that he sees his mission and calling as being a voice of warning, “No concern for personal popularity nor fear of criticism will deter him. He bears the battering and the derision of his critics with steadiness. Elder Packer readily admits that he is not always a diplomat. He once wrote, ‘I think that very often I do not do very well in speaking in council meetings and perhaps my shortcomings there do injury to the very position I am trying to endorse… It is the principle that concerns me.’” (244)

    Except for the fact that the ambiguity and euphemisms he employs serve to cloud his message (as attested by the polarized reactions to this latest talk) there is no question where Elder Packer stands on the principles he addressed earlier this week.

  79. 79Roger Brownon 06 Oct 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Have you all read this in the past year? Please check it out. It might help those that have misunderstood President Packer. Here’s a snippet of it:

    http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/article/elder-bruce-c-hafen-speaks-on-same-sex-attraction
    ~~~~~~
    As I felt about him, I admire your righteous desires and your courage. You may not have consciously chosen to have same-gender attraction, but you are faithfully choosing to deal with it. Sometimes that attraction may make you feel sinful, even though the attraction alone is not a sin if you do not act on it. Sometimes you may feel frustration or anger or simply a deep sadness about yourself. But as hard as same-gender attraction is, your feeling that attraction does not mean that your nature is flawed. Whenever the adversary tries to convince you that you are hopelessly “that way,” so that acting out your feelings is inevitable, he is lying. He is the father of lies.

    Remember President Hinckley’s confidence in you: “Our hearts reach out to [you]. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and sisters.”[i] And President Packer has echoed, “We do not reject you… We cannot reject you… We will not reject you, because we love you.”[ii] With that kind of leadership, I pray that all Church members are learning to be more compassionate and understanding.
    ~~~~~~
    http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/article/elder-bruce-c-hafen-speaks-on-same-sex-attraction

  80. 80Joshuaon 07 Oct 2010 at 6:53 am

    We have to remember that while his talk included those with SSA, it also includes people those struggling with OSA feelings. We all have feelings that we did not chose to do what is wrong. That is part of the nature of the fall. We learn in the Book of Mormon that people have become devilish, and sensual, but by submitting to the will of the Holy Ghost, we can put off the natural man, and become a saint. Some say it is unhealthy to put off the natural man, and would rather do what comes natural to them. This was the meat of Elder Packer’s talk. Regardless of what seems natural, we are not preset to follow the natural man, but can all overcome the natural man.

    Many have taken offense when it applies to homosexuals. Do you take similar offense when it comes to heterosexuals? I think it is natural for heterosexuals to want to look for other sexual partners when relationships with their significant others goes sour. It is natural for heterosexuals who are sexually attracted to each other to engage in sexual activity before really getting to know each other and commitments are made. It is natural for a man who has an opportunity to have sexual relationships with a woman that he is sexually attracted to, to take advantage of that.

    So, in light that it is natural, is it possible for straight people to overcome their heterosexuality? Or is it just homosexuals that can’t overcome their homosexuality, while heterosexuals have that type of self control.

    Perhaps the church should stop teaching against adultery, fornication and prostitution, since these all seem very natural.

  81. 81Marcos Puertaon 07 Oct 2010 at 8:17 am

    Laura – Are you implying President Packer believes we should take away temple recommends because of persistent same gender attraction or lack of opposite gender attraction? As you rightly noted, and he has said in the past, of all his communication difficulties being misunderstood is not one of them. If he believes that he would have said it. In the quote you provide above, he is talking about behavior. Its the same for heterosexual feelings. There is a difference between attraction and lust. In fact, all of us are attracted to others for various reasons. It is our hypersexual society that wants us to believe that any attraction must be sexual in nature. Look at the entire body of the dialogue, including the recent statements by Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman. None of them (including President Packer) states or implies, by euphemism or otherwise that we should be on some kind of witch hunt for anyone who has had a same gender attraction thought. Read the quotes you just placed – they all point to avoiding lustful thoughts leading to behavior. It applies to all of us the same.

  82. 82J.J.on 07 Oct 2010 at 9:46 am

    @Fiona64 said in a quote in which she says President Packer advocates violence. “There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.”
    It says “men enticing young men into immoral acts” how can you on ANY level disagree that if a man is trying to entice a “young man” (not another adult) the young man should vigorously resist? We are talking about defending ourselves from abuse here. He was after all speaking to boys ages 12-18.
    As for the story of the missionary, if as an adult I recieve unwanted sexual advances from another adult male or female at what point do I get to deck someone to protect myself, without it being a hate crime? After saying no once? Twice? Do you know how many times this young man asked his companion to stop before he hit him? I think not. Is a woman fighting off an agressor a hate crime in your book?
    You are looking for things to be angry about in this talk as well as the latest one. I heard a talk that applied to me. I am imperfect but my loving Heavenly Father did not send me hear unable to over come ANY of my shortcomings. You say this was a talk of hate but the only hate and violence I see is coming from the gay community, on web sites like this. The disrespect and hatred and violence spewed forth from this group of people towards President Packer and towards this religion is vile. You preach the need to be open minded but only to your own views. Is that still an open mind? Take a moment and ask what if… what if I have been as hate filled, as mean, as thoughtless, as hurtful, as I am accusing someone else of being? What if _______ is right what if I can over come my short comings and sins just as everyone else? What if President Packer is a Prophet?

  83. 83Judyon 07 Oct 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Laura,
    Thanks for tis post.

    Nanette 30: Lol and thank you so much for your wonderful point! I needed that after 29.
    Kari 29: “The test” is not being homosexual (as the church likes to call it. I prefer gay or lesbian — homosexual sounds like a diagnosis, much like heterosexual if you prefer), but how we are treated by people who do not understand and who rather than learn are content to fear and fight against what they do not understand.
    Benjamin 16: good thoughts! I have always felt like Elder Packer’s talks on “morality” were somehow icky. Always had to tune him out not to feel sick.
    Emily 17: I agree!

    When I read of Elder Packer’s talk, I was sickened. I have been out to myself for 13 years and am still only selectively out to others. I have lost friends, been barred from family members and had my employment affected by my orientation — and I look pretty much like any feminine straight girl and have given a life of service in the church; years of leadership in the church, including Releif Society President and various Stake callings. These things mean nothing to people who are against me because I am gay. That is all they see.

    I considered taking my life and leaving the church, both as options to relieve the sickening pain I felt upon learning of this talk, but after finding this page, have found myself a little calmer.

    Come on! How about a little compassion and research before your talks! And how about printing the text of the talk so people can read it quickly to see what was said, rather than feeling sick having to listen to the slow painful delivery!

  84. 84fiona64on 07 Oct 2010 at 2:20 pm

    JJ wrote: You say this was a talk of hate but the only hate and violence I see is coming from the gay community, on web sites like this.

    JJ, I see you’re falling into the typical assumption that anyone who favors marriage equality must be gay themselves. I am straight and married.

    JJ also wrote: As for the story of the missionary, if as an adult I recieve unwanted sexual advances from another adult male or female at what point do I get to deck someone to protect myself, without it being a hate crime? After saying no once? Twice? Do you know how many times this young man asked his companion to stop before he hit him? I think not. Is a woman fighting off an agressor a hate crime in your book?

    Nobody gets to “deck” anyone, JJ. I don’t give a fat damn how many times the person said no. It’s never the correct answer. I am a survivor of rape, so I suggest that you stop your line of questioning before I hurt your feelings.

    Beating a gay person for saying “Hey, I think you’re cute” is a hate crime. Nothing more, nothing less. The correct response is “Thanks, I’m flattered, but no.” Just the same as you would if a member of the opposite sex in whom you were not interested expressed the same thing.

    Or maybe it’s okay with you if some woman “decks” you because she thinks you’re being inappropriate, instead of just telling you to forget about it and walking away …

  85. 85fiona64on 07 Oct 2010 at 2:22 pm

    JJ (after assuming that my pro-equality stance must equate to me being gay and asking whether I could “overcome that sin”) said this: What if President Packer is a Prophet?

    If President Packer is a prophet, I’m the Queen of Sheba, a prima donna at the Metropolitan Opera and an astronaut.

    Simultaneously.

  86. 86fiona64on 07 Oct 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Joshua wrote: So, in light that it is natural, is it possible for straight people to overcome their heterosexuality? Or is it just homosexuals that can’t overcome their homosexuality, while heterosexuals have that type of self control.

    Except, you know, your church doesn’t teach that being straight is something “unnatural” that needs to be overcome.

    Sometimes I am disturbed by how deliberately disingenuous your comments have become.

  87. 87fiona64on 07 Oct 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Marcos wrote: Look at the entire body of the dialogue, including the recent statements by Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman. None of them (including President Packer) states or implies, by euphemism or otherwise that we should be on some kind of witch hunt for anyone who has had a same gender attraction thought.

    Really?

    http://www.connellodonovan.com/abom.html#byu

    http://www.affirmation.org/news/2009_105.shtml

    http://www.affirmation.org/films/legacies.shtml

    Funnily enough, the available evidence tends to say something different from you, Marcos. How is that possible?

  88. 88Dave Hoenon 07 Oct 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Sam -

    Let’s again repeat the quote of Elder Packer:
    “Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”

    As long as the words “Overcome”, “Impure” and “Unnatural” are used to describe the condition of SSA, we are never going to get anywhere. I believe you are saying that because Elder Packer didn’t use the word “choose”, that you yourself believe gay people didn’t choose to be gay. I applaud you, if that is what you mean. You are a rare Mormon indeed! Because you and I both know that the Church’s position on “whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on” is relatively recent and that many members, if not most, if not nearly 92%, still believe that the Church’s position is that SSA is a choice. And Elder Packer’s speech clearly didn’t attempt to dispel that misconception and as Laura’s quotes point out (especially the second one), Elder Packer as recently 2000, believed it is nurture and not nature.

    And if you believe it is not a choice, I trust you also don’t recall making a conscious decision to be heterosexual. And I also trust that you too would be offended and angry if someone told you that your impure and unnatural sin of choosing to be a heterosexual is not unlike being an alcoholic or drug user and can be easily overcome.

    Don’t you feel really sad for your friend? Don’t you wish he could make a commitment to someone he really loves and feels attracted to? Don’t you wish he could have someone to take care of and to take care of him as they grow old together? Don’t you think he desires that more than anything too?

    So what would I do if I were King or Prophet for the day? Shouldn’t we really be asking what would Christ do if he took over for the day? I strongly believe that the loving Christ we were all taught about would open up the full blessings for everyone to enjoy! He wouldn’t say, “92% of you can enjoy the full blessings. The other 8%, I’m sorry, but there just isn’t a place here for you and your only option is to just leave.” But that is the message they are currently hearing from the Church and sadly for some, “leave” comes across as suicide.

    Dave Hoen

  89. 89Lauraon 07 Oct 2010 at 4:20 pm

    If we’re to compare apples to apples, then it would make more sense to ask, “Can straight people overcome their heterosexuality and turn it into homosexuality?” Because, really, that’s what we’re asking many same-sex-oriented people to do.

  90. 90Lauraon 07 Oct 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Speaking for myself, I’d just be happy to see the church stop opposing same-sex civil marriages.

    The church doesn’t need to perform same-sex marriages anywhere, be it backyard, bishop’s office, chapel or temple. But why does it care if two people want to commit to take care of one another and provide a stable environment for their children?

    If the important thing is strengthening and protecting families, ALL families matter and need strengthening and protection. Let’s invest our money and time in programs and policies that provide strong foundations for families (like pre-marital counseling and communications skills) and that give couples and parents the skills and support they need to keep their marriage relationships strong. Let’s fight domestic violence and abuse of all kinds. Let’s educate our children and give them the tools they need to prevent unwed pregnancies.

    There are so many positive things we could do, but instead we focus on stopping committed couples from creating stable, legal, socially-recognized relationships.

  91. 91Joshuaon 07 Oct 2010 at 6:18 pm

    “If we’re to compare apples to apples, then it would make more sense to ask, “Can straight people overcome their heterosexuality and turn it into homosexuality?” Because, really, that’s what we’re asking many same-sex-oriented people to do.”

    I think this is where the confusion lies. The church is not asking people with same-sex attraction to become attracted to the opposite sex. In fact, they have warned against it. In 1992, the Church said “Encouraging members to cultivate heterosexual feelings as a way to resolve homosexual problems generally leads them to frustration and discouragement.” (Homosexual problems are like heterosexual problems – anything that goes against the law of chastity.)

    What we are asking of homosexual people is the same as for heterosexual people – obey the law of chastity. Because of their heterosexuality, many heterosexual people have difficulty obeying the law of chastity. Can they overcome their heterosexual problems and obey the law of chastity? Yes.

    No where in this talk did Elder Packer ever indicate that opposite sex desires could be created.

    “Except, you know, your church doesn’t teach that being straight is something “unnatural” that needs to be overcome.”

    I was not talking about being straight. I was talking about committing heterosexual sins, like adultery and fornication with someone of the opposite sex. Straight people might have the desire to commit those sins, but they can overcome those heterosexual desires, put off the natural man, and become a saint through Christ. Why can’t homosexual people do the same thing. Are we inferior people?

  92. 92James Ron 08 Oct 2010 at 7:54 am

    “Why would God allow his children to be born poor? or right-handed? or green-eyed? or Mormon? or Jewish? or Muslim? or rich?”

    Neither being born poor, or right-handed, or green-eyed, or Mormon, or Jewish or Muslim, or rich are akin to allegedly being born gay. The church teaches that homosexual acts are CONTRARY to God’s eternal laws. Neither of the things that you listed are contrary to God’s eternal laws on morality. They may be unfortunate circumstances we are born into, but God would never cause someone to be born into this world with a situation that is contrary to His eternal laws. He cannot do it or else He would cease to be God.

    I believe that is what Elder Packer meant by that statement.

  93. 93fiona64on 08 Oct 2010 at 8:32 am

    Joshua wrote: I was not talking about being straight. I was talking about committing heterosexual sins, like adultery and fornication with someone of the opposite sex. Straight people might have the desire to commit those sins, but they can overcome those heterosexual desires, put off the natural man, and become a saint through Christ. Why can’t homosexual people do the same thing. Are we inferior people?

    Again, you are being deliberately obtuse. I’m not even surprised at this point.

    The point here is that gay people are not offered the opportunity in your church to be married to the person to whom they are primarily attracted — and your church worked very hard to take that right away from non-members, and people who wanted a civil marriage only, in the state of CA. You admitted that you donated money and time to that cause — and you alternate between being an “out” gay man and a man who is married to a woman and therefore “not really gay” because you “overcame the natural man” and forced yourself to be attracted to a woman (your own words here, from numerous occasions over the past year).

  94. 94fiona64on 08 Oct 2010 at 8:53 am

    Just a followup to my comment (#85):

    If there ever comes a day when the Saints interfere with the rights of others to live as they see fit, you can know with assurance that the Church is longer led by a Prophet but by a mere man. — Brigham Young

  95. 95Emilyon 10 Oct 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I can’t remember who said this up at the beginning of the comment thread, but I just want to repeat it:

    “What [Elder Packer] IS denying is that God would allow us to be born with ANY tendency/attribute that cannot be overcome. This was not a talk about whether people are born with tendencies/attributes or not, rather that ALL of us can overcome anything that would prohibit us from obtaining exaltation.”

    @Laura (who wrote the post): Elder Packer never suggests that God loves anyone who faces temptation less. He clearly says that God loves us so much he would never leave us without a way to overcome a tendency or a temptation (if we choose Him). And I agree with the others: this goes for absolutely everyone.

  96. 96fiona64on 11 Oct 2010 at 8:50 am

    Emily wrote: Elder Packer never suggests that God loves anyone who faces temptation less. He clearly says that God loves us so much he would never leave us without a way to overcome a tendency or a temptation (if we choose Him). And I agree with the others: this goes for absolutely everyone.

    And yet another voice is added to the hate speech against GLBT people, implying that who they are is something to “overcome.”

    Aren’t any of you even remotely embarrassed or ashamed at your words? Or have you never considered their impact on a single other person besides yourself?

  97. 97Lauraon 11 Oct 2010 at 9:12 am

    I think it would be very hard for me to sit and listen to (and try to apply to my life) counsel that I needed to overcome my heterosexuality. I don’t become heterosexual by engaging in sex (“or anything like unto it”), my heterosexuality is part of who I am. I wouldn’t even know where to begin trying to overcome something so integral to my life and my self-identity. If I were taught that heterosexuality was impure and unnatural, I’d probably feel pretty bad about myself every time I noticed or thought about a sexy guy. Even if somebody taught me that the attraction was okay but the acts are bad, I’d still have to reconcile that with so many teachings that “as a man thinketh” is what’s important.

    Then, if I had to live in a world where being heterosexual was enough justification to fire me from a job or prevent me from getting one in the first place; if it automatically distorted views of others enough that they didn’t trust me around their children; if I had to live in fear that somebody might find out about my attraction and beat me up as I walked down the hall at school; if I had to sublimate that part of me so much that my life was no longer integrated, I could see myself being pretty confused and scared and grasping for even the smallest confirmation that I am not a mistake.

    Anything that put the origin of heterosexuality outside of me (whether it was a temptation or a tendency or a temporary state of existence that would be removed/repaired in the eternities) would be a lifeline for me to cling to with all my might. And if somebody tried to cut that lifeline or point out that it was tied to a sinking anchor instead of to a floating buoy, I would fight that suggestion as hard as I could. Because if my heterosexuality is unnatural and sinful, and if it is a central part of who I am and it is always with me, then I am unnatural and sinful and how could God make me unnatural and sinful but make you natural and innocent?

  98. 98Joshuaon 14 Oct 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Laura,

    Elder Packer’s talk was about pornography and relationships that are not in harmony with the principles of the gospel. That is what he classified as unnatural or impure.

    If you have a desire for either one of those things, then you can overcome those desires and repent. It doesn’t matter if it is for the same sex or opposite sex. There is no difference between you and me noticing if a guy is sexy.

    You know the Church has spoken out against bullying, employment and housing discrimination. You have the church on your side on that issue? Why bring that up? I think you are trying to pull the sympathy card and divert from the main issue, but at the same time you are also perpetuating the misconception that the church supports those actions. By doing so you will convince some naive Mormons that is the way they are supposed to be, and only make my situation worse in the Church.

    You can use gay Mormons as pawns to pass your political agenda, but I have to deal with the consequences.

  99. 99fiona64on 14 Oct 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Joshua wrote: Elder Packer’s talk was about pornography and relationships that are not in harmony with the principles of the gospel. That is what he classified as unnatural or impure.

    By which, you know as well as I do, Elder Packer means gay people.

    Joshua also wrote: You know the Church has spoken out against bullying, employment and housing discrimination.

    But it grants itself a big fat exception, Joshua — as you are fully aware. Those employment rules do not apply at BYU or any other church-owned entity. Ditto the housing discrimination rules. And how can you sit there for one minute and say the church has spoken out against bullying in light of Packer’s talk, and the official statement from the church that they are not to blame for the suicides of GLBT youth?

    Why am I reminded of the stories in “Leaving the Saints and “Secret Ceremonies” (I know … reading “alternative voices” is discouraged) about women who were sexually or physically abused by “priesthood holders” being blamed for what was done to them? This just hurts my heart.

  100. 100Joshuaon 14 Oct 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Let’s look to see what he is talking about right before that:

    “Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife.

    The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague—if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to combat evil influences.

    We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.

    We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.”

    Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.”

    It was talking about how pornography interrupts the relationship between the husband and wife. That does not just apply to gay people. Pornography is also a heterosexual problem. Many people say pornography is natural and especially guys are preset to do that type of thing anyway, so what is the big deal?

    I have also seen other people speculate whether men are created to cheat on their wives, and that maybe we should just learn that those things are preset.

    Everything he says applies equally to straight people.

  101. 101fiona64on 15 Oct 2010 at 8:46 am

    Joshua wrote: Everything he says applies equally to straight people.

    Really? Could you point out the part in Packer’s talk where he says straight people are “unnatural” and “impure” and that they need to overcome that? Because he is specifically talking about gay people and their “inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural” in the paragraph you cite, and I want to see the part where he applies the same thing to straight people.

    I’ll wait.

    I promise.

  102. 102Joshuaon 15 Oct 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Elder Packer didn’t say anyone was unnatural or impure.

    He said any desire towards the unnatural and impure can be overcome. It doesn’t matter if that desire was for pornography, masturbation, adultery, fornication, prostitution or anything else with either sex. He NEVER mentioned gay people or straight people.

    Show me where he specifically mentioned gay people.

  103. 103Lauraon 15 Oct 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Elder Packer has used the term “unnatural” in 4 different conference talks (3 of which are available online at lds.org). They are: “A Tribute to Women” (Ensign, July, 1989); “Ye Are the Temple of God” (Ensign, November, 2000); “The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected” (Ensign, November 2003); and “To Young Men Only” (originally given in October, 1976 general conference). This does not include the BYU multi-stake fireside where he spoke extensively on the subject under the title, “To the One”.

    In each of those talks the term “unnatural” describes homosexual behavior.

    There may be a place where Elder Packer’s use of the term “unnatural” or “unnatural affection” is not meant to include and allude to (if not specifically mean) homosexuality.

    Considering the rest of the context of this talk (references to the phrase in the Proclamation on the Family describing marriage as between a man and a woman; the suggestion that it is a fallacy to vote on gender; the disapproval of those seeking to legislate changes to marriage laws; and the insistence that the Church will not change its stance because it is following God’s laws, not man’s laws), considering the context of the talk, it is highly unlikely that “unnatural” was not just another example of his favorite euphemism for homosexuality.

  104. 104fiona64on 15 Oct 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Um, Joshua? From your own post, you quote Packer as saying: Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural.

    So, yeah. He is indeed saying that certain people are “impure and unnatural” and, as Laura points out, this is how he talks about gay people.

    “The single greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” — B.F. Skinner

    So, again I ask you: Please show me any talk in which Packer has called out straight people as impure and unnatural.

  105. 105Joshuaon 15 Oct 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Laura,

    Three occurrences is not a large enough sample set. I looked at “The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected”, and I couldn’t find any specific mention of homosexuality, so you are down to 2 versus 1. If you look up “Washed Clean” from April 1998, he is talking about about immoral behavior, and he only includes heterosexual examples. He said that a heterosexual relationship outside of marriage “doesn’t work because you, by nature, are good.” Hence, given his definition of what is natural – to do what is right – I conclude that any relationships outside of a husband and wife is unnatural by his definition.

    Even in this talk he has examples of impure desires in a heterosexual relationships:

    “Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife.”

    I am not saying he is not including same-sex relationships in that description, but given the context of the talk also includes impure things such as pornography viewed by men in opposite-sex relationships, I don’t think he is only directing his talks at gay people.

    I fully believe that any desire for pornography, masturbation, fornication, adultery, or prostitution by either gender for either gender can be overcome through the methods that Elder Packer outlined in his speech.

  106. 106fiona64on 15 Oct 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Joshua, I give up. Your constant use of circular and “double-bind” logical fallacies gives me a headache.

    You can’t see the truth because you don’t *want* to see the truth.

    I strongly suspect that one day the truth is going to bite you way harder than you think. :-(

  107. 107Lauraon 15 Oct 2010 at 6:33 pm

    The question at hand was not “Did Elder Packer give this speech only to homosexuals?”

    Neither was the question, “Did Elder Packer ever speak against heterosexual immorality?”

    Neither was the question, “Does Elder Packer eschew all forms of non-marital sexual stimulation?”

    Neither was the question, “Does Elder Packer use the term ‘unnatural’ in many or most of his talks?”

    The question was, “Does (or could it be likely that) Elder Packer’s use of the term ‘unnatural’ in his most recent conference talk refer to homosexuality even though he never once at any time used the words ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ or ‘same-gender/sex-attraction’?”

    One easy way to answer that question is to look at the talks where Elder Packer uses the term, ‘unnatural’ and see if the contextual usage of that term is more apparent in those talks.

    So, we first examine ONLY the talks where he uses the term ‘unnatural’ because that is the word we are trying to understand. The other talks are interesting and probably helpful, but they won’t tell us how he uses the term in question.

    We don’t bother with checking his contemporaries’ use of the term either, since it’s not directly applicable to his specific use, but if we were to do such a study, we would find numerous examples of Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Lindsay M. Curtis and others describing homosexuality as “unnatural” or “unnatural affection.” While the term is not exclusively used to refer to homosexuality, it is primarily used in that way.

    It might help to understand that Elder Packer doesn’t like to use the term “homosexual” for many of the same reasons you don’t like to use it, plus he is of a generation where the term isn’t used in polite company. When he did use the term in his talk at BYU “To the One” he said,

    “I have worried for fear that any treatment of the subject I approach may be indelicate or immodest….And so, now to the subject, to introduce it I must use a word. I will use it one time only. Please notice that I use it as an adjective, not as a noun; I reject it as a noun. I speak to those few, those very few, who may be subject to homosexual temptation. I repeat, I accept that word as an adjective to describe a temporary condition. I reject it as a noun naming a permanent one.

    “… Is sexual perversion wrong? ….It is wrong! It is not desirable; it is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression.”

    Is there a chance that Elder Packer’s use of the term “unnatural” in his most recent General Conference address does or could refer to homosexuality? To quote a cartoon character, “Umm, Yeah, I think so.”

  108. 108fiona64on 15 Oct 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Joshua wrote: He said that a heterosexual relationship outside of marriage “doesn’t work because you, by nature, are good.”

    Which means that gay people, by nature, are bad.

    Did you learn any critical thinking skills at all during the course of your education?

    Oy.

  109. 109fiona64on 15 Oct 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Boyd Packer said: Please notice that I use it as an adjective, not as a noun; I reject it as a noun

    Does this mean that Packer is not a Mormon, but only does mormon things?

    Good grief.

    And yet, here we are: “… Is sexual perversion wrong? ….It is wrong! It is not desirable; it is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression.”

    Packer’s words again.

    So, Joshua, once again I challenge you: please show me where straight people are referred to as unnatural, abnormal, possessed of “an affliction,” immoral, etc.

    Why? Because straight people and gay people? They get up to all the same things. So, why is it okay for straight people and not gay people?

    And I’m still waiting for your answer.

    ::crickets chirping for all of eternity::

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought.

  110. 110Lauraon 15 Oct 2010 at 9:51 pm

    You know, we can sit here and debate until the cows come home about whether or not Elder Packer meant to single out gays/lesbians in his talk, but that’s not really what matters.

    Whether or not he intended to single out people, many got the message that he did so intend.

    As a teacher, he should know that if students are not understanding the lessons, it is the teacher’s fault and responsibility to fix the problem.

    If even one “student” goes home with the message, “There is something wrong with me because I am unnatural,” that is one student too many.

    If even one listener hears only the message, “There is a secret part of me I can never let anyone know about or else they will think I am not good enough,” that is one listener too many.

    The fact of the matter is, you cannot hide from God and God loves you exactly the way you are this very instant. And this one. And this one. And, yes, God still loves you right now. And you are good enough. And you are welcome to be here. And you are needed. And wanted. And your life matters, just the way it is right now. Your Heavenly Parents want what’s best for you, but first they want you to know you are loved and that your existence – just the way you are – is not a mistake. It is not unnatural. It is not shameful. Everybody has secrets.

    If you are LDS, you’ve been taught that you are entitled to revelation. You don’t need to read our debates, you can go straight to the Source of Light and Understanding yourself. And the answer is, “You are My child. There is a place for you and there will always be a place for you. I am the only one with power to rescind invitations to the feast, and your invitation is not rescinded. You matter to Me.”

    God speaks in many ways. Sometimes it’s easy to hear and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes God’s messages come to us from within and sometimes they come from people around us. Sometimes they come in person and sometimes they come in a letter or even on the internet.

    But if you are one who hears only condemnation in Elder Packer’s remarks, remember what President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said:

    Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.

    God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

    He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

    What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.

  111. 111Robon 23 Oct 2010 at 2:51 am

    As a gay Mormon who tried to be a heterosexual husband for over 25 years and prayed to be changed, I came to hate God for giving me everything that I should have to receive the Highest Degree of Glory except the ability to find joy and wholeness. I had known I was different for as long as I could remember but learned how to lie or cover those aspects of my being. Before some question my faith be willing to put in the same effort, pain and tears before you judge! After a night of debating whether to hang myself out of despair, God spoke peace to my heart, I love you as you are and know your heart and it is good.” Thus finally and much too late began a journey of healing and self acceptance an the courage to be what God had created me to be. I am not “unnatural” but one of God’s creations and a part of God’s need for diversity which brings beauty to his creations. Most importantly I have finally found peace and joy and a sense of wholeness something that until I forgave God for creating me this way and have come to feel it a special blessing, however not a cup I would have ever chosen to drink from by myself. If Bro packer has offended children of God then Christ has pronouced with clarity what should happen to such. I do NOT need his approval or the Church’s. For those of you that still believe in the infallibility of even Prophets, read the title page of the Book of Mormon written by the hand of Moroni! The dogma crept in during the Manifesto and repeal of polygamy. Bro Packer caused me considerae pain and self loathing because of he philosophies mingle with scripture. I have corn to Trust in God a d not in the arm of flesh even if it is an apostle’s arm. I have learn to use and trust in a Gift I was given long ago, the Holy Ghost who has the task of testifying to the truth of ALL things. I know by that relationship to test and to know for myself the course the God would have me follow, one that would shock and surprise Bro. Packer. God does not want his Saints to be blind followers. Someone needs to pin down what he means by natural because a natural man is not necessarily a good thing to be! Maybe unnatural is a better thing to be (sorry for the dig). For those who would suggest celibacy, read what God & Jehovah thought about that after finding Adam alone in the Garden of Eden. By the way the word isNOT mate but meet meaning equal to. I am glad that I did not take my own life and that I can stand as a witness against such hateful rhetoric and that such teachings did not destroy me and that God has finally given me peace. If Packer’s talk did not mean what most everyone is understanding it to mean, the a simple apology and clarification would go a long way to heal wounds the talk viciously ripped open again and wod be done even if it only save one child’s life! After all Christ would go after the one lost lamb. The leadership seems more vested in their and the Church’s image than the countless young members who wanted nothing more than to feel loved, accepted and whole and relief and found death their only option. I been at that point and understand the anguish of their souls. Brethren in this I will seek to counsel, apologize if there was misunderstanding and clarify or families who have a LGTB person will take Eve’s advice and learn from their own experience to prize the good. That will be their beautiful, loving, special loved ones who fortunately blessed with same sex attraction to beautify and bring variety to his ultimate creation, man and woman. If there is no clarification as to what was really said, then you have no excuse for becoming further marginalized and perceived as being as un-Christ like. I believe He taught agree with you advesary quickly and also blessed is the Peacemaker. Your actions continue to fan a firestorm and it is time for a little water than gasoline thrown on as Bro Oaks called him, the grizzly bear, Bro Packer, who may just have a millstone waiting for him but that will be God’s decision and I like everyone se including apostles, seers, and revealatos have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God! I just hope I have a lot of Grace on judgement day! Sorry for typos this is hard on a phone

  112. 112Sherion 27 Oct 2010 at 10:35 am

    Rob,
    Thank you for your heartfelt, authentic words. I am thrilled that you listened to that still small voice of God and not the fearful, shamefeul rhetoric that is so often used to deprive others of self respect and dignity, not to mention equal rights as citizens under the law. May you continue on a journey of peace, and may your heart always be guided by what is true, and that is that you are loved just the way you are.

    Blessings,

    Sheri – a proud straight ally.

  113. 113Joshuaon 04 Apr 2011 at 11:30 am

    Out of curiosity, what did you think about Elder Oak’s talk about overcoming desires? How does that compare with Elder Packer’s talk last year on the same subject?

    To me, this year Elder Packer and Elder Oaks talks clarified the misunderstanding from last year’s conference.

  114. 114cowboyIIon 05 Apr 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Okay. Quite honestly I haven’t read either of Mr. Oak’s nor Mr. Packer’s talks.

    BUT….

    I just find insulting the use of the phrase: “overcoming desires” or use the “temptation” meme to describe homosexuality. It’s insulting because it defines gay persons as: broken (and therefore fixable) or as mentally unbalanced or as a person with a weakness.

    I’m not broken, mentally retarded or weak.

    What needs to be said here: Homosexuality is NOT a subset of heterosexuality. Maybe Mr. Oaks skipped over the requisite math classes in college but if you will bear with me an analogy:

    In math we have something called matrixes. They are a set of values. If you take a set of values and create another matrix from the parent matrix you have made a subset.

    In the complex mathematics we can say: Heterosexuals are a certain matrix. Homosexuals are a certain other matrix. One matrix is not the subset of the other.

    You don’t have a base heterosexual with a homosexual tendencies. A homosexual cannot ever become a heterosexual. He can pretend he is a heterosexual. He can mask his homosexuality…but his ‘core’ matrix is still a homosexual.

    Those desires/tendencies can be mitigated…but a gay person will always be a homosexual at the core.

  115. 115Sherylon 05 Apr 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks, CowboyII. Due to work issues, did not hear Elder Oaks talk; however, I am in total agreement with you. One does not overcome homosexuality because it is not a desire. Now one may overcome one’s desire to have sex outside of marriage (as the church teaches) be they heterosexual or homosexual; unfortunately, most states do not allow homosexuals to marry, therefore, when they do find someone they love and they don’t live in one of those states, they either remain celibate and unhappy because they can’t be with the one they love or they “live in sin.” Why the church meddles with civil laws and keeps people “living in sin” is beyond me.

  116. 116fiona64on 06 Apr 2011 at 6:51 am

    To tag on to what Cowboy II said: I have not seen the transcripts for Oak’s talk. I have, however, read plenty about what Monson said about how young men are “waiting too long” to get married (to women, of course). I guess that waiting for financial stability, among other things, doesn’t make sense to him. Oh, and calling “emotional difficulties” (which is dogwhistle talk for “being married to a gay person”) not an adequate reason for divorce? I would say that the only people who know what is or is not an adequate reason for divorce are the married couple in question. Some people would say that “emotional difficulties” such as domestic violence aren’t a good enough reason — I have primary experience in that one, with a minister telling me that if I would go home, pray on the matter and “learn to be a more submissive woman,” my 6’5″, 250 lb. fiance wouldn’t “have to” beat up on my 5’1″, 100 lb. self. Whatever.

  117. 117cowboyIIon 06 Apr 2011 at 10:09 pm

    fiona, ‘violence’ should never been categorized as an emotional difficulty. That’s a whole different level or in a different league. I have known a co-worker whose hubby went violent due to his steroid use. It was difficult for her to let go of her abusive home life. It surprised me but I found even bruises sometimes can’t mask the bigger emotional bonds.

    And so, (gasp!) I do somewhat agree with Mr. Monson: that some mixed marriages do not need to be immediately dissolved at the first confession or realization that one partner is gay. Every couple has a unique set of circumstances, for sure…but generally speaking I would never admonish a suddenly out-of-the-closet gay man to drop everything and seek greener pastures. It’s usually not that simple and has a whole host of ramifications which need to be addressed…plus it’s selfish in the first degree.

  118. 118Joshuaon 07 Apr 2011 at 10:57 am

    I would highly suggest reading both the talks. I think it resolves a lot of the questions you have hear. I really appreciated their perspective that all can overcome their desires. I didn’t get the feeling that they were singling out anyone.

  119. 119fiona64on 07 Apr 2011 at 11:30 am

    Cowboy II, I do agree that it is up to the couple in question to decide what they feel is right — I do not agree that Monson knows what is best for everyone in all circumstances, though (which is the impression that I gathered from his presentation).

    As for “overcoming desires,” as has been pointed out … being gay is not a “desire,” it is who someone is. I could not “overcome” being straight if I tried.

  120. 120jameson 07 Jul 2011 at 2:51 pm

    i am straight have always been and no matter what church i belonged to i was always taught to love everybody no matter who they where and who they wanted to be with .i totally support gay rights and i feel that if people want to get married they should be allowed to becasue god loves each and everyone of his children.he was the one that created each and every one of us .to me it;s like free will that is why we where giving free will god loves everybody .if you go to church and believe in god and jesus you will be saved at the last day.your either born straight or born gay.did you ever wonder what will happen when jesus comes to down back to earth .what will happen to all the people that have ridculed people that are different then they are .

  121. 121Pahoranon 06 Dec 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Why does God allow children to be born with harelips and cleft palates? The fact is that He does.

    Why does He allow children to be born with Downs Syndrome? Bipolar disorder? Numerous other birth defects? Again, the fact is that He does.

    Does He love them less?

    Of course not.

    But do we try to find ways to solve such problems?

    Of course we do.

    But first we have to be honest enough to admit that they *are* problems.

    Not all of these problems can be solved; some, people just have to cope with throughout their lives. But as Latter-day Saints, we have faith that ultimately everything will be restored to us in its perfection.

    Why should “gayness” be any different?

    Could the fact that homosexuals enjoy doing what they do, and would therefore like to justify continuing to do it, have something to do with that?

    Regards,
    Pahoran

  122. 122fiona64on 06 Dec 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Pahoran, perhaps we can next work on curing the left-handed and the blue-eyed.

    I’m straight, BTW. You are deliberately disingenuous. I am unimpressed.

  123. 123Pahoranon 06 Dec 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Fiona,

    Winston Churchill is said to have defined a fanatic as “someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Here is another possible definition: “Someone who assumes that the only way anyone can disagree with her is by being disingenuous.”

    I made no comment upon, and drew no conclusions about, your sexuality. I was not even responding to you in particular.

    But since you seem to think that I should:

    The most “disingenuous” comment I see anywhere on this page is when you described President Packer’s talk as “hate speech from the pulpit.” It was nothing of the kind, and I am unable to see how anyone could maintain a good faith belief that it is or ever was.

    I am absolutely satisfied that President Packer is at all times, and in every possible way, better than his critics.

    Your remark about “curing the left-handed and the blue-eyed” simply demonstrates that you are not taking seriously any POV other than your own.

    Regards,
    Pahoran

  124. 124Kelleron 07 Dec 2011 at 7:12 pm

    @Pahoran

    fiona64′s comment about “curing the left-handed” is actually dead on accurate. Just 60 years ago religious people were convinced that being left-handed was an abomination and a sign of the devil. Children were hit, screamed at and shamed into going against their God-given nature. Nobody does that anymore and nobody has suffered because their next door neighbor is left-handed. What have we learned? People were tortured and humiliated for something they couldn’t help. That is the exact same horror that you are supporting when you discriminate against gay people. I’m starting to believe that you actually like the idea of torturing gays. Do you get off on causing suffering and pain to our gay brothers and sisters? If so, shame on you!

  125. 125Pahoranon 07 Dec 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Keller,

    I see that you, too, find it impossible to imagine that anyone could possibly disagree with you unless there’s something wrong with them.

    I’m aware that people once had a superstitious dread of left-handedness. However, I do not accept that defining marriage to be what it always has been is “the exact same horror.”

    The notion that I “actually like the idea of torturing gays” proceeds from no evidence before you and looks remarkably like a knee-jerk reaction. I contemplate no scenario in which “gays” are “tortured,” unless it is “torture” for them to not have public recognition and sanction for their various arrangements.

    And if I am to be subjected to “shame” for upholding the leaders of the Church in their courageous stand for truth and righteousness, then I will accept that “shame.”

    Regards,
    Pahoran

  126. 126cowboyIIon 07 Dec 2011 at 9:51 pm

    If I were sitting on a therapist’s lounge and he compared my homosexuality to any sort of affliction (like: drug/alcohol addiction) I would be out of his office so fast the ink on his notepad wouldn’t even be dry.

    It’s incredible. I am a homosexual. I know how it feels and no heterosexual can even come close to understanding my feelings and angst and constant and chronic desire to have a person in my life I can love.

    Nobody can make someone homosexual and nobody can change me to being a heterosexual.

    It’s clearly the condescending attitudes of some ignorant people who think I shall endure loneliness for the rest of my life is a pious heterosexual elitist. Go fix the problems in your heterosexual lifestyle before you condemn people who simply want to love and be loved.

    The notion I would have to be in a room full of people who think gays are ‘icky’ and chronically sinful is exactly why so many of us leave religion. Then, to make gays feel as if they are broken and will have to endure until the next life when all things will be ‘corrected’…you wonder why so many gay Mormons are committing suicide.

    Let me make this clear: I’m not broken. I didn’t choose to be gay. I was made gay in the pre-existence and I will probably be gay in the next life. That’s how I want it to be. And, damn, if any heterosexual ever demeans and scoffs at the notion that I can love and have the same deep abiding love for a man, does not deserve my friendship or my time.

  127. 127fiona64on 08 Dec 2011 at 11:01 am

    Pahoran wrote: I’m aware that people once had a superstitious dread of left-handedness. However, I do not accept that defining marriage to be what it always has been is “the exact same horror.”

    Except for one teensy little problem, Pahoran. Marriage is not a static institution. Never has been, and never will be — not even in Western civilization, let alone around the world. History of Marriage in Western Civilization might be a good place for you to start. Furthermore, the Adelphopoiia Rite was used by the medieval church to unite two men in wedlock.

    I would also refer you to the 1st and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution for further explanation of why the Church of LDS does not get to dictate civil law. You may have given yourself a screen name that allows you to think you sit in judgment on GLBT people and their allies, but you are just another person on the internet who clearly has no historical or anthropological understanding about the institution of marriage. Perhaps this will help: American Anthropological Statement on Marriage.

  128. 128fiona64on 08 Dec 2011 at 11:03 am

    A couple more for our friend Pahoran, courtesy of professional anthropologists:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2004-03-14-myers_x.htm

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/02/27/MNGSK59NGM1.DTL

  129. 129Pahoranon 08 Dec 2011 at 11:54 am

    @CowboyII: “If I were sitting on a therapist’s lounge and he compared my homosexuality to any sort of affliction (like: drug/alcohol addiction) I would be out of his office so fast the ink on his notepad wouldn’t even be dry.”

    So you’re not open to any idea that runs contrary to your ideology. Got it.

    “The notion I would have to be in a room full of people who think gays are ‘icky’ and chronically sinful is exactly why so many of us leave religion. Then, to make gays feel as if they are broken and will have to endure until the next life when all things will be ‘corrected’…you wonder why so many gay Mormons are committing suicide.”

    I am aware of the “gay” propaganda to the effect that “gays” committing suicide is “someone else’s fault.” That meme only works if “gay” people are somehow not free to make intelligent choices that are in their best interests. Is that what you actually believe? If so, doesn’t that suggest that something is “broken?”

    But in any event, I reject that propaganda. All the hard data I have seen shows that “gays” commit suicide at elevated levels everywhere, including when they are far away from the baleful influence of neighbours who are so wicked as to hold Family Home Evening. This includes such highly permissive places as the Netherlands.

    I accept that homosexuals are not able to choose their feelings. But if we agree that they are in other respects normal, then they are certainly able to choose their actions.

    Do you disagree?

    Regards,
    Pahoran

  130. 130Pahoranon 12 Dec 2011 at 7:39 pm

    @Fiona64:

    “Except for one teensy little problem, Pahoran. Marriage is not a static institution. Never has been, and never will be — not even in Western civilization, let alone around the world. History of Marriage in Western Civilization might be a good place for you to start. Furthermore, the Adelphopoiia Rite was used by the medieval church to unite two men in wedlock.”

    You keep making these bald, sweeping assertions as if they reflected uncontroversial fact; they do not. Even a cursory bit of research reveals that the fringe interpretations that have been put forward for propanganda purposes are not widely accepted.

    The simple reality is that once we discard tendentious arguments, we find that the Adelphopoiia rite, like the later French Affrèrement, was actually a kind of adult adoption, and was frequently used to formalise small religious communities. It was never intended to give religious sanction to homosexual pairings.

    In both cases, Adelphopoiia and Affrèrement, the idea is of “brotherly love,” something entirely non-sexual. “Love” has not always been a euphemism for sexual activity.

    There is a lot of ideologically driven propaganda around. It’s good to be wary enough to detect its presence.

    Regards,
    Pahoran

  131. 131fiona64on 13 Dec 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Pahoran wrote: You keep making these bald, sweeping assertions as if they reflected uncontroversial fact; they do not. Even a cursory bit of research reveals that the fringe interpretations that have been put forward for propanganda purposes are not widely accepted.

    I am guessing that you didn’t even bother to look at any of the links I provided, or you would not make such a completely ignorant statement. Not that I’m surprised; you aren’t interested in any facts that would cause your premise (that marriage has always been the same way across all time and all cultures) to fall flat on its completely incorrect face. Anthropologists make it their business to study kinship, of which marriage is a part. The simple truth is that the institution is constantly changing and has, in fact, changed in my own lifetime. You can continue to stick your fingers in your ears and chant “nananana, can’t hear you” — but it doesn’t change the truth of the matter — which is that you are flat-out, 100 percent incorrect.

    Anyone who wants to pretend that serious historical and anthropological studies of kinship in general and marriage in particular are “fringe interpretations that have been put forward for propanganda [sic] purposes” is fooling no one but themselves.

    Once again, for your edification (since you appear to be link-shy for some reason), as well as for the edification of others who may be reading without commenting: American Anthropological Statement on Marriage and the Family.

    The statement, in its entirety, reads as follows:

    “The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

    The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.”

    Pahoran, you can pretend that more than a century of anthropological research constitutes “fringe interpretation,” but it just makes you look even more laughable.

  132. 132fiona64on 13 Dec 2011 at 12:22 pm

    PS: You’re also wrong about Adelphopoiia. But you know that.

    You’re right, though; one should look carefully for ideologically-driven propaganda — like what Brother Packer and his ilk spread around.

  133. 133Pahoranon 18 Dec 2011 at 6:52 pm

    @Fiona64:

    “I am guessing that you didn’t even bother to look at any of the links I provided, or you would not make such a completely ignorant statement. Not that I’m surprised; you aren’t interested in any facts that would cause your premise (that marriage has always been the same way across all time and all cultures) to fall flat on its completely incorrect face.”

    You are beating up a straw man. The notion “that marriage has always been the same way across all time and all cultures” is no premise of mine.

    You also provided a quote that includes the following:

    “The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.”

    So much for the notion that this is an impartial organisation that is doing pure, disinterested science(TM). The fact that it takes an institutional position on a matter of public policy demonstrates that, at the very least, it is prepared to make value judgements.

    Which are, by their nature, not scientific.

    You also wrote:

    “PS: You’re also wrong about Adelphopoiia. But you know that.”

    No, I am right about Adelphopoiia. Its purpose was to create fraternal (i.e. brotherly) relationships, not sexual ones. The Greek word αδελφός (adelphos) means “brother.”

    But, unlike you, I am prepared to allow for the possibility that my opponents might disagree with me in good faith. So I will accept that you are genuinely convinced of your error.

    “You’re right, though; one should look carefully for ideologically-driven propaganda — like what Brother Packer and his ilk spread around.”

    If “Mormons for Marriage” were to be describe itself honestly, it would admit that while full license is given to the most unbridled criticsm of the Church and its leaders, criticism of “gay” activists and their propaganda is rather carefully censored.

    The more criticism I have seen of President Packer “and his ilk,” the more convinced am I that they are at all times better than their critics.

    (Saved before posting.)

    Regards,
    Pahoran