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 Help & Support – LDS, gay, homosexuality, mormons |

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,

  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


  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. 26The post that will get me excommunicated « Molly Muses . . .on 04 Oct 2010 at 3:08 pm

    […] 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. 32Mormons For Marriage: “Why would God allow his children to be born homosexual? Because God loves all his children, none is better – or worse – than another.” « The Gay Supporteron 04 Oct 2010 at 9:27 pm

    […] 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).


    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


    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?


  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:



    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


    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.


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


    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:


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

    “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


    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


    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?




    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.


  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


    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:


    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.


  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:

    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.

  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

    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.


  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.





    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


    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


    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?


  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

    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.


    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.


    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?


  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


    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.


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


    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


    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.”


  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:



  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?


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


    “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.


  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


    “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.

Maryland Ward Mobilizes Against Gay Marriage

A member of the LDS church in Maryland recently received an email from his ward asking members to help a “coalition of inter-denominational churches…gather signatures within the LDS community”.  While the email appears to be generated at the ward level, it is unclear what sanction, if any, it has from regional or general authorities of the church:

Attention Registered Voters who are Residents of Maryland:

As you have probably heard, the Maryland legislature passed a same sex marriage bill last February. A coalition of inter-denominational churches throughout Maryland has joined together to try to get a referendum on the November ballot that would allow the residents of Maryland to vote on this bill before it becomes law. Sister [Redacted], who is a member of the LDS Church, is organizing signature collection within Montgomery County and within the LDS Church.

We need to collect approximately 200,000 signatures by the end of May. We are looking for people to gather signatures within the LDS community. If you are willing to help with this important effort please contact Sister [Redacted] as soon as possible at REDACTED@gmail.com or Sister [Redacted] at REDACTED@juno.com.

If you would like to volunteer, you must attend a 30 minute training session due to the stringent Maryland laws concerning referendums. To register for a session please contact us as soon as possible. There will be several training sessions offered, but if transportation to them is a problem for you, a trainer would be happy to meet with you at a more convenient time and location.

The LDS Church is neutral of matters of party politics. The Church does encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections, and becoming engaged in the political process in an informed and civil manner. Please consider helping with this very important effort. Every signature is important and every little bit helps!

Filed in Uncategorized |

5 Responses to “Maryland Ward Mobilizes Against Gay Marriage”

  1. 1Sherion 30 Mar 2012 at 3:59 pm

    This just infuriates me. Just when I think a little healing has begun between the church and it’s gay brothers and sisters, someone goes and fans the flames of discrmination. What possible purpose do their actions to keep gay couples from marrying the person they love serve? It helps no one and hurts many. Do they really follow the principles of Jesus Christ, or have they turned instead to the other brother?

  2. 2fiona64on 02 Apr 2012 at 10:21 am

    I have to agree with Sheri. While this may not be done with the “official” sanction of the “official” church, it is in keeping with other political acts that the Church of LDS has taken against GLBT people. :-( It is so hard for me to watch people take a page from the “Who would Jesus hate” book and then pretend that it’s righteous to do so.

  3. 3Bretton 05 Apr 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I think that the proper response is a “reply to all” with two questions:

    1) Has this email been approved by the proper church authorities?

    2) How does this signature gathering fit in with D&C 134:1-4, 9 and the 11th Article of Faith?

  4. 4Joshua Lairdon 07 Apr 2012 at 8:01 pm

    If members of the church wish to use resources provided by the church, which enables them to contact members of the church, to pivot for a specific political campaign, the church should be taxed. This is not right that these people are enabled to mobilize through resources provided by church funding. This woman would not have the contact information of these specific people she was emailing if it had not been for the church. She is abusing information provided to her by the church in order to promote a political campaign. The church for one either needs to come out against her and make it clear they do not support her actions, or they should be taxed. It is as simple as that, if the church enables it members to “play politics” through resources provided by the church, they deserved to be TAXED like any other group involved in the political process.

  5. 5Hershlon 18 Apr 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I am a Jewish gay man living with my partner for 27 years in Maryland. We have fought for so long to get this law to protect our relationship before the law.

    If we didn’t have such a law horrible things could happen. For example, my partner who is ten years younger than me would have to give up most of his inheritance as taxes in order to just live in our home.

    The fact that our Mormon neighbors are so openly working to take away our rights just infuriates me and many others here.

    Is this the best use of Mormon energy to make your church look like a bunch of medieval bigots? What do you think we will talk about with the missionaries who come to our doors? This horrible publicity leaves an impression that will take a very long time to go away.

    It is absolutely insane.

    In addition, it has now galvanized me to finally get involved in local politics to stop this type of interference in my life by people whom I have never met but who hate me and all I represent in the name of their church and God.


More Mormons for Marriage: All You Need is Love….

Four* LDS people discuss their feelings about Prop. 8. We welcome submissions of other videos expressing respectful opposition to LDS church involvement in California’s Proposition 8, or Arizona’s Proposition 102.

*Around a month after these four videos were posted, two of our guests were contacted by their local church leaders, and those local leaders asked the posters to quietly remove their videos from the internet. The commenters were led to understand that posting their video commentaries – these exact videos – were not compatible with holding temple recommends. As a tribute to Valentine’s Day 2011, they’ve returned their videos to the internet, and we’re happy to re-post them here at Mormons for Marriage.

Welcome Back!


Filed in Help & Support – LDS, mormons, prop 8 |

29 Responses to “More Mormons for Marriage: All You Need is Love….”

  1. 1Carolynon 25 Sep 2008 at 8:15 pm

    It is so refreshing and a relief to hear members of the church speak positively regarding gay marriage. I appreciate all of you speaking out and influencing people to support gay marriage.

    Thank you for renewing my hope in our fellow beings in the LDS Church.


  2. 2Lisaon 26 Sep 2008 at 9:12 am

    Thank you all for having the courage to stand up and speak out for marriage for everyone. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

  3. 3Michael C Hansenon 05 Oct 2008 at 10:46 pm

    My wife and i are students at BYU Hawaii, we recently had our bishop read us a litter over the pulpit that asked us to contribute to the Prop 8 initiative. We were both shocked and appalled. To make matters worse, no one in our ward seemed to think there was anything wrong with this and were very positive on the message that day. I thought I was losing my mind. I felt my faith in this church had been Hijacked to push a political agenda that was so misaligned with the message our savior gave to us about loving one another.

    I cannot thank you all enough for sharing your thoughts and feelings here. It is nice to know that we have some allies.

  4. 4Lin Hendersonon 06 Oct 2008 at 1:27 pm

    This morning I read the article about the Church’s stand in opposing Proposition 8. I am an “inactive” member of the LDS church, but my daughter and her family are actively involved in the church. I have one grandson who is a return missionary and one who is serving at this time. I support all of their activities and allow them to believe as they wish. My choice to continue to be a member of the church, but as an “inactive” is because of the church’s stand on issues such as this one.

    I strongly believe that marriage is a civil right. If a religion wants to take a different position and their members agree, then I do not have a problem with the church believing as they wish. But in this case it goes directly against the basic principle of Separation of Church and State. I see it as no different than the laws against inter-racial marriage or the previous belief in the Church that black men could not hold the priesthood. It is basic discrimination at its lowest form.

    In one of the videos I watched one member commented that this type of proposition is “a slippery slope” and pointed out that the government could take a position against something the LDS church strongly believes in. I think the members should be concerned about how the Southern Baptist Conference came out in opposition to Mitt Romey and the Mormon church. This group of people have actively tried to take control of the Republican party and I believe that if they were to go unchecked they could easily become religious extremists.

    I am please to see that not all members walk lockstep with the Church beliefs and commend those who publicly speak out. My one last thought is for everyone to carefully consider their choice in this Presidential election and the fact that three seats on the Supreme Court could be appointed by the next president. For me the risk of future decisions that could take away my individual rights and choices based on religious beliefs of extremists with power is too great.

  5. 5Emily Hayeson 08 Oct 2008 at 12:49 pm

    All I can say is thank you. You said it way better than I ever could have. I feel the same way as you. I really feel betrayed by the leaders of the church and feel that they are abusing their power. I have a hard time not losing my faith in the church which its supposed inspired leaders are doing things that I know are wrong. I am not really sure what to do at this point. Do I stay or do I go? I think for now I will be on a break.

  6. 6Tim Hunteron 09 Oct 2008 at 2:26 am

    I’m not sure I should bother writing a long post since you only post the comments that agree with your view (I’m sure you’ve received hundreds that don’t and I don’t see one) but I felt I had to say something.

    I do love and accept all kinds of people. I have many friends who have “come out of the closet” over the years. They’ve all remained my friends (over the years I’ve tried to keep in touch with all of my friends as much as possible). I want them all to find happiness in this life and happiness the next (the same as anyone else). I have yet to hear from any of my friends that homosexuality lead them to more happiness. But I have become very familiar with the stories of horrible sadness, guilt and shame they’ve felt. I’ve watched friendships lost, families torn apart, lives consumed and ruined. I truly wish I could take that pain away from them. No one should have to feel that way. The problem is those feelings don’t just come from other people, they come for within as well. Homosexuality interferes with one “fulfilling the measure of (ones) creation and (finding) happiness there in.” There is no happiness to be found there only darkness and sadness. I’ve had a couple of friends who have returned to heterosexuality after a few years because they “just want to be happy again”.

    I’m not sure what you mean by our church “accept gay marriage” in the future, do you picture our church conducting the sealing of gay couples in the temple? How does that fit into what you know of the plan of salvation? How could that ever lead to exaltation as we know it? I’m not sure how any of this could really fit with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Can you honestly say you prayed about this issue and still feel like you are on the right side of this battle? I’m amazed that there is any one who has “the same faith” I do that could have such a different view of who Jesus Christ is, what he taught and died for.
    Please explain.

  7. 7Greg Neilon 13 Oct 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Tim, you seem to be under the misconception that Homosexuality is a choice. Certainly the church’s position makes much more sense if it is. But the reality is that it’s not. I can’t answer to the people you know, since they’re not my friends, but my observations have been different than yours. My gay friends who are in committed relationships are every bit as happy as my straight friends in committed relationships. They have the same ups and downs, the same struggles, the same feelings. The ones who grew up LDS are much happier being who they are instead of forcing themselves into some damning condition of celibacy and loneliness imposed upon them by the church.

    If homosexuality, as you say, “interferes with fulfilling the measure of ones creation and finding happiness therein”, then why doesn’t God make gay church members straight? After all the prayers and pleading and blessings and tears and trials… I have yet to hear any story of a gay man or woman being “healed”. Perhaps fulfilling the measure of creation for a homosexual is to build a life together with someone they love… of the same sex.

    I absolutely see a future where we accept our homosexual brothers and sisters in the church who are married. It doesn’t even take a radical change in doctrine. All the church has to do is recognize that homosexuality is not a choice, and it is not changeable. The concept that man is not meant to be alone applies to everyone, not just straight folk. The church can even start by saying that married homosexuals are welcome in full fellowship in the church, but that we believe their marriages are for time only, and that God will “cure” them in the hereafter. That’s a step in the right direction.

    At some point we may even get past the idea that we have to have celestial heterosexual sex to make spirit babies, and that’s why only heterosexuals are in the celestial kingdom. But one step at a time. I really don’t see any of this happening for a long time, especially the way the church is digging in their heels now. But maybe in 50 years. I hope I live long enough to see it.

  8. 8Wendyon 14 Oct 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Tim, I appreciate your eloquent and loving words. I support proposition 8, but I frequent this site to get a feel for what others are feeling so I can better understand their point of view. I very much agree with you and the more I study the other side of this issue, the less I understand where church members that oppose this proposition are coming from. I don’t feel that the church is imposing its morality on anyone at all. This is not a campaign to stop homosexuality itself. This is about the institution of marriage which is fundamental to not only our doctrine, but to our society. In changing the definition of marriage, you are granting new rights, not protecting existing ones. Every man has the same civil right to marry one woman and every woman has the same civil right to marry one man. If your lifestyle is such that you choose not to exercise this right it doesn’t mean it’s being withheld. Changing this definition absolutely opens the door to any and all definitions of marriage. There is enough noise out there as it is without the ambiguity of what a marriage means to add to it. We can stand up for our doctrines and love our neighbor at the same time. That is what I strive to teach my children every day.

  9. 9Captain Moronion 14 Oct 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Wendy – Every man has the same civil right to marry one woman and every woman has the same civil right to marry one man.

    CM – Wendy, please compare and contrast these 2 paragraphs. Which one is justified and which is a denial of rights?

    When gays ask permission to marry, government officials suggest that gays don’t deserve “special rights” just for them and if they want the benefits marriage, that they marry someone of the opposite sex like everyone else. The gays will say that since they are not straight, that that doesn’t make sense. The official may tell the gay that they CHOOSE to be gay and that America won’t provide gays with “special rights” based on their lifestyle choices. What gays do in the privacy of their own homes is one thing, but why should American society, built on monogamy, have to change to accommodate gays’ chosen lifestyle? The gays may also say that they pay taxes and their tax monies are being used by the government to give government benefits and protections to straights while they are denied those same benefits and protections. Click here for a list of these rights. Their claims fall on deaf ears because they CHOOSE to be gay rather than marry an opposite sex partner.

    When Mormons desired to practice polygamy, US officials suggested that Mormons didn’t deserve “special rights” just for them and if they want the benefits of marriage, that they practice monogamy like everyone else. The LDS may have said that since they are not strictly monogamists, that that doesn’t make sense. The government official may have told the Mormons that they CHOOSE to be polygamists and that the United States won’t provide Mormons with “special rights” based on their lifestyle choices. What Mormons preach in the privacy of their own homes and churches is one thing, but why should American society, which was based on traditional Christianity (which preaches strict monogamy), have to change to accommodate the Mormons’ chosen lifestyle? The Mormons may also have said that they paid taxes and their tax monies were being used by the government to give government benefits and protections only to monogamists while they were denied those same benefits and protections. This fell on deaf ears because they CHOOSE to be polygamists rather than being monogamists.

  10. 10Wendyon 14 Oct 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Captain Moroni –
    I can see the point you are trying to make, but consider that the United States didn’t provide special rights to the church based on their choices. Polygamists in Utah lived underground for years. Eventually the prophet denounced plural marriage seeing that it would be the downfall of the church if they continued a practice that went against the law of the land. Also in the early days of the church, plural marriage was only practiced by select members. It was a prophet then who counseled the members, many of whom left the church over that counsel, and it is a prophet now who is counseling us. And we are being couseled, not commanded.

    In addition, I am not trying to imply that homosexuals CHOOSE to be gay, only that because they are gay, they choose not to enter into traditional marriage. Some do choose to enter into a traditional marriage. Their rights are equal.

    Just to be clear, this is not my primary reason for supporting prop 8, but it is one of the reasons why I feel that this is not a civil rights issue, but a moral one. I don’t mean to thread-jack and turn this into a debate. I have a lot of love for my neighbors and I know we will get through this as members of the church and come out stronger and hopefully more loving and supportive toward gay members of the church.

  11. 11Emilyon 14 Oct 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I respect that some of you support proposition 8. That is your choice. The real issue I have is that the church is taking half truths and pushing members to promote these scare tactics in order to have proposition 8 passed for their own political reasons. I believe that the church should stay out of politics and should not encourage its members to spread half truths and lies. This is why I haven’t been to church in the past 2 months. I cannot reconcile the fact that the leaders of the church are abusing their influence.

  12. 12Captain Moronion 14 Oct 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Wendy –
    I can see the point you are trying to make, but consider that the United States didn’t provide special rights to the church based on their choices.
    CM – That’s right. The US didn’t. LDS CHOSE their lifestyle. If they wanted to be considered married, they could choose to be monogamists. We LDS just wanted to be considered as married as typical mmonogamists.

    … we are being couseled, not commanded.
    Cm – If it was just counsel, then why are the members in CA asked to send their donations to a site other than the Yes On 8 address? The members are to put their stake and ward on the slip so that stake presidents and bishops will get reports back on who donated what. This is an obvious strong arm tactic. Will members who don’t donate be released from leadership callings…wwweellllll….could be. Perhaps during their next Temple recommend interview when the bishop asks if they sustain President Monson as prophet seer and revelator, he’ll pull out the donation report and ask the interviewee why they didn’t donate or donated less than the bishop “suggested” would be an appropriate amount. There is NO reason for such reporting unless consequences for not donating are a realistic threat…real or perceived. Many leasers are calling this a tet of people’s faith.

    In addition, I am not trying to imply that homosexuals CHOOSE to be gay, only that because they are gay, they choose not to enter into traditional marriage. Some do choose to enter into a traditional marriage. Their rights are equal.
    Cm – Those paragraphs contrasting polygamy with same-sex marriage are on our site. there is also a 3rd paragraph about Christians in Saudia Arabia going to a city hall trying to get a building permit for a new church. The official asks why should Christians get special rights and if they wanted to worship God publically, they could go to a mosque like everyone else…yada yada yada. Are Christians’ rights here equal with Muslims?
    in all 3 paragraphs, government officials are asking people to deny who they really are in order to get state sponsored perks. All 3 sets of people CHOOSE to act in the politically uncorrect behavior. Should people REALLY be punished for CHOOSING objectively benign behaviors that the majority dislikes?

    Just to be clear, this is not my primary reason for supporting prop 8, but it is one of the reasons why I feel that this is not a civil rights issue, but a moral one.
    CM – of course it about civil rights. We are taking away a civil right that they currently have (in direct contradicition to D&C 134:4 and 1 Cor.10:29). Church leaders vehemently denouced those who opposed their politically incorrect version of marriage for denying them equal rights. We’ve switched sides. The persecuted and now the persecutors.

    I don’t mean to thread-jack and turn this into a debate. I have a lot of love for my neighbors and I know we will get through this as members of the church and come out stronger and hopefully more loving and supportive toward gay members of the church.
    CM – Fat Chance. There are several posts here and on other places like signingforsomething.org which tell how this campaign has caused people being estranged from their parents/siblings/etc… During the 22 campaign, there were suicides by gays. With the church being THE driving force behind prop. 8, the Church will get the rep of being extremebly anti-gay. Look at the division it’s caused here. What is it like in families that have a gay member? Won’t there be a lot of members in that ward that will condemn the family if they don’t support 8? You bet. The members who know the gay person will likewise get criticized for not having enough faith if they are anti-8.
    The church should simply have restated the Proc. on the Family as being our position on the matter. our active involvement is splitting families, wards, will harm missionary work with people who saw no problem with gays being married, and will leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths for decades to come, etc…
    All of that, plus being contrary to scriptures makes 8 the embodiment of evil. Write me at lds4gaymarriage@hotmail.com if you want to take this discussion off-line. Thanks for listening.

  13. 13Susanon 20 Oct 2008 at 9:42 pm


    Is it possible to oppose prop 8 and also support Religion?

    Apparently Kim B. Clark (President of BYU-I) doesn’t think so. I find this level of overblown demonizing (on both sides of the issues) very troubling… Would just hope for more from everyone. Thinking about writing him a very respectful letter.

  14. 14Megon 24 Oct 2008 at 10:10 am

    I too am a supporter of Proposition 8, and I don’t find it appalling that the Brethren have felt compelled to take a stance on the issue; 13 years ago in the Proclamation to the Family, the First Presidency clearly stated what the doctrine of the Church is regarding the family, gender, and marriage, and then exhorted: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” It seemed fine in print, but now that we have actually been called to do this, it seems to be a shock to many.

    I don’t doubt that there have been divisions in ward and families over the issue of gay marriage. But didn’t Christ Himself say that His ministry wouldn’t necessarily result in temporal peace?

    “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son aagainst the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” Luke 12:51-53

    Just because an issue is divisive doesn’t make it evil. Christ loved all, and promised peace to those who followed Him and kept His commandments. That wasn’t necessarily peace in the world, but peace in Him. He loved those who sinned but did not condone the sin.

    I do find it troubling when we are insensitive to the feelings of those around us and when half-truths, and un-truths, are perpetuated. Unfortunately, much of this has happened among well-meaning members that aren’t fully informed on the issues and don’t understand the law behind the claims being made. It is important to note that in all of the commentaries and broadcasts in which the brethren have spoken out on gay marriage, they have expressed concern and love for those that struggle with same-gender attraction, but they have also been firm in condoning the sin. There is a delicate balance to strike, and whenever we don’t speak in love, I agree that there is a problem.

    As one last note, in partial response to some commentaries that I have read on this site, I realize that asking a person to forego intimate relationships in this life is a lot to ask, and I admit that I really don’t understand how hard that would be. I can only imagine and empathize. It is tough to understand why our Father allows His children to suffer in that circumstance. I don’t understand it, just like I don’t understand why a lot of suffering is allowed to happen. But my faith is that all that we sacrifice in this life will be made up a hundred-fold and more. We’ll have peace in Christ through His Atonement if we seek to keep His commandments, including the law of chastity, which requires that we have sexual relationships only with our lawful husband or wife in heterosexual marriage. Blessings will be multiplied for those who keep those covenants with sacrifice, but that peace and those blessings won’t necessarily come in the world; they will come in Him, according to the will of Him whose ways are not my ways, and whose thoughts are higher than my thoughts.

  15. 15Karlan Juddon 26 Oct 2008 at 11:12 am

    I just wanted to add my voice to the many who are thankful for this website. I am a gay man, and I was recently contacted by a Sister from my mission. I decided I should go ahead and tell her that I had left the church and come out as a gay man. I was nervous, but knew she was a loving soul. Sure enough, she was very sympathetic and directed me to this website. I was thankful to watch the videos that are posted.

    I am from one of those big Mormon families. Most of my family knows that I am gay, but I have only talked about it with a few of them, because it’s just too uncomfortable. I hope with time that will change, as I know that we have a foundation of love that can overcome these things.

    Thanks again. I do believe the Church has overstepped by participating in this political movement and aligning itself with those who seek to divide and conquer. The church does have a history of love ministry, and I hope it will re-focus its efforts there, because so much love is needed in this world.

  16. 16marieon 26 Oct 2008 at 2:01 pm

    thank you to the courageous saints who have made these videos. they have given me the courage to vote my conscious by voting NO on proposition 8, despite heavy pressure from within my ward and stake.

  17. 17Scott Oberton 30 Oct 2008 at 10:14 am

    Thank you all so very much for coming forward and expressing your compassion for your fellow man. I have always had a love for the the LDS church, even though I grew up Catholic. One thing that always kept me away was their doctrine and views against homosexuality. However, it’s always been the saints of the LDS that have embraced me as a human being. You should all be proud of Choosing the Right and speaking out by letting others enjoy life the way you do. God did give us that right, but we still are all of his children.

    I just want to thank you for being you and because of your courageous acts you have continued my hope that the LDS church is still all about it’s people. Good, enriching, loving compassionate people who follow the Lord. I have been blessed by having lot’s of Mormon friends in my life and all of them are just like you. Regardless of where the church stands on prop 8, you are all the ones that lead the way.

    Once again, Thank you and God bless.

  18. 18Kindraon 31 Oct 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I am a child of God who loves the LDS gospel with all my heart and who has a very strong testimony that it is true. I love the Book of Mormon. I know that Joseph Smith was and is a true prophet. I do not understand all that the gospel talks about but I do have faith that I will understand it piece by piece as the Lord sees fit to help me understand it. I have a very strong testimony that our Savior lives and more importantly that He has a love for each and every one of us that is so strong, that we in our state of being human, will never be able to completely comprehend. I also have a strong testimony that we are not meant to be perfect in this life. We have been sent here to learn, gain understanding and wisdom. Those virtues can only be truly gained through experience. And experience only comes through trial and error and we could only be tried and create error through our human experience. I know with all my heart that no matter what experience or trial we face in this life, if we do our best to deal with it with the help of our Savior, deal with it and face it with love and the idea that there is something to be gained from it that will help better us as an individual, that we will gain the knowledge and wisdom to allow us to be better people. And when we are better people with knowledge and wisdom, we will have a better capability to see everyone around us as other children of our Heavenly Father who are trying to do the best they can and who also just want to be loved and accepted.

    I grew up in a ward, neighborhood, and family where it was normal and common to always judge everyone around you. I knew it wasn’t right but I started to do the same thing. Then as I grew older and started exercising my right to free agency, I realized that I had been judging people for the very same things I was doing and experiencing. I just wanted to be loved and accepted just like everyone else and I chose to go about getting that love and acceptance the way that I saw fit was best for me. I realized that everyone else in this world was doing the exact same thing; they just chose to go about it in a different way than I was and I had the nerve to judge them. Every single one of us does and will and is making mistakes whether we consciously chose to make them or whether we didn’t know until after the mistake was made. Very rarely are these mistakes made with the intent of harming others or the world in a way that people like Hitler intended. It takes a lot of conscious thought, commitment and effort to cause that kind of evil in the world. Everyone just wants to be loved and everyone is just trying to do the best they can to make it in this life. We all have our own set of personal and unique trials that we have faced, are facing or will face but each of us is dealing with them the best and only way we know how.

    I don’t know why I am attracted to other women but I do know that it is not something that I chose. I would not wish that kind of struggle on anyone. I have tried to fight it and choose to be straight several times even to the point of suicide. I didn’t find my peace and happiness until I went to a past bishop of mine and explained my struggle of not being able to change my sexuality but still having a very strong testimony of the gospel. That night I received a blessing from him that only reconfirmed my love and devotion to the gospel and at the same time find peace with who I am as a lesbian. But most importantly that night I realized for the first time, that my Heavenly Father and my Savior still love me with the same immeasurable, unconditional love that he has for His children who are attracted to members of the opposite sex. I also learned that night that I needed to have faith that it will be sorted out and dealt with at a different point and time by the appropriate person and that I am to live my life the best way I know how despite the churches stance and points of view on homosexuals. And I am doing just that. I’m not in the closet about who I am but I’m not on a rainbow rampage either. I am in a loving, committed relationship with a wonderful, hard working woman whom I feel very honored and blessed to share my life with. We share the same religious beliefs about the church and she really is my perfect other half. We are not out trying to recruit others to believe and live as we do. Like I said, I wouldn’t wish the struggle of homosexuality on my worst enemy. We go to work, go to school, and yes, go to church on Sunday and we live our lives the best way we know how. We do what we can to help others out in times of need and are happy, productive members of society. Nothing that we do or say is in anyway shape or form, threatening the sanctity of marriage or the family unit. What is threatening the sanctity of marriage and the family unit is by far greater, more important matters like infidelity between spouses, pornography, fathers and mothers neglecting to spend time together as families to strengthen the bonds of their marriage and their family ties, parents refusing to talk to and be honest with their kids, parents prioritizing worldly possessions and events above their families and children, the filth on television, in movies, video games and the internet, parents abusing each other and their kids and fathers and mothers choosing drugs and alcohol over their loved ones. But where is the money that should be poured into those causes?

    I know that whatever happens with Proposition 8, is what is supposed to happen. We may not know the reason for it but I know we will eventually when the time is right. But it doesn’t matter if it’s passed or not. It still doesn’t stop me from having my testimony and loving the gospel right along with loving my partner.

    “When we forgive our loved ones, we are also forgiving ourselves and we are choosing love over anger and regret. And that is truly divine.” ~ Dr. Laura Berman

  19. 19Shannon Leeon 15 Nov 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Of course the Church has a right to express its views and doctrine on the covenant of marriage. They have a right to teach it in their chapels. But they have no business trying to insert their religious views into the Constitution. If they had simply said to the members, “You know the issue at hand. We ask that you sincerely pray about it, and encourage you to then get out there and exercise your civic duty and vote your conscience,” I would not have had a problem with it at all.

    But like many expressions here, I was floored at the level of involvement in a matter which affects the civil rights of citizens, some who are in the Church, many who are not in the Church, or may even be athiests. What on earth is the Church doing getting so directly involved in the laws of the land? I am really struggling to come to terms with this. I’ve been a member for over 30 years and this has been truly faith shattering for me.

    I’ve always held my agency as most precious and sacred to me. I have been shocked and dismayed by this entire episode, and yes even feel betrayed in some ways as well. I am deeply saddened that any members of the Church have been made to feel like the enemy, or apostate, if they felt they could not support Prop 8. This has divided members and families – not united them. I’m so grateful to realize that I’m not alone. I thought there was no one that I could talk to in the Church about my feelings.

    The Church is a religious organization. The fact that it would insert itself into political matters to this degree has me genuinely confused. Have we not always been taught that they do not get involved in such matters? I’ve also learned that this is not the first time this has happened, which upset me even further. They’ve just never been involved quite to this extent before.

    At this point, I don’t know where this is going to leave me. Do I leave? My trust in my leaders has been shattered. How does one willingly walk away from their Salvation? But how do I stay, knowing that I’d feel like a hypocrite if I did? I am truly frightened, and I honestly don’t know what to do.

  20. 20Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 15 Nov 2008 at 10:03 pm

    #19 Shannon Lee–

    Only you can decide what is the right path for you. But there are many of us who are willing to be a listening ear or to share with you what our paths have looked like based on the decisions that we made. Some of us have walked away from the Church. Others have stayed. Many of us have given “admin” our contact information and permission to forward requests for direct contact so if you want to talk to someone on this list directly, check to see if an email can be forwarded to a specific individual.
    I’m someone who left the church in 2000 after Prop 22. It was difficult, but I don’t regret the decision. I don’t feel like I walked away from my “Salvation”. I decided that it was more important to live my life like I preceived Christ did…helping others in the “here and now” rather than worrying where I was going after I died. The change of focus has really been quite liberating. I think that I can honestly say now that I believe the world is a little better place because I was alive. I never felt that way when I was a part of the church.
    Listen to the stories of those who have stayed in the church too. You’ll be able to decide which path will be best for you.

  21. 21Markon 19 Nov 2008 at 2:09 am

    I’m not sure if Wendy will be re-visiting this site after so much time has passed since the election but one thing that she wrote that really stood out as erroneous was her comment listed below:

    “In changing the definition of marriage, you are granting new rights, not protecting existing ones.”

    This seems to be a rampant belief among many members of the church. I’m a gay mormon man who is legally married to another man and who is lucky enough to have a good and open relationship with both of my parents who are active in the church. During a visit to them in Utah this week a discussion inevitably arose about Prop 8. We discussed it civilly at length and they were stunned to find out that Prop 8 was a proposition written to strip same sex couples of EXISTING RIGHTS. It is not a proposition to grant new rights. It is a constitutional AMENDMENT. They, like Wendy, thought it was a campaign to legalize same sex marriage. Prior to prop 8 same sex marriages WERE ALREADY LEGAL. My marriage license was obtained legally and my wedding ceremony performed by an officer of the court.

    I’m curious to hear if Wendy truly believed that Proposition 8 was penned to change the definition of marriage to grant new rights to same sex couples. If so, where did she hear this? This is absolutely incorrect. It’s a definition change to STRIP AWAY EXISTING RIGHTS.

    I seem to have found this site after most of the traffic has slowed down but would live to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this seemingly common misconception.

  22. 22Shannon Leeon 19 Nov 2008 at 10:34 am

    Hi Mark. That’s an excellent way of putting it. I hadn’t stopped to think of it in quite that light before. You’re right though. I think that most people’s perception is that they were trying to grant marriage to gays, in lieu of it simply being a civil contract “as currently constituted.” Or so they thought. They will often say, “Why can’t they simply be happy with a civil contract? It’s the same thing,” to which I’ve always said, “Well if it’s the same thing, then why not call it what it is, rather than trying to make yourselves feel more comfortable by calling it something else?” Anyway, when you put it the way you did, I realized that I already knew what you are saying to be true, but it hadn’t quite clicked in my mind like that before.

    Jeanie, I just made myself a shannonlee1959@hotmail.com address. Thanks for your kind words.

  23. 23Franon 20 Nov 2008 at 8:47 am

    Mark, while I see your point, I think it’s still not a 100% accurate presentation of the situation. Initially, way back it was legally not possible for homosexuals to marry. Then it became a legal possibility that got shot down in 2000, then was overturned, became legal, and now was made legally not possible again through proposition 8. So, while I agree that gays are now being stripped of a right they had, this right wasn’t (legally speaking) there all the time. therefore I think the claim that new rights are granted is also valid, though I think it would have been more valid at the point when homosexual marriage became legally available for the first time, rather than now with Proposition 8.

    Just a thought…

  24. 24Markon 20 Nov 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Fran, thanks for your thoughts and comments. Yes, I agree, with you that there’s confusion surrounding the back & forth on the issue where the courts are concerned. You’ve illustrated my point better than I could have. However, we can’t completely rely on backtracking through the history of any civil right to base our current decisions or viewpoints on. I believe we must rely on the situation as it currently exists. Do we agree or disagree with the current law and do we want to take steps to change or uphold it? The current situation is that the courts deemed that marriage is a civil right that by it’s very nature was too basic and integral to the country’s citizens to allow for it’s denial to any singled-out group of people by a simple majority vote. This is why the courts are hearing the arguments to have prop 8 overturned. Our country’s history of civil rights is heavily peppered with court rulings that have favored against the majority opinion. Integration, interracial marriage, and even the abolition of slavery were not backed by the popular vote of those states and communities which were forced by the courts to adhere to them.

    Again, thanks for your thoughts. I’d love to hear more of yours. I’m very happy I found this discussion group, which allows for DISCUSSION (imagine that!). So many of the other websites I’ve been to leave me with such a horrible feeling of despair and disgust after reading the venomous comments people (from both sides of the issue) make from behind the anonymity curtain of the internet.

    I look forward to continuing this discussion with any interested parties.

  25. 25Lara Cleveland Torgesenon 20 Nov 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Yes, I think you are right. Many people weren’t really aware of the distinction. Prop 22 was bad enough–trying to pre-empt the legalization of gay marriage. But Prop 8 was much worse–taking away a hard-won right for marriage equality. I think of the 18,000 gay couples who were married during the brief window it was legal and my heart breaks for them. What will become of those marriages? I think of the desperate pleas: “in lieu of wedding gifts, PLEASE donate to No on 8. The greatest gift we could have is to have our wedding take.”

    I’m so saddened to watch as the religion I was raised in–the one that taught me about the importance of committed, loving family relationships–morph itself into something I no longer recognize or want to be associated with…. the face of homophobia. There are so many things we could do to support and strengthen families. Spending millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours in support of a political measure to strip gays of marriage rights is repugnant to me. I fail to see how it protects other marriages or strengthens families in any way. Rather it breaks hearts and polarizes family members, church members, and community citizens. I cannot convince myself that such a path is morally correct or in any way associated with the divine.

  26. 26Maryon 23 Nov 2008 at 7:34 pm

    I am relieved to discover this website. I fear where I live I am one of the scant few church members in my ward who feel that the passage of Prop 8 was wrong.

    Today our bishop offered a few words regarding Prop 8, tinging his talk with over-reliant pathos that demonized the gay community. He spoke repeatedly about tradition of the law. Does that mean that laws should never be questioned? The heartfelt dedication of thousands who fought against laws such as the Jim Crow laws forged the way for integration and protection against those being discriminated against for the color of their skin.

    No, I do not agree with fighting hate with hate, and am thus disappointed by the explosive reaction against the church in California and the like. But I also do not agree with the victimizing stance our church has taken up against the detractors of Prop 8. By breaking the bonds of legal unions between gay families our church does not promote tolerance and understanding.

    The stamp of heterosexuality does NOT equate itself with wholesomeness and it is a blind farce to propagate marriage between one man and one woman as such. Who are we to force our brand of marital sanctity on others? Heterosexuality is not a prerequisite for creating a healthy, happy family. I still stand for separation of church and state.

    Thank you again for your inspiration. I am comforted to find like-minded members who clearly see the fault in the church’s influence in the passing of Prop 8.

  27. 27Johnon 12 Jan 2009 at 4:44 am

    I am a teenager living in Australia but I watched closely as Prop 8 unfolded and I was very upset and disappointed to find that it had passed. I would just like to say that I have been so relieved to have found this site, it assures me that there are religious people who will show compassion and respect for all people regardless of religion or gender. I am so very glad that there are people who look at me and other homosexuals as law-abiding human beings that do breathe the same air as everyone else.

    I’ve known that I am a homosexual since before I can even remember, and it has been very hard sometimes. It’s a battle of self-denial and being told by the people around you that you are not normal. I have tried to change myself and I have tried to tell myself to be “normal” but I cannot, and this upsets me even more. It’s not easy living a life that you do not want to live sometimes, and it hurt so much to know that one day I would have to apologize to my parents for not being able to produce grand-children for them, and knowing that they may not see me as their son anymore.

    I want to personally thank every Mormon or religious person who has spoken out against Prop 8 in the past. Thank you for being compassionate, respectful and open-minded. Thank you for promoting love to all people, and thank you for speaking up against the removal of marriage rights to homosexual Californians. Thank you for helping society be that little more accepting of the other person and that other member in the community. Thank you for bringing awareness to a problem that still hurts and effects so many people. I appreciate it, and I am sure everyone does.

    I hope that one day when I am a bit older and ready to marry, I will be able to marry my boyfriend and adopt a child and live a normal life just like so many other people can. It will be hard because marriage isn’t legal between two same-sex couples in Australia but I know if these rights are given to Americans then Australia may one day follow through as well.

  28. 28trent harrison 01 Apr 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I am a TV producer for a PBS program called Religion and Ethics News Weekly. I am looking for Mormons who do not support Prop 8 and are willing to speak on camera about their feelings. please contact me at
    this is posted on april 1 2009

    thank you, Trent Harris

Wait a Minute – Is That Really True?

Folks watching 8:The Mormon Proposition for the first time this week have been coming up with questions and concerns about the movie’s claims.  Here’s a little bit of fact checking and contextualization for those of you looking for it.

Satellite Broadcast Training

Reed Cowan begins this movie with clips from a satellite broadcast which originally aired October 8, 2008 from Salt Lake City to every stake center in California.  He uses a (probably) surreptitious audio recording of the broadcast, so the audio is not great.  It is accurate, however, and the text is subtitled for ease of viewing.  A transcript of the whole meeting can be found here.  The video for these clips is based on the short video clips once publicly available from the church’s website, www.lds.org and www.preservingmarriage.org.  Since the officially available video clips did not include much of what Cowan used in his movie, he elected to use clips of the video, edited to obscure the details, as background for the audio quotes he wanted to include.  The visual effect is a bit ominous.

“Secret” Documents and Hawaii

A good portion of the early part of the movie includes references to LDS Church documents received by Fred Karger.  The documents are correspondence between Elder Loren C. Dunn and several other LDS General Authorities.  Elder Dunn served in the LDS Area Presidency for the North America Northwest Area, which included California and Hawaii in the mid-1990s when the LDS Church involved itself in Hawaii’s same-sex marriage struggles.  Church involvement in this campaign has been documented here and in The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power by historian D. Michael Quinn.  Karger’s documents expand on what was already known and provide even more depth and details of the Church’s Public Affairs Committee actions.  Documents cited in the movie include  the documents here.

Mormon Financial Contributions

Karger suggests that individual Mormons donated 70% of the money contributed to the Protect Marriage coalition.  [Other sites here and here don’t attribute quite that much to LDS donors, but neither do they say their information is complete or exhaustive.  Karger hints that some of those he identified as being LDS were people who (a) contributed to Mormon Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and (b) sent in large sums of money to the Protect Marriage coalition after the First Presidency letter was read in Sacrament Meetings across California at the end of June, 2008.  Notations about BYU attendance were also likely indications that donors were Mormon as well.  And, in reality, Mormons are not particularly quiet about their religious affiliations online – they talk about wards and stakes and Relief Society and FHE and home teaching/visiting teaching and callings on a regular basis, so it’s not too hard to identify them.

Total donation information can be found at the California Secretary of State’s page, and Mormonsfor8.com includes a breakdown of donations by state, indicating that the majority of donations came from California residents.

There were special PO Boxes for receiving LDS donation forms to the Protect Marriage coalition.  Forms from the general public were sent to P.O. Box 162657, Sacramento, CA and those from LDS members were sent to P.O. Box 819, Placentia, CA.  Assessments were made for stakes, as had been done in Hawaii and previously in California during Prop 22.  Individual members were contacted with suggested donations as was done in this blog post.

Certainly the Church knows how much its members gave, and if the media reports were way over the top and completely inaccurate, the Church could certainly provide correct numbers.  Thus far, it has not.

Church Discipline and Excommunications

While it’s possible that one or two members may have been directly threatened with church discipline as strict as formal excommunication or loss of salvation when they were asked to donate, the vast majority of potential member donors did not receive overt, explicit pressure like that.  Many were told that donations to support Proposition 8 should be given the same importance as tithing (which is necessary to pay in order for a member to be worthy to enter the temple).  Many were told that supporting Proposition 8 was the same thing as supporting the prophet (implying that non-support of the initiative was the same as non-support of the prophet).

More than a few members were subject so some form of ecclesiastical pressure regarding their involvement (or lack thereof) in the campaign.  Several had temple recommends revoked and others were unable to get renewed recommends.  Others were released from callings within the church, and others were asked to stop speaking out against the proposition if they wanted to continue to serve in callings.  Some members resigned from callings on their own, or turned down callings, citing their lack of support for the Church’s actions during the campaign.

There is no doubt that members were given a not-so-subtle message that supporting Proposition 8 was a righteous, obedient and holy thing they needed to do as good members of the Church.  As ecclesiastical leaders hold the ability to judge whether their adherents are worthy of eternal salvation or not, those leaders must be very, very careful what they ask of their followers.  When using this lever to move the Saints, Church leaders need not exert much effort at all before members are enthusiastically picking up the banner and moving forward with gusto.

National Organization for Marriage

Karger suggests that the National Organization for Marriage is a Mormon-instigated and/or controlled “front group” to fight SSM across the nation, much like Hawaii’s Future Today or Save Traditional Marriage-’98 were when they were created in Hawaii.  Certainly, Matthew Holland is LDS and was one of the early founders of the group.  It’s also no secret that Mormon author Orson Scott Card is now serving as Holland’s replacement on the NOM Board.  The jury is still out on the details of Mormon involvement in NOM, but it’s clear that Proposition 8 would not have gotten onto California’s ballot without NOM’s involvement.

Electroshock Therapy at BYU

The film discusses electroshock therapy at BYU a couple of decades ago, and a more complete account may be found here.

Gay Suicides and Stuart Matis

Stuart Matis committed suicide at an LDS church building in Los Altos, California, in March 2000, just before Californians voted on Proposition 22, the predecessor to Prop 8.  Information about his suicide has been discussed here and here.

In a couple more days, we’ll examine some more things like accounts about:
—Training members to be election volunteers walking precincts, supervising efforts in every ZIP code
—Political Tactics/fearmongering arguments/6 Consequences
—LDS Church official reporting of Non-monetary contributions and fines assessed
—Homelessness/Rejection of Gay Youth
—Quotes by church leaders about homosexuality cited in the film

Filed in gay, homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |

44 Responses to “Wait a Minute – Is That Really True?”

  1. 1Mel Tungateon 22 Jun 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Well done, as usual, Laura.


  2. 2Sherion 23 Jun 2010 at 1:19 pm

    This is such a great, unbiased and comprehensive article, I put a link to it on my Facebook account. Like Mel said, well done – again – Laura.

  3. 3Lauraon 28 Jun 2010 at 5:43 pm

    With regard to LDS member donations, there’s this little point I neglected to include above:

    There was a special conference call (at least one, perhaps a series of them over a few days) between wealthy church members and GA-level church authorities. How these members’ ability to donate was determined is currently not known, but past experience suggests that local leaders likely helped identify potential donors to attend the conference call.

    These members were asked to give a significant amount of money. Some people spoke of relatives who were asked to donate a 5-figure sum; others referred to it as “the price of a small car”.

    Whatever the amount requested, there was a surge of $10,000 – $25,000 donations in mid-September, a few days immediately following reports of the rumored call, and most of those donations were from LDS members according to reports at mormonsfor8.com.

  4. 4Sherylon 30 Jun 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Okay, saw 8: The Mormon Proposition. Thanks to your commentary, Laura, and all I have read on Prop8 Trial Tracker, there was only 1 surprise to me in the movie. Definitely did not portray Mormons in a good light. Although they did interview some pro equality Mormons, but we are so in the minority. I loved Carol Lynn Pearson’s comments and think that the comments of her daughter Emily went a long way to explaining Mormons following their prophet. Although, to me, I have to look myself in the mirror every day and there is no way I could vote to take rights away from a group. Nor do I see any way that same sex marriage cheapens “traditional” marriage. And for those people who throw their kids out because they learn they are homosexual, there is no way I can condone that behavior, truly cannot understand doing that to your own child. My son is ready to have his name removed from the church, which considering how the church views him is fine with me. We talked a lot about why I remain active (or at least semi-active). Not sure I really have solid answers for that question.

    All in all it was an excellent movie and I’m glad that we went to see it together.

    Once again, Laura, thank you for this site.

  5. 5Sherylon 03 Jul 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Laura, I’ve been reading some of the links you provided. Last night was the link to electroshock therapy. Sickening, truly sickening. How could this possibly be condoned? (realize you do not have answers). Tonight I read some of the transcript from the Oct. broadcast. Do these leaders not see the bigotry in their words. Do they not see the harm in a religion forcing it’s belief on others in society who do not share those same beliefs?

    Sheryl, who really is wondering about remaining a Mormon.

  6. 6Lauraon 05 Jul 2010 at 11:52 pm


    I don’t have answers, and I don’t have apologies on their behalf. It’s heartbreaking to see what people – all of us – are capable of doing when we are led to believe our lives and livelihoods are being threatened. It’s a shame that when there are no other seemingly good enough reasons for doing something that the trump card can so often be “God Says So.”

    I wish there were a way to convince people there’s no reason to be so terrified of something that’s different. We all love our children, we all want better lives for them than what we’ve had. Nobody really wants to live in the middle of a war, despite the rhetoric about battles and crusades.

    I was with a friend a few days ago and was reminded that sometimes what we all need most is a loving Mother who will wrap her arms around us, kiss our tears away, sing us to sleep and wake us in the morning pointing out the wonders of the world and of each of the people in it. Perhaps, then, if we all felt totally loved and accepted, we could spend time noticing the unique gifts we each bring to the world and share them freely without feeling like we have to do or be better than everyone else and jealously guard what we have and what we believe is The Way.

    I’d like to believe we all act out of the goodness of our best intentions, but I’m afraid we all fall short way too often.

  7. 7Sherylon 06 Jul 2010 at 11:25 am

    So well put, Laura. I know that none of us has the answer, except the follow the admonition of our Savior — love thy neighbor as thyself. That certainly is not happening enough on this issue.

    When the “God said so” reason is given, we have to wonder whose God. All Christian religions believe that the God they worship is the only true God, and yet, We all believe so differently.

    I was going back and reading some of the very first posts on this board. Don’t believe I have ever done that, I just came in and started with the what would you say in Relief Society post because of a Sunday School class. As I’ve said before, I wish I would have found this site early in the campaign.


  8. 8fiona64on 07 Jul 2010 at 10:23 am

    Robert F. Kennedy said it best: For when you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color, or his beliefs or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you, threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens, but as enemies. To be met not with co operation but with conquest, to be subjugated, and to be mastered.

  9. 9Documentation for 8: The Mormon Proposition | Moms for Equality : Dads for Equalityon 19 Jul 2010 at 12:29 pm

    […] Wait a Minute – Is That Really True? […]

  10. 10jon 21 Jul 2010 at 3:00 pm

    “Certainly the Church knows how much its members gave, and if the media reports were way over the top and completely inaccurate, the Church could certainly provide correct numbers. Thus far, it has not.”

    How on earth would they know this? You didn’t have to disclose that you’re LDS when you donated and you didn’t turn around and report your donation to the church. They had no mechanism for collecting this data apart from what was publicly available.

  11. 11Lauraon 21 Jul 2010 at 3:33 pm

    J –

    Church members sent contributions to their own P.O. Box using forms where they could indicate which stake and ward they were in. Members were highly encouraged to use those special forms and indicate their ward and stake membership information. They were even encouraged to send the forms to family/friends outside of the state so family and friends could contribute on behalf of the California member’s ward/stake. After that money was tabulated by church coordinators and after proper credit was given to the contributor’s ward/stake, the funds were sent in to the campaign committee.

    Stakes (and presumably wards within stakes) had contribution goals to meet and stake presidents received regular reports notating how much money their stake members donated, based on forms and contributions turned in using LDS contribution forms at the LDS P.O. Box. At the fireside in early October, General Authorities praised members for their successful monetary contribution campaign and told us it was time to focus on donating time, not money.

    The Church certainly has a very good and accurate estimate of how much money its members contributed. It certainly has a very good breakdown of money contributed by each stake, and probably by each ward.

  12. 12Joshuaon 21 Jul 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I made my contribution directly to the Protect Marriage site. The Church did not know my contribution. Mormons for 8 identified me as a Mormon, probably by googling me, so I could be more easily targeted. The Mormon Church hasn’t hounded down the supporters, so they cannot verify the claims of the film. They do not know who contributed directly to the Protect Marriage site.

  13. 13Lauraon 21 Jul 2010 at 4:33 pm

    And because the Church did not track donations that were not sent in to its own Post Office Box and credited toward specific stake and ward goals, I did not say it knew exactly how much money was contributed by members, only that it had a very good estimate.

  14. 14Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 10:50 am

    Many people did not send contributions to the Church’s Post Office. They do not have a very good estimate.

  15. 15fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 11:25 am

    Give me a break, Joshua. The names of all who donated more than $100 are available on the State Attorney General’s website; it’s the law that such donations to political causes be made available in that fashion. Are you now trying to pretend that the Church does not know which names on that list are members?

    My late mother-in-law was a walkaway from the Church of LDS and she’s been gone for more than 10 years. Yet, somehow the church continues to send letters of solicitation to her.

    They have a *very* good estimate of how much money was donated by members, both from California and from elsewhere.

  16. 16Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 11:37 am

    Do you think they spent the time to match the State Attorney General’s site with their Church records? Even if they did, it would probably be smart of them not to reveal that to Mormons for 8. I’m sure they would love the church to double check on their investigations so they can more precisely focus on torturing us.

  17. 17fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I think that the church did exactly that, Joshua.

    But the church isn’t focused on torturing (your words, not mine) the people who followed the prophet’s demands for money and time to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens, Joshua.

    In fact, I think that they may be trying to track some of you down to give you 30 pieces of silver. But that’s just my opinion.

  18. 18Sherylon 23 Jul 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Joshua, if the church was not going to keep track of the funds donated by members, why would they have special forms and a different P.O. Box for members to send money to? If Stakes had goals to meet, then by all means the church kept track of the donations and who did and did not donate. Now, because, as you’ve noted, not all members (but I’d be willing to bet that most) sent thru the church PO Box they do not have an accurate but a very good estimate.

    I personally see no reason why the church would cross match the names with the Attorney General’s office (but then I see no reason why for a lot of things the church has done surrounding Prop 8), but I’m sure that it wouldn’t take long at all to cross match, it isn’t like someone would have to do it manually. Good old technology speeds things like that up.

    And, Joshua, I’m wondering what you mean by: “I’m sure they would love the church to double check on their investigations so they can more precisely focus on torturing us.” Who is being tortured and how?

  19. 19Joshuaon 26 Jul 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I am sure you are aware their is a web site meant to identify Mormon donors to Prop 8. People have used this list to torture Mormons who have donated. People have lost their jobs because of this list. Others have gone around the neighborhood handing out fliers that make false accusations against people on the list.

  20. 20fiona64on 26 Jul 2010 at 2:28 pm

    19Joshuaon 26 Jul 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I am sure you are aware their is a web site meant to identify Mormon donors to Prop 8. People have used this list to torture Mormons who have donated. People have lost their jobs because of this list. Others have gone around the neighborhood handing out fliers that make false accusations against people on the list.

    Please share your sources that prove the “torture” of Mormons who donated. Seriously. “Torture” is a pretty big accusation. Were any of the Mormons who donated in favor of Prop 8 beaten to death? Hung up on barbed wire to die? Correctively “raped” to cure them of their lesbianism?

    Didn’t think so.

    By “torture,” perhaps you mean “their businesses were boycotted.” Well, guess what, Joshua? That’s perfectly legal. People have a right to vote with their dollars and their feet.

    BTW, that website to which you refer? It’s called the State Attorney General’s Office. Like I said, the law requires that donations over $100 to any political cause be published — regardless of which side they are on. If you want to “torture” the people who stood up for marriage equality, you too can go to the State Attorney General’s Office and look it up.

    Be sure to “torture” PG&E by having your electricity shut off, just for starters.

  21. 21Sherylon 26 Jul 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I agree with Fiona that torture is a very, very strong word to use for what you have described. As you are so fond of dictionary definitions, from the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary:

    1 a : anguish of body or mind : agony b : something that causes agony or pain
    2 : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure
    3 : distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument : straining

    So, in the sense that the loss of a job would cause mental agony, torture would be applicable. But, do you have statistics as to how many straight people have lost their jobs because they donated to Yes on 8? Wonder if anyone has statistics on how many people lost their jobs because they donated to No on 8?

    And, Joshua, you are aware that the Yes on 8 campaign people sent a letter to corporations that donated to No on 8 and Equalitiy California requesting a like donation or they would publish their names. Now the only reason to publish their names would be for the Yes on 8 segment to boycott them. I call that blackmail, what would do you call it?

    People should be aware that when they donate to a political campaign in the state of California that their names may/will be made public if their donation is over $100. If you are business owner, you should understand that people who disagree with your position my no longer do business with your company and, most likely, will spread that word to their friends and associates. Be advised, Joshua, that this goes both ways. The Yes on 8 people were/are not the only ones that in your terms are being tortured.

    As for real mental anguish, how do you think it feels to go thru each day knowing that you and your family do not have the same rights and protections that (even if you have the pre-requisite legal documents in place, see this article for an example, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/24/BARH1EJA0S.DTL) married couples have.

    Because you have chosen to live a straight life-style, doesn’t make that the answer for every member of the GLBT community. There is no logical reason to take the right of marriage away from a law-abiding, tax-paying segment of California’s population. This is a CIVIL issue NOT a RELIGIOUS issue. To me, Mormon belief on marraige (although why Mormons would want to define marriage as between one man and one woman when we still believe in polygamy (just not in this life) is interesting.

  22. 22Joshuaon 27 Jul 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Perhaps torture is a strong word. Some level of boycotting is appropriate. I admit both sides contributed. I think what has happened went beyond that. Both sides have crossed the boundaries.

    The California Supreme Court spoke out against my lifestyle. That puts me in a dangerous position. Future court cases will look at their ruling. That puts organizations like Evergreen and NARTH at risk. It makes it harder for me to get psychological care. Many mixed-orientation couples are forced into the closet. The closet is a horrible place to be, and no one deserves to be in it.

    Don’t act like because I chose a straight lifestyle, my life is a peace of cake. All I want is to protect my family.

  23. 23Lauraon 27 Jul 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Please, oh please, provide us with the citation information for claim that the Supreme Court spoke out against your lifestyle. And, perhaps you can tell us which lifestyle they spoke out against, while you’re at it, because I can’t remember if you are talking about your gay past, your ex-gay present or your mixed-orientation/straight lifestyle.

    Especially if the court spoke out against your straight family, I’d be pleased as punch to know what they said because if your straight family was threatened, so was mine. If my life – or my way of life – is in danger, I’d truly, TRULY, want to know about it. Maybe if it’s that dangerous I’ll just extend my vacation longer so as to protect my poor little straight family and their children.

  24. 24fiona64on 28 Jul 2010 at 6:39 am

    I second Laura’s request for a citation — for exactly the same reasons. I guess I missed the news that straight families were under attack by the Supreme Court.

    Stop with the hyperbole and outright lies, Joshua. It’s unbecoming at the very least.

  25. 25sherylon 28 Jul 2010 at 9:42 am

    I, also, would like the exact wording in the California Supreme Court’s decision that, to quote you, “spoke out against my lifestyle.”

    And, how will legalizing same-sex marriage put organizations, such as NARTH, at risk. Do people only use their services because they wanted to get married and couldn’t? As long as religions teach that homosexuality is sin, there will be homosexuals who will want to learn how to live a straight life.

    And, Joshua, perhaps it would help us all to better understand you if you could provide us with some insight on the issues surrounding a mixed-orientation marriage.

  26. 26Lauraon 28 Jul 2010 at 6:37 pm

    For those of you waiting for Joshua’s reply, here are links to the California Supreme Court decision in the In re: Marriage cases. Both .pdf links are to the decision issued in May 2008.



    And for those of you who don’t want to wade through 174 pages of legalize, here’s the official news release from courts summarizing the opinion (again, it’s a .pdf): http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/presscenter/newsreleases/NR26-08.PDF

    Now, if Joshua was not referring to this landmark case which was being heard while traditional marriage proponents were gathering signatures for Prop 8, he’ll have to come up with the case information himself.

  27. 27fiona64on 29 Jul 2010 at 6:35 am

    Thanks, Laura. I’ve read those items many times and, interestingly, I see no place in them where “traditional marriage,” whether it’s between two straight people or “mixed-orientation” is attacked, demeaned, etc. I likewise saw no reference whatsoever to Evergreen and the oft-debunked NARTH, let alone “threats to their existence.”

    So, I’ll be waiting patiently for Joshua’s sources — unless, of course, he is just making things up.


  28. 28Lauraon 29 Jul 2010 at 7:13 am

    I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve watched cousins playing with grandparents this week, and it seems to me that rights are kind of like Grandma’s kisses. She’s got as many kisses as each person wants, and even though a 4-year-old might feel proprietary over “my grandma, not yours,” the fact that somebody else is getting kisses doesn’t mean you get any less. And just because she’s kissing a cousin you’ve never met before – a stranger to you – doesn’t mean she can’t kiss you too.

  29. 29Sherion 29 Jul 2010 at 9:46 am

    I know I’m getting in on the conversation late, and this may be totally out of context (one of my flaws:-) but when I read your last post, Laura I had to share a tiny story. My 81 year old uncle, whom I hadn’t seen in over 35 years, just spent a few days with us. He had a distinguished military career and then worked for Rathian on the Hawk missile system until his retirement about 20 years ago, mostly in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait. His wife of 47 years passed away in 2005 and he lives alone in El Paso, TX. I didn’t know much about him since he was never around while I was growing up, but he’s the last living member of my dad’s family and I had to get to know him and have him fill in some pieces of my family puzzle. Little did I know when I tracked him down that we would end up being kindred spirits as well as blood relatives. During one of our conversations he said “I just can’t figure out how anyone could believe that gay marriage would threaten straight marriage, it just doesn’t make sense to me. And not allowing gays to be open in the military is a huge mistake.” I got tears in my eyes and went over and hugged him. Just had to share:-)

  30. 30fiona64on 29 Jul 2010 at 1:50 pm

    In a related question to the “Grandma’s kisses” analogy (which I really like) — in Joshua’s blog, he states that if the prophet has a revelation allowing same-sex couples to marry in the Church of LDS, that he will leave.

    I have been wondering why that is. How is Joshua’s marriage threatened by anyone else’s, even if it is inside the church? Is Grandma only permitted to kiss certain of her grandchildren lest one of them stomp out in a huff?

  31. 31Sherylon 29 Jul 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Haven’t read Joshua’s blog (guess I missed the post where he gave the url to it); however, while I don’t understand how people who believe in modern day revelation and that the Prophet receives revelation, I do know that people have left the church over polygamy, over blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood, and, of course, over the church’s stand on same-sex marriage. So, while I don’t understand it and I don’t think that revelation will happen (however, I am optimistic that there will come a time when the LDS Church will approve same-sex civil marriages), I imagine that Joshua will not be alone in his decision to leave the church.

  32. 32fiona64on 30 Jul 2010 at 8:32 am

    Sheryl, I actually suspect that, much like the (rather convenient) revelation that it was okay for black men to hold priesthood after the church received bad press in the 1970s over the matter, that there will eventually be a similar (rather convenient) revelation about same-sex marriage.

    I just don’t understand people who believe that their happiness is somehow diminished by another person’s happiness. My friend Lucy, in the UK, put it like this: “Is the Ferrari in your drive blighted because the fellow down the road gets one as well?”

  33. 33sherylon 30 Jul 2010 at 12:21 pm

    You know that I agree with you about allowing same-sex marriage will in no way harm or diminish opposite-sex marriage. As for the Ferrari analogy, there are some people who have to be the only one to have something or they have to have something better than their neighbors. Don’t believe this is the case with those who voted against Prop 8 here in California and other constitutional amendments in other states.

  34. 34fiona64on 02 Aug 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Gosh, no response from Joshua on how the CA Supreme Court is allegedly attacking his straight marriage.

    I wonder why that is …

  35. 35fiona64on 05 Aug 2010 at 6:35 am

    Hey, Joshua? I noticed you had time to drop in and tell lies about me and what I said … but that you still haven’t provided the references/citations that several people asked of you.

    Where is the citation that the CA Supreme Court has spoken out against your “straight” marriage?

    Inquiring minds want to know, Joshua.

    Unless, of course … you’re lying again. In which case? Man up and admit it.

  36. 36fiona64on 06 Aug 2010 at 8:45 am

    Well, at this point I can only surmise that Joshua is embarrassed at being called out for his dishonesty (again), since there is no evidence whatsoever to back up his assertion that the CA Supreme Court has spoken out against straight marriage.

    Joshua, it’s a lot easier to remember your stories if you stick to the truth.

    Just something to consider.

  37. 37Joshuaon 06 Aug 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t respond because I didn’t see these posts.

    Anyway, here is the quote from
    “California law does not literally prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying; however, it requires those who do to marry someone of the opposite sex. As a practical matter, of course, this requirement renders marriage unavailable to gay and lesbian individuals, whose choice of a life partner will, by definition, be a person of the same sex.”

    It says, by definition, my choice of a life partner will be a person of the same sex. The California Supreme Court has NO right telling me the gender of my life partner.

    It doesn’t end there, they then dabble with what my identity should be:

    “Having endured the often long and difficult process of claiming their true identities, gay men and lesbians are now asking to be recognized as the equally loving and committed partners and capable family units they are, and to be afforded the same responsibilities and protections available to other families.”

    My TRUE IDENTITY is to be with my sweetheart, and I don’t need the Supreme Court telling me otherwise.

    The problem is that Supreme Courts look at other rulings, and can use that in law. The Iowa Supreme Court looked at California’s ruling, and said:

    “Viewed in the complete context of marriage, including intimacy, civil marriage with a person of the opposite sex is as unappealing to a gay or lesbian person as civil marriage with a person of the same sex is to a heterosexual. Thus, the right of a gay or lesbian person under the marriage statute to enter into a civil marriage only with a person of the opposite sex is no right at all. Under such a law, gay or lesbian individuals cannot simultaneously fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation, and gain the civil status and attendant benefits granted by the statute.”

    Who are they to say my marriage is unappealing? Who are they to say that I don’t have the ability to fulfill my deeply felt need for a personal relationship in a marriage to someone of the opposite sex?

    Then of course, Judge Walker said my marriage was “unrealistic” and by getting married to someone of the opposite sex, I was compelled to deny my identity.

    Same-sex couples have never had their identity challenged, their love questioned, or their deeply felt needs dictated by a court like I have. I am worried about my rights and those of my family. Saying what people’s “true identities” should be is so unAmerican, and sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to the constitutionality of ex-gay groups.

    Laura, I hope I have answered your question. Will please answer mine about this group’s use of scare tactics on mixed-orientation marriages?

  38. 38fiona64on 06 Aug 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Joshua wrote: Same-sex couples have never had their identity challenged, their love questioned, or their deeply felt needs dictated by a court like I have.

    Joshua, in short: you are full of it.

    Your straight marriage has never been questioned by ANYONE the way that gay and lesbian couples’ love, deeply felt needs, etc., have been question. Let alone how their rights were dictated by the court — and by people like you giving them a Judas Kiss because you are so full of self-loathing that you would do ANYTHING to pretend you’re something you are not: a gay man.

    It’s not all about you, Joshua. Just stop it.

  39. 39fiona64on 06 Aug 2010 at 7:06 pm

    PS to Joshua: You quoted this:

    “California law does not literally prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying; however, it requires those who do to marry someone of the opposite sex. As a practical matter, of course, this requirement renders marriage unavailable to gay and lesbian individuals, whose choice of a life partner will, by definition, be a person of the same sex.”

    If you read for comprehension (I know, it’s tricky), you will see that nothing is said about straight marriage. What it says is that marriage is unavailable to gay and lesbians individuals whose choice of a life partner will be a person of the same sex. If you know how to read for comprehension, you know how the subordinate clauses work.

    So, again … you lied. The CA Supreme Court said nothing about straight marriages.

    And it’s still not all about you.

  40. 40Dr. Boneson 06 Aug 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Are there logic classes available on the internet? I think we’re in need of a link to one here.

  41. 41Newly Housewifeon 09 Aug 2010 at 8:00 am

    I would just like to say reading this was like a breath of fresh air.

    Although I do not live in California, and thus didn’t have to deal with priesthood holders abusing their priesthood (Bishops cannot ask someone for a donation other than what is directly listed in the Bishop Handbook. AKA: Unless it’s tithing they have no say in how you spend your money. Any bishop that threatens excommunication/revoking temple recommends over a donation to a political campaign should be reported to the stake president. If the stake president does the same, just continue on up the list. You’re also *deeply* encouraged to leave political campaigns out the door when you enter the chapel.), during the span of this trial. But I am aware that chances are, once the issue reaches other states nearly all members will have to address the same-sex marriage sooner or later.

    But if I may, I would like to debunk a common myth:

    There’s the idea that if same-sex marriage is legal, it would then have to be done in the temple according to the laws of the land. Thus, if gay marriage is allowed it makes an easy connection to see polygamy also being allowed.

    This is simply not true. Religions, Pastors, and Bishops have the right to deny a religious ceremony to any couple they do not approve of. This is how those who have premarital sex with their significant others are not allowed in the temple, even though they could legally get married in a courthouse. (bad example, I know but it was the only one I could think of)

    I believe if the church really has an issue with gay marriage being allowed, and members confusing civil marriages with temple marriages (as seem to be the case in this debacle), the church would change the marriage policy and have civil marriages done first then a temple sealing like they do in some countries (I’ve heard of ‘countries in Africa’, but can’t deny or suggest that the same laws occur elsewhere).

  42. 42fiona64on 09 Aug 2010 at 8:52 am

    Newly Housewife wrote: I believe if the church really has an issue with gay marriage being allowed, and members confusing civil marriages with temple marriages (as seem to be the case in this debacle), the church would change the marriage policy and have civil marriages done first then a temple sealing like they do in some countries (I’ve heard of ‘countries in Africa’, but can’t deny or suggest that the same laws occur elsewhere).

    This is the case throughout the European Union. One can have 50 church weddings if one so desires, but unless and until one is married at the local civil bureau/registrar, the wedding has no legal status. I have become a staunch advocate of removing the courtesy right to perform legally binding weddings from churches (that courtesy must be cited in the ceremony, with “by the power vested in me by the State of XYZ”) to truly preserve separation of church and state. Prop 8 was the deciding factor for me.

    Churches have always had the right to pick and choose those for whom they perform liturgical marriage, as you point out. Prop 8 trod all over the religious freedom of those denominations that practiced marriage equality.

  43. 43Newly Housewifeon 09 Aug 2010 at 10:08 am

    Sorry for the lack of references. My thoughts come from my experiences as a member (19 years and counting) and the few classes I’ve taken in college that deal with religion, sociology, and/or law.

  44. 44Sherylon 09 Aug 2010 at 12:26 pm

    welcome, Newly Housewife. You are so right that allowing same-sex marriage will not mean that any church must perform a marriage ceremony if that ceremony goes against the teachings of the church.

    As for the idea that priesthood leaders were abusing their authority when going door to door passing out the donation slips and (not church donation slips and envelopes) and should be reported to those in authority above them, the directive to this came from the General Authorities, and, so, they were only doing as directed and there would be no one to report them to. So many things about the Church’s involvement in the campaign was so wrong.

    This is a wonderful site, especially for those of use who feel/felt so alone on the issue

Religious Organizations Should Not Rely on False or Misleading Legal Arguments in their Zeal to Support California Proposition 8

By Morris A. Thurston

I have received a copy of William Duncan’s response to my “Commentary on the Document ‘Six Consequences . . . if Proposition 8 Fails.’” I must say that I am disappointed and somewhat bewildered by both the tone and content of his piece. He misrepresents the point of my Commentary and tries to deflect attention away from the inaccuracies of the “Six Consequences” document. In doing so, he implicitly supports the continued use of falsehoods in the cause of California Proposition 8. This is wrong.

As I noted in the introduction to my Commentary, my intent was as follows:

“[T]o be of service in helping our Church [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] avoid charges of using falsehoods to gain a political victory. I do not believe these so-called “Consequences” have originated at or been approved by Church headquarters; rather, I suspect they are the result of overzealous volunteers who have misinterpreted California law and the legal cases on which the supposed consequences depend. Relying on deceptive arguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church.”

The first person to whom I sent this document was the general counsel to the LDS Church. I knew he would see that it was referred to the appropriate people so that corrective steps could be taken. It was my hope—and still is—that the Church will take steps to cease the distribution and use of the erroneous and misleading “Six Consequences” document.

My contribution was never intended to be an exhaustive commentary on the subject of gay marriage. I fully recognize there are valid arguments that can be made on both sides of that question, but the arguments made in “Six Consequences” are not valid. I want to spare our Church any further embarrassment that may result from circulating such a document.

Mr. Duncan’s response begins by attacking me as someone who “touts his personal religious activity.” My Commentary identifies me (in a footnote) as an active member of the LDS Church. This is true. I make no claim that my church activity should guide anyone to accept or reject what I say and it was clear from the context that I was not speaking on behalf of the Church. Duncan’s response to my Commentary identifies him as the director of the Marriage Law Foundation. I do not find this identification objectionable.

Mr. Duncan next claims that I “have been attacking the idea that redefining marriage in California creates possible negative ramifications for religious liberty in this state.” Where is the attack he refers to? Does he seriously think my Commentary on the “Six Consequences” document constitutes such an attack? I invite readers to look at it again and make their own determination. Next he accuses me of saying that “there is no reason to worry that churches and religious believers will be harmed in any way if California redefines marriage.” How does he get that out of my Commentary? Surely jumping to such unwarranted conclusions is unworthy of Mr. Duncan’s fine academic credentials.

Duncan even finds a way to criticize me for referring to “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” an article on the Church’s website that reminds us of the importance of approaching this issue “with respect for others, understanding, honesty and civility.” His criticism is that I referred specifically to this injunction, but not to the general conclusion that the redefinition of marriage bodes ill for religious liberty. Apparently he does not understand that my Commentary was not an attack on “The Divine Institution of Marriage;” it was merely a refutation of “Six Consequences.” Obviously, any reader of my Commentary will know that the Church supports Proposition 8.

After impugning my motives, Mr. Duncan launches into a discussion of a variety of other issues, apparently in an attempt to deflect attention away from the “Six Consequences” document. In all that discussion (which constitutes the bulk of his response) he touches on only two of the issues discussed in my Commentary. The first is the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group case. This was not a gay marriage case. In my discussion (page seven of my Commentary), I pointed out that the decision was based on a California law that expressly bans discrimination by businesses based on sexual preference. I concluded: “Whether we agree with this decision or not, the fact is that the law upon which this ruling was based will not be affected by the passage of Proposition 8.” It is disingenuous to claim that this sort of litigation will be avoided if Proposition 8 passes. Surely Mr. Duncan would agree.

The second issue in my Commentary that Mr. Duncan addresses is California Education Code 51890. In his response, Mr. Duncan says that this code section will “require schools to teach students of every age that there is no difference between a husband and wife and between same-sex couples.” In so stating the issue, Mr. Duncan proves the point made in my Commentary; namely, that the statement in “Six Consequences” is misleading. That document contends that the California Education Code would require schools to teach that same sex marriage is “just as good as” heterosexual marriage. In fact, however, the Code does not require schools to make a value judgment on the moral aspects of same-sex marriage. Even Mr. Duncan’s restatement of the issue, though preferable, is not entirely accurate. Perhaps he is trying to say is that if Prop 8 passes students will have to be taught that marriage between same-sex partners is lawful. If so, I would agree, though that seems obvious.

The rest of Mr. Duncan’s response deals with other cases and other issues. Since my Commentary was never intended to imply that there are no arguments to be made against same sex marriage, I shall not bother to respond to it.

I can only hope that the official response of the Church to my Commentary will be more reasoned and charitable than Mr. Duncan’s attack. I hope the Church will instruct its members that reliance on misleading and false “consequences” is not worthy of our basic values of honesty and fair dealing and that they should immediately cease further distribution of the “Six Consequences” document.

October 25, 2008

Morris Thurston received his undergraduate degree in political science from BYU and his law degree from Harvard Law School. He recently retired as a senior partner with a global law firm, where he specialized in litigation and intellectual property law.

Filed in mormons, prop 8 |

22 Responses to “Religious Organizations Should Not Rely on False or Misleading Legal Arguments in their Zeal to Support California Proposition 8”

  1. 1Amandaon 17 Oct 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I believe that the church is right in it’s doctrine against homosexuality, but gay marriage is a political issue not a religious one. The church shouldn’t be telling it’s members how to vote. Our temple marriages may be a privilege, but civil government ceremonies are not. They are a right. The government shouldn’t pick and choose what rights they give to what people. I think the church maybe needs to take a little chill pill. If they’re attacking your article like that and telling their members how to vote.

  2. 2Ritsumeion 18 Oct 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I found your 6 points to be extremely informative, and I appreciate a cool, calm explanation of these things without the hype and scare-tactics. I absolutely agree that while defending marriage is important it should be done with facts, not misrepresentation, however well-intentioned. The voice of reason and truth looses all validity when it strays from a *strict* standard of integrity.

  3. 3John Baumon 19 Oct 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I hope this is not seen as ‘off topic.” If it is and an administrator knows of a better place for it, please move it. Perhaps one of the regular contributors to the blog can research the topic and create a ‘proper post’ on the subject. I have no objection if this reply does not appear. I think it is important that the topic I raise be considered.

    I could not find an email address. I appreciate why. Some people cannot resist the temptation to spam it to death.

    Today I encountered this story.


    In response, I wrote to Ms. Carrie Morris.

    Here is what I said. I think it is important for LDS members to appreciate the ‘guilt by association’ they may experience as a result of being part of the ‘interfaith coalition.’

    Dear Ms. Moore,

    Thank you for your article about the petition. It includes the following sentence, “The issue is important to both the LDS Church and other churches within the interfaith coalition supporting Proposition 8.”

    I tried a Google search to see if anyone has posted a list of the members of this coalition. I did not find it easy to find. Do you have a link?

    I ask, because as an evangelical I would be surprised if Focus on the Family is not on that list. After all they’ve given about $500,000 to the campaign directly and much more through adjunct organizations. I ask because I’ve read this link:


    If you find it too long to read, open your browser’s search tool and enter “Focus” and see where it takes you. The LDS leadership may believe in their heart of hearts that same-sex marriage is harmful to the community. It appears that Focus on the Family is not so convinced. Their involvement appears to be a financial one. Attacking the GLBT community brings in money.

    I ask, does the LDS community want to be affiliated with so hypocritical an associate? Does the LDS community want to be seen as yet another organization that supports the perspective, “the ends justify the means?” I hope not.

    If they do not, please pass this link and my message upwards in the communication chain in Salt Lake.

    Thank you,

    John Baum

  4. 4Microgravityon 20 Oct 2008 at 2:58 pm

    The major weakness of Mr. Thurston’s arguments is that they only consider the short term consequences of Proposition 8. Of course teachers won’t start teaching that gay marriage is the same as traditional marriage the minute after Proposition 8 is passed. But if Proposition 8 does not pass, it will put society on the path towards that very thing happening. It may take years for it to happen, but once we are on that path, it will be very difficult to get off of it. Take the long-term perspective: vote “Yes” on Proposition 8.

  5. 5Blake Ostleron 20 Oct 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Mr. Thurston: I have read your document responding to the Church’s 12 points. Let me say that I appreciate your taking the time to write, but ultimately find it to be misleading. Let me elucidate. First, a little about my background. I have practices in the areas of Constitutional litigation and education law for approximately 23 years. I have represented LDSFS and other mental and social health organizations (private, governmental and quasi-governmental) in several cases, though I haven’t represented LDSFS in the last 10 years. I believe that I can assess your arguments based on my experience and knowledge of these areas. Let’s take them one-by-one:

    1. Teaching about same sex marriage. You claim that passage of Proposition 8 will not require teachers to teach that “same sex marriage is ‘just as good as’ as traditional marriage.” However, your response is both misleading and uninformed. Given that SSM is legal, you are correct that it follows that teachers will teach that same sex marriage is lawful and legally on par with traditional marriage. It won’t and cannot stop there. Teachers will be prohibited from making any distinctions between traditional and SSM. It therefore follows that teachers will be barred from stating that the State, e.g., has a greater interest in protecting traditional heterosexual marriage than SSM. The problem as I see it is that no distinction can be made between SSM and traditional marriage. Any student who expressed opinions regarding the distinction, for instance that that homosexual conduct is sinful, could possibly be regarded by a school district as engaging in hate speech. What is to stop that kind of inference? Does the law mandate that it be so treated? Of course not — but it leaves such responses as an open possibility. The implication easily arises that SSM is just as important and on equal footing with traditional marriage in all respects and no distinctions of value will be allowed. That was the Church’s point as I see it and to that extent it is accurate.

    2. The tax exempt status of churches may be challenged. You state flatly that this is a “false consequence,” arguing that the argument is based on a New Jersey case. In fact, it is easy to see how the challenge can and will arise. As you are well aware, the concern is actually based on Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983). For those interested, here is a short link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Jones_University_v._United_States It is easy to see how Bob Jones could be extended in California to deny tax exempt status in California if Proposition 8 fails. Here is how: the Ca. Supreme Court held that the right to SSM is a “basic and fundamental right” that is on par in every respect with traditional marriage. Those who deny “fundamental rights” to others can be denied tax exempt status. Nor is the LDS Church the only organization to express such concerns. See e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Religious_Broadcasters I’m surprised that you didn’t discuss this possible extension of the rationale of the Bob Jones case. That California would extend the rationale to apply to organizations that teach that SSM is sinful, it is well within the range of reasonable possibilities to be concerned.

    3. There is no concern that religious organization might be denied the right to originate adoptions. You argue that the Church misleads because it states that Catholic Charities was forced to shut its doors. The Church doesn’t state that Catholic Charities was forced as you state. Further, there is a legitimate concern here. The State of Mass. would not exempt Catholic Charities from the demand that it perform gay adoptions. The Catholic Church looked at the statutory framework and how the Mass. Supreme Court had interpreted it and expressed extreme concern that it would lose a costly lawsuit — and the mere requirement to defend its religious position was prohibitive for it.

    You are correct that there are difference between LDSFS (whom I have represented) and the Catholic Charities — primarily in the refusal of LDSFS to accept government support. However, as you well know, the courts often search far and wide to find a way to interpret any connection with federal or state funding as receipt of such funds — and the tentacles of the government are far reaching. This concern is very legitimate. No, the case against LDSFS would not be identical to the Catholic Charities case, but the distinctions that you point to are from from dispositive and there is a very real concern that California would interpret its law much like Mass. thus forcing a legal showdown. However, there is cause for even greater concern in California unless Proposition 8 passes. Unlike Mass., California has interpreted its State Constitution to establish a “fundamental right” and thus the case would be much stronger in California that it would have been in Mass.

    You suggest that California’s already existing broad civil unions statute means that passage of Proposition 8 would have no effect on the outcome of such a case. You miss the fact that a statutory protection of equality between traditional marriage and a State Constitutional provision that has been construed to create a fundamental right will be interpreted very differently. The case against LDSFS would be much stronger if Proposition 8 does not pass — and in fact the concern will likely evaporate if it does. Your response is thus very misleading and shortsighted in my opinion.

    4. You suggest that passage of Proposition 8 would have no effect on university housing. This is your most misleading claim. The fact is that it is easy to see how the Yeshiva University precedent would be adopted and extended in California unless Proposition 8 passes. That it hasn’t been tested to date doesn’t entail that passage of Proposition 8 would have no effect as you misleadingly contend. Your argument is a simple non-sequitur, i.e, it hasn’t been ruled on yet so passage of Proposition 8 won’t have an effect if it is ruled upon. That is just non-sense. The fact that the issue may not arise with a religious school is beside the point when we speak of state sponsored institutions. It may well change the requirement that an LDS student will be required to house with someone of the opposite or same sex given the equal protection arguments of the California Supreme Court.

    5. We are largely in agreement that ministers who teach that homosexual conduct is a sin will not be charged with hate crimes — but because these rights are well-established under the United States Constitution and California is powerless to change them.

    6. I don’t know enough to comment on the financial effects of not passing Proposition 8, but I am highly dubious that the revenues from marriage will off-set the tax-payer burden for room-mates. Further, you miss the point. The issue isn’t cost with respect to net government revenues, but the cost to private litigants who disagree with SSM.

    I believe that you also incorrect about the effect of passage of Proposition 8 on the North Coast Women’s Care case. You are correct that it was decided under California’s very broad anti-discrimination statues. However, if Proposition 8 passes, these statutes are likely to be read in pari materia with Proposition 8 and therefore the outcome may well be different. Passage of a new law has an effect on interpretation of existing laws as you well know. This fact points to a serious defect in your legal analysis throughout your response. You assume that if a case is decided based on the existing laws that Proposition 8 will not have any effect on interpretation of those laws going forward. It is a basic failure to acknowledge the effect on interpretation of existing laws when a new law is passed. This is the kind of argument that I find used in your response repeatedly and it is misleading and quite incomplete.

    For these reasons, your analysis critically misleads in many respects and fails to engage in the relevant analysis at several critical points. The chief failing is the refusal to address how the passage of Proposition 8 will affect statutory and Constitutional interpretation in the future — the effect would be profound.

    Now let me be clear — nothing I have said ought to be interpreted as a suggestion that there is anything inherently wrong with a person who has homosexual tendencies. Nevertheless, the claim made on this site that no homosexuals have a choice about their orientation is just dead-wrong. The scientific evidence established quite conclusively that there is in fact a continuum and many who have such tendencies can swing either way. However, there are likely some who have no choice about whether they have tendencies. However, they do have choice about their actions — such a distinction is fundamental to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the failure of this site to even acknowledge that fact is deplorable in my view. Notwithstanding my support for Proposition 8, nothing should deter us from accepting those who may have same sex attraction tendencies in full fellowship, with affirmation of love and support for them. If they choose to sin, then I am not called to judge, (I have plenty of my own sins to deal with).

    I support civil unions — and I support them for all state sponsored ceremonies that establish contractual protections for relationships for both traditional and SS marriages. I do not support state sponsored marriage of any sort and I believe that it in a world where folks are properly informed the institution of marriage will be seen as solely a religious rite. It therefore violates the 1st Amendment Establishment Clause for the State to perform marriages on par with religious rites. Some day we’ll make such a distinction and the issue can be resolved in that way.

  6. 6Law Dee Daon 20 Oct 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Blake, are you sure your a lawyer?

    1.Go back and review your Chemerinsky con-law book and find out what rises to the level of hate speech, you can say that it is immoral and sinful to be black, that is not hate speech. 1st amendment protects political speech, and you know this.
    2. Losing non-profit, 501(c)(3) status will not be lost by not allowing gays to marry in the temple—are you kidding me? Marriage is a fundamental right for straight people too—and not all straight people are allowed to marry in the temple. Further, the only threat to the churches nonprofit statutes is there “substantial” involvement in changing legislation.
    3. Sorry, maybe some of us are not concerned if same sex marriage is taught in schools. Maybe the church should worry about people teaching that abortion will be taught in school–now abortion is an issue the church SHOULD worry about (oh that’s right, crickets on that one). Many things are taught in schools that LDS folks disapprove of, that is the point of the family and church, or did you forget that?
    4. As far as your adoption “tentacle” argument goes, nice scare tactic. LDS Social Services does not currently have to adopt to ANYONE they do not want to: Wiccans or Scientologist who also have the right to marry, or single people for that matter.
    5. non-sequitur? please do explain for all of us how gay marriage will force men and women to live together in religious housing, if that has not already happened under the current legal regime (the civil & women’s rights movement.) That is entirely separate issue.
    6. There is not anything “inherently wrong with a person who has homosexual tendencies. Nevertheless, the claim made on this site that no homosexuals have a choice about their orientation is just dead-wrong.” Is it? You KNOW this,? Wouldn’t a continuum indicate that there are those, on the END of the continuum? You are not here to judge? It sure sounds like you are, because apparently you find something horribly wrong with gay marriage, gay adoption, and teaching about homosexuality in school—that, is called “judging.” Further, what if people do choose to be gay, people choose to be Mormon, people choose to be Pagan or Atheist, you don’t see the church propping up legislation keeping parents from teaching their children about religions some may find abhorrent? So why is this? That’s right….It really just comes down to homophobia, doesn’t it. Sorry, but I don’t find your slippery slope, scare tactics credible—I’m going to go with the Harvard educated guy who makes sense.

  7. 7Benon 20 Oct 2008 at 6:49 pm

    God wants all his children to receive all the blessings he has available. One problem with same sex marriage is it creates families that can never be sealed, neither in this life nor the next. They can also never be baptized without breaking them up.

  8. 8Blake Ostleron 20 Oct 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Law Dee: yeah, I’m a lawyer and this is my area of expertise. Let me point out how your response purposefully misstates and misrepresents what I actually say and how it amounts to little more than calling names:

    1st — I agree that saying that homosexual relations are sinful is not necessarily hate speech. I said that school districts may construe it to be and disallow it because California law requires that both SSM and traditional marriage be regarded as equals. Perhaps you missed that simple point?

    2nd — I didn’t say anything about temple marriage so your comment is an attack on a straw man and misrepresentation of what I said. In fact it has no contact with what I actually said. You are just flat wrong that marriage is a fundamental right for straight people too. The Ohio and New York courts refused to recognize it as such and California is the first to recognize marriage as a fundamental right. Such a finding has far reaching legal implications and a large part of the reason taht I support Proposition 8.

    3rd — You may be unconcerned if your children are taught in public schools that homosexual relations are just fine and anyone who disagrees cannot express a contrary view, but I don’t want my children taught or muzzled like that.

    4th — My argument about how courts interpret various receipt of funds by students to amount to receipt of tax funds by the institution and so forth is hardly an argument that is novel or even controversial.

    5th — Yeah, the argument was a non-sequitur. So is your response. Your response is: well, if the law is now interpreted to mean that you must live with mixed sex housing without Proposition 8, it will be the same after Proposition 8 is passed. That doesn’t follow at all.

    6th — Yeah La Dee, I’m positive that the scientific research demonstrates a continuum of orientations and commitment to orientation and the broad brush that you insist on brushing everyone with is in my view more insulting that simply recognizing the truth. I’m not judging anyone with such a comment — I’m stating what the research has established and it won’t change just because you don’t like it.

    Finally, to pull a “homophobia” charge like a grand ad hominem out of the hat is not merely bad form, it is the very kind of judgment I would agree with you that we are better of avoiding. Just because we disagree doesn’t make me homophobic. If someone chooses to be gay, fine — but it is a choice with moral implications and consequences. As I said, there may well be many who have no choice about their orientation; but they have choice about their conduct and actions. It is time to take accountability for that which we are accountable for.

  9. 9Jeanieon 20 Oct 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Ben– Yours is a religious argument, not a legal one. Prop 8 deals with legal and civil rights. It is inappropriate to make laws based on the religious beliefs of individual churches.

  10. 10admin3on 20 Oct 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Just a reminder folks that we can debate issues without attacking one another, issuing calls for repentance, or swearing. If you want your posts to get through, please keep that in mind.

    We’ll keep this thread open as long as people can treat one another with the respect they deserve as sons and daughters of Deity.

  11. 11Jeanieon 21 Oct 2008 at 6:39 am

    I misspoke in my previous post. I should have said that the reason Prop 8 should be defeated is that it is based on putting the beliefs of one religious group over another, which is not what laws and civil rights should be based on.

  12. 12Benon 21 Oct 2008 at 7:33 am

    Moroni 7 teaches that whatever teaches us to to good is sent from God. Because SSM teaches that homosexuality is good, it cannot be sent from God (unless you deny the scriptures).
    Dale Carpenter, a thoughtful pro gay marriage blogger who posts at Volohk Conspiracy said:

    Trying to win “gay marriage” through a campaign that never mentions “gays” and hardly ever mentions “marriage” does seem counter-intuitive. I doubt voters can be bamboozled into thinking that a consequence of a “no” vote on Prop 8 is anything other than the (probably) permanent establishment of gay marriage and an implicit public declaration that homosexuality is unobjectionable. A vote against Prop 8 is a vote for gay marriage; a vote for Prop 8 is a vote against gay marriage. For most voters, pro and con, I doubt it’s any more complicated than that.

  13. 13John Pack Lamberton 21 Oct 2008 at 9:42 am

    Brother Ostler understands much about the law, and I agree with his well thought out argument.
    His bringing up hate speech in the context of the schools was not meant to say any specific statement is hate speech. Hate speech is not well defined, and considering that the ruling by the California Supreme Court found new rights that had never before existed, it is impossible to know what hate speech will be in the future.
    Mr. Ostler wisely points out that we are discussing issues that are not known.
    Schools like to control students and usually err on the side of suppressing student opinions instead of letting students say hurtful things. The one exception to this is when insults are lobbied at religions.
    I believe in religious freedom. Maybe LDS activities will not be curtailed if Proposition 8 fails. However Lutheran, Catholic and many other reigious groups will possibly be denied ability to recieve any state aid to students in their colleges in California. I believe in religious freedom for all, not just Latter-day Saints and so I support Proposition 8.

  14. 14cowboyon 21 Oct 2008 at 11:40 am

    Mr. Ostler,

    I respectfully challenge you on your notion that homosexuality is a choice and can be changed along some “continuum”. Scientifically there is nothing supporting your claim. You need to provide your sources.

    It boils down to this: either you support the idea homosexuals are equal or not. And please, please don’t be so condescending to alter the meaning with: “homosexuals with tendencies”…that’s just rude and ignorant. Being a lawyer you should know how prejudiced it is using those terms. Please stop using offensive terms. These terms are being used by anti-gay bigots and I’m not sure you want to be associated with that.

    This is just your opinion as a lawyer. You are not a scientist, not gay, probably have little to no associations with people who are gay. Therefore you can pronounce your judgment upon a segment of society?

    Please, do some research.

    But, I’ll make it easier for you: name me ONE person who has changed from being a homosexual into a heterosexual. Name just one. And before you answer, I want to qualify what constitutes a “change”. It has to be someone who has no “tendencies” (your word) at being gay at all.

  15. 15Bryanon 21 Oct 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Respectfully I would like to add:

    Does a tendency to do something contrary to the will of God make me unequal to others? As, say, a heterosexual, does my general instinctual desire to couple with many different attractive members of the opposite sex–a tendency to fornicate or adulter as the case may be–make me unequal to others? Certainly not. What about if I commit those sins, am I now accorded less rights? No. Even though there are others out there who are not committing these sins? Still, no. That I can see my rights should not be curbed.

    But are others required to embrace my behavior as correct? As part of my rights not being curbed should the rest of society be made to bow to my preference to sin. Maybe I was just born with a non-monogamous sex drive. Maybe I could point to some uber-sex-drive gene. Maybe I married a shrewish woman. Maybe I’m surrounded by beautiful desirable women at my workplace (and I just happen to be ridiculously attractive myself…I wish). I might have a massive list of challenges to the Lord’s mandate that I keep the Law of Chastity, but the expectation remains. It does not make unequal. That I am tempted, does not make me unequal. Even that I should sin, does not make me unequal. But others are under no duty to embrace my actions and call them right if that is not their understanding. Neither ought they to stand by while I try to force the issue.

    I might have to live with this tendency/preference/gene/orientation (whatever you want to call it) for the rest of my life. But God’s plan for his children remains the same. We ALL have something that tempts us away from it. But where members of the Church have to draw the line (I think) is when we try to make the quantum leap from “God allows me to be tempted by X” to “X must be ok because God made such that I am tempted by (or have a preference for) X.”

    Asking for a “right to marry” is not asking for a right of action. You already have the right to do as you please. You are asking for a “right of approval,” a “right of sanction.” I.e. it’s not a right, but a blessing you’re seeking from the government. But note, the government remains, largely, “by the people.” It’s not, as yet, a monarchy. Which means that you seek that sanction from the people. Some will give it to you. Others, like myself, cannot in good conscience. I have loved ones, even a sister, who deals with same-sex attraction. We love and sympathize with you, but to my understanding, the Lord’s Law of Chastity still applies. I cannot say or act otherwise.

  16. 16cowboyon 21 Oct 2008 at 3:21 pm

    There is only one but glaring flaw in your logic: sexual attraction is not a temptation.

    If you want to make homosexuals force themselves to love someone of the opposite sex that would be similar to asking heterosexual man to force his “temptations” towards a man. See how ludicrous that is. And you are implying a gay man should alter his temptations.

    It can’t be done…with honesty. You only create an instance of denial or forced love. What woman would want to be with a homosexual man? If you knew the true nature of love there is no mistaking there are factors greater than sex and lust that compromises the aspect called love and companionship.

    I wish I could introduce you to some gay couples. There, you might witness the loving and caring emotions and actions that most people recognize. Their love is as deep and loving as any heterosexual’s. Heterosexuals don’t have the corner on the market on love.

    It’s not a “temptation”.

    If only you could understand. If only you would understand.

  17. 17Suzanne Neilsenon 21 Oct 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Bryan, Bryan ,Byran
    Under California Law marriage is a fundamental right. I don’t want your love, I daing well don’t want your sympathy and you can keep your approval. I’m not your sister, I don’t want it.
    What I do object to is your insistence on writing discrimination into the California constitution. I demand equality.

    As a parent and legally married lesbian, I think it is outrageous to seek to destroy my family and thousands of others in the name of protecting families. Self righteousness is not a reason to strip people of their Civil Rights. Under the law we are equal.

    [edited for tone]

  18. 18Dave Hoenon 21 Oct 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Folks –

    Are you listening to the words coming out of your mouths? I can agree that it is well within a religion’s right to believe homosexual acts are a sin. But does that give you license to force all other religions or the State to deny basic fundamental CIVIL rights to a group of people just because you believe they commit sin? You are saying that it is okay and correct that a simple majority can take away civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Is that really what you want to say? Would it be within your right to deny marriage to those who don’t keep the Sabbath day holy? Certainly it would be for Temple Marriage but not civil marriage. Would it be within your right to deny marriage to those who eat lobster (since that is an abomination too)? Certainly it would be for Temple Marriage if not eating lobster was one of the requirements, but not for civil marriage. What about Religions who believe that homosexuality is not a sin? Is it within your right to make it illegal for them to perform same-sex marriages? Be careful how you answer here. For if you believe that it is right to deny one group of their civil rights, then you must also believe that the government and other religions were justified in their persecution of Mormons for practicing polygamy in the early days of the church. You can’t have it both ways.

    The Eleventh Article of Faith, which is still a basic tenant of the LDS Church says, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

    [edited for tone]

  19. 19Bryanon 21 Oct 2008 at 6:04 pm

    The context is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This site, though I’m starting to think I very much misread it, was ostensibly to talk about this subject within the context of the Church, not just yet another forum to talk about it the matter purely politically. There’s lots of places for that.

    I am not making a legal argument that will–within the narrow bounds of what one may believe to be their political rights written into the state constitution–somehow convince you to abandon your struggle to preserve state-sanctioned same-sex marriage.

    I making a religious argument meant to be made to the members of the Church. What the Lord asks is what the Lord asks. Call homosexual tendencies whatever you want to call them. The Lord has explained that part of his plan for us is to live the Law of Chastity, which, as it happens, doesn’t include homosexual relationships. The reasons are clearly laid out both in the scriptures and in the modern revelation like the Proclamation to the Family. I can see a paradigm has been created where “homosexual” has been made into a distinction like black and white, but it doesn’t seem to be a distinction which the Lord makes. We may all labor under different predispositions to sin, but we’re all simply Gods sons and daughters. These predispositions do not, that I read in the Scripture or hear from modern prophets, put us into different categories for which different commandments apply.

    With that in mind, when the Lord asks us to (1) live the Law of Chastity, and (2) support Yes on 8, the choice before is simple enough, as with anything else–however odd it may seem in the moment–which the Lord may ask. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve” etc. These aren’t new concepts.

    Civil and historical arguments–however tortured, on both sides–can be made until we are all blue in the face (and I think some of us are) but to members of the Church, following the Lord’s commands Prophets and Apostles will come first. If you don’t believe in them and the Church, then I shouldn’t doubt that that will sound like political sacrilege. But to say the opposite would be–for me–true sacrilege.

    I can’t recant. To the extent you believe you are doing the right thing by supporting No on 8, I don’t ask that you do either. I strongly believe that we should all do what we think is right, whatever that may be. I’m expressing that view, and I’ve been happy to hear what you have to say as well.

  20. 20Daveon 21 Oct 2008 at 7:25 pm

    This is a fascinating issue that certainly pushes all the right buttons, including quoting scripture, the constitution, politics, philosophy, applicable legal codes, appeals to equality, tolerance, acceptance, religious ideals, etc.

    The challenge is that most of the contributors mix all of the issues together, depending on what the agenda and bias is of that particular contributor. If a sound legal analysis is created, then challenged, someone else criticizes based on “tolerance” or other real or pseudo-Christian ideals.

    It is rare to find individuals that are able to stay on point with an issue, without mixing issues or approaches in order to attempt to have the final word.

    My comment is purely legal based–and yes I am a practicing lawyer, although I do not feel the need to publicize my credentials–let these comments stand on their own:

    When I reviewed Mr. Thurston’s article, and his postings related to his article, there did seem to be something that was critically missing. My reading of Mr. Ostler’s analysis discovered a significant flaw: Mr. Thurston neglects to provide any thoughtful analysis as to how a Constitutional right based on an equal protection claim will affect any of the issues he summarily dismisses. In short, he does seem to entirely miss the major issue that is created by a holding that gay marriage is a fundamental right that arises from the equal clause of the California Constitution. All of the Codes and cases that he quotes, whether interesting or not, if similarly raised in California, will become subject to and trumped by Constitutional implications that result.

    It does seem a bit arrogant to call others “misleading” when the analysis, while interesting, stays in the shallow-end of the pool. In other words, the legal issues raised by gay marriage in California entirely relate to how courts will in the future interpret gay marriage in the context of existing laws and programs vis a vis the equal protection clause.

    Note, I have not suggested that therefore an equal protection analysis will result in different holdings, etc. In fact, I am not taking the time myself (at least not right now) to provide such analysis. I am just pointing out that the wrong tool was used in measuring the criticism as set forth by Mr. Thurston.

    Now, if you are going to criticize me, that is okay. But note, I will only respect you if you provide some thoughtful comments to my LEGAL point.

  21. 21Have Compassion Pleaseon 22 Oct 2008 at 6:33 am

    Cowboy… I completely agree with you. What can we do to make people understand that “same sex attraction” is not just a struggle… Some people have sexual tendeicies towards both men and women but most gay people I know were born that way and would identify themselves as gays, not people who struggle with same sex attraction. Why can’t heterosexuals in the church be more compassionate and understanding? I have heard people compare homosexual tendencies to struggles with drugs and alcohol which I think is ridiculous. The whole purpose in life is to be loved, and we ask homosexuals in the church to give up that possibility? How can anyone understand what gays in the church go through? It is impossible! As a church we need to be more compassionate and stop judging something we don’t understand.

  22. 22cowboyon 22 Oct 2008 at 7:51 am

    I stumbled onto this mormonsformarriage forum and applaud and appreciate the points made here. We are part of something historic here. I believe Mr. Thurston is correct about the potential for embarrassing consequences by overzealous members of the LDS faith. The future will be the ultimate judge on the actions by the LDS Church. I think there are some brave Saints here who understand the importance of civic duty and civil rights and the obligation to follow their Prophet.

    If it weren’t for mormonsformarriage there would only be the black & white and our politics would be like a dictatorial theocracy. But it’s not. I don’t believe Mr. T.S. Monson is working for my best interests in my life. I will admit his influence is grand and impressive but his dogma does not trump my civil rights.

    I wish I could sit down with each one of you and show you more of what I believe is a mischaracterization of who gay people are. I may not be the best representation (heaven knows!) and I know there are far better gay people than me but, I feel, it would be interesting…for me at least.

    Truly, inspiring to read the comments here. I’m impressed with the reasoning and insightfulness. I even appreciate the conflict that is the crux of mormonsformarriage.

    This is an historic moment we are witnessing. Much like the civil-rights issues in the 1960s the LDS Church had to endure.

Examining the Consequences of Prop 8 – Part 1

Several versions of a document entitled, “The [insert number here] Consequences of a Loss on Prop 8″ have been circulating on blogs and emails for about a month now.  There are many places online where rebuttals have been posted, with varying degrees of rancor, including here.

For a link to Part 2, the document created by Morris Thurston, see this related post

What follows here are some thoughts and background about some of the arguments and concerns that Proposition 8 supporters are throwing out to the world to consider.  Like all political soundbites, it is hard to present full facts and background in a bullet list.   This series of discussions is meant to fill in some of the blanks and help voters consider whether or not the arguments are well-founded.  Hopefully, some light will also be shed on the differences between California law and other laws on which several of these consequences are based.

  1. Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage . The California Education Code (§51890) already requires that health education classes instruct children about marriage. Therefore, unless Proposition 8 passes, children will be taught that marriage is a relation between any two adults regardless of gender. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs.

The Education Code cited specifically states school districts will teach “family health and child development, including the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.” It also requires that each school community – parents, community and teachers actively develop, plan, approve and implement the curriculum.

Another section of the education code (Sec. 51933) specifically addresses Comprehensive Sexual Health Education and HIV/AIDS Prevention. This section says school districts may provide age-appropriate instruction, K-12th grade. If districts elect to offer such courses, they have to meet several criteria, including:

[1] Instruction and materials shall be age appropriate.

[2] All factual information presented shall be medically accurate and objective.

[4] Instruction and materials shall be appropriate for use with pupils of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and pupils with disabilities.

[6] Instruction and materials shall encourage a pupil to communicate with his or her parents or guardians about human sexuality.

[7] Instruction and materials shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.

Finally, the section on sexual health education ends by saying, “This article shall not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization.”

Since parents must already navigate the waters of health and sex education in schools which teach respect for “committed relationships,” and which teach ideals that may be different from ideals in many LDS homes, adding one more item to the list of things that are different about “The World,” should not be an overburdensome problem to a people that prides itself on being “in the world, but not of the world” or, just plain, “peculiar.”

  1. Churches will be sued over their tax-exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings open to the public. While pastors, priests, ministers, bishops, and rabbis may not be forced to conduct such marriages themselves, they will be required to allow such marriages in their chapels and sanctuaries.

This argument stems from a legal case in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA), a Methodist organization that owns all of the property in Ocean Grove.

A lesbian couple wanted to rent the Ocean Grove Boardwalk Pavilion to celebrate their civil union. The Ocean Grove boardwalk pavilion, however, has been used as a public space for decades. Bands play there. Children skateboard through it. Tourists enjoy the shade. It’s even been used for debates and Civil War re-enactments. The OGCMA considers the public pavilion part of its church.

The New Jersey Supreme Court found that the OGCMA’s decision is in direct defiance of recent New Jersey state legislation and a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex couples and granting legal status to civil unions. Further, given the multiple civic and religious uses of the pavilion, the space is considered a place of public accommodation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. In accordance with the law, same-sex couples are entitled to use the pavilion for civil union ceremonies.

In the case of LDS marriages, church buildings, and especially temples, are not generally available to the public. Since these buildings are not public places, they do not fall under the jurisdiction of California courts the same way the property in New Jersey did. Now, if churches start using their property for Civil War Re-enactments or band concerts or skateboarding, perhaps courts will take a second look at their property usage.

Assuming a same-sex couple would want to get married in a building that was owned by an organization hostile to same-sex marriages, the couple would have to prove that the building was a public place, that others were allowed to use it, and that they were being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Courts have not yet ruled on this, so the law is unclear at this point.

California’s constitution and laws already make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal, and the changes proposed by Proposition 8 would make no difference there. So even if Proposition 8 does pass, a same-sex couple wanting to hold a commitment ceremony to acknowledge is domestic partnership registry, for example, could bring a lawsuit against a church that denied access to them yet allowed access to other couples based on laws already on California’s books.

Churches that don’t rent out their halls or sanctuaries (or temples) to the public will not be creating public spaces and would not have to comply with existing public accommodations laws.

Obviously, no church can be forced to perform a marriage. Mormons can’t even be forced to perform temple marriages for non-worthy members. If churches could be forced to perform civil marriages, that would be an intrusion of the government onto a religious group and contrary to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

  1. Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. Catholic Charities in Boston already closed its doors in Massachusetts because courts legalized same-sex marriage there.

Gay adoption is already legal in California. When Massachusetts passed its gay marriage laws, same-sex couples did not already have that privilege or responsibility. Catholic Charities of Boston decided to stop performing adoptions rather than try to work out the immense complexities of complying with both Catholic church doctrine and the new Massachusetts laws.

Gay couples in California have the right to (and regularly do) adopt children, and Catholic Charities ended its adoption placement program in San Francisco in August, 2006 in response to a Vatican request that the church not be involved in placing children with homosexual parents. The agency still helps prospective adoptive parents, including gays and lesbians, with information and referral help through an alliance with another organization (Family Builders). It does not do formal home placement visits any longer. In May 2007, Family Builders began advertising for homosexual parents to adopt children because of the great need for adoptive families in the region. Family Builders continues to receive support from Catholic Charities.

Changing California’s Constitution by removing the right of homosexuals to marry will not make a difference in the Catholic Charities’ position on adoption, and it will not remove the ability of homosexuals to adopt children. Proposition 8—pass or fail—will not change California’s adoption laws, or increase the potential for lawsuits against adoption agencies [religious or secular] that violate state law by discriminating against prospective parents solely on the basis of sexual orientation.

In the case of LDS Family Services, it already discriminates on adoption placement by requiring adoptive parents to be temple worthy and sealed, so for LDS adoptions, this does not make a difference.

  1. Religions that sponsor private schools with married student housing may be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if counter to church doctrine, or risk lawsuits over tax exemptions and related benefits.

This concern arises out of a student housing situation at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Gay and lesbian students were eligible for University housing, but their partners were not able to join them because they did not have marriage certificates (which, when the suit was filed in 1999, were unavailable).

Although commonly thought of as an Orthodox institution, Yeshiva University has been chartered since 1969 as nonsectarian, enabling it to receive state and federal funding. All parties agreed that Yeshiva’s religious affiliations have no bearing on this appeal. Also, plaintiffs did not plead claims based on either the State or Federal Constitution.

The New York Courts found, based on New York City non-discrimination laws, that the university was discriminating against the couple based on their sexual orientation – not on their marital status.

Since the benefits of California’s domestic partnership law were expanded in 2003 [and went into effect in 2005], unmarried couples [gay and straight] registered as domestic partners gained the right to family student housing on public campuses. The question is this: Since this new benefit went into effect, has any private religious school in California been “required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if it runs counter to church doctrine” in the past three years?

All LDS students attending BYU campuses must abide by the schools’ respective Honor Codes, whether or not they are married.Since the Honor Codes already deal with same-gender attraction and issues surrounding homosexuality, the schools and students need only to look so far as the respective honor codes.

  1. Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk government fines. It already happened in Canada, a country that legalized gay marriage.

This argument arises out of a lawsuit that happened in Canada where hate speech laws are much more stringent and free speech is not guaranteed by a Constitution like the United States’. There are plenty of Christian churches in the United States, including churches in Massachusetts and California, preaching against same-sex marriages. Until and unless the USA narrows its free-speech rights dramatically, such a lawsuit would have no standing.

Tags: fact-checking, legal issues, politics

Filed in Help & Support – LDS, Uncategorized, gay, homosexuality, prop 8 |

16 Responses to “Examining the Consequences of Prop 8 – Part 1”

  1. 1Mike Harmonon 10 Sep 2008 at 11:00 pm
  2. I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.
  3. 2Connell O’Donovanon 11 Sep 2008 at 8:13 am For point 5, I would like to point out that the Westboro Baptist Church and Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro, KS have long been spewing anti-Gay hate from the pulpit. Their website, godhatesfags.com is a prime example of religious-based hate speech. The actions of this Christian church are deplorable and hateful and go FAR beyond preaching against same-sex marriage, but they stand firmly on their constitutional rights, and as a former Sgt. in the US Army, I fully honor, respect, and defend their right to believe and say whatever they please. It is my understanding they have been sued for some of their more outrageous actions, but they have never lost. The phrase “may be sued” in point 5 is key. Anyone can sue anyone for pretty much anything. Now whether the lawsuit actually goes to court and the complainant actually wins depends on the legal validity of the case.
  4. Excellent points all! Thank you for clearing up the misconceptions….
  5. 3Susanon 14 Sep 2008 at 3:23 am The CA supreme court decision that recognizes a gay couple’s right to marry hinges on a condition that “no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs. (Cal. Const., art. I, § 4.)”Wouldn’t a more appropriate response be to submit an amendment to the constitution that guarantees freedom of religion and speech on this matter? Is that even possible?
  6. While there’s no assurance that a *different* supreme court decision *could* be made down the road, or that different laws could be passed in the future, I’m not sure that Prop 8 is the most rational (charitable or politically responsible) response to that uncertainty.
  7. Also:
  8. 4Hellmuton 15 Sep 2008 at 5:50 am It turns out that the unisex restrooms in our chapels are not a big deal after all.
  9. This reminds me of Rex Lee’s prediction that the Equal Rights Amendment would require unisex restrooms. Although the Equal Rights Amendment failed, many Mormon chapel do have unisex restrooms today because we need to provide for wheelchair bound brothers and sisters.
  10. 5Franon 16 Sep 2008 at 1:40 pm
  11. Well, there is a difference between a unisex bathroom for handicapped people, and a general unisex bathroom, wouldn’t you say? I mean, it’s different when you enter a bathroom that is only intended for one person at a time (one toilet available), where you’re completely private versus having walk into a bathroom that has both urinals and stalls, and I have to talk past a bunch of men doing business, while heading for a stall. I’ve never seen a unisex bathroom in any church building that’s designed to be used by several people of either gender at the same time. Have you? (And I’m not talking about people choosing to share a bathroom that was designed for one person).
  12. 6Jenn R.on 17 Sep 2008 at 4:59 pm
  13. Thank you for advising us on these issues that we may have to face if prop 8 isn’t won. It scares me extremely that these things may be taken into action. especially the fact that a church can be sued for not allowing gay marriages to be conducted in the building. I am an LDS and i am working with the church for protectmarriage.com and doing everything i can to protect the sacredness of marriage, and the fact that i am engaged and want to protect that right.
  14. 7admin3on 17 Sep 2008 at 5:56 pm In the case of lawsuits over marriages, the place where a lesbian couple wanted to marry in New Jersey was not actually inside a church building, or even on church property as Mormons would first imagine. The New Jersey property was much more akin to a public square than a churchyard.The government doesn’t tell bishops or temple sealers that they must wed any couple who comes to them asking for marital rights.
  15. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, people can sue anyone for anything, but the important thing to remember is whether the courts will say that the suits are validly brought in the first place. LDS church buildings, and especially temples, are not rented out for public services like the property in New Jersey was, so if someone tried to sue on those same grounds (of public accommodation), they’d have a hard time proving their case in court.
  16. Hopefully the discussion here has calmed some of your fears, Jenn R. The points of discussion issued by Prop 8 supporters are designed to bring out fears of the unknown. Preying on fears of voters is not very nice, but it is effective in American politics where issues are reduced to sound bites and bullet points. If we take a moment to shed some light on the darkness of fear, though, some of the things that appear to be scary monsters coming out of closets are, in fact, just cold shadows that melt away under the warmth of the sun’s rays.
  17. 8Thomason 23 Sep 2008 at 9:05 am
  18. The consequences listed here are exaggerated, of course. I just want to say that I think it’s a shame that we are wasting so much money on this matter when the millions of dollars that church members have contributed thus far could have been used for much better causes.
  19. 9Kengo Biddleson 10 Oct 2008 at 3:11 pm Thanks for this post!
  20. This whole issue leaves me conflicted. I’m glad to see this sort of “debunking” come up, because I’ve seen one of the original e-mails, and the fear-mongering, half-truths just make me physically ill.
  21. 10Scoton 10 Oct 2008 at 4:26 pm
  22. Thank you much for disseminating the facts.
  23. 11Dianaon 13 Oct 2008 at 9:08 pm
  24. I really appreciate this posting with the legal information. Sometimes it’s so difficult to get past the ambiguities that both sides spew.
  25. 12Cateon 21 Oct 2008 at 12:57 am
  26. I just wanted to say thank you for creating this site. You’ve responded to all of the issues very logically and diplomatically, and I’ve found your explanations to be extremely helpful. Thanks again!
  27. 13robon 26 Oct 2008 at 1:46 pm Sincerely :
  28. Going Mad In St. George UT
  29. If I hear one more thing on (preparation H )
    I think i,m going to scream. It’s even a hot topic in my priesthood class.
  30. 14Chino Blancoon 27 Oct 2008 at 12:43 am If you’ve got the time or inclination, your input would be greatly appreciated.
  31. I’m currently working on a document titled “Six Consequences for Religious Freedom if Proposition 8 Passes” and am looking for help crafting some pithily worded consequences.
  32. 15Nicole Gon 11 Nov 2008 at 3:19 am
  33. Thank you for the article clearing things up so much. I am sad to see it had little effect on the extremist right of Christianity, but exremists have to justify their views by disregarding anything to the contrary of their views, and accepting all lies, half truths, and fear mongering as all out doctrine.
  34. 16Josion 14 Nov 2008 at 7:43 am
  35. Thank you so very much for the detailed description of what has really gotten people fired up, and how it can truly affect us. It’s my feeling that if people fear their religious rights will be infringed upon, that is the battle they should fight. Rather than take away someone else’s rights, work on protecting your own and spend your $$ in that direction. I think it’s a shame that this issue has become part of Sunday Worship–Gay marriage is nothing compared to the division we’ll create for ourselves by attacking other people’s viewpoints and making against Prop 8 people feel unwanted at church. The Church’s official statement reiterated that each member has the right to make up their own mind, but there has been a lack of that sentiment in the day to day members, and that it a tragedy.

How many deaths will it take

til [they know] too many people have died?

I spent the evening remembering young gay Mormon men and women like Todd Ransom who have committed suicide. Three this month in Utah. And the list was already too, too long. Adding on to the toll was the accidental death of two matriarchs of the gay Mormon community, Ina Mae Murri and Stella Butler. While we cannot stop accidents, I hope and pray we can stop the suicides and the attempts.

For all the people who were upset about blacks not having access to priesthood and temples and even prayers during Sacrament Meetings, they didn’t kill themselves over it. For all the people who were upset about the Church’s support for the ERA or the banning of women praying in Sacrament Meeting or of mothers with children at home working in temples, they didn’t kill themselves over it. What is it about young gay Mormons? We must find a solution because too many lights are going out.

I’ve hesitated putting some of the following links on this site because they are hard to read. But we cannot solve problems until we know what those problems are. We cannot answer the why? questions until we have some insight into history.

We are all products of our culture. What we grow up learning, hearing, reading and watching influences the way we see the world and the way we communicate about it. Our experiences frame our questions and our answers.

So what have today’s LDS leaders heard, read, and listened to regarding homosexuality? And what are they currently saying?

Certainly, we’ve come a long way, but there is still a long road ahead.

Finding information about what LDS leaders have said about homosexuality is not always easy, because they were more likely to use euphemisms (Crime Against Nature; Deviate Behavior; Perversion; Same-Gender Attraction; HLM (for homosexual lesbian marriage)). Not surprisingly, other sex-related terminology is dressed up in non-precise language as well – Self Abuse; Virtue; Morality – for instance.

In 1970, the Church published a pamphlet for local leaders called, “Hope for Transgressors.” It advised that “homosexuality can be cured…. [and]… forgiven.” It encouraged leaders with particularly difficult cases to contact [Quorum of the Twelve] President Spencer W. Kimball and Elder Mark E. Petersen if they needed specific assistance. As men worked through the curative and repentance processes, leaders are counseled:

When you feel he is ready, he should be encouraged to date and to gradually move his life toward the normal….If they will close the door to intimate associations with their own sex and open it wide to that of the other sex, of course in total propriety, and then be patient and determined, gradually they can move their romantic interests where they belong. Marriage and normal life can follow.

In 1971, a pamphlet specifically written for homosexual men, “New Horizons for Homosexuals” was published over Spencer W. Kimball’s signature. It begins, “I am your friend, your real friend, for I am trying hard to help you save yourself from pitfalls which, I am sure, you do not fully realize are gaping wide to swallow you, the victim.” It clearly follows the advice for leaders given in the “Hope for Transgressors” pamphlet, providing appeals to confidante relationships, scriptural references, a purpose in life, reason, assurance of loneliness, and the path of repentance.

In 1969, while Kimball was in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Miracle of Forgiveness was published. This book has been a go-to reference for all sorts of transgressions and sins, quoted in lesson manuals and distributed by bishops guiding people along the path of repentance. Most, if not all, English-speaking adult members of the Church have heard of this book and many have read it cover to cover. We’ve discussed in other places some of the quotes found in his tome.

In October 1976, Elder Boyd K. Packer addressed the Priesthood session of conference, focusing his talks to the 12-18-year-old young men in the audience. This talk was later published as a pamphlet called, “For Young Men Only.”  A theme of both this talk and of many official church documents was that, “There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it.”

There are two parts to this argument: First, that there is something you can do about your orientation (change it, cure it, overcome it, fight it, ignore it); and Second, that God doesn’t make mistakes and create people destined to live with abominations. It could imply that there are other causes for homosexuality, for instance: Something non-genetic/non-biological/non-hereditary, Parental failure, disease/contagion, Satanic influence, biology, environment, pornography, masturbation, selfishness, abuse, speaking about it, and others (see this .pdf for a sampling of what causes were said in what year).

Since 1990, church leaders have acknowledged that they don’t know what causes homosexuality, specifically relieving concerned parents from the burden of worrying that their actions somehow caused their children to be attracted toward members of the same sex.

In March 1978, Elder Packer addressed an older group of people, BYU students. Again, his talk was published as a pamphlet provided to anyone dealing with homosexuality in the church, entitled, “To the One.” Advice from that talk included:

“You must learn this: Overcoming moral temptation is a very private battle, and internal battle. There are many around you who want to help and who can help – parents, branch president, bishop, for a few a marriage partner. And after that, if necessary, there are counselors and professionals to help you. But do not start with them. Others can lend moral support and help establish an environment for your protection. But this is an individual battle.”

In November, 1980, President Kimball addressed the youth of the church about morality. His words as prophet reiterated what he taught a decade earlier in his book on repentance:

“Sometimes masturbation is the introduction to the more serious sins of exhibitionism and the gross sin of homosexuality. We would avoid mentioning these unholy terms and these reprehensible practices were it not for the fact that we have a responsibility to the youth of Zion that they be not deceived by those who would call bad good, and black white.”

In light of this history of rhetoric, it is a breath of fresh air to read current publications and statements about homosexuality:

“You are a precious son or daughter of God. He not only knows your name; He knows you. His love for you is individual. You lived in His presence before you were born on this earth. You cannot remember your premortal relationship with Him, but He does. Although His children may sometimes do things that disappoint Him, He will always love them.”


“Some people with same-gender attraction have felt rejected because members of the Church did not always show love. No member of the Church should ever be intolerant. As you show love and kindness to others, you give them an opportunity to change their attitudes and follow Christ more fully.”

We’ve certainly come a long way, but there is still much farther to go. And as we approach Pioneer Day, the day when we remember Mormon ancestors who walked across a continent in order to establish a religion, we remember all those who walk alongside us as well as those who have fallen by the wayside. In the words of Carol Lynn Pearson, author of No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones:

“When we see a need, we respond. When we are conscious, we act. That new pioneer journey I spoke of in the first part of this book is a journey of consciousness. Now that you have read the stories of anguish and of healing, have met our gay loved ones and the parents, sisters, brothers, and friends who have circled the wagons around them, you have journeyed in consciousness and have, I believe, arrived at a new place. Now you know….

“Today there is a despondent gay man somewhere who has checked to see if his father’s gun is still where it used to be. Tonight there is a lesbian who again cries herself to sleep over her awful alternatives, ‘You may choose between being gay or being a member of this family.’ Today there are parents whose tears are for the pain of their loved gay child, for the lack of support they receive from their church, for the condemning rhetoric they continue to hear, and for the fear that the members of their congregation might find out the family secret. Today there takes place a marriage ceremony for a young, gay man, anxious to please God and his church, and an eager starry-eyed young bride who believes her groom’s romantic restraint has come from his righteousness. Today a child cries before going to school, terrified that a classmate may learn that his father is gay and start calling him names.

“These people are still on the plains. I am asking you to load up the wagons. You can do it without fully understanding, even without fully ‘approving.’ You have the supplies, parcels of love, compassion, encouragement, respect, good information, and humility in knowing that there is much we have yet to learn. You have the words of Jesus: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me.’ And you have the words that still echo across the century and a half: Go and bring in those people now on the plains.”

What have you done today to silence the rhetoric? To shout the love? To save a life?

Filed in Uncategorized |

120 Responses to “How many deaths will it take”

  1. 1fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for this post.

    One of the reasons I try to remain calm (although I admit that I am human and thus miss the mark now and again) and factual in my comments and questions is that I know that there may well be some young person out there in distress who reads my words and thinks “Maybe tonight I *won’t* kill myself” or “Wow. Not everyone who attends church and knows her Bible and its history thinks I’m a disgusting pervert.” or “Wow, there are adults out there who understand where I’m coming from, even if they aren’t gay themselves.”

    You never know when your words will help someone whom you never even meet (and ditto when your words will have the opposite effect).

    Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

  2. 2Joshuaon 21 Jul 2010 at 10:44 am

    I love our leaders! They have always spoken with the greatest love for us. Through following their counsels, I have found peace, as have many faithful LGBT members of the Church.

    I like the quote you brought up by Elder Packer, that “There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it.” I am living testament that you can do something about it. No matter where you are or what life may give you, everyone can do something about it. Everyone can turn their life over to Christ and find peace and joy. The atonement of Jesus Christ truly is all-encompassing.

    I know too many people who come to believe, thanks to lies of Satan that are so prevalent upon the Earth, that there is nothing they can do about it. They know the gospel is true and what to follow it desperately, but Satan whispers in their ears that they cannot. They succumb to his lies, and become discouraged, and even contemplate suicide.

    To prevent suicide, I think more people need to be aware of these beautiful teachings. Everyone should know that no matter where they are at, and what they feel, they can follow the commandments of Christ and find peace in this life.

    One thing that Elder Oaks taught was that it was important to distinguish between the feelings and the behaviors. I think one of the problems is that Satan confuses these two, so when people hear that the practice is an abomination, they become confused and think the feelings are an abomination.

    I think in order to reduce suicide we need to follow Elder Oak’s counsel and make the differences clear. I think as people continue to use the two interchangeably, more people will get confused and think they are incapable of living the commandments of God. Since many would rather die than break God’s command, they look for suicide as a way out.

    The answer isn’t changing God’s commands. It is helping people recognize that they can obey God’s commands.

  3. 3fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 11:12 am

    Joshua, somehow I think you have missed the point.

    By approximately 10,000 miles.

  4. 4Jeffon 21 Jul 2010 at 11:39 am

    I truly appreciate the above comment from Joshua.

    I’m curious on a few points:

    Do Mormons for Marriage believe the LDS church should marry homosexuals?

    Do they believe homosexual sex acts are a sin, when inside a monogomous and/or married situation?

  5. 5fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Jeff, I am not the admin for this site and I speak only for myself.

    Prop 8, which was what prompted this site, removed the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. We are talking about civil law, not religious law. I fully support (and I have said this repeatedly) a church’s right to practice any way it so desires — within its own walls. It is when you try to insert your church’s doctrine into civil law that you cease to function as a church and begin to function as a political action committee.

    You do know, Jeff, that the “homosexual sex acts” to which you refer (and no one is fooled by the euphemism) are also enjoyed by heterosexual couples? No one gets up to anything different when the doors are closed.

    I believe that the only relationship over which I have any control or influence is my own marriage (I am straight and married). Other peoples’ relationships, as long as they involve only consenting adults? They are not only none of my business, but do not affect my relationship in the slightest.

  6. 6Jeffon 21 Jul 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I apologize in using the phrase “homosexual sex acts” if it is undesirable not the preferred phrase. I meant only to distinguish between sex acts of homosexuals as compared to heterosexuals.

    You raise an interesting topic:

    Which entities are proper or improper to be included in a socio-moral debate?

    By socio-moral I mean to say that we as a society, whether proactively decide, effectively, general morals through a system of laws. I do not mean to pre-characterize any aspect of the debate as moral or immoral, as that would lessen the effectiveness of open dialogue.

  7. 7fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Again, speaking only for myself here:

    How is a given sex act more or less “sinful” if a straight couple does it vs. a same-sex couple? As I previously said, gay and straight couples get up to all of the same stuff. And really, why does it matter? If you aren’t part of the couple, how are you affected? I am rather concerned at the idea that a same-sex couple is automatically immoral, even if they’ve been monogamous for 30 years (based on your comment, “Do they believe homosexual sex acts are a sin, when inside a monogomous and/or married situation?”). This question is a little bit like “have you stopped beating your wife yet” in the way that it frames the matter, IMO.

    Laws are not based on morality, Jeff. They are based on certain civil rights. For example, we do not have laws against theft because of “morality,” but because theft violates the victim’s civil right to be secure in his or her life, liberty and property. You may argue that a law against murder is based on morality, but the response is the same: murder violates the victim’s civil right to be secure in his or her life, liberty and property.

    So, based on your definition, there is no such thing as “socio-moral debate,” because laws are not based on morality but on civil rights.

  8. 8Jeffon 21 Jul 2010 at 2:36 pm

    What is the genesis of a civic right?

  9. 9fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Jeff, are you asking about the basis for law in this country?

    I am glad to answer: the US Constitution, which is based on English Common Law and the second of Locke’s Two Treatises on Government.

  10. 10Jeffon 21 Jul 2010 at 2:54 pm

    From what does common law as well as the philosophical tradition which promulgated it stem? Why does it have force, why not some other competing philosophy?

  11. 11Sherylon 21 Jul 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Laura, what an informative post. You have spent a lot of time researching this topic to provide the quotes.

    Joshua, are you telling us that you no longer have any attraction to men? And, what do you say to those men and women who have done everything asked of them and sincerely want to change but are not able? Have you read Carol Lynn Pearson’s books? Just wondering if think those who have not accomplished what you have, are less worthy?

    I’m also throwing this out to Laura and other Mormons, do we no longer teach that as man thinketh so is he. I clearly remember many lessons talking about the importance of our thoughts whether we acted on them or not. For those who grew up with those lessons, the mere fact that they have those thoughts or feelings says to them that they are failures, something is wrong with them that they are not able to rid themselves of these feelings or thoughts.

    As Laura said, we have a very long way to go before the suicides because of homosexuality will stop.

  12. 12Joshuaon 21 Jul 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I think it is immoral to deprive someone of their civil rights. In essence, they are the same thing. Murder is immoral specifically because it takes away someone’s right to life. Elder Oaks taught that same-sex marriage is not a matter of civil rights. Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman.

    This is a different issue than the civil rights movement of the 1960s. That was about laws which discriminated someone based on who they were. This does not discriminate based on who someone is. It is a choice to enter into a same-sex relationship. Nothing prevents someone from exercising that choice. I have chosen not to enter into a same-sex relationship, and instead of chosen to get married. Some would say as an LGBT person, my right to marry was taken away. That doesn’t make sense, since I was able to get married as an LGBT person, in California, after Prop 8 passed.

    It is not an issue of civil rights.

  13. 13Sherion 21 Jul 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Laura, Once again you hit the mark on this issue. You compiled some great references that for those with open hearts and minds should allow them to cut through the rhetoric of misguided ideas and get to the true heart of this matter. It’s discouraging, however, that with all of it laid out in such simple, yet often heart wrenching terms, some still don’t get it. Not even with the fresh blood of another streaming through our minds. It all goes back to objectifying those who don’t fit the mold (which makes it easier for them to justify their intolerance.)

    Thank the dear Lord that there are sites like this one, and “outsiders” like Fiona64 peering in to reflect a mirror image back to show what certain ideas look like to the outside world. I know that little by little strides are being made, but then when we hear another story like Todd Ransom’s it almost feels like we are back at ground zero.

    And Fiona I agree with you that Joshua once again missed the entire point of this post by at least 10,000 miles. He only has eyes to see his own situation and has zero empathy for others (unless those others are just like him).

  14. 14Sherylon 21 Jul 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Jeff, to answer your questions with my opinion, which is what you aked for.

    Personally, I do not consider it a sin if a couple is in a relationship that has been sanctioned by the state (be it marriage, domestic partnership, or common law). I think that all couples regardless of sexual orientation should be able to marry the person of their choice in a civil ceremony. If their church allows same-sex marriage, then it can be religious also. However, not having a religious ceremony should not preclude them from all of the governmental rights that opposite-sex couples have (both state and federal).

    Should the LDS Church, or any church that does not recognize same-sex marriage, be forced to perform (or even recognize) a same-sex marriage? My answer is no (although it would be wonderful if they openly welcomed same-sex families at church meetings).

    See you and Fiona have been exchanging comments while I fixed lunch.

    Because you are questioning where our civil laws came from, do you think we should change the constitution?

  15. 15fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Joshua wrote: Elder Oaks taught that same-sex marriage is not a matter of civil rights.

    Well, that’s all very well and good, Joshua, but I wonder when Elder Oaks was appointed an authority on civil law.

    You see, according to the US Supreme Court’s decision, Loving v. Virginia, marriage is a basic civil right.

    To deny marriage equality is to violate the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees equal protection.

  16. 16fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Joshua wrote: Some would say as an LGBT person, my right to marry was taken away. That doesn’t make sense, since I was able to get married as an LGBT person, in California, after Prop 8 passed.

    Joshua, please stop being so disingenuous. This statement is absolutely ridiculous. Gay men have married straight women for millennia. You know perfectly well that Prop 8 removed the *legal right* for same-sex couples to marry, just as you know that there are still 18,000 legally married same-sex couples in this state because the Constitution (there’s that pesky document again) says we do not have ex post facto law in this country.

  17. 17fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Jeff, you asked about where the Constitution came from, and I told you. The secular deists who founded our country could have made it a religious state, but they chose not to do so. In fact, the only places in the Constitution where religion is mentioned at all are in exclusionary terms.

    If you want to learn more about Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, here is an excellent link to the full text. Pay particular attention to Book II, Chapter 2, if you want to really understand the basis of our Constitution: http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/locke/

    I am glad I was able to answer your questions.

  18. 18fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Joshua wrote: Murder is immoral specifically because it takes away someone’s right to life.

    You then, perforce, believe that the death penalty and war are immoral?

    Again, morality does not inform our laws; civil rights do.

  19. 19Joshuaon 21 Jul 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Sheryl asked: “Joshua, are you telling us that you no longer have any attraction to men?”

    No. I am attracted to men, but I haven’t just given into my attractions. I have done something about it. One of the things President Kimball has taught, is that masturbation might lead to homosexual behavior. I have found that when I abstained from masturbation, my preoccupation with sex diminished, and I found it easier to avoid homosexual behavior. I am thankful for President Kimball’s wise counsel to avoid masturbation.

    I know that the practice of homosexuality can be cured. Many have given up a lifestyle of having gay sex and have obtained forgiveness through the atonement of Christ.

    Sheryl asked: “And, what do you say to those men and women who have done everything asked of them and sincerely want to change but are not able? ”

    What do you mean by change? If they are trying to change sexual behaviors, I would say stick with it. We are to act, not be acted upon. Everyone can learn to control their actions.

    If they are trying to change their attractions, I would encourage them to take another look at their priorities. What is required is chastity, not heterosexuality. Reread some of the beautiful messages that Laura has assembled. Notice that not once did any of the leaders tell them to be straight.

    Paul cried three times for Christ to remove the thorn that afflicted him, yet that thorn remained. Sometimes there are things about us that we wish were different. The serenity prayer ask for courage to change what can be changed, patience to accept what cannot and wisdom to know the difference.

  20. 20fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Joshua, can you possibly understand how harmful your words could be to some people?

    When Stuart Matis suicided, the autopsy revealed calluses on his knees. Why? Because he was in constant prayer to be “delivered” of being gay — and it didn’t happen. So, he killed himself.

    “Keep at it”? Really?

    Your post of 3:59 PM is just one more demonstration of why I think you’ve totally missed the point of Laura’s poignant post. Gay kids are killing themselves because of what your church teaches. :-( Telling them to pay closer attention to those teachings, to just “keep at it,” or to “try harder,” or to “take a look at their priorities” doesn’t prevent suicides. Do you think that none of these beautiful young people did just what you say and still found themselves just as gay as they were before they did all of those things?

    Wow. You have no idea how close to tears I am right now. I really feel sorry for you; you are genuinely blind to anyone other than yourself.

  21. 21Joshuaon 21 Jul 2010 at 4:27 pm

    My advice to keep at it was directed at those trying to change behaviors. Stuart Matis was not trying to change his behaviors. He was celibate. He was trying to change his attractions. My advice to those people was to learn to accept their attractions.

    Stuart Matis wanted to follow the gospel of Christ. Many LGBT people want to. It is this web site that tells them they cannot follow it and drives them to suicide. Why do you think the Matis family opposed this organization commemorating their son’s suicide? Because this web site tells gay people it is hopeless to try to live the gospel, which is exactly what caused their son to kill himself. They have spent their lives trying to tell LGBT Mormons that there is hope, and this site says there is none.

    If someone wants to change their sexual behavior so it is inline with the teachings of Christ, I will offer them encouragement and tell them that they can. They will need all the encouragement they can get when everyone tells them they cannot.

  22. 22fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I just noticed one more thing.

    “Beautiful messages,” Joshua?

    Those words are so full of condemnation that I cannot even express it. I can completely understand how a young gay or lesbian person would feel completely hopeless in the face of those “beautiful messages” that tell them that they need to change who they are.

    I thought “God Loveth His Children” was beyond sad … but these other teachings break my heart.

    The only beautiful message I saw there was from Ms. Pearson, and in Laura’s simple question.

  23. 23fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Well, Joshua, I guess some of those lovely young people would rather be dead than live a lie.

    Isn’t that sad?

  24. 24Dr. Boneson 21 Jul 2010 at 4:59 pm

    “Beautiful messages”? Well, I suppose you could call some of the quotes beautiful, but did you follow the links to where the quotes came from?

    Because if you did and you think these things (from the Hope for Transgressors pamphlet) are “beautiful”

    “despicable practice�?
    “difficult to dislodge�?
    “become normal again�?
    “the world would be doomed by homosexuality for it can never produce a child.�?
    “proper marriage and family life is the only thing to save this confused world�?
    “no future for a homosexual�?
    “the day will come in his life when there is nothing left but chaff and dust and barrenness and desolation�?
    “when he is assured that only futility and disappointment and loneliness lie ahead, then perhaps he is ready for you to prescribe therapy for him�?
    “this evil practice�?
    “there will be some resistance, particularly with the abandonment of the people for the many perverts will claim to have great ‘love’ for some with whom they have been involved�?
    “Since the problem is in the mind more than the body�?
    “the person should purge out the evil�?
    “If the pervert will begin to read the scriptures methodically and carefully, he will find himself in a new environment�?
    “He should make a confidential report to you every few days at first�?
    “the entrenched homosexual has generally and gradually moved all of his interests and affections to those of his own sex rather than to the opposite sex and herein is another step. When you feel he is ready, he should be encouraged to date and…�?
    “the sin of homosexuality in its degraded aspects is as serious as adultery and fornication … if he will not cooperate, if he becomes belligerent, the day may come when appropriate action must be taken�?
    “They will love you for all eternity for your help to them�?
    “Do not give up the battle too soon nor too easily�?
    “homosexuality is not the fault totally of family conditions. Every normal person must answer for his own sins�?
    “God did not make men evil. He did not make people ‘that way.’�?

    I really don’t know what to say, other than, thank God they’re not saying that stuff in 2010.

  25. 25Feliciaon 21 Jul 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Fiona64 said, “I guess some of those lovely young people would rather be dead than live a lie.”

    Your presumption of what constitutes a lie may not be true for someone else. Joshua, for example, would being living a lie if he denied his testimony. You can pass judgement on him and others who have made the same choices all you want, but you still don’t get to decide what is the ‘truth’ for him or anyone else.

  26. 26fiona64on 21 Jul 2010 at 5:24 pm

    You’re right, Felicia. I should have phrased it differently. I will use some of Joshua’s own words.

    I guess some of those young people would rather be dead than “live a straight lifestyle” (be in the closet), “live a celibate lifestyle” (be in the closet) or be excommunicated for refusing to be in the closet.

    Thanks for this opportunity.

  27. 27Sherylon 21 Jul 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Joshua, I’m trying to figure out where you are coming from with the following statement “It is this web site that tells them they cannot follow it and drives them to suicide.” People give there opinions on this website and perhaps some of those opinions could be interpreted that way. However, suicide was happening by young members of the LDS church way before this website came into being (including that of Stuart Matis). It truly annoys me that you keep accusing this website of things (such as telling LGBT members that they cannot have a successful opposite-sex marriage) that it does not do. Remember that the purpose of this website was for members who opposed Prop 8 to have a place to meet and have support of like-minded Mormons (and those of other faiths). It also lets those LGBT members and non-members who may check the site out know that not all Mormons believe that religious views should become civil law, that the separation of church and state should remain. It is not a site that proposes to tell anyone how to live their life. Once again, what people state here is opinion (and fact, depending on the issue).

    My opinion is that until the LDS Church provides hope for it’s LGBT members, other than to live the straight life, then the suicides will continue.

    Single, straight people in the church have hope, they have the opportunity to date, LGBT’s do not. They have conferences, single wards, dances, and other activities. LGBT members, unless they go to the straight activities, do not.

    I believe that we are the way we were created. My son is not gay because of some event in his childhood, that is how he was born. Considering the number of gays (and lesbians) in my family, I definitely believe in the genetic link.

    When Elder Oaks says that one will not be homosexual in the next life, has he received direct revelation or is that his opinion or optimistic hope. I ask that because once again, I’ve had many lessons talking about who we are when we die is who we will be in the next life and that is why it is so important to live the standards of the church, no “death bed” repentance for those who knew the Gospel but waited. Elder Oaks statement seems to contradict this, at least to me.

  28. 28Sherylon 21 Jul 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Must have missed something in Fiona’s posts, I couldn’t find where she was telling Joshua that he was living a lie. What she did say, at least what I read, is that those who committed suicide would rather be dead than live a lie. And, since they did commit suicide, I think that was a correct statement. And, while Joshua and others are managing to live a heterosexual lifestyle, many, many others are unable to deny who they really are (think we might be looking at the 0 to 6 scale here, and thinking that those who do successfully live the heterosexual lifestyle are on the lower level of the scale). My gr. nephew, who is gay, told me that the mere idea of kissing a woman romantically was as repulsive to him as it would be for me.

    And, Joshua, you know perfectly well that the passage of Prop8 took away a right from a law-abiding, tax-paying segment of California’s population. It took away their right to marry the person of their choice. And, again comes the question, what right that you enjoy would you like put up for public vote.

    Simply because the LDS Church considers marriage as between one man and one woman does not mean that all of society defines marriage that way. The difference, in my opinion, between murder and same-sex marriage is that murder is not between 2 consenting adults (and I don’t even want to get into a discussion about euthanasia) and same-sex marriage is, it hurts no one, and makes the 2 people extremely happy. Not to mention how their children (should they have them, which many same-sex couples do), benefit from the legal union. So, again why should one definition of marriage that is not shared by all of society be imposed on all of society?

  29. 29Joshuaon 21 Jul 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Dr. Bones,

    It is not statements about us living in a fallen world in isolation that I find beautiful. It is the overall message that Christ has overcome the world that I find to be beautiful. Taking Kimball’s message as a whole, that is the main focus – through Christ, we can find peace. I know that to be true because I have experienced it. That is what is beautiful.


    Thank you. I really like how you put it. Yes, that is how I feel.

  30. 30Dr. Boneson 21 Jul 2010 at 11:11 pm

    So, basically, it’s looking to me like it’s okay to be gay, but it’s not okay to act gay.

    And it’s not okay to dwell on or encourage thoughts about gayness. You can notice the other guys, but you can’t spend time crushing on them.

    So if you date women like a straight guy, or if you’re married to an opposite-sex partner like a straight guy, or if you act like a celibate guy, you can tell everyone you’re really gay, not straight, and everything’s fine – go to church, go to the temple, no problem.

    But if you date men like a gay guy, or if you’re married to a same-sex partner, or if you do anything that resembles public (or private, I suppose) displays of affection, or if you spend a lot of mental energy crushing on the pool dude, you’re a sinner who needs to repent.

    Yeah, I don’t think I’m eating those brownies. thanks.

  31. 31MikeGon 22 Jul 2010 at 12:17 am

    As a gay, 19 year old, born and raised mormon boy, I always feel as if I am alone. I always feel as if no one in this church knows what I feel, and that no one will even try to understand or listen to me. I feel completely silent.

    I myself too have already attempted suicide.

    It is a relief to know that some people are able to open up their hearts and understand.

    Thank you for this post.

  32. 32Lauraon 22 Jul 2010 at 8:32 am

    Mike, there are people all over the country who will listen to you and who understand you because they and their family members have been in your situation. Check out out our sidebar for links to resources like PFLAG, Family Fellowship, and others. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to talk, any time, day or night, the folks at the TREVOR project are always available – 866-4-U-TREVOR

  33. 33fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 8:43 am

    Dear MikeG:

    I second what Laura said. There are many people who care very deeply. You are a beautiful, perfect child of God *just as you are* and do not need to change anything about yourself.

    Please contact your local PFLAG chapter.

    Much love and light to you,

  34. 34Connell O’Donovanon 22 Jul 2010 at 9:15 am


    Same-sex marriage is in fact a civil right, just as black-white marriage was and is a civil right. Yet until the 1960s, black-white intermarriage was illegal in most of the United States (including Utah) until overturned by the US Supreme Court in Loving versus Virginia. By your own reasoning, the old law preventing black-white marriage “does not discriminate based on who someone is. It is a choice to enter into a black-white relationship. Nothing prevents someone from exercising that choice. I have chosen not to enter into a black-white relationship….It is not an issue of civil rights.”

    Yet here we are – despite the church’s long-standing, complete opposition to black-white marriage as a vile abomination contrary to God’s divine laws (sound familiar?) that the church would never allow, in 1967 black-white intermarriage became legal in across the country, and fourteen years later, this “unnatural sin” was deemed no longer a sin and the first black-white temple sealings were performed and continue to be performed to this day.

    See http://connellodonovan.com/black_white_marriage.html

    This gives my historical overview of the whole black-white marriage issue in Mormonism, and how it is a perfect precedent for allowing AT LEAST same-sex CIVIL marriages.

    Best wishes,


  35. 35Connell O’Donovanon 22 Jul 2010 at 9:43 am

    Dear Mike!

    Don’t give up, brother. Hang in there. I know exactly what you’re going through, having come out of the closet after years of suicidal depression, a mission, and a temple marriage that lasted one awful year. I assure you that God loves you because are Gay, not despite it. You have so many unique gifts and insights to share with your family and community as a Gay man, so find out what those are and work hard on selflessly sharing them. Remember that God gave humanity two commandments in the Garden: be fruitful and multiply…and dress and keep the Garden! We so often forget that second commandment. But I think our Straight brothers and sisters have their hands pretty full with the first one, so it’s mainly up to us to dress and keep the Garden with our art, music, dance, design and/or cooking skills, etc.

    After years spiritually adrift (but certainly not dead!) I finally found the United Church of Christ (UCC) which has an Extravagant Welcome program for LGBT folks, and after attending for two years, I just got baptized on July 4. It’s been an amazingly wonderful and healing experience of divine grace and Holy Spirit. About one third of our congregation is LGBT identified and we are fully integrated into the life and spirit of the church. In fact, we just called a young Lesbian named Cordelia who lives in Utah to come be our new Pastor of Family Life and LGBT Ministries. She’ll be moving here in August and I can’t wait! Also, every year our entire local congregation marches together in both the Santa Cruz and Watsonville Gay Pride Parades, from 90 year old blue-haired grannies to three year olds with rainbow painted faces. I truly believe that within 20 years, the local LDS stake will also be participating in our Pride Parades. The changes I’ve already seen in the LDS church over the past 20 years are phenomenal and are only going to come faster and be more radical.

    The UCC’s main motto is “God is still speaking” (because we too believe in modern revelation), so this year for Pride, our congregation’s parade theme was: “God is still speaking…and She says She loves Her Gays!” (It was a big hit with the crowds!) And I testify to you, from the bottom of my heart and with all the strength of my being, that THIS IS TRUE. God indeed loves us Gay people, just as we are!

    Peace, Be Still!

    Connell O’Donovan
    Santa Cruz CA

  36. 36fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 10:09 am

    Dear Connell:

    Thank you for your testimony today! I am a straight ally who attends the Metropolitan Community Church in San Jose (MCC and UCC have similar welcoming messages for all people).

    I am glad you shared your message of hope with Mike.


  37. 37Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 11:12 am

    Dr. Bones,

    Being gay is more than just sex. You can be gay without living the gay lifestyle. Connell talked about dressing and keeping the garden. Very similar advice is given in God Loveth His Children.

    I do not act. I am true to myself. I love my wife. I don’t have to pretend. I do not act like a straight guy. For me, that would involve changing my voice and the way I walk. I don’t have to do that. I walk and talk the way I always have, if not more freely since I have come to terms with my orientation. The gospel teaches people to be true to themselves, not to act.

    Whether you are gay or straight, if you are single, the commandment is not only to act celibate, but to be celibate. The standard is the same for all. We are commanded “never do anything outside of marriage to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage.” That applies equally to a gay man lusting after the pool guy as a straight woman lusting after the same pool guy. Preoccupation with sex should be avoided.

  38. 38Sherylon 22 Jul 2010 at 11:52 am

    Joshua, do you realize that by stating the following: “I do not act like a straight guy. “For me, that would involve changing my voice and the way I walk.” that you are promoting stereotyping people. Why does how you walk or talk have anything to do with sexual orientation? How does a gay guy act different than a straight guy, except for the sexual aspect of being gay? because a male has effeminate features should one automatically think that he is gay? If a woman has a deeper voice than most females, should we think she is a lesbian? If a guy enjoys dancing, especially ballet, should we assume we label him as gay? If a woman likes playing football, should decide she is a lesbian. Just what characteristics and behaviours would tell us someone’s sexual orientation?

    I sincerely do not understand why you made that statement.

  39. 39Sherylon 22 Jul 2010 at 11:53 am

    Before anyone else does, I’ll comment on my grammar. Really need to review my entire post before hitting that send button.

  40. 40Sherion 22 Jul 2010 at 11:58 am

    What we resist persists. While growing up Mormon in a tight knit Mormon community in Utah I discovered that the preoccupation with sex was considerable. My father once told me he would rather see me dead than get pregnant out of wedlock like my sister did (and he was just the one to teach me all about sex so I wouldn’t have to deal with those young horny boys.)

    After leaving the church for several years in the early 70’s I found that people outside the church had a much healthier respect for sex. Very few of the men I met were preoccupied with it, it was simply a biological need and those who had respect for it shared it with great care. When I came back to the church in the late 70’s and married my husband of 24 years. life once again was ALL about sex. He was devout Mormon, had always been and we met while he was on his mission in NYC.

    After leaving the church, and my husband, once again I came to know that outside the church most people see sex as something to be shared and experienced with another, and when they allow that natural expression their minds are free to carry on with the other business of living, rather than be obsessed with what they “can’t” have.

    I know many reading this will roll their eyes and put up the sign of the cross with their fingers thinking that I am in the clutches of Satan. But in my 56 years on the planet I’ve always been a seeker of truth and am open to it in whatever form it comes in. And I have seen and experienced the greatest sex addicts have been people within the Mormon Church. I’m not saying that everyone should have sex outside of marriage. I honor and respect people’s values and desires to keep that part of themselves sacred and for marriage only, I really do. What I am saying is again, what we resist persists. In the 80’s I had a friend I was trying to convert to the church and had set her up with a Mormon friend of a friend – a 32 year old still unmarried Elder’s Quorum President. He sexually assaulted her. I could go on and on, but I won’t.

    Until people can break through this bubble that only allows them to see what they want to see, I fear that spiritual progression will remain spiritual stagnation. IMHO, of course.

  41. 41Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I guess I am confused. Many people say that being gay is more than sex, but then they say the Church won’t let people be who they are. Besides being sexual, in what way does the Church say “it’s not okay to act gay”. Part of who I am is a child of God, and I need to be true to that first and foremost.

  42. 42Lauraon 22 Jul 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Especially for Mike G (but also for anyone else who’s looking for some in-person support),

    Send an email to MormonsforMarriage(at)gmail(dot)com and let us know where you live. There are people willing to listen, love and understand you in or very close to your own home towns.

  43. 43fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Laura, if MikeG contacts you and is in my area, please give him my e-mail address. I will provide him with additional contact info for both me and some local resources.

    Thank you so much.

  44. 44fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 2:14 pm

    42Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I guess I am confused. Many people say that being gay is more than sex, but then they say the Church won’t let people be who they are. Besides being sexual, in what way does the Church say “it’s not okay to act gay�?. Part of who I am is a child of God, and I need to be true to that first and foremost.

    Quoting your entire post, including the time stamp, so that you cannot claim I am taking you out of context.

    Your church offers three choices, for which I will use your own preferred terminology: live a “straight lifestyle” by marrying someone of the opposite sex (be in the closet), live a “celibate lifestyle” forever (be in the closet + very lonely) or be excommunicated for living in the closet (possible loss of family and friends).

    There are some (probably very many) people for whom none of those are very good choices.

  45. 45Connell O’Donovanon 22 Jul 2010 at 2:22 pm


    Celibate Gay Mormons are not allowed to date people of the same sex. They can’t hold hands. Kiss. Snuggle. These are all non-sexual “Gay acts” that the church prohibits, for example. I also know that effeminate men and masculine women are highly suspect in the church and have often been surveilled and harassed because of assumptions about their sexual orientation; for acting Gay or Lesbian, whether they are or not. My mother is such a person. She is quite masculine and HATES dresses but is made to wear one to church. Her brother, the bishop, tries to turn a blind eye when she wears nice slacks instead, but then HE gets in trouble for allowing her to do so.


  46. 46Janeen Thompsonon 22 Jul 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Mike G,
    You are absolutely not alone! There are thousands of LDS people who support you and are working tirelessly on your behalf to change the mindset of church members with regard to sexual orientation. We just need to hear that you need help! Mormons for Marriage and the Foundation for Reconciliation are two organizations started by straight LDS people to advocate for the LGBT church members who are in your position. We desperately want to reach gay members before they contemplate suicide! In my experience, young, gay Mormon men are some of the brightest and most devout that the church produces and to imagine that you feel “less than” or unworthy is a tragedy that cannot be tolerated. Please communicate your needs and feelings to us and let us be there for you. With lots of love, Janeen

  47. 47Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 2:52 pm


    Those aren’t the only three options. I am neither in the closet nor am I lonely. I was not lonely when I was celibate either.


    Many members of the church kiss people of the same-sex in a non-sexual way. One sister in my ward in Brazil complained she couldn’t walk across the aisle at church without being kissed by all the other sisters. Of course it was non-sexual. Kissing people of the same sex in a non-sexual way is very common in the church.

    I admit there are differences in the culture. In the US, it is harder to get away with kissing people of the same gender in a non-sexual way than in the Brazilian lifestyle. But most members aren’t American, and aren’t living an American lifestyle. But you need to distinguish culture from doctrine. Doctrinally, the only thing I have ever found sets the same standard for all – never do anything outside of marriage that would raise those emotions that are meant only to be expressed in marriage.

  48. 48Lauraon 22 Jul 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I can imagine it could also be quite difficult for a non-married gay man to have a housemate for a significant period of time, especially after he’s done with the typical college-age roommate time of life. He either shares his home with a woman (inviting worthiness questions and gossip) or he shares his home with a man (inviting worthiness questions and temptation).

  49. 49fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Joshua wrote: In the US, it is harder to get away with kissing people of the same gender in a non-sexual way than in the Brazilian lifestyle. But most members aren’t American, and aren’t living an American lifestyle.

    Um, yeah. What are those, exactly? Or are you conflating *culture* with lifestyle? Perhaps *that* is what you mean?

    Laura, your point re: roommates is excellent. It’s a lose-lose proposition.

  50. 50fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 2:59 pm

    47Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 2:52 pm


    Those aren’t the only three options. I am neither in the closet nor am I lonely. I was not lonely when I was celibate either.

    I’ll take “Yet Another Disingenuous Answer” for $200, Alex!

    You know perfectly well what I meant.

  51. 51fiona64on 22 Jul 2010 at 3:01 pm

    47Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 2:52 pm


    Many members of the church kiss people of the same-sex in a non-sexual way.

    “Yet Another Disingenuous Answer” for $400, please …

  52. 52Joshuaon 22 Jul 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I happen to know a couple of guys who used to be partners but have since converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They still live together (the guy they had sex with) and attend the temple regularly. If you ever go to the Oakland temple you might run into them.

    I was openly gay, and lived with four other guys. No one questioned me about my relationship with them. I still had a temple recommend.

  53. 53Alexon 22 Jul 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Although many of the more common visitors to this site disagree with Joshua’s viewpoints, I would like to commend him for his faithfulness and encourage him in the path he has chosen.

    @MikeG: I empathize with you as well, though having never dealt with same-gender attraction myself, I can only imagine how difficult a situation you find yourself in. Do know that Heavenly Father loves you. That phrase hardly conveys any of the weight and meaning I would like it to, for our language is not precise enough to explain the enormity of His love for you. The gospel is real and will lead to happiness. If you will seek out the Lord and strive to obey His commandments, you will come to know Him and He will guide you.

    @Sheri: I have lived in Utah County (Mormon Central, basically) for a number of years now and seen the obsession with sex that you mentioned. However, to say it is a result of the Church would be mistaken, though many aspects of Mormon culture, such as the inability to talk frankly about sex, probably contribute to such problems. It is difficult to separate the Church itself from its members (and indeed, that should not be done in most cases), but such problems stem from people not actually understanding the gospel and thus not taking it into their hearts.

    Members of the Church who show hostility towards others because of their sexual orientation also display a lack of gospel understanding, or at least do not know how to handle situations so foreign to them. We are still learning (and I acknowledge that some refuse to learn). Over the years, the Church leadership has realized that a soft voice is much more helpful than a harsh one. The doctrine of the Church is not going to change on this matter, though how we approach the issues obviously changes over time.

  54. 54Sherylon 22 Jul 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I’m still waiting for an answer as to how gays act differently than straights, except for the obvious interest a member of the same sex instead of the opposite sex.

    Also going to toss these 2 questions out again for any of the active Mormons (and I make that distinction because I know what is taught (or how it is taught) changes over time). Is it still taught that “As a man thinketh so is he” and emphasized that who we are in this life is who we will be in the next life (granted, it has been sometime since I’ve heard one of those lessons but guess things like that stick with me). And, in conjunction with that, are we still taught that we must repent now and live the gospel because “deathbed” repentance will not be accepted by those who knew the truth but waited to repent?

    Thanks for any enlightenment.

  55. 55Lauraon 22 Jul 2010 at 10:20 pm

    “I was openly gay, and lived with four other guys. No one questioned me about my relationship with them. I still had a temple recommend.”

    Sometimes I wonder if you ever read comments all the way through.

    Living with 4 other people for a short time between your mission and your marriage, at a time when most Young Adults are single is not the scenario I posed. I specifically excluded that scenario, in fact.

    Let’s try again:

    Imagine for a moment that you are a celibate gay man in the Mormon Church.

    Imagine that you are 35 or 45 or 55 years old (Hint – this will take lots of imagination, because it means recognizing that somebody has been living as a gay celibate man longer than you’ve been alive.)

    Imagine that the whole time you’ve been celibate – decades – you have not been able to hold hands with someone, kiss someone romantically, date anyone, put your arm around someone at church. You’ve sat through hundreds of lessons and talks about the importance of family, and you are not married.

    Imagine that you would prefer not to live alone. That you would like to have someone to talk with when you come home from work. That they could shop for groceries while you mow the lawn and wash the dishes. That they could be there in the middle of the night when you wake up with a fever. That you could share your concerns about being single in a family church when you need to.

    So, who does a celibate gay Mormon man live with? Four other roommates from college? A succession of new people to adjust to?

    Say he doesn’t want to be tempted to act on the homosexual feelings he has, so he looks for a female roommate. Maybe he even finds one and they get along and live together in the same house for 10 years. What are the odds that that man’s bishop or High Priest Group Leader or Elder’s Quorum President or Home Teacher is NOT going to ask him about his living situation? How can he answer without revealing his orientation? What if he’s afraid that coming out to his ward will be dangerous for him? What are the odds other ward members will refrain from asking him why he’s not married?

    Say he wants to “avoid the appearance of evil” presented above, and in so doing he finds a male roommate. Again, they’re together for a decade or so. This situation might work quite well for him, but only so long as nobody knows he is attracted to men. If the bishop or stake president finds out he’s gay, what are the chances they won’t ask him about his long-term male roommate? If he’s openly gay, what are the chances that people will really, truly believe that he and his roommate are not sharing a bedroom? After all, a gay man would be as tempted to live with any other man as a straight man would be tempted to live with any woman, or so goes the train of thought from a church where it’s often suspect to be seen in public with a woman to whom you’re not married.

    In the words of Elder Marlin K. Jensen,

    some people argue sometimes, well, for the gay person or the lesbian person, we’re not asking more of them than we’re asking of the single woman who never marries. But I long ago found in talking to them that we do ask for something different: In the case of the gay person, they really have no hope. A single woman, a single man who is heterosexual in their thinking always has the hope, always has the expectation that tomorrow they’re going to meet someone and fall in love and that it can be sanctioned by the church. But a gay person who truly is committed to that way of life in his heart and mind doesn’t have that hope. And to live life without hope on such a core issue, I think, is a very difficult thing.

    We, again, as a church need to be, I think, even more charitable than we’ve been, more outreaching in a sense. A religion produces a culture, and culture has its stereotypes, has its mores. It’s very difficult, for instance, in our culture not to be a returning missionary. What about the young man who chooses not to go, or the parents who marry and for whatever reasons don’t have children, or the young woman who grows old without marrying, or the divorced person? I think we can be quite hard — in a sense unwittingly, but nevertheless hard — on those people in our culture, because we have cultural expectations, cultural ideals, and if you measure up to them, it’s a wonderful life. If you don’t, it could be very difficult.

  56. 56Lauraon 22 Jul 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Sheryl –

    I’ve heard those teachings (along the lines of ‘you’ll be the same person after you die as you were while you were alive’) emphasized in matters like smoking or drinking (you’ll still crave it, but you won’t be able to have it), often a tool to convince people not to start so they won’t be addicted when they die.

    I don’t remember hearing those kinds of teachings in conjunction with sexual orientation, however. I think that’s mostly because it appears that leaders consider orientation more like a birth defect that will be corrected in the resurrection than like an outward temptation. The birth defect terminology is clunky and offensive, and they generally use more euphemistic words like “a condition of mortal probation” or something (that’s not a direct quote). In one of the resources at the current statements of church leaders link in the OP, one GA compared homosexual orientation to Down’s Syndrome.

    Also, if orientation is a birth defect of sorts, then it can be something a person is born with, but it can also be something not intended by God. A quirk of nature or an accident.

    As for the repentance stuff, I have heard (but not real recently) the stories about people who reject the gospel in this life will have limited opportunities in the next compared to people who were just never exposed to the gospel to begin with. But if they reject the gospel because they’ve been “deceived” by the world, there’s still hope for them in the future.

    I’m pretty sure the don’t procrastinate the day of your repentance scripture is still taught to the high school kids every 4 years in seminary. For sure it’s still in the Sunday lesson manuals for teenagers.

    I’m sure “someone” will step up to the plate to correct any errors very soon.

  57. 57Sherylon 22 Jul 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks, Laura, like I’ve said it has been awhile (when your 61 that may be anywhere from 1 to 30 or more years) since I’ve had one of those lessons, probably closer to the 30, when sexual orientation was not discussed. And I don’t recall it being limited to Word of Wisdom issues, but then individual teachers can certainly put a different slant on a lesson, as can individuals in the class who make comments.

    Well, if orientation is a brith defect of sorts, then must be some gene in my family that carries that defect.

    I really appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions.

  58. 58Joshuaon 26 Jul 2010 at 2:33 pm


    I don’t know someone who is in that exact situation, but I know people who have broken the law of chastity and have since repented. They are now the age you described and are living together, but are celibate and go to the temple. I would imagine there would some questions about that, but we are taught not to fear man, but fear God. I was never a fan of living in the closet, but if you don’t want people to find out about your sexual orientation, I don’t see how having same-sex relationships is going to help the situation. Who cares if someone finds out your sexual orientation. If that is keeping you from following God, then something needs to give. That is why I suggest just being openly gay and not worrying about it.

  59. 59fiona64on 26 Jul 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I remember when I was 23 years old and thought I knew all of the answers for the entire world …

  60. 60Sherylon 26 Jul 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Ah, Fiona, the wisdom on youth. I too remember those days. LOL

  61. 61Chino Blancoon 30 Jul 2010 at 8:49 am

    For what it’s worth, “Joshua” seems to be in it mostly for the attention.



  62. 62fiona64on 30 Jul 2010 at 10:52 am

    Chino, I think there is something to your theory. Joshua has clearly found a way to make himself feel very important with his I Am Not Gay Anymore and Have a Wife to Prove It(TM) shouting all over the internet.

    What was it that Shakespeare said about protesting too much?

    I really do feel very sorry for him, and sorrier for his wife. :-(

  63. 63Johnon 31 Jul 2010 at 4:20 am

    Should the church change its doctrine and encourage members to be more loving and accepting? Is this the answer to LGBT Mormon suicide? What about the battered spouse who finds suicide the only way out? Is it up to the abuser to changer their ways? What about the enabling co-dependent who cries out “If only my family member will stop using drugs or alcohol everything will be OK.”

    While we are waiting for the church or someone else to change, what do we do in the meantime, continue with the finger pointing and blame?

    How much power do we really have changing other people and their thinking process?

    A novel idea might be to see if we can change our own thinking process and address our part and role in enabling abuse. Can we detach and keep the focus on what we really have control over and might be more successful? Ourselves?

    Where is the message of empowerment and confronting depression and recognizing the signs of mental illness?

    Never mind… “I’ll wait for the church to change.” I’ll wait for the abuser to stop beating me. Addiction to emotional pain might get me a candle light vigil, being accountable for changing the things I can, gets me nothing.

  64. 64Johnon 31 Jul 2010 at 4:37 am

    “Eventually we learn to focus on solving our own problems. First, we make certain the problem is our problem. If it isn’t, our problem is establishing boundaries. Then we seek the best solution. This may mean setting a goal, asking for help, gathering more information, taking an action, or letting go.” M. Beattie

  65. 65fiona64on 31 Jul 2010 at 7:59 am

    John, I’m not sure I understand the point you’re trying to make. Please bear with me as I explain why that is.

    While I am not a member of the Church of LDS, nor am i GLBT, I *am* a citizen of the United States. When a church is able to flex its financial muscles to take away rights from my fellow citizens (as the Church of LDS and the Catholic church did with Prop 8), I recognize that the real slippery slope is not “oh, think of the children” or “oh, tradition is harmed” but “Now *anyone’s* rights can be put up for popular vote.”

    We are a Republic, with government based on the rule of law, not a Democracy in which government is based on mob rule. The Constitution lays this out very carefully.

    So, yes. Even though I am not part of either affected group? It *is* my problem when my fellow citizens are being harmed.

    We are all connected.

    As for your analogies to depression and domestic violence, having survived both I can tell you that you are *way* off base. No one is addicted to being beaten or to emotional pain. Domestic violence is *not* the victim’s fault, as you make it out to be, nor is it as easy to just up and leave as you appear to think. I strongly recommend that you read up on both matters of which you speak so blithely.

  66. 66sherylon 31 Jul 2010 at 12:07 pm

    John, I’m a little confused as to how your posts relate to same-sex marriage. You stated: “Should the church change its doctrine and encourage members to be more loving and accepting? Is this the answer to LGBT Mormon suicide?” In my opinion, that would go a very long way toward helping young LGBT Mormons not commit suicide. However, when you moved into the domestic violence arena, you lost me. Like Fiona, I have been the victim of domestic abuse (both verbal and physical and my ex is an alcoholic, so, through all of my counselling I learned a lot about how not to enable). Believe me, there was no addiction to the physical and emotional pain. I loved my husband and the violence was only when he drank (he is a Jekyl and Hyde, you would never know he was the same person, drunks come in all varieties). I finally left him because I realized that by staying I was teaching our son that it was OK to abuse your spouse. So, I became a single parent.

    Anyway, I fail to see the relationship between having been taught for as long as you can remember that being a homosexual is sinful and you are not a worthy person and to be accepted you must hide who you are and domestic violence.

  67. 67Johnon 01 Aug 2010 at 7:58 am

    Sheryl, I call being told you are not a worthy person over a period of time, a form of abuse. Are you familiar with battered spouse syndrome? I’m not saying this applies to you. Addiction to emotional pain may be evident when continued and repeated efforts fail to change others into the warm loving people we may want them to be. Staying in any abusive relationships way past time when most others would have left. Codependent relationships might be a good example. I suggest that staying enmeshed in dysfunctional relationships may be co-dependent with some addiction to emotional pain.

    You mentioned that leaving those kind of relationships is not easy. I’m not aware that they are supposed to be “easy” to leave and detach from. At what point in time, in a dysfunctional relationship, does one ask “What is our part or role in the present circumstance?” What if others won’t change, who is supposed to change then? If others won’t change their behavior, who should change then? When do you let go, accept that others may stay abusive and work on changing oneself. If we keep focusing on others, sometimes we avoid the responsibility to change ourselves.

  68. 68Sherylon 01 Aug 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I understand about taking responsibility. My experience, based on my own behavior and the observed behaviour of others in a similar situation is that you leave when you know you won’t go back. You do not leave in the hopes that your leaving will be the event that causes the person to change. Everyone comes to that point of knowing it is over in their own time–for some it may be the first episode of violence, for others even more time will lapse than someone else thinks should. Also, the reasons for domestic violence are varied. In my situation, it was only when he drank (and, over the time of our marriage, we some years that were very, very good, it was only when the drinking become longer than the sobriety periods that my time for leaving came, we’d most likely still be together if it wasn’t for the alcohol).

    Anyway, I’m still at a loss as to how any of this applies to homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

  69. 69fiona64on 01 Aug 2010 at 6:42 pm

    I’ll take “Victim Blaming for $1000,” John.

    You have no idea what it is like to experience domestic violence. The psychological abuse starts long before the physical abuse, with the goal being to wear the person down, take away their support systems and basically have them trapped. The most dangerous time in a domestic abuse victim’s life is when s/he leaves. I’d suggest you ask my former colleague Stephanie about that, but you can’t. She got away from her abuser and the courts ordered her to go back to the town from which she had moved and apprise her abuser (who had already been jailed twice for assaulting her) of her whereabouts; three weeks later, she was dead at her abuser’s hands.


    I was lucky that I walked away alive; my friend was not so fortunate.

    None of this has anything to do with marriage equality, but it has one helluva lot to do with misogyny.

  70. 70Johnon 01 Aug 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Fiona64 said “You have no idea what it is like to experience domestic violence.” Are you sure? Is this something you “just know?” without bothering to ask?

    Where specifically, am I blaming the victim? Spell it out for me please. However, I am curious Fiona64, What if you did not choose to leave your abusive situation, what if you decided to only focus on getting your abuser to change his/her behavior? In this case are you saying you have no responsibility to yourself?

    Sheryl, I think the topic of the thread is “How many deaths will it take.” I’m not talking about marriage equality.

  71. 71Johnon 01 Aug 2010 at 8:53 pm

    My question is also applicable to “What if my devout Mormon family and situation won’t change?” Is suicide a viable alternative, that we don’t have any responsibility to ourself? What if the brick wall won’t move, what then? Keep blaming the brick wall?

  72. 72Lauraon 01 Aug 2010 at 8:55 pm

    John, this whole website is about marriage equality and the reason we’re talking about suicide – and multiple LDS gay suicides – is because this site deals with issues which arise when the Church vocally and vehemently opposes civil same-sex marriages. That is the larger context for the thread.

    While it is true that there are plenty of homosexual people who would be better off leaving the church, there are many who find that option untenable. There are as many reasons as there are human beings, and because of the quirky way the Mormon church is organized and run, somebody could have a beautiful experience as a gay person in the church just because a few friends and allies make a safe space for him or her in their home ward.

    Granted, this does not change the institutional church one whit. But the reality of “The Church” is the reality of the congregation you are living with. And more and more local congregations are less abusive and more accepting and making changes where all of God’s children are welcome.

    Should people stay in an abusive situation? Never. But they cannot leave until they find shelter. And before they can find shelter, they need to know that their lives are worth living and saving and that they don’t deserve abuse.

    It takes voices from all over to effect change. It takes people inside who know the system and have access to and respect of leaders. It takes people outside who can provide other shelter and be shining examples of different, successful paths. It takes former insiders willing to share their stories and why they could no longer remain inside.

    And even if the LDS Church never condones same-sex marriage, it can still do many things right now to make the lives of its LGBT members and their families better, calmer, more peaceful and less stressful. Even baby steps in the right direction are steps in the right direction.

    But whether we have the luxury of waiting for baby steps to become adult-size strides or not, we ALL have the responsibility to protect the weak, uplift the downtrodden and provide relief to the weary.

    Let’s try to get back on track, and out of the weeds, please.

  73. 73Johnon 01 Aug 2010 at 9:39 pm

    So tell me how suicide and marriage equality are related?

    “…we ALL have the responsibility to protect the weak, uplift the downtrodden and provide relief to the weary.” Yes, and I do charity work too. Lets get out of the weeds and focus a little more on individual responsibility.

    It it really all up to others? “It takes people outside who can provide other shelter and be shining examples of different, successful paths. It takes former insiders willing to share their stories and why they could no longer remain inside. What about empowerment?” How does that empower someone in crisis while we are waiting for more small pockets of change or the institution to make a difference?

    Getting out of weeds here, it sound like the co-dependent belief here is that there is NO personal responsibility.. no empowerment, no ownership. No changing the things you can, accepting the things you cannot, and wisdom to know the difference.

  74. 74johnon 02 Aug 2010 at 12:32 am

    As a marketing concept, “Marriage equality and Suicide” has quite a catch to it. Will it reach the demographic you want to target? Let’s see who could be part of that demographic? The next LGBT Mormon in crisis? How many other ideas or concepts can we come up that might in someway glorify or contribute to a victimization mindset? Might be able to sell this concept if it also comes with a free T shirt (size Large) “Victim” on the front and back.

    I can’t speak for others, but I refuse to be a victim, and no I won’t take ice cream and apple pie with that. I will find people who provide a message of empowerment, that there are detachment tools to deal with enmeshment and that we ALWAYS have a choice. While we are waiting for the world to change, there are things we can do now, that we have control over. The first choice might be to refuse to be a victim any longer.

    Even the message that depression is a treatable mental illness would be a great start.

  75. 75fiona64on 02 Aug 2010 at 8:26 am

    John wrote: “Even the message that depression is a treatable mental illness would be a great start.”

    Except, you know, that it isn’t always. Anti-depressant meds only work for 13 percent of the population and have significant (and often permanent) unpleasant side effects (up to and including death). http://www.newsweek.com/2010/01/28/the-depressing-news-about-antidepressants.html for just one article on the matter. There are many. Physicians have known about this for *years,* but it is easier to drug a patient and do a med check now and then than it is to help deal with the issues.

    So, now let’s get to the issue part that we’re talking about here: GLBT people in the Church of LDS. GLBT people who are told that their choice is to marry someone of the opposite sex — or to be celibate for the rest of their lives. GLBT people who are told that they are not to congregate with other GLBT people — unless they are in North Star or some other church-sponsored group designed to either increase their self-loathing or get them to marry someone of the opposite sex.

    Your answer, just as it was to domestic violence victims, is “just leave.” Unless and until you have been a survivor of domestic violence? I suggest you drop that line of thinking. It’s a pat answer that has no basis in reality — any more than it does for the GLBT Mormon who has grown up in/been indoctrinated by the church to believe certain things about themselves — most of them not good. Kids are thrown out of their families for coming out and wind up living on the streets. Did they choose that? No. It was chosen for them by people who have been indoctrinated to believe a certain way, despite significant evidence that their belief is incorrect.

    The point here is that there ARE people willing to help those in crisis — and some of them are even in the church. As Laura points out, it varies from congregation to congregation.

    The point at which someone leaves is the least safe — and it is also the point in which the pain of staying is outweighed by the pain of leaving.

  76. 76fiona64on 02 Aug 2010 at 8:28 am

    PS to John: You blame the victim whenever you say “s/he should just leave” without even remotely understanding the dynamics of abuse. Abusers deliberately keep their victims isolated from support systems. They harm their children or their pets to keep them in line — my abuser killed one of my pets.

    What if I hadn’t left, you ask?

    I’d be dead.

    I had to move to another state to get away. Not everyone has the resources to do that.

    I notice that you didn’t have anything to say about my colleague who was murdered by her abuser — because the *courts* ordered her to go back after she got away. I guess she chose to be murdered … according to you.

  77. 77Jayon 02 Aug 2010 at 9:34 am

    I’ve read through this thread and want to throw my 2 cents’ worth in responding to Joshua. After spending my life as a closeted gay man, marrying and having a couple of kids, contorting my spirit to try to conform, doing everything you advocate, I finally reached a point where it simply was no longer possible. I couldn’t endure the duplicity that the church forced on me as the price of being accepted. My conscience (the light of Christ?) wouldn’t let me.

    I’m now out, divorced, with wonderfully supportive kids (still young enough not to be tainted by prejudice), and contemplating next steps. My kids think Prop 8 was a joke and a mistake and told me so before I ever discussed it with them. My faith in the Savior and the fundamentals of the gospel he taught is unchanged.

    But I no longer trust the Mormon leaders whose statements about this issue have changed significantly over time while claiming all the while to be inspired. I have no assurance that what they’re saying to day is any less flawed than what Spencer Kimball said years ago. When I saw and heard Elder David Bednar lying in a staged Q&A on Youtube about the alleged consequences of marriage equality (e.g. loss of religious freedom, etc.), that was the tipping point for me. How can I trust leaders who do that while claiming to speak for God?

    This leaves me with no alternative but to seek the inspiration for my own life and choices that the Church has always said is my right. Dallin Oaks said that there are exceptions to some rules and we shouldn’t ask the general authorities to opine on individual exceptions, each person must work that out for himself directly with the Lord. If you’re happy with the path you’ve chosen, then that’s great. I hope it works for you. But the LDS leaders have lost my trust and I have to find my own way now.

  78. 78fiona64on 02 Aug 2010 at 10:06 am

    PPS to John: I can tell you have not experienced domestic violence from the blithe way you discuss it, in terms of “if you don’t leave, it’s because you choose the situation.”

    Victim blaming, just like I said.

  79. 79Lorenon 02 Aug 2010 at 10:52 am

    A wonderful article and incredible insightful comments. My story…

    Nearly 30 years ago, I knew I was gay. I stayed single as long as I could, yet the pressure was so intense back then to marry, as in ‘anyone that old and not married is a menace to society’. A women came into my life, we were engaged, I went to the local bishop. I confessed my quandry. I am gay and am engaged, what should I do?

    I was told: 1) go ahead and get married, marriage will take the gay away, and 2) never tell my wife of this conversation that I had gay feelings. The marriage proceeded.

    At marriage I was a virgin and had never kissed a woman. The honeymoon was abysmal. Life married was difficult at best and in reality unfair to both of us. I did not like kissing her, sex was tedious and a duty. Despite that children were ‘hatched’. We worked so hard to make the relationship work and provide a home for the children. Yet, despite all of this, a couple years ago the marriage ended. Literally, we were too exhaused to keep trying anymore.

    There were many instances I contemplated suicide. What kept me going was my sons. I could not leave this life and have them unprotected and not cared for.

    Today, two years after the divorce, I date men frequently. What was so horribly unnatural for me with a woman feels and is so natural with men. Hugging, loving, kissing all of it feels good and right now.

    The counsel given through the years was wrong. I understand that the divorce rate among inter-orientation marriages (gay-straight) is close to 95%. The damage as a result of this bad counsel to both adults and the children is incalculable. Marrage DOES NOT take the gay away.

    Neither does celibacy. Man (and women) are meant to have joy. That joy is manifest by sharing, touching, and loving another person. To demand a gay person to never touch, never associate, never kiss another person of the same gender is worse than death. Personally, I don’t believe that is God’s intent. Especially, when I have found that joy sharing with other men. Can the joy I experience with another man that is created by pure simple intents be so despicable akin to murder when the very same with a women is approved of God? I don’t think so.

    The option provided by the church has to change before the suicides stop. What are the options today? :

    – Get married to a person of the opposite gender. In most cases these relationships end in divorce, homes and lives are destroyed. Bad option.

    – Be celebate. Not only be lonely but alone the entirety of life, no touching, no hand holding, nothing. Bad option.

    – Buy into the gay to straight fixing. Most organizations that promote this never share the statistics of success, never allow outside groups to corroborate the success. Reality is from much discussion on the internet, these efforts are mostly failures. Like was stated earlier, what we resist, persists. Bad option.

    – Be true to yourself by having relationships and hope not to be discovered in order to keep one’s membership and ties with one’s family. In the long run, living dual lifes is draining, and bound to be discovered. Good in the short run, long term devastating to the soul.

    – Leave the church behind to be genuine to oneself, find true love, true beautiful physical relationships. Unfortunately this, today, seems to be the only real option the church allows gays. Essentially, be true to yourself, then get out, you are not worthy.

    – Of course there is one last an final option, kill oneself. Then all those mommies and daddies can be self satified that they may have lost a son, but at least he wasn’t a homosexual. The sad thing is he was a homosexual all along anyway. He finally ended up with someone that would love him, God.

    How calous, how evil can we be to create such a demeaning, demoralizing environment that our most precious sons and daughters would come to the realization that the only same and sane decision is to kill themself?

  80. 80Sherion 02 Aug 2010 at 11:16 am

    I believe that people who have never really suffered are often incapable of empathy or compassion for others. They have no point of reference, so John simply believes that everyone should be like him and not accept victim mentality. I too believe we need to get out of victim mentality, but I was a victim many times before I arrived at that awareness. And it wasn’t those judging me who helped me get out of victimhood, it was those who loved me unconditionally.

    So often those in the Mormon gay community don’t have anyone that loves them unconditionally; there’s always a condition for them to be loved and accepted by their families, their church and society in general (except in cases like those who frequent this site and wonderful mothers like Sheryl:-) That kind of rejection is difficult to overcome, when the people you love the most and the organizations you trust the most, continue to persecute and question the authenticity of a GLBT individual.

    I am not gay, but I have been close to suicide more than once in my life. After leaving the church I no longer ever have those thoughts. When one group is oppressed (like the GLBT community) I feel the collective hurt they experience. That’s why I fight so hard to awaken people to the hurt being inflicted on this loving community. It’s why I asked for my name to be removed from the records of the church. I could not longer be associated with what I consider to be such unloving practices.

  81. 81Sherylon 02 Aug 2010 at 11:29 am

    John asks: So tell me how suicide and marriage equality are related?

    I can only give you my opinion on that John. Since we are talking about Mormons and suicide in the GLBT community in this particular thread, I’m sticking to my opinion on that.

    If one is a gay Mormon, one has heard all of one’s life what a sin homosexuality is (now some may say that only the acts are sinful, but I don’t recall any lessons or talks that made that differentiation). Your parents have made their position clear that homosexuality is a sin (and if the Miracle of Forgiveness is quoted, which it often is/was, then the language of disapproval is much stronger). You do your best to be straight but know that you are not. You come out to your parents as a teenager and they kick you out of the house. What do you do? where do you go? You don’t have any money to pay rent or all of the rest of the bills. You’ve spent years trying to be straight, you’ve spent years hearing how horrible being homosexual is, and now your own family doesn’t want you, what do you do? I mean, even if your own family doesn’t want you, you must be a really terrible person. People make comments that one would be better off dead than a homosexual. Maybe they are right, after all, what do you have to live for.

    The above is one scenario, that in my opinion, leads a youth to commit suicide.

    Then there are those who do not come out to anybody, who continue to “live the straight life,” all the while believing that if they do everything right, the same-sex attraction will be removed from them. After all God performs miracles and if you are worthy enough, he will perform that miracle for you. The miracle doesn’t happen. Obviously, you are not good enough and you decide that since you are not worthy enough why continue living.

    Now your church is involved in politics to prevent civil same-sex marriage, and that further convinces you that being homosexual makes you less of a person than a heterosexual.

    Now, to someone who has never experienced life as a homosexual in a church where temple marriage is the ideal and the expected and you’ve been taught your entire life that temple marriage is a prerequisite to achieving the highest degree in the Kingdom of God, we may not understand the despair and sense of hopelessness that leads that person to suicide.

    As I said, this is just my opinion on how marriage equality and suicide and the LDS church are related.

  82. 82Michaelon 02 Aug 2010 at 12:39 pm


    I’m not a regular on this blog/site, though I have followed the work with deep interest. I am a gay Mormon. Well, I’m still a member of record though I would not permit the home teachers to darken my door, nor would I feel very comfortable darkening the door of a chapel on Sunday. I am a graduate of BYU, a returned missionary, and a survivor of two serious suicide attempts. Forgive the trite cliché, but you “hit the nail on the head.” I did not come out until after I graduated from BYU. I did not “engage in homosexual acts” until two years after that.

    I never could understand how I could be so evil just for falling in love with men. Something akin to Christ’s teachings except a bit more physically engaging, shall we say. Love meant death for me, and had I been brave enough as a student, I would have hurled myself off the Spencer W. Kimball tower as an act of symbolic self-martyrdom. My bishop recommended a millstone around my neck and deep body of water. He’ll pay for that, no doubt.

    Anyway, thanks to you and all those who are putting forth a valiant effort to mitigate some of the institutional injury that assaults those of us who once loved the church with all our hearts. Every time the news reveals another injustice perpetrated by the ever intrusive Mormon Church: “A letter was read to congregations throughout Argentina this past Sunday…” I find myself avoiding knives and high places.

    Most of us, now tattered, torn, bruised, broken and very protective of our freedom and privacy only wish, quite fervently I emphasize, that the church leadership would leave us alone. Trouble yourselves with those in the fellowship and stay out of the affairs of the state, e.g., same-sex marriage, adoption, etc. We’re not bothering you, Elder Oaks, Packer, Hafen, et. al. Stop Bothering Us!

  83. 83Johnon 02 Aug 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Sheri I think you may be onto something when you state:

    “I too believe we need to get out of victim mentality, but I was a victim many times before I arrived at that awareness.” I don’t think people can fully recover until they give up the Mormon Cross and take off the victim label.
    Does my statement mean I’ve never suffered from domestic violence, verbal abuse and depression? Not at all… Been there done that and wore my victim label just as proudly as other posters. But there is a difference now, a new freedom, more peace and serenity. I’ve have the tools to determine if what others say or do is really MY problem. My recovery was not based on the church or family changing, it was learning that its now up to me. Learning tools of detachment and keeping the focus on changing the things I can. Working on my own inventory of faults and accepting others as they are. Taking responsibility for my own self esteem and not looking for the church or someone else to make me whole. Living in the now and not the fantasy of things could or ought to be. This does not mean one accepts abuse, but learns tools to detach and set boundaries, not barriers.

    All I see are reasons from other posters to play the victim card and every turn and blame others. Pointing fingers is fun and the self righteous finger wagging that goes along with. Being a victim is fun, until you realize it does nothing for your own personal journey to recovery.

  84. 84Sherion 02 Aug 2010 at 4:54 pm

    To Loren. Your story is why I do what I do. Why I’m so passionate about GLBT rights. Why I left the church, and why I go into schools through PFLAG to educate students. Thank you for telling your amazing story and I’m so happy you now can be the authentic human you were created to be.


  85. 85Sherylon 02 Aug 2010 at 9:21 pm

    John, I never said that the victim mentality was OK. We are not talking about older adults for the most part but about young people. Nor was I blaming anyone. I was simply pointing out what young Mormons go thru. This is lifelong, not something encountered after growing up.

    Just a curiosity question, are you Mormon? were you raised Mormon?

    My family was not a strict Mormon family, my father was not a member and my mother mostly semi-active. It was very easy for me to fall out of activity after graduating from BYU. It was also very easy for me to fall back into activity after my son was born, because I wanted to raise him with the same morals I was raised with. I can tell you that even during the years of my inactivity, certain tapes played in my head. So, I can imagine what a young person raised in a stricter Mormon family who is gay may be going thru. And, as a young person, where do you learn those tools when everyone in your family and “support group” thinks and tells you that homosexuality is wrong and you can change if you really wanted to. Where do you go for that counselling that will provide you with the tools to move away from thinking of yourself as a terrible person because you are attracted to the same sex? There are not a lot of options open to that person. And if your family kicks you out when you do “come out” to them, then what? Where do you go?

    I truly believe that when we are talking about suicide among young, gay Mormons, the church needs to accept their part and work at changing the message that is sent out to young people.

    When it was coming down to the wire on Prop8 (and before I found this site and the courage to say anything), one of our stake representatives gave a talk that laid all of socieity’s problems on the LGBT community. My first thought was “how wonderful (not) that bigotry is being taught from the pulpit.” More thought and I wondered how that talk made any of the gay youth that heard his talk (and statistically, there was at least 1) feel about themselves. Just more hatred turned inward.

    Yes, the church needs to change it’s message. And, if you think I’m advocating that people can put all of the blame there, no. But as long as a person hates themselves and gets that message day in and day out that who they are is not worthy, how do they go about rising above that and accepting themselves?

  86. 86Sherylon 02 Aug 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Michael, thank you for sharing your story with us. If you don’t mind, I have a question or 2 for you. Was your family supportive when you came out? Have you read Carol Lynn Pearson’s “No More Good-byes?”

    I sincerely hope that you have a supportive family. That makes such a difference.

    Hope that you will participate more.

  87. 87Johnon 02 Aug 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Sheryl, yes I was raised Mormon, spent time in the Utah State Hospital with a diagnosis of homosexuality and visited Dr. Shock ‘em to see it that would cure it. Should I blame the church and carry a chip of resentment on my shoulders? I don’t, I’ve let go of things I cannot change and try to live in the present moment doing what I power to do, which includes forgiveness, letting go, and simply doing the next right thing.

    So what message do we give young 20 something adults? That efforts are best spent fighting for compassion and understanding? What can be done in the meantime, what message for those that suffer now? Is it all hopeless until others becoming more accepting loving and compassionate?

    I refuse to buy the argument that Fiona has presented, that the only thing a victim can do is just be a victim. That helps no one.

  88. 88Sherylon 02 Aug 2010 at 11:43 pm

    John, thank you for being so honest about your background. Whether you want to blame the church or not, I still think the church has to assume some responsibility.

    The message we should give to all is that they are worthwhile people. Just because they are homosexuals does not make them less of a person. We need outreach programs where they can go and receive positive support. Not groups where they are told that they can change if they really want to or that they can, if they really try, live a straight life (i.e., either be celibate or marry someone of the opposite sex). Especially the teenagers need to understand that they are not homosexuals because of anything they did, it is just the way they are and they can decide how to live their life. Parents also need to be educated that homosexuality is not some horrible thing that your child has decided to be. It is not a choice. How one decides to deal with the homosexuality is a choice. They are not “that way” because of anything the parents did (we can assume a lot of guilt, fortunately for me, I could compare my son’s upbringing to his cousin’s upbringing and see how different they were and yet they are both gay, so it wasn’t anything in how I raised him). The younger they get this message, the better. Some of those suicides we are referencing are teenagers.

    Now, the question is, where are the youth of the church to go to get this message. Where are the parents to go to understand their child as best they can and let that child know he is still loved no matter what choices he/she makes. I am not aware of any programs in the church that meet this need. And, most active Mormons who are rearing (Fiona, I remembered) their children to be active Mormons with that temple marriage are not going to seek counselling outside of the church.

    I will say that the church has made strides as they no longer tell homosexuals that if they just live the gospel and get married “those feelings” will go away. And, at least 1 stake in California has brought the issue of loving all, no matter what their sexual orientation to all of their wards in individual meetings which have included homosexuals and/or their families telling their stories. Baby steps but, still, progress.

  89. 89fiona64on 03 Aug 2010 at 8:36 am

    John wrote: I refuse to buy the argument that Fiona has presented, that the only thing a victim can do is just be a victim.

    Except, of course, that I didn’t say that.

    I have repeatedly said that unless and until there is a sea change in the Church of LDS leadership, the best hope for GLBT Mormon youth is to leave — while also recognizing that it is not as easy-peasy as all that. The reality is that anti-depressants don’t always work, the church channels its youth into groups like Northstar and Evergreen that promote self-loathing, and all of the other things that have already been mentioned.

    So yes, the best choice is to leave the abusive organization — but that’s a very simplistic statement with a lot of complications behind it. I NEVER said people should just be victims, so kindly refrain from putting those words in my mouth.

  90. 90Sherion 03 Aug 2010 at 12:24 pm

    This is such a valuable thread. Getting to the heart of the matter, I mean really pealing back the layers of conditioned thinking to arrive at the place where pure unadulterated truth resides is difficult for some and impossible for others. It take bravery, self-reflection, gut wrenching honesty, and humility.

    When we are willing to bare our souls for the world to see, without shame or fear, only then will we know our true Divine essence. Having to live a lie deprives human beings of that opportunity. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a perfect example. Our GLBT military men and women are taught to be honorable, and then forced to be deceitful. GLBT members of the church are threatened that if they are authentic they loose their blessings in heaven, maybe their families, their rights as tax paying citizens, and church membership. It is an upside down world where no one wins.

    We must turn this thinking around and honor our individualism and respect another’s rights to be who they authentically are. If the church leaders fail to learn this lesson, I fear they will have hell to pay one day.

    And Michael, may I use your post (so eloquently written) in a note on Facebook? My user name is Joyful Mystic, if you’d like to check it out. I would like to share it since it’s one place I am actively being a gay-rights advocate.

  91. 91fiona64on 03 Aug 2010 at 12:37 pm

    The problem here, John, is that I did NOT say that people should sit around and be victims. If you will go back and read, I have said that the only real hope for GLBT Mormons, unless there is a sea change in leadership, is to *leave.*

    However, I also recognize that it is a simplistic statement that does nothing to acknowledge the problems inherent therein. It’s all well and good to offer the trite statement, but without acknowledging that “just leaving” is easier to say than to do, you do a disservice to people who are struggling.

  92. 92Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I’m fully supportive of all efforts to educate the church and others about GLBT issues, and the need for more compassion, love and understanding.

    Where I think more work must be done, is addressing immediate needs of a person in crisis. Assuming the family won’t change, their situation won’t change and the church message won’t change. Someone who has so much pain that there are only two choices, suicide or a path to personal recovery from victimization.

    A better message to get out might be the specific steps to begin the process of de-victimization. My argument is that much work needs to be done at the personal level to develop the message of personal recovery and hope. I argue that the process is much the same as those whose pain brings them to abuse, drug addiction and alcohol programs. What are the answers for the person in crisis when “others” won’t change? And how do we get that message out to the 1 person every 11 days who select suicide as the option? Remaining a victim is not the answer. How about marketing the message (until others or the immediate situation changes with more compassion love and understanding) of “Yes You Can Refuse to be a Victim”

  93. 93Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Just to clarify, @Fiona your quote “Just Leaving” is not a recommendation or is any of my posts (other than this one) Please try not to read or misquote something into my posts that is not so stated.

  94. 94fiona64on 03 Aug 2010 at 1:31 pm

    @John, you said that I told people to sit there and be victims. That is a lie.

    Please try to take your own advice.

    Have a blessed day.

  95. 95Michaelon 03 Aug 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Sheri, yes, you may use my post on Facebook. Thanks for asking.

    Sheryl, thanks for your comments and your questions. My parents were very active when I came out to them a few months before 30th birthday. I chose the 4th of July to tell them. (We Mormons love symbolic acts, don’t we?) My parents were hurt, bewildered, and angry. My mother blamed herself and my father blamed the career and the city I had chosen. (The entertainment industry. Los Angeles. “So many queers out there!”) Things were tough. My parents supported me in a limited manner as their son, but were torn up by the knowledge of my “sin.” They were confused and troubled. Our conversations were strained.

    Then, just as I thought I was handling things ok, and they were coping, I was sort of broadsided by the suicide attempt. I know that sounds odd, and there is a lot to the story, but suffice it to say that I ended up back in my parents home. There was a flurry of Priesthood blessings, fasting, tears (as if there hadn’t already been enough!), return to church, bishop meetings/interviews, etc.

    Members told my parents that they couldn’t support me as long as I lived the life of a homosexual. But there was a sense that the suicide attempt had been the Lord’s way of getting me back on the straight and narrow. (Yeah, there is a pun in there somewhere.) The Relief Society president confessed that she too had a gay son, (she later discovered that she had another!) but that was private information – not to be shared with anyone else. Others discussed privately that they had gay children, but they didn’t want others in the ward to know. Coincidentally, a lesbian had returned home to her parents at that time, too.

    I would sit in Sacrament meeting and weep thinking about having failed the Lord, my parents, myself. The passing of the sacrament was the most heart-wrenching ever. I was praying like a crazy man all the time, and then one day during fast and testimony meeting I felt the spirit say, “You’re just like a Samaritan, and so are your gay brothers and sisters. People with AIDS are like lepers…” You can take it from there. (I think that since this time – the early 90s – some folks have written similar things in Sunstone or Dialogue.) Anyway, I was really overcome with the need to speak it out loud, to bear that testimony. I did. I stood up in front of the congregation and said it. I told them what the spirit told me to say, and I came out to the congregation. It was VERY intense. I wept. Nobody would look at me afterward. The bishop came up to me and told me that in the future I should keep my remarks to my testimony of the gospel and to remember that there are children present.

    My parents were mortified, embarrassed, and humiliated. The next week the High Priest Group leader stated that “The day will come when homosexuals will need to be dragged from their homes and shot in the street. That’s the only way we’ll finally be rid of them.” My father told me that he had no response. Apparently, it was allowed to just hang there in the air until the conversation moved on in another direction.

    After that, my parents stopped going to church. I stopped, too. I knew that there was no longer a safe space for me there. Later, when my mother was dying of cancer she refused all fellowship and help from members of the church.

    I have a wide community of people who love and support me, but they are not by and large Mormon. Recently, I’ve been getting together with some Affirmation folks who share similar dramas and heartbreaks, which is nice. But, I am doing that to see how we can come together against the menacing spirit emanating from some of the above mentioned GAs. I enjoy being together with my fellow gay Mormons. We share something that isn’t found in the company of others.

    The world is a big place and there is much love to be enjoyed outside the community of faithful Mormons.

    Oh, and yes, I have always read with deep interest and appreciation Carol Lynn Pearson’s work on gay Mormon issues. Frankly, I’m surprised that she has been able to keep her membership. For those young people struggling with their God-given sexuality inside the church, I hope that they find those very rare encampments of Mormons that will accept them as their creator made them. The blood of too many beautiful saints cries from the ground for justice. (Well, the scripture actually says VENGEANCE, but that sword is for the Lord to wield, no?)

  96. 96Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Fiona, if people should not be victims, then what specifically should or can they do? This is the point I’ve had so much trouble making.

    This is the message I want the next person in crisis to know that their is a choice. There are specific actions one can do… What are they?

    1.. Refuse by conscious choice to be a victim anymore..



  97. 97fiona64on 03 Aug 2010 at 2:51 pm

    95Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Fiona, if people should not be victims, then what specifically should or can they do? This is the point I’ve had so much trouble making.

    This is the message I want the next person in crisis to know that their is a choice. There are specific actions one can do… What are they?

    1.. Refuse by conscious choice to be a victim anymore..



    See, John, here is where you and I differ. I do not know anyone else’s story. I cannot make decisions for them or tell them what specific actions they should take. It’s all well and good to say “I refuse to be a victim anymore” — but what if the person is a minor child? How will they manage if they are put out of the house?

    What if the victim is an abused spouse who cannot get to shelter with his/her kids? Or her/his beloved pets?

    What if the victim is someone who has never worked outside the home and has no marketable skills? How will that person manage in this economy?

    What if the victim is my former colleague Stephanie, who got away, with her kids — and was sent back to her abuser by the courts? I already posted the link to the article.

    Should we send people to religious counseling? As Sheryl points out, that is all most Church of LDS people will try because of their belief system. I was told by a minister that if I just went back to my fiance and prayed to be a better woman (read: more submissive), then he wouldn’t “have to” hit me. Yes, that’s a quote. And no, it’s not very helpful.

    I lack the hubris to tell people what specific actions they should take when I don’t know them or their situation.

    I realize that I have gone a bit more broad than just marriage equality issues. Again, I say this: unless and until the Church of LDS leadership has a sea change, the only real hope for GLBT people is to leave. However, I also recognize that it’s an easy, pat statement to make that fails to recognize all of the ramifications and complications involved.

    I would only say this to a person coping with domestic violence, religious shunning, etc.: “You are the only person who knows the particulars of your situation. If you can get to safety, whatever that means for you, do it.”

  98. 98fiona64on 03 Aug 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Michael wrote: The next week the High Priest Group leader stated that “The day will come when homosexuals will need to be dragged from their homes and shot in the street. That’s the only way we’ll finally be rid of them.�?

    Michael, I am so, so sorry.

    It is this kind of thing that made me look at my Mormon father like he had grown a second head when he asked (again) if I would be baptized in the church. There is no way that I would ever consider joining an organization that says such things about their fellow human beings.

    I told him that I respectfully declined.

    As for that group leader, I can only repeat that song from Sunday school back in the day: “And they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love …”

  99. 99Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 3:13 pm

    “See, John, here is where you and I differ. I do not know anyone else’s story. I cannot make decisions for them or tell them what specific actions they should take. It’s all well and good to say “I refuse to be a victim anymore�? — but what if the person is a minor child? How will they manage if they are put out of the house?”

    In general, I believe a ’shoulder shrug’ for the most vulnerable is just not acceptable. There has to be a message of hope from the rest of us for these folks. There has to be something that they can do immediately other than another tragedy.

    1.. Refuse by conscious choice to be a victim anymore. What can they individually do as a next step?
    What resources and contacts exist? What do these resources offer? What are the contacts. Are there financial and legal resources available? Is transportation needed. Are the resources located in community centers, schools or other organizations. Where are the lists of “safe places” posted on web sites?”

    If we don’t have or can come up with solid action steps… who will?

  100. 100Sherion 03 Aug 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Michael, thank you for allowing me to share part of your story. I weep reading your words both with joy and pain. Joy that you have come out the other side of this crisis hopefully whole and content, but pain for those who haven’t made it to your point yet and have that same torment to look forward to because of ignorance, fear and intolerance.

    I was so angry over what the church did to the GLBT community I wrote a book about it. I’m not shamelessly self promoting here (well maybe a little:-) I’m just letting you know I am a TRUE ally. The book is not well written, but it is a story of my journey out of Mormonism over their treatment of gay brothers and sisters. The name of the book (should you be interested) is The Spell of Religion and the Battle Over Gay Marriage. I just re-read it the other day, and feel better about it now than when it was first published last year. If you can get past the grammatical errors, and the editing problems, I believe it has a good message. I developed many friends in the gay community after writing it. I tell the story of one of my best friends Gary who was gay. He has since died at his own hands – another senseless suicide. I also quote Carol Lynn a lot and with her permission used excerpts from her books.

    Keep holding on, Michael, (and anyone else reading this) knowing that many of us love you and honor you just as you are. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    And John I totally respect your mind set of NOT allowing yourself to become a victim and wanting to teach others how not to be. But it’s not that easy. If it was, no one would be a victim anymore.

  101. 101Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Sheri… Thank you and YES indeed it’s NOT easy. It was not in my contract that I signed in the pre-existence that life on earth would be void of extreme hardships. Recovery from co-dependence, abuse, alcohol or drug addiction is extremely hard as well.

    But we must have a message of hope and recovery for those that are suffering. We can’t excuse ourselves because of the difficulty of the challenge. I don’t want to mourn, praise and honor someone in another suicide. I would rather see a vigil on the state capitol honoring those who are recovering, who have found hope, with presenters that describe the resources that are available to others now. A public message of hope, not continued vigils of despair.

  102. 102fiona64on 03 Aug 2010 at 3:49 pm

    John wrote: In general, I believe a ’shoulder shrug’ for the most vulnerable is just not acceptable.

    I am not offering a “shoulder shrug” when I say that without knowing someone’s specifics I am unable to make recommendations. I am being a realist.

    You are speaking in generalities, and I am responding in kind.

    If I know someone’s situation, I am more likely to be able to show them where the help lies. If I don’t, I am left with only “what ifs” such as what I offered, and the general advice I already cited.

    I don’t know why you have decided to come after every single thing I say, John. Perhaps you would like to elucidate. I have been working actively on behalf of my GLBT friends and neighbors for well over 20 years, with a specific focus on marriage equality for the past 6. What else do you recommend I do with your generalities? Please help me to understand.

  103. 103fiona64on 03 Aug 2010 at 4:00 pm

    PS to John: There is a link on this website called “Help and Support.” It lists Project Trevor, PFLAG and others. I think those resources are, generally speaking, an excellent beginning.

  104. 104Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 4:45 pm

    The Trevor Project is indeed one of many resources, but how do we connect all the resources to those in crisis? Moreover, we have done a great job of getting out the very public message of despair. Perhaps an event organized at the State Capitol honoring those who have found a way out of despair and hopelessness might be a start. Invite folks from all the suicide prevention organizations to speak along with localized community organizations that describe their resources. Mental health professionals to speak about recovery. How do we get the public message of hope and recovery to those that are suffering that is at least equal or greater than public messages or vigils of despair, failure and hopelessness?

    What is the next step?

  105. 105Johnon 03 Aug 2010 at 7:49 pm

    RE: Marriage Equality – Prop 8 -The federal court announced today that it will release its decision in the American Foundation for Equal Right’s landmark case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, on Wednesday. There will be a live press conference with our plaintiffs and co-counsels Ted Olson and David Boies following the release of the decision.

  106. 106Lauraon 03 Aug 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for all of your energy and ideas, everyone. I wish I had more time to comment, but would like to remind folks that a big part of Affirmation’s conference this October in San Francisco will include workshops on how to deal with tough issues, including suicides. If this is a topic important to you, please consider attending the conference and Standing Up for solutions. There’s information about the conference at Affirmation’s website.

    And for those of you attending Decision Day events, stay safe and proud

  107. 107Sherylon 04 Aug 2010 at 12:25 am

    Michael, my heart goes out to you for what you have suffered by the remarks of people who, if they truly practiced their religion, would not say such things. I am glad that the suicide attempt was not successful. Do you still live in So. Calif?

    Fiona, yes we certainly get wonderfully helpful advice from those in a position of religious authority. I am so glad that both of us were able to get out of the domestic violence situation. As for your friend, there are way too many stories of similar situations.

    John, you have some good ideas but how would you get the people who need the help to attend. Are you in Utah?

    For all who have seen 8: The Mormon Proposition, I was so saddened by where the young people who are kicked out of their homes go. No one, but no one should live in such conditions. I think one of the things that is needed is a “safe house” for those teenagers to go to. And a part of living in that “safe house” would be counseling to help them understand that they are worthwhile human beings. And, there should be an outreach to the families.

    I think my niece and her husband were told by a few people that they should not let their son live at home. They politely told them that it was none of their business. I also know that some ward members took it upon themselves to “change” my nephew. He was invited to events, including wedding receptions for couples he didn’t even know. Don’t know if his bishop ever said anything to him. Of course, he stopped going to church in his teens because of his sexual orientation. Think he came to acceptance of his sexual orientation a little younger than my son did. My son remained active until he went away to college (if we can call San Jose going away). Hey, he even played Joseph Smith in the Oakland Temple Pageant. And, up until Prop 8 was even fine with telling people he was LDS and appreciated his upbringing. After we saw 8: The Mormon Proposition, he decided to request that his name be removed from the church records. Don’t know where he is in that process. I support him in this decision.

    Sorry, I got to wandering.

  108. 108Johnon 04 Aug 2010 at 2:39 am


    As folks concerned about this issue we need to make sure our efforts, marketing and public message facilitate solutions to balance the hopelessness and despair of vigils.

    How to get the message out to those that need it? Perhaps in the same way the message is getting out in newspapers and other media about the death vigils.

    Folks need to recognize and be alert if friends or loved ones exhibits the classic signs. Some who need it may not attend a rally of hope, but we need to get a consistent message that there are other choices than victimization. They may read about, they may hear about the new message from friends who attended one of these hope rallies at school or work. Some may even think that they can be a survivor too. We need other survivors out there to speak up and get their message out.

    Next steps?

  109. 109Johnon 04 Aug 2010 at 3:24 am

    Part of a new message or affirmation of hope? Realistic, a healthier message? I dunno.

    “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” We can be the change agents who will make a difference.” – From the book “Cultivating Hope” – Kasey

    “Letting someone else’s behavior determine how we feel at every turn is irresponsible. Our emotions should be determined by us, not by someone else. But no doubt we have spent years confusing the boundaries that separate us from other people. Whether at work or at home, we have too often let someone else’s “insanity” affect how we behave and how we feel.
    At first, it may seem insensitive not to react to others’ problems or negative behavior. We may fear they’ll think we simply don’t care about them. Learning that it is far more caring to let other people handle their own lives takes time and patience. But with practice, it will begin to feel comfortable. In fact, in time it will feel freeing and wonderful. I will work on detachment today, knowing that in time the rewards will come.” From the book “A Life Of My Own”

    “It’s not unusual to think that everyone but us needs to change. Ask around at recovery meetings. All will agree that we came to our first meeting thinking we’d learn how to get other people or situations to change, certain that would make us happy. But that’s not how happiness comes, and we’re lucky for that. If our happiness were tied to what others did, we’d always be in their control. What a bleak existence that might be! The happiness we deserve will come when we do two things: first, take the power that is ours through becoming willing to accept others as they are and second, make a commitment to change what we need to change and then follow through.” – K. Casey

    “Each day I seek the wisdom to see my future as largely the work of my own hands and heart. I pray for the courage to take responsibility for choosing my own direction.” – C Haggerty

    “I will enhance my growth today by letting others be who they are and working on myself.” K Casey

    “When we concentrated only on the future, we couldn’t be happy with today. We thought if we could only get to tomorrow, things would be better. Tomorrow never comes, so we were always trapped in a hopeless situation. Now we live one day at a time, and grow moment by moment.
    Recovery is about today and living life in the present. Since I no longer have to manage the universe, I have only myself to worry about today.”- Anon

    “The sense of being trapped is an illusion. We are not controlled by circumstances, our past, the expectations of others, or our unhealthy expectations for ourselves. We can choose what feels right for us, without guilt. We have options. Recovery is not about behaving perfectly or according to anyone else’s rules. More than anything else, recovery is about knowing we have choices and giving ourselves the freedom to choose.
    Today, I will open my thinking and myself to the choices available to me. I will make choices that are good for me.” M. Beattie

  110. 110fiona64on 04 Aug 2010 at 6:42 am

    I would also, frankly, tell young GLBT people who want a spiritual community to attend Metropolitan Community Church or Unitarian Universalist congregations, where there is a message of love, hope and welcome.

    Memorials and vigils are not all about hopelessness, IMO. They send the message that there *are* people who care — deeply. In the case of our local MCC’s annual Transgender Remembrance Day (in which the names (if we even know them) of every transgender murder victim since the previous remembrance is read aloud, along with the circumstances of their death), we are claiming those without names as our family members. Why? Because no family member came forth to claim them — which is why their names are unknown.

  111. 111Johnon 07 Aug 2010 at 2:07 am

    Here is another thought about survival against all odds, yet some did survive to tell their story.. While waiting for change, for the allies to come…. what temporary tools did they use for personal survival? What support infrastructure was in place.. Perhaps a message to be told at all Utah junior/high schools “Peers that survived horrific conditions at home.”

    Not knowing allies were coming or not.

    “Surviving Against All Odds
    Life in a Nazi forced labor camp was far worse than anything the prisoners had imagined or experienced. Even those who had survived the harsh conditions of the ghettos found that, incredible as it was, things got worse. There was less food, less space, less opportunity to be with friends or family. The labor was even more difficult and exhausting; there was constant punishment and stricter rules and regulations regarding every intimate detail of life.

    Concentration camp life was intended to result in humiliation, dehumanization, and death. Even if a person was able to adapt quickly to the impossible conditions, death was still the most likely outcome. Those who wished to remain alive in the concentration camp had to learn quickly to follow the unofficial rules of survival. The older, veteran inmates would pass on these unofficial rules, the first of which was, above all else, no matter what, to always…..”

  112. 112Lauraon 07 Aug 2010 at 5:28 am

    Learning to do what is needed/required by The Group in Control is an important survival guide for all minorities. And thank you for the reminder that Jews were not the only ones to suffer in the Concentration Camps of World War II. Thousands of homosexuals were also rounded up, humiliated and punished as well. Hopefully we have put such awful, despicable treatment behind us. Each time we stand up for justice, support and equality, we put another nail in the coffins of holocausts, hatred and bigotry.

  113. 113Johnon 14 Aug 2010 at 9:43 pm

    According to US Department of Health and Human Services…
    In the meantime, while fighting general bigotry and repression, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:

    -Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
    -Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means
    -Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
    -Feeling hopeless
    -Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
    – reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking
    -Feeling trapped-like there’s no way out
    -Increasing alcohol or drug use
    -Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
    -Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
    -Experiencing dramatic mood changes
    -Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

  114. 114Lauraon 14 Aug 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you, John.

    People should also be concerned if folks suddenly stop and appear to be fine after exhibiting these symptoms as well. Sometimes it’s a clue to outsiders that a decision has been made and a plan is in place.

    There are always people to listen if you can take a moment to talk.

  115. 115Johnon 17 Aug 2010 at 4:09 pm

    BP is funding mental health resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline `1-800-273-TALK’.

    “BP to fund mental health resources for those affected by the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill. Keep an eye on SAMHSA for more information”

    So is my logic off base here? if someone is suffering from the effects of Mormonism (rejection, condemnation, isolation and depression) should the church help fund mental health resources to deal with the result? Should we stand up and demand they help (funding, support and education) with suicide prevention?

  116. 116Sherylon 17 Aug 2010 at 10:19 pm

    while I think the church should fund suicide prevention education, I’m sure if they did, the education would not be the direction I would like to see. BP is a public corporation. The LDS church is a private institution protected by the 1st Amendment. And, as much as I disagree with the leaders on a few issues, I’m certainly not ready to do away the 1st Amendment.

  117. 117Sherion 19 Aug 2010 at 11:55 am

    Have you ever put your whole heart into something, did the very best job you could, went above and beyond to make it perfect, and still your efforts weren’t enough? Have you ever heard the disapproving words (or the look on someone’s face) saying that you don’t quite fit in, or that you are misguided, or worse, an abomination to God, despite feeling His presence every day in your life?

    When I was young, growing up in a tiny Mormon community in Utah, I was often treated as an outcast because my parents were divorced, my mom smoked and had intermittent bouts of mental instability. It wasn’t until I was grown and looked back upon this time that I realized why I’d been shunned. I didn’t fit the mainstream stereotype of most others in my community.

    I often ponder now how much worse it is for people in the gay community. How tragic it is to do your best, to work hard to be accepted, to be loved and appreciated for exactly who you are – but having it never be enough. I remember giving up trying to be accepted or to be excellent because it often seemed that no matter how hard I tried to be perfect, the more shunned I felt. I was never quite “enough�?.

    Now that I know I AM enough, and I know that every gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person is also enough, I’m seeking ways to help them know that for themselves before it’s too late. This website, along with the work that Carol Lynn Pearson is doing, is a great example of how to try and bridge that gap. Imagine a world where we see with our hearts instead of the divisive mind-based judgments often taught by religion. Imagine what our society would be like if no one was ever rejected because they didn’t fit the profile of a good Mormon.

    The more we are loved and accepted for exactly who we are, the more we are drawn to align ourselves with the true Spirit of our Creator, Source, God. Needlessly punishing others based on our limited understanding of their Divine purpose, will not only make those we persecute suffer more, but those rendering the judgment will be held accountable. I think they may be in for quite a shock. “Judge not that ye be not judged, for with that same judgment that ye judge, ye shall be judged.�?

  118. 118Sherylon 27 Aug 2010 at 7:59 am

    I was just reading an interview with Dustin Black
    and learned about the Trevor Project and was going to suggest that Laura have a link on this site. Guess you can tell that I haven’t read everything on the site because that link already exists.

    John, are you familiar with the Trevor Project?

    I’m certainly going to be learning more about it and when I’m financially able will be making a donation.


  119. 119Sherion 27 Aug 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Sheryl, What a GREAT interview. Thank you for posting it. I always look at the top stories on Huffington Post, but somehow missed this one completely.

  120. 120Sherylon 27 Aug 2010 at 5:15 pm

    It was a great interview. He is a very intelligent young man. I’m so glad that he had a supportive mother and stepfather. What he said about how his mother reacted reminds me of what one of the young men at the “reaching out” meeting I attended said and I’ll paraphrase “once I got to know gay people, I realized they weren’t the terrible people I thought they were.” I think that is so where a lot of the problem lies, especially with those who have grown up being taught the homosexuality is so evil. I’m glad that I had a fairly liberal upbringing and moved to the Bay Area as young as I did. My first introduction to homosexuals (at least that I knew were homosexual) was through work and then I read Carol Lynn Pearsons “Good-bye I Love You.” I’ve become even more liberal in the area of equal rights because I understand that people are people no matter what their sexual orientation is. When my son first said that he was homosexual, I told him that I would support him if he decided not to live church standards that it would be extremely difficult to do so and that I didn’t think Heavenly Father and Jesus were as concerned with his sexuality as they were with the type of person he was. I still firmly believe that.

Rebuttal to “Six Consequences if Prop 8 Fails”

Guest post by Morris A. Thurston

An anonymously-authored document titled “Six Consequences the Coalition Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails” is currently being distributed by a coalition of churches and other organizations in support of Proposition 8, an initiative on the November 2008 California ballot. The intent of Proposition 8 is to overturn the California Supreme Court’s ruling allowing homosexuals to marry.

Most of the arguments contained in “Six Consequences” are either untrue or misleading. The following commentary addresses those arguments and explains how they are based on misinterpretations of law and fact. My intent is to be of service in helping our Church avoid charges of using falsehoods to gain a political victory. I do not believe these so”called “consequences” have originated at or been approved by Church headquarters; rather, I suspect they are the result of overzealous volunteers who have misinterpreted California law and the legal cases on which the supposed consequences depend. Relying on deceptive arguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church….mat-responses-to-six-consequences-if-prop-8-fails-rev-1-1

Morris Thurston received his undergraduate degree in political science from BYU and his law degree from
Harvard Law School.  He recently retired as a senior partner with a global law firm, where he specialized in
litigation and intellectual property law. He is an active member of the LDS Church.

UPDATE: An LDS lawyer named Kurtis Kearl has authored what purports to be a “Rebuttal” to my “Commentary on ‘Six Consequences.’” It is lengthy and contains numerous citations, which might lead the casual reader to conclude that he succeeds in his objective.

He does not.

Here is my reply.

Filed in Help & Support – LDS, Uncategorized |

55 Responses to “Rebuttal to “Six Consequences if Prop 8 Fails””

  1. 1Lelandon 22 Sep 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you for the good legal work. You provide an important service by helping alleviate worries members may have about the impending decision.

  2. 2admin3on 01 Oct 2008 at 12:59 pm

    The author of this document will be on KRCL’s RadioActive program Thursday. Oct 2nd, 6 p.m. Mountain Time. Check back here for a link to the podcast, and listen live at 90.9 FM in Salt Lake City. The call-in number for the radio station is 1-888-404-6050.

  3. 3admin3on 05 Oct 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Here’s a link to Morris Thurston on KRCL’s Radio Active program. He spoke for an hour about his “6 Consequences” rebuttal and fielded several questions. Enjoy!

  4. 4Jeanieon 05 Oct 2008 at 8:36 pm

    We need this in California, not Utah! My sweetheart is going to put out a press release on the rebuttal and see if it gets some bites.

  5. 5admin3on 05 Oct 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Good luck with the press release – and remember, the web has no boundaries, so feel free to share the podcast link. If you’ve got a local NPR station that’s filling up time with local election news, consider suggesting a topic like this as well.

  6. 6J. Todd Ormsbeeon 09 Oct 2008 at 10:41 am

    What are the chances of getting Bro. Thurston to make a 10 minute (or less) video that could be uploaded to Youtube?

  7. 7Don Nielsenon 09 Oct 2008 at 4:19 pm

    As an attorney and devoted (”active”) member of the Church here in California I am particularly appalled at the arguments in favor of Prop. 8 and find them to be simply hysterical, disingenuous and homophobic. What I find ironic however, is how all these so-called “conservatives” have conveniently blown right past the main, essential point of the California Supreme Court’s deciion (In re Marriage Cases 43 Cal.4th 757, 183 P.3d 384, 76 Cal.Rptr.3d 683, 08 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 5820, 2008 Daily Journal D.A.R. 7079), which is, that there is nothing more private and personal then the decision about whom one might marry and consequently, that the government has no right to intrude on that decision absent a “compelling state interest.” I thought most Mormons I know don’t want the government intruding into their lives telling them, e.g., how many AK-47’s they can own, what they can do w/their businesses and to their employees? Isn’t support for Prop. 8 by such so-called “conservatives” just a tad hypocritical? Moreover, one would think Mormons, with our own history of the federal government telling us whom WE could and could not marry back around the turn of the 19th century, would be just a little more tuned into this irony. As a perfectly secure and happily-married (28 years!) heterosexual father of 5, one who has worked around gay men and women my entire adult life, I simply don’t see what all the fuss about. You either are or you are not gay; it’s not a choice and “they” don’t prosylitize. Many years ago when I worked in the airline industry while in law school I learned that no one in their right mind chooses to be gay. I mean really, who in this homophobic society of ours would choose to be gay? ALL of us are God’s children, all of us. We have the right to be happy (”men are that they might have joy” 2 Nephi 2:25) and to ask someone to be alone for the rest of their lives simply because they’re not like most of us, seems mean-spirited, contrary to a real, Christ-like love. We all need to chill out, stop all the fear and intimidation tactics, and remember that we all still have to co-exist in Church, on the welfare farm, home teaching, etc., when this is all over. (By the way, the four justices who voted in the majority in “In Re Marriages” are not “activist judges from San Francisco” — Justices Werdeger, George and Kennard were appointed by conservative/Republican governors Pete Wilson and George Dukmeijian respectively and only Justice Moreno was appointed by a Democrat, Gray Davis — and the California Supreme Court is headquartered in San Francisco BY LAW and has been for nearly 100 years) “I pledge allegiance to the flag . . . with LIBERTY and JUSTICE FOR ALL! (Not just those who don’t make us feel uncomfortable) Love is the answer —

    Don Nielsen

  8. 8admin3on 09 Oct 2008 at 4:44 pm

    The No on 8 folks have some new material about the 6 Consequences materials as well, including a new short ad you can watch here:


  9. 9Mormons for Marriage » Religious Organizations Should Not Rely on False or Misleading Legal Arguments in their Zeal to Support California Proposition 8on 10 Oct 2008 at 7:25 am

    […] have received a copy of William Duncan’s response to my “Commentary on the Document ‘Six Consequences . . . if Proposition 8 Fails.’” I must say that I am disappointed and somewhat bewildered by both the tone and content of his […]

  10. 10Curtison 13 Oct 2008 at 1:59 pm

    The consequences of NOT passing Prop 8 have in part already come to pass, some items in Massachusetts and some in California. How blind can one be.

  11. 11baumgrenzeon 14 Oct 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you Morris Thurston for an articulate and logical rebuttal. Would that it was a required announcement in all congregations where a significant portion of the community support Proposition 8.

    Pardon a wordy evangelical protestant for adding comments to a mormonsformarriage.com blog. I have some insights to share. Some of the financial support is from my community I am sorry to say.

    Please read:


    In this interview Jim Wallis reveals this about Focus on the Family. “Okay Jim, we concede that family breakdown is caused much more by heterosexual dysfunction than by homosexuals. But then they said, We can’t vouch for our fundraising department, which says a lot, I think.”

    These are the same people who do not blush to encourage homosexual individuals to undergo ‘reparative therapy’ so that they can engage in a “mixed orientation marriage” which has a very high likelihood of ending in divorce and a broken family.

    I rest my case.

    They make it hard to preach the Gospel and not be rejected as just another hypocrite.

    I’d rather live in a community that supports and encourages stable marriages and loving families, not one man and one woman marriages, damn the consequences.

    Read Proverbs 6:16-19! In most English translations among the seven listed ‘abominations to God’ are “a lying tongue, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

    Perhaps they should just stop reading when they encounter the phrase, “He who lieth…”

    As a preacher in Boston concluded, in the end it all boils down to this, “Love Trumps Leviticus.”


  12. 12Ponderingon 15 Oct 2008 at 10:53 am

    The Church must stand in favor of this proposition because if the Church did not, it would send a message that it is fine to “give in” to the challenges that you are given in life. I have challenges that I deal with on my own instead of asking someone else to change to accommodate me. If I was gay, I hope that I would understand that asking for a change in definition of a word that means something to people that are not gay is asking too much and is wrong.

  13. 13Captain Moronion 15 Oct 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Pondering – The Church must stand in favor of this proposition because if the Church did not, it would send a message that it is fine to “give in”

    CM – The Church doesn’t have to give in. They can recognize that this is a civil rights issue (ie determining the civil rights of others) and simply send Proc. in the mail to everyone in CA. This would comply with D&C 121 that says that we are to use kindness gentleness meekness and love unfeigned to encourage people to live morally. Using force via the passage of laws was Satan’s Plan.

  14. 14Ponderingon 15 Oct 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Captain Moroni:

    No one is forcing… gays still have the some rights as non-gays. I do, however, see someone trying to force me to redefine a word that means something to me though, which is quite offensive.

  15. 15Captain Moronion 15 Oct 2008 at 7:05 pm

    P – No one is forcing… gays still have the some rights as non-gays.

    CM – Sure, and Blacks did too. They had their own drinking fountains just like Whites. Why should the Blacks complain? They still had the same right as Whites.

  16. 16Ponderingon 15 Oct 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Blacks never asked to change the definition of “white” to “black.” That is a completely irrelevent argument you just gave. I support gay rights and equality. I do not support anyone trying to redefine the institution of marriage for me.

  17. 17Jeanieon 15 Oct 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Those of us who personally have gay friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members find CM’s argument quite relevant. It is comments like those of “Pondering”, who claim to support gay rights and equality but fail to see the inconsistency in supporting Prop 8 that disturb us greatly. I would ask those feel the same way as Pondering to find someone who is gay that believes that the LDS position honors their civil rights. No one is asking the citizens of California to change their religious beliefs about marriage. The LDS church can continue to deny temple marriage and even a temple recommend to gay couples. The courts have ruled, and we agree, that civil unions do indeed fall into the “separate but equal” category that relegates a class of people to a second-class status. Black people didn’t ask to be white and gay people are not asking to be straight. They do ask to be treated as equals under the law–and rightly so.

  18. 18Captain Moronion 15 Oct 2008 at 9:37 pm

    P – Blacks never asked to change the definition of “white” to “black.” Cm – They just wanted the definition of “voter” to change to include them as it was changed to include women. Women didn’t want to be men then. They just wanted to be treated equally with them. The definition of voter was expanded to the benefit of all and of the concept of democracy. Expanding the definition of marriage will likewise benefit all and strengthen the institution of marriage. White men’s voting rights were not harmed by having women and Blacks vote. Your marriage rights, secular and sectarian, will not be harmed by allowing others to have those same rights.

    P – I do not support anyone trying to redefine the institution of marriage for me.
    Cm – We LDS also redefined the institution of marriage by reinstating polygamy which had not been practiced by Christians since the time of the apostles. We also redefined it by our concept of eternal marriage. Being sealed, my marriage is different than that of my non-LDS neighbors. But we are still treated equally under the law. I may consider my neighbor’s marriage as 2nd class compared to mine, but that doesn’t give me the right to petition our secular government for official recognition of such. Each individual couple defines their own marriage in their own way. Marriage is what we make of it, not how government says it is.

  19. 19Ponderingon 15 Oct 2008 at 10:22 pm

    I guess it all depends on what you think is right or wrong. I, as most people, think it is right for blacks to be able to vote and hold the priesthood. I do believe that women should have all the rights that they do. I do believe that gays should be treated fairly and equally. However, I do not believe that gay marriage is good for our society or that it is right. However, marriage between a man and a man will never be right in any sense. I feel bad for gays and wish that there was some solution out there for them, but changing the definition of marriage is not going to give them what they are lacking. The Prophet has provided us guidance on this issue and I am going to trust him on this. Personally, I think there is a solution in the future for gays, but not now and not like this.

    The Prophet rarely asks us to do anything difficult. Now that he asks us to support this initiative, many are resisting and doubting. What if in the future he asks us to do something that is extremely difficult??? I can see that many will not be up to the challenge.

  20. 20Cowboyon 16 Oct 2008 at 10:18 am

    Pondering – you are conflating religion with public policy. This is not about someone redefining marriage for you, your Bishop, your Prophet, or your Church. This about all people recieving the similar treatment from the State regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. My religious views are the same as yours, I believe that God has spoken against homosexual practices. The genius behind the constitution however is that there is no federal Church to “assist” God in his policies, this maximizes the religious liberties of you, me, the homosexual, the hindu, etc. If we were to pass laws in favor of Church policies, Mormons would be the last group on the list to get their way. Regardless of the State definition of marriage you would still retain your religious rights to practice/view marriage within the parameters of your faith just as fully as you do now, but it is essential that homosexuals are not treated as second class citizens by the State because of your religious views. By the way, the segreation examples listed earlier regarding drinking fountains, bathrooms, etc. in the pre- Civi Rights era, was actually a perfect comparison to what Prop 8 is trying to accomplish.

  21. 21mabon 16 Oct 2008 at 12:03 pm

    In the rebuttal, Mr. Thurston quotes the already-existing California law: “Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and!benefits, and shall be subject to the same
    responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes,
    administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any
    other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.”
    I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know, but it seems as if this Proposition does very little for gay rights, per se. It’s more of an issue of whether the state will formally recognize gay couples as completely legitimate. It’s a question of whether or not we believe that an in-born propensity justifies an action or way of living. It may very well be that that pro-Prop. 8 crowd is wrong in its understanding of the legal implications. But it also seems that the anti-Prop. 8 crowd is wrong in seeing an issue of ‘rights’ here. One can make the argument that you can’t ‘legislate morality,’ but isn’t that what both sides want to do? One side feels it’s morally wrong to deny the same social status (not rights) to a group, while the other feels it’s morally wrong to approve of something they believe God has condemned. It is true though, that making something legal does lend a sort of moral approval of society. This is one of main reasons people are so opposed to legalizing marijuana, even if the person wouldn’t be a danger to others. There are externalities at work here that have not been taken into account.

  22. 22Ponderingon 16 Oct 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Being male, I don’t complain that my rights are being violated because I’m not allowed in a women’s restroom. The definition of a women’s restroom includes that it is only for women to use. I have no control over the fact that I’m not a woman, but I respect the definition and follow it. I respect women and would not want to impose upon them a change of that definition.

    I’m not allowed to drive in the carpool lane unless I have a second passenger. Does that mean my rights are being violated? No… it means that the definition of the carpool lane is that it is for people with one or more people in the car. It’s ok… I still have other lanes I can drive in, but they aren’t carpool lanes. But I’m not going to start a ruckus about changing the definition of a carpool lane…. that would defeat the purpose of a carpool lane!!! Do I think the people that are allowed to drive in the carpool lane are better than me? No… they are just in a different circumstance than I am so they can have another person ride with them to work.

    Words have meanings and when you change the definition of a word, it is no longer the same thing. This is a big deal to me and it is offensive to me that you folks want to force this change on me.

  23. 23Cowboyon 16 Oct 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Pondering – That is absolutely absurd in every regard. The car pool lane is so off topic it does not deserve to be addressed. The womens restroom will get just a comment. You are not excluded under the constitution from “considering” yourself a woman, dressing as such, acting as such, etc. You are prevented from entering a womens restroom however, because your unwelcomed presence there is seen as a physical and direct infringement upon women’s rights to privacy in a restroom setting.

  24. 24Ponderingon 16 Oct 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Just because you say it is absurd doesn’t make it absurd. To me, it is absolutely on topic and a perfect analogy. I could go on and on with things that I am not allowed to do in this life thanks to definitions of words. It is not fair or right for you to impose a definition change on this. The more you characters talk, the more convinced I am that we should all be voting YES on Proposition 8. You talk about unfair treatment of gays when it is actually the other way around… gays are imposing their beliefs on me. I have no problem with someone being gay and living their life as a gay person, but they have no business trying to change my life based on the way they choose to live their own lives.

  25. 25admin2on 16 Oct 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Pondering, you’re getting very repetitive, and since you’ve had a chance to make your point, I think we’ll end this discussion here for now.

  26. 26Protect Marriage Equality » Mormon Law Professor Debunks Pro-Prop 8 Ad Claimson 22 Oct 2008 at 4:24 am

    […] Thurston memo has been posted to http://www.mormonsformarriage.com, a website sponsored by Mormons who do not support their Church’s active campaign against gay […]

  27. 27Bob Crocketton 27 Oct 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I’m Morry Thurston’s law partner. Unlike Morry, I practice in the area of religious freedom and the First Amendment, representing various First Amendment organizations including religions.


    • It Means You Want A Definition Of Marriage That Has Been Accepted By All Four Presidential And Vice Presidential Candidates.

    Barack Obama has been on record as opposing gay marriage, although he has equivocated and has also said that he would not support Proposition 8. Nonetheless, Obama said, when he ran for the Senate in 2004: “I’m a Christian, and so although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.” (Chicago Tribune, Sept. 24, 2004.) [But, see, the Pew Forum’s summary of his inconsistent views.]

    Hillary Clinton, whom I supported in the primaries, also opposes gay marriage. Her views are summarized in Lesbian Life.

    When the issue of gay marriage confronted the French Parliament, it noted that it does not want “adult aspirations [to] trump children’s rights.” The Parliament’s special commission refused “to change the nature of marriage” as being between a man and a woman, and decided that it is “essential to enshrine” the principle that “the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration” in all laws involving the family and children. Summary of the French Parliamentary Commission Report on the Family and the Rights of Children, 1-26-06.

    A “yes” vote supports the preservation of all legal financial and property benefits to same sex unions, just as those rights are preserved for any married couple, but also is a vote to define “marriage” as only between a man and a woman.

    What do the Opponents of Proposition 8 Support?

    1. The opponents of Proposition 8 support the teaching of same sex marriage in school, starting with kindergarten, as being exactly the same as marriage between a man and a woman. Those opposing Proposition 8 have launched a series of misleading campaign ads asserting that California schools will not be teaching same sex marriage, when these very same organizations argued forcefully in Massachusetts court cases that same sex marriage must be taught as early as possible, asserting that it is “most effective when it begins during the students’ formative years.” (ADL Amicus Brief in Parker v. Hurley, p. 3.) It is fair to assume Prop 8’s opponents intend the same result in California if they can defeat Proposition 8.

    2. The opponents of Proposition 8 support that same-sex marriage educational campaign taking place at taxpayer expense, as textbooks in California are changed to teach same sex marriage. Opponents of Proposition 8 want this campaign – teaching that sexual preference does not matter – to begin in the earliest grades, even before children develop their sexual identities, which will be confusing and destabilizing to our children.

    3. The opponents of Proposition 8 support this educational propaganda campaign taking place without parental consent or notice. The same groups who oppose Proposition 8 here in California took the position in the Massachusetts litigation that “a broad right of a parent to opt a child out of a lesson [on same sex marriage showing a man kissing a man] would fatally compromise the ability of a school to provide a meaningful education, a conclusion that holds true regardless of the age of the child . . . .” (ACLU Amicus Brief in Parker v. Hurley, p. 18.) Again, it is fair to assume they take the very same position in California.

    4. The opponents of Proposition 8 support forcing on society the right of same-sex couples to adopt a baby even when that couple will compete with and replace a family with a mother and father, although having a mother and a father is always in the best interest of every baby.

    5. The opponents of Proposition 8 support closing down adoption and religious welfare agencies that choose not to place children with same sex marriages (just as has happened already in Massachusetts and elsewhere), placing the right to same sex marriage on a collision course with the right to free speech and freedom of religion of those with whom they disagree, when those agencies are a crucial help to the people of California.


    Prior to the Marriage Cases, gays could not marry in California. That prohibition was challenged in a federal court, and it held that a ban on gay marriages had sufficient basis under the U.S. Constitution.

    By the vote of one judge, in a 4-3 majority, Marriage Cases in the spring of 2008 held that a ban on gay marriage violated the California (not the U.S.) constitution. Before this decision, there were no civil rights for gays to marry. If Proposition 8 passes, California law will come into line with federal decisional law.

    Put our children first.

  28. 28Morris Thurstonon 29 Oct 2008 at 10:12 pm

    My law partner Bob Crockett is an intelligent, erudite and honorable man. I’m sure he believes his arguments. I, however, find them unpersuasive.

    The bulk of his argument consists of a swipe at some of the groups who oppose Prop 8—the “guilt by association” argument. Hey, if you want to take potshots at the ACLU, give me a gun. I don’t agree with a lot of what they say on a lot of subjects. I could just as easily point out that the Taliban would be in favor of Prop 8. Heck, they would execute the homosexuals. That would not, however, be a reason to vote against Prop 8.

    So what are these things that the “opponents of Prop 8” want?

    1. To teach that same-sex marriage is “exactly the same as marriage between a man and a woman.” To his credit, Bob does not use the phrase “just as good as,” which is what the “Six Consequences” memo said. But what does he mean? Schools are obviously not going to teach that it is “exactly the same,” because one involves two people of the opposite sex and the other involves two people of the same sex. I think what Bob means is that schools will teach that married same-sex couples should receive the same respect as married heterosexual couples. I have no problem with that. There are currently 50,000 children in California living in families with same-sex parents. This number will increase whether or not Prop 8 passes. Perhaps one or two of them will be in Bob’s children’s classes. I hope the children will not be taught in school that their peers who come from same-sex families are somehow inferior because of that—or that their parents (who may be doing the best they can to raise good, respectful, loving children) are somehow inferior to all the other parents merely because the other parents consist of a man and a woman.

    What most Prop 8 proponents are claiming, however, is that schools will have to “promote” same-sex marriage. As the Los Angeles Times has astutely pointed out, this is nonsense. [The Times editorial can be found at http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-prop8-21-2008oct21,0,7164183.story

    2. Bob says that opponents of Prop 8 want schools to teach that “sexual preference does not matter” and that this teaching should begin in “the earliest grades.” Again, I don’t know what he means. If he means that schools should not countenance discrimination against gay people, then I’m completely on board with this. Schools are not required or permitted to make value judgments about sexual preference. If a parent wants to teach his children that gays are inferior and should be despised, our laws permit this, but I do not want it taught in the schools.

    The argument about having to pay for textbooks being changed seems petty. Textbooks are changed every year. Would we have argued about the cost of new textbooks when other civil rights laws were passed?

    3. Bob cites an ACLU brief filed in the Parker Massachusetts case to demonstrate that “opponents of Prop 8” support “educational propaganda” being taught at the earliest, with no ability to opt out. But Massachusetts isn’t California. The school laws are not the same. Moreover, amicus briefs can be filed by anyone. I’m sure I could pull out a few anti-gay hate messages from some of the Evangelical Christian briefs filed on the other side. Again, the Los Angeles Times article points out the fallacies in the argument that children will be recruited to be gay (which I don’t believe could happen in any event).

    4. I must disagree with Bob’s statement that gay adoptions should not take place because “having a mother and a father is always in the interest of every baby.” What is always in the best interest of the baby is having parents who love and nurture and provide for it. A baby who has two loving, devoted parents of the same sex is much better off than one who has an abusive father or mother, or is a child of a couple who will soon divorce, or is the child of an alcoholic or drug addict, even though these might be heterosexual couples.

    5. Bob is falling back on the old Catholic Charities argument when he talks about the “opponents of Prop 8” supporting closing down religious adoption agencies. That train has already left that station in California. Catholic Charities already chooses not to do adoptions here. We already have a non-discrimination policy regarding same sex couples. None of this will change if Prop 8 is defeated. LDS Family Services has found a way to get around the law. It does only voluntary placements where the birth mother agrees to the adoptive parents. Until some Mormon birth mother decides she wants a same-sex couple to adopt her child, there shouldn’t be a problem. If a birth mother does want to place her child with a same-sex couple, then her rights as a mother should trump so-called “religious rights.”

    Bob makes a common pro-Prop 8 argument that California registered domestic partners already have all the civil rights that married same-sex couples would have. But as the California Supreme Court pointed out, they don’t have the same dignity. People who support Prop 8 apparently want the ability to denigrate same-sex partnerships and feel it would be easier to do so if they were not termed “marriages.” That argument doesn’t move me.

    Bob mentions that all the presidential and vice presidential candidates are opposed to gay marriage (though Obama is a bit iffy). What a politician says he or she supports means nothing to me. I could just as well say that both California senators are opposed to Prop 8. We all know that politicians will take whatever position is safest on an issue like this. I’ll do my own thinking, thank you, and I know Bob will do the same.

    It is interesting that even though Bob and I are lifelong members of the same church, attended the same undergraduate university, and spent our entire careers at the same law firm, we have diametrically opposed views on this issue. And so far as I’m concerned, that is fine.

  29. 29Emmaon 30 Oct 2008 at 6:36 am

    Why I support Prop 8

    It’s first about my beliefs in the eternal role of gender, and second about my moral standards about sex.

    I vote out of my morals, beliefs and conscience.

    I respect that others do the same, thought they come to a different conclusion.

  30. 30Bob Crocketton 30 Oct 2008 at 10:13 am

    Let me quote from my law partner, Morry: “I hope the children will not be taught in school that their peers who come from same-sex families are somehow inferior because of that—or that their parents (who may be doing the best they can to raise good, respectful, loving children) are somehow inferior to all the other parents merely because the other parents consist of a man and a woman.”

    No proponent of Proposition 8 would even think to make such an argument. I am not a rhetorician, but there seems something wrong with Morry’s appeal to this particular argument. Nor would we argue that children who come from divorced households, single parent households or abusive households are inferior.

    But, these households are inferior for raising children. There are just far too many studies to support this proposition. Ignoring the weight of this sociological evidence for the sake of political correctness is akin to ignoring St. Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality.

    And, yes, it is rather compelling to me that both Clintons and Obama have come out against gay marriage. To discard them like an old shoe because they are politicians is akin to discarding the arguments of lawyers because they are lawyers. Do you really automatically discard the positions and thoughts of politicians because they are liars?

    Government-endorsed gay marriage would add to the mix of inferior and unacceptable households just one more unacceptable relationship — but this one now has a government imprimatur. Oh, you say, California already allows gay households to raise and adopt children. This begs the question. California does not prohibit single parent households. California does not prohibit divorced households. California does not sterilize convicted sex offenders; even they can raise children. But, with the government imprimatur what are we doing? Blessing that which is wrong.

    It all comes down, doesn’t it, to a subjective decision as to what is “right” and what is “wrong?” Is right and wrong relative? I submit that it is not. (Gen. 3:5 [“knowing good and evil].) “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil . . . .” (Isaiah 5:20.) We, as Mormons, know that homosexual conduct is evil (a harsh word, but that is the language of scripture), just as divorce is inherently evil and abuse is manifestly evil. No child should be subjected to a household which has as its sandy foundation evil.

    Nonetheless, I can see how opponents can question religion as a framework for our ethics. After all, there are several other competing systems of secular ethics, from the bohemian to L. Ron Hubbard. There are what sociologists such as Dawkins describes as evolutionary ethics. So, which of these ethical systems is better for determining household optimality? I guess I fall back on the Clintons as a bellwether for moderate and centrist positions. Gay marriage is not acceptable.

  31. 31Captain Moronion 30 Oct 2008 at 11:22 am

    Emma – I vote out of my morals, beliefs and conscience.

    Cm – So did those who voted against polygamy and shut us down. What goes around comes around.

  32. 32Bryanon 30 Oct 2008 at 11:24 am


    I really appreciated your comments on the Six Consequences. I think, especially with regard to direct effects, you made some good points. Critical thinking about propaganda is always good. The part I liked best of all was its ostensible raison d’etre: that the Church and its members should take care to distance themselves from allies who–however well-intentioned–may be using methods of which the Lord would not approve. As a member, of course, I defer to the Lord’s appointed servants as to make final determinations, but the principle is quite sound.

    Having said that, as to subsequent comments, I think there is a difference between denigration of a set of people (for the mere sake of pushing people down) and not condoning practices. I think you’re on target or close to it when you make that point that not applying the term marriage to same-sex marriage has something to do with its dignity. I realize that proponents of same-sex marriage take open issue with this, but that’s precisely the point.

    Clearly, the idea is not to denigrate people. We owe them all the love which the Lord gives. Rather, the idea is to not be complicit in condoning practices which a voter considers (or not) incorrect. I think you can say (again, I’m keenly aware of the backlash) I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to call this practice (which is contrary to the will of God) something which is in harmony with it. How could I? Me, as a voter, who is fully enfranchised to cast my one vote in favor or against, according to any principle–religious or otherwise–which I choose, can make that choice.

    I feel some concern that there is a kind of modern rush to be approved of as progressive, not just tolerant. I recall the feeling well, as a Mormon attending an ultra-liberal East Coast law school. I’m a little ashamed to say, I worked on keeping my head low. I hope that that same feeling does not impell us to abandon our commitment to the Lord.

    I think Emma has it about right, when it comes to members in support of Prop 8. For me the message is about what the Lord wants from us, and the standard of conduct that he wants us to exemplify in our dealings with others. Love unfeigned is an integral part of that. But so is an unyielding commitment to call good acts good, and the bad ones bad. Even when others disagree.

    When we leave that reservation in search of legal arguments, etc, we are forced into these tedious rhetorical forays. For members, this should not be necessary.

    [sorry our spam filter went crazy today]

  33. 33cowboy IIon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Mr. Crockett,

    I humbly submit I can raise a child as well as you can. I can maintain a household with my partner with just as much love as in your home. Quit demonizing gays.

    (Note: there is another Cowboy making comments here. I did not know of said Cowboy until I was reading other threads on this website. I wish no confusion and harm to the original Cowboy.)

  34. 34S.M.on 30 Oct 2008 at 10:19 pm

    First, I have a few positive things to say.

    1. Although I was initially disturbed to see numerous websites by church members that are working hard against the current direction given by the First Presidency (not just the Prophet) and Quorum of Twelve Apostles, after pondering it some, I came to conclude that there are some benefits to the world seeing that not all members of the church think alike, nor do they follow blindly.
    2. Like Mr. Thurston, I also do not care for situations when people promote deception (or flat-out lies) for a cause. Presenting inaccurate information is not the best way to further a cause, and leaves the proponent open to rebuttal that indeed hinders a movement.

    I do not know the intents of the author(s) who wrote the “Six Consequences…” document and whether there was any intention to deceive or not. Sometimes people can be incorrect without purposely intending to be so. In any case, I haven’t been basing my Proposition 8 position on the “Six Consequences” document. I think that there are better overall discussion points on the subject, and certainly better arguments in favor of preserving the de facto definition of marriage that has existed for millennia than what the “Six Consequences” arguments present.

    After reading information from Mr. Thurston and listening to a recording of his recent hour-long interview on a Salt Lake City radio station, I think I understand his position and I believe from his responses (written and verbal) that he truly feels he is being true to his conscious and promoting ideals that are according to his understanding of truth and fairness. I appreciate that it is stated that this website “stands in respectful opposition” to California Proposition 8 (as opposed to some opposition which is definitely not respectful).

    Since “fear” has been mentioned as a driving force for and against this proposition, I would like to identify my “concerns” (as a more-appropriate term than “fears” in my case) related to the issue of same-sex marriage:

    1. Protecting the sanctity of marriage

    I will go a step further than many do on this topic. “Marriage” was instituted as a covenant between a wife (woman), a husband (man), and God. According to scriptures, it was instituted by God. To say otherwise seems to mock God. That He is a third partner is frequently forgotten. Who are “judges” to be able to put themselves in a position to speak for God in changing such a definition? God has shown displeasure in the past when his ordinances have been changed by man, and consequences have been severe at times.

    There have been suggestions by many that maybe the “legal” and “religious” aspects of “marriage” should be separated. I would be okay with that. There are many people who do not believe in God or do not wish to make covenants with God in selecting a partner “’till death do us part”. Where these “agreement” relationships are not detrimental to society, I say that such unions be allowed and facilitated, and that such partners receive equal legal benefits. I believe that such legal benefits already exist currently and will continue to exist whether Proposition 8 passes or not, so promoting “fear” that such benefits are threatened by Proposition 8 doesn’t seem warranted.

    2. Understanding that policy and politics unfortunately drives acceptance and permissiveness

    Here, I believe, is a “fear” that is shared by both sides of the argument. On the “No” side, there is a fear that acceptance of particular relationships is largely driven by one proposed sentence. Can one sentence really change the way people think if it is written into a legal document? On the “Yes” side, there is a fear that allowing the term “Marriage” to be utilized for relationships that go against what that term has always implied will diminish the meaning and effectiveness of marriage in society and that it will also promote homosexual behavior such that it may become more prevalent. I believe that the fears of both sides are warranted, although it will take some time. I don’t think that most people will initially think any differently of a homosexual relationship weeks from now than they think currently. However, I see it as similar to the abortion issue, in which public opinion has changed dramatically since the Supreme Court said it was a “woman’s right to choose”. While some see the propagation of abortion as a human rights breakthrough, I see it as a human rights tragedy. The “free will” rights of one person so frequently affect the rights of another. There are many other examples of which policy has driven acceptance and permissiveness, but most of that discussion is for another time and place.

    I agree with Mr. Thurston and others that some of the apocalyptic scenarios that have been presented as potential consequences of allowing same-sex marriages are exaggerated or unfounded. Churches still seem to be able to speak against abortion and other moral issues without losing rights or privileges. However, one potential difference is that Church leaders are not obliged to “discriminate” about whether to perform abortions or not, but they are obliged to “discriminate” whether they perform marriages or not (being authorized to perform such marriages).

    3. I share concerns that are documented in a article entitled “Homosexual Marriage: A Social Science View” linked here: http://www.narth.com/docs/CPASSAmarriage.pdf

    I feel that putting children in the best possible situation to flourish is very important. I recognize that there are bad heterosexual parents and that there are exceptional and loving homosexual parents, but some of the studies that have been done (as mentioned in the above article) do leave me concerned.

    I have a few other comments on the subject:

    1. Predestination is not a true principle

    People are not predestined to glory or punishment. Believing that gays are “born that way and that there is nothing that they can do about it” is essentially believing in predestination. People have or obtain certain predispositions or tendencies (both good and bad). Some relate to genetic make-up, some relate to environment, and some to other factors or influences. Some people just seem to be more inherently compassionate and understanding; some are more athletic or intelligent. Some people physically and mentally struggle with certain addictions much more than other people do; some struggle with selfishness, aggression, violent tendencies. Most that I have encountered seem to struggle with something or another. On this issue of predispositions and tendencies, taking the example of a violent and abusive person, should we say,“That is just the way he/she is. We should accept it and support that person in their violent tendencies.”? Or, alternatively, should we say, “That person is just born that way, so he/she will be subject to penalties and the wrath of God.”? Of course not (on either instance). If Person A takes the first approach (accepting the violent person as-is and not seeing a need for that person to try to change); and Person B takes the approach that they would like to help that person overcome their tendencies and be able to live a more fulfilling, productive, and opportune life, what can be said about Person A’s approach verses Person B’s approach? Who is more “tolerant”? Probably Person A; but who is more “compassionate” and wants the most for that person? Person B. I, for one, am tired of being labeled intolerant when from my perspective I want more real opportunity for people than they may want themselves. I’m now hearing in my head the potential response, “Who are you to tell me that my life can be more fulfilling than it already is?”. Well, I don’t have a good answer for that other than to say that the gospel promises more blessings to you under different circumstances.

    2. According to many scriptures and many prophets, sexual immorality is very displeasing to God, and in fact, any sexual activity outside the bonds of a marriage between a man and a woman is strongly condemned. As with so many of Satan’s counterfeits, sodomy is a mockery and perversion of a beautiful, natural, and God-ordained act. I’m sorry if this conveys images to your mind, but sodomy is dirty – physically and analogously. While attempting to be an expression of love, is it anything more than a contrived confused sexual act? I can understand men loving men, and women loving women. I love both men and women, myself. I would even say that both men and women can be attractive. I know numerous men and women of whom I could probably even “cohabitate” with for the rest of my life; but many of these relationships would not be ideal if they would take me away from my areas of greatest potential and blessing.

    Following up on the “gender attraction” comment, there is nothing wrong with the situation where “boys like boys” and “girls like girls”. That happens naturally, and is even predominately the situation for a large number of formative childhood years. That is not the problem. The problem is when people want to “educate” these children (directly or indirectly) to think that it is “okay” for boys to prefer sexual relations with other boys, at a time when they are not mature enough to even understand the implications of adults having sexual relations; (and yes, I have heard definitive and direct statements from people that have heartily admitted that this is exactly their intention and hope). Furthermore, since there are periods in the formative years of children in which a child thinks the other sex is “gross”, how could we possibly distinguish between whether a child would eventually be considered gay or not? We can’t. It is not until that person has sexual experiences that one can make any definitive judgment about it, so there is the paradox of homosexuality. Does it really exist without sexual preference, which in itself cannot really exist without sexual experimentation? Can people think of themselves as “alcoholic” without ever taking a drink? Seems implausible.

    In any case, I appreciate it when people can discuss things calmly and intelligently. It is interesting to see the two legal partners with such differing views.

    Thanks for considering my comments.

    [Moderator’s note: you got caught in the spam filter. apologies]

  35. 35cowboy IIon 30 Oct 2008 at 11:23 pm

    NARTH is not a reputable peer-reviewed organization…it is highly biased and therefore not scientific. Many members of the organization have been reprimanded by scholars and accredited organizations.

    Comparing sexual attraction to tendencies is a telling sign about how you perceive your own sexual attraction. Be careful. You might be suggesting you could be turned gay or you might be saying you had a choice sometime in your past to be gay or not. I doubt that.

    Changing sexual attraction has never been proven. The only options are to be asexual or mask one’s true attraction. In either case, the suppression of someone’s true sexual attraction would be life-long torture. How cruel would it be for someone to ask you to stop loving. If you think you can turn off love and attraction…I pity your partner.

  36. 36S.M.on 31 Oct 2008 at 11:11 am

    Hi Cowboy II.

    Yes, NARTH does seem to think differently about the potential for some homosexuals than other organizations, and some of the conclusions stated in the document that I linked do differ from conclusions that other organizations might present, but many of the studies referenced in the document (that were not done by NARTH) were subject to peer review and were scientific. The data from these studies is revealing and sometimes disturbing, and in many cases it is not difficult to logically glean some of the same conclusions that the author proposes. In any case, what I said was that I “share concerns” with those expressed in the article. My comments were long enough as it was and I thought I would just point to more of my concerns rather than make the post longer.
    Suppressing sexual attraction is something that I think just about every person deals with in one way or another – even on a regular basis. It can be difficult, and yes, sometimes even “torture”. Who hasn’t had a strong attraction and fixation with someone (for instance, a beautifully-featured movie star)? The answer to such attractions is usually not to act upon them to “realize” and obtain the desire. True love requires more than this, as is aptly stated in the scriptures, “bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love”. It can also be “torture” to resist cravings from other human desires. Many people have a very difficult time “bridling their passions” in other areas such as food. Food can be very “attractive” and many people even frequently use the word “love” in regard to it. Yet, it is usually not in the best interests of that person to fully follow through and fulfill every craving, desire, and attraction that is felt in the appetite within them. It takes a more-distanced perspective to hope and aim for long-term joy rather than short-term pleasure. It is definitely a struggle and sometimes it indeed feels like the short-term pleasures that we could get for sure may actually be more beneficial than some unwritten future joy in which we may or may not qualify to receive. To quote the evil Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” – “Life’s full of tough choices, i’n’t it?”

  37. 37Carrieon 31 Oct 2008 at 1:09 pm

    I have provided a link to an online book I found. I have only read chapter 5 so far and I have not double-checked the facts, but I found the CULTURAL CONTEXT it provides absolutely fascinating.

    For example, an interpretation that what happened in Sodom was far more akin to aggression in maximum-security prison than anything actually sexual.



  38. 38Troy Westinon 31 Oct 2008 at 2:26 pm

    This is THE most important propposition for Nov 4.. Go out and vote!!! Also, I recommend to EVERYONE to read the post on editorialsection.com http://editorialsection.com

  39. 39Fiona64on 31 Oct 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Dear Carrie et al:

    The Torah teaches that Sodom and Gomorrah were punished for failing to extend hospitality to strangers. In a desert culture, that is tantamount to a death sentence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodom_and_Gomorrah


    Classical Jewish texts do not stress the homosexual aspect of the attitude of the inhabitants of Sodom as much as their cruelty and lack of hospitality to the “stranger.” (See Jewish Encyclopedia on the importance of hospitality.) The people of Sodom were seen as guilty of many other significant sins. Rabbinic writings affirm that the Sodomites also committed economic crimes, blasphemy and bloodshed[1]. One of the worst was to give money or even gold ingots to beggars, but to inscribe their names on them, and then subsequently refuse to sell them food. The unfortunate stranger would end up starving and after his death, the people who gave him the money would reclaim it.

    A rabbinic tradition, described in the Mishnah, postulates that the sin of Sodom was related to property: Sodomites believed that “what is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours” (Abot), which is interpreted as a lack of compassion. Another rabbinic tradition is that these two wealthy cities treated visitors in a sadistic fashion. One major crime done to strangers was almost identical to that of Procrustes in Greek mythology. This would be the story of the “bed” that guests to Sodom were forced to sleep in: if they were too short they were stretched to fit it, and if they were too tall, they were cut up.

    In another incident, Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, went to visit Lot in Sodom and got in a dispute with a Sodomite over a beggar, and was hit in the forehead with a stone, making him bleed. The Sodomite demanded Eliezer pay him for the service of bloodletting, and a Sodomite judge sided with the Sodomite. Eliezer then struck the judge in the forehead with a stone and asked the judge to pay the Sodomite.

    The Talmud and the book of Jasher also recount two incidents of a young girl (one involved Lot’s daughter Paltith) who gave some bread to a poor man who had entered the city. When the townspeople discovered their acts of kindness, they burned Paltith and smeared the other girl’s body with honey and hung her from the city wall until she was eaten by bees. (Sanhedrin 109a) It is this gruesome event, and her scream in particular, the Talmud concludes, that are alluded to in the verse that heralds the city’s destruction: “So Hashem said, ‘Because the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has been very grave, I will descend and see…’” (Genesis 18:20-21).

  40. 40Frankon 03 Nov 2008 at 6:45 pm

    The 6 Consequences of Prop 8 For the Mormon Church
    (Whether the proposition passes or fails)

    1.) Members Divided
    The church has been weakened from the inside, as the mandate to support Prop 8 has taken a toll on Mormon congregations across the nation, dividing many families and long-time friends. Many church members who are against Prop 8 have felt ostracized, feel disgust that their tithing money is used to support Prop 8, and have felt uncomfortable attending church meetings.

    2.) Few Friends, Many Enemies
    Ask people of foreign countries what they think of Americans and you will not hear them say many flattering things. Similar to the rest of the world’s view of the United States thanks to Bush’s foreign policies, the Mormon Church will be left with the reality of having few friends and many enemies among non-Mormons and other organizations. One can’t help but feel sorry for the difficulties that future missionaries will face when trying to get people to listen to their message.

    3.) Civil Rights – Reputation Worsened
    Before the Mormon Church even jumped in to this election, it was already regarded by most outsiders of having an abysmal track record when it came to civil rights because of their history of not granting timely equality to African Americans and women. Pushing so hard on not granting marriage equality to another minority group will worsen this reputation.

    4.) Wasted Money
    The Mormon Church has spent tens of millions of dollars on the “yes on Prop 8” cause. Much of this money comes from the money that members have paid in. There have been many reports that a large portion of this money went to pay salaries of the few men who ran the Prop 8 campaign and many people feel like this money could have been spent on something more worthwhile like fighting poverty.

    5.) Secret Truths Revealed
    Before this election, most non-members knew very little about the Mormon Church outside of the Word of Wisdom and its history of polygamy. However, during this election, the casual viewer of popular message boards will learn many false rumors about the Mormon Church. However, they can also learn many of the somewhat secret truths that the Mormon Church doesn’t publicize. Even long-time members may be learning some of the controversial aspects of Mormon history for the first time.

    6.) Still No Solutions
    Once the dust has settled from this election, the Mormon Church will be left in the same predicament it was in before the election; without any real solutions for its present and future gay members and their families. As the rest of the world moves quickly from a “just being tolerant of gays” mindset to a civilization that accepts gays as complete equals, the Mormon Church will either have to change doctrine or be viewed by others as an even more fringe cult. It makes one wonder whether entering the political arena by pushing Prop 8 is just delaying the inevitable and that these 6 consequences will be the result of a major miscalculation by church leadership.

  41. 41S.M.on 04 Nov 2008 at 9:01 am

    Frank, in response:

    1. Re: Members Divided
    It is true that certain issues divide families and long-time friends, within the Church and otherwise, but that is not always a reason to not do what is right, to not teach correct principles and to not advise the members to act appropriately. It is inappropriate for you to imply that the members’ tithing money is used to support Proposition 8. You do not know that and it is highly unlikely. The Church is part of a coalition, and people have donated money (but not tithing) to the coalition for the purpose of Proposition 8. I cannot think of a single expense that the Church has had in which it would utilize tithing funds as the source, except for possibly the paper that was utilized to print a letter that was sent to the Stake Presidents in California, Florida, and Arizona.

    2. Re: Few Friends, Many Enemies
    The Church is not a popularity contest. It has many policies and doctrines that are not “popular”. Many people even dislike or disagree with the stand against premarital sex. That does not mean that the Church should cave in and allow “what is popular”.

    3. Re: Civil Rights – Reputation Worsened
    This is debatable. Is euthanizing a person someone’s “civil right”? How about smoking? If so, even when it impacts the civil rights of others? Again, people may disagree with the Church’s position, but “pushing so hard” should not be based on the impact it will have on “reputation”. The Church leaders do what they feel is right and let the consequences follow.

    4. Re: Wasted Money
    Again, it is deceiving to say, “The Mormon Church has spent” to imply that the Church is spending the money when the correct statement would be “Members of the Church spent” (that you later start to imply). The Church, being part of a coalition, does not have total control of how the coalition money is spent. I would guess that the coalition may have made mistakes, like any organization could. The almost-meaningless statement that “this money could have been spent on something more worthwhile like fighting poverty” also applies to the money that has been spent on the “No” side, also. It is not a fair statement to criticize one side of an issue for not “using funds for specific good causes” when the other side is not using their funds for that cause, either.

    5. Re: Secret Truths Revealed
    So be it, but if you want to make this argument, you should have made it regarding Mitt Romney’s impact rather than the impact of Proposition 8. The amount of information that has been requested and that has come out because of Mitt Romney’s campaign for President dwarfs any information as a result of Proposition 8. I’m sure you are aware of that, so listing this as an issue is again seems to be deceptive. Should Mitt Romney not have run for President because of all of the attention that it would bring to the Church? That would be silly.

    6. Re: Still No Solutions
    You should listen to President Hinckley’s talk regarding this issue from 10 years ago. He very succinctly describes why the Church has a position on this matter and what it means (and does not mean) for people that have same-sex attraction. I’ll include some of it below. There is also an excellent document on http://www.lds.org entitled “God Loveth His Children” that is well worth reading.

    The opportunity and potential of an individual is largely up to that individual. The same opportunities and blessings that heterosexuals have are potential opportunities and blessings for people who consider themselves “gay”. The potential is completely “equal” as long as the individual lives the commandments. The Church wants people to receive the maximum blessings that they can receive, but blessings are conditional upon qualifying to receive such blessings.

    Gordon B. Hinckley, “What Are People Asking about Us?,” Ensign, Nov 1998 . In the first place, we believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. We believe that marriage may be eternal through exercise of the power of the everlasting priesthood in the house of the Lord.

    People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.

    We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.

    Frank, none of your six “consequences” are valid reasons for not doing what is right. At least 3 of your 6 “consequences” are either not actual consequences, not true, or not directly tied to the Church’s position on same-gender attraction.

    I’m pretty sure that more people using this website (for or against Proposition 8 ) would like to treat the Church with proper respect. That was a stated purpose on the home page. I don’t feel that some of your statements and accusations above are fair or respectful to the Church.

    Some of what you say is valid, though, and I hope the Church and its members can make efforts to repair and heal any problems and wounds that this issue has caused.

  42. 42Bryanon 04 Nov 2008 at 3:53 pm

    I think Frank makes a lot of good points, which could be summed like this: it’s not always easy to do what you think is right. Sometimes you suffer for it. I’m sure both proponents and opponents of Proposition 8 could relate to that.

    I’ll add one more, for fun:

    7.) Members of the Church will have to continue enduring a certain amount of condescending “advice” and “admonition;” schadenfreude in the guise of concern. But what’s new?

  43. 43anonymousactiveon 04 Nov 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Frank, you have an analytical mind that is right on target with this issue. No matter how the vote goes, PR for the church just isn’t looking good right now.

    My feelings of divisiveness include my opposition to prop 8 as well as being a democrat. A double whammy! The anti-obama comments in Sunday School and Relief Society make me feel uncomfortable and ostracized.

  44. 44Amcon 09 Nov 2008 at 12:35 am

    I’m not a Mormon or live in California but would like to make two objective observations about the issue of Proposition 8.

    One, whenever someone cries “Protect the children!” or “Children will be offended etc” what they really mean is “I’m offended”. No one is interested in some grown up being offended but suggest some horror being inflicted on an unsuspecting child. . . Oh my God, look out. Protecting children is commendable, using children as an excuse for your personal outrage is not.

    It’s similar to the complaints against cartoonist John Callahan for his occasionally outrageous takes on the handicapped ( he is quadraplegic so he speaks from experience). The complainers insist they speak for the handicapped and how insensitive the cartoon is even though they are not handicapped. He has never gotten a complaint from the handicapped because they get his black humor.

    Here’s a thought: Don’t presume to speak for others, you are only allowed to be offended for yourself.

    Children are much tougher than we think and often wiser. When my brother was having martial problems, he sat his daughter down to explain to her that mom and dad were having problems but it wasn’t her fault. It was a bit over her head but she realized what he was getting at. “Will I understand this as an adult?” she asked. “Unfortunately you will.” he replied.

    Observation two: The publicity surrounding the LDS supporting prop 8 and the hysterical claims used in the campaign will backfire on the church. A large protest at a church in LA is a sign of the anger aimed at the LDS. You don’t want that or deserve it. If you yell loudly at someone, don’t be surprised if they yell back louder.

  45. 45Franon 09 Nov 2008 at 6:35 pm

    So, Amc what you are saying is that children will speak up for themselves, and make sure they get what they need? So, if I see child porn, I don’t need to be concerned or offended, and demand that we protect children, because a child knows what’s good for him/her and will speak up as needed, right?

    I’m sorry. I do understand your argument that sometimes children are used as an excuse for the things we are bothered by. We should not use others as an excuse for the things we are uncomfortable with. I agree with that. However, there is plenty of evidence (in the psychological research field) that shows how we are influenced by all kinds of tangible and intangible things, and how children are especially vulnerable (while also being amazingly resilient). Because children do not have a full grasp on the consequences of many things in life, they DO need our protection. When and where the protection is provided properly is certainly another debate, but to deride those who worry about moral issues (rightly or wrongly) in order to protect children…well, that’s sad in my book.

  46. 46Amberon 10 Nov 2008 at 12:20 am

    Why don’t we just say that marriage is performed by religious institutions and legal (civil) unions are granted by the government? It seems a shame to me that the mere definition of the word “marriage” had become such a muddle in our understanding of where church and state should separate. My husband and I were married in a courthouse by a judge – we would have a legal union. I expect most married in churches would also file for legal unions. My mother and father recently divorced, but are still sealed by the Church – they no longer have a legal union, but are still married. This would be fair and provide a reasonable distinction between the government and religions’ roles in people’s partnerships. Our law demands equal rights for people regardless of personal choices as long as those choices don’t infringe on other people’s freedom. Marriage – the approval of God of a union – has nothing to do with whether two people should be allowed the privileges of a legal partnership. It’s somewhat foolish that the law has used the word to define the pairings it respects so far.

  47. 47Captain Moronion 10 Nov 2008 at 9:56 am

    We recently put up another essay on our site with such a proposal. please see it at – http://h1.ripway.com/lds4gaymarriage/Separate.htm

    It gives a lot of justification for such a proposal but the essay also lets you “cut to the chase” and see the bottom line.

    We could appreciate all thoughts on it or on anything else on our site


    Captain Moroni
    Webmaster – LDS4gaymarriage.org

  48. 48Carrieon 10 Nov 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Fran: I think you are conflating “marriage” with “sexuality”. From a child’s point of view, “marriage” is something between two grown-ups and they don’t need the details. Comparing same-sex marriage to child pornography misses the point and is insulting.

    Captain: in the Protestant tradition, “marriage” has been a matter of state. Throughout human history, “marriage” has involved two factors: progeny and the wealth to maintain them (and yourselves when you get old). “Marriage” is a secular symbol, too, and I think it would be sad to neutralize that.

  49. 49Franon 10 Nov 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I was not attempting to compare child porn to any kind of marriage, but was rather trying to show that children are vulnerable, and not always aware of what’s good/bad for them, and not always capable to speak up/stand up for themselves. Therefore, the desire/attempt of adults to protect them is a legitimate one.

    If anything was insulting, it was the claim by Amc that children do not need to be protected by adults. While it’s certainly up for debate what children truly need to be protected from (ie. homosexual marriages or not) is another debate, but it’s certainly warranted to claim that children are vulnerable, and need adult protection. The child porn example, was just that: an example to show that children certainly need protection.

  50. 50Carrieon 10 Nov 2008 at 3:20 pm

    1) that is not what amc said
    2) The caregiving adult has the responsibility of determining whether the thing in question could *actually* be a problem for the child or whether that is a projection of the adult’s feelings.
    3) The caregiving adult often needs to explain life’s realities in terms the child is ready for. In this case, that can easily be done without getting graphic.

  51. 51Lauraon 10 Apr 2009 at 3:21 pm

    The National Organization for Marriage is apparently airing a television commercial based on several of the “six consequences” arguments rebutted here by Morris Thurston and others.

  52. 52Sherion 15 Apr 2009 at 5:24 pm

    This commercial is so aimed at spreading fear and discrimination it truly makes me wonder what master these people are serving. It’s very, very sad – and scary.

    By the way, the Sunstone West interviews and videos are great. I’ve sent the links out to quite a few people. Here’s a link to a well done YouTube Video that shows the commerical at the end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egucbj67WSY&feature=channel_page

  53. 53When Mormons Mobilize: Anti-Gay Marriage Prop. 8 Effort ‘Outed’? « roger hollanderon 01 Feb 2010 at 12:22 pm

    […] in public schools and the elimination of religious freedoms. Mormon legal scholar Morris Thurston described this as “untrue” and “misleading” and urged the LDS Church to discontinue its further […]

  54. 54Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence: I’m the idiot who wrote “Six Consequences” | Main Street Plazaon 01 Feb 2010 at 10:34 pm

    […] Ahem. Here’s an 8-second clip of LDS/GOP pollster Gary Lawrence claiming authorship of the “Six Consequences” Prop 8 flyer: Transcript: “In fact, the idiot who wrote the Meridian magazine article is me. […]

  55. 55Adamon 06 Sep 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I am an active Mormon. I am mainly conservative. I have been learning of the libertarian views and like the arguments that the Government shouldn’t be in any marriage.

    None of the above matters to me any more than the legal arguments for or against Prop 8.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Letter day Saints put out a letter from the first Presidency stating that the members should preserve the sanctity of Marriage.

    I agree that we have the right to personal revelation. We do.

    I know that even a Prophet is a man with his own salvation to work out, but he will not lead the Church astray.

    Here is the difference that is over looked here. When the First Presidency declares something as one, it is doctrine and the voice of the Lord. I can not Come up with one example where the First Presidency was wrong.

    I think there IS a lesson to be learned from the parable of the ten virgins. The application for LDS members, is that the ten represented endowed members of the Church. Only half were prepared. As we are taught in Primary, Follow the Prophets, they will not lead us astray.

    I find many parallels in the scriptures and pioneer history where “strong members” opposed the Prophets and this lead them to apostacy.

    So as respectfully as I can say it, me and my house will serve the Lord by following his Prophet and leaders.

    The constitution will only function when a righteous people uphold it. Bringing division in the Church will be a stumbling block. There will be nothing gained fighting agianst the Lord.

    Remember the Lord has warned against those who are learned and think they are wise.