LDSApology.org: Climate of reconciliation or of accusation?

There is currently a petition to the First Presidency to apologize on behalf of the Church for “official statements, rhetoric, policy and practice” that “have been injurious to gays and lesbians and their families and friends.”

First, I should say that in many ways I respect this petition. There clearly is a self-conscious attempt to address reconciliation without demanding the Church change its moral position on homosexuality or its political position on gay marriage. There has been a genuine effort, I think, to actually try to make inroads with the Church. I especially like the line, “We believe that people of good will may have differing views about homosexuality, while maintaining amicable relationships.” Yes–let’s hope this is true.

There is a problem, however. Although the petition begins with some very nice stuff about the need for reconciliation from “parties on both sides,” its subject is only about the need for reconciliation on ONE side: the Church. This doesn’t exactly strike me as “seek[ing] to create a climate for reconciliation.” Seems to me to be more like a climate of accusation. At least it could easily be seen that way.

So I have some honest questions for the petitioners. Do you really think there is a need for apology from your own side? If yes, what? And why haven’t you discussed that in the petition? Why not take a first step and offer whatever these apologies might be?

If “no,” then the petition seems to be a bit manipulative. Like one’s spouse saying “we need to…” when what he/she really means is “you need to…”

Email a friend

Advertisements

46 Responses

  1. Dennis: Seems to me that you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  2. To me, this is sounding like a demand that the Church set aside what the Lord has said about homosexuality, agree that actively practicing same is morally just fine, and stop trying to tell them what they don’t want to hear.

    A lot of people don’t want to hear their specific sin or weakness preached against (I know I don’t like it), but that doesn’t change God’s laws.

  3. Seanette,

    To be fair, I don’t think the petition is saying what you are saying it is. There is nothing in it that demands the Church change its position on homosexuality.

    Now, it may certainly be true that many petitioners want this to happen — but I think that Church members should be fair and take the petition at face value.

  4. At minimum, what’s being demanded is that the Church stop speaking out about this moral issue and stop defending God’s definition of marriage and family. Might as well be a demand that doctrine be changed, if they’re demanding that God’s word not be spoken because they don’t like it.

  5. Seanette,

    Again, I don’t think that is an accurate reading of the petition.

    I think the crucial issues are statements by Church leaders which, at least implicitly, (a) approve of arguably dehumanizing reorientation practices (including a facility at BYU that used electroshock therapy), (b) suggest that sexual orientation is a simple choice and that if someone wants to bad enough they can change–one good way to change is through heterosexual marriage, and (c) unfairly demonize homosexuality, especially relative to other sexual sins.

    I wish to be clear that, yes, the petitioners have reasons to be concerned about each of these things. Church leaders are well aware, I believe, that there have been some unfortunate statements in the past about homosexuality — number one on my list is the recommendation for homosexual men to simply get married and that this would solve the problem. None of these things were official Church policies or statements (I don’t think), but they perhaps have played into a culture that really has hurt and confused those in the Church who have struggled with same-sex attraction. I want to be sensitive to all of these issues, and I think that these things can be redressed without demanding the Church changing its moral position on homosexuality or its political position on gay marriage (and that this appears to be the spirit of the petition). I just think that the petition is disingenuous.

    Here’s the “meaty” paragraph from the petition that supports what I’m saying:

    For Church leaders, reconciliation requires examining ways in which official statements, rhetoric, policy and practice have been injurious to gays and lesbians and their families and friends; have caused unnecessary pain and suffering, rejection, psychological and spiritual damage and even death. This means scrupulously acknowledging such practices as “reorientation”– reparative, revulsion, and shock-therapies; such teachings as homosexuality being an evil perversion, a condition that is chosen and changeable and one that can be overcome through fasting, prayer, sacrifice and heterosexual marriage; and using scriptures that are taken out of context, mistranslated or that are highly selective to condemn homosexuality. It also means to repudiate publicly circulated articles, essays, books, speeches, and conference addresses that have stereotyped or demonized gays and lesbians.

  6. I’m surprised to see you endorsing blaming the Church as a whole for the actions of a few. I’m also responding to other anti-Church rhetoric from the more vocal pro-homosexuality side, and I really have seen demands that the Church adjust doctrine to fit what they want (even from people professing to be active, faithful members!).

    The Church cannot compromise on God’s moral law, regardless of how politically incorrect that may be, nor should the Church as an entity be held responsible for the actions of a few members if those actions are not prescribed by the Church itself.

    The “sensitivity” being demanded plays as “don’t tell me that what I want to do is wrong or sinful, just tell me God made me to violate His laws and that it’s all just fine and great”. What I believe God would say (note that this is personal opinion, which I’m sure I’ll be expected to apologize for as being “insensitive”) is “no, I didn’t make your nature to be in violation of eternal law, and you are expected to abide by My laws of chastity, but I do love you and I’ll help you handle this if you let Me”. Unfortunately, the pro-gay side doesn’t want to admit that the law of chastity applies to them too.

  7. Seanette,

    I am not “endorsing blaming the Church as a whole for the actions of a few.” I’m surprised that you’re seeing me as doing this.

    Concerning the “other anti-Church rhetoric” you’re responding to — that’s fine. But I’m talking about a specific petition, and I think you need to be careful about not painting everything with the same broad brush.

  8. What I object to about the petition is that is a blame-game without accountability for role in the rift it identifies. Perhaps gays could acknowledge that gays have treated Mormons unfairly in having them terminated from jobs (something they wouldn’t allow for 10 seconds if it happened to a gay person) and that the Church has every moral and democratic right to speak out on the issue and to declare that homosexual sex is regarded as sinful by God.

    I agree that there are legitimate concerns about how gays have been treated — but it isn’t treatment “by the church.” It is treatment by individuals who have acted without the official imprimatur of the church.

  9. Dennis,
    You are correct that our site, ldsapology.org, does not ask the Church to change it’s policy or doctrine towards homosexuality. We are concerned about the high rates of suicide among LDS gays and about the feelings of self-hatred that many gays feel because they know that they cannot meet the expectations of LDS policy no matter how hard they try. We simply want the Church to recognize the damage that has been done, particularly in the past, by demonizing gays and promoting cruel, ineffective therapies. We want the church to reject damaging policies and statements and affirm positive attitudes towards gays. We know that many of them are suffering over this issue and that suffering is what has prompted us to initiate this petition.

  10. It seems impractical to apologize to comtemporaries for someone else who was in a different time and cultural context.

  11. Someone I encountered presenting this petition first included it with another very important paragraph, which was apparently removed. Although I agree with much of it, removing that important paragraph made it too one-sided, IMO.

    Anyways, here was the first version I saw, which I thought was much more balanced. I’ve bolded the paragraph that was missing on the website version.

    We the undersigned, in the spirit of love and peace, earnestly seek to create a climate for reconciliation between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gays and lesbians who have been affected by the policies, practices and politics of the Church. We recognize that issues surrounding sexuality and gender orientation are complex; that understanding of these matters has evolved, especially over the past several decades, and are continuing to evolve as scientists, therapists, theologians and others continue to explore and ponder their meaning and significance; We believe that people of good will may have differing views about homosexuality, while maintaining amicable relationships.

    True reconciliation requires that parties on both sides of this issue be willing to honestly examine their attitudes, behaviors (including past behaviors), policies and practices—and be open to understanding, forgiveness (both asking for and accepting), and apology.

    For gays and lesbians and their family members and friends, reconciliation requires a willingness to examine their own lives and thoughtfully consider ways in which they have characterized all Church members based on the actions of a few or in which their words, actions, and other behaviors may have unfairly misjudged the motives of the Church and its leaders. Reconciliation also means rejecting hostility and violence as means of expression or redress.

    For Church leaders, reconciliation requires examining ways in which official statements, rhetoric, policy and practice have been injurious to gays and lesbians and their families and friends; have caused unnecessary pain and suffering, rejection, psychological and spiritual damage and even death. This means scrupulously acknowledging such practices as “reorientation”– reparative, revulsion, and shock-therapies; such teachings as homosexuality being an evil perversion, a condition that is chosen and changeable and one that can be overcome through fasting, prayer, sacrifice and heterosexual marriage; and using scriptures that are taken out of context, mistranslated or that are highly selective to condemn homosexuality. It also means rejecting and taking out of public circulation articles, essays, books, speeches, and conference addresses that have stereotyped or demonized gays and lesbians.

    We believe that the time is right for healing over this issue to begin, for those on both sides to manifest forgiveness, magnanimity, and especially, love. We believe reconciliation requires us to strive for open hearts and minds so that we might live together in peace and mutual respect. It is long past time for those on both sides to begin treating one another with greater dignity, respect and understanding.

  12. TFD:

    Thank you!

    The inconsistency makes so much sense now.

    I should point out that the paragraph you highlighted was not merely omitted, but changed:

    For individuals who have suffered or been forced to watch a loved one suffer mistreatment, misunderstanding, or demonization as a consequence of the LDS church’s official policies, actions, and teachings regarding sexual orientation, we understand that true reconciliation will require rejecting redress through hostility, will take time, and be a difficult process.

    Interesting how this paragraph (which used to focus on how “gays and lesbians and their friends and families” may need to examine their own ways) is now focused on (what else?) the Church! And the healing process, I should add.

    Very interesting…

    Janeen,

    Thank you very much for visiting and for your comment.

    Would you like to address the issues I brought up concerning what I argue to be the one-sidedness of the petition? Why did the draft change? (see FTD’s comment and my response above).

    May I suggest that the original wording was far superior in terms of reconciliation. Now, I don’t have a problem if that’s not your purpose, but I think the petition gives off false airs. Would you like to respond to this concern?

    I should also add, Janeen, that you and others with similar concerns are always welcome to express your views here. I probably have a more conservative stance on this issue in terms of Church doctrine and policy (compared to petition signers, but probably more liberal compared to many church members), but I do agree that there have been problems and continue to be problems with the way some Church members and some leaders (usually lower-level leaders today, I think) demonize homosexuality and also do not reach out in some of the ways they could.

    That being said, I plan to do some posts regarding some problematic views of homosexuality from the OTHER side. I really do plan to be fair in these posts, but to challenge popular views. I hope soon to write a post regarding the false conception (based on very recent psychological research) that homosexuality is inborn and cannot be changed (recognizing, of course, that it is difficult if not impossible for some, perhaps many, people to change).

  13. “ineffective therapies”- No one knew they were ineffective at the time…

  14. I’m very curious to know what prompted the change in the original wording. When I read the first version, I thought it was very good and I agreed with both sides of it. I’m still very much a fence sitter on this issue (I can myself a “gay marriage agnostic), but I generally feel more sympathetic to the plight of homosexuals than those in the Church who dismiss their “problem” and think that celibacy is the easy answer. Still, though, the final draft of the letter was way too lop-sided for me to want to sign. I think that the name of the website says it all, IMO. Otherwise it would have been called “gay-lds-reconcilation” or something of the sort. I definitely think that an LDS apology is in order for most of the grievances listed there, but there are grievances on the other side that can’t be overlooked.

  15. “It seems impractical to apologize to comtemporaries for someone else who was in a different time and cultural context.” I think this is the church’s stance, and it is not without merit; however, there is something to be said for apologizing as an organization for stances taken by predecessors in that it can be referred to as the most recent statement that defines things going forward. For example, it doesn’t do Charles Darwin any good that the Anglican church recently issued a statement of apology to him (he was already buried in Westminster Abbey – what more did he want? Oh, and he was dead), but on the other hand, it does re-characterize what happened with him in a way that changes future references to evolution in the Anglican church.

  16. I am a straight man that has been active in the church my whole life. I am not connected to the ldsapologay website. It seems that many have missed what the church has done and does do to deeply hurt homosexual church members.

    First the church sill publishes the book Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimble. The church has not attempted to give any explanation that they do not agree with it’s many statements that are at least misinformed if not down right hateful. Such as:
    “Masturbation often leads to grievous sin, even to the sin against nature, homosexuality…and ugly sin…repugnant…embarrassing…detestable…perversion…”

    “The abominable practice can be overcome…to those who say that this practice or any other is incurable, I respond:
    “How can you say the door cannot be Opened until your knuckles are bloody, till your head is bruised, till your muscles are sore? It can be done.”

    “…Some totally conquer homosexuality in a few months, others linger on with less power and require more time to make the total comeback. The cure is as permanent as the individual makes it…Satan will not readily let go…”

    These are only a few of the statements in this book written by a prophet that could be so painful. If these statements are never confronted by the church and acknowledged to be a mistake and they are continued to be published how can reconciliation be made.

    There are many other like Elder Ballard in conference talks in the 1980’s said homosexuality was caused by selfishness.

    What do these statements say to the homosexual member that has never acted on their feelings, yet even with hours and hours of fasting prayer, and years of living the gospel the feelings never taken away.

    The church now takes the official position that the feelings of homosexuality are not sin. Yet homosexual member are asked to sit in church and hid there sexual orientation. They are asked to only share their orientation with there bishop and a close family member as if the feelings were serious sin.

    I have heard many things over the pulpit in my own ward that could be very hurtful to the homosexual members. I know many homosexual members that sit week after week afraid that there ward will find out who they are and hate them.

    The political action has been mentioned before. And, yes when the brethren do not stop the hurtful statements said in wards, yet they manage to motivate members to give millions of dollars to make it illegal for people not members of the the church in California to marry the person they love, I believe would cause a great deal of pain. Much more painful is the efforts of church members and the church to over turn Common gowned in Utah in the latest legislative session. As a result it is still legal for employers to fire someone simply for being gay, whether they live a gay lifestyle or not.
    Yes the lds apology website does not ask the church to amend it’s position on homosexual behavior, but I think it would be fair to ask the church to clarify where there position comes from.

    Most members assume that the churches position is well established in scripture and through revelation. When they do this they do this without any examination. Yes if you read a few isolated scriptures you could get this impression. We should keep a few things in mind when trying to justify condemnation of homosexuality. Jesus, Joseph Smith and any modern scripture are completely void of condemnation of homosexuality.

    In the scriptures we have only two sources, Leviticus and Paul. Leviticus calls it an abomination along with pork and shell fish. Everything else that Leviticus condemns we seem to dismiss as a modern church. Paul also condemns homosexuality. He says that if we do not have enough faith in Christ that God will curse us with homosexuality. This seems in direct contradiction to the churches current stance that there is no sin in the feelings of homosexuality. Paul also teaches that you can serve God better living a celibate life and the only reason to get married is if you can not control your sexual impulses. These are all teachings that the modern church simply dismisses. Not to mention Paul asking women to veil their faces and not to speak in church.

    In fact President Packer last year in the world wide training on the family explained that the best source for our teachings on homosexuality is the Proclamation. The Proclamation justifies the church’s policy better than anything in the scripture. Remember, that for some reason the Proclamation is not called scripture.

    Keeping in mind that even though it is not scripture it is what the brethren use almost exclusively to justify our policy on homosexuality, in fact when you look at President Packers comments at the World Wide training you can see that the Proclamation was written to tell the world our views on homosexuality and the family.

    What does this document say about homosexuality. Let us look.
    The first line reads:

    “We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

    Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God is repeated several more times. We can infer that this is important. Note that it never says that any other type of marriage is condemned by God.

    The next line from the Proclamation we see used to defend the church’s position on homosexuality is this:

    “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

    I ask what this says about homosexuality. Gender is how masculine or feminine you are. Gender is not something directly effected by orientation. There are very masculine men that are gay and very feminine men that are straight. This may say something about Trans-gendered individuals, but what? Does it say that if your eternal spiritual gender conflicts with your physical gender you should change the physical to match the eternal?

    Also similar to the first line:

    “We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

    So where does God command this. I do believe the brethren believe that God implied this some how, but unless this here is the Lord’s words himself I am unaware where he Commands this.

    Again very similar to the first line:

    “Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.”

    And again stating that this is essential to his plan does not speak to anything else being eliminated or not part of his plan.

    I find this line very interesting:

    “Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

    In European countries that had seen for many years a decline of traditional marriage and a rising rate of divorce found both these statistics turn around once gay marriage was legalized. Therefore gay marriage has been shown to turn around the disintegration of the family.

    Similarly I believe the last line of the proclamation calls us to save all families even those with gay parents:

    “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

    As we see given that the proclamation is the best source to teach us about homosexuality and gay marriage it really does not teach us anything directly. Is it not interesting at the least that the a document that the Brethren wrote expressly to justify their policy on homosexuality says nothing directly about it.

    Lastly, why are we not asking why twice the number of gay men in the church commit suicide than straight men in the church. If any of you know gay members of the church, ask them if it is painful to strive to be part of the church. The truth is all members know gay members most of us do not know that they are gay. The reason we do not know they are gay is gay members are afraid to not hide who they are. I testify that our culture in the church and the policies of the church cause homosexual members more pain than most of us can emagine.

    Thank you

  17. Gail:

    this book written by a prophet

    Kimball was not a prophet at the time the book was written.

    About the rest of your comment, the Church clearly and unequivocally condemns all sexual relations outside of marriage, with marriage undeniably being heterosexual. Although “being a homosexual” might not be condemned, homosexual sin clearly is, as is all sexual sin. According to LDS doctrine, there is no place whatsoever for sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage.

  18. Dennis,

    “Kimball was not a prophet at the time the book was written.”

    So, since he was not a prophet at the time the fact that the church continues to publish the untrue hateful comments in the book does not give they any reason to correct or clarify these statements?

    “About the rest of your comment, the Church clearly and unequivocally condemns all sexual relations outside of marriage, with marriage undeniably being heterosexual. Although “being a homosexual” might not be condemned, homosexual sin clearly is, as is all sexual sin. According to LDS doctrine, there is no place whatsoever for sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage.”

    I guess I am slow. Please, tell me how this statement addresses the rest of my comments or any of them.

    Thank you

  19. Gail

    So, since he was not a prophet at the time the fact that the church continues to publish the untrue hateful comments in the book does not give they any reason to correct or clarify these statements?

    I was simply clarifying the common misconception that Kimball was president of the Church at the time. Considering that church members typically take the words of the Church president more seriously than “mere” apostles, this distinction makes a difference. That’s all I was saying; I wasn’t implying anything about how this distinction justifies the Church’s continued publication of the book.

    I guess I am slow. Please, tell me how this statement addresses the rest of my comments or any of them.

    I was simply saying that the Church’s position on homosexual sin is clearly justified in light of LDS doctrine. One need not recourse to obscure Old Testament passages for this to be the case, nor does the omission of specific statements from the mortal Christ or Joseph Smith change this. Can one conceivably imagine a respectable place for same-sex marriage or sexual relations in Joseph Smith’s theology, without radically changing some of its core doctrines pertaining to eternal families? I don’t see how; I’m not sure what Joseph Smith’s attitude was towards homosexuality, but clearly he would not have condoned same-sex behavior, just as he was explicitly opposed to sexual sin outside of (heterosexual) marriage.

  20. Dennis,

    We are a church based on revelation. I can think of no other church teaching, particularly when it comes to an expectation of behavior, that is not clearly established in scriptures or in modern day revelation. Can you?

  21. Gail,

    I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at. I will simply say, though, that the doctrines I was talking about (pertaining to eternal heterosexual marriage and the sin of all sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage) ARE clearly established in scriptures and modern day revelation.

    Are there many common attitudes in the Church about homosexuality that are not clearly established in scriptures and modern day revelation? Absolutely. Are some of these attitudes troubling? Yes. But the general condemnation of homosexual behavior is unquestionably grounded in the scriptures and modern day revelation, as is all sexual sin outside of heterosexual marriage.

  22. Dennis,

    “But the general condemnation of homosexual behavior is unquestionably grounded in the scriptures and modern day revelation, as is all sexual sin outside of heterosexual marriage.”

    And where are these scriptures, and revelations that so clearly condemn homosexual behavior?

    Are they to be found in the same scriptures and revelations that we found blacks not being aloud to hold the priesthood?

  23. And where are these scriptures, and revelations that so clearly condemn homosexual behavior?

    They are to be found among the scriptures and revelations that clearly condemn all sexual behavior outside of marriage. Not every kind of sin needs to be detailed in order for it to be included in a category of sin that IS clearly condemned.

    In terms of scriptures, you can start here: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/gs/f/25

  24. Dennis,

    None of the scriptures sited http://scriptures.lds.org/en/gs/f/25 condemn same sex relationships. You will only find the ones that I mentioned in my post, but also you will find that we disregard much that comes form the same sources.

    My point is all of our assumption that same sex relationships are condemned by God are all cultural assumption. Much like Abraham and Paul assumed slavery was how God set things up. Also much like Brigham Young assumed that because interracial marraige was illegal that any interracial relationship was condemned by God. As when he said:
    “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

    We are a church based on revelation not in assumption, but on such an important topic such as sexual orientation we nothing that comes from God, only prejudicial assumption.

    Is this not how we can justify supporting unjust laws such as in the last legislative session in UT continuing to make it legal for people to refuse individuals employment or housing based on their sexual orientation.

    Thank you

  25. Gail,

    You’re not addressing my main point. A category of sin that includes all sexual behavior outside of marriage is clearly condemned.

  26. Dennis,

    It is we through our millions of dollars that has made it so that the only homosexual activity that can happen can only happen out side of marraige, this was not God’s doing. My point here that you are not addressing is you can point to no scripture or revelation that precludes same sex partners from marrying. Admittedly this is not my main point. My main points you have chosen not to discuss.

    Thank you

  27. Gail,

    I should add that, of course, leaders of the Church have said things based on certain cultural assumptions.

    Still, something like interracial marriage fits quite easily in Joseph Smith’s theology, and there is also precedence for this in the Bible.

    Same-sex marriage does not, I argue, without radically changing or deflating CORE church doctrines. It takes a LOT of creativity to imagine two men or two women creating children into the eternities (not so for a man and woman from different races). Considering this incommensurability, it’s impossible to imagine how same-sex marriage could be acceptable — at the very least, without a new revelation stating otherwise.

  28. Gail,

    Well, I honestly don’t know what your main point is.

    I will grant that there is a difference between political and moral opposition to same-sex marriage. That’s a completely different ball game.

  29. Speaking of main points, Gail, perhaps you’d like to address MY main point (that is, my post).

  30. Dennis,

    I thought your main point is that sex out side of marraige is not OK, and therefore it follows that same sex relationships are not OK. In my opinion it is addressing your point to point out that we cannot point to anywhere that God says that same sex relationships are not OK or that same sex marraige is not OK, and that any other behavioral standard in the church you can point quite easily point to where God says it.

    “Same-sex marriage does not, I argue, without radically changing or deflating CORE church doctrines. It takes a LOT of creativity to imagine two men or two women creating children into the eternities (not so for a man and woman from different races). Considering this incommensurability, it’s impossible to imagine how same-sex marriage could be acceptable — at the very least, without a new revelation stating otherwise.”

    If you can not imagine it than it can’t be true?

    Remember Joseph Smith’s words:
    “Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and [more] boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive.”

    Yes it would take a revelation. Also, remember that we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    My main point is the reality of the pain the church culture and policy has caused and continues to cause for the homosexual membership of the church. The church has the power to do something about it, and choices instead to wheeled its great influence in making it legal to discriminate against homosexuals in and out of the church. The fact that the condemnation of homosexuality has no scriptural or revelatory bases is really just a side note.

  31. Gail, I’m concerned that your setting up an impossible burden of proof here.

    This is why I’m worried. You seem to be stating that:

    God communicates through scriptures and prophets.

    When the scriptures and prophets define marriage as directed by God, the mention of one man and one woman does not exclude the possibility of one man and one man, or one woman and one woman as a viable saving option for marriage.

    However,when the scriptures declare the sins of fornication, homsexual sin is not included because it is not explicitly mentioned.

    When the scriptures declare the sin of homosexuality explicitly, they should be discredited.

    When the prophets declare the sin of homosexuality, they do so only because of their personal bias.

    Moreso, homosexuals are only wrongly left on the outskirts of marriage by cultural misunderstanding. Not by God’s revelations.

    In other words, in your view there is not a single viable source or avenue through which God deals with man that permits Him to declare that homosexual relations run counter to the plan of Salvation.

    Gail, I am very concerned by your statements that you do not believe that God leads the church (and all mankind) by revelation at all.

  32. Gail,

    My main point in my post has NOTHING to do with whether same-sex marriage or relationships are OK. It has to do with whether the LDS Apology petition is misleading. If you’d like to address those issues, I welcome you to do so. But I don’t have the time to go more rounds with you on this threadjack (including your main point, which is also a threadjack). Looks like we’re in agreement that it would require a revelation for homosexual behavior to be acceptable in the Church. Let’s just leave it at that for now.

  33. Dennis,

    I believe my original post addresses the fact directly that LDS Apology petition is not misleading at all. Homosexual members are deeply hurt by the church and homosexual members are out hurting the church in return. In fact they have been effectively silenced by the church. If homosexual members need to apologize to the church that would be like saying that black Americans living in the south of the 1950’s need to apologize to the Alabama or any other state government.

  34. rutkowskilives,

    It is only imposable because it we can’t fulfill it for this one thing. My burden of prof is easy to satisfy for any other behavioral standard currently set forth by the church.

    Please show me how my standard is objectively unfair. It sounds like you are saying that it is unfair because what you want to pass fails miserably.

    Thank you

  35. Even though I agree with much of what Gail has said (not all, but a lot), I have to address something that he said, which I’ve often seen thrown around as arguments FOR gay marriage:

    “In European countries that had seen for many years a decline of traditional marriage and a rising rate of divorce found both these statistics turn around once gay marriage was legalized. Therefore gay marriage has been shown to turn around the disintegration of the family.”

    Now, I’m not saying that gay marriage won’t turn around the disintegration of the family. What I am saying is that I think it’s way too early to come to any conclusion about such “statistics.” The only countries which allow gay marriage:

    Norway (just became legal Jan 1, 2009)
    Sweden (just became legal May 1, 2009)
    Belgium (legal June 1, 2003)
    Netherlands (legal April 1, 2001)
    Spain (legal July 3, 2005)

    So, essentially, only Belgium, Netherlands, and perhaps Spain have had gay marriage long enough to produce any sort of statistics on whether it’s been “good” or “bad” for the disintegration of the family. And since gay couples in Europe can’t have been married for any longer than 8 years, isn’t it a little early to tell whether their marriages have had the impact on society as a whole that your comment suggested?

    I’m just curious, because personally, I haven’t seen any such stats (except from American gay marriage advocates) and I live in Europe (Norway).

  36. Rutkowskilives,
    I think I should restate my “impossible burden of proof”. Biblically I struck down two sources. First Leviticus I struck down because our own doctrine does not except anything else that Leviticus preaches with the few exceptions of the few times it quotes the Ten Commandments. Second, Paul because we as a church do not except anything else he says originally on sexuality, including the nature of homosexuality it’s self. There is no modern day revelation on homosexuality, but I did examine the Proclamation on the Family because President Packer stated it is our best source, even better than scripture on this subject. The only reason I do not feel this is a source to site on homosexuality is that it says nothing about it. We have no other behavioral standard in the church that would not pass my “impossible burden of proof”. All other are in the Ten Commandments, reported by many biblical or Book of Mormon prophets that we do not reject all their other teachings on, or are directly from a revelation in the Doctrine and Conveniences. Please clarify for me why this “impossible burden of proof” is unfair other than our stand on homosexuality cannot be reasonably justified.

  37. Gail, it’s clear at this point that you’re committed to your position. There isn’t anything more that can be said about it. The statements on this point of doctrine, both scriptural and prophetic, are clear. For whatever reason, you’ve talked yourself into discounting them – if it’s scriptural, you’ve given an argument for discounting it. If it’s prophetic, you’ve argued bias. You claim there’s no modern revelation on homosexuality, and yet if you visit lds.org and topic search homosexuality, you’ll find modern revelation on the subject.

    I will champion right alongisde you that members of the church need to be Christ-like towards all people, without exception, but I just can’t support your line of thinking in this case.

  38. TheFaithfulDissident,
    You bring up a great point. I stand corrected. These are only indicial indications, but the only indications we have about legalizing same-sex-marriage have been positive effects on traditional marriage.
    I do find it troublesome that the church is implying that the indications are in the other direction.
    In “The Divine Institution of Marriage” Published by the church to justify their political stance on prop. 8 they stated this:
    “Court decisions in Massachusetts (2004) and California (2008) have allowed same-sex marriages. This trend constitutes a serious threat to marriage and family. The institution of marriage will be weakened, resulting in negative consequences for both adults and children. “
    Also, the church pod casted a discussion with young adults and Elder Bednar implies that there are negative effects upon children of traditional marriages in the countries that have legalized same-sex-marriage. I saw this published on ldslights.org on this post.
    Church steps up efforts on marriage proposition, launches new website: PreservingMarriage.org
    Posted on October 9th, 2008 in YouTube, Advocacy, Prophets, Communication, News, Politics, Same-sex marriage, Blogs by Ty Ray

    I do believe that these implications by the church are more they justifiably should apologize for.

  39. Rutkowskilives,
    I am happy to agree to disagree; I think that is what you are offering. I must say I have read everything on LDS.org on homosexuality multiple times and I have found nothing that reports to be revelation. On scripture I am only discounting sources that the brethren discount. I see you disagree with these two statements and that is fine, many very smart people have disagreed with me on many subjects.
    Thank you, we can agree that members need to be Christ-like. I think where we differ is that I believe that there is a lot more the brethren could do as well.
    Thank you,
    Gail

  40. What I hope everyone understands, is that the church does not want contention, any more than they wish pursection. It is not the intent to force anyone to any kind of life style. The Lord has given all our agency to choose right or wrong for ourselves. The scripture given, ” what ye have done to the least of these my brethern, ye have done unto me, is true. It is also true that God does not change. He is the same today, as yesterday and will be forever. His doctrine does not change, because men chose to change it, or egnore it.
    What is different about the Latter Day Saints, it that the Church is not lead by men, but by Christ himself, through a living prophet, just as it was in the times of the Bible, and when Christ set his church up during his ministery here on earth. They CAN not change the doctrine, Only Christ can do that. They must stand up for Christ and his doctrine. Should we fear man more than God. I don’t think so. Should we stand counted to be ashamed of Christ? As any parent knows, you can love the person, but still not accept the sin. As it say, “love the sinner, but not the sin. We all fall into the catagory of sinners. Each person that has lived, lives not, or ever will live. They one one that is clean from that is Christ himself.
    H e was and is perfect. All through the scriptures, there where those who did not want to hear about their sins. It made them mad, and hateful. They did not want to change, so they crusified our Lord, and killed all his apostles. Again when he restored his gosple to the earth , people did the same . I don’t know any young person who would continue to endure the pursection Joseph Smith did, and not back down, Thats all he had to do. Again, they thought that if they killed him, it would die. But the Lord promised it would not be taken again from the earth, and would spread throught out the world, in prepartion for Christs second coming. We must all deside whose side we want to stand with. I can love those who don’t believe as me( I have a brother in law that has a gay partner. ( over 25 yrs now.) But he understand me (us ) and also respects that we must fight for that which we know to be true, ( the laws of God do not change)

  41. Please understand, our petition asks GLBTQ individuals and their allies to REJECT such actions and to commit to reconciliation by rejecting hostility towards the LDS church and it’s members as a course of action. For many of them who feel deeply wounded by the actions of the LDS church and whose lives are everyday affected by the political actions of the LDS church and it’s impact on public policy I’d say this is a big step.

    In Utah an individual can be legally fired at will for being Gay. It has been this way for years. Where were the LDS individuals who should have stood up against such discriminatory behavior in their hometown? I am not arguing in defense of the hateful or bigoted actions of any person toward the LDS church or its members, but I would like to add a little perspective. Perhaps the LDS church and its membership could use the pain of their recent bludgeoning in the court of public opinion to understand just a little of the pain GLBTQ individuals in the church have been forced to endure.

    We are not asking the LDS church to change its doctrine. We are asking them to repudiate teachings and practices that however well intentioned turned out to be inneffective, harmful, or otherwise damaging to GLBTQ individuals and their families and friends.

    As we have proceeded with this work it has become sadly obvious that many in the LDS church are not aware of some of the more horrific abuses that happened under the auspices of a number of very authoritative LDS leaders. There is plenty of information on our website http://www.LDSapology.org to assist members to evaluate the actions of their church, including a link to an excellent history of how homosexuality has been dealt with in the LDS church.

    It is also disturbing that talks that now seem terribly out of date, innacurate, and that conflict with current more moderate statements of the LDS church are still in distribution without any attempt to repudiate or clarify them. On the other hand, the LDS church has plenty of time and money to run a huge political campain that instead of bringing healing, inflames already difficult tensions.

    It is disturbing to see the LDS church condemn flawed therapeutic practices while obfuscating the fact that they once encouraged such practices and even coerced individuals into such programs.

    What we are asking from the LDS church is no more than it asks of its members who have harmed someone, whether on purpose or not. We are asking for them to follow the basic steps of repentance. The first step is acknowlegement. That is an incredibly powerful step. What we are also doing is pledging not to take that moment of vulnerability to attack the church. We are pledging to do our very best to love the LDS church and to reject violence, retribution and hostility as a course of action.

  42. Peter,

    Your response makes it clear that the petition is not about reconciliation at all, but about accusing the LDS Church. I’m fine if it’s the latter, but if so the petition is misleading.

  43. Well… good heavens… I shouldn’t write edit and proof read in a text box. That first paragraph should have read

    “Please understand, our petition asks GLBTQ individuals and their allies to reject hateful or hostile actions…

  44. Dennis… I’m confused… I don’t think it is about accusing. It is about saying we are ready for, and dedicated to reconciliation, and part of that reconciliation is both of us being able to acknowldge the harms we have done one another. Personally, I think the LDS church has far more to acknowledge in this regard than the GLBTQ community. I don’t doubt that members of the church may have a different perspective. It is definitely something we should be talking about together however. Reconciliation begins with understanding, and understanding begins with listening.

    Thanks for reading… I accidentally sent it before I was really finished revising, so please forgive the mistakes. I’m not sure I’ve expressed myself adequetely.

  45. Dear Friends,

    I am a lifelong member of the LDS church and a returned missionary. I’m also a heterosexual mother of three and proud grandma of two (adorables).

    Here are my concerns:

    Between the years of 1938 and 1971, 10 million pregnant women were given a very powerful estrogen-like drug known as DES. DES was thought to prevent miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. As it turned out, it did non of those things.

    Daughters whose mothers took DES have an increase risk of vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer endometriosis and uterine cancer. Some have reported dramatic increases in clinical depression and even autoimmune disease.

    Sadly, the vaginal cancer appeared early in some of these daughters – as early as age 15. One young girl had her vagina, cervix, uterus, one ovary, part of the bowel and rectum removed. This forced her body into early menopause – menopause at a time when most young girls are just finishing puberty, developing breasts and expected regular periods. This has been hard!!

    Most difficult though has been that this drug interfered with fetal androgen imprinting. Fetal Androgen Imprinting is a process that happens during fetal development that allows the brain to be “imprinted” with gender orientation, a sense of self, if you will. It also allows the person to develop a sort of “sexual self awareness” or sexual identity. It is much, much more than just sexual attraction, it is an entire sense of being, a sense of who you are as an individual and your relationships to others. Androgen imprinting also allows us to perceive the gender of others and relate to them appropriately.

    A fair percentage of daughters whose mothers took DES have what is known as gender dysphoria. They don’t “feel like females”. Some perceive themselves as males at a very young age and cannot identify with their own gender. These girls have grown up to be lesbians.

    Currently, there is no method for altering androgen imprinting in persons older than about six months. This sexual dysphoria is permanent in many individuals. I will add that some mild sexual dysphorias which resulted in young women who were bisexual have been treated to the point where the women was able to commit to heterosexual relationships. This must happen early in life.

    The average age of survivors of DES is now 38 to 39 years. Some of these women has lived with other women for 5, 10, 20 years or more. DES exposure does not effect one’s ability to love, to form strong emotional bonds, to feel a need for love, affection and security, in fact, in many ways, the extra estrogen in utero may have enhanced these womens able to form strong bonds and relationships.

    One LDS women lived with her companion until her partner died of breast cancer (her partner also suffered from the same disorder). She just didn’t want to abandon her partner as her partner battles breast cancer. She stayed and cared for her partner until she died.

    It was hard for me to imagine that a women who had had her vagina removed due to cancer would be engaging in filthy sex. In fact, many of these women are only involved in relationships for the nurturing. I have refused to treat them as “sodomites”, “sinners” or any of that. I like to think of them as human beings – novel concept, isn’t it.

    Yep, I like to think of all people as human beings. I have realized over the years, that I can’t change their sexual orientation, but I can change my attitude over it. In so many ways, I think that that is what God wants us to change. I think he wants us to be less judgmental, more compassionate, more understanding, more patient – not always demanding perfection. Little children never judge people the way we do.

  46. In my Mormon, but non-LDS faith, the Lord has specifically condemned homosexuality in revelation. Speaking about a coming “year of cleansing” in which the Lord will cleanse His Gentile church (The CJCLDS) and cause all who repent to be rebaptized, it is noted:

    “And ye shall not cause to be baptized any who repent not, neither shall ye baptize the hypocrite, the liar, the whoremonger, the adulterer, the fornicator, the lesbian, the homosexual, the thief, the drunkard, the coveter of other people’s goods, the bearer of false witness, the reviler, and all those who practice any form of evil, unless they thoroughly repent, saith the LORD, and show forth works unto repentance.” 2BC 24:125 (February 11, 1975)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: