Happy Birthday, Mormons for Marriage

Four years ago, as hundreds of thousands marched in San Francisco’s Pride Parade, hundreds of LDS bishops stood at pulpits asking Mormons to do all they could to support Proposition 8. Four years later, hundreds of Mormons across the country (and around the world) are stepping out in pride parades in support of and in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

What else has changed in the past four years?

– The Church Handbook of Instructions no longer includes a request that church members should lobby governments to deny same-sex marriage rights (and rites) via legislative actions.

– LDS rhetoric about same-sex marriage rights is shifting to focus on the need to protect religious freedom, rather than the need to protect families.

– The LDS Public Affairs office actually used the term “gay” to describe individuals, rather than-sex attracted or same-gender attracted in its response to HRC’s criticisms of Pres. Packer’s October 2010 conference talk.

– BYU students have created and continue to grow a gay-straight alliance (Understanding Same-Gender Attraction) at a school where once admitting to same-sex attraction was a fast ticket out the door

– Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought published a paper (Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology) exploring what it means to be both homosexual and Mormon.

– The LDS Church came out in support of non-discrimination ordinances in Salt Lake City which would protect homosexuals in housing and employment. While there are large carve-outs for church-related/owned businesses, the ordinances in SLC inspired a number of other Utah and Idaho towns and cities to follow suit and opened many conservative Mormon’s eyes to some problems they’d never before considered.

– Individual Mormons are coming out and telling their own stories – whether they are gay, lesbian, bi, in mixed-orientation marriages, or have family/friends that fit the bill. These discussions are happening on a daily basis in person, in the media, in churches and online as LGBTQ members and allies find one another and give each other strength to carry on, both in and out of the church.

– The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) has published a booklet specifically for LDS parents based on FAP’s foundational research on family acceptance and rejection that provides guidance on acceptance and support of their gay children.

– There have been no church-sponsored efforts aimed at mobilizing Mormons to fight same-sex marriage at the polls the way Mormons were mobilized in California in 2008, despite efforts of other religions originally part of the “religious coalition” that supported Prop 8. General church leaders have gone out of their way to make sure all overt same-sex marriage advocacy is being done by local leaders or individuals.

Do we still have a ways to go? Yes, we do. But we are making progress, one step at a time.

Filed in Uncategorized, homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |

13 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Mormons for Marriage”

  1. 1Brad Carmackon 20 Jun 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Great summary Laura, thanks!

  2. 2Mikeon 20 Jun 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Let’s hear it for progress, one step at a time!

  3. 3Morris Thurstonon 20 Jun 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Nice summary, Laura. Thanks!

  4. 4Trevoron 20 Jun 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Don’t forget the recent Pride parades that have featured Mormon contingents :)

  5. 5Lauraon 20 Jun 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Yes, Trevor. A clearinghouse site showing where they’ve all been marching or will be marching is mormonpride.org. There are several this weekend, including big ones in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco, and there are a number of others listed at that site – go check them out!

  6. 6Lauraon 21 Jun 2012 at 7:18 am

    In late October 2008, just a week or two before the November election, Elder Clayton told the Salt Lake Tribune that

    Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. “We love them and bear them no ill will.”

  7. 7Lauraon 21 Jun 2012 at 7:28 am

    Earlier that month, in a satellite broadcast Elder Quentin L. Cook reminded the audience that:

    Please understand that the central message of the Savior is to love all of our brothers and sisters. Remember there are good people who disagree with the church’s teachings on marriage.
    Others are unsure of where they stand. Be respectful of their opinions as you share your message. Nothing we say here can be used as an excuse to treat those with same gender attractions partially or disrespectfully. There are faithful temple-worthy members of the church who struggle with this great challenge, often in silence, fear, and great pain. Our hearts go out to these good brothers and sisters

  8. 8stephanieon 21 Jun 2012 at 9:54 am

    I especially appreciate the courage of gay members of the church who are now speaking up, letting the rest of us get to know them and their stories. I know the gospel of Christ is one of love and compassion. And I hope we are getting better as a church at living more Christ-like lives.

  9. 9fiona64on 22 Jun 2012 at 8:46 am

    Hard to believe that it’s been four years! I am personally grateful, as a straight ally, to every LDS member who used the courage of his or her convictions to stand up against the “teachings” of the church (my parents are LDS and, while they disagree with the church getting involved in politics, take the attitude that “the prophet knows best” at all times). I am hopeful that more members will take a more loving attitude toward what happens under *civil law* rather than trying to insert churchly beliefs into politics. Thanks, Laura, for all that you do and have done.

  10. 10Lauraon 22 Jun 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Mormons, of course, are not the only people changing views about gays, lesbians and same-sex marriage in the past four years. Take, for example, David Blankenhorn. He was one of the witnesses testifying on behalf of traditional marriage in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial. He’s changed his mind about preventing same-sex couples from marrying.

    He’s written an op-ed piece at the NY Times discussing his reasons for changing his mind, including:

    I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage’s relationship to parenthood. But it hasn’t been. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say that I and others have made that argument, and that we have largely failed to persuade. In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.

    I had also hoped that debating gay marriage might help to lead heterosexual America to a broader and more positive recommitment to marriage as an institution. But it hasn’t happened. With each passing year, we see higher and higher levels of unwed childbearing, nonmarital cohabitation and family fragmentation among heterosexuals. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the reconceptualization of marriage as a private ordering that is so central to the idea of gay marriage. But either way, if fighting gay marriage was going to help marriage over all, I think we’d have seen some signs of it by now.

    So my intention is to try something new. Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. For example, once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace? Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation? Can we discuss whether both gays and straight people should think twice before denying children born through artificial reproductive technology the right to know and be known by their biological parents?

    Will this strategy work? I don’t know. But I hope to find out.

  11. 11fiona64on 25 Jun 2012 at 11:02 am

    Laura, I wholeheartedly concur. When Prop H8’s “expert witness” is now recanting, it is indeed evidence of progress.

  12. 12First Timeon 26 Jun 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Wonderful progress, and I believe this site, Laura, and those who participate in this forum have played an important role in educating those both in and out of the church that marriage equality for all is essential to gospel living.

  13. 13Sheryl Becketton 01 Jul 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Wish I had known about the Mormons for Marriage contingent, but, I did march (walk) with my PFLAG chapter. I was surprised but happy when my son told me about the Mormons for Marriage contingent. Time are changing.

A Prop 8 Timeline

This is a work in progress and will continue to develop as necessary.  If you notice something missing, please let us know.

Click here to view the timeline.

Much appreciation to these other sites which pointed us in some good directions for material:

LDS involvement in Hawaii’s SSM issues
LDS involvement in California’s Prop 22 issues

And a couple of existing Prop 8 timelines:

Here and here.

5 Responses to “A Prop 8 Timeline”

  1. 1Lauraon 07 Apr 2009 at 4:55 pm

    It’s been a busy week for GLBT couples and families – the Vermont legislature overrode the governor’s veto, making Vermont the 4th state in the union; Washington, DC’s council voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and, finally, this note about the White House Easter Egg roll:

    WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House is allocating tickets for the upcoming Easter Egg Roll to gay and lesbian families as part of the Obama administration’s outreach to diverse communities.

    Families say the gesture shows that the new Democratic administration values them as equal to other families. And for many, being included in the annual tradition _ dating to 1878 _ renews hope that they will have more support in their quest for equal rights in matters such as marriage and adoption than under the previous administration.

  2. 2Crystal Don 21 May 2010 at 2:22 pm

    With respect to the same sex marriages, one thing comes to my mind time and again. Law should ideally protect us only from against each other and not from ourselves. Let us leave to to religions or beliefs – as those things are suggestive in manner, not compulsory . So if 2 people are doing something with their own choice and it doesn’t have a direct impact on the third one, it shouldn’t be in the scope of law.

  3. 3Sherion 26 May 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Great point Crystal. It just seems that some people are incapable of understanding this concept.

  4. 4Heatheron 11 Nov 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you for creating this website. I was raised in the church and have since left… the catalyst being the way the church conducted itself with Prop 8. While I now live in Virginia I grew up in California and still consider it my home since all of my family is still there. The timeline you created was very helpful. However I was shocked to see in two different places where “the church” stated that it was okay for members to support gay marriage. While that may have been the case in 2008 I can tell you that in 2010 in Virginia that is not so. Within the year before I left the church I went in to renew my recommend. I was asked the standard questions but on the one about affiliating with groups not in harmony with the teaching of the church both the bishopric and stake presidency counselors used gay marriage as the example. I was shocked and taken off guard both time and I am sad to say that I lied and said no. Afterward I felt horrible I could not believe that I didn’t stand up for what I believe in (that being gay rights). Soon after I went to my bishop to hand in my recommend as I felt that I needed to make a stand. We spoke about how I felt and in the end he would not take my recommend back and said I should keep it. Talk about confusing…which way is it, you have men doing interviews saying that you are not worthy to go the the temple if you support gay rights, but then a bishop that says it’s okay!! Then I read that they church came out with official statements saying that it was okay to be against prop 8. Seeing this makes me want to email it to our bishop and stake presidency. How many others like me are having to swallow what they feel and believe in just to save face in the church. All because these wards/stakes never received these letters/notices and have interpreted the churches actions in prop 8 as doctrine.

  5. 5Michaelon 23 Apr 2011 at 6:07 am

    @Heather: I guess the church is also changing along with the times. And this is actually a good sign. The sense and sensibilities of the world around us change through the years, there’s no point in sticking to an old fashioned point of view just for the sake of it.

    Now I’m not saying the church supporting gay rights is right and I;m not saying its wrong. I wouldn’t want to get into that particular discussion here, but the fact is you gotta stick to what feels right to you, irrespective of what the the church or any other institution says.

About Mormons for Marriage

The 3 purposes of this site are:

  1. To let the world know that not all Mormons (LDS church members) oppose gay marriage.
  2. To share our perspectives on both homosexuality and gay marriage with other Mormons who are meaningfully exploring the issues for the first time — and who are trying to make up their minds on how to think/feel/vote on the issue (if in California).
  3. Just as progressive LDS Church members in the 1960s and 1970s had an opportunity to speak out on the denial of priesthood to blacks — this is our chance, in our day, to express our thoughts and feelings (respectfully) in support of gays within the LDS Church, and of gay marriage within the U.S. (and abroad).

This site has its roots in the community-forming that sprung up as a result of the LDS Church’s involvement in Proposition 8 during the summer of 2008.   In carving out a community that represented a safe place for members to come together to discuss issues surrounding same-sex marriage, it became clear that heavy comment moderation was needed to keep the discussions on track and to create a safe space for questions to be raised and answered.  Comments continue to be moderated.

The requirements for participation in this project are:

  1. All communications must arise from a place of love and understanding.
  2. No name-calling or personal attacks – not only does it show poor debate skills, it does nothing to further the conversation.
  3. Respect others’ beliefs – there is no need to call anyone to repentance or to throw scriptural references at one another.  People do not have to agree with you in order to be deemed righteous or god-fearing.

The October 8th Broadcast

We’ll have more up before Friday, but here’s a spot to discuss the broadcast on this site.  What were your reactions?  How many people were there?  Have you checked out the Church’s new site for Yes on 8 materials?

As with all things at MfM, honest, thoughtful comments are welcome, but please be polite and considerate of one another, of folks who disagree with you and of folks who are still trying to figure out where they stand and come to terms with some hard-to-digest information.

Filed in Uncategorized |

27 Responses to “The October 8th Broadcast”

  1. 1admin3on 09 Oct 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Dave had some interesting thoughts about the broadcast, which we’re moving over here so everyone can find the discussion:

    So I attended the broadcast last night. I behaved myself. Didn’t speak to anyone and wasn’t approached by anyone. Didn’t hand out articles or anything like that. I took lots of notes. I could regurgitate them, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

    I would estimate there were approximately 300 in attendance at this Stake Center. Average age was probably around 45-50. Not really very many young adults in attendance which surprised me because the presentation was geared toward young adults and I believe there is a young adult ward within this Stake. Not much diversity in the congregation; mostly white anglos. Since there are a lot of hispanics in this area, I was expecting to see a large proportion, but really didn’t see any at all. One black family that looked out of place. I guess I’m not really surprised because this is typically how all Mormon congregations look in Utah, but I was expecting a little more diversity here.

    It was a pre-taped presentation with Elder M. Russell Ballard, Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder L. Whitney Clayton giving the presentation. They were sitting around a small round table and reading from teleprompters, with no live audience which made it look “robotic” at times. The presentation didn’t seem inspiring and it didn’t appear to me that those attending felt inspired.

    Much of the presentation was geared toward young adults and even Elder Ballard (who admitted he didn’t understand what it meant) was encouraging them to “go viral” on the internet. On more than one occasion they implored the conversations and web chats, etc. to not be antagonistic. They showed a sample of YouTube videos and encouraged those with the know-how, to post their own. A portion of the presentation was college age students asking an Institute Director, questions about the proposition and it’s consequences.

    It was obvious that the Church has gone full bore political machine on this issue with all the attendant lies, half-truths and exaggerations in an attempt to spread FUD to get people to vote yes. They laid out the schedule of “phases” up through election day, and it looked like any other political campaign strategy. (I’ve been involved in a few myself, so I know what they look like.)

    I was curious to see if they would bring up any of the “six consequences if Prop 8 fails”. Sure enough they brought up the first three several times. Although they added the disclaimer that these consequences wouldn’t all happen right away, they nevertheless emphasized these consequences will surely befall us. I was a little surprised that two of the Apostles would compromise the integrity of the Quorum of Twelve by repeating these lies and encouraging members to repeat these lies in their “Get out the vote” campaigns. As I said, It was obvious that the Church has gone full bore political machine on this issue with all the attendant lies, half-truths and exaggerations in an attempt to spread FUD to get people to vote yes. But as they say, Politics is Politics and apparently the only way to get your side heard is to lie. After all, the Church is clearly on the wrong side of equality on this issue and they have to present some sort of scary story.

    One other tactic was mentioned which I believe borders on unethical. They asked if people know someone who is not currently living in California, that they make sure they vote. I could have been reading this wrong, but it seemed the subliminal message was to get your friends and relatives throughout the country to register and vote in California. As I said, I may have read that wrong but I wonder how many people had a light bulb turn on at that moment.

    It could be that the Church feels they are justified to pull out all the stops – a take off on “it is better that one man perish than a whole nation dwindle in unbelief” attitude, but I believe the message last night compromised the Quorum.

    Being there with three hundred saints was sort of a melancholy experience for me. These are the people I spent the first thirty years of my life with and I would have been right there with them in my previous life. It is hard to describe, but I believe I felt compassion for them. They were there firmly believing that they are about the work of the Lord. I wish them no evil. I believe most of them are probably very kind and gentle people and probably would be heartbroken if they really understood the turmoil they are causing for some of the young (and even some of the older) members in their midst. And I felt sad. Sort of how I felt at the end of Stepford Wives.

  2. 2Kevinon 09 Oct 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Dave,

    i appreciate your concern for those faithful members of the church who sustain the prophet and apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. I believe you are genuine. I want you to know that i was at a stake center on wednesday to watch the prop 8 broadcast. It was filled with over 300 young adults. There are so many of us young adults who support prop 8 and who believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.

    I do not believe that the general authorities of the Church were lying.

    And finally, I want you to know that there have only been a few times in my life when i have felt more inspired than I felt last night. I know I felt the truth of their message, and i was inspired to act in support of prop 8. I know that the Apostles and other general authorities are acting in truth and under the direction of God. I hope and pray that the small efforts we make as faithful church members will preserve marriage and our society.

  3. 3Johnon 10 Oct 2008 at 12:56 am

    Some clarification about the comments about CA voters living out of state. This was referring to legal CA residents who are currently not physically in the state such as someone in serving in the military (who may be in Iraq), or a student, or someone temporarily on a business assignment who ARE legally California residents and have the right and even duty to vote in the state of CA.

  4. 4Natalieon 10 Oct 2008 at 7:20 am

    What is the church’s new site for Yes on 8 materials? They actually have their own website?

  5. 5admin2on 10 Oct 2008 at 8:40 am

    The new church site is:
    http://www.preservingmarriage.org/

  6. 6Dave Hoenon 10 Oct 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Kevin –

    Clearly your expectations of an inspirational experience are different than mine.
    – Does it bring more love to our existence here on earth or does it take some away?
    – Are the hungry fed, the naked clothed or those in prison, visited?
    – Are those in pain or maybe even contemplating taking their own life, comforted?
    – Is there a reverence as if Christ himself is present?

    I did not feel that and I did not see that in the faces of those present or those presenting on Wednesday night.

    I believe that every Mormon on both sides of this argument should read Carol Lynn Pearson’s account of Stuart Matis, “I Would Really Rather Be Dead” and the Newsweek article about him. Both of those can be found on this website at:

    http://mormonsformarriage.com/?page_id=22
    http://www.mormonsformarriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/newsweekarticlematis.pdf

    I believe that if Wednesday night’s meeting had simply been reading the account of Stuart Matis, those attending would have left inspired to bring more love to our existence here on earth, instead of taking it away.

  7. 7Captain Moronion 10 Oct 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I went to the http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ and there was basically nothing there. The did have some bullett points on the left making “Six Consequences..” type statements. I addressed some and asked them to remove them since they were deceitful. I cut and pasted most of my responses from Morris’ rebuttal to “Six Consequences”. I called on the to repent. Check it out –

    As a recommend holding LDS, I am dismayed by the bullett points listed on the left hand side of the page. I know that I and others have addressed them on the blogs. Please consider these thoughts and remove those items from the page. We LDS continue to suffer from those who speak lies, half-truths, etc…We should not be using those tactics ourselves.

    * Proposition 8 will not hurt gays.
    In California, the law provides for marriage-related benefits to be given to civil unions and domestic partnerships. Proposition 8 does not diminish these benefits. Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt children.
    CM – Having separate schools, separate drinking fountains, separate restrooms, etc.. treated Blacks as second class citizens. Most claimed that Blacks aren’t harmed since the water in both the White and Black drinking fountains was equally cold and clear and that the back of the bus gets to the bus stop just as fast as the front of the bus. “Where’s the harm?”, they ask. Do we LDS REALLY want adopt the cruel logic of those bigots?

    * Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt children. If gay marriage remains legal, public schools will put it on equal footing with traditional marriage. Children will likely receive “age appropriate” information about sexual relations within heterosexual and homosexual marriages.
    CM – The CURRENT LAW in CA, Education Code (51933), deals with comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention. It provides that instruction shall be age appropriate and medically accurate, shall teach “respect for marriage and committed relationships”. Since it pushes other types of committed relationships (other than traditional marriage), kids will still be taught those things whether or not Prop. 8 passes.

    * Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt churches.
    The court’s decision will inevitably lead to conflicts with religious liberty and free speech rights. Society will become more and more hostile to traditional beliefs about marriage and family.
    CM – The California Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage cannot have any federal tax consequences, and the Court so noted explicitly in its decision. The Supreme Court also noted that!its ruling would not require any priest, rabbi or minister to perform gay marriages, which should be self evident because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion.!!!!!

    CM – As representatives of Christ, we have to be completely honest, candid and without guile in communicating with others. The bullett point on your page do not come close to the standards the Savior expects of His Church and disciples. Please repent of this deceitfulness and remove them.

    Thank you.

  8. 8Lauraon 10 Oct 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Dave, I am saddened by your accusations of lies and deceit of the apostles. If you truly sustain the the apostles, seers, and revelators, do you not think they have a greater understanding and view of the consequences of this Proposition? Right-wing groups push at the edges of the law all the time to get what they want. Just because some of the consequences spoken of in the presentation won’t happen tomorrow, doesn’t mean they won’t happen at all.

    Also saddened by your comment: “the Church is clearly on the wrong side of equality on this issue”. Did you hear the comments given on tolerance? It has nothing to do with equality. It’s not a fact of life, it’s a choice of behavior. We can be tolerant, but don’t need to condoning. Love the sinner not the sin. If these teachings aren’t ringing true to your soul then I’m unsure why you’re a church member at all?

    God, through his Prophets, draws the line in the sand. If you’re not on his side of the line, you’re on the other.

  9. 9LDS4gaymarriageon 10 Oct 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Laura – Dave, I am saddened by your accusations of lies and deceit of the apostles. If you truly sustain the the apostles, seers, and revelators, do you not think they have a greater understanding and view of the consequences of this Proposition?

    CM – I think SCRIPTURE knows best of all and SCRIPTURE condemns Prop. 8 and AZ’s Prop. 102. The words of the scriptures overrule the words of the prophets…according to the prophets.

  10. 10Davidon 11 Oct 2008 at 12:18 am

    Just some clarification on the earlier comments about the Institute Director in the Wednesday night broadcast. That was not an Institute Director, it was Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    Thanks.

  11. 11Guy Berryessaon 11 Oct 2008 at 10:29 am

    I, too, dropped in on the broadcast the other night, mostly attended (not too well, thankfully) by young families in our local chapel in San Francisco, as I was trying to better understand why the church is working so hard for Prop 8 and exactly what they’re doing. I missed the earlier part of it, including Elder Ballard’s talk (my partner was back East on business and our young daughter refused to go in when we stopped by to inquire about the start time, etc.–and I was afraid to have her hear awful things said about how evil her parents are, so found a neighbor to watch her so I could go). What struck me most was the warnings of how urgent this was to fight for “to protect children and families”, etc., to prevent same-sex marriage (some youth in their video said this was the most important thing they could possibly do in their lives) and then hear an apostle say how vitally essential marriage and raising children are, that it is the purpose of life and the key to a happy life, yet they can’t seem to see the irony of fighting so diligently (and unfairly in deceitful ads, etc. they’re largely helping pay for) to try to prevent that happiness or opportunity for a minority of their brothers and sisters, many of whom are, despite greater odds, already in loving, committed relationships and raising children, including many Mormons like my partner and I and many of our friends. Why is marriage so important for them and yet so important that WE never have it? It seems to me that some blind, extreme prejudice must be behind this crusade, not divine, loving inspiration from a God who I must believe loves all children and all families. I can’t believe God would not support ALL loving families and want us, also “to do all we can” to protect OUR children and the validity of our relationships, just as they think they are protecting theirs from gays destroying marriage and family. Frankly, most of the damage to families I’m seeing these days is caused by the torment the church is causing LDS families with gay members, dividing them bitterly over this issue as they pit them against their own family members, fighting to deny them rights at the behest of the church, and also the families of gay parents, like our own growing family and those of many of our closest friends. Why don’t OUR beloved children deserve the benefits and legal protection that marriage can provide? Many of them were born to straight parents who, for a variety of reasons, were unable or unprepared to raise them and we are blessed to have them join our families. Do the brethren really think they’d be better off left with them, with any mother and father, any two people of opposite gender? Or in foster care? If only they knew the families I know and the love these children share in their families. Or maybe they do know some and are just don’t really care about these kids. Whatever their motivation, it makes me ill to think of the consequences. And, honestly, since when can LDS leaders speak of the tradition of marriage of one man and one woman with a straight face? History is apparently quickly forgotten (or denied). Their very misguided, in my opinion, efforts me sad and angry, certainly frustrated. By the way, I felt like an alien sitting there watching the broadcast…among “my people” on one hand and yet a possibly feared, despised outcast on the other, knowing they may fear for their children interacting with me there, if only they knew who I was! Their fear makes so little sense to me. Sorry for the rant, it just brings up so much…

  12. 12Jeanieon 11 Oct 2008 at 11:36 am

    Guy,

    Thanks for the post. When I hear such stories and reactions, it just furthers my resolve to keep fighting for families like yours. It reminds me that the time spent is worth it. Keep sharing!

  13. 13Natalieon 11 Oct 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Apparently at this event, they announced a church-wide fast for “Yes on 8″ to take place tomorrow.

    Please join me and others in a fast for “No on 8″ tomorrow, Oct. 12. We are hoping to have large numbers of people participate in this fast tomorrow for enlightenment, understanding, and Christian compassion.

    Feel free to look here for more information. http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620183&ref=name#/event.php?eid=29716898910&ref=mf

  14. 14Franon 11 Oct 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I’m breast feeding and won’t fast at all…, but if I could, I think I’d fast that EVERYONE can get over themselves and stop painting those with opposite views as bad, evil, unfair and with ill intentions, and that as we all try to love one another, and be believing, and faithful, and follow the spirit to the best of our knowledge, all will be made right…

    I feel that I can see both sides of the debate. I can see the pros and the cons regarding gay marriage. But I tire of the lack of tolerance and compassion on both sides of the debate.
    Why is it so hard to just believe that everyone has the best at heart and that maybe we all have a different understanding right now of what is the right thing/best thing to do?

    I think that in reality none of us really know where the future will take us, and what the actual consequence (or lack thereof) of proposition 8 passing will be. The Church may end up being right. They may end up being wrong…but really, no one knows, neither those who support or oppose it. Only time can tell what the future holds.

  15. 15Jeanieon 11 Oct 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Fran,

    For many of the No on 8 people, its because we have personally experienced the loss of loved ones through suicide, disownership by our families, alienation and even excommuncation from the church of our youth. It’s not as trivial as just getting along. To say that no knows what will happen in the future…many of us have already experienced what happens “in the future” because of the Church’s involvement is something that is a civil rights issue.

  16. 16Dave Hoenon 11 Oct 2008 at 10:34 pm

    You are right, that was Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of Twelve in the video presentation with the college age students. That now makes it three members who have compromised the integrity of the Quorum by asking members to beguile voters on this proposition. Where are the Apostles akin to Elder Hugh B. Brown to stand up and say, “This is without honor! If we can’t stand on our own truths, then we should not participate.” Perhaps there are some Apostles like Elder Brown, but they’ve been overruled. (See Hugh B. Brown in Wikipedia who favored ending the “Negro doctrine” within the Church, nine years before it finally was, but was overruled and seemingly punished for it.)

    So where is the honor in using lies, half-truths and exaggerations in obtaining a victory? See Barry Bonds. If proposition 8 passes, it will be a hollow victory for the Church and I know of at least three apostles who might consider doing some repentin’.

  17. 17Chino Blancoon 12 Oct 2008 at 8:24 pm

    A transcript of the October 8 broadcast has been posted here:

    http://kolobcafe.com/wiki/index.php/Talk:Prop8Recording/Full

  18. 18Ludlowon 14 Oct 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Speaking of Tolerance:
    I TOLERATE people with freckles. I understand that it may be something beyond their control whether they get freckles or not. But they could stay out of the sun/light and possibly live a freckle-free life. I want people with freckles to have the same civil rights as everybody else. But people with freckles are just different from everybody else.

    I would not be surprised if because of some comment in the Bible about how spots are unclean, that my church would want to limit the salvation options of people with freckles. I would support that whole-heartedly.

    Now that being said, do you think for one moment I consider people with freckles to be equal to everybody else?

    All the talk of tolerance just highlights how the church considers gayness ‘less than’ or ‘worse than’ the rest.

    The church has every right to determine who should be worthy of a temple recommend and that won’t change just because gays can marry, but it has no right to limit the civil rights of Californians. And it ought to stop acting like it’s not being on the wrong side of civil rights, which in my book is an Evil.

  19. 19erikon 20 Oct 2008 at 6:02 pm

    After reading several of the comments posted above, I’m truly confused at some of the positions expressed. Regardless of all that we don’t know about God’s plan, there are some things that according to our faith we do know. Central to our religion is the fundamental link between God and man through holy inspired prophets. Scriptures are the material evidence of this primary connection, they being written by prophets under the inspiration of God. It is by scriptures and the mouth of prophets that we come to know the will of God.

    That being said, this is a church of faith. Just as Jesus required the faith of the sick that they could be healed in his day, he requires our faith so that he can heal us today. Following the prophets is essential for the Kingdom of God to be established in any dispensation. It is not a matter of blind obedience, but rather faithful dedication.

    Perhaps the hardest test we face in this life is following the counsel of our priesthood leaders, even when we do not understand or know all of the reasons behind they actions. Our identity as Latter-day Saints is defined by our belief in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through divinely appointed prophets and apostles. Though imperfect they may be, when acting in the name of the church the Lord has promised us we will not be led astray.

    If we believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, truly called and ordained by God, we must necessarily believe that the doctrine that he taught is true, that the line of prophets and apostles from his day to ours has remained unbroken, and that Thomas S. Monson is a true and living prophet today, bound be the Lord to speak the truth, nothing wavering. To try and separate these truths and believe that we can sensor the words of the prophet is to deny the faith, the church, and the doctrines for which it stands.

  20. 20Lauraon 20 Oct 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Amen Erik.

  21. 21MarcLuxon 21 Oct 2008 at 5:24 am

    Erik:

    Surely you can’t believe that in the unbroken line of apostles there have not been revelations that have been changed and even overruled over time. See Hugh B Brown for starters. Men are human, and can make mistakes even with what appears to be revealed truth.

  22. 22admin3on 21 Oct 2008 at 9:11 am

    We must be getting close to election day, because with the heated emotions, folks seem to be forgetting our comment policy.

    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.

    Let us do what we can now to help one another by listening and reading with open hearts and minds, by speaking and writing about our beliefs with respect and by being true under-shepherds for Christ, searching out and comforting those who need it the most.

  23. 23Bryanon 21 Oct 2008 at 9:51 am

    That revelations appear which show the Lord’s expectation of changed behavior (e.g. the fulfillment of the Law of Moses with the resurrection of Christ, and the consequent change in practices) does not mean that any preceding revelation is/was false. If Hugh B. Brown spoke out against what he thought was a bad Church policy does not absolve us of the responsibility of abiding the counsel and instruction of our Church leaders. The Lord revealed his will definitively in due time. That’s the essence of Church membership. If you don’t believe that, that’s fine. But as Erik alluded, you either believe in the unbroken line of priesthood authority or you don’t. Being a Mormon, but casting aside the Apostles is something of paradox.

    The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are instructing us to support Yes on 8. Not just a few rogues. I sympathize with those of you that have suffered and watched others suffer because they have grappled with temptation and sin. Surely the Lord is conscious of the pain. But so is the Adversary, and he is, evidently, making the most of it.

  24. 24Erikon 21 Oct 2008 at 10:54 pm

    MarcLux:

    I only mean to state what I understand to be some of the most fundamental beliefs of the Mormon faith.

    “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” –Article of Faith 9

    After the death of Joseph, the quorum of the twelve led the church under the direction of Brigham Young. Eventually, Brigham and the entire quorum were gathered at the same place long enough to meet together, and Brigham proposed that they re-establish the first presidency. Wilford Woodruff was uncertain of the initiative and there was some debate over the issue. At last, in a unified effort, the quorum sustained Brigham Young as President of the Church. The quorum of the twelve has the right and even the responsibility to question and discuss decisions that most be made regarding the Lord’s church. However, when action takes place, it is only by unanimous consent. Hugh B Brown’s position in favor of rescinding the “negro doctrine” was not in opposition to President McKay or the Lord. The prophets had gone to the Lord for decades asking about the issue, and the Lord had not spoken yet. And when the Lord had spoken, the change was promptly made.

    Unlike the circumstances surrounding Hugh B Brown, the Lord has spoken on the issue of marriage as stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The Apostles acting on assignment are doing so in unison according to the truths that have been revealed.

  25. 25Natalieon 22 Oct 2008 at 9:12 am

    Erik,
    I think that history has shown that certain announcements by the church often fall by the wayside. For example, the Proclamation on the Family was not the first such proclamation issued by the church. Back in 1875, they issued the Proclamation on the Economy. Part of it states:

    “One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals…. If this evil should not be checked, and measures not taken to prevent the continued enormous growth of riches among the class already rich, and the painful increase of destitution and want among the poor, the nation is likely to be overtaken by disaster; for, according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin. ”

    This was signed by all members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, and was also sustained by the general body of the church; this makes it official doctrine. But how many saints are heeding those warnings? I would love to see these doctrines enacted more fully. I think poverty is a much more serious moral issue than gay marriage. Why has the church stopped speaking up on these important issues? Why don’t members live up to these standards?

    Many saints want to claim that gay marriage will tear apart society and bring about the downfall of our country. For myself, I have much more fear for the twin evils of greed and want. Many of us feel dismayed that the church, which has the potential for so much influence, has chosen to direct that influence towards something that takes away the freedom of others.

    I find it immensely hard to believe that homosexuals having equal rights is the greatest threat to our morality at this time. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so put off by the church’s stance on Prop. 8 if they were devoting equal attention to other moral political causes that affect far more people.

  26. 26Erikon 23 Oct 2008 at 9:41 am

    Natalie,

    Though I cannot comment with any great knowledge about the specific case which you bring up, I must agree that there are many issues that the prophets have spoken on that we have not lived as a people to their perfection. If it were otherwise, the saints would have established Zion in Missouri and we would never have been required to endure the exodus west.

    However, our failure to adhere to the prophets words in one area do not dismiss or justify or failing to do so in another.

  27. 27Marieon 04 Nov 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Bro. and Sis.

    I came to this site to better understand feelings and thoughts that accompany the opposition to Prop 8 from members in the church. I do not live in California, but if I did I would be voting for Prop 8. While I can not speak for others like myself, who would vote like wise, I can speak for myself; and say I WOULD NOT vote, if given the opportunity to vote, for Prop 8 out of hate or malice. Rather I would vote for Prop 8 because I desire to do what the Lord has asked of me. This issue is a delicate one, cutting to the very core of our beliefs, one where there can be no fence sitting. If one understands the mind of GOD and Christ then one can better understand Gods will. If one understands his mind then one understands that HE has appointed leaders to use HIS resources in defending HIS purposes. While I am not in the heads of those who have posted here, from what I have been reading it seems to me that many have forgotten that this IS Gods church NOT the worlds or mens. What the Lord desires of us will not, in most circumstances, be popular or politically correct. God has appointed mouth pieces to speak for him in the form of our First presidency and 12 Apostles. We have also sustained them to their specific callings. The Lord WILL NOT! allow them to lead us astray. If they were to try to do so HE would immediately remove them from their spot. That said I also know that I can personally talk to God and have confirmed by the Spirit those things which I have been taught by my leaders to do. Just as the Lord confirmed to Nephi the dream that his Father had had. When Nephi asked to know and understand what his Father had been shown the Lord did not say “no, I don’t think so you’re just going to have to rely on what I told your Father”. He taught Nephi, through the Spirit, what he had taught his Father. Keywords being “through the Spirit”. Which would imply that the petitioner would need to be prepared to receive and listen to the Spirit and its promptings. My point being, that so far as knowing whether supporting prop 8 is truly the mind of God all one has to do is EARNESTLY pray to God and then PONDER over in their hearts to receive the burning in their bosom(chest) if this is Gods will. If then having received this confirmation it still can not be understood why the Lord would want one to vote for something that seems to be hateful, ignorant, outdated or any other number of other terms that could be used; one must then ask themselves do they trust him or not. I respect that this is a very personal decision and that in the end all will vote their mind and/or their conscience but I pray that those who who read this post will be open to accepting my challenge and ask the Lord for themselves in voting for Prop 8 if it is right and then asking for the strength to vote based on their response

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,
    Fiona64

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  26. 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).

    or

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

    Isn’t the following much much more likely? :

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

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

    This whole discussion on here is painful to read.

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

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

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

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

    Get real.

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

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

    How Can Heavenly Father Allow His Servant to be Homophobic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Chris,

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

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

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

    Joshua

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

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

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

    Quote:

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

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

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

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

    “But I floored him,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    We are your families.

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

    Dave Hoen

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

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

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

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

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

    @FIONA64

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

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

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

    BB-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    @BB:

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

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

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

    Re Bryce’s comments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In the mean time, think about the coyotes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Charity,

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

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

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

    One quote does not constitute doctrine under this law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    From Elder Packer’s speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Dave Hoen

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

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

    Thanks,
    Matt

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

    Matt –

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

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

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

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

    Thanks Laura

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

    Dave:

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

    Please read it again:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See below on nature/nurture:

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

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

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

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

    Sam

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

    Several points:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    At that time, Elder Packer said in part:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Laura,
    Thanks for tis post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Simultaneously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Really?

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

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

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

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

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

    Sam –

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

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

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

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

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

    Dave Hoen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Just a followup to my comment (#85):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Laura,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Everything he says applies equally to straight people.

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

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

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

    I’ll wait.

    I promise.

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

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

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

    Show me where he specifically mentioned gay people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Laura,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Oy.

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

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

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

    Good grief.

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

    Packer’s words again.

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

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

    And I’m still waiting for your answer.

    ::crickets chirping for all of eternity::

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Blessings,

    Sheri – a proud straight ally.

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

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

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

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

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

    BUT….

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

    I’m not broken, mentally retarded or weak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Does He love them less?

    Of course not.

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

    Of course we do.

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

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

    Why should “gayness” be any different?

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

    Regards,
    Pahoran

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

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

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

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

    Fiona,

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

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

    But since you seem to think that I should:

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

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

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

    Regards,
    Pahoran

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

    @Pahoran

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

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

    Keller,

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

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

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

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

    Regards,
    Pahoran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Do you disagree?

    Regards,
    Pahoran

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

    @Fiona64:

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

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

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

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

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

    Regards,
    Pahoran

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

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

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

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

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

    The statement, in its entirety, reads as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    @Fiona64:

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

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

    You also provided a quote that includes the following:

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

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

    Which are, by their nature, not scientific.

    You also wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

    Disgusting.

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!

Claire:
Carlton:
Mel:
Randy:

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.

    Carolyn

  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

    http://www.hcn.org/issues/40.19/prophets-and-politics?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

    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
    harristrent@yahoo.com
    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.

    Mel

  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.
    Sheri

  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

    Sheryl,

    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.

    Sheryl

  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.

    caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/californiastatecases/s147999.pdf

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/S147999.pdf

    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.

    Again.

  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.

    http://mormontimes.com/around_church/general_authority/?id=4192

    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:

    http://www.powells.com/authors/wallis.html

    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.
    http://volokh.com/posts/1224269295.shtml

  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.