The Gay Bloggernacle

There’s been a lot of moaning and groaning in the Bloggernacle of late.  Much of it has revolved around a certain nostalgia for a more youthful Bloggernacle of months past, when the community was smaller, and tighter, and supposedly more accessible.  People actually used to respond to each others’ comments!  People used to read all the comments!  The place didn’t used to seem so elitist.  There weren’t so many trolls hiding behind cowardly pseudonyms.  (Yes, this means you, Ms. McPrude, whoever you are…).  T&S has probably born the brunt of these criticisms.  However, I think many of the complaints are misplaced.  Yes, there is a growing dissatisfaction in the Bloggernacle, born of the realization that there was once a special quality to the community that has now been lost.  But in my view, everyone has misdiagnosed the real source of the problem.  What does the Bloggernacle really need to bring it back to its former greatness?  Simple: 

More posts about GAYS.

Once upon a time, T&S couldn’t seem to go 10 minutes without bursting into a rainbow-colored brouhaha revolving around this or that homosexual-related topic.  It’s like everyone had been repressing their deep, dark, secret identities, and the blogs finally provided an outlet to roam free.  But after 4,537 different posts about homosexuality, the issue seemed to finally run its course.  There was nothing left to say.  It had all been said.  Sure, there have been the occasional Same-Sex Marriage posts now and then, and most of these have predictably led to open warfare.  But I think SSM is an obviously timely topic that is in a category all its own.  Most other gay-themed posts are now a distant memory.

No more.  The drought is finally over!  It’s high time we once again explore the fascinating, intricate implications of the phenomenon that is homosexuality.

Some questions:

(1)  As homosexual families become a more visible (and less controversial) presence in American life (regardless whether SSM becomes the law of the land or not), how will Mormon families respond?  I am especially interested in hearing from conservative Mormon parents who believe homosexuality to be sinful, and who disapprove of homosexual parenting and adoption.  What happens when little Junior befriends George Gentile from down the street, who happens to have two mommies?  What happens when your daughter has a sleep-over and happens to mention in conversation that she has two daddies?  I’m not a parent yet, so for all I know, maybe this sort of thing is already extremely common.  I doubt it.  But I also doubt it will remain as uncommon as it currently is.  How are LDS parents going to explain the phenomena of homosexuality and gay parenting to their children — particularly when it is their children who will inevitably be exposed to (and become friends with) children of gay parents at school?   

(2)  What is to be the proper role of the celibate LDS homosexual in Mormon congregational life?  Is same-sex attraction just one of many human struggles that Church members should forever keep to themselves?  Are polite Church-going Mormons to adopt a "Don’t ask, don’t tell" policy about their own (or others’) sexual orientations, or is it going to become kosher over time to openly acknowledge that homosexual inclinations are had by Church members, including Brother So-and-So over there on the back row who isn’t married?  Will we ever see the day that celibate homosexual members can reference their inclinations casually in Church without it becoming a scandal?  Perhaps this seems like a stupid question — You could say that one’s personal sinful temptations should never be aired in Church in any event.  However, as homosexuals are further mainstreamed in American society, I suspect we will see Mormon gays who are less inclined to hide their sexual identities and issues than they have in the past, and I suspect this will be true for religiously active, celibate LDS gays, as well as those who reject the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.  (Perhaps I’m wrong about this?) 

(3)  Do any of you LDS parents out there have — or know other LDS parents who have — minor children who either are homosexually inclined or who seem like they’re probably going to be down the road?  How do you (or they) deal with this?  Do you worry that as the years pass, it is going to become ever more difficult to recommend a life of celibacy to your kids, given the inevitable pull of the gay community?  (This last question may be too personal, but hey, I needed three questions, and this is what comes to mind in the middle of the night!) 

I am very interested in everyone’s thoughts on these matters.

Aaron B

Comments

  1. My question is, if gay marriage becomes the law of the land, what will happen to our commitment to obey, honor, and sustain the law?

  2. Dan, there seems to be an obvious answer to that question: We keep sustaining the law. I certainly hope that Mormons wouldn’t foment rebelion in the heart of the everlasting hills. I mean really, what could we do (in the instance that you believe gay mairrage to be as accute an issue as suggested by your comment)?

    Some Mormon’s support gay mairraige or gay civil unions. I guess we could ask some of our non-US compatriots that already live in such a situation how they feel. Myself, I am interested on how to be a better christian to our gay brothers and sisters.

  3. I agree with you. I am just curious about this, since the tone of most LDS discussion of this issue is so apocalyptic. I wonder how I would (will?) react to the legalization of gay marriage, and I wonder how we as a Church would respond to, say, a gay couple – legally married – attending meetings alongside the rest of us.

    I further wonder, given what is happening in the Netherlands, if legalized gay marriage would result in the legalization of polygamy, and how the Church would respond to that.

    These issues really seem to be on the horizon.

  4. This is a great post Aaron, thanks. With respect to the legalization of same-sex marriage, I guess I don’t see it as an issue for Mormons at all, practically speaking. To trot out a tired example, it’s perfectly legal to drink alcohol, to engage in premarital sex, etc. in most states already, but many Mormons don’t seem to have too much of a problem abstaining from these legal activities.

    To the broader point about Mormon interaction with gays, from my limited experience, there seems to be a bit of disconnect between how Mormons talk about gays (and lesbians) and how Mormons actually treat gays. For example, I brought two gay friends (who are in a relationship with each other) home to Utah to go to the Sundance Film Festival two years ago. Unfortunately, my relatives did not want them to stay at their house together, so they had to pay for a hotel room. But they did invite my friends over for dinner one night, and were wonderfully warm and friendly with them.

    Now I know what my family really thinks about gays, but they put on a great act for my friends. Or did they?

    Shouldn’t they have refused to invite my friends over for dinner? Isn’t having my friends in their home in some way condoning their sexual behavior?

    It seems to me that once you start to get to know people who are gay (inviting them over for dinner, etc.), it becomes harder to view them as evil sinners.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see if President Hinckley’s adage to “love the sin, hate the sinner” in this situation does lead to more acceptance of gays in the Church. The Church HAS come a long way on this issue over the past 20 years.

  5. Your example, Elisabeth, is akin to the much more prevalent experience of having unmarried people of the opposite sex come for a visit. I don’t stop to ask whether they’re sleeping together before they have dinner with us, but I would feel different about offering them a bed together. Same with the same-sex couple.

    I don’t think that we have to “sustain” a law that permits people of the same sex to “marry” each other. For the most part, I suppose that we can ignore it. If we choose to, we can fight to change it.

  6. Dan–the Church already operates in countries in which polygamy IS legal and the policies there are the same as here: monogamy only.

    [I really don't see polygamy making a comeback in the US]

    Interesting post–I have no answers. But I have always wondered why the Church was so concerned about legalized gay marriage. It’s not like the Church could be FORCED to marry or seal gay couples–they already have standards for those ceremonies unlike others, with no problem.

  7. We have a couple of gay guys in our YSA ward. They both fit cultural stereotypes of homosexuals, but most people in the ward don’t let that get in the way of loving them. They don’t outwardly say they are gay, and I don’t think that there will ever be a time when that is appropriate– it would be no more appropriate than telling people you have a problem with pornography– something that could be consiered a part of sexual identity. Does the church have a specific policy on telling? I know they have a “rehabilitation” program or something…

  8. Melanie,

    With all do respect, your posting still misses the point about being gay. You seem to immediately connect being gay with sexual behavior. Being gay is so much more about who you are than what you do. That is why it is so frustrating for us to maintain patience with these continued misunderstandings perpetuated by church members. It is not a chosen trait but it does impact all aspects of my personality.

    Please try this for me. Go back over your posting and change the word “homosexuals” and “gay” to “women” or “black people” or “asians” and see how it sounds.

    Would you expect these groups to not outwardly acknowledge their feminism or their race because it is not appropriate in a church setting? Would you compare your identity as a woman to a man addicted to pornography?

  9. John –

    I’m glad you raised this issue. It may seem obtuse of me to ask, but what exactly does it mean to “act” gay? Sexual behavior aside, I mean.

    I guess I’ve seen so many variations of what I think it means to “act” gay. I think it’s an interesting question to ask if there is anything we in the Church would accept as “acting gay”. Probably not.

  10. I don’t feel the need to openly discuss all aspects of my identity in the context of “the ward.” I sometimes talk about my struggles with close friends (which <> “the ward.”)

    I would bet that many gay and lesbian Saints feel comfortable talking about their struggles with good friends who happen to be ward members. If they don’t, it would be good if they can.

  11. Elisabeth,

    It is not so much “acting gay” as it is how you look at the world and your place in it. I do admit that are a number of gay man that can easily be identified as they tend to accentuate their effeminate mannerisms. But there are just as many butch gay men that you would never recognize.

    Being gay (speaking for myself of course)is really more about seeing the world through both masculine and feminine glasses. It is understanding the important part of being a man (taking responsibility, providing for welfare of others, and offering solutions) as well as accepting the feminine attributes that are inside me (caring, nuturing, and exploring feelings). I know I am relying upon generalizations here so please forgive me.

    And, of course, there is the ever present sexual attraction to members of your own sex that can dictate your behavior if you do not control your impulses (nothing different than straight people experience).

    However, by asking gay men to keep their personality all bottled up and putting on a false mask of “hyper masculinity” you are only causing them to deny the gifts they have inside. This is what causes the frustration. I cannot show that I like to decorate a house because they might consider me gay. I cannot enjoy theatre or opera too much because I may be called a sissy.

    From a gospel perspective, the most difficult issue, of course, is living a celibate life with no chance of feeling “complete” in this life. I understand it is no more or less than we ask of straight single sisters but the single sisters do not have to give up all hope of finding someone at a very early age. Imagine if you had to acknowledge at age 19 that you are destined for a life of complete singleness with no hope of ever finding someone to spend life with. How would you feel? That is why so many young gay men decide that they have to at least explore the possiblity of finding another gay man to “marry”. As you get older, the situation changes and you become more resigned to your singleness so you find yourself coming back to the church. Depending on where you live or the level of understanding in your ward, the returning can be a pleasant homecoming or a re-opening of old wounds.

    Every gay man wants an answer to one simple question. “If I did not choose these feelings, then what am I supposed to do with them? Where do they fit in the gospel scheme?”

    There is currently no answer to that question. But we can hope that revelation will provide one.

    Thanks for wanting to understand.

  12. Aaron, trying to bring the spotlight back over to BCC, eh? I think it’s going to work – it’s on track for 100+ at least.

    By the way, congratulations for joining Cozen O’Conner’s Seattle office as an associate in the insurance litigation department. Personally, that sounds more like a punishment than an achievement, but the new BYU magazine felt it important enough to point out.

  13. Melanie,

    The Church does support a program called Evergreen, designed to help people who are struggling with same sex attraction. There’s a website dealing with this kind of therapy at http://www.narth.org

  14. Dan,

    Evergreen maintains that it is possible for a person to change their orientation which is simply not true for many gays and lesbians. There are some “bi-sexuals” that can direct their feelings to one side or the other. It seems that both Evergreen and the church are slowly “re-evaluating” the “change” theory as they should (in my HUMBLE opinion).

    Narth is just pure and simple an evil, demonizing, organization made up of has-been therapists pushing a unproven pseudo-science that causes tremendous pain to many innocent people dealing with this issue. They pretend to care and offer hope but they only seek to justify their prejudices and drive many into suicide(in my RIGHTEOUS, INDIGNANT opinion).

  15. Aaron Brown says:

    “By the way, congratulations for joining Cozen O’Conner’s Seattle office as an associate in the insurance litigation department. Personally, that sounds more like a punishment than an achievement, but the new BYU magazine felt it important enough to point out.”

    Huh? Are you serious? How do they even know that about me? I don’t maintain ties with that place! Please provide a link, Eric, if you can!

    Aaron B

  16. I’m afraid I can’t. They haven’t got the new issue up online yet. Soon, I would guess. It’s on pg. 74 of the hard copy.

  17. Great post, Aaron, and great comments!

    I particularly enjoyed John’s perspective. I’m not gay, but as I’ve spoken with gay people, they often mention having a similar experience. Before really knowing about sexuality (at least in any significant way), say about age five or six, they mention realizing that they are different. They seem to recognize that the way they frame their world is different than the way society is expecting them to frame it. I don’t know if that was John’s experience, but it seems to be a fairly common one.

    As for how Mormons will react, I’d just echo Elisabeth’s comments. Mormons are quite good at sitting in Sunday school and bemoaning premarital sex, the use of alcohol and tobacco, etc. – often to the point where a visitor could practically mistake them for a closed-off group of Amish. But outside of that setting, most Mormons seem very civil and decent towards those who, by Mormon standards, might have very questionable morality.

    Of course, still living in Utah (two more years, two more years…) I can see a different reaction here. Some Mormon parents don’t need to teach their kids about why their friend’s parents aren’t married, or why they drink alcohol. I have friends who, quite literally, the only person they know who drinks is an alcoholic uncle no one in the family talks about. So while there may be some Utah communities where kids can remain sheltered, most other places will deal with homosexuality the way they deal with other issues they see as moral questions.

  18. John,

    I know people with your orientation who would profoundly disagree with you.
    I agree that some people are not going to be able to change their orientation in this life, but on what grounds do you dismiss people who do experience some change as being simply “bisexual?” What qualifies you to dismiss and categorize their own experiences that way? And you seem remarkably confident in rendering a very unforgiving judgment on the people who contribute to NARTH. Are you sure they are as “evil” as you claim them to be? And the “unproven pseudo-science” they are “pushing” has in reality helped a lot of people; the fact that you or people you know have not benefited from it does not make it unhelpful or a bad system in any way, especially when there are so many people who claim to have been helped by participating.

  19. “What qualifies you to dismiss and categorize their own experiences that way?”

    You mean the way Mormons categorize and dismiss all gay people as having chosen their lifestyle to justify a desire to sin?

    Dan, your post is a red herring. You take a tiny sampling and attempt to make it the norm. You try and present the scales as evenly balanced: some people can change, and some can’t. Any legitimate scientific study has shown that the overwhelming majority of gay people simply cannot change. They can live celibate through remarkable self-mastery, but that’s the best they can hope for.

  20. Dan,

    What John H. said.

  21. “You mean the way Mormons categorize and dismiss all gay people as having chosen their lifestyle to justify a desire to sin?”

    It sounds like you’re saying that because some Mormons are dismissive and intolerant, that somehow gives you the right to be. The world I live in is not that black and white, and the Mormons I associate with have vastly varying degrees of understanding and tolerance. You honestly sound just as categorical and judgmental as the intolerant Mormons you loathe.

    As far as scientific studies go, would it be safe to say that the only “legitimate” ones are the ones that square with your views? Spitzer’s and other studies don’t become “illegitimate” because you or others will them to be so.

  22. The questions raised in the opening post are very thought-provoking, but they don’t seem to have been accessed by most of the commenters. I, too, am curious about the answers and implications of the place of the gay individual in the Church. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, we’re emphatic about morals” and yet to smile and nod at gay acquaintances. Yet it’s quite another to preach forever families and deny that blessing to gay couples.

    1. For those who live in Massachusetts, are gay couples who marry in good standing with the Church? Why, or why not? Is the issue (a) that they are gay at all (b) that they live together (c) that they are romantically involved (c) that they are sexually involved (which would imply that the Lord forbids sex *acts* which are not exclusive to gays) or (d) that the Church doesn’t agree with this law of the land, i.e. gay marriage?

    2. Would a married gay couple in Massachusetts be allowed to be baptized? Why or why not?

    3. What is so fundamentally different with gays that straight people constantly find a way to separate themselves from them? Cooties only exist on a school playground, and only then in storybooks.

  23. “I guess we could ask some of our non-US compatriots that already live in such a situation how they feel.”

    SSM marriage became law in Canada not long ago.

    And guess what? I go to work, I pay my taxes/bills, go to Church, fulfill my callings, and at the end of the day…..it doesn’t effect me one bit.

    To me the passage of the SSM bill was always a political issue, one that the opposition would never defeat (but cudos to those who tried). I have to admit that I was a bit…not offended..but something…when they handed out flyers at Church on the issue, I felt it was inappropriate (even if it is a moral issue, when is the last time you got a flyer on gambling, pre-marital sex or abortion at Church?).

    So now, gays and lesbians can marry….big deal! In a delicious bit of irony, the first gay divorces are making their way through the courts already, and they are quite contentious. Rights come with responsibility, commitment comes with consequences.

    John, nice to hear your input. My parents are what you might call “old school” in their opinions on homosexuality. Someday I intend to confront them on it, using examples of members over the years who are clearly gay, and were/are close friends of my parents. The theatre/Judy Garland loving, impecably dressed single guy in his early 30’s that my mom consulted on interior design. The mid-20’s son of my dad’s work partner, who’s parents have described him as “different, we had to home school him because he was getting bullied by the football players at school.”

    I will not be “outing” these people, its obvious to everyone but my parents that they are gay. I just want to see how they will reconcile this information with their efforts to be “Christ like.” It is humerous to me that with all their talk about the evils of homosexuality, they couldn’t spot one if he/she was in bed with them.

  24. Another question:

    If your sibling disclosed that s/he were gay, would you encourage him/her to (a) be “true to the Church” and remain celibate for life, (b) marry a gay partner (if your state/country allowed it), (c)live with the gay partner or date gay partners who are not members of the Church, (d) date gay partners who are members of the Church, (e) spend his/her life “turning straight” even if it cost his/her sanity, or (other), and what is that “other”?

  25. Threadjack:
    # 15. Come on Aaron, those alumni updates are self-directed, aren’t they? I mean who else would put in that they wrote a book, or that they “were appointed third horn in the Louisville Orchestra.” (just a random example from the pages of updates)

  26. Aaron Brown says:

    Scott, I reserve all my flagrant self-promotion for the Bloggernacle, thank you very much. So someone else is to blame.

    A theory: I have millions of devoted fans who track my every move, and one of them couldn’t help but blabber stuff about me to some magazine …

    Aaron B

  27. Aaron Brown says:

    I’ve only skimmed the comments (I’ll read them more closely later), but my sense is that all gay roads lead to conversations about SSM. AAAAAARGHHHH! I hope people will focus on my specific questions, even though some of the other issues raised in the comments are certainly interesting as well.

    Aaron B

  28. Elisabeth says:

    Jen – Thanks for bringing us back to the topic of Aaron’s post. I watched my brother in law’s family go through this a few years ago when my brother in law’s brother came out to his family. My brother in law, who was born and raised Mormon, served a mission, married in the temple, and the rest, was absolutely shocked and horrified at the thought of his brother being gay. I won’t go into the details, but, as you can imagine, it was a very difficult time for their family.

    But after two or three years of seeing that his brother is still the same loving, wonderful older brother he always knew, I think my brother in law is coming to terms with it – and I don’t see any real difference in their relationship. Although my sister tells me they never, ever talk about it, and that his brother has never mentioned his boyfriends to anyone.

    I think this might be common in families where one of the family members comes out. Shock, surprise, anger, but then acceptance and love. But that doesn’t mean that they want to talk about that family member’s sexuality.

  29. I think mormon attitudes towards gays are changing fast as a new generation takes over. I think people under 30 or so generally have a much more tolerant attitude than those even a few years older.

    I have heard that there are already some places where celibate gays are “out” in their wards. I would expect this to become more common over time.

  30. That’s great that your in-laws have come to terms with it, Elisabeth, but I guess what I’m asking is: what is the institutionally based personal response to acceptance of gay members?

    For instance, would your inlaws actively encourage the son to date, if dating and being in a committed relationship would make him happy? Would their view of his dating be filtered through the lenses of their Mormon understanding and prejudices? If they don’t “want to talk about that family member’s sexuality” are you saying they want him to remain closeted, and that they feel that if he ignores it it will disappear? Do they want him to figuratively disappear, or do they proudly acknowledge him? What does the phrase “acceptance and love” mean in this instance? Is it that they don’t shun him or disown him? If so, that’s commendable, but how far does their “acceptance and love” extend, and why and why not? And to what extent is their “acceptance and love” dependent on Church teachings?

    That’s a far cry from some Catholic families I know, and some Jewish (Reform) congregations, for example. I have friends who are married–Catholics and Jews, and also know a Mormon gay couple. All eight couples live where gay marriage is legal. The six Catholic and Jewish couples are accepted almost without reservation by their families and by their Church families.

    When I last visited the (dating) gay couple in their LDS (singles) ward, we all sat on the back row and they sheepishly (and VERY surreptitiously) held hands while pretending to hold the hymnbook.

  31. OK Aaron,

    I will ask you to provide me advice concerning item #2 in your post.

    I joined the Church as a convert at the age of 19 in the Northeast US. I went to BYU, served a mission and had many church callings. In 1995 I had a breakdown in trying to reconcile my sexual orientation with my religion. It could not be done. I came out to my Bishop who called a court and had me ex’ed (I didn’t show up but they ex’ed me anyway just for coming out).

    I explored the gay dating scene and tried to maintain some semblance of a moral foundation (difficult to do in the current gay world or straight world for that matter). Was never successful in finding a long-term partner.

    As I got older (over 40) I got tired of the shallowness of gay dating. I also lost a sister to cancer at an early age (39) which re-awakened my desire to return to the Church. After meeting with a very understanding Bishop and Stake President, I faced the High Council and was granted permission to be re-baptized.

    With a low-key ceremony, I once again became a Saint and was called as Gospel Doctrine teacher six months later.

    Here is my question: Everyone single sister in the ward is clamoring to be my “friend”. I can pass as straight very easily so they do not question why a single guy in his early 40’s never got married. I have politely told the nosy ones that I have no plans on getting married in this life but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. I do not look to the ward for social activities as I still maintain a group of gay friends (LDS and non-LDS) that I interact with. Do I stay in the closet in my ward or do I naturally answer the persistent question of why I am not married?

  32. Elisabeth says:

    Those are good questions, Jen. I don’t think his family would _ever_ encourage him to date or to be in a relationship. However, they may grudgingly accept him having a boyfriend, if they saw that him being in a relationship made him happy, but I didn’t necessarily mean “acceptance” to mean that. By acceptance, I meant that they accepted that he told them he was gay, and now they can move on with their lives. They do not want to be reminded of his sexuality, so I guess this is a pretty low level of acceptance.

    I’m not sure what the institutionally driven response is here. As I said before “love the sin, hate the sinner” is a fine principle in the abstract, but it’s tricky to implement on a practical level. Does this mean that you invite your gay friends over for dinner, but announce to them and everyone else that just because they are over at your house doesn’t mean that you accept their lifestyle? Of course not, but I think people may be confused about how to treat people who are routinely singled out from everyone else as grevious sinners.

  33. Elisabeth says:

    LOL! Freudian slip there – I meant love the SINNER, hate the sin.

  34. :D

    Yeah, I thought that’s what you meant…

  35. john scherer says:

    Personally,
    I think the problem is caused by a lack of Zelph posts. Ah the good ol days.

    -Onindagas

  36. John (#8)- thanks for your insights– you provide much needed perspective on a topic that I know very little about.

    I was approaching the topic from the standpoint that the church is teaching us that homosexuality is wrong, and I don’t think talking specifically about what is classified as a “sin” is necessary in a church setting. I don’t think comparisons to womanhood or race are completely well founded, as race and gender aren’t classified as sins. However, I think that acknowledging identity is important, and is allowable, otherwise I would have to stop bringing feminist ideas into Relief Society classes I teach, institute classes etc. I don’t know how one would do that with homosexuality. The tension between identity and generally accepted ideas is a tough one.

  37. I don’t think the inscription in his tomb was fully translated, it read:

    Here lies Zelph, the happiest, most musically inclined, feather plumed headress wearing Nephite who ever lived.

  38. I guess my sisue is with exactly *what* about homosexuality is wrong. I mentioned some ideas in and earlier post that I’ll cut and paste here. They had to do with marriage, but more specifically they were designed to ascertain what is wrong and why it is wrong. only then will we know how to better treat and minister to gay members in our midst.

    Copied from my post #22:

    For those who live in Massachusetts, are gay couples who marry in good standing with the Church? Why, or why not? Is the issue
    (a) that they are gay at all?
    (b) that they live together?
    (c) that they are romantically involved?
    (d) that they are sexually involved (which would imply that the Lord forbids sex *acts* which are not exclusive to gays)? or
    (e) that the Church doesn’t agree with this law of the land, i.e. gay marriage?

    What does/should the Church or individuals do when they encounter gay couples who want to be members of the Church, or want to maintain some level of activity in it?

    We all sin, so shunning gay people or just not wanting to acknowledge their presence is both unrealistic and hypocritical. Since they can’t obey the law (if they can’t) to the fullest capacity, aren’t they exempt? Who would want to trade places with a believing gay Mormon and live a celibate life forever? Why wouldn’t marriage or long-term partnership be a good solution?

    And why would/should people not want to teach their children that some very good, very nice people just happen to be gay, and that it’s okay that they’re still members of the Church? Hopefully this is where the church is headed, because otherwise it just becomes a case of “your sin smells worse than mine, and not only should you therefore wallow in that stench, you have to be lonely for the rest of your life too.”

  39. Hi Aaron,

    Nobody has really responded to your question number 1 about conservative Mormon parents reaction to gay parents and their kids at school etc.

    As a conservative mormon parent of four boys I feel that you will get few responses out of fear of not being PC.

    I can answer Jens questions but choose not to because if she is LDS she also knows the non-PC answers.

    For those that think that the conservative mainstream members are evil no meat from me on this topic.

  40. This post is gay.

  41. john scherer says:

    Talon,
    He also was the cleanest shaven and most organized.

  42. I hope people will focus on my specific questions, even though some of the other issues raised in the comments are certainly interesting as well.

    Perhaps, Aaron, you should invoke the Faulcner-Huff doctrine.

  43. john scherer says:

    The following comment is being made by a conservative LDS father of three(and soon to be four)
    As far as number one goes. If my child has a friend with gay, cohabitating parents, I will allow my child to sleep over if I judge them to be good, responsible caretakers and our children are good friends for each other. The way I see it is if they are willing to let their children hang out with Mormons(or any conservative Christians) knowing that we believe they are living in sin, they are obviously more concerned for their child’s happiness than pushing their lifestyle on their child. Shouldn’t I do the same, knowing that these people believe I am a brain washed kook. I feel that I would in greater sin than they if I would shun them. Didn’t our master to teach us to love ALL of our neighbors. I will make sure my children know what I believe about homosexuality, inasmuch as I know what I believe about it( which is shaky at best), but I will not project hatred and mistrust of other people onto them.

  44. john scherer says:

    I just realized that I read Question 1 in haste and gave an answer to a question not asked. As far as the real #1 goes, we should simply look to the scriptures. The master did not shun those who broke the law, but he also did not grant them pardon. We teach our children right and wrong(leaning on the prophet when we’re confused), and we teach them to love their neighbors. I have Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Baptist and others as close friends. Many do things that a Mormon would consider transgressing, yet we’re still friends. Why can’t homosexuality be a smaller issue, such as WoW or dressing standards. We all sin and I’m in no shape to satnd in judgement of others at this time.

  45. Anonymous says:

    My father, still married to my mom after 30 years, is a fully closeted bi/homosexual (I’ve never asked to know the exact nature of his attractions, and he doesn’t know that I know he’s anything other than what he pretends to be).

    Since I pretty much buy the notion that this can be genetic, I’ve given a little thought from time to time about what I would do if that gene were to show up in one of my children (who are all still quite young right now). I think the most important principle is that I would love them no less than my other children, and it would be of the utmost importance that they know that they are always welcome in my home. And if that means they bring home a partner with whom they are sexually active (I’m thinking of when they are an adult), then I guess I have to be OK with that. Does it mean I condone the behavior? I don’t know. I don’t know that I don’t condone it. I don’t know that letting them sleep under my roof implies approval or disapproval. It just means I want them to be welcome in my home without feeling like I’m passing judgment on them.

    It’s a weird issue because I would be less comfortable with my heterosexual children bringing home sex partners they aren’t married to, but I don’t feel the same way about homosexuality, in part because we are still at a very early period in society’s acceptance of it, and the dynamics are therefore quite different. If you are homosexual, you can’t get married in most states, and if you are married, you can’t be in good standing in the church. You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Do I tell my son he can bring home any gay partner as long as they are married? Am I then encouraging him to get married? Do I want to encourage that?

    The thing is, I don’t believe it’s wrong to be gay. If you are born that way, you are born that way. So why, then, is it condemned in scripture? It’s like a cruel joke God is playing on the world. I don’t know how to reconcile these issues, and therefore I don’t even know how exactly to deal with the issue if or when it arises in my family. But I do know that I love my kids, and I would never be mad at them or blame them if they said they were gay, and I would never forgive myself if I did or said anything that would make them feel unwelcome or condemned. But I really don’t know what recommendations to give to a gay child other than follow your conscience wherever it leads you, and I’ll support you in that. It doesn’t sound like much, though, does it?

    I think I need a better answer.

  46. Aaron, I was sorry to read on the Drudge Report that you’ll no longer be on CNN. I seldom ever watched you, because your television persona has all the charm of a dentist, but I’m sad to see the only major Mormon news anchor (and a prominent participant in the bloggernacle, no less) leave. I hope it wasn’t caused by the shame and infamy that Bannergate brought to the bloggernacle.

  47. I’m not usually one to promote my own blog but there were three really good posts by a guest poster who is gay, Silus Grok. Some very good discussions followed.

    Intro
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

  48. This is going way back up the thread, but…

    John said,
    However, by asking gay men to keep their personality all bottled up and putting on a false mask of “hyper masculinity” you are only causing them to deny the gifts they have inside. This is what causes the frustration. I cannot show that I like to decorate a house because they might consider me gay. I cannot enjoy theatre or opera too much because I may be called a sissy.

    Maybe I’m not following you. Doesn’t this conception of gayness buy into the same outdated stereotypes? You resent the fact that doing certain things might make you “seem gay,” which you are? I guess I don’t understand what you’re arguing: are those things inherently part of the broader “gay personality” that you insist exists beyond sexual orientation? I consider my own views of homosexuality fairly progressive, and I have lots of gay friends, but I feel no need to expand the idea of “gayness” beyond sexual identity. I recognize certain non-sex-related proclivities to be part of gay culture, but hardly exclusive to it.

    I cross my legs the girlie way (at the knee, not the ankle-on-the-knee way). I have very strong opinions about how we decorate our house. If I had the money, I’d be much more picky about my clothes. I’m tidy. I listen to opera (especially Britten, who was the gayest of the gayest of the gay opera composers). Until recently I was the chorister in primary. I decorate cakes, for hellsakes. And in terms of sexual orientation I honestly don’t have a gay bone in my body. Same with my father in law: excellent cook, very good design taste, and in the summer the guy wears a friggin’ seersucker suit to church, with saddle shoes and a yellow bowtie.

    Some might say I’m effeminite in my habits or tastes. I’m not effeminite in my mannerisms, though (at least, I don’t think), so, maybe that makes it easier for me to get away with listening to gay opera and watching gay design shows on TV and gayly decorating cakes for my kids’ birthdays without feeling too alientated by the He-Man deer hunters in my ward, with whom I get along with quite well generally. And, in fact, I’ve known countless men in the church who have shared some of these traits–some of them have been gay, but many, many of them have not been. And I don’t think many of them have encountered all that much trouble from people in the church.

    I bring this up to suggest that, in discussing church members’ reactions to homosexuality, I think it really is a matter of members’ thoughts about the sex part, not about other aspects of what John suggests are part of the “gay personality.”

  49. This is going way back up the thread, but…

    John said,
    However, by asking gay men to keep their personality all bottled up and putting on a false mask of “hyper masculinity” you are only causing them to deny the gifts they have inside. This is what causes the frustration. I cannot show that I like to decorate a house because they might consider me gay. I cannot enjoy theatre or opera too much because I may be called a sissy.

    Maybe I’m not following you. Doesn’t this conception of gayness buy into the same outdated stereotypes? You resent the fact that doing certain things might make you “seem gay,” which you are? I guess I don’t understand what you’re arguing: are those things inherently part of the broader “gay personality” that you insist exists beyond sexual orientation? I consider my own views of homosexuality fairly progressive, and I have lots of gay friends, but I feel no need to expand the idea of “gayness” beyond sexual identity. I recognize certain non-sex-related proclivities to be part of gay culture, but hardly exclusive to it.

    I cross my legs the girlie way (at the knee, not the ankle-on-the-knee way). I have very strong opinions about how we decorate our house. If I had the money, I’d be much more picky about my clothes. I’m tidy. I listen to opera (especially Britten, who was the gayest of the gayest of the gay opera composers). Until recently I was the chorister in primary. I decorate cakes, for hellsakes. And in terms of sexual orientation I honestly don’t have a gay bone in my body. Same with my father in law: excellent cook, very good design taste, and in the summer the guy wears a friggin’ seersucker suit to church, with saddle shoes and a yellow bowtie.

    Some might say I’m effeminite in my habits or tastes. I’m not effeminite in my mannerisms, though (at least, I don’t think), so, maybe that makes it easier for me to get away with listening to gay opera and watching gay design shows on TV and gayly decorating cakes for my kids’ birthdays without feeling too alientated by the He-Man deer hunters in my ward, with whom I get along with quite well generally. And, in fact, I’ve known countless men in the church who have shared some of these traits–some of them have been gay, but many, many of them have not been. And I don’t think many of them have encountered all that much trouble from people in the church.

    I bring this up to suggest that, in discussing church members’ reactions to homosexuality, I think it really is a matter of members’ thoughts about the sex part, not about other aspects of what John suggests are part of the “gay personality.”

  50. Paul Wright says:

    For every celibate gay man in the ward, they ought to make one of the heterosexual leaders stay celibate, as well. Wonder how long that policy would last.

  51. JG, maybe it’s OK to like “gay” things if you’re straight.

  52. Aaron Brown says:

    DKL — Before CNN, Aaron Brown was a newscaster in Seattle. I live in Seattle. You should try being named “Aaron Brown” in a city like this, particularly when you’re trying to get choice reservations at trendy restaurants. Pretty cool.

    Aaron B

  53. JG,

    In responding to Elisabeth’s request to define how I view my gay personality beyond the sex part, I mentioned that it is truly how I define it and was not meant to be a broad definition of every gay man. For me, I find myself very grateful for both the feminine and masculine aspects of my personality.

    That being said, I don’t define the items you mentioned (cake decorating, interior design, opera, seersucker suits, etc.) as effeminate items at all. I would classify them as more refined tastes. For me, the word effeminate relates to mannerisms and vocalizations, not refined tastes.

    It is hard in American culture for a man to admit to enjoying cultural refinement because of the far-reaching marketing of the “American Real Man”. That is why I enjoyed my mission in Italy so much. It showed me that men can have refined tastes and still be considered a man (although most times it is just pure vanity dressed up as refinement — and it still resulted in a very patriarchal society).

    For me, my gayness is more than to whom I am attracted although it is sometimes difficult to put it into words. I have a good gay friend who was raised in the high country of Utah in a very redneck family and he has no refined tastes whatsoever. He is into country music and the gay rodeo and I have to dress him everytime we go out to dinner. But he is gay, through and through.

    So, as far as providing a clear cut definition of gayness beyond sexual attraction, I just it could be defined in a general manner as having more of a male and female view of life rather than leaning to just one side. This does not mean that straight men or women cannot also obtain the same amount of “enlightenment”. I just think it takes more effort.

    In my more exotic musings I have thought that maybe gay men and women were already married in the pre-existence and truly became “one” with their spouses so much so that they came to this earth as one person instead of two. Just something to think about.

  54. Aaron,

    You berated us for continually directing the conversation to SSM but when I asked for advice about your posting as I did in # 31, you didn’t respond. What’s up with that?

  55. Space Chick says:

    John,

    I’m not Aaron (nor do I play him on TV) but I think you deserve an answer to #31. FWIW, I think you don’t need to hide the fact that you’re attracted to men instead of women, as long as you’re not acting on that attraction at church. In fact, you’ll probably save yourself and them a lot of frustration if you do. Assuming that the bishop already knows what your orientation is (based on your comment), it’s not like discussing this will come as a shock to him or result in disciplinary action. Tell the sisters (as individuals, as appropriate, but NOT by walking into Relief Society for a group announcement!) that you’re “struggling” with same-sex attraction and you welcome their friendship, in a platonic way, but it can’t be more than that. I’d like to think this will elict their sympathy rather than rejection. And I would make it clear that attempts to convert you by virtue of their feminine wiles are not welcome, and indeed offensive. If they were eyeing you as dating material, this will nip it in the bud and prevent them from feeling scorned and ignored (’cause you KNOW what they say about “a woman scorned”…). If they want to be your friend, they’ll take that at face value and be a friend. And maybe they’ll actually be smart enough to ask your advice about dating guys and how to attract a particular man they’re interested in. I feel awkward around many “typical” LDS sisters, in large part because our interests are so different. But it never fails to amaze me how many women don’t realize that the gap between their interests and those of the brethren can be just as wide. Maybe you can bridge that for them, since you see both sides more clearly. But I’m much better at being analytical than empathetic–my answer may be completely out to lunch and this approach may backfire on you horribly.

  56. Thanks Space Chick. I will follow your advice.

  57. John – I think being open with your sexuality CAN backfire dangerously in many LDS communities. Even if people are generally understanding once they find out you struggle with same-sex attraction, I think people would be much more wary of striking up friendships or interacting with you on a meaningful level.

    So, I think there is a real risk in coming out to members of your ward. I’m not so sure what I would do in this situation, but I think I’d rather turn away dinner invitations than deal with people shunning me for something I couldn’t change about myself. The social aspect of membership in the Church can be terribly painful at times, because of the obligations and conventions that have little to do or directly conflict with the gospel of Christ. I wish you the best.

    And on a much lighter note – what do you make of the new trend towards “metrosexuality”? I liked your example of Italian men feeling free to express their interests and tastes, as evidence that our perception of what is “acting” gay is purely cultural. Maybe that’s why the Italian guys are so successful with the ladies. American men could do well with a lesson or two from the Italians (although I heartily endorse and applaud the American tradition of daily baths and anti-perspirant).

  58. The Metrosexual thing was a plot hatched by the crab people. Don’t you watch South Park?

  59. Howdy, everyone…

    Rusty (#47) was kind enough to reference my postings on the subject of being a gay mormon above. ( Thanks, Rusty! )

    Of the questions posited by Aaron, I guess I’m only qualified to speak to question #2.

    As an active member of my ward, with an abiding testimony of the gospel… who happens to dig guys …I would hope that my role in the ward would be the same as for anyone else. With the exception of scout master (where the feelings of parents should be considered), I can’t imagine not receiving and accepting any calling in the ward (that doesn’t require me being married).

    I’m in the middle of transitioning to a new ward (I’m moving from Provo to SLC), but in my Provo family ward, I was sacrament chorister, publications specialist, EQ teacher, and (of course) home teacher. Several people in the ward knew that I was gay… and I never really had any problems. Who knew? People who wanted to date me or set me up on dates found out, and close friends, of course — and the scout master, who wanted me to help-out on a camping trip (I declined).

    I’m feeling-out the edges of how I will transition into a more open place, but don’t know how I’ll do that just yet. I believe firmly that I can make a difference in people’s perceptions of what it means to be gay… and, in the end, what it means to be gay and mormon.

    I think these are exciting times to live in, and I’m happy to be a part of it all.

  60. Oh… and in the previous three wards I was in (BYU student wards), my bishops all knew… and in those wards I was EQ teacher, GD teacher, executive secratary (for 5 years), ward clerk, home teacher, among other things.

    I am greatly blessed, though… and don’t expect that my experience is universal.

  61. Elisabeth says:

    Silus – I love hearing stories like yours. Thanks for sharing them with us. Keep us posted!

  62. Be sure to check-out the threads I wrote over at Nine Moons (Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, which Rusty missed up above), Elisabeth… and then stay-tuned, I’m working on combining all of those posts into a single PDF essay, all dolled-up and ready for a wider audience (my family, LDS families with gay children, et cetera)

    I’m also working on a couple of posts on SSM.

    FWIW.

  63. John (Silus, you can comment too if you’d like),

    Neither am I really qualified to discuss how you handle your female admirers, but it brings to mind a general question. Please note I’m not suggesting you do this, more I’m interested in your thoughts about it.

    A friend of mine from my mission is married to a LDS gay man. She went into the marriage knowing there would be no sexual component to their relationship. Both were worthy to be married in the Temple and were.

    She was in a situation where she knew that she would be unable to have children through conventional means. As husband and wife, they have adopted two beautiful children and are sealed as a family. They are faithful to each other. They are as fulfilled a family as any other LDS family I know except that there is no sexual component to their relationship. They truly love each other.

    Again, I’m not trying to marry you off or anything (we married LDS tend to do that to our single LDS friends unwittingly) but I’d appreciate your opinion. Assuming everyone was honest and open (pun intended) from the start, what do you think of this strategy?

  64. Chad too,

    Very challenging question. I am a member of Affirmation and we have a number of LDS men in just such marriages. Some of them have had children by natural means and some through adoption. Some of the men have not been able to adapt to such a relationship and some have been able to adapt by establishing “clean” friendships with similar couples in the same situation.

    Some of the wives are able to adapt and some find the lack of sexual fulfillment too frustrating given that they share the same bed. I would think it would take a very strong woman to be able to handle such a relationship. For the man, such a relationship can provide companionship but there will always be the temptation to establish a more complete relationship with a gay partner and thereby have the companionship AND sex at the same time.

    I would not be able to live in such an arrangement. I would rather remain single.

  65. I have seriously considered such an option… and it is still on the table, but only in writing.

    My heart, frankly, left that one in the dust a while ago: marriage is hard enough without adding this to the mix… and I couldn’t ask that of a woman. You fathers out there with a daughter: imagine how you’d feel if your daughter came to you and said: “I’m in love, he’s wonderful… he’s gay”.

    There used to be a social structure in place for this… in many cultures, marriage was expected of all young people, regardless of orientation — and there were mechanisms in place to make keeping those vows easier. Those, though, are gone. Way gone. They’re only barely there for heterogamous couples.

    Beyond that, I don’t trust myself… I’m not attracted to women, so I don’t know if I’m getting the right cues… and I don’t trust that I’ll choose a good mate (in another time, in another culture, I could look to others to set me up… but that’s not an option now… here…). Attraction is an important — essential, even — component of a successful coupling.

  66. Thank you both for your honesty. I must admit I was very skeptical (read: “Are you out of your mind!?!?!”) when my friend told me of her plans, but at least in their public life they make it work. Who knows what does (or doesn’t) happen behind closed doors, eh?

  67. I’m probably repeating stuff that’s been said (because I got tired of reading halfway through).

    WRT to how the Church will react if SSM becomes the law of the land: The Church will not be under obligation to acknowledge or sanction those relationships, unless the law obligates the Church to do so. In other words, the Church will say: “OK, you’re gay, and you’re married. Too bad for you. We don’t acknowledge it and you’re in sin.”

    WRT to my children and friends of gay parents: As long as they’re my children under my roof, they won’t have gay friends or friends who are children of gay parents. Sorry. I know that sounds intolerant, but that’s my stand.

    WRT to the role of the celibate, open, Mormon homosexual … I think s/he’d be marginalized (go back to that recent thread).

  68. queuno,

    No gay friends, okay (I mean, okay for the sake of argument…)

    But no friends whose parents are gay? I’m curious about your specific reasons for this specific prohibition. Also, it seems there would be lots of potentially tricky situations (some of which I’ve heard of/encountered directly): your kid’s longtime best friend’s dad comes out of the closet, gets a divorce, moves in with his new partner, and has joint custody. Friends still friends, or would you make them cease contact. Could they still talk together at school? Or say, however inconceivable you might think it, your kid has an aunt or uncle come out of the closet. Cousins still cousins? Or your next door neighbor…

    Also, I’m curious as to whether you’ve personally had much interaction with any homosexuals. I’m not trying to badger, I’m just curious as to whether your opinions are influenced by personal experience.

  69. Finally,

    Thank you Queuno for being non PC.

  70. Queuno… a couple things: “WRT” stands for “with regards to”, so no need to double-up on the “to”.

    More importantly, though, between 2 and 7 percent of the general population is homosexual… and if anecdotal evidence is any indicator, that number is higher within the Church, so that’s a lot of effort on your part segregating your children from all of them — especially when one considers that you can’t catch the gay.

    Do you shun children of smokers? Children of divorcées? Children born out of wedlock? Where does this end? What about the grandchildren of gay couples — will they be kosher?

  71. To me, it just sounds as if Queuno has some issues of people different than him. I wonder if he feels the same way about letting his children associate with families that smoke or drink alcohol or eat too much meat. Or what about those families that are of a different race or socio-economic background.

    Unfortunately, people with the same reasoning mechanisms as Queuno don’t ever explain why they think the way they do. That would require them to face their own untenable prejudices. The simpler way is just to say “Sorry, I know that sounds intolerant, but that’s my stand.” as if the honesty is supposed to make the prejudice OK.

    Personally, I look forward to the establishment of Zion when such beliefs and prejudices will be eliminated among the saints.

  72. I, too, am curious as to why/how BBell and queuno (“which one”? clever!) feel justified in shunning homosexuals and teaching their own children to do the same. However, this is usually the point on the SSM/homosexuality threads where the conversation degenerates into an ad hominem shouting match. So maybe we should just agree to disagree. But still, I’d like to read what doctrinal justifications people have for treating homosexuals any different than other people.

  73. More than 7% of the church population is gay??? Sorry, I can’t swallow that one. What anecdotal evidence are you using?

  74. I am looking out for a quote from a prophet where as part of a Zion community open homosexual sin is accepted and supported by the saints.

    Also Queuno should be supported in the decision to ensure that only the best of influences are in play with his/her? children.

    I support you Queeno unapogetically and am comfortable very comfortable in my mainstream LDS opinions about homosexual sin. In fact so comfortable that I would give a talk in sac mtg. that included a portion about homosexual sin and avoiding bad influences in my life. In fact I just heard a talk like that two weeks ago. The horrors!!!!

  75. Actually bbell and queuno are not the same (please verify admin) and my best man at my wedding who was my best comp on mission has been struggling with SSA his whole life. He is not shunned by my family he is loved. He knows not to openly advocate SSA/SSM around my kids.
    Here comes the breakdown. Look its only like 75 postings in. Not bad.

  76. bbell,

    Please help me understand what you mean when you say “He knows not to openly advocate SSA/SSM around my kids.” I can understand advocation of SSM but what does advocation of SSA mean? How can you advocate someone to adopt an inborn, unchosen trait?

    I understand the proper role of discussion around children especially as concerns adult themed subjects. But if your friend gets asked by your older teenage children why he is not married, do you want him to lie?

  77. bbell, queuno, and antiprude,

    You’re all way far outside the realm of acceptable treatment of homosexuals, as dictated by the prophets. In scriptural language, you are mired in sin.
    I don’t advocate gay marriage or acting on same-sex attraction in any way. But your comments disgust me more than any gay person I have ever met. By the Moroni 7 test, if a gay person were to read your comments and not have an increase in faith in Christ as a result of what you wrote, then your words were inspired by the adversary. It’s pretty clear that’s the case, since his MO is always to cut people down, ridicule them, and instill fear in their hearts. You do his work well.
    Look at your comments and ask yourselves if a gay person on this board feels the love of the Savior more after reading what you have written. Ask yourselves if the church were entirely full of people with your attitudes, would a gay person feel welcome and loved by the church, despite their struggle or sin? Would they see it as the compassionate, caring environment the Savior desires it to be?
    If you cannot muster within your heart enough compassion to reach out to everyone in love and understanding, then it’s probably best that you get on your knees and beg forgiveness for your cruelty. And you should probably not open your mouths on this issue until and unless your words would help someone struggling with this issue to feel the love of the Lord through you.

    Your hopeful brother,

    Dan E.
    Baghdad, Iraq

  78. John,

    I will cut you a deal. You respond to my Zion question about open sexual sin being accepted by the saints and I will think about what do with the man who is honestly my best friend besides my wife.

    I have not had to confront this issue with older teen agers since my kids are all younger but I would probably at some point just tell them that he is gay has a testimony absolutely rocked as a missionary and its been a real struggle for him. He is actually opposed to SSM.

    The question seems to be what to do with an open in the community in your face gay couple who are openly living the gay lifestyle. The answer to me is obvious.

  79. Thank you Dan.

  80. #76,

    No longer in the opinion of some in the minority of the church can the church members take a moral stand against homosexual sin. In fact a traditional understanding of homosexual sin now is the actual sin!!! Wow. Glad that is not being taught in general conference.

    I am afraid that if the church takes the liberal road on this issue the church will schism and lose its demographic base.

  81. bbell,

    I have to make this quick as I have to finish up my work and get over to EPCOT this evening for a dinner appointment.

    In your second paragraph, you seem like you understand that orientation is not something that a gay man or lesbian woman can do anything about (at least in this life).

    But then in the third paragraph you denigrate those that have chosen to enter into a fulfilling partnership instead of remaining celibate. I think it is honorable for someone to remain celibate (as I have chosen to do) but I also think it is acceptable for those that cannot follow that path to enter into monogamous, committed relationships. I would think that such a committed relationship would be looked upon by the Savior as trying to do the best that one could do with their natural disposition and with the knowledge as revealed to date.

    As concerns your first paragraph, I never stated that the gay men and women living in Zion would not be abiding the laws of Zion. It sounds as if you assume that a gay orientation would deny someone a place in Zion even if they are abiding the law of chastity. Being gay is not a sin, extra-marital sex is the sin.

    OK, gotta go enjoy myself this evening thanks to the wonderful guys like Dan who are protecting my freedoms.

    Au Revoir.

    Do you feel that a monogamous, committed relationship is more or less honorable than a straight couple that have sex before marriage or even choose to forego marriage since they have all the benefits by living together anyway?

  82. antiprude says:

    Thanks for the rebuttal and God bless you Dan. But this site is so gay PC they deleted my comment you were refering to.

  83. John,

    Unless I missed something in SS I am correct in my thinking that Jesus does not accept sexual sin and that he died to provide mediation on our behalf if we REPENT. Some churches in the world have changed their doctrine to accomodate this. Ours has not. Those that have accepted liberal views on this topic are rapidly becoming irrelevant or they are splitting up.

    I can accept that there will be gay people in Zion as long as they are celibate.

    I am comfortable in my traditional understanding and in my ward am surrounded by people with the same feelings.

    The answer to your final question is easy. Hoimosexual relationships are sinful, living together is sinful for Hetero’s but can be repented of by getting married.

  84. Dan E.

    I reread your comments and have some serious issues with it. (by the way lots of love and respect for what your doing)

    If your Moroni 7 intep is to be believed then lets just become Unitarians and just forget about sin. Live and let live I say. Alma condemning his son for sexual sin in the BOM? Alma you are now the sinner…. Condemning sin and seeking to uphold church standards is so old school get with it church members!!!

    By the way are you not seriously judging conservative church members?

  85. Antiprude… I’m guessing it wasn’t your ideas that got your comment deleted, but the liberal use of pejoratives.

  86. Er. bbell, gay people can get married too, at least in some states and countries. It’s legal and lawful for them, too.

  87. Chandra? whats your point?

  88. You said that heteros can repent of premarital sex by getting married. Now that gay marriage is legal in one state and a few countries, those who are having premarital relations can repent by getting married too.

    Get it?

    Or are you saying there is no hope or chance for repentance for a cohabitating (let’s say) gay couple who cannot be celibate? No hope of repentance at all, huh? What if hetero sex were sinful? How many could abstain?

    At least the marriage option is available for those who want to be married before having sex.

  89. Just because a state acts in an immoral manner and implements SSM does not change 5000 years of teaching on homosexual sex.

    The only way to repent of homosexual sin is to stop, apply the atonement, and abstain.

    This leads to another intersting question. If you are hetero and living together in sin and then get married do you need to repent for your pre-marriage state? It would seem to me to be yes. But I have never seen this happen? WHY is this?

  90. So, bbell, are you saying it’s the act itself that’s wrong? Because opposite-sex couples do the same things that same-sex couples do. The point is that it’s the premarital part that’s wrong, not the sex. So if couples are married, anything goes betwen them, whether the couples are gay or straight.

    Otherwise, if the sex acts themselves are wrong, a lot of married heterosexuals are in BIG trouble.

  91. Chad too, I’d be interested in knowing how long your friends have been in their nonsexual marriage. I’m in the end stages of marriage to a gay man (although I didn’t know he was gay when we married), and my sense both from my experience and the few others I know about is that 10 years is about as long as most people can sustain such a relationship.

  92. And the Church does not discipline gay couples who kiss or make out, just as it does not discipline straight couples who kiss or make out. I know several gay members who are in good standing in the Church (one of whom is a temple worker) who date other gay people and are just as affectionate as straight dating couples.

    Finally, I know he’s not very active, but the LDS Survivor (i.e. the guy on the TV show) is gay and has a boyfriend.

  93. Chandra,

    No comment. We are talking past each other.

  94. Chandra,

    I’m not sure if you’re a member of the church or not, but just so we’re all on the same page, the LDS church condemns homosexual sexual activity whether it is done within a marriage or not. So yes, it is the activity itself that is wrong.

  95. If memory serves, they should be hitting about 15 years now.

  96. I think I know which survivor you’re talking about. He was very nice last night. Bobby Jon and that other guy, not so nice. Although I am on Bobby Jon’s side.

    About gay-ness. I have a nephew who is gay. When he was little, he was very spoiled and bratty acting. My aunt said “he is homosexual.” Well, he was only about 12 and I said, “no, he is just the baby of his family and very spoiled.” And I was insulted for my nephew that my aunt thought he was gay.

    But as he grew up, he just became more and more girlish in his actions and is now openly gay. I love him very much.

    I do know some feminine acting men who are not gay. At least, they have families.

    But I do not know any gay men who do not act feminine, except that guy on Prison Break, who I find strangely alluring.

    I do not know any openly gay men who act masculine, that is.

    I do not understand homosexuality. I believe that there are as many good homosexual people as there good heterosexual people. I believe, based upon personal experience, that their sexual choice does not impact the way they treat others.

    And yet….I still think it is contrary to the way God wants things. So are so many things that nevertheless exist in this cruel world.

    I used to be very judgmental, even homophobic until one of my best friends decided she was gay and I loved her so much anyway. And now I know and love many gay people. I don’t accept it, I don’t understand it, but I think God is going to work it all out.

    Did I already say that? If I did, just ignore this.

  97. FWIW, anneygb, I know many gay men who are not effeminate in the least.

    I’m not one of them.

    * sigh *

  98. annegb doesn’t know any gay men who don’t act feminine? Well, then, they must not exist!

    By the same logic, annie, since I don’t know any Mongolians, they must not exist, right?

  99. Okay, there seems to be an aversion around here to discussions on SSM, which is totally understandable. Feel free to ignore this post if you want, but I have a question for y’all.

    Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage morally, if it were legalized, how would it affect your rights in any way, shape, or form?

  100. D. Fletcher says:

    I’m not… effeminate. (Oy, how I hate that word — what’s so wrong with being effeminate?)

    And I’ve had several people tell me my apartment is decorated very masculinely. Well, naturally…!

    :)

  101. Ammon, annegb did not say that. She was just describing her own experience, with no indication that she thought it should be applied globally. While the plural of “observation” is not “data,” the plural is observations. We’re allowed to make observations.

    Head over to Snarkernacle if you want to snark.

  102. Re Baghdad Dan, Chandra, et al:

    Notwithstanding the fact that gays can get married in certain states, there exists *no* legal requirement for the Church to acknowledge those relationships. The Church has already defined “marriage” (as a Church term) as being between a man and a wife. The Church is under no obligation to consider a gay married couple as not being in sin.

    As to Baghdad Dan’s (and others’) comment that I am intolerant, I’m curious as to why he thinks this? Is it because I think that an openly gay-yet-celibate member would be marginalized by the general community? Hey, that’s a fact of LIFE in the Church — just like members who commit adultery and are excommunicated and still attend church are marginalized. The Church isn’t OSTRACIZING them — just MARGINALIZING them. Consider the difference in terms. It’s a social reality in Church. Would you expect an openly gay/celibate man to teach an EQ lesson marriage relationships? I’m speaking more in terms of observation than prescription.

    As to my personal connections with gay people — I have home taught two inactive members who are gay and who have requested hometeachers. I have two employees who work for me who are gay (one is in a relationship).

    I consider myself tolerant, but not accepting. Heck, I’m even a Democrat (most of the time). I as an adult can handle the fact that I work with gay people. But am I going to attempt to keep that influence away from my children? Absolutely. My children have lots of friends. Few of their friends are LDS. I can’t protect them from every sin. But I do my best. But having them associating with the children of openly gay lesbians down the street or the children of the couple a block over who openly practice witchcraft, well, I draw the line… At some point I may soften my stance as to the exposure my children have. But I don’t feel that now is the time.

    Call me politically incorrect if you will. We all have to draw the line somewhere, and this is one line I have chosen to draw.

    Re #72 – “which one” is not an accurate translation, but thanks for playing. :)

  103. All,

    Some of you on this board have inquired as to what exactly is wrong with acting out on homosexual feelings. “It’s just two people who love each other,” etc,…
    I personally don’t know the answer to why the Lord has prohibited it. I do know, however, that people wo do act on these feelings invariably lose the companionship of the Spirit. And the people I know who struggle faithfully with this problem, are often blessed with experiences and revelations and an increased spiritual capacity as they make their way through life with that difficult struggle. If there is a bright side to it, many of these people come to understand the Lord and his atonement on a level that is hard for the rest of us to imagine, which ultimately is everyone’s sole purpose for being here on this earth.
    The standard for approaching this issue (and many other things) is President Kimball. He was absolutely clear about the spiritually destructive nature of homosexual sin, yet he kept personal correspondence with hundreds of homosexuals throughout his whole life, some of whom had abandoned the Church and fully embraced “the lifestyle.” He wanted more than anything for these people to know they were loved and that he cared for them and hoped they would return to the fold. His personal letters to these people continued right up until he died.
    My personal belief is that President Kimball treated homosexuality — and homosexuals — exactly as the savior would have.
    Can you imagine what kind of a Church we would have if everyone at Church were that Christlike? I personally think it would be much harder for people to fall away in sin, due to the amount of love and acceptance they would feel at Church every week.
    I have friends who are members of the Church, who struggle with feelings of attraction to the same gender. Some of these guys have been to the brink of throwing away their covenants by giving in to their desires, and I have seen firsthand the strength these people can derive from some encouraging words and a hug. The fact that someone has some same-gender attraction that’s “poorly understood” (in Elder Nelson’s words) does not make them any less a child of God, or any less deserving of our love and encouragement.
    President Kimball’s life was a testimony that this is the Savior’s Church, we “see through a glass, darkly,” and we can all do better. You spread the word where you are, and I’ll spread it in Baghdad…

    Dan

  104. Re my own post, I should point out that I realize that it is impossible to completely shield my children from bad lifestyles. If I knew that a child of an openly g/l couple was on my daughter’s soccer team, I wouldn’t have a problem. If my daughter were invited to a sleepover at the other house, I would have a problem. It’s a question of influence/exposure, and I don’t have a hard-and-fast rule for all situations. The basic philosophy is to minimize my children’s exposure to the gay/lesbian lifestyle and to situations that might seek to “legitimize” it or make it “acceptable”.

    Feel free to brand me a heretic.

  105. annegb stated “I do not understand homosexuality.” Also said, “I was insulted for my nephew that my aunt thought he was gay.” She even said she was once homophobic. Judging from these types of phrases, I figured she might be making the assumption that all gay men are effeminate. Apparently, I was the one making the assumption. All apologies.

    Any takers on my question? How is legal gay marriage going to cause you undue harm, ingringe on your rights, or otherwise impose on you? Anyone?

  106. D. Fletcher says:

    I’ve asked the question a million times before, Ammon. No one has an answer to this, but I think *they* think it’s legalizing horrible behavior, akin to legalizing heroin. And since there’s legalized same-sex marriage, this is social approbation, and so people who normally wouldn’t deign try it (homosexual behavior) might just be curious to do it, with or without marriage.

    It’s a silly viewpoint, but that’s what I think… they think.

    I also think that it has become a conservative party building block, and they’d like it to stay a hot issue for a long time (to strengthen the party by finding solidarity against it). Many liberals I know, and even plenty of homosexuals, think it’s a non-issue — they don’t care whether they get legalized marriage or not.

  107. *sigh* Of course you’re right, Fletcher. I’d still just like to see someone try to answer it. ‘Twould be amusing for me.

    Dan, I am not a Christian myself, but in my humble opinion, you have the most Christlike views here. Kudos, and God bless in Iraq.

  108. Aaron Brown says:

    John (#31),

    Sorry for not responding to your post. For your information, I have not been monitoring this thread since I posted it (I’ve been busy), but I have dropped in briefly now and again. The reason I will sometimes respond to silly comments more quickly than serious ones is that it’s easier to do rapidly. I haven’t had time to engage you until now.

    My answer to your question is: “I really don’t know what to tell you.” I have no idea what would be best, and the answer probably depends on lots of factors that are specific to each person’s situation, and I’m not in a position to gauge that. I’m sure that’s not a satisfactory answer, but one of the reasons I posted the questions that I did is that I honestly don’t know how I would react in my hypothetical situations. (And yes, I realize the situations are not merely “hypothetical” for some).

    My hope is that if you did decide to be open about your homosexuality in Church, that others would not react negatively. I think that as time passes, more and more wards will be dealing with the scenario of celibate gay members whose orientations/inclinations/(pick your favorite term) are well-known to other ward members. Are we there yet? I’m not sure.

    Aaron B

  109. Ammon,

    I know the argument is often made that “gay marriage would destroy the family.” I don’t believe that is true. Gay marriage would not affect my family in any way, and I think it’s a misguided argument to suggest that somehow if it were legal, people might choose it as an alternative to hetero marriage in much greater numbers. I highly doubt that to be true. Gay people might choose it as an alternative to just living together or having a lot of partners, but that still doesn’t affect anyone’s family. And straight people are not going to opt of out hetero marriage because there’s another option available. To be blunt and even crass about it, for us straight guys, if boobs aren’t in the equation, it’s simply not going to be appealing.
    So I don’t see the effect gay marriage would have on my family or that of anyone I know.
    That said, I don’t think your question is a very illustrative one. I think a better question is, “What effect would gay marriage have on marriage, and society?” That question strikes me as being more useful.
    I don’t think we have enough data to formulate an argument that people would universally acknowledge as being logically adequate and factually informed. My position is based on faith, revelation, and a very strong gut feeling born of my own experience as a (newly) married man. It bothers me that I can’t offer much more than that, other than the slippery slope argument of “When you assert that defining marriage as between a man and a woman constitutes discrimination against everyone else, how do you determine where to stop the expansion of the definition of marriage? What basis, then, do you have for defining polygamysts, polyandrists, and incestuous couples out of the institution of marriage?” And it logically follows that if all of those things and more are legitimately recognized as marriages, then there is nothing unique about marriage and it has lost its meaning. At that point it just becomes a way to get tax and other civil benefits. To paraphrase The Incredibles, if marriage is everything, then it is nothing. And that is how gay marriage destroys traditional marriage. That slippery slope is grounded in reality, as evidenced by the polygamist lawsuit in Utah that came right on the heels of the Massachussetts ruling.
    “Two consenting adults” is a very, very inadequate standard for determining whether society should sanction a lifestyle, let alone accord it the privileged status of marriage.
    I also understand that heterosexuals have done a lot to cheapen marriage over the years, but I think the answer to that is to structure marriage laws to make it difficult for people to marry when they are unprepared, immature, etc. I’m not sure exactly how to do that, but I know in Louisiana, a law was recently put in place so people can’t get their marriage licenses until they have been to some kind of pre-marital counseling, or something like that. I’d like to see how that works out.

  110. Okay, Dan, you said,

    “Two consenting adults” is a very, very inadequate standard for determining whether society should sanction a lifestyle, let alone accord it the privileged status of marriage.

    Why? It rules out Polygamy and Polyandry. (I’ll leave incest out of this for now.)

  111. You can’t leave incest out of it, because I guarantee you that issue would arise very quickly, and it would become front and center in the courts. One time I was flipping channels and I happened upon a Jerry Springer show (I swear it was an accident!) and the topic of discussion was “brothers who want to marry each other.” There are all kinds of twisted things people would like to do that would fall under the standard of “two consenting adults.”

  112. Thanks for all the fine comments.

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