Be afraid. . . be very afraid.

I saw this video the other day, and I have to say that it struck a deep chord. At first it made me very happy that BYU was finally allow some open social outlet for gay students to socialize.  Then it hit me how big a challenge it will be for Mormons and Evangelicals to deal with the fact of homosexuality.

Listening to these kids stories about how they discovered that they were gay in the context of being active, faithful mormons made me realize, perhaps for the first time, how ridiculously awful it would be to be a 12 year old mormon kid discovering that you were gay.  I remember how religious I was at that age, how devoted, finding out that I was gay would have been the ultimate betrayal and would have ended my spirituality or my connection to the Church.  And the nature of the reaction of my friends and family would be the test of whether Christianity was bunk or not. Perhaps the reason that when I was young, I never saw or heard anything like what I hear in the videos. Because it was not in front of me, it was really easy not to realize the crucible that the believing Mormon gay child is in. If I had, it would have been hard to stay Mormon or Christian at all.

Seeing the kids in the video, still very much engaged in Mormonism on a sincere level, It made my heart hurt. I don’t know really how I would be able to deal with it. My brother, who knew gay friends at BYU, and struggles with depression, told me with all sincerity that he would have certainly killed himself if he was gay. The straight majority in the church simply does not recognize the gravity of the situation.   These kids cannot be both gay and Mormon without seriously twisting something that is part of them.

The fact that homosexuality exists as a natural phenomena among those that are close to God within the faith throws a very powerful curve ball at both Mormons and Evangelicals. Unlike with heterosexuality, which is channeled and controlled, homosexuality must be eliminated, or certain deeply held tenants must be abandoned.

When it comes to Evangelicals or Mormons I don’t know who has the bigger problem. For Mormons, being gay shatters the careful conception of what the pinnacle of life on earth is all about (covenants, eternal marriage, pro-creation). In my experience, People don’t talk about being gay in Mormon Church, it is not accepted, most of what is said about it is by the vocal minority who is firmly anti-gay.    Evangelicals might have an easier time.  I think it may be easier to “sin” and talk about it, and even being an active sexual “sinner” and still feel connected to Evangelicals christianity.  Partly because Mormons may kick you out if you are at all open and unrepentant about it.  However Evangelicals seem to play a lot bigger part in anti-gay activism, because of the sheer size of the group in comparison with Mormonism, and the de-centralized nature, there are a lot more vocal bigots in Evangelicalism.

The problem is that both groups can be deeply un-Christian about how they approach the problem.  The black mark this leaves on Mormonism and Evangelicalism, in the eyes a gay person who embraces their sexuality, or to anybody else who holds their sexuality dear is difficult to overstate.   An institutional stance that is anything short of deeply empathetic and loving makes a church seem like a absurd charade of the love that Jesus spoke of.

The reason why homophobia may be intractable is that Mormons and Evangelicals should be afraid on an institutional level.  The fact of natural homosexuality requires institutional change if either group is to remain followers of Jesus.  It’s hard for me to see how either group provides a satisfying answer to the person who feels God in and through their experiences of sexuality AND openly embraces a “alternative lifestyle”.   Which means, no matter how spiritually compelling either Mormonism or Evangelicalism is, they are going to appear to be very limited or broken for anybody who understands that God wants some people to be gay AND close to Him.   Just as they have to tweak their theology to account for the unfathomable size and complexity of the universe, they are going to have to change in order to get in line with this reality.  Of course this very sort of change may cause foundations to crumble.

I never quite saw this fact before this video. Hearing and seeing the human problem is necessary to make non-gay realize it.  My guess is that more open, honest and loving discussions of homosexuality within Mormonism and Evangelicalism will mean dramatic changes within both, or simply a larger exodus from a faith that has lost touch with the real world.

At this point, if my child was gay, I would actively try to de-convert them from both Evangelicalism and Mormonism because, at least to this child, neither seem to be carrying the torch of Christian love and understanding.

Believers, what can be done?

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186 thoughts on “Be afraid. . . be very afraid.

  1. It takes a courageous soul to come to God in your own terms and leave the institution behind. I find it hard to support any groups who seek to kick out or abandoned any group. I believe we will see a rise in nondenominational church’s who focus on bible study from all different viewpoints and teach about Gods love despite our unworthiness. Great post!

  2. No question about it in my mind, the LDS church has dealt itself a pretty weak hand in coming to terms with homosexuality. This stems from several factors but here are a few. The emphasis on covenants as being synergistically related to salvation/exaltation, especially since one of the covenants, temple marriage, involves being a heterosexual. A very weak view of sin which leads to the LDS narrative about worthiness. A very weak view of grace, inconsistently applied, and seldom preached. No institutional space for celibate leaders, anything above Elder’s Quorum President is pretty much off limits to the celibate, heterosexual or homosexual. Finally, an almost exclusive emphasis on chastity as the gold standard of worthiness, other sinful behavior is treated much more with kid gloves.

    Any LDS attempt to deal with this problem is going to result in major doctrinal changes. I don’t think the current narrative of hanging out celibate, with few ways to contribute at an institutional level, in the hopes that God de-gays you in the afterlife is working or can ever work.

    For Evangelicals to deal with homosexuality really just involves recovering and emphasizing a robust preaching of and belief in salvation by grace through faith.

    Both sides will of course have cultural issues to deal with, but my guess is that culture is going to follow preaching and theology.

  3. I think I have a problem with equating sex with fulfillment.

    Sounds too much like the crap they were trying to shove on me as a teenager on MTV back in the 90s.

  4. Jared,

    You’re right, embracing being celibate for life is NOT going to cut it for long. But things like this are important because we can’t even begin to deal with homosexuality in the church until we start seeing homosexuals as human beings. By and large, we still do not see them as such. They are “afflicted,” second-class citizens to be pitied and then ignored.

    Once we start seeing them as humans, we’ll have to make some MAJOR changes. And it’s really, really gonna hurt. I say bring it. And I thank God for the people who made this video, because it’s a critical step in the right direction.

  5. Who is talking about MTV sex?

    Intimacy is a transcendent and sacred/magical part of life for those lucky enough to enjoy it. Those who don’t see this probably aren’t taking sex seriously enough.

  6. David Clark said: No question about it in my mind, the LDS church has dealt itself a pretty weak hand in coming to terms with homosexuality.

    I agree, however, at least in theory, the ace in the hole is the prophet, who could undue anti-gay policies as easily as Kimball undid anti-black policy.

  7. Uhhh…is there really a podcast over there on the FAIR blog defending aversion therapy?

    Wow. That’s twisted.

  8. “The fact of natural homosexuality requires institutional change if either group is to remain followers of Jesus.”

    Why?

  9. IMHO, Currently the institutions often do not show Christian love to gay people. They willfully don’t treat gays as Jesus advocated.

  10. Gundek: Matthew 7:12

    David Clark: An institution shows love by having policies and rules that institutionalize gentleness, patience, tolerance, acceptance, fairness, justice, care, mercy, grace, forgiveness and direct members to to act in the same way.

  11. In the last week we’ve witnessed evangelicals supporting the bullying of Richard Grenell out of his job, about the most clear cut case of sexual harassment in politics in decades and of course the boss in this case is Mormon. And I think this provides a perfect example that the issue is not just about how churches govern themselves but rather creating an environment which actively supports discrimination.

    Churches including the LDS church have made progress in the last few decades. In 1998 the LDS church eliminated any teaching of the more traditional belief that homosexuality is a cultivated perversion, along the lines of drug addiction. Up until 2007 those students would have been expelled, as BYU practiced uniform expulsion for homosexuals, and those students are members of the BYU gay alliance.

    So it is against this backdrop of change occurring but much too slowly, this whole discussion takes place. The solution is easy. 60 years ago evangelical churches were mostly racist, and evangelicals were strong supporters of anti-miscegenation laws based on their read of the bible (though evangelicals do have a mixed record on American racism). The LDS practiced institutional racism until the 1970s. Today both groups view racism as sinful and would unhesitatingly denounce anti-miscegenation culture or laws. A similar change needs to happen with regard to homosexuality where homophobia is sinful the same way. I think Jared is right that ironically prophetic revelation makes this simpler and Thomas Monson could advance the cause greatly.

    The Emerging Church, was likely the best opportunity for Evangelicals to address the problem and they choose instead to undermine this group’s influence.

    91% of people under 30 view evangelicals as antihomosexual, not against the act but against the people. The argument that evangelical christianity is not in favor of hate when churches act institutionally in to give support to bigots is simply not credible. This Sunday Pastor Harris of Berean Baptist preached on homosexuality: http://www.goodasyou.org/player.swf advocating parent on child violence as a solution to homosexual inclinations. So far only liberals have objected.

    Mormons do not face the same polling numbers, and except among liberals their stand hasn’t influenced people towards viewing the church negatively. Mitt Romney is likely to change that, these issues are going to come up for the next six months and the most well known Mormon in the world appears is going to stand publicly and firmly in favor of legal and cultural bigotry.

    Everyone knows what the policy in churches is going to be in 2112, why not just get there now?

  12. if “Alternative lifestyle”, means intimate homosexual relationships substantially equivalent to the heterosexual relationships that Evangelicals and Mormons hold dear, and if “embrace” means tolerate, accept, protect and respect, then yes.

  13. The same way that Jesus tolerated, accepted, protected and respected the adulterous woman in John 8?

  14. Jared said, “The fact that homosexuality exists as a natural phenomena among those that are close to God within the faith throws a very powerful curve ball at both Mormons and Evangelicals.”

    I’ll agree with that. Having received a revelation that Mormons are Christians in spite of serious falsehoods makes it easier for me to accept that some gay people are actually close to God. Loni Frisbee—I may not be spelling his name correctly—struggled in this area yet was mightily used by God during the Jesus movement of the late 60s.

    Jared, are you yourself gay? If so, have you ever had a desire to change?
    For the record, I believe with all my heart that there is more fulfillment in overcoming homosexuality than staying in it. Many have overcome by the power of the Lord. I imagine it takes a lot of Jesus to do it.

  15. Katie, what do you mean by “defending aversion therapy?”

    From what I’ve heard it merely makes the point that it was pretty much in line with what accepted psychological practice was AT THAT TIME, and that several participants have merely come forward and said their participation wasn’t as horrible as the hyperbole over a MormonThink likes to claim it was.

    Haven’t personally listened to that podcast however. Perhaps you should before assuming what they are or are not claiming.

  16. Jared, are you yourself gay? If so, have you ever had a desire to change?
    For the record, I believe with all my heart that there is more fulfillment in overcoming homosexuality than staying in it. Many have overcome by the power of the Lord. I imagine it takes a lot of Jesus to do it.

    I am not gay…for the record.

  17. For Evangelicals to deal with homosexuality really just involves recovering and emphasizing a robust preaching of and belief in salvation by grace through faith.

    David, this robust preaching will still teach homosexuality as sin – very similar to (if not worse than) adultery or fornication. It will still teach that people need to turn away from their behavior and feelings – viewing them as another sign of their corrupt nature. It will still encourage – mandate even – gay Christians to live celibate lives, devoid of the precious companionship found in marriage. For individuals who are gay within an anti-gay faith community they love, I don’t think this changes much.

  18. Seth, I listened to some of it, but I couldn’t finish it. It was too disheartening.

    I don’t care that it was the accepted practice of the day. That makes it understandable at the time. What is absolutely heart-breaking is the continued inability to say NOW, in the light of new knowledge, “You know, we thought what we were doing was right. We were wrong. And we’re so, so sorry.”

  19. Yeah, at some point, I just don’t understand where there is to go on this issue. I mean, is “the torch of Christian love and understanding” about minimizing or adjusting one’s views of sin (or especially sexual sin) in order to accept them and their relationships?

    The way I see it is as such: Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism have positions that aren’t pro-gay. So, I agree with the following:

    …no matter how spiritually compelling either Mormonism or Evangelicalism is, they are going to appear to be very limited or broken for anybody who understands that God wants some people to be gay AND close to Him.

    Because anybody who understands that God wants some people to be gay is simply going to have to look elsewhere for a religious tradition to accommodate that. Being “limited” in this way isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

  20. Pingback: Women, Gays, and other marginalized Mormons « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  21. believe with all my heart that there is more fulfillment in overcoming homosexuality than staying in it. Many have overcome by the power of the Lord.

    Cal that’s not true. It is one of the key counter arguments about homosexuality being chosen. We now have good data or reparative therapy and homosexuals living in heterosexual marriages the numbers are pretty striking that homosexuals trying to live a heterosexual lifestyle, even with support succeed at about the same rates you would expect from heterosexuals trying to live a heterosexual lifestyle. Around the mid 1990s groups like Exodus international stopping collecting longitudinal statistics (i.e. 10 years later after stopping reparative therapy) because the numbers were so bleak. And while the statistics don’t show much lasting positive impact what they do show is extremely high depression, anxiety disorder and suicide rates.

    Belief should be based on evidence, and there is no evidence reparative therapy is anything more than a very psychologically harmful. I don’t know which organizations you trust:
    American Psychiatric Association
    American Psychological Association
    American Medical Association
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    MIT

    have all published major studies showing the same thing. The reality is, as uncomfortable as it for Evangelicals, homosexuality is not a choice anymore than your heterosexuality is a choice.

  22. I had a post yesterday that got stuck in moderation I think (video embedded). Can one of the mods release it, even if it means cutting the video and delete this?

    [Jack Edit: I have released CD-Host’s comment and it can be found here.]

  23. homosexuals trying to live a heterosexual lifestyle, even with support succeed at about the same rates you would expect from heterosexuals trying to live a heterosexual lifestyle

    Ouch one more for mods that should read:

    homosexuals trying to live a heterosexual lifestyle, even with support succeed at about the same rates you would expect from heterosexuals trying to live a homosexual lifestyle

  24. In the last week we’ve witnessed evangelicals supporting the bullying of Richard Grenell out of his job, about the most clear cut case of sexual harassment in politics in decades and of course the boss in this case is Mormon.

    This is not a fair assessment of the situation with Grenell. His history of misogynist and acerbic comments on Twitter were at least as much of a concern as his homosexuality, if not more so. I heard far more complaints from the left about the latter as I did from the right about the former. The Romney campaign was apparently unaware of his online commenting history when they hired him, which points to a bad job vetting on their part.

    The Romney campaign certainly could have done a better job standing up to the conservative religious critics of Grenell’s homosexuality. They had to have known that at least some people would protest, and they should have anticipated that and dealt with it. But saying misogynist crap on the Internet can affect you professionally. Some people have to learn that the hard way.

  25. Jack –

    Thanks. If you want to go for a link and not an embedded video:

    http://jezebel.com/5906907/horrible-pastor-advocates-beating-the-gay-out-of-young-kids

    Now for Grenell.

    This is not a fair assessment of the situation with Grenell. His history of misogynist and acerbic comments on Twitter were at least as much of a concern as his homosexuality, if not more so.

    People like Eric Fehrnstrom have commented on Grenell, they haven’t disputed the facts that when members of the religious right attacked Grenell for being gay he was shut out. If there is any evidence for the opposite I’d love to hear it. Further there is external evidence, that the timing is clear and happened in front of reporters. When the Twitter stuff emerged Grenell was being promoted when the religious right attacked Grenell was isolated. I think it is fair to conclude that the Romney campaign is not denying the sexual harassment because there are witnesses outside the campaign to it.

    That being said there are all sorts of reasons to oppose Grenell for foreign policy advisor, besides his being gay, most importantly his atrocious foreign policy views. But I don’t see any evidence that his Junior High School Twitter persona was what led to his being isolated within the Romney campaign team. Yes he regularly made offensive sexist comments in public, but he was sexually harassed till he quit because he was gay not because he was sexist.

  26. Jared C if you are “gay” then I am sorry to tell you this but being “gay” in The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints is a very serious sin. i do not like saying “gay” because gay means happy but we should all be saying “homosexual” because it is what it is. Jared C I can tell you that I have prayed to Our Heavenly Father and he Told Me by the power of the holy ghost that you are gay and that you will not be able to go Unto the Celestial Kingdom unless you stop being “gay” because Heavenly Father loves each and every one of his Precious Children but sin makes him so sad, especially sex sin, and I am sorry to tell you this but being “gay” is a sex sin. So jsut, stop, and pray with All Your Might to Heavenly Father in the name of thy son Jesus christ that he will forgive you and I know because I have prayed and asked Heavenly Father and he told me by the Power of the Holy Ghost that if you pray with all your might and never sin again you will be clean from the sin of homosexual.

  27. Jared C I can tell you that I have prayed to Our Heavenly Father and he Told Me by the power of the holy ghost that you are gay and that you will not be able to go Unto the Celestial Kingdom unless you stop being “gay”

    Watch out Jared. This guy is on to you. Turns out that prayer is the ultimate Gay-dar.

  28. Of course, there are robust Christian traditions that don’t consider being gay a sin – or at least don’t consider it a choice. Some would say they don’t take scripture seriously, but there is a great many passages that even the most evangelical believer likes to skip over.

  29. Christian J I want you to know that I have prayed to Our Heavenly Father by the power of the HOLY GHOST to ask him if you are gay for the record. and I want you to know that he whispered to me in the sweet, small voice NO! you are not “gay”.

  30. But Christian J have you ever read a book by Spencer W. Kimball called A MIRACLE OF FORGIVENESS. If you did not knwo, Spencer W. Kimball was a PROPHET in the “Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints which is the only One, True church on the face of this earth. He wrote that book I was telling you about. I want you to know that I have read it from cover, to cover and I ahve prayed ot knwo if it was true and the holy ghost told me that it is a True Book, and that there are many sins, and if we are not perfect we can not enter unto the Celestial Kingdom and have Eternal Families (“Heaven”). So I know that you are not “gay” but there are a lot of other sins and I Know that we should not have pride that we do not commit one specific sin like “gay” or smoking cigarettes because there are SO MANY SINS and we just have to, keep repenting every day so that we can be perfect and come unto the Celestial Kingdom with Heavenly Father. Thy Son Jesus Christ lives in the terrestrial kingdom so we will not live with him and the holy ghost who lives in the third (“terrestrial”) kingdom. The other kingdoms are great and if you saw the third kingdom and saw it right now you would suicide to go there and you know what? YOU WOULD GO THERE because suicide is also a sin. So don’t do suicide either, okay? Lets all work SO HARD to go unto the celestial kingdom where we will have eternal families and live with Heavenly Father. In the name of Jesus Christ amen.

  31. CD-Host ~ People like Eric Fehrnstrom have commented on Grenell, they haven’t disputed the facts that when members of the religious right attacked Grenell for being gay he was shut out.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d cite where Fehrnstrom said this. My understanding was that Grenell was asked to “lay low” and wait until his official hire date of May 1 to begin representing Romney on foreign policy publicly. While that may not have been the best move on the Romney campaign’s part, asking an employee to wait until his hire date to begin work is hardly the travesty of caving into “sexual harassment” that you’re painting it as. Multiple upper-tier aides and advisers in the Romney campaign contacted Grenell and asked him not to quit. He was not chased away with pitchforks and torches because he was gay.

    If there is any evidence for the opposite I’d love to hear it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/us/politics/richard-grenell-resigns-from-mitt-romneys-foreign-policy-team.html?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto&pagewanted=all

    “A big worry: that reporters would ask Mr. Grenell about his Twitter feed or sexuality, turning him rather than Mr. Romney’s foreign policy into the story.”

  32. David, this robust preaching will still teach homosexuality as sin

    Yes, it will.

    very similar to (if not worse than) adultery or fornication.

    Since I’m no longer Mormon, I no longer have much interest in ranking sin. But, just realize that heaven will be chocked full of fornicators, sinners, prostitutes, etc. I hear they even accept lawyers.

    It will still teach that people need to turn away from their behavior and feelings

    Again, since I’m no longer Mormon, I no longer see entrance into heaven as a need to follow a minimal set of behaviors and engage in a particular set of ordinances. People need to turn from sin in the exact same way as I need to treat my wife well on Mother’s Day. The need results from love and gratitude, not because she won’t be my wife if I don’t do it.

    viewing them as another sign of their corrupt nature.

    Yes, we all have corrupt natures.

    It will still encourage – mandate even – gay Christians to live celibate lives, devoid of the precious companionship found in marriage.

    “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die,” said Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Christ himself said, ““Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Although precious companionship is nice, it’s not what Christ is calling us to do.

    But in any case, we are called to follow Jesus in love. Of course we are going to fail. We are going to fall because of our carnal natures. But as always, the just will live by faith.

    For individuals who are gay within an anti-gay faith community they love, I don’t think this changes much.

    I think I know a little bit about being part of a community I love, only to find myself at odds over core issues. I don’t know what it’s like to be gay, so I’m not going to pretend I do. I have however experienced putting a lot on the line to follow Jesus and having to deal with the repercussions of doing so. Quite frankly, they really suck. But that’s par for the course, we aren’t called to prosperous living that can be served up in a feel good anecdote for a self help book. Jesus died alone, celibate, broken, and in pain. There may be something to that.

  33. David Clark I do not think it is right to just say Jesus like you say your buddy’s first name. It is not very respectful. You should probably call him THE SAVIOR. Would you call Heavenly Father’s only-begotten son by his first name basis? I do not think you would. That is why we say “Heavenly Father” instead of his real life first name and why we say the Melchizidek priesthood instead of the longer name of that priesthood that I can not remember in the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints but we do not want to say Heavenly Father’s name too much. I just want to tell you this, and it is also why we say “thy” in prayers.

  34. The article you cite talks about the religious right almost exclusively and how they didn’t want to confront them an aide even says this. So I’m not sure how you think the NYTimes supports your case. The article mentions the Twitter issue. The other thing the article mentions is that they did this to prevent Grenell from becoming a story and a distraction, and I love how effectively Grenell in resigning has turned this from a minor story into a major one.

    Here are Fehrnstrom’s comments

    i have a lot of respect and admiration for rick grenell. he was supremely qualified to be the foreign policy spokesman. he did decide for his own reasons that his effectiveness was going to be compromised. he made a decision to resign. as far as that conference call , we featured our foreign policy advisers. it was not a call where the staff was encouraged to be speaking with reporters but where we wanted to put the focus on our foreign policy team. let me say this about mitt romney when it comes to hiring, he looks at the qualifications but does not consider race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. if you are curious about his hiring record, go back and look at his four years where he spend as governor. the hallmark of his appointment process was bringing in the best and most qualified people.

    (Christ Todd) you said he resigned because he thought his effectiveness had been compromised. is this having to do with the fact that some social conservatives appeared to publicly be going after him?

    i don’t want to speak for rick. i will say that, of course, there were voices of intolerance that expressed themselves during this debate. that was unfortunate. mitt romney has confronted those voices of intolerance. he did it last october on stage at the value voters summit and denounced some of the poisonous language that is being used by some of the same people that had criticized rick gren nel’s appointment. he has a record of taking on intolerant voices. it led to the resignation of a person we thought would have been a fine foreign policy spokesman for us.

    The confrontation he’s referring to in October is Mitt Romney condemning Bryan Fischer’s attacks on Mormons, which means yes he is explicitly citing Fischer, Fischer never objected to any Grenell Tweets about women just the ones about gay marriage.

    The Romney campaign is filled with hateful misogynists, misogyny is a major theme of the campaign and one that Romney has embraced. The Romney campaign is filled with people whose views liberals find objectionable. The campaign is not filled with gay activists.

  35. Again, since I’m no longer Mormon, I no longer see entrance into heaven as a need to follow a minimal set of behaviors and engage in a particular set of ordinances. People need to turn from sin in the exact same way as I need to treat my wife well on Mother’s Day. The need results from love and gratitude, not because she won’t be my wife if I don’t do it.

    David, I think you’re glossing here. I didn’t say anything about ordinances or minimal standards of behavior. Even the most grace driven/anti-works based Calvinist is going to direct you to stop cheating on your wife, for example, and turn away from it. It also would not be surprising to see the individual given some sort of church discipline. The *do whatever you like, Jesus has saved you* theology you’re presenting actually sounds more like a Mormon caricature, than any Evangelical I’ve met or read about. I also think you’ll be hard pressed to meet any who would say being gay is about as serious as treating your wife well on Mother’s Day.

    I get it – For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ – following Jesus, was never meant to be easy, I just don’t think that placing homosexuality in any category of sin is going to solve the problem – even with the most robust theology of grace. Imagine that your natural feelings toward your wife were regarded as such.

  36. CD-Host ~ The article you cite talks about the religious right almost exclusively and how they didn’t want to confront them an aide even says this.

    Of course it centers on the gay controversy. It’s The New York Times. They, like you, want to portray it as a case of pure conservative bias against gays and ignore the prior outrage from the left over the Twitter comments. Or are you in the dark on which way most major newspapers swing?

    I cited the article because even the NYT had to acknowledge that the Twitter controversy was a significant part of the problem. You said that you had seen “nothing” to indicate that it was a factor. I figured citing a liberal newspaper article that makes minimal mention of it would be more persuasive than a conservative source that discusses it at length.

    Fischer never objected to any Grenell Tweets about women just the ones about gay marriage.

    I said it was voices on the left who objected to Grenell on the basis of his tweets about women, not voices on the right. And I’ve already acknowledged that homosexuality was part of the issue. It was not the only issue though, nor does Fehrnstrom say that it was. The NYT’s anonymous source said that the Twitter comments were a problem as well.

    From before Grenell resigned:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/22/richard-grenell-mitt-romney-online-attacks_n_1442726.html

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-04-22/news/31383928_1_tweets-twitter-comments-huffington-post

    http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/04/20/468736/richard-grenell-twitter-women/?mobile=nc

    http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/04/did_mitt_romney_stir_the_war_o.html

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/04/new-romney-flacks-old-pastime-ridiculing-the-gingriches-121165.html

    The Romney campaign is filled with hateful misogynists, misogyny is a major theme of the campaign and one that Romney has embraced.

    Nope. You’re veering away from my point now and I’m not going down this rabbit-hole with you. I’ve said my peace.

    The Romney campaign is filled with people whose views liberals find objectionable.

    Also, water is wet.

    The campaign is not filled with gay activists.

    Who said that it was? Seriously, where do you get this stuff?

  37. I don’t have any sweeping answers on this issue, just a few more or less random thoughts and observations.

    1. Communicating on this issue can be extremely difficult for those of us who accept the position currently taken by the LDS church, the Roman Catholic church and nearly all evangelical churches, that there is a distinction between orientation and behavior. That’s partly because the issue has become so politicized and partly because most of us aren’t that good at not judging people engaged in behavior seen as wrong. It’s extremely easy to sound condescending where no condescension is intended (or maybe we’re being condescending without knowing it). As a result, phrases such as “loving the sin but not the sinner” and “struggling with same-sex attraction” aren’t all that helpful. That said, neither it is neither fair nor reasonable to automatically label anyone who accepts the LDS/Catholic/evangelical view as “homophobic” or “anti-gay.”

    2. To get at something Seth R. suggested, the original post and many of the “pro-gay” comments seem to assume that the only way gays can ever find fulfillment is if they are sexually active. At the risk of sounding condescending (see point 1), that needs to be seen as a challengeable assumption rather than a fact if there can be discussion on the broader issues.

    3. If there is ever to be a change in doctrine (and I’m not arguing that it should or shouldn’t happen), it may more feasible for Mormons than for evangelicals. Outside of the Bible, there is nothing in LDS scripture about homosexuality, at least not that I’m aware of. The quasi-scriptural Proclamation on the Family may be problematic for change, but in the past we’ve been open to new and even contradictory revelation, even on the nature of marriage, so there’s some precedent.

    4. All sides need the humility to admit that they may be wrong.

    5. Although most evangelicals (among others) believe that the Bible strongly condemns homosexuality, a closer examination shows that its condemnation may be more nebulous than it appears. In the New Testament, there are only three clear references to homosexuality. Homosexual behavior is in lists of sins in letters to Timothy and the Corinthians, but the meaning of the Greek words is in some dispute and may have referred to coercive or abusive sexual behavior. A stronger case can be made for the passage in Romans, but that one arguably focuses on lustful behavior rather than sexual behavior per se. My personal view is that the Biblical argument for male-female marriage rests in the way it is used as symbol that presupposes its eternal nature, but that’s a bit harder to pin down. Certainly, that’s an understanding that comes with two millennia of Christian tradition.

    6. Until we have reached a state of perfection, it is not up to us to cast stones. Our obligation as followers of Christ is not to judge but to love our neighbors as ourselves. And that doesn’t mean to love people as categories, but as our brothers and sisters.

    7. For better or worse, I can speak only intellectually about this issue. To the best of my knowledge, I have no close friends who are gay, and there is no way I can know what it’s like. I suspect I’m not the only one in that situation.

  38. I am not afraid. I think David Clark’s post was excellent, and the article he linked to was great. The only thing I question about the article was it’s emphasis that some sins are worse than others – while true, I think that Christians who struggle with homosexuality already get this point loud and clear. We don’t really need to emphasize it. All sins are bad, and all are equally forgiveable. Is the obese person at Church barred from receiving communion? Is the gossip forbidden from speaking or teaching? If someone has a lifelong struggle with homosexuality (and I am speaking of those who recognize that they are indeed sinners and that sin is real) to be barred or treated differently? I don’t think so – we are all sinners in need of a savior. Thank God for his mercy and grace.

  39. David, I think you’re glossing here.

    Of course I’m glossing. I’m not going to write a treatise in a throw-away blog comment.

    I didn’t say anything about ordinances or minimal standards of behavior.

    No, but I think that forms the grounding for any LDS view on this issue. That’s why I addressed it.

    Even the most grace driven/anti-works based Calvinist is going to direct you to stop cheating on your wife, for example, and turn away from it. It also would not be surprising to see the individual given some sort of church discipline. The *do whatever you like, Jesus has saved you* theology you’re presenting actually sounds more like a Mormon caricature, than any Evangelical I’ve met or read about.

    I’m not advocating a do-whatever-you-like theology. The only way you can get that from my comment is by isolating certain fragments from my comment and proof-texting like crazy. I’m not advocating cheap grace (I sure wouldn’t quote Bonhoeffer if I was); I’m advocating an extremely rigorous path of love and gratitude, a path that I’m sure to fail at, which is why I continue to cling to grace.

    I also think you’ll be hard pressed to meet any who would say being gay is about as serious as treating your wife well on Mother’s Day.

    If it wasn’t clear, my point was not to compare treatment of my wife to being gay (and how you concluded that is utterly baffling to me). The point is the use of the word “need.” Do I need to to be nice to my wife on mother’s day as an absolute requirement of being married to her, i.e. if I don’t is the marriage over? No, in that sense I don’t need to be nice to my wife on Mother’s day. Do I need to me nice to my wife because of an impulse of love and gratitude driving me towards that? Yep, so in that sense I need to be nice to my wife on Mother’s day.

    The same sense applies to the gay individual. Does a gay person need to absolutely conquer their sin, i.e. if they don’t salvation is over, grace is withdrawn, and Jesus says “Bye-Bye.” No, in that sense the gay person does not need to conquer their sin. Does a gay person need to conquer their sin because of an impulse of love and gratitude driving the individual towards that goal? Yes, in that sense they need to do it. But, in the end, we cling to grace, because we are all surely going to fail at this latter kind of need.

  40. David, let’s take the eternal fate of homosexuals out of the equation. Let’s take it as given that their salvation is not based on their ability to conquer their genuine feelings and/or behavior to achieve the lasting rest of the Lord. People still have to live life and I just don’t think “getting in” to heaven makes things all better for people.

  41. 4fivesolas I am sorry but I have to tell you that not all sins are equally forgivable. I am a member of The, Church of jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints andwe KNOW that it is very hard to forgive 1, murder, 2, adultery the sin next to murder, 3, other sex sins (which includes :”gay”), and 4, the sin against the HOLY GHOST. I have prayed to our Heavenly Father to ask him iif there is any other sin that is very hard for him to forgive and he said in the STILL, SMALL voice of the Holy Ghost “No.” Those are the only ones, but also I think the ones that you are asked about in a Temple Reccomend might be hard for Our Heavenly Fatherto forgive. We know these things are true because we have read the scriptures from cover, to cover, and prayed and asked our heavenly father himself by the power of the HOLY GHOST to tell us if it is true. Our True And Living Prophet has promised us in Mormoni that we will get an answer. WE WILL. If we are righteous and we do not doubt. Murder means also suicide.

  42. The SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST means that you stand in the light of the sun and say there is no light. I hope I have not committed this sin because Hevanly Father will not forgive it, ever. IN THE NAME OF THY SON JESUS CHRIST AMEN. I also hope that you have not done this sin.

  43. I was using a “metaphor” before when I probably should have spoken the plain truth of Our, Heavenly Father. I mean that the SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST is when you feel the Holy Ghost and then you say that you did not. I hope you will all be very, very careful about this, because if you do this you will not be able to go Unto the celestial kingdom of Our Heavenly Father.

  44. Great comment, Eric.

    I don’t think that either evangelicalism or Mormonism is going to alter its position on homosexual relationships being a sin. If what the LGBT movement wants is for evangelicals and Mormons to abandon that belief altogether (and I don’t blame them for wanting that), then they are always going to come away disappointed. Evangelicals are bound by their belief in biblical infallibility and, subsequently, the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality. Mormons are bound by their belief that exaltation requires a union between a man and at least one woman. Neither group is likely abandon those beliefs anytime soon.

    Some believe that societal pressure will eventually bring about change in these religions. The usual examples given are slavery and racism. Christians once passionately argued that the Bible condoned slavery and racism and that such an order was from God and would never be changed. Now they argue just as passionately against it using the same Bible. Who’s to say the same won’t happen with homosexuality?

    We already have several control groups for testing this theory though, and it’s proven false. One of those control groups is how Christianity and Mormonism treat women. Women’s rights became a serious issue in the 19th century at about the same time as slavery became an issue. Two hundred years later, and it would be abhorrent for a major denomination to refuse to ordain someone on the basis of race or lineage. So is it abhorrent for a major denomination to refuse to ordain someone on the basis of sex? No; in fact, it’s so mundane that hardly anyone remarks on it. The Catholics, Orthodox, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and probably at least half of evangelicalism all refuse to do it, and nobody cares. People still care a lot more that Romney’s church didn’t ordain blacks 34 years ago than they do that his church doesn’t ordain women today. People have accepted that it’s okay for religions to discriminate against women that way and there’s very little social stigma attached to it.

    Another group to compare to is Roman Catholics and their insistence on a celibate clergy. The RC church has been rocked by child sex scandals in recent years (and they’ve had their share of them throughout history), the idea of men being virgins past their early 20s has become a joke, and they face a decreasing number of men signing up for the priesthood. And yet, they still insist on a celibate male clergy with few signs of bending on the issue, and there is very little social stigma attached to being Catholic because of it.

    Final example: sex before and outside of marriage. It’s become commonplace and expected in our society, and yet all of the major Christian churches still teach and promote the ideal of waiting for marriage. Some of them have grown good at looking the other way at what their members are doing, but officially, they still teach saving sex for marriage.

    There are other examples where churches have largely caved to society’s needs and pressures and become more tolerant of things that they used to be against (such as divorce). But really, there is no sure way of knowing that Christian churches (Mormonism included) are ever going to become accepting of homosexual relationships just because society is trending in that direction. It could happen, but I don’t think that the factors are in favor of such a significant shift.

    More likely, evangelicals and Mormons will develop a softer attitude towards homosexuals while still insisting ultimately on homosexual relationships as a sin. They’ll become more accepting of legalizing gay marriage and more friendly towards gays, they’ll denounce acting on homosexuality rather than strict orientation, they’ll ordain openly gay but celibate individuals as clergy, and they’ll come to believe that being gay does not get one sent to hell, but they’ll stand their ground otherwise. And people will just accept that that’s what some Christians and Mormons teach and believe, and get over it.

    If the LGBT insists on more than that, then it is setting itself up for disappointment.

  45. CD- Host, your posts often attack the truth of the God who created you, who is holding a hand out to rescue you. I came across a verse that made me think of you this morning. I hope you can receive it in the spirit in which it was written.

    Psalm 50:21-23, NLT (God is speaking):
    “While you did all this, I remained silent,
    and you thought I didn’t care.
    But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you.
    Repent, all of you who forget me,
    or I will tear you apart,
    and no one will help you.
    But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.
    If you keep to my path,
    I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”

  46. Cal thank you for posting that Psalm but I want to tell you that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints (“MORMON CHURCH”) we believe that the Book of Mormon is the most true of all books and so I wish that you would post a scripture from the Book of Mormon, ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST. We believe the Bible to Be the work of God as far as it is translated correctly. Translated correctly means the Joseph Smith Translation for the parts that joseph Smith TRANSLATED. I wish I could check to see if Joseph Smith translated that Psalm scripture but I can not because the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stole it and all we have are foot notes in the King, James Version of the Bible. So I wish you would post a scripture from the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is true by the power of the holy ghost. WILL YOU POST A SCRIPTURE FROM THE BOOK OF MORMON CAL.

  47. Eric,

    I guess some of the things you bring up in your comment apply more to Mormonism than to, say, Catholicism…but let’s take this:

    2. To get at something Seth R. suggested, the original post and many of the “pro-gay” comments seem to assume that the only way gays can ever find fulfillment is if they are sexually active. At the risk of sounding condescending (see point 1), that needs to be seen as a challengeable assumption rather than a fact if there can be discussion on the broader issues.,

    I guess the reason many pro-gay *Mormon* comments assume such is because Mormonism places a huge role on relationships, families, and procreation (and yes, the sex that implies). As I wrote on my blog, celibacy isn’t an institutionally valid option (so I guess this is definitely a place where Mormonism differs from some of the other Christian traditions). Distinguishing orientation from behavior doesn’t help this.

    I’ll go ahead and be a curmudgeon and challenge something you wrote earlier in the comment:

    That said, neither it is neither fair nor reasonable to automatically label anyone who accepts the LDS/Catholic/evangelical view as “homophobic” or “anti-gay.”

    I will concede that homophobic is a term that is muddled (e.g., people are caught up on the “fear” suffix…and “fear” probably doesn’t factor much into things at all)…but anti-gay? I don’t see how this is controversial.

    Are you not anti-sin? Are gay relationships not sinful? Then, how are you not anti-gay? Would you say you are anti-adultery? Would you say you are anti-cheating? Anti-lying? Then, why not anti-gay?

    At some level, you may say that you are against the actions, but not the orientation, but there is a relationship here. (I guess the analogy doesn’t quite work with other sins. After all, you couldn’t define a liar outside of lies. In other words, if someone doesn’t tell lies, she cannot be a liar. If someone doesn’t cheat, he is not a cheater. But someone can fail to engage in same-sex relationships and be gay AND someone can engage in same-sex relationships, yet *not* be gay.)

    Now, certainly, someone can be gay (orientation) without being in same-sex relationships. But when you’re against the kinds of actions that the orientation orients one to, then I don’t really see how that gets one out of anything.

    I would think this ultimately is related to the whole, “Hate the sin, not the sinner” idea. When someone who is against same-sex relationships (or at the very least, views them as sinful) doesn’t want this stance to be identified as anti-gay, I can’t help but feel like they want to separate the individual from his or her homosexuality. They want to say they aren’t anti-the person…and they believe they know better about what’s in the person’s best interests than that person does, at least when it comes to the relationships that person should or should not pursue.

    re: your fifth point: this is another point where I think Mormonism has different issues than Evangelicalism or Catholicism. As well, you don’t look to Mormon scriptures for the basis of much of the anti-gay push. Rather, you look toward LDS theological ideas about the family, about what happens in the celestial kingdom, about the value of procreation.

    re David Clark,

    Does a gay person need to absolutely conquer their sin, i.e. if they don’t salvation is over, grace is withdrawn, and Jesus says “Bye-Bye.” No, in that sense the gay person does not need to conquer their sin. Does a gay person need to conquer their sin because of an impulse of love and gratitude driving the individual towards that goal? Yes, in that sense they need to do it. But, in the end, we cling to grace, because we are all surely going to fail at this latter kind of need.

    I would like to bounce off this response to reiterate my first comment on this thread…

    “anybody who understands that God wants some people to be gay is simply going to have to look elsewhere for a religious tradition to accommodate that. Being “limited” in this way isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.”

  48. David, let’s take the eternal fate of homosexuals out of the equation. Let’s take it as given that their salvation is not based on their ability to conquer their genuine feelings and/or behavior to achieve the lasting rest of the Lord.

    OK

    People still have to live life and I just don’t think “getting in” to heaven makes things all better for people.

    OK, what do you and the LDS church offer the gay person in this life?

  49. I would like to bounce off this response to reiterate my first comment on this thread…

    “anybody who understands that God wants some people to be gay is simply going to have to look elsewhere for a religious tradition to accommodate that. Being “limited” in this way isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.”

    I still have no idea what you mean by this.

  50. I’d also like the express my admiration to Gidgiddoni, you are quickly becoming one of my favorite sock puppet/trollers out there.

  51. Jack,

    I have to admit, I don’t see the connection between insisting on a celibate clergy and being rocked by child sex scandals.

  52. David, the LDS offering is actually much worse for gays, IMHO. That you assumed my questioning of your claim was an automatic defense of Mormonism, is strange.

  53. DAVID CLARK I did not know whether Our Heavenly Father is OK with socks because I have read the Book of Mormn from cover to cover (“Another Testament of Jesus Christ In Our Latter-Days”) and I don’t think it ever says socks so I have to tell you I prayed to GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IN THE NAME OF THY SON Jesus Christ (the “Savior”) to know if socks were okay or if socks were against the commandments and the Holy Ghost whispered to me in a still, small voice YES. I know that you can do this too.

  54. David,

    I still have no idea what you mean by this.

    Just that if someone “understands that God wants some people to be gay,” then that doesn’t work with Christianity, because a Christian conclusion would really be that “God wants people to conquer their homosexuality out of an impulse of love and gratitude.” The fact that people need grace because they will fail to conquer perfectly whatever sins they have (even when they have love and gratitude) doesn’t change the fact that the Christian position starts from the position that homosexuality is a sin.

  55. Evangelicals are bound by their belief in biblical infallibility and, subsequently, the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality. Mormons are bound by their belief that exaltation requires a union between a man and at least one woman. Neither group is likely abandon those beliefs anytime soon.

    To clarify a bit: the problem that this video appraised me of was the human problem of naturally occurring, hardwired homosexuality among those that really believe in the Church.

    My post was not primarily about what a gay person can expect from the Church but what the Church should expect as more people start recognizing the real nature of same-sex attraction.

    The reason Mormons and Evangelicals have reason to fear institutionally is as people come to terms with the fact that homosexuality is not that empathetic, fair-minded people will demand institutional change or leave.

    Once you accept the reality that homosexuality, in most if not all cases, is a genetic condition, it leads to people (gay and non-gay) to all kinds of difficult questions:

    1) What is the nature of the “sin” of homosexual intimacy vs. the enshrined sacredness of heterosexual intimacy?
    2) If God makes a person gay, why would He require institutions and government to deny them a wholesome, married relationship with another person. (this is why there is/was strong argument homosexuality was chosen or brought on by environmental factors and can be changed)
    3) It leads people to question biblical authority. Even if homosexuality was roundly condemned in ancient times maybe biblical authors got it wrong?

    4) If self-described “true christians” treat gay people like crap, it undermines their claim to be true Christians. (this is why racism is condemned now, but preached previously.) However, previous crappy behavior also undermines the claim.

    Interpreting the bible to condemn wholesome homosexual intimacy starts to look like LDS theories regarding denying the priesthood to blacks.

    “anybody who understands that God wants some people to be gay is simply going to have to look elsewhere for a religious tradition to accommodate that. Being “limited” in this way isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.”

    I agree that it is highly unlikely that Mormons and Evangelicals are going to agree that homosexuality is not always sin. But the pressure to acknowledge that homosexuality is a natural thing that is thrust upon people, in effect, by God himself, makes people question what sort of God does this to people. We also have the fact that gay believers, outside of Mormonism and Evangelicalism, routinely have the same feelings of salvation while maintaining gay relationships.
    If God is pouring out his spirit to the married gay couple in a church that accepts them, I think it will undermine the credibility of the churches that accepting gay marriage is based on the devil’s lies. As is pointed out, maybe Mormons and Evangelicals are intractably anti-gay. However, if this is the case, 50 years from now, Mormons and Evangelicals may look like Westboro Baptists to the rest of society. . . and this is a cause for concern if not fear.

  56. David, the LDS offering is actually much worse for gays, IMHO. That you assumed my questioning of your claim was an automatic defense of Mormonism, is strange.

    You were insisting that the conversation no longer deal with the post death state of homosexuals, but rather on what a church should do vis-a-vis a gay person in this life. To start that off I was curious what you thought the LDS church offered gays in this life. Apparently you think what it offers gays isn’t so good. I agree.

  57. Just that if someone “understands that God wants some people to be gay,” then that doesn’t work with Christianity, because a Christian conclusion would really be that “God wants people to conquer their homosexuality out of an impulse of love and gratitude.”

    As far as I can make out, you completely misunderstood what I was saying. But I’m still not entirely confident that I understand what you are saying, so I may be wrong about that. Maybe we are at an impasse here.

  58. We also have the fact that gay believers, outside of Mormonism and Evangelicalism, routinely have the same feelings of salvation while maintaining gay relationships.
    If God is pouring out his spirit to the married gay couple in a church that accepts them, I think it will undermine the credibility of the churches that accepting gay marriage is based on the devil’s lies.

    Don’t underestimate Mormons’ and Evangelicals’ capacity for the most shockingly brazen special pleading when it comes to things like this.

  59. Jared,

    I still don’t see how your thought process follows. If Mormons come to see homosexuality increasingly as a genetic condition, or as naturally occurring or as hardwired…this does NOT equate or imply God making a person gay (could be a result of the Fall). You still have to define what it means for “true Christians” to treat gays “like crap.” If people think that encouraging others to stay out of sin — and gay relationships are just one kind of sin — then they aren’t going to think that this treatment is treating gay people “like crap.”

    This will remain the case even in situations like what I’ve described in Mormonism, where celibacy really isn’t a valid “consolation prize.”

  60. Cal thank you for posting that Psalm but I want to tell you that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints (“MORMON CHURCH”)

    Gidgiddoni, if you refer to the Church by its slang name again, I will do everything in my power to wipe you off the face of the planet. There is some blasphemy that even I will not tolerate.

  61. David,

    As far as I can make out, you completely misunderstood what I was saying. But I’m still not entirely confident that I understand what you are saying, so I may be wrong about that. Maybe we are at an impasse here.

    Most likely..?

  62. Okay, friends. So here’s what’s really sinking in for me today as I’m thinking about this.

    Why is homosexuality sinful?

    I’ve been agnostic on this question for a long time, but after this conversation and others I’ve had lately, I think I might be about ready to draw some conclusions.

    I believe that the gospel of Christ is a gospel of becoming. It is a gospel of a changed heart and life in Jesus. As I’ve read and wrestled with the scriptures over the past several years, I’ve come to understand that pretty much everything Jesus taught boils down to this: love of God, of self, and of others.

    Much of what we label sinful makes sense to me because it is, at its core, just a million different ways of manifesting a lack of love.

    Adultery is a betrayal. That’s unloving. Gossip represents a lack of generosity and honor toward other people. That’s unloving. Violence and abuse inflict harm on others = unloving. Covetousness = unloving. Greed = unloving. I could go on.

    How exactly does homosexuality fit? I can’t believe that being gay is the one exception to the pattern.

    I can see how many sexual behaviors are sinful, homo OR hetero — even within marriage. When sex is about lust or control, that’s unloving and therefore sinful. But I know gay people. And they’re just like the rest of us. It’s special pleading to say that their experiences of intimacy and commitment are somehow bad when ours are good.

    So. I think I’m pretty close to making up my mind on this one. But I’d be open to hearing the counter-arguments.

  63. Jared C you are correct that “Mormon” is a nick name and nick names are not respectful. Would you call the Savior a nick name “Peanuts” like you would your buddy? I do not even think you should call your buddy Peanuts because it is not reverent and even though i do not think there is anything in the Book of Mormon about nick names or peanuts I KNOW that the Book of Mormon says to be reverent and to have respect for the Savior and the One True Church of OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints on earth. I KNOW becauase I have prayed to Hevaenly Father and he told me through the Holy ghost. You can do this too. I mean pray and ask Heavenly Father, not call the Church “Peanuts.” Do not do that.

  64. As I’ve read and wrestled with the scriptures over the past several years, I’ve come to understand that pretty much everything Jesus taught boils down to this: love of God, of self, and of others.

    Are you saying then that the definition of “sin” is “not loving God, self, and others?” Because while I think that’s a lovely concept, I don’t actually think that the scriptures or Mormon doctrine will back you up on that.

  65. Yes, that’s what I’m saying is the definition of sin.

    I kind of think the scriptures do back me up…at least the stuff Jesus said.

  66. I think the “because we think God said so” is a really BAD definition of sin that when applied to its extreme leads to things like terrorist bombings and Holy Wars.

  67. I think the “because we think God said so” is a really BAD definition of sin that when applied to its extreme leads to things like terrorist bombings and Holy Wars.

    You can think that all you want, but unfortunately I think its also abundantly clear that that’s precisely what “sin” means in Mormonism: disobeying God. It just happens that, among other things, Jesus told us to love God, others, and ourselves. The scriptures back you up on the content of God’s commandments, but its not the content of the commandments itself that’s the sin; its the fact of disobedience.

  68. Yeah. I just disagree. :)

    I mean, I don’t disagree that what you say is true in terms of what “sin” means to a lot of Mormons. But I don’t think that definition can possible be Real in the “this is actually True in the eternal scheme of things” kind of way.

  69. If Mormons come to see homosexuality increasingly as a genetic condition, or as naturally occurring or as hardwired…this does NOT equate or imply God making a person gay (could be a result of the Fall). this does NOT equate or imply God making a person gay (could be a result of the Fall)

    I am not saying that it is logically impossible for Mormons or Evangelicals to hold onto their view of homosexuality, only that it defies generally recognized concepts of fairness. Once the nature of homosexuality becomes clear, fair-minded people will start to hold God god to that same standard of fairness (or temper their understanding of God to accommodate this.)

  70. I mean, I don’t disagree that what you say is true in terms of what “sin” means to a lot of Mormons. But I don’t think that definition can possible be Real in the “this is actually True in the eternal scheme of things” kind of way.

    Sure, and I agree with you. But I think that by maintaining that, you have absolutely departed from clear (and even fundamental) Mormon doctrine. What you are believing may be True, but its not Mormonism.

  71. Yes.

    Unless I say this:

    “Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth: consequently the shackles of superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, fall at once from his neck; and his eyes are opened to see the truth, and truth greatly prevails over priestcraft….The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same.” — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith p. 264
    Posted by Quantumleap42 at 1:22 PM

    And then I get to say that my articulation of that truth is fundamentally Mormon. ;)

  72. Jared

    I am not saying that it is logically impossible for Mormons or Evangelicals to hold onto their view of homosexuality, only that it defies generally recognized concepts of fairness. Once the nature of homosexuality becomes clear, fair-minded people will start to hold God god to that same standard of fairness (or temper their understanding of God to accommodate this.)

    Wouldn’t people who believe that “God’s ways are not man’s ways; God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts” or that “the natural man is enemy to God” be OK with the fact that their moral views may defy generally recognized concepts of fairness?

  73. I do not think that people have to be sexually active to have meaningful, fulfilled lives, but I am not demanding celibacy from anyone. And I would not be happy if others imposed it on me (no matter how lovingly they did so).

  74. At the end of the day, I think what goes around usually comes around. If I try to strong-arm you into living your life the way I think I should live mine (never mind that I may not live up to my highest standards all the time), then I forfeit my right to be indignant when you respond in kind. If I try to make your knee bow and your tongue confess, then I am practically begging you to return the “favor” (starting a pissing match that seems like the antithesis of every good thing in any religion).

  75. Eric –

    Good comment to open up this line of discussion.

    7. For better or worse, I can speak only intellectually about this issue. To the best of my knowledge, I have no close friends who are gay, and there is no way I can know what it’s like. I suspect I’m not the only one in that situation.

    I think you will find this is mostly an age thing. Gay people stayed closeted in your generation gay people came out in mine and gay is not even controversial fo Millennials. I know lots of gay people, have tons of gay friends who had to struggle with issues, other people’s homo and bi sexuality have since my teen years been a natural part of my life. One of the big shifts induced by ending the criminality of homosexuality is that gay people have developed an open culture in America where they can safely share with straight people. For your generation the people who were gay were criminals. They spent their early years lying and deceiving their close friends and family and often never stopped.

    Communicating on this issue can be extremely difficult for those of us who accept the position currently taken by the LDS church, the Roman Catholic church and nearly all evangelical churches, that there is a distinction between orientation and behavior.

    Let me just stop here and say that is actually progress that took place during your lifetime. When you were young the Catholic church didn’t recognize orientation. Up until a decade ago the LDS church didn’t recognize the existence of orientation. The majority of churches held that homosexuality was a learned perversion, and the inclination itself was a direct result of sin. Like we view drug addiction today. There is real progress in you even going that far. And that BTW is an example of how progress is made subtle shifts in culture.

    That’s partly because the issue has become so politicized

    The issue has always been political. Modern Evangelical Christianity came partially out of the cult of maternity, and thus they were born from the movement to use state power to engage in social engineering so as to create sexual behaviors in line with their biblical doctrine. The abuse and delegitimize homosexuals has been part of Evangelical Christianity in its modern inclination since the start. Liberals have more or less sought to make sexuality a personal inclination and not subject to state control. This issue hasn’t become political it was always political. Contraception, abortion, miscegenation anti-sodomy, fornication and adultery laws have been a heavy focus for 200 years.

    That said, neither it is neither fair nor reasonable to automatically label anyone who accepts the LDS/Catholic/evangelical view as “homophobic” or “anti-gay.”

    Really? If you were confronted with a group of people whom wished to deprive Mormons of the right to marry, to deny them social benefits like social security on the basis of their religion, who wanted them automatically excluded from adoption, who thought it appropriate to fire any Mormon teachers, who wanted Mormons excluded from military service wouldn’t you feel rather comfortable calling them anti-Mormon bigots. You cannot support the Evangelical political agenda and not be anti-gay.

    The LDS church took a big public relations hit so as to prevent homosexuals in California from being able to legally marry. But lets look at legislation in the state where they have the most influence just from this session bills were introduced:

    HB 182 would void family contracts (like wills) for homosexual families.
    HB 270 prevents publicly funded social programs from including gay families.

    In what possible universe can laws which mandate discrimination be seen as anything other than anti-gay?

  76. To get at something Seth R. suggested, the original post and many of the “pro-gay” comments seem to assume that the only way gays can ever find fulfillment is if they are sexually active. At the risk of sounding condescending (see point 1), that needs to be seen as a challengeable assumption rather than a fact if there can be discussion on the broader issues.

    OK lets treat like a challengeable assumption. What percentage of heterosexuals do you believe would find virginity for life fulfilling? What evidence do you have that the percentage is substantially larger for homosexuals? I don’t think you mean “challengeable assumption” because the challenge has been raised and the the anti side doesn’t have any evidence for their position. What I think you mean is unchallengeable assumption where you can make the claim and not have it dismissed on the basis that there is no evidence to support it, and plenty of counter evidence to refute it.

    5. Although most evangelicals (among others) believe that the Bible strongly condemns homosexuality, a closer examination shows that its condemnation may be more nebulous than it appears. In the New Testament, there are only three clear references to homosexuality. Homosexual behavior is in lists of sins in letters to Timothy and the Corinthians, but the meaning of the Greek words is in some dispute and may have referred to coercive or abusive sexual behavior. A stronger case can be made for the passage in Romans, but that one arguably focuses on lustful behavior rather than sexual behavior per se. My personal view is that the Biblical argument for male-female marriage rests in the way it is used as symbol that presupposes its eternal nature, but that’s a bit harder to pin down. Certainly, that’s an understanding that comes with two millennia of Christian tradition.

    As far as tradition, Protestants have a long tradition of tossing out other understanding based on flimsy evidence. To pick a relevant example that’s come up in this thread. For essentially all of Christian history clerical marriage was at least morally questionable rather than in modern Evangelical culture where it is becoming essentially mandatory. In fact as long as we are on the sexuality topic, both Mormons and Evangelicals are coming to a sex positive view of marital sexuality. Christian history both explicitly and implicitly taught that marital sexuality was permanently damaging to one’s spiritual fitnesses, and marital chastity rather than an unhealthy and unnatural state was enlightened and led to mystical revelation (essentially a worthiness doctrine).

    The bible doesn’t present more of a problem. I agree there are shades of meaning from which one could nitpick and apply the doctrine more narrowly. And I think that will happen as anti-homosexuality is simply rejected by the population as a moral position. Part of your upset is that the religious are OK with their moral codes as being viewed as too strict or too demanding, they aren’t OK with their moral codes being viewed as evil. The whole doctrine of repentance requires the person feel guilt not pride in violating Church moral standards. I think we are close to the tipping point, similar to what happened to the more traditional churches when Joseph Smith was preaching, where violating church standards was seen in a positive light and a whole new group of churches rose up to transform the Christian landscape.

    6. Until we have reached a state of perfection, it is not up to us to cast stones. Our obligation as followers of Christ is not to judge but to love our neighbors as ourselves. And that doesn’t mean to love people as categories, but as our brothers and sisters.

    That’s not going to be possible while advocating for them to suffer profound discrimination in law and in church. You are going to have to pick.

  77. Andrew-

    Wouldn’t people who believe that “God’s ways are not man’s ways; God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts” or that “the natural man is enemy to God” be OK with the fact that their moral views may defy generally recognized concepts of fairness?

    Yes, of course. But eventually those people become marginalized as “fundamentalists” when the bulk of believers recognize that certain biblical mandates should not be taken seriously. Thisis what current “true believers” have to be afraid of.

  78. Our obligation as followers of Christ is not to judge but to love our neighbors as ourselves. And that doesn’t mean to love people as categories, but as our brothers and sisters.

    My point, earlier, about what the teaching of Jesus require, is that to love openly gay married personas a brotheryou are going to have to accept their reasonable choices regarding their sexuality and who they marry. . . and protect what matters dearly to them if it is comparable to, yet different than, what matters dearly to you.

  79. David ~ I have to admit, I don’t see the connection between insisting on a celibate clergy and being rocked by child sex scandals.

    Maybe it was just me, but I always got the impression that the media was drawing a connection between the two. I. e. “These guys are barred from sex—look how screwed up they are, molesting little kids.” I got the impression that the widespread publication of these stories was an outcry against Catholic celibacy as well as the authoritarian abuses of its power structure.

    Jared ~ Part of what David is getting at is that Protestants aren’t particularly fazed by the idea that homosexuals are “born this way” because they already believe that people are born corrupt and in rebellion from God’s order. They don’t look at homosexuals and say, “Why would a loving God make you this way when it’s wrong?” Protestantism already holds that all of humanity is “wrong” in some way at this point, for reasons that we cannot help. Homosexuality can be considered just one permutation of that.

    I’ve never been horribly interest in the “who treats homosexuals worse, Mormons or evangelicals” argument because, functionally, at the end of the day I think the two movements treat them very much the same. But theologically? Yeah, I think Mormonism is in just a tad more trouble.

    Interpreting the bible to condemn wholesome homosexual intimacy starts to look like LDS theories regarding denying the priesthood to blacks.

    I couldn’t disagree more. Scriptural appeals for the LDS priesthood ban on blacks always had to rely on eisegesis, mostly to the tune of assuming that all blacks are the descendants of Ham or Cain. In contrast, I’ve never seen a responsible hermeneutic for arguing that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexual relationships. It’s the arguments for “biblical homosexuality” that are eisegesis-driven.

    Katie L. ~ It’s a good question, and I do think that there’s a better answer to it than “because God says so.” I’ll have to post my full thoughts on it when I have the time.

  80. Cal –

    Lets grant for the purpose of argument I’ve got a terrible relationship with God. How does that have any bearing on whether or not reparative therapy works?

    ____

    Jack –

    Of course it centers on the gay controversy. It’s The New York Times. They, like you, want to portray it as a case of pure conservative bias against gays and ignore the prior outrage from the left over the Twitter comments.

    Your position makes no sense. Your original claim was “This is not a fair assessment of the situation with Grenell. His history of misogynist and acerbic comments on Twitter were at least as much of a concern as his homosexuality, if not more so.” You have yet to show any source that support this stacking. The NYTimes which was your counter source, by your own admission presents this as anti-gay. The left wing sources you are presenting merely confirm he’s misogynistic, so what’s he’s a Republican?

    So no, I don’t think “moreso” is accurate at all.

    As for the left. I’ve never questioned that people on the left don’t like Grenell, nor that they wouldn’t find fault with his Twitter persona. Heck I’m a good example of a person on the left who doesn’t like Grenell but we ain’t the ones who sexually harassed him. And as someone who reads the left wing press daily Grenell’s associations with John Bolton are about 100x more offensive to leftists than his making fun of Calista Gingrich’s hair.

  81. Jared,

    The same theology that tells me my homosexual family member or personal friends are made in the image of God and should be loved treated accordingly also is also informed by the ethic where lustful intent is sinful. Now maybe belief in sin makes me some kind of fundamentalist, one step away from a terrorist. But knowledge of sin is tempered by the hope of grace and my own need for grace informs my love for my family and friends.

    Now as a conservative Protestant who interacts with homosexuals (family and friends) just about every day, I find your solution of compromise your moral beliefs to be less than helpful.

    In 2010 the Greek Orthodox ecumenical adviser to the PC(USA) General Assembly said that attempt to define a new Christian morality are attempt to define a new religion.

  82. ~Jack:
    Interpreting the bible to condemn wholesome homosexual intimacy starts to look like LDS theories regarding denying the priesthood to blacks.

    I couldn’t disagree more. Scriptural appeals for the LDS priesthood ban on blacks always had to rely on eisegesis, mostly to the tune of assuming that all blacks are the descendants of Ham or Cain. In contrast, I’ve never seen a responsible hermeneutic for arguing that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexual relationships. It’s the arguments for “biblical homosexuality” that are eisegesis-driven.

    I suppose this depends on how you view eisegesis.

    From a Mormon point of view, anti-black theories were based on ideas put forth by authoritative sources, comparable to the apostle Paul. Mormons could abandon them because they don’t have dead-hand control of their authoritative sources of doctrine,(only old-hand control.) When Mormon apostles get it wrong they can be corrected by subsequent revelation.

    When biblical apostles get it wrong, i.e. commit eisegesis in interpreting Jesus doctrine, Evangelicals are stuck, because they don’t believe that it is possible.

    From an outsider, who believes that biblical writings were not free of un-Godly prejudice, the biblical apostle’s theories regarding homosexuality will start to look as anachronistic as Mormon apostles theories about blacks.

    Mormons may be stuck with a rigid depiction of the importance of heterosexual marriage, but the Mormon church, by its own admission, is not for everybody, and they have modern revelation, which could lead them in any direction that fits justice. Evangelicals will have a harder time because they have no trump card for biblical teaching that does not jibe with reality.

  83. CD-Host ~ The NYT source demonstrated that the controversy over Grenell’s Twitter comments—a controversy generated by the left, not the right—was also a significant factor in the Romney campaign’s decision to ask Grenell to “lay low” until his official hire date of May 1, which Grenell disliked enough to resign. It also demonstrated that the decision to resign was Grenell’s alone and that top Romney aides and advisors pleaded with him to stay. Your notion of what constitutes being “sexually harassed” out of one’s job (a job that one hasn’t even started yet) is nothing short of bizarre.

    But in all of your wall-o-text comments on this blog, you’ve yet to change your opinion on something or correct your skewed presentations of events no matter how much opposing evidence is presented, so I don’t expect you to start now. Good to know that you treat Republicans with the same fairness and even-handedness with which you approach evangelical Christianity.

  84. Jack, I’ll look forward to reading your comments. :)

    The same theology that tells me my homosexual family member or personal friends are made in the image of God and should be loved treated accordingly also is also informed by the ethic where lustful intent is sinful.

    So what makes sex within heterosexual marriages NOT “lustful intent” while it is “lustful intent” if we’re speaking of homosexual marriage-like relationships (since they’re not allowed legal marriage, I can’t say marriage)? Are you saying that homosexuals can’t experience the same sort of transcendent intimacies that heterosexuals do in their relationships — that their love is lust and not love at all? How do you know that?

  85. Gundek,
    Now as a conservative Protestant who interacts with homosexuals (family and friends) just about every day, I find your solution of compromise your moral beliefs to be less than helpful.

    I am not advocating a compromise of moral beliefs. I am saying if there is not some way of accounting for reality AND justice Protestants and Mormons are going to suffer. It may be similar to an acceptance that the earth is more than 5,000 years old. We know that humans like us have existed for over 30,000 years. If your faith does not accept that reality, you look silly.

    In the homosexuality issue, more is at stake because a proper understanding of reality informs how you treat others. In this case, adjusting your understanding of the bible in light of modern science is not compromising your moral standards, its allowing them to more fully reflect your ideals of justice, fairness and love.

    I am not really advocating that Mormons or Protestants do anything to accept the realities of life, I am just pointing out that if they don’t they will have problems as prejudice falls away and these realities become clearer to the average believer.

  86. Katie,

    I’m not sure I would be using transcendent the same way you do. I’m not sure what we are transcending in our human relationships?

    In Jared’s last comment to me he quoted from the Sermon on the Mount, Christ’s explanation of the law. “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery…” This passage is not directed at homosexuals, but neither is there any form of marriage-like relationships for homosexuals.

    Unlike Jared, I don’t have the answers. All I know is that if we are looking for more than Jesus we are looking beyond perfection. I treat the homosexuals in my life as I would anyone else, I celebrate with them, I help them when I can, I morn with them when they need. The only reason I can do this is because I need the grace of Christ every bit as much as they do.

  87. Unlike Jared, I don’t have the answers.

    Easy answer to this problem– simply adopt everything I say. Done. ;)

  88. I am just pointing out that if they don’t they will have problems as prejudice falls away and these realities become clearer to the average believer.

    You don’t even have to use the future tense here. It is already happening. The number 1 reason youth give for not wanting to be evangelical is anti-homosexual. That’s #1. 91% of Millennials define evangelical Christianity as bigoted on this issue, and 80% of church going Millennials. The issue for them is whether they want to be part of a church that in their mind is immoral on this issue. There are a bunch of other issues that millennials bring up which mostly go to the “meanness” issue. Correlation is not causation but the result of this negative casting has caused evangelical youth to drop from about 25% of the USA to 17% of the USA and falling.

  89. Katie –

    Awesome stream of comments! You go!

    ____

    Evangelicals will have a harder time because they have no trump card for biblical teaching that does not jibe with reality.

    There are ways to get around this that evangelicals have traditionally used. For example limited application. The bible never condemns homosexuality. It can’t the modern concept of a
    homosexual simply didn’t exist in biblical times. The closest word to homosexual katapugon and the bible never uses that term, which a translator interested in resolving the situation could take as evidence that this was perhaps not what Paul meant.

    Because there is a lot of semantic range in the terms Paul actually uses. For example in 1 Cor 6:9 μαλακοι ουτε αρσενοκοιται is the problematic phrase.

    αρσενοκοιται / arsenokoitai is the term the KJV translates as, “abusers of themselves with mankind”. Same term in 1Tim 1:10. Modern translations want to make sure the anti-gay stuff is well understood so they use homosexuals or “practicing homosexuals”. But the word has secondary meaning like extortionist or rapist.

    If that’s the case then μαλακοι / malakoi can be seen as “cowardly”. This is the term the KJV translates as effeminates. So if we use this secondary meaning, the phrase becomes “cowardly rapists” won’t inherit the kingdom of God; or cowardly extortionists and the whole thing becomes harmless. Or if you don’t want to do that the primary meaning of malakoi is not catamite but male prostitute which allows for a translation like “male prostitutes and their pimps”.

    Corinth at the time of Paul had a cross dressing community, these sorts of slang terms were applied to them. Another possibility is to assume Paul had specific application in mind, like the whole thing about braided hair… and was worried about that particular sect and the interpretation doesn’t go any further.

    If you push my back to the wall, I think it is more likely than not that Paul meant the passive and active participants in anal sex. On the other hand I would hope that most people need a lot more evidence than “more likely than not” to destroy millions of people’s lives and take the easy outs that Paul has left us.

  90. You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery…

    Hmmmm. What I read Christ as saying here is not so much about adultery at all, but a posture of the heart. Adultery itself is just a symptom, for a heart that would objectify another — to even “look with lust” — is the real culprit.

    I love my husband, and I am attracted to him, but we do not objectify or use one another in our marriage. Our union is one of love and a commitment to each other and to our family, and sexuality within our marriage is an expression of that. That’s what I mean by transcendence: in marital relationships we have a chance to transcend the mundane and build a life and unity that I imagine very much resembles the kind of union a believer seeks to have with God.

    I’m no longer convinced that heterosexuals are the only capable of experiencing this. I think the evidence shows that the contrary is true. So if they’re not acting out of base lust, as seemed to be your accusation, and if their hearts are pure and loving, I cannot for the life of me see what is sinful about it.

  91. Katie,

    What accusation? I think it was you who said “I think the “because we think God said so” is a really BAD definition of sin that when applied to its extreme leads to things like terrorist bombings and Holy Wars.”

    I don’t know any way to define sin than to defy God’s will, but that doesn’t make me the accuser that makes me the condemned. Christ came to save sinners. Placing my faith in Him doesn’t make me the judge of others, it makes me see people for what they are, the highest order of creation, endowed with souls, created in the image of God. How can you help but love when you believe that God breathed the breath of life into man? How can you help but love when you believe that the person and work of Jesus is sufficient to reconcile us to God giving those who rest upon him an everlasting inheritance. If God cares so much about sinners, how can we help but love sinners.

    If you think the countless admonitions about sexual immorality in the Bible are really just about a posture of the heart, I completely understand. It is a perfectly reasonable solution. I just don’t think it does justice to the text. Isn’t that the heart of Jared’s post, he knows the text is wrong?

  92. Gundek, this is what I was referring to: when you said, The same theology that tells me my homosexual family member or personal friends are made in the image of God and should be loved accordingly is also informed by the ethic where lustful intent is sinful.

    I’m asking why the assumption that homosexuality automatically means of lustful intent. And if you conclude that there is no lustful intent, at least in some cases, where is the sin?

    I’m not trying to be cute. I’m really asking. I’ve wrestled with this question for years now.

    Please note what I didn’t say: that sexual sin doesn’t exist or that homosexuals cannot commit sexual sin. Of course it does and of course they can. But yes: I genuinely believe that all sin can be boiled down to a heart issue.

    You really don’t?

  93. Katie — I would define sin as whatever separates us from God and/or keeps us from becoming like him. But since God is love, my definition isn’t all that much different than yours. And as far as applicability of that definition to the subject at hand, I’ll wait to see what Jack writes on it sometime.

    Jack said:

    More likely, evangelicals and Mormons will develop a softer attitude towards homosexuals while still insisting ultimately on homosexual relationships as a sin. They’ll become more accepting of legalizing gay marriage and more friendly towards gays, they’ll denounce acting on homosexuality rather than strict orientation, they’ll ordain openly gay but celibate individuals as clergy, and they’ll come to believe that being gay does not get one sent to hell, but they’ll stand their ground otherwise. And people will just accept that that’s what some Christians and Mormons teach and believe, and get over it.

    If the LGBT insists on more than that, then it is setting itself up for disappointment.

    I agree with your predictions.

    CD-Host said:

    If you were confronted with a group of people whom wished to deprive Mormons of the right to marry, to deny them social benefits like social security on the basis of their religion, who wanted them automatically excluded from adoption, who thought it appropriate to fire any Mormon teachers, who wanted Mormons excluded from military service wouldn’t you feel rather comfortable calling them anti-Mormon bigots. You cannot support the Evangelical political agenda and not be anti-gay.

    Please don’t suggest I support what you call the evangelical political agenda. I have never advocated for anti-gay legislation and am unlikely to vote for any candidates who do.

  94. Katie,

    If by heart you mean the core and foundation of a person’s spiritual, intellectual, and ethical activities, then sure.

    I understand your struggles, I simply don’t think the Bible presents any sexual relations outside of marriage as righteous.

  95. Eric said that Jack said:
    “More likely, evangelicals and Mormons will develop a softer attitude towards homosexuals while still insisting ultimately on homosexual relationships as a sin. They’ll become more accepting of legalizing gay marriage and more friendly towards gays, they’ll denounce acting on homosexuality rather than strict orientation, they’ll ordain openly gay but celibate individuals as clergy, and they’ll come to believe that being gay does not get one sent to hell, but they’ll stand their ground otherwise. And people will just accept that that’s what some Christians and Mormons teach and believe, and get over it.”

    This is a thoughtful projection into the future and seems very likely if we continue on our current course.

    Eric said, “I would define sin as whatever separates us from God and/or keeps us from becoming like him.”

    I like that. It explains why homosexuality is harmful. The more we become like God and Jesus, the more we experience his joy, peace and exhilaration.

  96. Gidgiddoni said:
    “Cal thank you for posting that Psalm but I want to tell you that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints . . . we believe that the Book of Mormon is the most true of all books and so I wish that you would post a scripture from the Book of Mormon, ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST.”

    If you can find me a verse in the Book of Mormon that’s similar to the Psalm I quoted, I’d be glad to quote it.

    You said, “We believe the Bible to Be the work of God as far as it is translated correctly. Translated correctly means the Joseph Smith Translation for the parts that joseph Smith TRANSLATED. I wish I could check to see if Joseph Smith translated that Psalm scripture but I can not because the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stole it and all we have are foot notes in the King James Version of the Bible.”

    Can’t you still buy a complete version of Joseph Smith’s translation? Furthermore, the same Holy Spirit that told you the Book of Mormon is inspired can also tell you if the modern versions of the Bible are inspired.

  97. Cal — The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is available through the Community of Christ (as far as I know, it’s not available through the LDS church). You can view it online here.

  98. Please don’t suggest I support what you call the evangelical political agenda. I have never advocated for anti-gay legislation and am unlikely to vote for any candidates who do.

    Glad to hear it. It is the evangelical political agenda, not the evangelical religious agenda that is creating most of the antagonism. For example 17% of the American population still disapproves of interracial dating, and 14% disapprove of interracial marriage but these people don’t get attacked because there are no miscegenation laws. The debate for the last few decades has happened in a slow changing hearts and minds sort of way not a broad heated political way.

    If the religious agenda were separate from the political agenda, this wouldn’t be a terrible divisive issue. If homosexuality was something preached on it would be seen as a matter of personal conscience and the biblical issues would be able to be discussed in an environment where the stakes were lower for everyone and people would be discussing it with those they had more in common with ideologically. Paths to win-win rather than win-lose would be open.

  99. Gundek:

    I simply don’t think the Bible presents any sexual relations outside of marriage as righteous.

    The question is whether the bible presents any definition of marriage other than a committed sexual pairing. In which case what the bible is condemning is violating the pairing (adultery) or engaging in uncommitted sexuality (fornication).

  100. CD

    I agree that the evangelical political agenda isn’t the evangelical religious agenda. Since we agree so regularly this will come as a shock.

  101. The LDS church took a big public relations hit so as to prevent homosexuals in California from being able to legally marry. But lets look at legislation in the state where they have the most influence just from this session bills were introduced:

    HB 182 would void family contracts (like wills) for homosexual families.
    HB 270 prevents publicly funded social programs from including gay families.

    In what possible universe can laws which mandate discrimination be seen as anything other than anti-gay?

    I promise you that Utah’s HB 182 and 270 would not void anyone’s will.

  102. Kullervo –

    I don’t follow your argument. Assume HB 182 made it through the Utah legislature.

    Mr A marries Ms. B and has C and D as children. A and B divorce.
    A gets into a homosexual relationship with E, and marries in Canada.

    A dies and his will leaves 80% of his estate to E. B, C and D contest the will as invalid and the state invalidates it. E can’t be next of kin in Utah because the courts under Utah law don’t recognize out of state gay marriage.

  103. HB 182 would not have had any application to wills. Wills are not contracts, and therefore a new statute under Chapter 8 (“Unenforceable Agreements”) of Utah’s Trade and Commerce Code–which is what HB 182 would have enacted–would not affect them (or any other noncontractual estate planning document). So right there your scenario goes off the rails.

    The problem of intestacy (i.e. dying without a will) for a married gay couple in states that do not allow gay marriage already exists because of DOMA.

  104. Watching the video, it does a good job of capturing a bit of the personal journeys of these young Mormons -their conflicted feeliings, their uncertainty about how to relate to their LDS faith. I certainly would feel the same way – especially with the centrality of marriage in the Mormon faith. Also, I think the insufficient view of the falleness of man in the Mormon faith would cause me huge problems – “the self-improvement plan just is not working for me – I’m still feeling, thinking, acting this way. How come it works for other people but not me?” Then you realize it’s not working for anybody. When you understand how desperately we each need a Savior, it makes it a lot easier to understand that my problems are just like everyone elses. From that position of peace with God, forgiveness, it allows me the room to grow and love others as He has loved us and gave His life for us.

  105. What can be done?

    Love and share the gospel grace. As the token Baptist, I agree with the Presbyterian, the Lutheran, and the Methodist. But the problem is our local newspaper likes highlighting the problems of Boy Scout policies, conservative politicians, and the LDS Church and their behind-the-times stances on homosexuality. There is no discussion on grace. Nada. From either liberals or conservatives. Turn the ugly war on its head. Why can’t we gossip about grace?

    Gundeck: “Now maybe belief in sin makes me some kind of fundamentalist, one step away from a terrorist.” Hey, that’s my line.

    CD: What got you googling “Berean Baptist”? I, too, should try surfing the internet for what pastors of the Berean Baptist label say about homosexuality. I am sure a whole fire of fodder.

  106. Two more things: 1. Not a fan of Dan Savage, the founder. So what should I do about him? Grace, eh? 2. Do any of these students represent BYU-Idaho?

  107. Kullervo –

    Good point. Score one for me falling for left wing fear mongering.

    Well, to be fair, I actually practice estate planning and probate law. So I had an advantage this time.

  108. But the problem is our local newspaper likes highlighting the problems of Boy Scout policies, conservative politicians, and the LDS Church and their behind-the-times stances on homosexuality. There is no discussion on grace. Nada. From either liberals or conservatives. Turn the ugly war on its head. Why can’t we gossip about grace?

    Start acting like you believe in grace then.

  109. What got you googling “Berean Baptist”? I, too, should try surfing the internet for what pastors of the Berean Baptist label say about homosexuality. I am sure a whole fire of fodder.

    Oh this was on MSNBC, the day before. It was just the most recent homophobic right wing thing I’d run into. This was in the context of discussing anti-homosexuality having a pastor advocate child abuse as a cure for gayness seemed like a good example.

    As far as no discussion of grace. Grace is a religious issue, Boy Scouts and Mitt Romney essentially endorsing sexual harassment are issues of public policy. Outside the religion section why would the newspaper discuss grace, what do they have to say about it?

  110. Previous question was to Kullervo.

    CD – I simply hope for more of it in the paper. The opinions page would be a good place, too. In MSNBC, did they mention where this church was located?

  111. Cal I have read your comment about the Joseph, Smith Translation of the King James VErsion of the Holy Bible: of the Latter-Day Saints and I know that the Reorganized Church of JEsus Christ of Latter Day Saints stole the Joseph Smith Translation so I can not buy it from the One, true and living church on the face of this latter-day earth in our times. AND A PROPHET OF GOD!

  112. Jared, I agree that we need to being doing a better job of expressing sympathy, compassion and encouragement to those dealing with same-sex attraction. For the most part the church (me included) has failed this community.

    A couple of thoughts on the general discussion:
    1) There is a difference between “same-sex attraction” and “acts of homosexuality”. The former doesn’t always lead to the latter and the latter is not always a result of the former. It is not a sin to have same-sex attraction. Nor is it a sin for a man to be effeminate or for a woman to be masculine.

    2) The debate over the causes of same-sex attraction being nature or nurture are hairy and inconclusive either way. I think the best we can say about it at this point is that we don’t know and that it’s probably a combination of both. Regardless of the cause we can certainly agree that there are a great many people who are not intentionally choosing to be attracted to the same-sex. It’s not a choice. People can however choose how they treat their own bodies and how they treat the bodies of others.

    Individuals dealing with depression are not sinful because they are depressed but they can sin in their depression. I believe the same is true of same-sex attraction.

    3) Only 90% of the general population will ever get married. The best numbers I’ve seen on the gay population puts it at 1.5 – 3%. That means that 7 – 8.5% of the heterosexual Christian community are being called to the same exact thing as the homosexual Christian community, a life of celibacy. I agree that this is difficult thing to call individuals to. I didn’t get married until I was almost 31 and I remained celibate. Having the hope of eventually getting married, no doubt, made that journey much easier. I know of several older, single Christians who have not found someone they are attracted to. The lack of physical and emotional relationship is tough to carry. As David pointed out, it’s not something Jesus himself lived without.

    I’m glad Hermes pointed out that intimacy does not require sex. Who knows how many married couples live without sex.

    4) Katie, I agree. It’s not wrong by fiat, simply because God said so. To understand why it’s wrong I think we have to start at the beginning and look at the reasons sex was created. Men and women were made for each other. It’s always kind of amusing when someone says that homosexuality is solely biological, because they are ignoring the most obvious indicator of gender imaginable. The shape and form of our genitals indicate who we were created to mate with.

    Marriage is not just about physical and emotional intimacy. Nor is it just about creating families. As a man, I have a ill-formed opinion about what it means to be human. I’m missing out on 50% of the experience. My wife helps me see what it means to be fully human by introducing me to the female perspective.

    Sex is not just about orgasms. When we reduce sex to who can make us orgasm we cheapen it and make it quite selfish.

    I highly recommend this article by Robert George (and others). He offers a robust and sophisticated definition of marriage and explains why sex can truly only happen between a man and a woman.

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/marriage/mf0139.htm

  113. I think the Christian response has to start with the question of “how did God create man to flourish?” The second question is “what happened that prevents it?” The third question is “Do we lead people back to the ideal or do we abandon it?”

  114. I’m glad Hermes pointed out that intimacy does not require sex. Who knows how many married couples live without sex.

    Sex is not just about orgasms. When we reduce sex to who can make us orgasm we cheapen it and make it quite selfish.

    The lack of physical and emotional relationship is tough to carry.

    I fully agree with these statements. Sex is a path to intimacy, not intimacy itself. Tolerance toward alternative forms of intimacy is, perhaps, what Christians should (and can) be open to.

    Sex is a strange thing in that it encompasses the worst and best of human experience. Its a fire that can warm or scorch those that it touches. There is no responsible ethics that ignores sexual relationships or leaves them unregulated.

  115. I think the Christian response has to start with the question of “how did God create man to flourish?” The second question is “what happened that prevents it?” The third question is “Do we lead people back to the ideal or do we abandon it?”

    I disagree. To me the Christian response starts with interpersonal relationships. Jesus’ sermons were not focused on how his followers should do to make people flourish, but on how they should view themselves and others around them, and on purifying the inner vessel so we can love the sinner, not cleansing society of the sin. In Jesus’ time, his followers had a very real and obvious disrupter of the ideal, the Romans. Jesus was not about leading them out of the Roman domination, but about learning how to love even the Romans.

    Even if you believe that marital homosexuality is a sin, to me, the Christian question about homosexuals is not, how do we fix these enemies of my ideal, but how do I love them.

  116. I think Jesus was out to cleanse individuals of sin. To ask “how do I love someone” begs the question “how do I help them be clean of sin.” For the homosexual (and every individual) the question, “how do I flourish as a part of the Kingdom of God” will be met with a response from Jesus along the lines of “I don’t judge you, now sin no more.”

    I can’t tell a homosexual with no interest in Jesus to stop sinning, but anyone I’m discipling will be encouraged to repent of all sin.

  117. To start that off I was curious what you thought the LDS church offered gays in this life. Apparently you think what it offers gays isn’t so good. I agree.

    Let me clarify David, I think LDS teaching actually has a stronger road block against homosexuality as an accepted practice than Traditional Christianity via the centrality of marriage as saving ordinance. You can get around it (and a lot has been gotten around in Mormon history), but the contemp. emphasis on the traditional nuclear family is a pretty big hurdle. For Evangelicals, I see their pro-traditional family values as much more a product of an American ethic than coming from the Bible. That is, the Bible is a pretty good representation of how marriage and sex has evolved and changed through a few different cultural contexts and time periods. In fact, I don’t think you can read the Bible as a commentary on Western marriage of the last few hundred years, without a heavy dose of cultural context and interpretation. Paul would certainly not recognize it.

    So, when I challenge Protestant reasoning against homosexual behavior, its because I think it has the most potential to redefine the way in which we understand SSA. After all, by Tim’s definition of who a Christian is (and who is saved), openly gay Trinitarians are firmly in the fold. Why would I go through the pain of being alone/without companionship the rest of my life, when I can just join the Episcopalians?

  118. I think you’re stretching my definition. . . and I think you know it. You’re taking my definition of theological agreement and twisting it into my definition of “true disciple”.

  119. It seems to me that there is no single, unitary way of living that is good for mankind (speaking generally). If Jesus came to preach such a way of living, then I don’t believe Him (any more than I would believe Him if he preached one true diet or one true workout regimen or one true profession: we cannot all be vegans, Olympic wrestlers, or lawyers; we need different things to survive and thrive). In physical terms, we all share a genome, but our genotypes (what we get from our particular parents) are different, and even when these are similar (or virtually identical), their phenotypical manifestations can differentiate widely when different epigenetic switches are flipped (by environmental factors, including certain factors that begin influencing embryos in the womb: some scientists find the physical causes of homosexuality among these latter).

    A concrete example. I look a lot like my sister. I move like her. I think like her. I talk like her sometimes. But, for whatever reason, she has Celiac disease and I don’t. She experiences marked physical decay whenever she eats food with gluten in it. I don’t. What is the one true diet for our family? Is it one with gluten or without it? This is a silly question: the one true diet for my sister lacks gluten; my one true diet doesn’t (necessarily: if I leave it out, it is because I want to, not because I will die otherwise). Like diet, sin is not really coherent as a generic, ahistorical thing. It exists only in certain contexts, for certain people — and it is different for people in other contexts. In the case of people like my sister, failure to thrive physically as a child frequently brings a lot of “good” advice from well-meaning outsiders (grandparents, doctors, teachers, busybodies at the gym or in the neighborhood), who project their own dietary experience as some of kind of blueprint for all mankind. “I thrive on moderate doses of wheat and rye bread, so easy to digest, and you will too!” the outsiders proclaim. Some of them are telling the truth. They don’t have Celiac disease. When I read the New Testament looking for the words of Jesus, what strikes me as most important is the command, “Judge not” and the other bit about our inability to remove others’ motes because of our own beams. The only Jesus I care to listen to is the one who told us to mind our own business instead of butting in where we cannot help: live and let live.

    The Jesus I care about doesn’t have a stance on homosexuality. He doesn’t give people blanket prescriptions for “the one true way to be happy” because he is savvy enough to see that such prescriptions are bunk.

  120. Tim, thanks for clarifying. I was not trying to misrepresent your view. I’m still getting a handle of it. However, is it true that practicing gay Episcopalians are still Christians, just like the folks over at the TBN? I’m seriously trying to understand this – Can someone be a Christian, but not a true disciple in your view? That sound more like the Mormon position to me.

  121. When I speak about whether or not the LDS church is “Christian” I’m answering the question “does Mormonism fit within the historic theological definition.” I’m asking “what does the institution teach?”, not “where do the individuals stand before God on judgment day?”

    When I talk about whether or not an obese-gay-Episcopal-bishop-in-a-SSM-who-is-addicted-to-cocaine-and-gossips-about-his-mother-who-is-dying-due-to-his-neglect is “Christian” or a “true disciple” I’m making a judgment about his individual practice of faith. Can we go on sinning? Certainly not. If his church denies that Jesus had a physical resurrection I’m denying his church’s position within Christianity as much as I’m denying it to the LDS church.

  122. Tim, the Mormon question may be different to you – I can concede that and defer to another day.

    I’m bringing up your previous post – Corrupt but Christian, because it was a very good in helping me understand the importance of the Trinity as a Christian qualifier. I felt like I understood yours and many other EVs position after that post. But, now I’m confused again. Can you not say about openly gay Christians (as you said about the TBN)?:

    And yet, I would say that they are indeed Christians. They get it right when it comes to the most important things about the Christian faith. The authentic discipleship they offer is shallow at best and rancid at worst, but they make the cut. If I were given the responsibility to ultimately judge the leadership, I’d see them in eternity but they would have the smell of sulfur on them for quite sometime.

    In this statement you say they are “Christian” and that you would see them in eternity. Your separation of the two is throwing me off. You also don’t insist the they stop sinning, (as you do the gays).

    I’m seriously not trying to be cute or catch you in a contradiction. I just want to understand.

  123. It seems to me that he is saying that they are Christians, but poor disciples (e.g., “the authentic discipleship they offer is shallow at best and rancid at worst.”) So, it seems there is a difference between Christianity and discipleship.

  124. That would make sense Andrew. But its also suggested that even the poor disciple will be approved at judgement.

  125. I am just speaking for myself, Christian and Andrew. But I don’t know how one can separate faith from practice, Christianity from discipleship. etc. I struggle with Tim’s “Corrupt but Christian” post.

    Yesterday, our local newspaper wrote a description of Emmaus Lutheran Community in Idaho Falls and their having a “Reconciled in Christ” service. Representatives from the Lutheran Concerned/North America now recognize this local congregation as reconciled in Christ because of their announcing to the Idaho Falls community their openness to those of all sexual orientation.

    But the Bible would indicate that Christianity is more than just acceptance of orthodox creeds and a community display of ecumenical love. For instance, look at what John writes to the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 21:8).

  126. I am assuming that, to Evangelicals, Trinitarian denominations that accept openly gay clergy (e.g. Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland ) would fall within the rubric of “Christian” but individual openly-gay members may not be considered true disciples due to their failure to repent of homosexuality. But I could be wrong.

  127. Jared, it depends on who you talk to. And you know me. Placing it in our home turf, I cannot reconcile the direction of the Evanglical Lutheran Church of America with Christianity. The minister and congregation of the First Lutheran Church in our community voted two years ago to remove themselves from the ELCA. I had lunch with this minister a couple weeks ago. He is a pariah to some within the rubric of “Christian” hierarchy. But I applaud him and count him as a genuine brother in Christ.

  128. Jared, from my perspective, I could not be accepting in Christian fellowship an ELCA gay minister in Idaho Falls.

  129. Tim, I’m a big fan of consistency.

    Todd, I’m wondering if the issue of homosexuality is a place where Evangelicals concede that, yes, right behavior really does matter to God. That repentance is a vital part of discipleship – even after Jesus has accepted you. That EV/Mormon views are much more a matter of order of operations (grace then works or works then grace).

  130. Tim, I’m a big fan of consistency.

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

  131. Kullervo, quote cite for those of us too lazy to run a Google search! Good quote though – it’s partially why the accusation of flip-flopping leveled at politicians always seemed stupid to me (and I did not just barely discover this notion with Romney – it was during Kerry’s campaign, actually). Don’t you want them to “flip flop?” Isn’t that called: representing your constitutency?

  132. My main problem with gay marriage is not so much the idea of love being reduced to orgasms (I think that’s a problem both hetero, and homo-sexuals fall prey to these days). Rather it’s the assumption that the defining core of the concept of marriage can be reduced to romance.

    I reject the idea that marriage = romance. Sure, romance is a big part of it, but I don’t see it as the most important component. But all pro gay marriage rhetoric I’ve heard makes the assumption that romance and marriage are the same thing – and if you have a certain brand of romance, you have no reason NOT to have a “marriage.”

    But this ignores that marriage has always been primarily a social contract designed for continuing the human race, and raising children in the social form most likely to produce them and raise them. That is the contract of marriage. Whether you allow childless heterosexual couples to participate, or not, that does not change the basic purpose of the social form. Government has an interest in promoting marriage only insofar as it provides a stable unit of social growth for the broadest segment of society possible.

    Which is why I see gay marriage as unecessary. The government has only very limited interest in promoting your or my love lives. We can do that largely on our own time and our own dime – asking the government only to promote laws to protect human relations and contracts of trust as generally beneficial (for which you don’t need marriage at all). But if you’re asking for “marriage” – it’s got to be solidly grounded in the continuation of society. And that means children. And however gays may talk of adoption – that is not even remotely as effective and likely a route to parenthood and family as heterosexual marriage.

    This argument has nothing to do with the Bible – which is largely indifferent in its teachings to the notion of family (except in some roundabout ways). It also has nothing to do with whether you are approving or disapproving of gay sex. It’s merely about keeping the social unit of family where it belongs, and avoiding further encouraging the removal of marriage from family – a trend that has been continuous in our society over the last 40 years – with disastrous social consequences.

    Marriage is not primarily about romance. Once you view it that way, a great deal fo the gay marriage argument loses its relevance and potency. And the talk of marriage as a solution to the civil rights problem of homosexuality becomes more and more obviously misguided.

  133. On consistency- I think Evangelicalism, unlike Mormonism, is locked in the straight-jacket of consistency. Based on their doctrine of infallibility, you can’t mess with scriptural prohibitions. On consistency grounds I can definitely relate to Evangelicals who see acceptance of homosexuality among Christian denominations to be a cop-out and an impermissible watering down of scripture. However, the treatment of homosexuals, especially given what we know about the phenomena, in my opinion represents an internal inconsistency in scripture.

    Ironically,from a Mormon perspective, I think the problem underscored by the video- i.e. the gay faithful, underscores the need for modern revelation. There may not be a satisfactory resolution of the issue without something like it.

  134. Kullervo, quote cite for those of us too lazy to run a Google search!

    Please. I expect my audience to know Emerson when they hear it.

  135. But this ignores that marriage has always been primarily a social contract designed for continuing the human race, and raising children in the social form most likely to produce them and raise them.

    This is absolutely not true. In our legal and cultural heritage, marriage has always been primarily a legal contract designed to facilitate property rights.

  136. Its a good bet that Emerson was not referring to a coherent and well thought out theology as the “the hobgoblin of little minds”.

    Jared C, I agree that Evangelicals attempt to hold themselves to a higher standared of consistency, and have made Mormonisms lack of it a major topic of scrutiny. I’m realizing now why Kullervo holds such a clear Mormon bias.

  137. Its a good bet that Emerson was not referring to a coherent and well thought out theology as the “the hobgoblin of little minds”.

    I’ll take that bet. Read more Emerson and save your money.

  138. I loved this line:

    “obese-gay-Episcopal-bishop-in-a-SSM-who-is-addicted-to-cocaine-and-gossips-about-his-mother-who-is-dying-due-to-his-neglect”

    I would add that a bishop such as this – who truly comes under the blood of Jesus, reads his Savior’s words and has faith will be exactly that person and be saved. But as he studies God’s word he will begin to question his SSM, begin to do small things for his mother, and think that perhaps he should treat his body better and exercise some – without trying to be a homoerotic muscle stud. Perhaps he will leave aside SSM after it fails, and get in a drug and sex addiction program. Maybe in 5 to 10 years he’ll be a different person in some ways. Or he could continue to refuse to see his sin or need of a Savior. Only God knows whether he is truly his child – we can offer hope and correction, pointing him to the forgiving Savior. It’s the same message we all need to hear.

  139. Jared,

    Is it your contention that Christianity must accommodate any “naturally occurring” sexual attraction that falls outside of committed heterosexual monogamy?

  140. No, the accommodation I would expect is for intimacy comparable to the need for and quality of heterosexual marriage. I recognize that, considering the Bible and traditional interpretations, accommodation is a tall order for Evangelicals, however, I think a deep tolerance is squarely in line with the teachings of Jesus.

    Evangelicals will/should fight for religious liberty to practice wholesome religion, I think it is equally clear that they should fight for this form of marital liberty. Going the extra mile with those who impose on you and your lifestyle is par for the course for a Christian.

  141. I am really just asking that Mormons and Evangelicals act on the golden rule, rather than prejudice against homosexual relationships. In practice, Mormons and Evangelicals tolerate versions of traditional marriage that are far more spiritually damaging than loving gay marriages. Its a form of legalism in care and concern that both Mormons and Evangelicals routinely practice. If you have the right credentials, you can be a part of the group without being publically condemned, even if you are complete jerk in private. Why not extend the same courtesy to those who may not practice the same sort of sex in private. To me, the very marked difference in treatment of similar circumstances underscores the pride and prejudice that is not in line with the sermon on the mount.

    A homosexual to a Mormon or Evangelical is pretty comparable to a Samaritan in Jesus’ time.

    As experienced by the kids in the video. Mormons focus their tolerance on those in the mainstream sinners, not the sexual Samaritans amongst us. I doubt the kid that wants to, and occasionally does, go too far with his girlfriend feels like these kids do. The irony is that Evangelicals routinely criticize Mormons for legalism that is pretty much the same as legalistic stance of many Evangelicals regarding how homosexuals should be publicly and politically treated.

  142. I’m a little confused. Was your post about what kind of sexuality Evangelicals and Mormons should tolerate within their traditions of faith or was it about tolerance for same-sex marriage in secular society?

  143. The post is about how Mormons and Evangelicals will have to react and change as the truth about same-sex attraction as a human condition becomes more apparent. I think its a complex issue that involves both how believers treat and view those inside their ranks, as well as gays outside their ranks. The problem the video underscored for me is how intolerance in secular society to gay rights leads to unwarranted pain inside the ranks. The way Mormons treat gays outside their ranks is a big problem for gay believers. As Mormons begin to see this big problem it will call for change, both in how Mormons treat gays outside the Church and Inside the church. Evangelicals face challenges as well, but slightly different than Mormons.

    I mentioned that I would attempt to de-convert my gay child from Mormonism or Evangelicalism if they were gay because I don’t think either faith offers a true Christian response.

    My personal judgment aside, the challenge faced by Mormons and Evangelicals is undeniable. This challenge and how it should be faced is what the post is about.

  144. Jared,
    If you would actively seek to de-convert someone, I would argue that you’re already de-converted? If this issue is make-or-break, it seems it’s already time to discard your convictions. What am I missing?
    I believe Christianity has a compassionate stance of forgiveness yet conviction that sin is real – that can bring people hope no matter what our condition. Jesus death for sinners is the same message we all need to hear.

  145. Jared said:

    I am really just asking that Mormons and Evangelicals act on the golden rule, rather than prejudice against homosexual relationships.

    Let’s just say for the sake of argument that homosexual behavior is not what God wants for his children. If we accept that as a given, are we really following the Golden Rule to grant homosexual relations the same status as appropriate heterosexual ones? Using the word “prejudice” here is begging the question.

    I fully acknowledge that we (and in this post I’ll lump faithful Mormons and evangelicals and Catholics, for that matter, into the “we”) have not given gays a “true Christian response,” to use your words. What you seem to be saying is that a “true Christian response” means to ignore what we believe our faith teaches us regarding the morality of sexual relationships outside male-female marriage. But it may be that the “true Christian response” doesn’t involve that at all, but instead, well, following the Golden Rule.

    Does that include denying gays jobs? Of course not. (It should be noted that the LDS church, with little fanfare, gave its support to an anti-discrimination ordinance in Salt Lake with regard to employment and housing, and now about a dozen Utah jurisdictions with majority membership have similar ordinances.) Does it mean we treat homosexual behavior as a sin second only to murder? Of course not. (Contrary to popular belief, such is not taught in the Book of Mormon.) Does it mean we don’t let gays come to church or family gatherings? Of course not.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers of what that does include. But a good place to begin can be found in President Uchtdorf’s last General Conference talk:

    We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

    We must recognize that we are all imperfect — that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy — to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

    Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves?

  146. If you would actively seek to de-convert someone, I would argue that you’re already de-converted? If this issue is make-or-break, it seems it’s already time to discard your convictions. What am I missing?

    You are mistaken. It simply means that Mormonism and Evangelicalism, on this point, at this point in time, don’t seem to match my convictions as taught by Jesus, I would not want my child subject to the un-christian sentiment that they would face in those churches. There is all kinds of good teaching in both faiths, but there is an imbalance on this point and I would not want my child to bear the load of that imbalance.

  147. The post is about how Mormons and Evangelicals will have to react and change as the truth about same-sex attraction as a human condition becomes more apparent.

    I think this might be something that you want to reconsider, the idea that we enlightened moderns are in a better position to make judgments about homosexuality than were those who lived in the 1st century CE. It’s a bit historically myopic and N.T. Wright calls it “Enlightenment arrogance.” He (Wright) gives his reasons as to why he thinks this is the case in this YouTube video. The whole thing is great, but if you just want the part I cited above, go to the 5:30 mark.

  148. What you seem to be saying is that a “true Christian response” means to ignore what we believe our faith teaches us regarding the morality of sexual relationships outside male-female marriage.

    I am saying that what we believe about same-sex relationships will change as we experience them more in society. What we believe about homosexuality will change as we understand its realities, which have been suppressed or ignored.

    In my mind, regardless of the moral question, the measure of a “true Christian response” is the degree we resist the evil we see in gay people and the relationships that they choose.

  149. I think you are right that what we understand about homosexuality has been suppressed, ignored (or remains unknown). That doesn’t change the core conviction of the faith that men and women were designed for one another and Jesus came to provide a path back to the garden.

    This isn’t something new for the church,Christianity experienced its birth in a culture that accepted and condoned homosexuality far more than our current culture.

    I’m curious, would you say your rejection of Christianity on this point stems from your disagreement that men and women were designed for one another or your disagreement that all of creation is in some form fallen?

  150. . . . the idea that we enlightened moderns are in a better position to make judgments about homosexuality than were those who lived in the 1st century CE.

    David, it’s a good point. I think it is wrong to reject scripture outright because it is old. There is plenty of wisdom that has been glossed or forgotten in modern society because of arrogance. I, being quite arrogant, have seen it in my own life. Humility is required.

    But perhaps, in my arrogance, I have come across as a person who discounts scripture entirely.

    I think that at least some who lived in 1st Century CE are far more enlightened than most all of us are now. I don’t think scripture is a homophobic text. I don’t think Jesus would have anything to fear from homosexuality, gay marriage, or anything like it. I do think that Jesus’ teachings are deeper and more challenging than Paul’s (or anybody else in scripture than I can think of), and to equate the importance of the two would be a mistake. It would also be a mistake to discount real progress that has been made. The massive secular/political/social influence that Christianity has been under in the past 2000 years leads me to believe that Christians still have some things to work out. And there have been massive advances in social justice that are informed by and should inform how people practice Christianity. I would venture to guess that most everybody would want their gay child to grow up in godless Scandinavia rather than god-fearing Saudi Arabia.

  151. I’m curious, would you say your rejection of Christianity on this point stems from your disagreement that men and women were designed for one another or your disagreement that all of creation is in some form fallen?

    I don’t reject Christianity on this point at all, I think that to some degree Mormons and Evangelicals have. (that is the point)

    Its pretty obvious that men and women are physically designed for each other sexually, at least within two standard deviations, and its clear that people are nothing like perfect and are gripped by base tendencies, desires, etc. However, I think that the lessons of nature are far less clear and less black and white than some seem to believe.

  152. So you reject the former not the latter?

    I get you think Christianity is wrong about its own scripture. But talk to me about the Christian understanding of creation and the fall. This conversation starts with Genesis 1-3.

  153. If accepting homosexuality practice is too far for some Christians, I can respect that. But, can we stop pretending that Christianity has been unchanged by time and place for the last 2000+ years? Christians don’t have to wrestle with the decision to change their views on SS practice – its already happened. Who am I to disagree with Tom Wright, but Enlightenment principles helped shape the free and pluralistic society we live in today – which changed Christianity forever. Trying to separate the two is impossible for us now – IMO.

  154. But talk to me about the Christian understanding of creation and the fall.

    There is a lot that can be said about the Creation and the fall. . . what precisely are you asking about? Frankly, I don’t know that I have fully come to terms with the complexity that science and cosmology has brought to the understanding of these passages.

  155. I bring it up because this conversation isn’t just about isolating individual verses here and there and seeing if you can extract them out of the Christian sexual ethic. This goes all the way back to the Christian narrative of the fall.

  156. Tim — And that broad Christian sexual ethic is something that neither evangelicalism nor Mormonism have done a good job of teaching (I think Catholics have tried, but, at least at the popular level, the discussion gets hung up on contraception). At least since I’ve been around, the focus often has been on the dos and don’ts of sexuality; I don’t know what evangelical youth Sunday school classes are like these days, but in the LDS world all the kids hear about is the dos and don’ts and very little about the whys. Collectively, we often haven’t done much more than give lip service to the idea that marriage is an institution created by God.

  157. I agree, I think the legalism regarding homosexuality and separating it as a much worse sin than nearly all others contributes to the ostracism felt by kids like these kids.

    I think, at root, the problem is not a civil disagreement about the nature and purpose of human life, but rooting out and preaching against the theory that people should dislike homosexuals and homosexuality more than other sin and homosexuals should hate themselves more than others should.

    I think its reasonable for Christians to disagree about whether a condemnation of homosexual behavior as sin can be justified by natural law theory or an understanding of the fall or even other . But I think they should agree on how homosexuals (practicing and not) should be treated by individuals and institutions.

  158. I read that article a few days ago and found it fascinating. It should be noted that he doesn’t claim in the list that the approach he has taken will work for everyone, and he’s not even really recommending it. But it seems to have worked well for him and his family.

    I found much wisdom in that article, and not just on issues relating to homosexuality.

  159. I agree very strongly with Weed’s take on sex. The best/most important sex, in my experience, has very little to do with gratifying desires. No matter how you are wired, its unreasonable to think that your spouse is going to satisfy all of your desires all of the time. I may NEVER be sexually attracted to an 80 year old woman, but I hope to maintain an intimate relationship regardless of whether or not I am sexually attracted.

    I think Weed’s fulfilled life is possible because of the acceptance, love and lack of judgment of his wife and family. I suppose what Evangelicals and Mormons have to “fear” is a institutional failure to respond to Weed’s same-sex attraction in the Christian way that Weed’s family and wife responded.

  160. Jared,
    Thank you for posting the link to Weed’s blog – it was very refreshing and encouraging. Weed’s courage to be authentic in his life demontrates that he has found a path that truly works in his relationships and life journey – a path that many people not confronted with the difficult choices he has had to make could learn a lot from. True, Weed may have just “come out” on his blog, but it seems to me he has been authentic and real with many people in his life for a long time – from the start so to speak. If only every one of us could be that real with the people in our lives about the pain, sin, hurts, and things that drive us. Weed laid out the rational choices in life he had to make and his decisions make a lot of sense.

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