Manufactured Prejudice

Last year, a commenter stated that in his stake at a recent meeting with a Q&A session with a general authority, two of the seven questions asked were how to get youth to accept the church’s stance on homosexuality. [1]  This is a question that I have wondered about myself as a mother of teens who likewise don’t agree that homosexuality is the dire threat the church portrays. They have been consistently taught in school that being gay is innate and acceptable, that gay kids should be treated with respect, and that bullying will not be tolerated and is morally wrong. [2]  As a result of the world in which they live, they do not inherently feel homosexuality is shameful, and they have friends in school who openly self-identify as gay.  This is a pretty big change from the era in which I was raised and an even bigger change from when older generations were raised.

From that comment thread, BJJLawKate said:

“The phrasing of the question itself is so revealing–it reveals that the speaker is hyperfocused on getting the youth to just accept the teachings and to stop questioning and thinking about this complex issue. . . Why do we discount their questions without truly examining the issues? Why are we so focused on them just accepting our views? . . . We teach them that they can pray, but apparently only for confirmation of an established doctrine. At least, that is how it seems. Shouldn’t we teach them that they can pray for insight and understanding? Shouldn’t we teach them, by our responses, that their viewpoints have value, that they are worth listening to–and seriously considering? . . . Our youth are smart. This sentiment may not be said to their faces, but they know that that is the underlying motive (“get them to accept”) by how we answer their questions.”

The Nature of Prejudice

Several years ago I went through a corporate training to help us expose the nature of our deeply held beliefs, our prejudices and biases.  An activity in the training illustrated the difficulty of creating a negative bias against something about which we have no prejudice.  We were partnered with another person at random and asked to identify an aspect of the person’s appearance or clothing that was neutral to us.  We then had to manufacture reasons that we disliked it.  It was possible to say negative things, but because we didn’t believe them, we were not capable of being convincing.  Many people doing this activity laughed aloud at how hollow their words sounded as they pretended to dislike something that didn’t bother them at all.

If young people today don’t have a natural bias against homosexuality like prior generations did, how do we get them to embrace the church’s stance that was created with that cultural bias to back it?  Rather than examine whether we should attempt this, I’d like to set that concern aside and ask how it could be done, realistically.

The Church’s Stance

First of all, what is the church’s current stance on homosexuality?  It has shifted over time, and there seem to be some alternate views.  Here’s the church’s current stance in a nutshell:

  • Some people are born gay. [3]
  • All people need to follow the law of chastity which prohibits sex outside of marriage. [4]
  • Gay people can remain celibate for life or marry heterosexuals. [5]
  • The church is against gay marriage because of a belief that children are entitled to parents of two different genders. [6]

What is prejudice?

Prejudice is a pre-judgment; having an opinion about someone, something or a group of people prior to and therefore not based on experience.  The difficulty with a stance on homosexuality is that it is nearly impossible to separate a stance on homosexuality (behavior) without it being a stance on homosexuals (people).  Additionally, because society and even the church now consider marrying for love to be ideal, barring some people from a love match on the basis of an innate sexual orientation feels unjust if we believe that marriage is essential to happiness and personal fulfillment.  If marriage is a societal obligation, as it was in the past, then encouraging homosexuals to enter heterosexual unions or remain celibate would feel less unjust.  However, in modern society, individual choice is far too prevalent to enforce the type of social obligations that existed in the past.  Certainly enforcing an unpalatable social obligation on a minority subset while touting personal love and fulfillment to the rest is inequitable.

The word [prejudice] is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, political opinion, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence”.  [7]

One popular theory is that prejudice is a normal part of cognitive development in which groups of people are categorized.  Theories abound as to the basis for categorization:  authoritarian thinking, in-group / out-group categorization, or hierarchical categorization when resources are limited.  There are similarities between these theories.  For example, people who are strongly authoritarian see the world as more rigid; social order helps them make sense of their world. [8]

Since the 1970s, prejudice has been seen as a byproduct of  in-group / out-group thinking.  For heterosexuals, homosexual feelings are unfamiliar, “other.”  Some heterosexual individuals may not be able to imagine engaging in homosexual acts without revulsion. [9]  A third form of categorization is based on perceived competition for limited resources mythologizes some groups as more deserving of those resources; this model sounds similar to the LDS statement “we preach the ideal,” meaning that some types of families are considered more valid than others.  This is related to our belief that marriage is child-centric, and that human children need a parent of each sex for ideal development.

Gay Marriage as a Threat

There are four categories to the types of threat that outgroups are seen to pose:

  • Realistic Threats.  This is actual competition for limited resources.  For example, if the government only issued one million marriage licenses per year and gay marriage would take some of these limited licenses from heterosexual couples, that would be a “realistic threat.”  Likewise, if heterosexual couples were being turned down for adoptions that were instead going to homosexual couples, that would constitute a “realistic threat.”
  • Symbolic Threats.  This is when two groups have different values that are incompatible and cannot co-exist. Some Christians view gay marriage as a symbolic threat; they feel they are compromising their values if they uphold laws that require equal recognition and treatment for gay marriages which they believe are sanctioned by God; therefore, their desire to adhere to the law may conflict with what they consider to be a “higher law” or God’s law.
  • Intergroup Anxiety.  This means that interactions between members of the two groups feel uncomfortable and uneasy because of perceptions of incompatibility between the groups; historical interactions may have been fraught with tension, creating discomfort.
  • Negative Stereotypes.  Perceptions based on fear or anger that the individuals of an outgroup all possess some negative or threatening qualities, such as violent behavior or dishonesty.

In general, gay marriage is seen by LDS people as a symbolic threat.  There is no clear cut competition for limited resources involved, although there has been some angst expressed over adoption policies; these threats have generally been couched in terms of not wanting to be required to perform marriages or adoptions that put children in the care of a homosexual couple.  Gay marriage is viewed as an untested social experiment with possible unforeseen consequences.  The simple fact is that young people are less invested in existing social structures than older people are, so this argument is a tough sell with millenials.  And it’s about the best argument we have.

Reducing Prejudice

Prejudice is reduced through contact.  As in the case of my own children, contact with openly gay friends from a young age who are protected from bullying has resulted in them identifying with homosexuals and not seeing them as an outgroup, but as an integral part of a multi-cultural society.  Historically, the only reason it was easy to see homosexuals as an “outgroup” was because they were often shamed into hiding their identity.  While everyone knew some gay people, they may not have known that those people were gay.

There are six conditions necessary for contact with an outgroup to fully eliminate prejudice, and while not all six of these have happened equally, there is progress across all of them:  1) mutual interdependence between the ingroup and outgroup, 2) common goals, 3) equal status, 4) frequent opportunities for informal contact, 5) multiple contacts between groups, and 6) social norms of equality must exist.  LDS people with gay family members quickly discover that the church’s stance on homosexuality is problematic because they know a gay person intimately on an equal footing and have lived in mutual interdependence with them. Most LDS families are unwilling to blame the family member for their inherent sexual orientation and are unwilling to consider that person as outcast forever.

The only way to counter the erosion of prejudice within Mormonism is to isolate our young people from knowing gay people, to maintain unequal status between gay people and straight people, and to point to conflicting goals.  But these tactics are on borrowed time if young people are in public schools where norms are shifting to more acceptance or if they happen to have a gay sibling.

Contact with openly gay people breaks down prejudice in the following ways:

  • Enhanced knowledge.  Rather than relying on inaccurate accounts or stereotypes, they have first hand experience.
  • Reduced anxiety.  They are comfortable around gay people because of their experience.
  • Increased empathy.  They have relationships with gay people and have listened to their concerns.

In answer to the original question, how do we get young people to accept the church’s stance on homosexuality, the key is really to do what we’ve been doing already with the existing poor results.  We can’t manufacture prejudice where society has already removed it unless we cease to participate in society altogether.  The problem is that this is the hill we will die on.  Millenials as a generation already feel some disconnect with religion and suspicion of the morals of preceding generations.  Trying to create a prejudice that society no longer fosters will only further erode trust in organized religion.

What do you suggest as an answer to the question?

Discuss.

____________________________________________________________________________

[1] I wasn’t clear from the phrasing whether the congregation asked the questions or the visiting authorities did.  However, the comment indicated that no clear, convincing solution was provided.

[2] They’ve attended school in both Arizona and Singapore.  Arizona is a deeply red state; I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that many of the teachers are carrying guns.  And in Singapore homosexuality is still technically illegal, but the country is fully committed to multi-culturalism, and the American school my kids attended was very American – and liberal compared to local culture – in terms of its values.

[3] This has only been part of the official stance since the mid 90s, and there may not be general consensus among the Q15.  If you are gay, this means that while there is some acknowledgment that your identity and sexual orientation is (perhaps) innate, there have been plenty of statements to the contrary, that it’s a choice, and that you are sinful for choosing it.  What your local lay clergy or fellow saints may say is a crap shoot.

[4] Although policing of homosexual behavior has been stronger than for heterosexuals.  For example, gay couples at BYU are not permitted to hold hands, although holding hands does not violate the law of chastity.  Anything other than openly hetero-normative behavior is not allowed at BYU.

[5] Thus being gay is seen as a disability or inherent disadvantage, a trial one must bear for life.

[6] Although obviously, sometimes parents are single due to divorce or death of a spouse; there is a bit of a double standard in allowing for these exceptions but not homosexuality.  Gay parents have disproportionately adopted children who otherwise would not have been adopted, so the question remains whether the church’s stance is that gay adoption is inferior to perpetual foster care.  In the church’s eyes, though, you are seen as an unfit parent unless you marry an opposite sex heterosexual.

[7] While not all discussion about homosexuality is irrational, many arguments against it are.  Animals do engage in homosexual behavior.   Nobody is asking to marry an inanimate object. Scientific evidence does point to sexual orientation being inherent.

[8] Theodor Adorno believed prejudice stemmed from an authoritarian personality. Adorno described authoritarians as “rigid thinkers who obeyed authority, saw the world as black and white, and enforced strict adherence to social rules and hierarchies.”  Adorno believed people with authoritarian personalities were the most likely to be prejudiced against groups of lower status.  Plous, S. “The Psychology of Prejudice.” Understanding Prejudice.org. Web. 07 Apr. 2011

[9] Revulsion makes rational discussion less likely.

Comments

  1. I agree that you don’t want to try to manufacture prejudice. I might think it is best to focus on the following two points. What do you think?

    1. IN BIG PICTURE, MORE OPTIONS DO NOT ALWAYS LEAD TO MORE LOVE

    In our current society, we have a lot of socially acceptable choices for how to live together in sexual relationships: straight marriage, straight cohabitation, gay marriage, gay cohabitation, etc. The odd paradox of modernity is that now that we have this abundance of options, we are less likely to choose ANY of them. There has been a HUGE shift in the United States, over the past thirty years, toward people living alone:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/09/02/lonely_americans_we_re_less_likely_to_live_with_a_partner_except_in_old.html

    There are no doubt many reasons for this, but perhaps one is that people living alone now have a lot of socially acceptable ways to be sexually fulfilled. Medium term sexual relationships that do not involve cohabitation, casual hookups, pornography on the internet, etc

    Gay marriage, even if it works perfectly with no downsides, is not going to reverse that trend by itself. Less than two percent of American adults identify as simply gay/lesbian (not bisexual), and only a small fraction of these end up in gay marriages.

    http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographics-studies/how-many-people-are-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender/

    However, a lot more people (varies from study to study) feel uncertain about their sexuality growing up, and experience at least some attraction to their own sex, and experiment with these things to some degree. Again, we have so, so many options. Heterosexual marriage plus children is not the most fashionable.

    2. CHURCH IS A WORK IN PROGRESS

    The church’s perspective is to simplify things and offer just two routes to sexual satisfaction: heterosexual marriage or departure from church standards. If you choose the second route, your friends and family (at least the young un-prejudiced ones the OP mentions) will still love and accept you, but you will not really be accepted by the church (can’t go to the temple, might be church discipline, etc.) This state of affairs is not perfect. In practice, it results in most gay people and many other young people leaving the church. But can we fix that while still hanging on to the things that work for us, and still staying true to whatever guidance we have from God and our prophets?

    Youth should understand that the church (like its membership) is a work in progress. A lot of thoughtful (and hopefully inspired) people are doing their best, and the way we view things will continue to change in time. Further light and knowledge, etc. On the other hand, our support for the unfashionable “marriage plus children” route is not just a practical solution for this life. We still believe it has eternal significance, and we’re not ready to give up on it. Hang in there kids!

  2. Hope Wiltfong says:

    Thank you for sharing some wonderful observations! I especially appreciate the fact that so many of our youth AREN’T upset about individuals being gay, but accept it withOUT prejudice. I think the church is stumbling along as well as it can – it will be interesting to see what develops.

  3. I’ve seen a couple of meetings in my area held specifically to deal with the fact that today’s youth are just not worried about gay marriage. “Manufactured prejudiced” seems like a great description for the terrible prescription that was given.

  4. T: “Gay marriage, even if it works perfectly with no downsides, is not going to reverse that trend by itself. Less than two percent of American adults identify as simply gay/lesbian (not bisexual), and only a small fraction of these end up in gay marriages.”

    Why are you putting the burden of a problem created by the 98% on the backs of the 2%?

    “The Church is a work in progress”

    Cold, cold comfort for LGBT members.

  5. Excellent post, very clear analysis. A Paradigm Shift in progress.

  6. I have 2 disagreements to a well-thought out and articulate article:
    (i) In the paragraph titled: “What is Prejudice” – you make the assumption that it is nearly impossible to separate homosexual behavior from homosexual people.
    My counter is this: becuase a moral approach to a complex issue is difficult does not mean that it is “nearly impossible” nor is it a worthless exercise. I have 2 close friends who were my friends long before they knew that they were homosexuals. I don’t know them as homosexuals; I know them by their first names. As a result, I don’t ascribe to the false dichotomy of having to select between “hating gays” or “allowing all men to love freely.”
    (ii) In the paragraph titled: “Reducing Prejudice” – you make the assumption that “the only way to reduce the erosion of prejudice . . .is to isolate [youth] from knowing homosexuals, to maintain unequal status between gay people and straight people, and to point to conflicting goals.” Related to my disagreement from (i) above, I disagree with you declaring that the “only way” to maintain prejudice is through isolation. For example, I think exposure to other cultures helps us appreciate differences without feeling compelled to homogenize everything, and exposure to other individuals from other cultures further ingrains the appreciation of those differences. Or, to make another imperfect analogy, personally knowing an addict (to alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.) helps us understand better the individual and the struggles they face – it can personalize the issue by humanizing it.

    In summary, if your goal is to ultimately change the “hill on which we will die” – don’t fight the arrogance of the establishment with the arrogance of the dissenters. There are other alternatives, and you don’t have to fall for the narrative that there are only 2 camps on this issue.

  7. “Why are you putting the burden of a problem created by the 98% on the backs of the 2%?”

    That is not even remotely what I am doing. My comment is not an argument against legalized gay marriage (that discussion is over) or an attempt to blame the 2% for anything at all.

    The question was about how to explain our current reality to young people.

  8. The question “how do we get them to… ” makes it sound like we are trying to force it upon them… like getting them to eat their vegetables. We shouldn’t be doing that. We teach true doctrine, echo the Savior’s invitation to follow Him, preach repentence, and let people govern themselves. We “get” them to, by allowing them to choose it themselvs.

  9. I think the argument about whether or not gay marriage should be legal is over and it is likely that the church’s opposition to it will fade into the past just like the ERA or it’s strange opposing stances on prohibition. Some people will probably still be bothered by it but I think it will largely fade from memory. I certainly don’t think it is the hill the church will die on.

    The next issue is whether or not homosexual behavior is sinful and I think you had it right near the beginning of your post – we just need to teach them to pray and seek revelation with an open mind. We need to teach them to be willing to go with the world or against it as the Spirit directs them. And, as with any moral principle, it is incumbent on us to be honest with them about what we believe and what the stance of the church is on an issue.

    I don’t think this kind of teaching is “manufacturing prejudice.” Certainly the prejudices of prior generations helped reinforce the idea that homosexuality is sinful but I am glad that my children will not be revolted by homosexuals even though I will teach them that the behavior is sinful (just like I will teach them that cohabitation is sinful). I hope they can learn to see all people without prejudice – whether those people are sinning openly or not. I guess you could argue that calling something sinful is inherently prejudice since it makes the assumption that everyone in a certain group is sinning but I don’t see how that is more true of homosexual intercourse than it is of alcohol or cohabitation. In all cases of sin we have to learn to advocate repentance and righteousness without assuming that those in need of repentance are evil or revolting or anything other than sinners in need of repentance. I think we do that best by remembering always that we are sinners in need of repentance – we are all in the same group.

    A change in the churches position on the morality of homosexual intercourse is certainly possible but it would clearly require revelation. Centuries of scripture would have to be overturned and one of the central tenets of Mormonism, our understanding of exaltation, would have to be significantly altered. These aren’t things that can be done by intellectual debate or legislative action – it would require revelation to those in authority to receive it. Until that happens I will do my best to teach what the Lord has already said on the topic to my children and any other youth I come in contact with and I will invite them to pray as I do for further light and knowledge from our Creator.

  10. Molly Bennion says:

    It seems to me we are asking our members to accept a number of doctrines and policies, among them: celibacy, heterosexual marriage–especially as it pertains to temple theology, and the prospect of church discipline. They are not the same. Even if our marriage and sexual understandings are correct (and I admit to confusion), I see no reason to discipline. Our LBGT brothers and sisters who want to serve with us as they follow their innate desire for love in a committed marriage relationship must have profound understandings of the gospel and dedication to Christ. How else could they seek to come to Church to hear how bad they are? Those I know well are teaching me so much about the love of Christ and about humility in our doctrinal positions. They value their position in their eternal families and the family of Christ every bit as much as I. And yet they were born different and must navigate that differently. I want to go on learning from them. Our ward needs their service. I want them to have the advantages of all the rest of the gospel. The young people I know are as concerned about the church discipline piece as the chastity piece and find that even more problematic. Why don’t we fix that one first?

  11. Basically, the Church’s stance boils down to the law of chastity.

    Just a thought experiment:

    Do we no longer count homosexual intercourse as a sin just because it is inherent?

    Lots of men have an inherently strong desire to have more than one partner. Biology shows that the human race is inherently polygamous (similar to other mammals with large males and smaller females) – just as much as it shows that homosexuality exists. Does that mean we should accept polygamist intimacy (with multiple living spouses) as not sinful?

    I think most would agree they’d want a divine decree before re-accepting polygamy. Why is there no need for the same decree to say that homosexual intimacy is no longer sinful?

    Thought experiment over.

    I’ve personally seen that many millennials like myself (including my gay Mormon friends) have no problem standing for chastity, while still showing respect.

  12. I don’t see how the acceptance promoted within the schools and popular media in general is any less manufactured that what the church is teaching. The issue, then is not *whether* we will allow others to manufacture and construct our worldviews and values for us, but *who* we will trust to do so?

  13. Jeff G: From South Pacific:
    You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!

    Yes, prejudice is manufactured as is tolerance–both are byproducts of our environment–but once the window for conditioning is closed, you can’t “manufacture” it anew. We don’t develop new prejudices as we age. And we as parents aren’t raising our children in a bubble. You can’t create prejudice in your children when the majority of people they spend time with don’t share those prejudices or are the ones against whom those outmoded prejudices are harbored.

    So our chastity narrative, whatever it may be, must be devoid of prejudice to succeed or it will be viewed with suspicion.

  14. The premise here is so wrong and the analysis so biased in its predisposed conclusions. You clearly and unfortunately don’t even understand the church that you seek to counsel in this issue.

    You are causing pain and confusion while hiding behind a wall of accusations against essentially the leadership of the church.

  15. What a relief! Finally, a man is here to explain the church to me, after 47 years of me just not understanding it. Please, enlighten us all.

  16. Angela,

    But shouldn’t we fully expect the world to be suspicious of our values and prejudices? I have no doubt that Babylon has always been able to accuse Zion (whether our children’s friends are actually Babylon or whether we are actually Zion is beside the point) of manufacturing prejudices against their “alternative lifestyles”. Indeed, the tendency to construe those who disagree with us as “prejudiced” (bigoted, hateful, etc.) is itself a prejudice which is manufactured within our schools, media, etc.

    With that in mind, it seems that church members should be extremely suspicious of those who would encourage us to placate the suspicions of the world at large…. unless, of course, they actually have prophetic authority to lead us in this way.

  17. Let’s see, closed minded prejudice is actually righteous protection of sacred divine truth?

  18. When I was young, the philosophy of sexual morality was if it feels good, do it and it was hard to accept and live the Lord’s standard of morality. Over time I’ve learned that the Lord’s standard is best. My hope is that the youth will learn in a similar way.

  19. Silfo,

    It’s that’s the only way in which you can think to describe such people in discussions like this, then I would be a little more concerned about calling such kettles “black”.

    Every culture prohibits its members from doing/saying some things and requires them to do/say others. When they are confronted with differing cultures they will always find some way of morally demonizing such differences in terms of wickedness, prejudice, superstition, hate, irrationality, bigotry, etc.) Don’t think that you are any different.

  20. I don’t recall Jesus acting in that way Jeff G.

  21. The fact that you are even considering an attempt to change the minds of youth who have not chosen to embrace injustice makes me sick.

  22. I didn’t know the churches position on any topic was “injustice” … maybe I’ve missed something :/

    Can there be anything ‘unjust’ about calling homosexual relations immoral/sinful? Isn’t that what churches do: outline moral/immoral actions? Can it be unjust to perform the function for which you were designed? I’d say it would be unjust to perform contrarily to how it was designed… that’d be like the object telling the creater that he designed it wrong… no?

  23. NonMormon: I don’t think Angela C and most of the commenters here believe it’s a good thing to try and teach youth to be prejudiced. On the contrary. They are part of a rather homophobic religious subculture, but there are many Mormons who are working to change that. Mormonism has a remarkable history of making major changes, and I for one am optimistic.

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    Clear analysis, Angela, thanks.

  25. To restate Angela’s question from a different angle: Do the Church’s teachings on homosexuality—not theoretically, but as they are applied—depend on the persistence of prejudice? When the prejudice is gone, when members of the Church no longer loathe or fear homosexuals, what would the gospel as actually lived by Mormons look like? Can the belief that homosexuality is morally repugnant persist when we no longer fear the hypothetical gay demon, but rather love and nurture our living, breathing, gay neighbors and family? The Church’s leaders have only barely begun to react to this development. I don’t think we really have any idea yet what a non-homophobic Mormon doctrine of homosexuality will be.

  26. Morally repugnant isn’t prejudice?

  27. That’s what I think most, about the church’s attempted socialisation of youth with what you rightly call manufactured prejudice; is this the hill we choose to die on?

    What I find discouraging, I guess, is that I thought the church was of the opinion that truth is eternal and by nature, universal. Whether prophet or rank-and-file member prayed, if both were earnestly seeking truth, they would surely get the same root answer, but they don’t on this issue. So how is the difference possibly explained?
    a) the prophet receives revelation for the church, the rank-and-file for personal witness; how does that work with prophet receiving revelation for the church that homosexual marriage was pernicious, but an earnest member having personal witness that there was no sin in their gay friend’s desire to get married?
    b) either prophet or some of members are wrong and being fooled by another feeling
    c) God is down to risk running the next generation of church leaders out of the church by letting old men leaders cling to their wrong ideas (precedent for that: see race & priesthood essay) until they die out and are gradually replaced with whatever equal-rights young’uns that just came up. Is that how God restores the church, getting one generation at a time to what’s actually moral?

    I feel like they’d be better off saying ‘hey, we are neutral on whether ‘the world’ get’s ‘gay-married’, but we don’t believe it moral in our church’. And when youth say ‘but why not?’ then you answer ‘we’re honestly not sure, we’re praying to find out what God wants us to do’. People will still leave the church based on that, sure, but at least in 30 years they won’t look back and say ‘you changed your doctrine on this so much, and hurt me and psychologically scarred me while modifying your views’.

  28. Several years ago I took my teens to a youth fireside by a General Authority. He let the youth ask him questions at the end. One question was by a boy said he had Gay friends and asked about the Church policy on Gays. The General Authority had a young man and young girl from the front row stand up and face the audience. He then said> “See this handsome young man, their is not a girl spirit inside him. See this beautiful girl their is not a boy spirit inside her.” My own kids were not that impressed by his answer since he seem to mix up gender identity, the idea of male and female spirits with same sex attraction.

  29. A very good article but you betray your own bias against gun-ownership which has no bearing on the content or conclusions of the article. While I generally applaud your efforts and more than likely see eye-to-eye with you on just about everything, I consider the gun remark a cheap-shot and below your level of intelligence.

  30. Angela C, great post. To answer your question, I’m stumped as to what could be done. One of the main problems is that the argument that homosexuality in and of itself constitutes a threat to society is not backed by any evidence whatsoever, and the argument that the acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage is beneficial for the well-being of society is well-evidenced. So as rationally thinking LDS people think more about why we should reject gay marriage, the more likely they are to find themselves stumped as to why we should reject it at all. This is a trend that is happening throughout society. In 2004, 31% of the US population was against gay marriage, but now 55% is in favor. Even in Mormondom, according to a polls over the past year, an increasing number of the active LDS people are in favor of civil unions and even gay marriage.

    As to the issue of what’s manufactured and what’s not, if we define a manufactured sentiment as one that is based upon bad incoherent evidence or no evidence at all, but based instead upon groupthink, pure intuition, and emotion, then the prejudice against gays and gay marriage is manufactured, and acceptance of them is much less so, since people who accept gays and their romantic relationships tend to do so much more on the basis of a coherent chain of evidence. And as for those whose defense line is, “ah, but everything is manufactured, so you can’t say that the prejudice against gay marriage is any more or less manufactured than acceptance of it,” then I don’t understand how you reconcile your seeming postmodern attitudes towards truth with Mormonism. The suggestion that Mormon teachings are manufactured seems to put you on the side of secularist critics of Mormonism than it does on the side of the LDS leaders. For Mormonism is a religion that has very strong claims to knowledge of the truth. It is probably the last religion from which one could derive from its doctrines and teachings the idea that truth is all in the eye of the beholder.

  31. Here is what I teach my children: I believe that God is love. I believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. I believe that the Book of Mormon is divine revelation. I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I believe that the Holy Ghost is present in the LDS Church today. These are the things I believe, and I remain a Mormon because I believe these things. I do not agree with everything that every general authority teaches, but this does not disturb me because I do not believe that any of us is infallible, myself included.

    I do not try to get my children to accept the Church’s stance on homosexuality. I tell my children that I believe that the Church’s teachings on homosexuality can be improved, and I pray that this will happen. I pray also that I may have greater understanding, especially where I might be mistaken. I teach my children that I believe that the Church is true and that the Church can be both true and imperfect.

    So far, my children, who are all now young adults, remain committed to the Church.

  32. Geoff - Aus says:

    In the present P’hood/ Rs lessons #17 on “Keeping the law of Chastity” the definition of chastity is
    The Church has no double standard of morality. The moral code of heaven for both men and women is complete chastity before marriage and full fidelity after marriage

    This was of course before the church got on the anti gay marriage thing. So if this is actually the definition of chastity, (and it says just before this that it is the eternal definition) and if gay people are men and women, then it is our leaders who need education and not our youth.

    I find the anti gay attitude/belief in opposition to the teachings of Christ, and have not been persuaded otherwise. The pathetic attempts in the Ensign make it very clear that it is hard to explain.

  33. Just a point of fact. There may be some real basis for homophobia other than learned prejudice. I have no references but experiments have confirmed that the most homophobic males are the ones which are most unconsciously excited by homoerotic images. This was measured by physiologic reactions. It has long been my supposition, given this fact, that homophobia is a “protective” reaction to keep these men heterosexual. This psychic necessity might be termed “homophobic guarding.” This phenomenon also explains why some public figures revile homosexuality while secretly pursuing homosexual adventures. It also creates space to allow questioning of virulent homophobia in men.

    Women are a whole different issue. Naturally they are more complex.

  34. “the most homophobic males are the ones which are most unconsciously excited by homoerotic images…supposition…homophobia is a “protective” reaction to keep these men heterosexual.”

    I don’t know, I think this notion cuts two ways since some prohibitions also inhance some temptations for some people. So I’m not sure this concept makes a very good divinely inspired apologetic because a simple abstinence prohibition is a binary that lacks the neuance to deal with the increased temptation it is capable of generating unconsciously placing them unnecessarily at odds with themselves.

  35. A Happy Hubby says:

    Another excellent and thought provoking post.

    I am nowhere near being a millennial (I am already getting invites from AARP – which I refuse to even open – at this time). But I look at how much political capital the church is spending opposing gays. We don’t believe in drinking Alcohol, smoking, or coffee drinking. But I don’t see discussing that as even a fraction of what the church says about gays and how religious freedoms are being trampled.
    I see this as a major reason more and more millennials (and older) having a harder time staying with the church when in their heart they feel very differently than what we hear the brethren saying. I agree 100% about questioning this is the hill the church is going to live or die defending. Why don’t we put that effort into being Christ-like?

  36. I woke up this morning completely overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy as a parent. Really, I have no business answering a question, “What to teach future generations about sexuality and religion and morality and fidelity and respect for others?” Unfortunately, I also woke up with a desire to post my opinions in a public forum. Damn! Here goes …

    We have free-range chickens. Rather, we have free-range hens. Sometimes we have roosters, but they are dispatched. This year one of our older hens decided she was a rooster. Really. She crows. She gets aggressive towards non-flock members. And she has sexual relations with the other hens. I’m absolutely serious. She’s never seen a rooster, and she does what roosters do. She laid eggs for two years now acts like a rooster. So … every morning at my house, we wake up to the crowing of a hen with gender-identity issues. (Hopefully the moderator allows my comment.)

    If someone ever told my children, “same-sex attraction is unnatural” my children will almost certainly recall Mattie the hen/rooster. Mattie is different, but she’s very much “natural.”

    I suppose the best thing to teach children is that life is exciting. We can be wrong about what we believed yesterday and it’s okay to change our minds. I think life has a natural way of shaking up what we once thought was true, and that’s okay.

    Now if an organization is intent on not changing with new understanding? …

  37. Following conversation.

  38. I teach AP Psychology in a predominantly Mormon school in Utah. On the last day of the school year, we had an activity called Psychiatrist, where students were asked to anonymously ask a question or state an idea on a piece of paper. I chose papers from the basket, and THEY had a discussion. (I deliberately stayed out of the discussion. This was their activity, not mine.) I expected discussions on homosexuality, because that has been the issue most high school students were concerned with in the past. However, the major discussion this year was religion. Ideas ranged from the manipulation of organized religion to the question of how to leave the Church without hurting family and friends. For the most part, these intelligent, marvelous young students seem to have moved on from the issues of homosexuality, but many — not all — seemed wary of their own religion.

    I found their discussion incredibly enlightening. I feel the Church has become so heavy-handed with gay issues. I personally cringe during General Conference when the Church’s stance on homosexuality seems to be paramount over the real mission of the Church: bringing members to Christ. By the way, these students are the cream of the crop. They are valedictorians, student body officers, athletes, musicians, excellent students, and future missionaries.

  39. I don’t understand comments like “Why don’t we put that effort into being Christ-like?”
    or “the Church’s stance on homosexuality seems to be paramount over the real mission of the Church: bringing members to Christ.”

    Maybe the answers there are obvious and being ignored… Christ isn’t homosexual and finds it sinful, and since no unclean thing can come unto him, in order for people to come unto Christ or be Christ-like, they cannot be embracing unclean things (homosexuality among them).

    I think the apostles efforts ARE to bring people to Christ/help them be Christlike. It isn’t mutually exclusive to be Christ-like or stand firm against homosexuality. You can do both, and I think they do it well.

  40. I read an article earlier on yahoo that basically said “homophobic” people are mentally unstable, etc. Just 50 years ago homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder by the DSM. Then I hear that liberalism is a mental disorder. What is normal?

  41. I am genuinely confused why the OP thinks the church’s teaching in this matter has to be based on prejudice in order to be passed on to the next generation. The church is opposed to many things much, much more common than homosexuality and yet our members work and socialize with them anyway while maintaining their opposition to what those outside the church choose to do.

  42. I am genuinely confused why the OP thinks the church’s teaching in this matter has to be based on prejudice in order to be passed on to the next generation. The church is opposed to many things much, much more common than homosexuality and yet our members work and socialize with them anyway while maintaining their opposition to what those outside the church choose to do. Cant we believe that homosexuality is a sin, not because of prejudice, but because of a different understanding of sexuality?

  43. ABM, you ask, “Can’t we believe that homosexuality is a sin, not because of prejudice, but because of a different understanding of sexuality?” What makes the OP interesting is that we’ve never really tried to teach about homosexuality without resorting to prejudice. Members of the Church, like most people in the larger culture, have carried a very strong visceral prejudice against homosexuality for many generations. Now we have the first generation in living memory that is growing up with significantly more benign views about homosexuality. Can we raise children who both love homosexuals and condemn homosexuality? We don’t know whether this can be done in a culture where people generally do not fear homosexuals.

    It would be unwise to assume that we can accomplish this as things stand right now. It seems pretty clear that the doctrinal resources we have at this point are not up to the job. Our “different understanding of sexuality” is mostly undeveloped beyond the old prejudices. Our cultural resources are also lagging. If we could, in practice, embrace and accept gay members of the Church, then we might find it easier to deal with the doctrinal problems.

  44. Tom, I disagree. While I think we can always do better, there is plenty written, both within the church, and in the larger Christian tradition that lays out a view of human sexuality that doesn’t condone homosexuality but also doesn’t demonize homosexuals. Unless you want to say that calling it sinful is prejudice and demonizing… then I can’t help you there.

  45. It seems pretty clear that the doctrinal resources we have at this point are not up to the job. Our “different understanding of sexuality” is mostly undeveloped beyond the old prejudices.

    Yup. Which is ironic because the founders of the LDS faith were incredibly innovatie adventuresome when it came to sexuality. At least the men-folk explored some interesting ideas.

    You’d think with our history we’d have some interesting ways to think about social constructs like marriage, sexual mores, and religion.

    And Jax, what exactly did Jesus teach about homosexuality? I’m certainly no Bible scholar, and I’m willing to be educated on the topic, but I’m unaware of Jesus teaching much of anything about either heterosexual sex or homosexual sex.

  46. Geoff - Aus says:

    ABM, Not being an American I only see the church justifications, for claiming gays are a problem. The article by Bruce Haffen for example, which invents new doctrine (that some of us have to sacrifice our rights for the good of others, and that the time when the world had that balance right was 1960). See for some thoughts on this http://zelophehadsdaughters.com/2015/09/02/defending-the-white-family/ Christ did not teach anything about homosexuality, and I would point out that Paul in Romans was not talking about homosexuals but people who worshipped sex, in any way they could come up with, including acts we would interpret as homosexual.

    As a post a while ago pointed out, the US public will either treat homophobia like they do opposition to abortion, or like they do racism. Where I live it is already like racism.

    There was much more scriptural support for racism, and we have pretty much abandoned that ( see zelopheads daughters article above). I had hoped with legalization in Utah it would quietly fade away.
    This conference could be an interesting test?

  47. Well, Josh, in this church we believe in divine revelation and that our leaders are “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.” As such, we believe that whether through the Lord’s voice or the voice of His prophets, it is the same. Our current Apostles echo the ancient ones. There is no reason to think that teaching against homosexuality isn’t helping people be more Christlike.

    Conversely, can you point to anywhere where Christ has told us to tolerate sin? Where we are to embrace those who embrace wickedness?

  48. ABM, you wrote, “Unless you want to say that calling it sinful is prejudice and demonizing… then I can’t help you there.” I don’t know whether calling homosexuality sinful is necessarily prejudice and demonizing. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I’ve been thinking and praying about that question for twenty-five years, and the only conclusion I’ve reached is that it’s complicated. I haven’t found the answers. I’m certain that as a church we haven’t figured it out yet. I’m also sure that those who assume the answer is obvious are highly unlikely to make any progress with it.

  49. You’re understood, Jax. I was just seeing if you had more to your claim about what is “Christian” other than what you hear from your church leaders. I understand your position very well. Honest to goodness, I have absolutely no desire to persuade you to believe other than what you believe. I certainly don’t want to encourage you to embrace wickedness. … or even embrace those who embrace wickedness. … or even embrace those who embrace those who embrace wickedness.

    That’s interesting though that Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality. I guess he had his hands full dealing with things like poverty, sickness, political oppression, and arrogant religious authorities.

    At any rate, only 2% of the population is homosexual. For the sake of the homosexuals who want to be Mormon, I wish we could use a wee bit of imagination and carve out a way for them to marry the partner of their choosing and be good Mormons, if that’s what they want to do. That’s all.

    Again, I understand that you’re just following your church leaders’ teachings in this matter. And again, I don’t want to dissuade you from doing just that.

  50. Geoff-Aus,

    We have gone round on this topic before… You want to discount any prophetic teaching, past or present that suggests that homosexual behavior is sinful as not really saying that or just a product of bigoted old men.

    I am open to the possibility of further light being shed on this topic from God that would change the church’s stance, but can you admit that there is a non-zero chance that maybe God really does consider homosexuality to be sinful and that the current apostles have it at least mostly right? Is that even conceivable?

  51. It seems that the author (“OP”) is off the view that the primary concern needs to be relevance or popularity – in this case, with millenials.
    I think this aligns with a trending view amongst many LDS (and non-members, too) that the 1st Pres and Quorum of Twelve are “out of touch” and that the Bloggernacle plays an important role in shaping/changing their views.
    I do agree that, as a Church, we can improve the way that we engage with LGBT. But I don’t put my faith in the Bloggernacle.
    I believe that apostles are called of God and that, if we sustain them, we will be “safe” in a spiritual sense. They may not all of the answers all of the time, but I believe that God will not allow them to lead us astray.
    That does not mean that the Church’s approval rating will not suffer. The world, and anyone that wants to have an opinion, will have an opinion.

  52. Jill “but many — not all — seemed wary of their own religion. ”
    I think this is a very important observation. I’m wary, and I’m 46! How can this not help but rub off on my kids?

    On homosexuality: there were students self-identifying as gay back when I was at school, and then at university. They certainly weren’t people to be feared. Last year in her citizenship classes, my daughter chose to present the case for same sex marriage (she attends a CofE school, and the CofE is not settled on the issue). I really don’t see my kids buying the churches stance on homosexuality. I can’t, not the way it’s presented currently…

  53. “There is no reason to think that teaching against homosexuality isn’t helping people be more Christlike.”

    Maybe? He was pretty silent on the topic. If you’re arguing that the Old Testament preached against homosexuality, therefore Jesus would have been against it, therefore the modern prophets are against it, and they are the same as speaking for God therefore it must be Christlike…. welllllllll I got nothin for ya then, except it makes me wonder why we’re letting women speak in church and a whole host of other things that used to be prohibited.

  54. Steve, I think you might be drawing a parallel between Paul’s times and ours, but my currently held prejudices are getting in the way of recognizing the logical conclusion.

  55. it's a series of tubes says:

    Steve, wouldn’t it be intellectually honest to concede that, while nothing in our canon reflects Christ’s spoken words on the topic, various statements in the canonized NEW testament identify homosexual *behavior* as sinful? e.g., 1 Timothy 1:10, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, etc.

  56. It would! Sorry, I neglected Paul’s view on the matter. So which of Paul’s views are we running with, then? Are we taking all of Paul?

  57. it's a series of tubes says:

    Guess that’s for you to decide :) Rumor has it that some have found it helpful, however, when evaluating Paul’s statements within an LDS context, to consider which ones have been reiterated as authoritative by modern prophets.

  58. So why do we need Paul at all?

    Look, Christ said nothing about homosexuality. OT prophets hated it, but they hated everything. Paul hated it, but he was also very much a man of his time. For either of those cases, we’re back to looking at what modern prophets say. That’s great! But let’s just say so rather than try and characterize this as a teaching of Christ’s, because it isn’t, except by some transitive property.

  59. But let’s just say so rather than try and characterize this as a teaching of Christ’s, because it isn’t, except by some transitive property.

    Agreed. I think Jax had the LDS position about right above:

    Jesus (from heaven, not while on earth) –> Thomas Monson –> Jax

    A Protestant Jax might say:

    God –> Paul –> Jax

    A Catholic Jax might say:

    Jesus –> Peter –> Pope –> Jax

    And a Muslim Jax might say:

    Allah –> Muhammad –> Koran –> Jax

    Obviously these are all arguments from authority, which is based on tradition, which gets dicey when traditions are in flux, as they are in 2015.

  60. it's a series of tubes says:

    we’re back to looking at what modern prophets say

    Steve, I think this is an overstatement. If you take the current NT as canonical, there are fairly clear statements on point. If you want to accord those statements the same doctrinal weight as statements about hair, grooming, or who gets to talk and when – fair enough. But you can’t act surprised if others view them as having more weight.

  61. I’m not surprised at all, Tubes, but “doctrinal weight” is just another way of saying “picking and choosing,” which is a matter of modern review of ancient documents. These sayings of Paul are only authoritative because our modern prophets have said so.

  62. Clark Goble says:

    Tom Now we have the first generation in living memory that is growing up with significantly more benign views about homosexuality.

    While there are reasons to be somewhat critical of Quinn, I think he does a good job arguing that this isn’t the case before WWII. The fear of homosexuality appears to have primarily affected American culture much more in the post war era. If anything looking at some examples Quinn gives one halfway wonders if especially in the 19th century they didn’t worry about it enough. i.e. there appears to be a sense that authentic sexuality is heterosexual so homosexual encounters are far more benign and dismissible. (Which is not the same as saying homosexuality was accepted, which some have twisted Quinn’s book into defending)

    I suspect the real issue (and why homosexuality wasn’t seen as big of an issue in pre-war America) is normalizing gay relationships. As things become more normalized in subgroups it’s perceived as a greater threat. Thus Prop-8 and so forth.

    Steve, I think there’s a case to be made that sex is sex and we shouldn’t distinguish between inappropriate heterosexual or inappropriate homosexual. The bigger issue is given the reality of the biology of sex and gender identity how to handle things. I think those pushing for a more social liberal perspective on this (anything goes unless it hurts an other person) haven’t quite through through the implications of this though. Although as a practical point it’s moot. Demographically it’ll all be normalized within 10 – 15 years even among more conservative communities.

  63. Steve, what makes you think that the iron-rod anti-homosexuals wouldn’t also like women to be silent in church? /evilgrin

    But seriously, the Bible is a terrible tool for figuring out divine will, because you can find support for pretty much anything in there–the darn thing even contradicts itself! So the question really comes down to authority–who has the authority to speak for God? (The answer, of course, was Mr. Rogers…)

  64. Clark: “there’s a case to be made that sex is sex and we shouldn’t distinguish between inappropriate heterosexual or inappropriate homosexual.”

    Clark, that’s not what I’m interested in here. I’m talking about use of the Bible as authority for our current position.

  65. Clark Goble says:

    Right, but the main contemporary Biblical application is sex is only between a husband and wife. The OT ritual cleanliness stuff isn’t typically viewed as relevant. So when people think what’s wrong, it’s typically viewed as sexual contact. I’m not sure the complex apologetics for homosexuality from the Pauline epistles or the rest is really ultimately that relevant.

  66. Clark Goble says:

    (Whoops – part got cut off) I’m not sure anything beyond D&C 42 is really needed to deal with all of this. The debates within protestantism over the Pauline epistles seem largely beside the point for Mormons.

  67. Clark, exactly. D&C 42 is ample, and we’re on much firmer territory.

  68. Steve,

    I simply don’t see why we should care (except indirectly) what Christ or Paul said to people who’s context was so foreign to our own. What matters is what Christ is saying to us today through His living prophets (which would naturally include those and only those OT/NT passages that we are instructed to care about within our present context).

  69. Jeff, that is my point, more or less.

  70. Oops. Sorry about that. I guess I could’ve simply read your 11:10 post and seen that.

  71. Clark Goble says:

    Steve, the problem is that D&C 42 just doesn’t deal with the complexities of the psychology or biology. I think those raising homosexuality typically are fine treating via D&C 42 or elsewhere as disallowing sexual contact. The question then becomes what is allowable contact. And there the scriptures are silent perhaps because they simply couldn’t conceive of these other views as ever being normative.

    Thus the question of how to treat say converts who are in a gay marriage. I think most of these will be dealt with by only allowing a traditional male/female marriage as valid in a religious context. I’ve no idea how the more complicated but rarer issues of biology of psychology are dealt with. I found the post last week on that interesting, but I think the church is between a rock and a hard place since the biology of the psychology is nebulous.

  72. Clark Goble–I think the odds that a man in a gay marriage is going to convert is approximately zero (unless it is followed very quickly by a divorce, I suppose).

    Would missionaries even teach someone in a gay marriage? How would that work? “Come join our church, but first, you have to get divorced.”

    I’ve heard that polygamists in Africa have to get divorced from all but one of their wives before converting, but does that actually happen?

  73. Clark Goble says:

    Nepos, I agree but only because the church won’t recognize the marriage. As for missionaries, remembering myself as a naive 19 year old, I can see people teaching the discussions absolutely clueless to the nature of the relationship.

    I don’t know about African polygamy and the Church I’m afraid. I’ve heard that too but I don’t know what happens in practice.

  74. Here’s a trib article from 2010 that describes the African polygamy rules for baptism (must get divorced from all but one wife to get baptized). http://www.sltrib.com/lds/ci_14751371

    The description in the article matches my husband’s experience when he served in West Africa in the late 1990s. Admittedly it was rarely an issue in the areas he went, since it was Muslims who practiced polygamy and Christianity was a bit more prevalent. In the polygamy cases that he was aware of, the spouse(s) investigating the church chose not to get baptized rather than break up the family. I remember another missionary from his area telling him at a reunion that so-and-so had finally gotten baptized. The convert was finally eligible because his other wives had passed away, and he only had one left.

  75. One of the negative stereotypes that should be addressed by the Church is that being homosexual does not equal pedophile. It kind of reminds me of when Blacks could not hold the Priesthood, and, some in the Church went on the vilify Blacks as being Communists if they worked for Civil Rights, or, Blacks wanted to destroy other races, by intermarriage. Oops, now the Church is still trying undo the impacts of such statements. Similarly, saying untrue things about homosexuals, to bolster arguments against homosexuality, is likely to hurt down the road.

  76. The Church excommunicates members who live as a same- sex married couples. There are no “converts” who can be members AND live this lifestyle. To “convert” one gives up their own will with the intent of aligning it with God’s will.

  77. I wonder then, mem, what the Church “officially” thinks married gay couples with kids should do as potential converts. Break up a family? Abandon their children? How will the Church balance their anti-homosexual views with their views on the importance of families under those circumstances?

  78. “I think the odds that a man in a gay marriage is going to convert is approximately zero (unless it is followed very quickly by a divorce, I suppose).”

    I disagree very much. I bet we’ll hear about it happening within the year. I’m trying to make it happen with a friend of mine who really should be mormon, along with his husband. Will they get baptized? Dunno if that’s possible yet. Will they feel the spirit testify to them about the gospel? I have faith that it’ll happen. And maybe they’ll find enough good in the gospel to outweigh the things they (and I, and a few others here) disagree with. They wouldn’t be the first minority group to join the church despite hurtful practices/teaches.

  79. The way it stands now and always has been, is that a gay couple, with or without children, cannot
    convert AND continue to live as a married couple. Therefore, a gay couple with children will not convert because children are involved. The Church will not baptize minors without parental consent. The Church used to require members married to non-members, to get their spouses permission first before the member spouse could be endowed. The Church doesn’t want to cause strife. The Church will not baptize any gay people who won’t agree to “divorce” and live the Law of Chastity. Why would you think a gay “family” would want to join our faith and continue to live that lifestyle?( If they did, they’d soon be excommunicated.) Gay couples are not flocking to our churches to join with us. Why would they when their “family” would hear from the pulpit that they are wrong for living in that type of “family” and that only God can define marriage,He has and it isn’t changing? Does Kyle and his husband know they’d have to be divorced to join with us?
    Do you really expect they would be fine with that??

  80. nrc42–The Church “officially” will not baptize anyone living as a married gay couple, especially with children. They just won’t baptize them because they don’t meet the requirements. The Church does have requirements for baptism–like you can’t be a minor and do so without parental permission. Or someone who has committed murder. They don’t do it.

  81. Sorry, Kyle wrote it!lol

  82. Kyle, mem, I certainly don’t think it’s a likely scenario. The Church has done a phenomenal job of making sure married gay people know they aren’t welcome, and most progressive LDS members I know encourage their gay friends to stay clear for now. I am just wondering, hypothetically speaking, what would happen if a gay married couple with children got their hands on a copy of the Book of Mormon, contacted the missionaries, and asked about baptism. Would they be told, “You can’t be baptized in this life, ever, because your sins are unpardonable in this life,” or “If you wanted to be baptized, you can repent of your sins, but as part of that process you’d have to get a divorce, give up your parental rights, and hope your kids don’t get lost in the foster system?”

  83. To put it more consicely: do you think the Church would frame giving up children as potentially being a part of the repentence process?

  84. Amazing how powerful the Zeitgeist is. First, scientific evidence does not prove people are ‘born’ gay, but shows the opposite, e.g. in twins studies.

    Those who say the Levitical cleanliness laws don’t apply, take the verses about the abomonation of sodomy out of their context which is other sexual sin like incest. Are they going to accept that sin, too? https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/homosexuality-false-contexts-and-perverting-scripture/
    We have let the world re-define ‘love’ and have left behind God’s love. https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/love-basics-heresies-divorce-homosexuality-church/

  85. nrc42–yes on divorce, no on having to give up parental rights. I’d be surprised (and quite frankly outraged) if the church demanded a termination of parental rights.

  86. Mikeinweho
    Sounds like you want to have you know what without consequences and it just dont work like that. Every gay bar u visit and every bathhouse puts you farther and farther away. When Christ was in the spirit world for 3 days, he could not go personally to those who had defiled themselves in the flesh. Mortality is so brief, too brief to be mired in sin. You have had warnings in your dreams. Please do not ignore them.