Not to be out-gayed by T&S or M*, let me just say that there is a fantastic interview regarding Same-Sex Attraction over at the Church’s website. It deserves more than the mere link it received here. Public Affairs has seen fit to grill Elders Oaks and Wickman on homosexuality, the nature vs. nurture debate, same-sex marriage, civil unions, etc. Whether or not one agrees with every aspect of their views, it is surely signficant that Elder Oaks and Wickman were willing to go on the record with all this, and in such detail. I was particularly struck by how good the questions were that Public Affairs posed. The interview really covered all the hard questions, and didn’t sidestep any aspect of the issues, as my cynical self might have expected it to. I certainly hope this Q&A session is a harbinger of things to come. Wouldn’t it be great to read an interview like this concerning the Church’s views on evolution, the notion of “No Death Before the Fall,” or any number of other hot topics? Imagine the endless fodder for new blog posts in an otherwise burned-out Bloggernacle!
I encourage you to read the whole interview. Of the 1001 issues one might discuss after reading it, here are a random few that come to my mind:
1. More than even before, the Brethren seem to want to sidestep the Nature vs. Nurture debate and ground the Church’s opposition to homosexual activity in something other than a “position” on the causal factors behind homosexuality. I think this is a wise tactical move on the Church’s part. It would be nice if this serves to prevent bone-headed arm-chair analyses from Church members about the causes of homosexuality, and how their preferred causal theories are somehow mandated by LDS doctrine. If widely internalized by the Church at large, this approach will also, for better or for worse, probably make pro-homosexuality arguments relying on scientific explanations of homosexuality less persuasive among the membership. And thankfully, we probably won’t be hearing more of the Elder Faust view, circa 1995.
2. The Brethren seem unwilling to explicitly endorse specific therapeutic approaches to homosexuality. I wonder how the Evergreen folks feel about that. Also, there’s the acknowledgement of abusive therapeutic techniques. One wishes Oaks would have also made a regrettable acknowledgement of how BYU used to lead the way in implementing many such abusive techniques.
3. Oaks gives a nuanced view of the appropriateness of heterosexual marriage for homosexual members. Not reducible to a “Yes, they should get married,” or “No, they shouldn’t get married.”
4. There were several places in the interview where I can easily imagine the “unconditional love” issue might have been raised. It wasn’t, and thank goodness. I am so grateful that Church leaders don’t seem to want to jump on the Elder Nelson bandwagon!
5. The only part of the interview that leaves me slightly confused is Elder Wickman’s discussion of civil unions. Is Wickman opposed to same-sex couples having ANY of the rights that traditionally come with marriage, or is he only opposed to the full “bundle” of rights being had by gay couples (whether called marriage, civil unions, or whatever)?