“Brokeback Mountain” in Sacrament Meeting

Yes, you read that right. I’m sitting in Sacrament Meeting today, feeling a little sick, wondering if the talks are going to bore me to death, thinking about hanging out in the hallway and playing with the primary kids (rather than sitting in the pew like a responsible adult) when it happens … the speaker starts talking about “Brokeback Mountain.” (For those of you who don’t know what “Brokeback Mountain” is, I invite you to leave your Montana cabin and come back to Civilization for a couple weeks, and then we’ll talk). “Oh goodie!,” I said to my wife. “This should be entertaining.”

The speaker was a fairly new convert, and I think she was a psychotherapist by profession. She had made a few harmless comments about how she likes to watch movies, when she suddenly and non-chalantly mentioned that she had seen Brokeback the other evening. Just in case some in the audience didn’t understand the reference, she clarified that Brokeback was an Ang Lee film about a “same-sex relationship.” She said it was quite well-done, particularly in how it portrayed the heartache and pain that the secretive relationship between the two male leads brought to the lives of all the characters. She then segued into a discussion about a recent same-sex attraction conference at BYU, which was attended heavily by family members of LDS gays, including many women who had been trapped in marriages to gay men and who had suffered greatly for it. The speaker commented on how enlightened the BYU professors’ discussion at the conference was, and she followed with a wish that the LDS community be more open in discussing issues like same-sex attraction, and more sensitive to the trials that many gay LDS members face. She concluded with a few comments about “grace” that topped off her talk rather nicely.

It’s hard to convey the tone and spirit of a talk like this in a blog post. The talk that could have been delivered well or delivered horribly; in my opinion, it was done very, very well. I was surprised to find myself thinking that. For some reason, it would have been hard for me to imagine someone pulling off a talk like this without visibly offending half the ward. Of course, maybe I just belong to an atypical LDS ward. But a more plausible explanation is that this woman just managed to find the right tone, and despite her potentially volatile content, she was able to pull the whole thing off.

In thinking about the talk some more this evening, I find myself wondering if any of it truly was inappropriate. In my view, the mention of same-sex attraction was perfectly appropriate. We live in a day and age where same-sex relationships and struggles are a reality, and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. I think the comments about how devastating the secretive relationships were on all those affected was right on the money as well. I liked the admonition that we all develop greater sensitivity on this issue, as well as the mild chastisement of LDS culture for not being as sensitive as it could be. The only legitimate concern I do see is that LDS members with children probably wouldn’t appreciate the advocacy of gay cinema over the pulpit. Not that the speaker was necessarily saying everyone should go out and see this movie, but it could easily have been taken that way. After all, Sacrament Meeting is a time for advocacy and admonition, even if we all know you shouldn’t necessarily embrace every word that’s uttered over the pulpit. I can easily imagine the following conversation:

“Mom, I want to go see “Brokeback Mountain.””

“Honey, you most certainly are NOT going to a movie about a gay love affair!”

“But Mom, the speaker at Church on Sunday said it was a good movie, and you’re the one that says I should listen to what I learn at Church! Hypocrite!!!”

My wife and I don’t have children yet, so maybe I’m just imagining a concern that wouldn’t really be that big of a deal. I don’t know. But I suspect that many LDS parents would take exception to this on some level. Nevertheless, all in all, I must say that I thought the talk was very timely, interesting, and tasteful.

I’m wondering what all you BCC readers think. That’s right … I’m speaking to all 227,000 of you. Based on how I’ve described it, can you imagine how this talk could have been in good taste, or is it clear that a line was crossed here that shouldn’t have been crossed?

In addition, I’m wondering if you’ve had your own experiences in hearing (or giving!) potentially volatile talks in Sacrament Meeting that worked remarkably well. If so, how did the speaker pull it off?

And of course, if you want to share experiences where the speaker DIDN’T pull it off, feel free to do that too. :)

Aaron B

Comments

  1. Sounds good to me, Aaron. This all depends on context. The danger to me is that unpopular stands on something like “Brokeback Mountain” might delegitimize everything else she had to say to the audience. Of course, I doubt that the average conservative LDS audience could get that much more regressive on homosexuality. And those that would react negatively probably can’t be helped anyway.

  2. Brokeback Mountain is not a movie for children or teens, so it really does shock me that the speaker brought it up in Sacrament meeting. Personally, I think church members would gain a lot of perspective about gay people by seeing this movie. But I can’t imagine recommending it to LDS people, especially in Sacrament meeting, because of the sexual content and disturbing material. The speaker in your Sacrament meeting was very bold…or perhaps simply naive.

  3. If I had been there, I think I would have had a panic attack. Not because I dislike gay people, which I don’t, they are PEOPLE, but because of well just because. Anxiety disorders.

    I wonder if maybe the “shock” of the title of that movie, might have been so shocking, as to make it so most people didn’t even hear the next minute or two or three of the talk? I can certainly see it having that effect.

    I am glad that it seems she handled the topic well, though.

    This post makes me wonder how often other, “harsh reality” topics are brought up. Not that gay people are harsh, but the plain fact of the situation, is, well, jarring, in Sacrament meeting. So I wonder, how often are topics like drugs brought up, in passing, and in much more than passing? What about talks on victims of crime and how they need support and love and not just “learn to forgive (whomever)”. In other words, how much does reality, instead of touchy-feely generalities that miss many opportunities for enlightment and enrichment and edification, get through the chapel doors?

    Things would need to be handled sensitively, which really knocks out a large percentage possibly of the congregation for handling such things.

    Still, it’s an interesting and important issue . . . crud, this is yet another thing I may post on soon. I think I’ve said that about every third comment I’ve made lately . . . I think I have a list, now, of about 10 LDS things to post on. Which, my blog isn’t exclusive to those things, but it’s part of my life and so part of my blog.

    Mebbe I can write up a guest post for somewhere (Hey, Stephen!). If, I can follow through. Sometimes I often run out of steam and collapse, mentally.

    Woops, went off topic there. Anyway, you’ve prompted some thoughts for me. Thanks!

  4. WOW,Bet everyone stopped falling asleep just the title alone has gotten so much talk we all know what its about! …but I am Two sided here I really am!maybe this person should have brought this up in class without the kidds and teens around.but Man i agree we all need to really talk about these real things happening now in these times so people who are stuggling dont feel so outcast that they wont ask for help and know they will still be loved by the lord and the Bishop and whomever and ppl will help them.I had a friend when i was 15 oh he was so handsome i had a crush on him but he had been hurt badly by his father and was so confused himself about what he was… he would cry to me and say he was scared he was lds and did not want to be any thing like that .anyways it really sounds like she did do a good job talking real with people but wow but man its all happening and even younger than the teens are seeing stuff and having questions because of the stupid tv and school kids and everything else…anyhow i am glad you wrote about this experience…thanks for sharing and making me think.I just really feel we all need to take care of one another more than we are and talk more freely yes carefully what and how we say things but yes i think its good to talk about the real issues of today!and just love everyone through it so we can help others and hopefully ourselves as well make it back home.take care. Heather

  5. P.s. i was trying to say maybe it would be better to talk about it in relief society or priestood class or even just sunday school with the adults without the teens and kids it tyed wrong.thats where i am 2 sided and really unsure about it being ok in sacrament but i dont know maybe .

  6. I would much prefer talks in church be based on scriptures, words of modern day prophets, personal testimonies and experiences. When we start basing our talks on controversial movies and talk show psycologists we will be on shaky ground. I hope that she at least included some references to scriptures or conference talks, but from the description she did not. It appears this was a well done political/social commentary not a sacrament talk.

  7. It sounds like a really awesome talk. I wish I could have heard it. I’ve seen Brokeback Mountain, and I thought it was very well done, too.

    I can easily see how the talk could have been done tastefully, and as easily see how some may have been offended. Maybe they needed to be offended.

    Not talking about a problem doesn’t make it go away.

  8. Anytime someone drops the title of any film about any thing at all in a sacrament talk of any kind I am immediately distracted. It just throws off the whole experience. It’s entirely too reflexive for my tastes. It’s like pausing to thank the sponsors or something.

    Especially the “hot topic” film. Anybody remember “Titanic” getting dropped in Sacrament talks back in 1998? Ugh. You can talk about a film without mentioning the name. This is Church, not CNN. But that’s just me.

  9. I’m with MahNahvu #2 Eric #6 and Matt #8 on this post. Sacrament meeting is not a traditional public forum where you can or should spew your politicsl and/or social beliefs at will. There may be a better time and place for these discussions, such as priesthood or relief society, or a combined “reliefhood” type meeting (as Heather suggests in #5); however, it seems Sacrament meeting is not the appropriate place. It’s hard to imagine an LDS Bishop asking someone to address the issue of same sex attraction in Sacrament meeting, and using as the basis of the talk a film popular in modern culture.

  10. D. Fletcher says:

    Movies themselves are not really appropriate to talk about in Sacrament Meeting, and certainly not sex. On the other hand, Brokeback Mountain isn’t “less” appropriate to talk about than say, conceiving your children.

  11. …If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    (Pearl of Great Price | Articles of Faith 1:13)

    I struggle to find anything praiseworthy about any ‘R’ rated movie and why it should be referrence material for a talk in Sacrament Meeting.

    If there is to be an appeal for understanding and love, I would argue that the scriptures contain ample doctrine and examples for consideration.

  12. I have given several such straightforward talks and testimonies. I once spoke on the Church’s state of apostasy from the United Order. I’ve talked about Mormons’ physical-emotion illiteracy and abysmal application of the Word of Wisdom and doctrines on the holiness of the body. Once, on Mother’s Day, I spoke somewhat graphically about the physical birth act and its theological implications. In a recent testimony, I discussed the fact that C. S. Lewis’ witch represents a doctrinal falsehood — like the three members of the Godhead, Satan is male. Once, when our Bishop started Fast and Testimony meeting by challenging us to explain how we knew the Church was true, I very matter-of-factly shared a powerful vision I had had in which God revealed himself to me. I also do strange things like blurt out an “Amen” in response to a good point in a talk, or show up on Sunday wearing copious strings of beads and short wool socks over unshaven legs.

    But I am a faithful, dedicated, Temple-recommend holding Latter-day Saint.

    I’ve gotten a variety of reactions as Mormons try to explain me to themselves, most of them negative: she’s trying to attract attention, she’s a willful apostate, she’s innocently ignorant of the scriptures and the teachings of the Brethren, she’s just plain looneytunes. As each of these explanations proves false, the tension between fascination and frustration seems to become too much for some people, and I’ve been alternately yelled at, smirked at, and ignored.

    The fact of the matter is simply this: I am not of your culture. And I am now the majority. Move over Utah.

    Most members of the Church today have no connection whatever to Utah and its sequestered subculture. Speaking for myself, I find it to be a bizarre regional/historical aberration of the Gospel, which I see not as culture but as cosmology-philosophy-theology. As intelligent and articulate converts enter the Church from the swirling postmodern culture-mix, you may expect to see and hear many more boat-rocking things than this woman’s talk. Aaron, I’m guessing the reason the talk felt appropriate to you is that it was simply an honest expression by a person who is unfettered by certain social conventions.

    And admittedly, that can be a dangerous thing. But relax. The Gospel is true. The Church is God’s instrument for carrying it forth in the last days. The wind and waves will no doubt pick up, but Jesus isn’t about to let the ship wreck in the storm.

  13. Aaron – Thanks for raising the issue. It sounds like you had an interesting meeting. I would tend to go along with the idea that the subject should have been raised in another venue – like RS or Priesthood meeting – or perhaps a joint session of both. On the other hand if mention of the movie was in the context of opening our eyes to the outside world and facing issues head on – perhaps without the movie and its subject being the only issue raised – then I don’t have trouble bringing it up in Sacrament Meeting. The youngest children would most likely not hear or not understand what was being discussed and the teenagers need to discuss this issue as much as the adults – perhaps more so.

    Years ago our Bishop assigned an older High Priest the task of presenting to MP holders the subject of our sexual relationships with our wives. The focus of the presentation was that men in the church have a responsibility to see that to our wives get as much enjoyment from our sexual realtions as much as men do. It was a very frank discussion and he used terms that I’ve never heard discussed in church before. The priesthood meeting was the right place for that discussion.

    I really get the impression that some people think if we don’t talk about certain issues they will eventually go away. But certainly same sex attraction only seems to be getting more and more exposure and we must make it part of the issue we discuss – in the right circumstances – if we are to serve the needs of our members. I’m not suggesting acceptance of same sex attraction but a much more open discussion of what those members who have same sex attraction can do to remain members in good standing.

  14. a random John says:

    It would be interesting to know what she was asked to speak on. Perhaps she was asked to speak on the BYU conference she had just attended. Making reference to the situations in a movie might be more appropriate than citing real life struggles and hurts.

    However in general I think that references to movies in talks should be pretty limited. It is hard to pull off well.

    I’ve heard more than one talk on how Groundhog’s Day is an inspirational movie. I find it hard to believe that someone was actually asked to speak about Groundhog’s Day.

    President Hinckley mentioned the movie Chicago in conference a few years ago, though not by name, and mainly to say that he refused to see it.

    I guess I’m less concerned about mentioning movies that the fact that it is usually just another symptom of a bad talk, and we get too many of those.

  15. A speaker in my ward gave an excellent talk yesterday that referenced Star Wars quite a bit.

  16. Well Cetti,
    I guess people in Indiana are just too ignorant for you.

  17. I would guess that this woman knew exactly what she was doing. I don’t think you could do that accidentally.

    I have mixed emotions because there are times I would like to give a talk or bear my testimony about a difficult subject, but I don’t want to talk about it in front of kids. But there are things we need to talk about. We do have a testimony meeting in Relief Society and that is where I will share on those types of things.

    Although sometimes we don’t have testimonies or I can’t go. I do think we need some type of forum for things like this movie, which people are surely thinking about and discussing at home.

    Bottom line, I applaud this woman’s courage. Right after 9/11, we had a guy in our ward who went to Saudi Arabia for several weeks. He came back and gave a quiet solemn testimony sharing his experience with, and respect for, the Saudis he’d encountered. He did it reverently, I figure maybe 10 of us even understood what he was trying to say (it went right over my husband’s head), but I was so grateful for his courage in taking a stand that wasn’t PC.

    Life is gray, you guys. I don’t have an answer to the question of where or when is proper, but I think as time goes on, we will need more and more to address these issues. I think when there is a conflict, we should err on the side of mercy. Not condoning things that are contrary, but always loving the individual, which is what God does.

    The older I get, the less I care for form.

  18. Just keeping it real…. Like I always say I go to a different church than the BCC crowd. Very unenlighted or should I say unsullied by the opinions of the secular world….. but our kids go on missions and get married in the temple so its a tradeoff thats worth it.

    This would have gone over like a lead balloon in my ward. Positive reviews of movies based on fornication, adultery, and gay sin are not appropriate for Sac meeting. I can imagine a huddled Bishopric whispering behind her as they debate if and when to step in.

  19. To me, the most important thing about a Sacrament meeting talk is that it be spoken by the spirit, which means, among other things, being spoken from the heart.

    A few years ago, a speaker in our stake conference, also a recent convert, mentioned in his discourse having seen Blackhawk Down (which for those who do not know, was an R-rated movie), and praising it and drawing one or two lessons from it. I am glad our stake presidency did not yank him from the stand, or make clarifying comments thereafter that that movie was not endorsed by the stake. The man spoke from his heart, and I felt the spirit (although, I admit, cringing a little when he mentioned the movie).

    It sounds like the speaker in Aaron’s ward spoke from her heart, her purpose was right (not to endorse same sex sexual relations, but to urge sensitivity), and if she was moved by the spirit in presenting the talk in her ward (and it apparently did not offend the listeners), then who am I to take issue with it.

  20. D. Fletcher says:

    Truthfully, I’m grateful when there’s an odd talk in any meeting. I’m very tired of most of our meetings; it’s nice to hear something different for a change. I look forward to testimonies that are vaguely embarrassing, because it provides something to talk about.

    Talks are best when a real personality breaks through the murk of regurgitated doctrine. Even the GAs are best when personality shines through.

  21. Bbell, you say of your mighty ward, “unsullied by the opinions of the secular world….. but our kids go on missions and get married in the temple so its a tradeoff thats worth it.”

    You know, my ward is pretty smart and you’d probably hear a talk like this one… and yet kids go on missions and get married in the temple despite all that! I wonder what you’ve traded off for, exactly?

  22. Aaron Brown says:

    Anon, I see no reason to be “anon” with your comment.

    bbell, I’m wondering how you managed to figure out that all the kids of the BCC crowd failed to go on missions and only got married in Vegas, after their teen pregnancies that resulted from nights of drunken, drug-filled orgies. Very perceptive of you. You must have the gift of discernment.

    Guy Murray — I suppose I agree that airing one’s “politics and/or social beliefs” in Church is less appropriate than doctrinal exposition. But that’s not what the speaker did here. You can quarrel with the appropriateness of referencing a movie (particularly, this one) over the pulpit, but that doesn’t change the fact that the speaker WAS trying to make a religious point, not just a political or “social” one.

    Brian Duffin — You may be right that the scriptures contain ample references to the religious principles that the speaker was trying to invoke. And I agree that the scriptures are a more important source for those principles than a movie. However, whatever the merits of the speaker discussing “Brokeback Mountain” in this case, I would be relucant to say that it is always inappropriate to discuss modern cinema in a talk.

    Also, you said:
    “I struggle to find anything praiseworthy about any ‘R’ rated movie”

    Not to pick a fight, but this is the kind of comment that makes it hard for so many of us who don’t subscribe to the “All R-rated movies are prohibited” line to take those who do seriously.

    Aaron B

  23. Bbell,

    Man, that’s not cool. You just directly accused “the BCC crowd” (whoever the heck that is) of being unrighteous louts that can’t get their kids to go on missions or get married in the temple (since it’s only the willingness of parents to avoid “Brokeback Mountain” that will get them there). And yet you read the page…..mustn’t dabble in unrighteousness. I’d say that you owe Aaron an apology both for accusing him of being a bad parent and failing to note that the general opinion on this thread actually supports not talking about this particular film in sacrament meeting.

  24. What I am saying is that we are not influenced by popular secular ideas/culture enough to give talks like the one above. And that is OK because those that buy into the ideas of the secular world gradually become a part of that secular world.

    I personally believe that religions and families that buy into the popular secular ideas of the world will be unable to transmit religious values across the generations and stay true to their faith. This is borne out by the religious situation in Europe and amongst our mainline protestant friends here in the US.

    Talks like the one mentioned above are a sign of that spiritual drift.

  25. I wonder, do we really want to delineate what “should” and “should not” be said by people in their talks? I’m just a dumb convert, but isn’t the whole reason we don’t have the same paid cleric standing up there every week that we’re a different kind of religion — you know, one where people directly and personally engage their faith at whatever level they happen to be? You know, the D&C 46:2, 88:122, 84:110 model, individuals speaking as they believe the Spirit inspires them, others hearing as they believe the Spirit inspires them, at whatever level they happen to be, with a healthy helping of caveat emptor?

    Whether or not some particular act in the social arena is “appropriate” seems to me to be primarily a cultural question. Movies come up in talks and testimonies because they are a part of the culture of the speaker if not of his audience. The question of what a Sacrament meeting talk is “for” is also a cultural one. Ultimately, isn’t the whole format of our meetings cultural? The recent reconfiguring of the RS Enrichment program is one example of the ways in which the Church is changing its outward structure in response to the omnicultural state of its membership. This is a time in American history and world history when cultures are blending, religious thought is merging, and every belief and practice is up for grabs in a pre-apocalyptic free-for-all. The Church is people, and people are culture, and so we are going to have some clashes.

    But what can we do about it? Even with a million pharisaic regulations in place, I don’t think we could stop the chaos that is a part of growth. I don’t think we can understand it with our analytical mind – God works in mysterious ways, sometimes by grafting the wild into the tame. The hordes of barbarian converts are not going to go away, no matter how many sarcastic spears people like “Constanza” might throw at them. Really, the only thing we can do is to sink ourselves further into our unchanging doctrinal foundations, get to know and love others whose backgrounds are very different, teach them correct principles by precept and example, and let them govern themselves.

    I had a serious clash with a GD teacher once, and I wish he’d taken me aside and lovingly communicated to me why he considered my comments to be inappropriate. Instead, he yelled at me and then resented me silently for years. It nearly caused me to lose my testimony, because as a convert, I looked up to him.

    The Church has very strong doctrines concerning homosexuality, doctrines which are rooted in the very foundations of our theology. Orson Scott Card has an excellent discussion of this at http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-hypocrites.html. If we’re rooted in these, and stay close to the Spirit, teaching the same to our children, I don’t think an odd talk in Sacrament meeting will cause us to lose our footing.

    Annegb, I like your statement “Life is gray.” I’d even go further and say — life is colorful!

  26. bbell: we are not influenced by popular secular ideas/culture enough to give talks like the one above.

    The person who gave the talk was a recent convert. Are you saying you don’t have any recent converts in your ward? I suppose it’s just as well, since it doesn’t sound like they would fit in.

  27. The following might be off the subject and rude:

    Brian Duffin:

    Schindler’s List
    The Killing Fields
    Children of a Lesser God
    Tootsie
    Platoon
    etc. etc.

    G-rated: Herbie Goes Hawaiin

  28. Just to piggyback on a random John’s Chicago comment above, Thomas S. Monson used Home Alone as a positive example in his April 1991 General Conference talk.

    Home Alone is violent, but, at least in its theatrical cut, it certainly contains less gay sex than Brokeback Mountain.

  29. Aaron– Agreed. I did not say ALL cinema was inappropriate for talks. Rather I noted my difficulty in comprehending how an ‘R’ rated movie was appropriate for discussion over the pulpit.

    I can appreciate the difficulty new members face when writing and giving a talk in Church. My wife is a convert and she often struggles with issues of doctrine and what is appropriate to discuss.

  30. Actually the family sitting behind us yesterday joined the church last year. The idea of them giving a talk like this is laughable. They have told me that one of the reasons they joined the church is because of our stands on traditional sexual standards. They spent 12 months investigating….

    3 rows up from us were Brian K and his wife and kid they joined the church in 2002. He also is quite happy with our standards on Sexuality and has told our YM in my presence that one of the reasons they joined the church is because the LDS actually believe in something and have not given up.

  31. Aaron,

    I have a hard time imagining this being done well. You were there and I wasn’t, so I’ll take your word for it, but still . . .

    In particular, I struggle with this part: “she followed with a wish that the LDS community be more…” Yadda yadda yadda. I think calls to group repentance go over in church about as well as they go over in the bloggernacle. I mean, I’ll listen to it in general conference, and from my wife, and occasionally from my bishop, but when somebody uses pulpit time to tell us their pet complaint about their co-worshipers, I immediately hit the mute button. If a speaker wants to talk about her own personal struggle to live a principle of the gospel, fine, but leave the rest of us out of it.

    Anybody who objects to movies being talked about over the pulpit needs to tell the 1st Presidency. I can think of several times over the years when a movie was mentioned in conference or devotional talks.

  32. Paul Mortensen says:

    Many commenters have raised the issue of sacrament meeting being an inappropriate venue for such a sermon due to the presence of children in the audience. For me and my spouse that’s not much of an issue because we make it a point to discuss what happens at church with our children when we get home. We long ago abandoned the idea that what our children are taught at church by others need not be evaluated and corrected (if necessary). I don’t understand those who take their families to church and then fail to follow up in the home. That’s one of the intended purposes of the sabbath. In my life I’ve attended some rather interesting wards and listened to equally interesting sermons during sacrament meetings. Following one such interesting meeting I had to take the time to explain to my five-year-old (at the time) that the bishop was not responsible for black helicopters flying overhead and that he was not siccing uniformed paramilitary types on members who “stepped out of line.” I’ve also had to explain that a certain member of the church probably was not visted by Jesus and the Virgin Mary and told to sell everything she had and move to Utah. If parents are relying on what their children have been taught during the Sunday block of meetings to lay the spiritual groundwork for a life leading to exaltation then the future of Christ’s Kingdom is in serious jeopardy.

  33. annegb- I once wrote a 2 hour talk on Herbie Goes Hawaiin. :-) The Bishop, however, did not like VW bugs. :-(

  34. I say more power to her it was probably the most interesting thing you heard all day.

    Sacrament meeting talks should be diverse and chaotic and until we decide to have paid clergy who stick to the party line you’ll have all sorts of interesting things said over what amounts to little more than an open mic.

    We had a talk a few months ago about how crows eat ants because it makes them high–although I can’t remember what the gospel message was–however, it was one of the best talks I’d ever heard–basically the philosphy of men mingled with scripture–just the way I like it.

    cje

  35. D. Fletcher says:

    I once heard somebody quote “Hotel California,” the Eagles’ song, in a talk.

  36. D., that’s because with sacrament meeting, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

  37. “we are not influenced by popular secular ideas/culture enough to give talks like the one above”

    Sounds like a museum for saints rather than a hospital for sinners. Even the converts are in intact families (mother working inside home?, lots of children?, politically conservative?). I’d come visit this ward some time, but I am afraid you all might be translated first. Say hello to Enoch please.

  38. D. Fletcher says:

    LOL

  39. I’m a bit torn when it comes to this topic.

    On the one hand, I think one needs to be very careful about what they say in Sacrament Meeting. Talks should be rooted in the words of prophets, scriptures, etc. Depending on the speaker’s preparation, the subject of same-sex attraction could tactfully be approached with appropriate quotes and references to strengthen the speaker’s position.

    Generally, promoting an R-rated movie over the pulpit isn’t going to win a lot of points with the ward. People tend to tune out or tsk-tsk whenever one is mentioned. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if there’s any time during the 3-hour block of meetings where such a movie can be mentioned without condemnation. Even if I were to mention Schindler’s List as an enlightening movie, I might be subject to others’ scrutiny and disaproval. While I personally have no problem with somebody seeing a movie like Brokeback Mountain, I think that, for the sake of the member, that type of movie probably shouldn’t be used as the vehicle for promoting a way of thinking. Not because seeing the movie is necessarily a sin or anything, but because it may discredit the member in the eyes of the ward, which would prevent many of them from taking the rest of the talk remotely seriously.

    On the other hand, I strongly believe that the subject of how we treat homosexuals is one that needs to be directly addressed within the Church. I’m not talking about any doctrinal changes by any means, but I think that, as a people, we could generally be more sensitive to same-sex attraction. A lot of our people really misunderstand it, and therefore don’t show much sympathy towards those who feel this attraction. I mean, how many Mormons are even comfortable associating with gays? How many can talk about a homosexual acquaintance as being a good person, even though they’ve chosen a different life style? I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be a member of this Church who struggles with same-sex attraction.

    Maybe someday the subject of sympathy and sensitivity toward gays will be more directly addressed from our pulpits, by priesthood leaders. But until then, I think it’s safer to approach this subject in forums other than Sacrament meeting.

  40. “I did not say ALL cinema was inappropriate for talks. Rather I noted my difficulty in comprehending how an ‘R’ rated movie was appropriate for discussion over the pulpit.”

    Brian Duffin,

    I’m not sure of your familiarity with R-rated movies but wanted to clarify something for you, which potentially could help you understand how they could be appropriate for discussion over the pulpit. Many of these films are only R-rated for scenes that last less than two minutes of the entire film. Church talks are generally 10-20 minutes long and most movies are 90-150 minutes long. So, logically, it’s not hard to see how someone could pick something out of an R-rated movie (or any movie) to be part of their talk AND be appropriate. If, in many cases, the main difference between an R-rated film and any other film is just two minutes.

    Now, certain R-rated movies do have some reoccuring language (f-bombs, etc.) that is present throughout the whole movie. But even if someone were to use such a movie as an example, they’d presumably be smart enough to avoid dropping f-bombs over the pulpit.

  41. I was in a ward once where the 2nd counselor in the bishopric talked about the long and short versions of Inna Gadda Da Vida (sp?) in testimony meeting.

    Sorry, I don’t recall what his point was.

  42. Cetti,

    Are you the same person that reviewed Napoleon Dynamite in the recent issue of Dialogue? If so I was wondering if you had read the review of The Graduate published in Dialogue many years ago. I highly reccomend it.

  43. Cetti, once you admit to speaking “graphically about the physical birth act” in sacrament meeting, it’s pretty clear that you don’t know a thing about what’s appropriate in that venue. Furthermore, I don’t know what that has to do with being a convert. I don’t think that this religion adds anything new to the norm that dictates that certain topics aren’t discussed in mixed company. Also, I’m not sure why one should consider your willingness to offend your coreligionists (and their children) as evidence that you are representative of a more “intelligent and articulate” brand of Mormon.

  44. I once heard someone quote Pink Floyd in a sacrament meeting talk:

    Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
    You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

    I don’t know if it was appropriate, but I remember it, unlike 99.9% of sacrament meeting talks.

  45. Posts 6 and 31 were the best of the thread. I find no fault in anyone’s sincere effort to speak in sacrament meeting, especially newer converts. However, based on the limited summary provided, I failed to see the “religious point” that Aaron says was in the talk (post 22). There does appear to have been a general call for greater tolerance of SSA, but without an articulated doctrinal basis for the “call”, it falls flat. In an Ensign article a few years ago, Elder Dallin H. Oaks articulated the doctrinal basis for such tolerance. The teachings of the Savior in the scriptures support such tolerance. A thoughtful discussion of Elder Oaks’ article and the teachings of the Savior in a first Sunday priesthood or Relief Society class or a combined fifth Sunday priesthood/Relief Society class might be a great idea.

  46. This year my ward is studying a book that is full of depictions of sex and violence: adultry, incest, prostitution, war, murder and genocide.
    I struggle to find anything praiseworthy in such a book.

    Fortunately, this book has not been reviewed by the MPAA, so we don’t have to worry about the implications of a possible R-rating (unlike some movies based on the book).

  47. ed, if you’re not careful, somebody might mistake you for a smartass. :-)

  48. “Fortunately, this book has not been reviewed by the MPAA, so we don’t have to worry about the implications of a possible R-rating (unlike some movies based on the book).”

    Well said, ed. Just as fortunately, the MPAA only rates movies and nothing else that may enter into my life.

  49. go, ed

  50. From the original post here is what I see. I am reading between the lines….

    (yes, I live in a bubble ward everybody is SAHM including the converts, 4-7 kids per family and they are all conservatives, no its not Utah, Idaho, CA or AZ)

    Speaker: You LDS regular members are all unenlightened. Prop 22 was wrong, I am educated and know better then y’all. The church needs to change its ways and the mainstream members need to repent. (Oh wait that is the bloggernacle as well)

    So to me she comes off as a out of touch with the mainstream member who has been heavily influenced by secular ideas on Sexuality. She then proceeds to chastise the mainstream members with her enlightened knowledge that the mainstream member is just not smart enough or spiritual enough to understand.

  51. bbell,

    Thank you for admitting to reading between the lines:

    Aaron B said she said: “she followed with a wish that the LDS community be more open in discussing issues like same-sex attraction, and more sensitive to the trials that many gay LDS members face. She concluded with a few comments about “grace” that topped off her talk rather nicely.”

    You said she said: “You LDS regular members are all unenlightened. Prop 22 was wrong, I am educated and know better then y’all. The church needs to change its ways and the mainstream members need to repent.”

    Now, perhaps I’m alone here, but I in no way got the impression that the speaker said anything you said she said. Unenlightened? Educated, know better? Chastise? Repent?! You got all of that out of the original post? I personally think those are all your words. Goodness gracious, remind me to be careful what I say around you! I wouldn’t want you to turn around and relay the message.

  52. Why would I care about the “barbarian hordes” of converts? I am a convert myself for crying out loud!

  53. Bob, reading between the lines of your comment:

    Bob: I desire to overthrow the government and replace it with a group of king-men. I will drink the blood of bbell and eat his children and/or puppies. I wear capes to church and wield a scimitar.

    That’s just the way I read your comment, that’s all.

  54. D. Fletcher says:

    Anon, I’m not sure what your last comment is referring to but it was funny as hell.

    LOL

  55. The concept that a R rated movie, and for that matter some PG-13, is appropriate for Sacrament Meeting bothers me, but that you could gleem some knowledge from one does not. However we have been asked not to see movies that are inapropriate, some of us choose a R Rating as a cut-off and that is fine others of us think we can filter out the garbage and see the good, great. ( I personally struggle with images or thoughts that I have seen from movies.)

    I need to seperate myself from the world where I can. I don’t go into bars to buy soft drinks and the idea that there are movies that for some reason they could not cut out the swearing, the violence, and the sex and still get their message across bothers me.

    With this said we are told to seek knowledge that is good. We are told to love the sinner not the sin, and yes I believe if you give into same sex attraction you are sinning. (This is not my struggle though but I do struggle with other issues.) Yes we as Latter-day Saints need to be more understanding of those who fall prey to this, but do we need to see movies on the struggles or pain it can cause , I don’t think so. There is better ways of finding this understanding, have we not “Faith Precedes the Miracle” and “The Miracle of Forgiveness”. There are other good books and resource for those who need this knowledge. I also do not think it would be inapproprite to dicuss subjects like this in RS & Priesthood, and if there is youth problem maybe a Fireside where the approprite individuals could dicuss the subject.

  56. Whoa, you guys are a lively bunch! This blogging stuff is like playing in a sandbox – grit flying everywhere!

    #43 gst: Well, I didn’t get truly gross or anything, and tried to be as tactful as I knew how, but my reading of Mormon theology is that physicality is not a sick, revolting topic never to be mentioned in a public setting. I don’t think our doctrine supports a view of the body and its God-designed processes as shameful and unspeakable. I’ve attended a number of birthing women, and find the process as much a revelation of the mind of God as the product. We revere motherhood so much, and birth is a huge part of it we tend to ignore. What seems gross to one culture doesn’t seem gross to another (hence the “barbarian horde” comment – every culture views the others as the gross and inappropriate and less enlightened ones). It has taken me a long time (24 years) of being a Mormon to sort out the differences between the Church as culture and the Church as baseline theology. I will always promote the latter in favor of the former if there seems to me to be a conflict.

    One other thought that occurs to me is that Mormons seem highly sensitive to things spoken. In my native culture, words are playthings, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously – always with a grain of salt. On the other hand, visual images are potent, going right to the heart and soul. So I never watch R-rated movies for that reason – too dangerous, because visual data for me goes right to long-term memory – forever! Are many Mormons that way with sound? I mean, do Sacrament meeting talks go right to your hearts and souls and stick there, so you have to be really careful what you hear?

    Please let me know if this is the case, and I will make an extra effort to be even more careful in my talks. It never occurred to me until this minute.

    #42 Kieth B: Yes, Napoleon is my kind of movie! Thanks for the tip on the other article.

  57. Fun discussion. I love the “R” rated issue because it’s one of the few hot issues where I get to be on the same side as the cool people.

    Anyway, I was thinking, Aaron, that you could have made this post even more controversial by posting it a month from now. I remember last year, no one seemed to care about the positively depicted euthanasia in Million Dollar Baby until it won the Oscar for Best Picture, and then suddenly it was a big deal. And I don’t mean with the bloggernacle but the Christian community in general. As such, I would like to prophesy that the real controversy surrounding BM is yet to come – and that includes its discussion in Sacrament talks.

  58. Hum, now that it’s been mentioned in sacrement meeting, I have to go see Brokeback Mountain. Whoo Hoo! I’m calling the dh, Hot date tonight.

  59. Ryan Bell says:

    I’m amazed that after 56 comments, the focus of the discussion remains on the propriety of discussing movies or homo-sensitivity in sacrament meeting. There is a far simpler principle to debate, and one that everyone in the church–convert or non, Utahn or non– should know. That is that unless you’re God, the prophet, or the leader of the congregation, you have no right to sow controversy in your allotted pulpit time. You have a pet issue? Great, share it with your friends or hand out pamphlets after the block. You have a personal witness that the whole church could stand to be more ______ toward all ______ ? Good. I hope you use that knowledge to improve your life, and quietly encourage those around you to do the same.

    What you should NEVER do is take a position during sacrament meeting that you know will cause some listeners to feel feelings of contention and strong disagreement. For all of you that think this talk was just fine, let’s imagine another talk on the same topic, one that can find roughly equal support in doctrine:

    I just want to say that this Brokeback Mountain Movie is sad to me. I understand that gay people are God’s children, but homosexual acts are egregious sin, and God must be very disappointed that a movie like this is getting so much positive attention. We in the Church could definitely stand a bit taller in opposing this kind of media. I hope none of you will support it.

    How would that talk make you feel? Maybe there are a few statements in there with which you’d quibble as to precise correctness. But isn’t it true that the sentiments are generally accurate, according to our doctrine? Then why does it seem so wrong? Because it’s certain to make some people feel offended. And that’s why so many of the readers of this blog argue so vociferously against such talks. And I’m with you.

    We need to be consistent folks: Conservative nutjobs and feminist fanatics should be held to the same standard. Don’t complain about the John Bircher who rants in your ward if you’re happy to hear from the Hippie lady on her gospel hobbies.

    The truth is, we all have a very sacred obligation to try and introduce the Spirit during every second of our time speaking in church. It’s indisputable that that objective must fail wherever you unnecessarily introduce tension by taking positions likely to raise hostile disagreement. There is plenty in the gospel on which we all agree. Anyone who thinks we’ve run out of interesting things to say from within the canon is lazy and naive. Frankly, I think it’s arrogant and prideful for anyone on either side of any aisle to waste the Church’s time espousing their own private gospel.

  60. Ryan, good you’re back ?

  61. Ryan, you’re absolutely right of course. It’s just that my John Bircher experiences outweigh Hippie Lady 100-1, so I’m rooting for Hippie Lady on this one. Complete hypocrite.

  62. Ryan Bell says:

    No, not back. Just had to break silence for once.

    Glad you acknowledge that, Ronan. My guess is that those of the opposite stripe likely feel the opposite. Hence the necessity to try and be consistent, despite one’s biases.

  63. “How would that talk make you feel?”

    “Conservative nutjobs and feminist fanatics should be held to the same standard.”

    Oh, Ryan, you talk as if these pet issues come equally from both sides. I can honestly say that practically half of the sacrament meetings I attend are full of pet issues.

    Things like, “Don’t watch a rated-R movie / Don’t drink Coke / Don’t have more than one pair of earrings / Don’t have a tatoo” come to mind. Believe you me, if I could somehow make it impossible for “Brokeback Mountain” to be mentioned in sacrament meeting in exchange for my weekly dose of pseudo-doctrine going away, I’d do it!

  64. I’m with the guy that called Brokeback Mountain “the gayest cowboy movie since Young Guns.”

  65. Ryan Bell says:

    Bob, methinks you are simply a victim of your location. I grant you that Utah Valley is the Berkeley of Utah– taking the basic spirit of the state and magnifying it to extremes. But you don’t really dispute that there are plenty of rants on the other side going on as well, do you? No, probably not an equal number, but then, it doesn’t matter. I’m speaking out against all of these intrusions into a meeting that is meant to be spiritual and unified. The particular axe being ground by the particular malcontent is of lesser importance.

  66. Bob, 3 out of the 4 “psuedo-doctrine” topics you mention are more typically found in General Conference talks, not sacrament meeting talks. So you appear to have more of a bone to pick with your average member of the 70 than with the members of your ward.

    (Incidentally, I think that there are themes appropriate for General Conference which are not appropriate for the more sacred setting of sacrament meeting.)

  67. That’s the only sense in which Utah Valley is “Berkeley of Utah.”

  68. D. Fletcher says:

    Brokeback… got us good.

    (a line from the movie)

  69. D. Fletcher says:

    I’m a little tired talking about Brokeback Mountain, here, there, and everywhere. But I wanted to come here and just mention, it’s a phenomenon we’re experiencing with this movie, and there seems to be a cultural sea-change brought about in part because of a movie and the story which is its source. I think it’s the most positive thing in movies in years (and yes, for gay people’s lives). Whether it’s appropriate for Sacrament Meeting or not, is for others to decide, not me.

  70. Ryan,

    Agreed. Plenty of rants do happen on the other side and even if my point was that for me personally these rants are less offensive and possibly refreshing (and also, less likely to happen), overall it doesn’t negate your point of avoiding intrusions that distract.

    gst,

    It makes little difference to me whether or not someone is a member of the seventy or in my ward in this case. Pseudo-doctrine is pseudo-doctrine. If we can be good, Christ-like people as well as active temple-worthy members of our Church without them, then there is no need to make up “extra mile” requirements, which are usually just used to marginalize others.

  71. Ryan (re #59),

    I think you make a very good point. The preaching of conservative ideology over the pulpit annoys me to no end, and I have to admit that it’s tempting to want to therefore cut the more liberal preaching a bit of slack, especially because in my experience, the deck is stacked so heavily in the other direction. However, I think it’s more than fair to call for an avoidance of political agendas of all stripes.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that unless people do nothing but read from the scriptures in their talks, they’re inevitably going to be, at least to some extent, “espousing their own private gospel”— bringing in their own interpretations and views and experiences. And that’s actually part of the reason why we have sacrament meeting talks, I would argue; it’s a chance to hear how someone else has thought about something. I really do share your concern about people advocating their pet topics. I’m just thinking that the line between “okay” and “problem” isn’t always easy to draw.

  72. Lynette said what I was trying to say and more… and so much more gracefully too! I agree.

  73. Bob,

    I’m all against pseudo-doctrine as any. But I have a hard time calling the words of a prophet spoken in General Conference within the last five years “pseudo-doctrine.” If anything outside your limits is pseudo-doctrine, what’s the point of General Conference? Is it simply for the proliferation of pseudo-doctrines that are used to marginalize others? I have a really hard time picturing President Hinckley, sitting in his office before the next GC, thinking, “What pseudo-doctrines that will marginalize others can I preach this year?” I have to give the Prophet’s words a little more credit than that.

  74. Eric,

    It’s not his words that marginalize others; it’s how others use his words to marginalize. Most of the time pseudo-doctrines evolve out of well placed examples. It’s unfortunate that so many examples over the General Conference pulpit turn into pseudo-doctrine. Those speakers are people too, and just because so-and-so walked five miles to Church to teach his son a lesson for having not filled the car up the night before, doesn’t mean we all have to do the same (or whatever).

    Interestingly enough, you indirectly brought up your own flavor of yet another oft repeated pseudo-doctrine: Prophet + General Conference + Less than five years old = Don’t Mess. Granted, yours is of the stronger flavor, as it’s narrower than most. Some replace “prophet” with “General Authority,” others replace “five years” with “ten years,” and still others replace “General Conference” with “Anything broadcast.” However anyone does it is fine… for them alone, but the problem lies when they start getting discouraged when their neighbors view things differently.

    I believe we have a core set of principles and doctrines that make up the foundation of our Church, which is much less intrusive than most might think. Much of what falls outside of basic “temple worthy” type stuff usually starts as a well intentioned example, which later turns into a pseudo-doctrine. It’s unfortunate that most any specificity within conference talks within our Church creates a breeding ground for pseudo-doctrine. And I’m not blaming the prophet; I’m just pointing it out.

  75. I’m the struggling (to say the least) wife of a gay LDS man. Hearing a talk like the one Aaron describes would be the closest I’ve come to feeling Christian love from a Church member for a long time. Believe me, there’s plenty of earnest anti-gay rhetoric, jokes, and snide comments in most wards most weeks–that side of the argument is quite well represented. I’d say we’re pretty safe from the “secular” drift towards charity and tolerance that Eric so fears.

  76. Let’s see… she talked about the pain that secrecy can bring to a relationship, that we as a community could be more loving and understanding towards our gay brothers and sisters, and then talked about grace.

    I don’t see anything here that President Hinkley wouldn’t say himself. (Except that he saw and liked the movie.)

    From the description, it doesn’t even sound like she politicized about the rightness or wrongness of gay relationships, only that we need to have more compassion. The only thing controversial here is that she brought up the movie. In general, I’m against using popular media in church as a vehicle for teaching, since the audience will not be able to relate to whatever experience you had watching the film unless they’ve seen it themselves, and had the same experience. Now if she brought the film with her and shared it with everyone… ;)

    I think the same important subject and message could have been relayed without the reference to the film.

  77. Bob, I think you have it quite backwards.

    “Anything outside a temple recommend is pseudo-doctrine” is very much a pseudo-doctrine.

    “Follow the prophet,” on the other hand, is clearly doctrine.

  78. Paul Ramsell says:

    Most of the time church is dreadfully boring. So I always appreciate a little spice.

    In this case, the talk doesn’t sound like it was out of line, either. We need to hear about grace. And Brokeback’s R rating shouldn’t preclude it from reference — any more than Passion of the Christ’s R rating would. This is the very thing that often makes a talk more alive and interesting: cultural references.

    This is the world we’re in folks, and scripture stories about long since dead people sometimes just bore me to tears.

    Finally, the best priesthood interview i ever had was when my bishop sang a Cat Stevens song to me and tied it to my divorce experience.

  79. An aside for the “oh, but the poor, dear children” crowd–here is a partial list of the questions I’ve fielded from my children after Sacrament Meeting:

    “Mommy, what did he mean, one of Brigham Young’s wives?”

    “Is circumcized like baptized?”

    “What’s a harlot?”

    “What’s adultery? Can only adults do it?”

    “Why are they talking about “blood that was shed”? Is someone bleeding?” (from my 4-year-old who is petrified of bleeding)

    “What does ‘masturbate’ mean?”

    “Mommy, did the people whose arms got cut off die? How could they do their work after that? How could they eat? Why did Ammon have to be so mean?”

    “Mommy, please, please can we not talk about Jesus? It’s too scary” (after a particularly gory Mel Gibson’s “Passion”-inspired Easter talk)

    “Why couldn’t the prophet have told them to wait until summer to cross the plains so that the children wouldn’t die?”

    Sacrament Meeting speakers are routinely inconsiderate of children. Do *not*, *NOT* use children as cover for the fact that you are (unrighteously) more offended by gay sex than by illicit heterosexual sex or violence or any number of other sinful behaviors and otherwise inappropriate (scary) things that regularly get described in meetings with children present.

  80. Uh, Eric, the temple recommend interview includes “follow the prophet.” And careful how you quote me, I used “much of what falls outside” instead of your “anything” on purpose, you know.

    And just what does “Follow the prophet” mean, Eric? Do I eat out where he does? Do I have the same hobbies he does? Do I have the same opinions he does? The answer is no. And yet, I still follow him even if you think otherwise.

    But something like “follow the prophet” is very nice and general, like it should be. This allows for you and I to live different lives — our own lives — and still have the benefit of living the gospel. But like I said before, when specific examples are shared by celebrity Mormons, prophet or not, “follow the prophet” can get confused with “create your own pseudo-doctrine.”

  81. Do *not*, *NOT* use children as cover for the fact that you are (unrighteously) more offended by gay sex than by illicit heterosexual sex or violence or any number of other sinful behaviors and otherwise inappropriate (scary) things that regularly get described in meetings with children present.

    (emphasis added)

    Again, it goes to show that no one is quite so intolerant as the aggressively tolerant. I mean, no one here characterized the boosters of the canoodling cowboy movie as “unrighteous”!

  82. #75 is a jewel of a comment. Thank you for helping us understand.

  83. gst,

    Are you open to the idea that what Kristine says make sense within this context? I, for one, agree with her usage of the word unrighteous within the framework she set up. She’s just pointing out hypocrisy in its truest form. But if it makes you feel better to imply that she somehow called every “non-booster” of the movie unrighteous, then this should be pretty gratifying for you.

  84. Bob, “follow the prophet” means that when the prophet says, “do X” you do it and when he says “don’t do X”, you don’t. It’s very simple.

  85. Sultan of Squirrels says:

    where’s Hellmut Lotz? he usually loves talking about this stuff. oh well, his loss.

  86. After 80 comments I still have to go with #59. Ditto Bro. Bell.

  87. Eric,

    It’s not that simple. The prophet often gives talks to selective groups within the Church (such as the youth or young men only or women only), which don’t necessarily apply to other groups. Also, the prophet rarely gives a talk based around a bulleted list of do’s and don’t’s. He could and probably has. But sometimes he says things more subtly and/or ambiguously, perhaps not on purpose (or maybe on purpose), but still in a way that could make two different people get different “do X”s from the same talk. Your simplicity seems to ignore all this, of course.

  88. Thanks for the thread aaron b.

    I find all this indignation fascinating. FWIW, I keep wanting to come back to what I think the fundamental message of the sacrament meeting talk seems to have been:

    Should we have more compassion and love for our fellow man? Yes or no? Yes. Should we have more love and compassion for our gay brothers and sisters? Yes or no? Yes.

  89. “…more offended by gay sex than by illicit heterosexual sex”

    I’m afraid it’s in the current General Handbook of Instruction.

  90. Whoops, the correct title is: Church Handbook of Instructions.

    “Church headquarters will automatically annotate a person’s membership record when the . . . person was disciplined for incest, sexual offense against or serious physical abuse of a child, plural marriage, an elective transsexual operation, repeated homosexual activity (by adults), or embezzlement of Church funds or property” (1998 edition, page 129).

    For repeated heterosexual activity, the annotation is not necessary.

  91. Eric Russell says:

    Bob, I don’t disagree with any of that. I’m just saying that sometimes the prophet does say to do or not do X to a given audience and, if such is the case, then it follows that they ought to do or not do X.

    I’m saying you can’t pick and choose based on what you like or dislike. Something isn’t pseudo-doctrine just because you think it ought to be.

  92. Aaron, please remove my last two comments, and this one. I regret having posted them. And technically, it is a threadjack. (I just strongly feel that it is terribly abusive for the church to track gay people and group them with criminals.)

  93. I don’t know, MahNahvu (okay, how do you pronounce that?), I’m glad for the information and I think it’s pertinent.

  94. a random John says:

    MahNahvu,

    Not only that, but you’re violating IRI copyright!

  95. gst–Bob’s reading is about right. I was trying to indicate, as succinctly as possible, that it is tempting for all of us to regard those sins to which we are not tempted (in this case, homosexual activity) as more heinous than those sins to which we are tempted (in this case, a failure of charity towards homosexuals), and that giving in to that temptation is sinful.

    Don’t you think it’s cool that I did that with one parenthetical word? Any points for style?

  96. D. Fletcher says:

    Kristine, you are my style goddess.

    :)

  97. John Mansfield says:

    Bob Caswell’s subtle understanding of prophetic counsel is a bit mystifying. Perhaps he can clarify it. In a General Relief Society meeting, Gordon B. Hinckley in a talk addressed to mothers brought up tattoos and piercings. He read a position statement of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve on the matter. A week later, he said the same things in the Priesthood Session of General Conference. A month after that, he gave the same counsel in a broadcast to youth and young adults of the Church.

    For Caswell, the idea that members of the Church are counseled by the Church not to have tattoos or piercings is pseudo-doctrine. This pseudo-doctrine bar appears to be an impossible one to clear.

    General Relief Society Meeting
    Priesthood Session of General Conference
    Broadcast to youth and young adults

  98. John Mansfield,

    And yet, there are good Christ-like active temple worthy members of the Church who do have tattoos and/or more than one pair of earrings. Three references to past talks won’t change that.

    You said: “For Caswell, the idea that members of the Church are counseled by the Church not to have tattoos or piercings is pseudo-doctrine.”

    To clarify: I actually find a huge distinction between “being counseled” and “doctrine.” I think the brethren can, of course, give us counsel. This is a good thing. But counsel is often misconstrued as doctrine. In my opinion, this is a bad thing.

    Once counsel gets confused with doctrine, many of the Church members (or future Church members) are ostracized needlessly.

  99. I think that all this talk about “private gospel,” “gospel hobbies,” and “political agendas” is beside the point. A lot of the commenters are assuming that the speaker had an axe to grind, or was trying to be controversial. Maybe she did, but it was not obvious to me. In fact, one of the reasons I thought the talk was done so well was that I really got the sense that this woman was not “trying” to be controversial, but was just speaking the truth as she saw it. The propriety of endorsing or discussing obviously controversial movies in a Sacrament talk is debatable, but the actual message the speaker was giving is not (in my opinion): Sensitivity to those with certain challenges, need for increased open discussion about certain taboo topics, etc. And I really got the sense that the woman was not trying to be edgy; she just really felt this was an important topic to discuss.

    I could be misreading her motives, of course. And I understand why many of you assume inappropriate motives on her part — If I hadn’t been there, and I was reading someone else describe this experience, I might make the same assumptions.

    Aaron B

  100. To clarify further:

    Generally speaking, I actually agree with the counsel offered to refrain from multiple piercings and/or tattoos. That is, my wife and I don’t feel the need to go against this counsel. And when the time comes, we’ll probably encourage our kids to live by it as well.

    But if anyone does go against this counsel, if there be any negative consequences, let’s just let them come naturally. I feel no need to make sure something is harsher than it is, and I think labeling certain things like this “doctrine” can do just that and puts them in a category where they don’t belong.

    I’m not sure if any of this helps, but I’m fine with anyone who’d like to label anything I’ve said here as “the Gospel according to Bob.” The truth of the matter is that I have no more say over what constitutes doctrine than the next commenter here. I’m just presenting my thoughts based upon my past experiences.

  101. Anytime someone drops the title of any film about any thing at all in a sacrament talk of any kind I am immediately distracted. It just throws off the whole experience. It’s entirely too reflexive for my tastes. It’s like pausing to thank the sponsors or something.

    I haven’t read through this entire thread yet, but I just wanted to note that time President Monsen talked about “Home Alone” in general conference, I found it to be a little bit surreal.

    The last time I talked in sacrement meeting, I gave a forty-minute talk on unity using Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” as my framing device. (I used scriptures and quotations from the bretheren as well.) I thought it was pretty effective.

    I sometimes use pop-culture references in my gospel doctrine classes, but they are usually just little asides and throw away lines to grab people’s attention. I don’t generally make them big part of the lesson.

  102. I was in a ward once where the 2nd counselor in the bishopric talked about the long and short versions of Inna Gadda Da Vida (sp?) in testimony meeting.

    Sorry, I don’t recall what his point was.

    Best comment in this thread! (So far anyway.)

  103. I’m with the guy that called Brokeback Mountain “the gayest cowboy movie since Young Guns.”

    And now we have the director of “Young Guns” releasing a movie about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Oi vey!

    (Back to the thread.)

  104. I don’t know if anybody has made this comment already (because I haven’t read through it all), but sacrament meetings are supposed to focus on the Savior and his atonement. However, with a lay church and (usually) little in the way of “screening” of talks, it always amazes me we don’t have more “off topic” talks in sac mtg.

    Fast and testimony meetings rarely have more than 10% of “real” testimony. Most of it includes travelogues, bizarre personal revelations (which should remain that way), “leather couch venting,” etc.

  105. I haven’t seen the movie, but the thing that I think we need to look at is whose agenda is this movie serving? The homosexual movement is very active in promoting the lifestyle and is becoming more and more mainstream. While we should love the sinner, but hate the sin, gay rights is pushing tolerance so that everyone accepts the lifestyle as just an alternative. We see this in the school system, legislation, TV shows and now movies. The gay rights movement have a great piece of sympathetic propaganda with this movie.

  106. Chris Williams says:

    Sally, can you deine the “lifestyle” that you are concerned about? Most of the gay people I know live lifestyles that are quiet and conservative and private.

    As for Brokeback Mountain being “sympathetic propaganda” — it seems to me that it was more about the pain that comes from living a life of deceit and inauthenticity and provides images and narrative that all people, straight and gay, might identify with.

  107. I think Sally has hit the nail on the head. This is the mainstream LDS reaction to the film. Like it or not that is the reality in the pews.

    On Sunday I heard 5-6 snide comments about this film in EQ referring to the Homosexual agenda that the film serves.

  108. Chris Williams says:

    On Sunday I heard 5-6 snide comments about this film in EQ referring to the Homosexual agenda that the film serves.

    Which is?

  109. Steve McIntyre says:

    I think it’s vitally important to understand the difference between counsel and doctrine. I’ve met many a Latter-day Saint that equivocates everything that their Elders Quorum President and Bishop says to doctrine. Technically, this isn’t appropriate. Even when it comes to the prophet, it’s not appropriate. While we’re covenant-bound to sustain these leaders, we can’t canonize everything they say.

    I think it’s important to consider that the standard works have been presented to the Church as doctrine, and have received a sustaining vote as such by the membership. I think it’s pretty safe to call the scriptures “doctrine.” But we’ve got to be cautious about what else we classify as “doctrine.”

    If everything that’s proceeded forth from the mouths of prophets were doctrinized, then we’d believe that Adam was our God, that blacks were premortal fence-sitters, and that Latter-day Saints shouldn’t even own face cards. Even President Hinckley has been hesitant to say whether or not we believe that God was once a man, although that was proclaimed rather clearly by past prophets. The fact is, we sometimes receive counsel that may not necessarily represent absolute doctrines. While that doesn’t release us from the responsibility to follow our leaders’ counsel, I think it’s an important thought to keep in mind, lest we someday falter when we receive counsel that’s not 100% consistent with what we’ve heard before.

  110. The homosexual movement is very active in promoting the lifestyle and is becoming more and more mainstream. While we should love the sinner, but hate the sin, gay rights is pushing tolerance so that everyone accepts the lifestyle as just an alternative. We see this in the school system, legislation, TV shows and now movies. The gay rights movement have a great piece of sympathetic propaganda with this movie.

    Heaven forbid gay people have equal rights. What are you all so afraid of? It all sounds so archaic and superstitious to me.

    If you think it’s a sin, go ahead and live in that mindframe, but do not use your fears of a “gay agenda” to marginalize people and deny them rights.

  111. Esentially there is a huge difference between Counsel (AKA tatoos, R rated movies) and Doctrine (AKA pre-marital sex is sinful or baptism is essential)

    One is probably good advice based on our current cultural situation and the others hold true across cultures and time.

  112. Fast and testimony meetings rarely have more than 10% of “real” testimony. Most of it includes travelogues, bizarre personal revelations (which should remain that way), “leather couch venting,” etc.

    A former colleague of mine argued, quite persuasively, I thought, that modern fast and testimony meetings have become rather dull exercizes in which ward members stand and deliver a set litany of predetermined phrases and affirmations. That’s how it is in my ward, anyway. Personally, I’d like to see a bit more of the bizarre and personal in testimonay meeting. I hardly ever get to hear that sort of thing anymore.

  113. “do not use your fears of a “gay agenda” to marginalize people and deny them rights.”
    Why is it whenever someone believes that homosexuality is wrong, they are labeled as being afraid? And how does it marginalize people to disagree with their choices? People have their agency to live their own lives and I am in no position to judge them individually. But when the media uses its influence to promote negative lifestyle choices (whether it be homosexuality, promiscuity among teenagers, drug use, etc)it affects society as a whole and all those choices become more accepted.

  114. Hey, you should all read up on the real gay agenda before this discussion goes on too much longer.

  115. Elisabeth says:

    LOL, Kristine!

  116. …how does it marginalize people to disagree with their choices?

    It marginalizes people when they are denied equal rights that you and I have and labelled sinful when they may not believe it is. Homosexuality is not a crime.

    People have their agency to live their own lives and I am in no position to judge them individually. But when the media uses its influence to promote negative lifestyle choices (whether it be homosexuality, promiscuity among teenagers, drug use, etc)it affects society as a whole and all those choices become more accepted.

    You think homosexuality is a negative lifestyle choice. I do not (yes I am LDS–there are many LDS who support gay rights, believe it or not). You are using your personal beliefs to dictate to others who do not share your beliefs.

    When it comes to homosexuality I wish well-meaning religious minded people would worry about themselves a little more and less about their neighbors sexual orientation.

    I know this is a threadjack–sorry!

  117. Sally,

    I fail to see how it “affects society negatively” to show a film that says:

    1. Gay men exist (surprise!)
    2. Gay men fall in love (surprise!)
    3. A homophobic world makes it impossible for said gay men to be together in any legitimate way, so they marry women and wreck many lives in the process.

    #1-2 are facts of our world; #3 is utterly preventable.

  118. Kevin Barney says:

    I haven’t had an opportunity to read all 116 messages in this thread, but I think the talk sounds great. As it so happens, I had occasion to mention Brokeback Mountain in my SS lesson to the high school age kids a week ago Sunday. We were doing a “current events” day (two of the five students in the class had to go to their grandmother’s funeral, and I didn’t want them to miss my introdcution to the Pearl of Great Price I had planned, so I winged a replacement lesson until they got back).

    One of the things we discussed was the Miller pulling of the film in Utah. I freely told the kids that I saw it with my wife and enjoyed it very much. No one was scandalized by that.

    On other talks on potentially sensitive subjects that were pulled off well, my son (about 16 at the time) gave what to my (obviously heavily biased) mind is the best youth talk I have ever heard in my life over the pulpit. It was on the religious values of the Simpsons. It was the total anti-youth talk. You know how most kids get up there and read something their parents wrote for them, mumbling and embarrassed? Grant (my son) gave this talk without reading anything (that was my one contribution–I encouraged him to maintain eye contact with the audience). He wrote the talk himself, and spoke on something he was knowledgeable and passionate about. He spoke clearly and articulately–no mumbling. It had the potential to be a disaster, but he articulated and supported his points so well, no one was offended by it (although some of the older folks were bemused), and many were enlightened by it. One brother in the ward still to this day talks about that talk (given two or three years ago).

  119. Kris,

    You are (indubitably) the master of one-word parenthetical references.

    Greg,

    A talk based on the Phantom Tollbooth? That sounds just strange as Canby.

  120. I do not enjoy alot of free time to sit and respond to all of your comments inplied or said, but as a conservative minded individual I do not believe same sex relationships are right, no more than I believe in drinking and smoking, or for that matter a hetrosexual relationship outside of marriage is okay. My values are such, am I perfect…no, that I still believe certain things are wrong. However, I understand the difference between the individual and the act.

    One of the earlier comments made was that Sacrament Meeting is meant to be uplifting and spiritual, not contorversial. I agree, however we can not hide from the world we need to know and be understanding and be compassionate. ( This statement is true for those of Liberal leaning as well as a conservative leaning.) These sometime controversial topics need to be dicussed and understood, without individuals hopping up on their soapbox and condemming those who differ.
    We need to welcome all into our fellowship, but this does not mean we have to walk lockstep with person next to us.

  121. I agree with BTD Greg. I don’t have anything against the atonement, but requiring everyone to “focus on the atonement” is a recipe for boring talks. Most people just don’t have much interesting to say about the atonement (not surprising, since it’s basically incomprehensible). Instead, I’d like people to focus on what they’ve learned in their struggle to live a good life and follow God. It sounds like that is what this woman was trying to do, although not having been there, I can’t judge how well her attempt turned out.

  122. Jerry Rapier says:

    Fascinating to stumble across this blog after having left the LDS church more than a decade ago.

    As an openly gay man in a 10+ year committed relationship living in Salt Lake City with many active LDS friends, I find this thread to be so…well, naive. Ronan in #117 seems to have the greatest sense of what it means to be Christ-like.

    Each time I have read the New Testament cover to cover, I have been moved by Jesus’ focus on not judging – “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

    It seems to me that LDS culture and LDS faith are two separate paths – those with true faith are able to see the “stumbling block” the culture sometimes creates. Those who can’t see the difference between culture and faith simply are the “stumbling block” itself.

    The greatest challenge of being LDS for me was the fear of discussions (such as this) for which there are no easy answers.

    The saddest part of being LDS for me was most people around me being able to simply say “I don’t know.”

  123. Jerry Rapier says:

    That last line should read “not being able to say ‘I don’t know.'”

  124. Brokeback Mountain is a movie more about love than sex. Ironically, there is far more heterosexual sex in the characters’ lives (and portrayed on screen) than sex between men. It is love, not sex, that primarily defines the relationship between the men.

    However, beyond sex or even love, the movie was ultimately about hate and specifically how two ugly crimes of hate shaped their lives far more signifantly than any other thing.

    The Deseret News editorialized just today (again) in favor of the Hate Crimes legislation including protection of gays and lesbians, pending on Utah’s capital hill. The question is, will the Legislature, comprised of virtually all Mormons, finally take the opportunity to pass it, or continue to endorse the violence portrayed in the movie in the name of morality.

    Sounds like a timely and relevant topic for discussion in Sacrament meeting to me.

  125. Jerry

    We all need to come out of the closet. Those who are homophobic as well as those who are openly gay. I disagree with your lifestyle, but I also disagree with those who would do harm to you. However, We do need understand whether it be a Word Wisdom issue or a sexual issue, or a multitude of other issues, but where do we talk about it…?

  126. a random John says:

    Kevin,

    I applaud your son! The Simpsons should be recognized as the only longrunning show on TV that has openly religious characters and actually deals with the religious aspect of the character’s lives. Plus the “In the Garden of Eden” hymn (mentioned in another talk mentioned in this thread) is just too wonderful. It is my secret desire for someone to sneak in just a few bars of that into the prelude music.

  127. Random John, LOL, I just about sprayed soft drink all over my keyboard! :-)

  128. a random John says:

    Hopefully it didn’t go out your nose. The archery scene in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice once cause me an unfortunate incident involving Cherry Coke…

  129. I applaud your son! The Simpsons should be recognized as the only longrunning show on TV that has openly religious characters and actually deals with the religious aspect of the character’s lives. Plus the “In the Garden of Eden” hymn (mentioned in another talk mentioned in this thread) is just too wonderful. It is my secret desire for someone to sneak in just a few bars of that into the prelude music

    Oh, wow. I can’t think of a better way to end Sacrament meeting than playing a few bars of that hymn.

    As for the talk? I don’t think talking about pop culture will bring the spirit to a meeting, but the speakers overall message seems like it would have.

  130. I agree with BTD Greg. I don’t have anything against the atonement…

    For the record, I don’t have anything against the atonement, either. In fact, I think it’s just great!

  131. The evolution of this thread has been fascinating to watch and I think it has reached the point where the unbridgeable chasm is clear. The bottom line is that the best response gay people can hope to see from mainstream Mormons is condescending beneficence (hate the sin, love the sinner – emphasis on sin). This is reflected in the labeling of homosexuality as a “lifestyle” (and therefore a choice) rather than a biological imperative. Those believing the former will never see their own position as simple prejudice.

    Jerry, is your sexual orientation a choice? I suspect your answer is no. I also suspect that at least some in this thread will argue you are wrong.

  132. This is potentially off topic, but not rude.

    Yesterday as I was working at Wal-Mart, this red neck guy came through my line. I was tired, but I still chatted with him, and didn’t really pay attention to what he was saying. Then these two college girls came through behind him and I asked if they remembered me from the bookstore last week.

    They said they did and I asked if I was laughing and told them it was because I was reading this really funny book by a gay guy(you guys he’s the funniest writer I’ve ever read, also descriptive, which eventually led me to close the book), and this red neck said, “hey, this isn’t San Francisco. We don’t need no talk about gays.”

    And I, in my gray hair and grandma look, said, “there are gays here. I’m gay. I have had a girlfriend for years.” He just pissed me off.

    The girls were sort of stunned and the guy wandered off mumbling and I went on checking their groceries.

    I don’t know what my opinion is, but I know what I don’t like.

  133. Although I myself am not gay, and I’m in no position to make any authoritative statements about what it’s like, I do believe that being gay is not so much of a choice as mainstream Mormons sometimes make it out to be. No matter how hard I tried, I don’t think I could just decide to be gay and actually become attracted to men. I think it’s an attraction that some people just feel, regardless of choice.

    Likewise, I don’t think it’s any easier for homosexuals to just decide to be straight. So that puts them in a diffictult position within the Church. A heterosexual marriage isn’t the best cure for same-sex attraction. Many who struggle with this attraction may find themselves in a position where there’s no hope to have a family or a companion in this life, if they want to retain their membership in the Church. And this is in a Church where marriage isn’t just encouraged, but commanded.

    Given these conditions, I think that gays within the Church are especially deserving of our compassion and understanding.

  134. Steve Evans?? Are you back??

  135. Hey BCC Comments/Stuart/JMW,

    Your comments yesterday were blocked because you used several fake IP addresses (from Amsterdam, Asia, and elsewhere), not because what you had to say was interesting, brilliant, or controversial. Our spam filter picks up such fakery. Try posting under a real IP, and you may notice a difference.

    There will always be false positives (especially when spamilliciousness is involved – see above), though they are rare.  We are happy to bring these comments out of the filter when notified; however, you seem to have chosen a reactionary course.

  136. Steve McIntyre says:

    Sorry, I’m the one who posted as just “Steve” in #133. I’m not Steve Evans. Sorry to disappoint anybody.

  137. “A heterosexual marriage isn’t the best cure for same-sex attraction.”

    It’s no cure at all, and no marriage either.

  138. Anonymous2 says:

    I am a gay LDS man who after a long and silent struggle has recently found the strength to accept that I am gay. This is not an easy things to do since I am married and have children.

    I can’t speak for all men like me, but I can tell you that during my many years in the church I longed to hear expressions of compassion such as the one described by Aaron B in his original post. Instead, I heard how much we hate the sin. Loving the sinner was always given lip service, but never as forcefully or with as much conviction as hating the sin. I internalized this and, despite my faithfulness to the church and my marriage, came to utterly despise myself for my same-sex desires and my inability to eliminate or change them.

    My days as an active Latter-day Saint have come to an end not because I want them to end, but because I don’t know any other way to stop hating myself. I admire gay men and women who can find a way to stay happily in the church. Sadly, I’m not one of them. I applaud those of you who seek to make the church a better place for gay people. And to those of you who stand proudly in opposition to the gay lifestyle and the gay agenda and stories like Brokeback Mountain, I ask you to think carefully about how your hatred of the sin impacts the sinner you are called to love. There are those in your midst, faithful to the church and its teachings, who carry a heavy burden of fear and shame because of their same-sex attractions that is only compounded when you blithely condemn the thing that they long for, often against their will.

  139. I do not know if sexual orientation is a choice, but I do know that any sexual relationship outside of marriage is a sin. The word “lifestyle” was commented on from one of my earlier statements.


    The evolution of this thread has been fascinating to watch and I think it has reached the point where the unbridgeable chasm is clear. The bottom line is that the best response gay people can hope to see from mainstream Mormons is condescending beneficence (hate the sin, love the sinner – emphasis on sin). This is reflected in the labeling of homosexuality as a “lifestyle” (and therefore a choice) rather than a biological imperative. Those believing the former will never see their own position as simple prejudice.

    Jerry, is your sexual orientation a choice? I suspect your answer is no. I also suspect that at least some in this thread will argue you are wrong.

    Comment by Base — January 25, 2006 @ 2:12 am

    I would like to comment now on the use of “condescending beneficence”. Again I do not know the ends and outs, or the whys of same-sex attraction, but to label my use of lifstyle as condescending seems to be condescending in of itself. We all make choices, everyday of our lifes. I have to choose not to speed on my way to work, I have to choose not to smoke, I have to choose not to steal or murder. However the choice I made was to be a member of the Church, and that brings with it certain expectations. One of which is that marriage is where a man and a woman share a life together. If this is condescending beneficence so be it.

    Now to the original thread. Where is the best place to dicuss topics of this nature. I do not know what the spirit was like in that Sacrament Meeting, maybe the Holy Ghost was directing it. However, in general I do not believe contorversial topics should be addressed over the pulpit during Sacrament. I think that Priesthod Quorums and Relief Society, and special Firesides are the appropriate forums, and of course it should be directed by the Spirit.

  140. “We live in a day and age where same-sex relationships and struggles are a reality”

    Every person in human history has lived in a day and age where same-sex relationships and struggles are a reality. As bad as it can be for gay people in our day and age, they’re the lucky ones when compared with all those who lived in previous ages.

  141. Thank you for sharing #139. Your comment carries the authority and sincerity of first-hand experience, and in my view easily trumps everything else that has been or could be said on this thread.

  142. Just a quick thought about giving talks which invite the Spirit— I can’t speak for anyone else, but my experience is that few things are more likely to do so than to testify of God’s profound love and concern for all of his children, whatever their race, sex, nationality, or sexual orientation.

  143. Anonymous2 says:

    Mark L.: Thank you.

  144. Though I might not agree with all the thoughts expressed here I do appreciate that we have this forum to talk in.

    I have alot a room for growth and understanding and as one of those “mainstream Mormons” I do not get alot of opportunities dicuss subjects of this nature. I have known gay men, but never really talked with them about their lifestyle and this is a great opportunity for me. Thanks for allowing me into this conversation.

  145. Just happened upon this conversation, and I had to speak up.

    The problem with Brokeback Mountain is that its message is incomplete and misleading. Yes, we must show more compassion and understanding toward people who are homosexual. We must condemn hatred and violence in the strongest terms. But the movie gives the impression that the only obstacles getting in the way of the characters’ happiness were societal obstacles. It reinforces the idea that, aside from the obvious physical differences, homosexual relationships are just like heterosexual relationships. People leave the theater wishing the two cowboys could have just spent the rest of their lives together and lived happily ever after. But let’s imagine that the movie turned out differently and the two men were allowed to be together. If the movie realistically depicted a typical male homosexual relationship, these two men would likely only remain together for a few years. But apparently these cowboys were true soulmates. If they stayed together longer than five years, it is almost inevitable that they would have had a revolving door of sexual partners outside the relationship. It is an accepted part of the male homosexual lifestyle (and by “lifestyle” I refer to participation in homosexual relationships) that men, even in committed relationships, will meet their sexual needs through MANY men outside the relationship. This has been referred to as “monogamy without fidelity.” So, in our new version of “Brokeback,” it is highly likely that one or both of the characters would pick up a potentially fatal STD.Additionally, because homosexuals are more vulnerable to depression and other mental illnesses, it is likely that one or both men would develop one of these conditions. “But that’s just because of stigma,” you say. Yet these findings also hold true in the Netherlands, where little or no stigma exists. These are just some of the reasons why homosexuality is such a difficult and often tragic problem. Of course, the most important and powerful reason is that the homosexual lifestyle runs counter to Heavenly Father’s eternal plan regarding the family.

    The makers of “Brokeback Mountain” do have an agenda. They want people to accept the homosexual lifestyle. That is a dangerous message. Should Church members support and embrace that message? Should they be advocating this message in church, of all places? Unequivocally NO.

    Am I “fearful” and “full of hate” when I say these things? Certainly not. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to live with the challenge of homosexuality. I know that most people, particularly members of the Church, do not consciously choose this problem. Some of the people I have known who experience homosexual attractions are far more Christlike than I am. I believe that some of the most valiant members of our Church are those who experience homosexual attraction and yet do not act on it and continue to be faithful members. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be a member of a church where some misguided and unenlightened people confuse temptation with sin and judge them based on their vulnerabilities (as opposed to their actions) over which they have no control–while at the same time the world is urging them to “just be who they are” and embrace the homosexual lifestyle. As a Church, we need to offer more support, compassion, and understanding. But we should not accept a lifestyle that can bring only temporary happiness and lasting pain, and we should not support a movie that promotes such acceptance.

  146. So, Rivkah, should we condemn all (heterosexual) romantic movies as misleading and agenda-driven because they don’t portray the reality of the high rates of divorce and infidelity among heterosexuals? It is the nature of romantic movies to idealize what everyone knows is the often difficult reality of relations between loving couples.

  147. Rivkah’s post is riddled with oft-repeated stereotypes and vague references to quite selective research to bolster *some* of his claims (i.e. Netherlands). Even if we’re myopic enough to try and define one monolithic homosexual lifestyle as Rivkah has done here, there remain serious issues of causation that should prevent us from making such ill-founded and hasty conclusions.

    A society may feel it necessary to do all it can to discourage gay monogamous relationships (which is what Rivkah suggests), but it is then disingenous to use the lack of monogamy as a reason to stigmatize gays.

  148. Rivkha says,

    “We should not accept a lifestyle that can bring only temporary happiness and lasting pain, and we should not support a movie that promotes such acceptance.”

    Most of the mormon gay men I’ve spoken with found temporary happiness and lasting pain inside the church, and quite the opposite outside.

    The church is great for many people, and while we want to believe that it’s perfect for everyone, it does not come close to providing a healthy, happy environment for most gay people.

    “Men are, that they might have joy.”

  149. Isn’t that the point Samantha,

    …it does not come close to providing a healthy, happy environment for most gay people.

    ? The church does not encourage this lifestyle anymore than it does hetrosexual relationships outside of marriage.

  150. (I posted above as Anonymous2)

    George,

    I don’t think that’s the point at all. As a gay man who lived faithfully as a temple recommend worthy Latter-day Saint, I can testify from my own experience that life as a homosexual in the Church is lonely and painful. It has nothing to do with “this lifestyle” as you describe it, since the lifestyle I have lived all my adult life is one the Church would surely approve of. I think Samantha is referring to something like the turmoil I experienced and that came from recognizing that what the Church teaches about homosexuality does not bear much resemblance to what I felt and experienced as I struggled to reject and then understand my same sex attraction.

  151. But don’t we all have struggles that keep us from being completely inline with church teachings. I do not mean to say that the Word of Wisdom is the samething, but I struggle with it, and i don’t always feel the church is providing me a healthy, happy environment. However. I do not believe the church need to changes it teachings to fit me.

  152. hurricane says:

    George,

    Like you, I don’t believe that the church needs to change its teachings to fit me. But I also don’t believe that I have to (continue trying to) change myself to fit its teachings when my (long and painful) experience and the spirit tell me there’s nothing wrong with me as I am. Like it or not, I’m homosexual. That’s not going to change. I’m sick of hating myself, so I am no longer willing to subject myself to the kind of punishment that comes from hearing about the homosexual experience from people who have no idea what it’s like to actually be homosexual.

  153. But I do struggle to change myself to fit its teachings, and I would give anything to always feel worthy of going to the temple, and thats where we differ. As you said,

    have no idea what it’s like to actually be homosexual.

    but I to struggle and don’t always feel comfortableand I’m sick of hating myself too. However that is what I want, and will I gain it in this life? I don’t know, but I want to try!

  154. hurricane says:

    I’ve tried, and it nearly destroyed me.

  155. I can appreciate that and my hopes are that someday we all can look back upon this life and know and understand why we had the struggles we had.

  156. Your inability to see the difference between homosexuality and other “struggles” only confirms hurricane’s implication that you have no idea what it’s like to be gay.

    The Church rests great portions of its doctrine on the concept of heterosexuality. Homosexuality must be understood not only as an inclination (temptation if you must) toward same-sex relations, but also as an absence of heterosexuality which is the basis (according to the Church) for every source of true happiness: marriage, children and ultimate salvation in the Celestial Kingdom.

    It also differs from most other “sins” in its apparent inherent nature and resistance to the most sincere efforts at eradication. It is quite unlike the other “struggles” you mention, and you’re unwillingness to recognize that difference can be quite insulting to someone like hurricane who while not immune to the common struggles you list understands that homosexuality is in a category of its own. To say that the difference between you and him is simply that you’re willing to sacrifice more to be temple worthy is ignorant, judgmental and quite self-righteous. Oh the things you might learn if God were to strike you with hurricane’s particular “affliction.”

    Luckily the Church is not quite as unwilling to admit the special nature of homosexuality and has slowly modified their position on the subject over the years. It was only a couple of decades ago that homosexuality was thought to be the result of excessive masturbation (Kimball), and gay men were counseled by their leaders to marry in order to cure their “perversion.” I’m hoping the Church will continue to make progress, and that you won’t be too many steps behind them.

  157. Samantha, I’m not buying this idea that the Church “has slowly modified their position on the subject over the years.” (And as if it will continue to do so.) Back in the day, leaders may have counseled marriage simply because the whole concept of homosexuality was new to them and they didn’t know what to do with such problems. That’s not a modification of position in any way. And I would be very surprised if Kimball actually said that homosexuality was the result of excessive masturbation. I’d like to see the quote on that one.

  158. hurricane says:

    Eric Russell, for that and other quotes, consult your copy of the Miracle of Forgiveness. President Kimball describes homosexuality as the sin next to murder, akin to bestiality and caused by, among other things, excessive masturbation.

  159. Chris Williams says:

    Back in the day, leaders may have counseled marriage simply because the whole concept of homosexuality was new to them and they didn’t know what to do with such problems. That’s not a modification of position in any way.

    Sure it is. As they came to understand the issue better, they modified their counsel.

  160. It also differs from most other “sins” in its apparent inherent nature and resistance to the most sincere efforts at eradication.

    Samantha does this mean that anytime we run against something that is inherent in nature and is resistance to the most sincere efforts at eradication is okay to do. I do not wish to imply that this is anywhere near the same but what about child molesters…, or rapist, or pornography for that matter? Again I do not wish to imply that homosexuality is anything near what these acts are, because these are violent crimes against unwilling victims, but according to some the people who commit these acts have no control over themselves.

    To say that the difference between you and him is simply that you’re willing to sacrifice more to be temple worthy is ignorant, judgmental and quite self-righteous.

    Samantha do you struggle with anything in your life? By no means was I saying that what I was going through was more difficult than what Hurricane went through, but let’s be honest which problem will most people notice first? It was said earlier in this thread that I was giulty of “condescending beneficence” and I replied back that the commentor was giulty of the same act, well…”ignorant, judgmental and quite self-righteous” applies in both directions.

    In my earlier comments with Hurricane in this thread I wrote,

    Though I might not agree with all the thoughts expressed here I do appreciate that we have this forum to talk in.

    I have alot a room for growth and understanding and as one of those “mainstream Mormons” I do not get alot of opportunities dicuss subjects of this nature. I have known gay men, but never really talked with them about their lifestyle and this is a great opportunity for me. Thanks for allowing me into this conversation.

    Comment by George — January 26, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

    I meant that and was apprecitive that Hurricane chose to respond and engage me in this blog. I admit that I have room to grow…

  161. Eric, it is undeniable that the Church has dramatically revised both its counsel and its practice regarding homosexuality over the years. We’ve changed our views on its causality–going from President Kimball’s views about masturbation causing it, to Elder Packer’s (awful!) talk which posited selfishness as the root cause of homosexuality, through old psychological notions about absent fathers and domineering mothers (alas, we’re not quite over that one yet), and, finally to a more nuanced understanding like Elder Oaks’ public acknowledgment that we don’t know what causes homosexuality and it may be (at least in part) an inherited trait. In policy, we have shifted from a punitive posture in which we condemned people for their wicked thoughts (and tried to “cure” them with ghastly “treatments” involving gay porn and ipecac) to a much more compassionate stance which treats homosexual orientation more as a chronic illness to be managed. Basically, we’ve tracked the ideas of the mainstream Western psychological community, but about 20 years behind, as we do on many social issues. It’s entirely reasonable to suppose that such modifications will continue. (I also think they might not–it is the nature of a revelatory Church that trends are less predictive than they would be in organizations which do not leave open the possibility of such radical change)

  162. George,

    Again I do not wish to imply that homosexuality is anything near what these acts are, because these are violent crimes against unwilling victims, but according to some the people who commit these acts have no control over themselves.

    If you don’t wish to imply that they are similar, then don’t.

    It is precisely these types of associations of homosexuality with pedophilia or rape that wear on the souls of gay Mormons.

    I meant that and was apprecitive that Hurricane chose to respond and engage me in this blog. I admit that I have room to grow…

    I’m glad you’re willing to engage in discussion with me.

  163. I tried not to imply this but when I brought up my own issue I was critized as being…”ignorant, judgmental and quite self-righteous”. So I guess I went to far the other direction. Sorry about that, but my point was that there are other issues social, and criminal that are described as being out of our control for what ever the reason does that mean we need to change the values of institution or do we try to conform with the institution we wish to belong?

  164. D. Fletcher says:

    “The saddest part of being LDS for me was most people around me not being able to simply say ‘I don’t know’.”

    I just wanted to remark on this, that President Hinckley, speaking about homosexuality to Larry King, said “I don’t know.”

    I found this a hopeful change in the Church’s policy towards homosexuals.

  165. D Fletcher do you have a link to the whole interview?

  166. D. Fletcher says:

    No, I don’t. It was on Larry King’s Christmas special, from 2004.

    Over at Nine Moons, someone has posted a more complete version of what President Hinckley said.

  167. D.

    I would still like to see the whole interview, but I no more see where you came up with your interpetation than Russ did on the other blog

    D.,

    There is a fundamental difference between “it’s a very difficult problem” and “The fact is, they have a problem.” Your bias shows in your memory of the interview. You expect the church to change. President Hinkley puts the onus on you to change.

    Here is the text of that part of the interview:

    KING: … we were all people.
    But as the mores have changed – for example, I know that the Church is opposed to gay marriage.

    HINCKLEY: Yes.

    KING: Do you have an alternative? Do you like the idea of civil unions?

    HINCKLEY: Well, we’re not anti-gay. We are pro-family. Let me put it that way.
    And we love these people and try to work with them and help them. We know they have a problem. We want to help them solve that problem.

    KING: A problem they caused, or they were born with?

    HINCKLEY: I don’t know. I’m not an expert on these things. I don’t pretend to be an expert on these things. The fact is, they have a problem.

    KING: Do you favor some sort of state union?

    HINCKLEY: Well, we want to be very careful about that, because that – whatever may lead to gay marriage, we’re not in favor of.
    We – many people don’t get married. Goodness sakes alive. You know that.
    Many people who have to discipline themselves. If they transgress, they become subject to the discipline of the Church. But we try in every way that we know how to help them, to assist them, to bless their lives.

    Don’t try to tell me that he is not saying that you must repent. That is, after all, one of the primary purposes of church discipline.

    Posted by: Russ J | January 26, 2006 at 12:14 PM

  168. D. Fletcher says:

    It’s not a big deal, George. I think President Hinckley’s ability to say “I don’t know,” to a question of the origination of sexual preference, suggests to me that he has considered the problem, and possibly even prayed about it, and is willing to state his perplexity with the public.

    In years past, I suspect that the public words of the President of the Church to this question were “No one is born with a same-sex preference; one chooses this out of selfishness, and one can only come back to the fold by repentence, using the proper avenues.”

    The fact that the President said “I don’t know,” is a sign, however small, of doubt in his mind about the current policy.

    But perhaps, I’m just being optimistic.

  169. Your point is well taken. Just being able to say I don’t know is an important phrase in all our conversations

    By the way here’s a link to the whole interview.


    By

  170. I wonder if he feels like we do, he is human. He can see the dichotomy here. I think that’s the word. So many gentle good people are gay. How can God hate them?

    There are many things I leave with God. I do not consider this leaving them on the shelf. I consider it leaving it in wiser hands than mine.

  171. I do not wish to imply that this is anywhere near the same but what about . . . violent crimes, . . . some the people who commit these acts have no control over themselves.

    George, I appreciate your humility, and clearly you did pick an entirely inappropriate analogy. Some would argue that there may be a fine line between compulsive behavior, such as addiction, and being led captive by the devil. Both can lead to distructive choices.

    The issue of homosexuality as it relates to the gospel is not that it is compulsive (it is not), nor an addiction (it is not), nor that it may be innate. The problem is that the plan of salvation requires heterosexuality, as Samantha has articulated so well. We are not talking about the odd serial killer or rapist who acts out of some irrational compulsion. What the LDS church must come to terms with is that an estimated 5-10% of its members, through no choice of their own, find themselves outside of the paradigm of exaltation and happiness, as defined by the teachings of their faith. Forget about their behavior. The real issue is whether they can ever find a place at the table of Christ and be embraced in the fellowship of the saints. Should this entire segment of society be denied the blessings of raising families and nurturing relationships, simply as a result of scripture and society that can only see homosexuality in the context of promiscuity, pederasty, rape and sin?

  172. hurricane says:

    MahNahvu: Well said.

  173. Where do you draw the line between compulsive behavior and born that way?

  174. George,

    My homosexuality bears no resemblance to a compulsion. I’m not off engaging in risky behavior or feeling incapable of controlling myself. My sexual orientation just is. I’m attracted to men instead of women and I feel a lot better not just about myself but about life in general since I stopped fighting the attraction. It’s really not much more complicated than that. People with compulsions aren’t very healthy. I’m healthier than I’ve been in years.

    As for born that way, I don’t know with any certainty if I was or not. I do know that I can’t seem to change the fact that I’m gay and that’s what matters to me a lot more than if I my homosexuality is the result of genetics, biology, environment or a combination of the three. I don’t really care anymore if I was born gay. I didn’t chose it, I’m not going to change it and it’s what I am.

  175. Well said. Thank You!

  176. Hurricane and MahNavu: Thank you for the most important recent posts in this thread. Can you feel the condescending beneficence yearning to burst forth?

  177. Where do you draw the line between compulsive behavior and born that way?

    The question is irrelevant to the issue of homosexuality, which is first and foremost an orientation, not a behavior. The orientation can lead to homosexual behavior, which is not any more compulsive than heterosexual behavior.

  178. Let the floodgates of condescending beneficence burst forth. Sin is sin no matter who commits it. I don’t care whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, or for that matter a “Mainstream Mormon.” If you sin you have sinned.

    Let us put forth this analogy a gay man has a smoking problem, and so does a straight, black, Mainstream Mormon. Is it not so that in both cases they are both violating the Word of Wisdom, and that both of them would not be allowed into the Temple? Let the two same individuals commit murder are they both not equally guilty of breaking one of the Ten Commandments? Should we treat one of them differently because he is “Mainstream?” I believe in both cases they should be treated the same, and do you disagree?

    Okay let us put forth another analogy, you have single black gay person, and a single white gay person. They both take to worshipping idols. Is one of them more wrong than the other…? Should we treat the black person differently because he is black?

    Okay final analogy a person of same sex attraction, (ssa,) and a person of opposite sex attraction, (osa,) have sexual intercourse outside the Bonds of Marriage. Are they not both equally guilty of adultery or fornication, and if they where members of the LDS Church wouldn’t they both be excommunicated? Should we treat the one with ssa differently?

    What does your sexual orientation, sex, race, or anything else got to do with any of these analogies above? Are they not all wrong by the standards of the LDS Church?

    I have said consistently throughout this blog that I do not understand ssa.
    “I do not know if sexual orientation is a choice…”
    “Again I do not know the ends and outs, or the whys of same-sex attraction…”
    “Your point is well taken. Just being able to say I don’t know is an important phrase in all our conversations”
    From what I cane tell I am in pretty good company.

    Hurricane replied above, “As for born that way, I don’t know with any certainty if I was or not. I do know that I can’t seem to change the fact that I’m gay and that’s what matters to me a lot more than if I my homosexuality is the result of genetics, biology, environment or a combination of the three…”

    President Hinckley said in his interview with Larry King, “I don’t know. I’m not an expert on these things. I don’t pretend to be an expert on these things.”

    Am I wrong for not being able to comprehend ssa?

    I was a 42 year old virgin. Was there something wrong with me? Wasn’t I attracted to the women I was dating? Was I stuck up? Maybe in reality I had ssa. Or just maybe I was abstaining from a sexual relationship until I was married. Bingo! Of those in this blog who are gay and are claiming they want to be members of the church are they abstaining? As to why I was a 42 year old virgin let’s just say that I had some physical deformities that others had to overcome. Could I have had sexual relationships before I was married? Probably, but I didn’t..

    (I am sure there are many of you who read blogs that can address the stigma placed on older singles, especially never married older singles in the church. However, for whatever reasons we stay single.)

    I had an inactive member once tell me he wanted he wanted to marry a good “Mormon Girl”, but he wanted to sleep with her first to see if she was good in bed. What’s wrong with this? I said this in my first statement of this blog, “With this said we are told to seek knowledge that is good. We are told to love the sinner not the sin, and yes I believe if you give into same sex attraction you are sinning…” I also implied in the same statement that ssa was also a sin. I am sorry about my wording, but at the time I was thinking more about the original intent of this blog, which where is the appropriate place in a church setting to discuss subjects that could be controversial.

    Some of the comments made in response to mine and others whom are of the “Mainstream Mormon” faction where in of themselves ill thought out. Instead of addressing any misconception or giving of constructive instruction, (and for this I thank Hurricane for taking me on and giving me knowledge,) they chose to put us in our place. Great, I am humbled, but please tell me where I was wrong in this earlier post of this blog,

    “I do not enjoy alot of free time to sit and respond to all of your comments implied or said, but as a conservative minded individual I do not believe same sex relationships are right, no more than I believe in drinking and smoking, or for that matter a heterosexual relationship outside of marriage is okay. My values are such, am I perfect…no, that I still believe certain things are wrong. However, I understand the difference between the individual and the act.
    One of the earlier comments made was that Sacrament Meeting is meant to be uplifting and spiritual, not controversial. I agree, however we can not hide from the world we need to know and be understanding and be compassionate. (This statement is true for those of Liberal leaning as well as a conservative leaning.) These sometime controversial topics need to be discussed and understood, without individuals hopping up on their soapbox and condemning those who differ.
    We need to welcome all into our fellowship, but this does not mean we have to walk lockstep with person next to us. “
    Apparently this is condescending beneficence on my part not a heartfelt statement. I was also called ignorant, judgmental and quite self-righteous in reference to a later comment of mine. (Just because I do not have ssa doesn’t mean I don’t have my own “afflictions,” as said by the same person, but when we get to our next life we will understand.)

    Now to the original thread what is the appropriate church setting for controversial subjects other than Sacrament?

  179. George,

    You’re latest post pretty nicely sums up why I’ve decided that I can’t be Mormon anymore. I will not stay in a church where my orientation is viewed as defective or is routinely compared to addictions and compulsions. I will not stay in a church that teaches doctrine that I know to be wrong. I know God loves me as I the gay man that I am, I know that he wants me to live my life with integrity, and I know that there is lasting happiness and joy to be found outside of Mormonism. As I said before, I don’t expect the church to adapt its teachings to me, but I also feel no need to adapt myself to fit teachings that fail miserably in their attempt to explain my reality.

  180. I my last post I tried to seperate the individual from the sin. Is same sex attraction a sin,no.However having a sexual relationship is whether you are homosexual or hetrosexual if it is outside the bonds of marriage. If marriage is what you are talking about, we will just have to agree to disagree. However if it is one of my other points please be specific.

  181. hurricane says:

    I don’t believe that sex in a committed homosexual relationship is sinful. Denying homosexuals access to committed relationship is to tell them that their lot in life is to be alone.

  182. D. Fletcher says:

    Well, George, I have mentioned in the past that it is futile to try and find the logic in your argument. I’m a gay man who lives in the Church, and I am not a sinner (not today, anyway). But my attraction to other men is natural to me, and it is also natural that I would want to connect with one of them, and consummate the attraction. In this way, it is not different from those seeking an eternal companion from the opposite sex. Though same-sex attraction is not a sin, per se, there is no avenue available to me to fulfill my natural desires, none at all. I’m denied the opportunity to even look for my soul-mate among 50% of the adult population. Yet, I remain in the Church, because I find the talks and the community spiritually fulfilling in a way that I can’t quantify, except that I don’t feel the same way in some other churches. And I have great hope that, somewhere down the line, the Church will recognize that I too have a need for love and companionship, and the gender of the person I find to love me and sustain me doesn’t really matter. I do think that God feels it doesn’t matter — he’s told me so himself. He’s also told me to be patient, and so I am.

  183. D

    As I said we will have to agree to disagree on the point of marriage and I guess on sexual relationship out of marriage.

    However I hope and pray you, as you say, “Yet, I remain in the Church, because I find the talks and the community spiritually fulfilling in a way that I can’t quantify, except that I don’t feel the same way in some other churches.” Because that is where you belong, and I sincerely mean that for that is where I belong with all my prejudices and faults also. I hope if you ever sit next to me at a meeting you can greet me as a fellow traveler in this life who still has alot to learn.

    I have enjoyed your thoughts and links as well as Hurricanes, and for that matter Base and Samantha’s responses. I just feel that in a discussion such as this we need to stay away from remarks that don’t add but just take away. (I include myself in that statement.)I no more like to to be called or labeled with names than do you. If you trully disagree so be it, but my calling somebody self rightous just because you disagree… are you not being the same?

  184. Church is not a comfortable place for those who choose to have sex outside of marriage, regardless of whether they are in monogamous, heterosexual or homosexual relationships. While, at least in part, religion exists precisely to make us feel uncomfortable about certain choices we make, this should not allow those who don’t choose sex outside of marriage to make those who do feel less welcome at Church. Christ set the example of that through the people he associated with and the places he went, many of which were shocking to the priesthood brethren of the day.

    We also believe in continuing revelation, so almost any change of doctrine or (more likely) practice is possible. Many thought that males of African descent would never be given the opportunity in this life to hold the priesthood. They were wrong. Most believing Mormons (including me) expect that women will not have the opportunity to receive priesthood ordination in this life, and that Church-sanctioned marriage will not be expanded in this life to include monogamous gay relationships. But revelation will continue, and we may be wrong.

    In the meantime, we as Church members are obligated to love and welcome whoever attends Church with us. To those who feel uncomfortable attending because of their sexual orientation, I regret that you feel that way. I commend those who come anyway, who share their spirituality with the rest of us, who enrich the rest of us with their presence, and who are blessed by their active participation.

  185. D. Fletcher says:

    Did I call you self-righteous?

  186. You didn’t but it was mention by another.

  187. George: My comments have never been personally directed at you. On the contrary, I respect your sincere attempt to engage the subject.

    Although I am not gay, I have known too many gay people too well to believe that sexual orientation is as simple as a behavioral choice. I cannot concieve of a loving God that would doom some of his children to “failure” because they have been created in such a manner that they could never fulfil the most important of his commandments.

    This is what I meant in my original post by the unbridgeable divide. I cannot see church doctrine as anything other than reflecting the prejudice of earlier times. I believe mainstream Mormons cannot see homosexual behavior as anything other than sin. Thus, the best gay people can ever hope is to be seen as objects of pity, persons suffering from some unexplainable “affliction” over which they have no control. As long as they resist this “affliction” (which most of them see as a biological imperative), they will be allowed to associate with the Church. Even then, the “affliction” is considered comparable to pederasty, bestiality, and other incomprehensible acts.

    Could you long survive, George, in a culture that beleived your natural desires were an abomination, and that allowed you to participate only so long as you denied them and stayed quite about them so as not to unduly disturb those around you?

  188. It seems my “self-righteous” comment was taken with more offense than intended. But people often have a knee-jerk reaction to that particular “label.” For the record, I didn’t use it “just because [I] disagree” with you, George.

    It was actually in response to your previous comment:

    But I do struggle to change myself to fit its teachings, and I would give anything to always feel worthy of going to the temple, and thats where we differ.

    I just found it interesting that though you don’t know what it’s like to be gay, you’re completely convinced that such a trial would not prevent you from maintaining temple worthiness, like it supposedly has hurricane. In essence, you are spiritually stronger than hurricane.

    I think that’s a fair interpretation of your words. And that’s what I found to be a bit self-righteous.

    Another fair interpretation would be that you didn’t mean exactly what you said. And judging by your later “I don’t wish to imply.. [but I’m going to anyway]” statement, I see that your written words at times betray your true intent. So I retract my “self-righteous” statement and apologize for any offense taken.

  189. You guys are really missing the boat here as far as gay cowboy movies. If you want to see a really daring portrayal of homos, look at this one:

    Brokeback to the Future

  190. I don’t take my family to church to hear people’s personal opinions on contorversial subjects. I go to Sacrament meeting to hear Gospel doctrine taught. Last I heard Brokeback Mountain in no way is considered anyone’s “doctrine”. If I want to hear about controversial movies, I’ll watch Access Hollywood. This might be a time where the Bishopric wished they had assigned topics or at least confirmed topics in prayer meeting beforehand. If the jest of her talk, was to be more caring and sensitive to people who feel descriminated against, why just focus on gays. I have a handicapped son, why not talk about loving all God’s children all th e time. Why cross the line and risk offending families with small children or who were actually there to hear Gospel Doctrine. CROSSED WAY OVER THE LINE!

  191. Oh, look, there’s another Crystal.

    Just wanted to make it clear that wasn’t me. As if you couldn’t tell. :)

  192. I have been an inactive member of the church of jesus christ of Latter day saints for about three years and am just starting to become active once again! Since I have become active again I have seen a lot of members take a more liberal stance on life and are more accepting to homosexuality and movies with that kind of stuff in them! Personally I stand conservative through and through. Now I don’t hate homosexuals and I don’t treat them like dirt because they are human beings, but they throw their CHOICE of homosexuality in everyone elses faces by showing it in public, and putting it in movies for everyone to see, which is EXACTLY what they’re doing in “Brokeback Mountain” wether you want to beleive it or not! A lot of these modern day film makers put homosexuality in their movies to try and convince us that it’s OK!! But it’s not and our kids and ourselves should not believe otherwise!! It’s not normal and it’s not right! Now, I’m not saying to hate homosexuals and be rude to them, because we do live in a world where there are many, which is why we as LDS members and Chritians are taught to be an example to those and treat them like you would anyone else, just like you would an alcoholic or drug addict or a smoker. Be an example, but don’t let movies like Brokeback Mountain, convince you or your kids that it’s ok, because its not and we all know that. so don’t give into it and take a stand for you and your children!!!

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