Comments about ‘In our opinion: A call for civility following Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packerís address’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 10 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Tucson, AZ

Well said. It's nice to see at least one media outlet invite people to better educate themselves by reading the actual source rather than some of the ridiculous articles that have been written about Boyd K. Packer's talk.

Colfax, CA

I truly support the 1st Presidency and the Twelve and sustain them as Prophets Seers and Revelators

Seek to understand
Sandy, UT

I am a temple-attending LDS member. I believe the problem was not in what was said, but in the "message" that was felt.

Being a thoughtful and compassionate person, I have long pondered the challenge of homosexuality. It is clear that homosexuality is not something that people choose - and it is clear that it is a permanent condition for most. It also appears to be increasing in frequency.

It seemed to me that over the past several years, the church was beginning to acknowledge these truths, and that was comforting because I am confident once we accept truth, we will see that the next step is prayerful seeking to learn what is the right way to address the challenge so that our beautiful, cherished sons and daughters of God who are homosexual can live lives of fulfillment and peace among us, and not be cast out, which is clearly contrary to the first and second great commandments.

I believe that when we collectively, with our leaders, pray earnestly for revelation regarding how to view this telestial condition, and how to accept it as a telestial condition, the Lord will direct us and it will be lovingly resolved.

my slc
Newport Beach, CA

Whew! What a week it has been!

I applaud the LDS Church for its “condemnation of hate and violence toward gays and lesbians, its mutual support of anti-discrimination laws for gays and lesbians and its compassionate ministry to LDS Church members who have same-gender attraction.”

And I agree that there is no room for hatred or mistreatment of anyone.

I also agree that the matter of whether marriage should be either only between a man and woman, or also one which includes same sex couples that there may simply not be room for agreement.

I question which version of President Packer’s talk we should read? The first spoken / printed or the revised one with the word changes and omission of a sentence?

I will continue to fight for my rights and for others to be married to the person they love. I believe this is a civil and equal rights rather than a religious one. I also believe the US Supreme Court will agree.

Silence Dogood
Caliente, NV

Unfortunately, those that want to push their political agenda will probably not read the talk, or will find additional ways to vilify it. It makes me wonder...who are the haters?


I listened to Pres. Packer's talk as it was being given, and I was very disappointed. Disappointed because I didn't think it necessary to bring the issue up in Conference--the Church has been very clear on their position. The Prop 8 campaign created much strife not just for gay people and their families but for LDS members like me who expected a more loving and "accurate" campaign. My impression of Pres. Packer's message was that he suggested homosexuality is not a inborn characteristic and that it could be "overcome."

It seems to me that Church leaders don't really understand/appreciate the damage done by the Prop 8 campaign. Rather than just Marlin Jensen attending the meeting in Oakland perhaps others (higher up) should've attended too. It's hard to move forward when there has been no acknowledgement on the part of the Church that there were mistakes made during the Prop 8 campaign. Churches should be held to a high standard--promoting truth and conveying love.

Time to listen, listen, listen.

Robert from St. George
St. George, Utah

Yes, the LDS Church has said on many occasions to the media that they deplore hatred and violence towards members of the gay community. There is no denying that a lot of words have been said by these leaders as the world continues to focus on the Church and its attitudes towards Gay People.

However, it is very disappointing to read that the Church continues to think it reaches out in actions to members of their church saying they cannot reject them because they are sons and daughters of God. That unfortunately is so far from the truth. I know from my own experience that the Church, out in the trenches, has totally rejected me, and thousands of other gay members, and wants nothing to do with me. Its so easy to talk about the sin and what the commandments are but it seems more like they just want to ignore us and hope we will leave and not be a burden to them. Its so hard for members of this "family" church to worry about their single gay members. Its very hurtful to read their words only knowing their actions are so different.

Ryan H
Roy, UT

I agree with the call for civility in general, and do feel the level of demonstration by LGBT community members may have been somewhat overdone. However, I am left choking on the general hypocrisy of this editorial. The LDS church has failed on many counts to follow the very advice given: "For the sake of our youths and the health of our communities, we call for thoughtful and civil dialogue on this and all difficult conversations. That dialogue should respect context, should not prejudge motive and must work to include instead of isolate." President Packer's talk was a perpetuation of the very ideas, false assumptions, and erroneous reasoning that harms our youths communities. I have read talk after talk by apostles over the past decades through the present that did not respect context, prejudged motives, and only worked to isolate.

Finally, as I am only allowed so many words here, do not just read President Packer's talk. There have been subtle and significant changes in post editing. Watch the original talk as it was aired Sunday morning before deciding whether or not President Packer's words are being treated "out of context."

Logan, UT

" Religion provides a unique perspective on how these challenges can be addressed that has every right to be heard and evaluated on the merits."

Their merits? How's this Dnews: Packer/the LDS Church's stance that those with same gender orientation can and should change HAS NO merit. Every major medical, scientific, and psychological organization has resoundingly denounced the idea that people can or should change their orientation.

Science tells us that the world is round, not flat. Science tells us that the earth revolves around the sun, not the sun around the earth. If a man were to tell us the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it we would rightly be incredulous if he told us he was getting his information from the almighty.

Similarly, when the message of the LDS church runs contrary to the scientific/medical/and psychological evidence as well as the personal experience of millions of people, it is hard to be taken seriously, and it angers many when that faulty ideal is sought to be codified into secular law.

Sydney, NSW

God bless President Packer, Apostle of the Lord.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Beautifully written.

There is no room for hatred on either side of the issue.

Civility and love of God's children are what we should be promoting no matter what group, organization, or religion we belong to.

Oahu, HI

President Packer was on the Money. Outstanding Talk.

Far more Heterosexuals have committed Suicide over Sexual concerns then people with same gender attraction ever will.

People with Same Gender Attraction are about 10-12 percent of the population.

Most Smart people with same Sex Attraction are just like Heterosexuals they keep their Sexuality to themselves. Lead there daily life and just do what they have to or need to do.

The Radicals on both sides are the ones with the Problem.

People who are slightly or a lot different are often picked on by others. Sometimes to get attention away from their own faults.

The LDS Church does Not take an evil stand against those who have same sex attraction, never has, never will.

The Church does have a stand against so called Gay Marriage and so don't a lot of other faith groups, plus those who fall among the UnChurched.

Gay Marriage is an entirely different issue then the acceptance of Homosexual people.

In America you have the right to be who you are and live how you want to as long as its legal.

You have to work within the Rules, or change them.

Salt Lake City, UT

You encourage us to "read President Packer's talk". Which one? The one he actually gave or the toned-down revision?

The Deseret News didn't even cover the demonstration on Thursday night around temple square which numbered in the hundreds if not thousands. The Deseret News lacks any credibility.

Ethan Yorgason
Daegu, Korea

I admire the DN for urging civility. However, despite being a positive step, I don’t imagine this editorial will get us very far. Since civility requires understanding, let me point, without even stepping toward Prop. 8 territory, to a few things I’m guessing the LGBT community wants us Mormons to understand better.

1) Why Elder Packer’s talk provoked an outcry. Regardless of his 2010 intent, many people interpreted it in light of much institutional and individual history.

2) Words matter. “Struggle with same gender attraction” for LGBT ears is somewhat akin (I’m not saying equivalent) to what “hateful doctrine” is for Mormon ears.

3) Expressions of love and concern can easily seem patronizing.

4) Assuming the church is not still asking homosexual people to change to heterosexual, it is asking them to essentially become asexual. If we are comparing homosexuality to alcoholism, do we really understand the depth of this request?

5) Many rank-and-file Mormons have profound homophobia and feel our church condones those attitudes. Civility is our problem too.

I too hope for a more civil conversation with the LGBT community, but without understanding these viewpoints, we may not get it.

South Jordan, UT

Read Elder Packer's talk. But please realize that the talk you're reading on the church's website isn't the original talk. In his original talk, he implied (intentionally or not) that those with homosexual tendencies can change not just their behavior, but their tendencies. This is what the majority of the protesters are protesting. The church itself has no opinion on whether someone with homosexual tendencies--that tendency being an attraction to members of the same sex-- can change their tendencies, and has made statements to that effect before and after Elder Packer's talk (and now, the word "tendencies" has been eliminated from Elder Packer's talk altogether).

The protesters need to realize that portions of Elder Packer's talk have been changed to minimize confusion and conform with church doctrine--as do all others who falsely believe that the church teaches that homosexual tendencies can be changed. Behavior can change, true, but the church has no opinion on whether homosexual tendencies--attraction to members of the same sex--can change.

Herndon, VA

I listened carefully to Elder Packer's address as it was given and saw in it nothing but hope! It was a wonderful, inspired address that truly laid out the doctrine upon which every person, regardless of personal challenge, could be transformed to wholeness and complete spiritual health.

So what was all the fuss about?

The hard reality is that there are those in the gay/lesbian communitity who are so convinced that they were "born gay and cannot change it," and are so hostile to any suggestion otherwise, that they will even militantly lash out at any institution or individual that teaches a different concept.

What a debate position! 'Anyone who disagrees with me is a hate-monger.'
You've now positioned out anyone with a different point of view.

But how do they explain the actual truth? I have a close friend who had strong gay inclinations in his youth who has not acted out those inclinations and raised a wonderful family, served as an LDS Bishop, and has made an outstanding contribution to his community.

It is a pretty weak position to take that one is born a certain way and cannot change it.

Payson, UT

great article and oh how much better this world would be by being honest in our communications and not trying to vilify anyone who might not agree with us. We live in a very immature society.

Salt Lake City, UT

In the rush to validate and accept homosexual activity, we should not forget the detrimental impact it has had on the Earth's civilizations. From Sodom and Gomorrah to the fall of the Roman Empire and beyond.

The British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin found in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called "expansive energy," which might best be summarized as society's will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.

Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued by the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.

When it comes to preserving our civilization, we must see the forest for the trees.

Saint Charles, MO

Thank you Deseret News for this very thoughtful and well organized article--meant to calm an increasingly angry world. Truth is truth. The challenges of our day are so terribly difficult. Peace is available to those who seek and abide in Truth.

Salt Lake City, UT

I would like to thank the author for his insight and voice my support for a move toward civility.

As a 47 yr old gay man, active in local political and social issues, I am both aware of and concerned about several issues that confront us socially right now. The increasing violence towards gay people and the rising incidence of suicide (six that I have researched in the past month alone) is disturbing and saddens me very much.

In any other context, the words of Mr. Packer's speech would not likely have incited such a reaction--he was simply stating what the church's position has always been. However, the prior week's headlines were also filled with the hate speech of the Phelps "church" now on trial in the US Supreme Court, and the gay community is fed up and restless.

Mr. Packer's words seemed not only insensitive in light of recent suicides, but in step with the current hate rhetoric from religious leaders across the country, which I think is probably unfair.

That said, I would simply ask the church to be sensitive to these issues/people or just avoid the subject entirely.

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