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Published: Saturday, Nov. 5 2011 11:17 p.m. MDT

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Kittycat
CRESTON, OH

It's so sad because ultimately there should not be a struggle. People are born gay, straight, or bi. People don't wake up and choose to be a certain orientation one day. GLBT folks have so much to give to all churches (not just Mormon). I look forward to the day when we have worked through this issue and all people will be welcomed for the gifts they bring.

I suggest readers check out the story of Ray Boltz, an evangelical Christian who came out as gay after years and years of struggle. His story is a powerful one.

als Atheist
Provo, UT

This debate may very well force a deep examination of the basis for our beliefs regarding marriage itself.

LDS Doctrine and history, taken together, suggest that there are many different ways to fulfill God's commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth".

Polygamy (and polyandry) was one way the early LDS Church used to fulfill that commandment in 19th century America.

Prior to that, ancient followers of God used concubinage, plural wives, and even justified rape (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) to fulfill the "multiply" commandment.

Other societies (arguably, including ancient Hebrew societies) have allowed homosexual relations among men (e.g., Greek warriors) simultaneously with marriage and reproduction with a female spouse. Presumably, this would be justified by the argument that "multiply and replenish" may require heterosexual relations, but does not necessarily exclude homosexual relations.

So, perhaps we will yet see alternative forms of relationships legitimized and recognized in our Western societies.

sharrona
layton, UT

als Atheist ,Other societies (arguably, including ancient Hebrew societies) have allowed homosexual relations among men (e.g., Greek warriors) simultaneously with marriage and reproduction with a female spouse. Presumably, this would be justified by the argument that "multiply and replenish" may require heterosexual relations, but does not necessarily exclude homosexual relations. The Bible does:
(1Cor 6:9 NKJV ) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,] nor sodomites
(Jude 1:7), Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after unnatural lust, are set forth for an example

DSB
Cedar Hills, UT

@Christy - do you not believe there are many, many heterosexual people, including LDS people, who struggle to live a monogamous life? Do you not believe there are many, many people, including LDS people, who have an attraction to children, or who are nearly uncontrollably drawn to pornography? For all you know, JSB's "strong heterosexual desires" are not confined to relations with his wife, and he may have a tremendous constant struggle to keep his desires in check and remain faithful to his wife and covenants.

Why do you believe that GLBTQ people, particularly those who believe LDS doctrine and have made covenants to keep commandments, should get a pass on living within the mandated, divinely-appointed parameters of sexual activity with a spouse of the opposite sex, within the bounds of legal marriage, while others with prohibited sexual inclinations must stifle their possibly genetically driven desires?

Mc
West Jordan, UT

The Mormon Stories group and Mormon Matters started by John Dehlin are made up of members or former member of the LDS Church who want the Church to change basic doctrines to fit their ideas and feelings. They feel if they unite and get enough people with them they can get the leaders of the Church to listen to them and change.

Their website and blogs are filled with anti-Mormon arguments about Church history and critical of Church leaders. They claim to love the Church and desire to stay in it, but they want to change it. I checked all this out when our son told us that he no longer believed in the Church after going to these websites. I know there were other factors in his unbelief, but if you want to build your testimony and understanding of church doctrine that is not the place to go.

Stick with the scriptures and Conference addresses. Follow the prophets of God who have given us the way He wants us to go in this life. If you don't like Church doctrines find one you do agree with or start your own. You don't seem to like prophets anyway.

lmc
West Jordan, Utah

The problem with this conference, the Mormon Stories web site, Mormon Matters, and John Dehlin is that they misrepresent the positions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, criticize those positions, and organize the community of like minded "Mormons" in an attempt to change LDS policy. This is done under the guise of bringing disaffected and practicing LDS together to "build bridges between all who identify as Mormon". The more I learn about John Dahlin the more obvious it becomes that he is not seeking to return the lost sheep to the LDS fold. He is seeking to move more of the LDS fold to join the lost sheep. That is usually characterized as the role of the wolf rather than the Good Shepherd. The LDS Church did provide an official spokesman who taught the importance of the Atonement in the lives of all people. Elder Jay E. Jensen of the LDS Church Presidency of the Seventy spoke during the 21st Annual Evergreen Education and Resource Conference last month. Practicing LDS who want to know how to help disaffected Mormons would be better served to re-read President Monson's "To the Rescue" May 2001 conference address.

Christy
Beaverton, OR

DSB | 2:25 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

Do you not believe there are many, many people, including LDS people, who have an attraction to children?

=========

Surely you're not equating gay people to pedophiles, DSB, because that would be very, very wrong. Everyone knows there is a victim involved in pedophilia. An innocent child is hurt. That is not the case in a consensual adult relationship between two gay people. Why don't you equate gay people to straight people. That would make more sense.
And frankly, no, I do NOT believe that 'many, many people', LDS or not, have an attraction to children. Good grief.

I simply would like to see, some day, Mormon (or not) same sex individuals/couples be given equal respect and rights given to Mormon (or not) straight individuals/couples. You know, 'content of their character' stuff. Not the color of their skin or which sex someone is attracted to. You know, things people don't choose. And things that don't make them 'less than', anymore than me being white or straight should make me 'less than'.

A girl can dream.

JSB
Sugar City, ID

DSB. My strong heterosexual desires are no different than most men I know. I know of enough people who compromise just a little and then find themselves in serious trouble that I, like almost all men recognize the need to control "natural man" desires. I just don't see that people that are attracted to people of the same sex should get some kind of special break. A healthy society is a chaste society. For the good of society, everyone, including homosexuals, has the responsibility to avoid acting out on unhealthy impulses.

DSB
Cedar Hills, UT

@Christy - apparently you've not read about the proliferation of child pornography. Indeed, there are many, many people who are attracted to children.

But, let's take that out of the equation. You've still not addressed why homosexuals should get a pass on their deep-seated inclinations, but people obsessed with having different sexual partners, including many married men and some married women, should for some reason be bound by restrictions imposed by the LDS religion. Both the homosexual and the obsessively and nearly uncontrollably promiscuous heterosexual may need to equally suppress their desires, if they are committed to living the commandments.

@JSB - I think we're in complete agreement. I wasn't making an accusation against you, because I do not know you, or whatever struggles you may or may not have. You made a very good point to Christy, and I was likewise challenging her to support her viewpoint that homosexuals should somehow be excused from the universal challenge of suppressing natural tendencies that are contrary to commands of God. If sexual desire is the singular protected class, does she believe the LDS church should give a pass to those with sexual desires she finds less acceptable?

kargirl
Sacramento, CA

I thought Utah Girl's point was interesting, especially regarding opposite-gender attraction. Yes, it's fine, after marriage, to act on it. Of course, not with the babysitter or the neighbor or the teacher....there are still lines which our heterosexual Mormon may not cross. No different, is it, from the lines our gay Mormon may not cross? And both, if they don't cross those lines, my take part in all the same activities. Please, let's not prejudge someone's actions, when such actions haven't necessarily taken place, and it's no one's business but that person's and God's.

kargirl
Sacramento, CA

Many people never marry. Many have, but through divorce, or death of a spouse, or both, for some, choose to remain unmarried afterwards. And in the instance of those of us who choose to be celibate after having been wed, we know what we're missing, so we choose with eyes wide open. Yet all of us also choose to remain celibate, through every holiday, through our senior years. Sometimes, we are sad when those of us who have seen companions we loved die and live long enough to see other loved ones pass on as well, but we go on alone. We remember happier times. There is more to life than physical love, and, as one commenter put it, if that's what you married for, it's really a sin. (I paraphrased, hopefully I kept your meaning intact.) cjf's example really tells the story of what's important to all of us, and like this sister and brother, if we have a testimony of the Lord and the Gospel, we find a way to obey with willing heart and spirit, and to lift our brothers and sisters as these two have done.

kargirl
Sacramento, CA

On the other hand, it wouldn't hurt if heterosexual members of our society did a little repressing, too. Maybe we could begin being brothers and sisters if there were less concentration on the physical aspect of relationships. Just a thought...

Jon Fairborn
WASHINGTON, UT

All you people who are talking about "repressing unhealthy desires" and "being celibate just like single straight people", etc., you just don't get it! You have totally got the cart before the horse.

It is NOT about sex! I repeat, it is NOT about sex! It's about who a person is attracted to on every emotional, psychological, romantic, physical, and spiritual level. These things are NOT choices. They are hard-wired. The sex is only one facet. What you're really denying gay people is love and intimacy and happiness just because your religion thinks their version is bad. You prevent them from marrying and then you punish them for seeking the only kind of intimacy that's left.

It's a myth that healthy, stable gay relationships harm society. Proof is already there in other countries. Please stop just regurgitating the prejudice of your religious leaders and look at the actual history and facts before you presume to tell other people how to live. It's NOT ABOUT SEX.

LDS Revelations
Sandy, UT

While it's unthinkable for many that LDS leaders can be wrong I think there is clear evidence that they can be and have been. A careful a study of LDS history shows that on a number of occasions LDS leadership has promoted what it considers 'morally right' only to reverse course later in order avoid further embarrassment. Personally see the exclusion of blacks for the priesthood as once clear example where LDS leadership let a rigidity of theology as well as old cultural carry overs to cause them to be on the wrong side of not only truth but history. I think that they are very likely going to do it once again in relation to homosexuality.

What if the real test God has for those on earth is to see if they will love and ACCEPT those who are different or unique (read as 'gay') unconditionally, instead of whether they will just go along with judgements and rules contrived in the bronze age by men they know nothing about? What if judgement is reserved for those who are so following so-called holy writ that they do not follow what they feel in their hearts?

O'really
Idaho Falls, ID

@LDS Revelations- these rules and regulations weren't contrived in the Bronze age. Read Genesis 1 again. "Male and female created he them." "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth."

Of course LDS leaders can be wrong but God isn't. I've never read anywhere in the Bible where he commands men and women to try to reproduce with their own gender. Or to even pair off.

The priesthood and Blacks issue is so different in every way from doctrine against homosexuality that they can't even be compared. This course was NOT reversed to avoid embarrassment. President Kimball pleaded with the Lord in the temple for many days before that revelation was given. To say otherwise is to flirt with apostasy.

President Packer's conference talk was changed, but I still believe he spoke the truth. I don't believe for one minute that God created homosexuals to be that way. I believe that for innumerable reasons having to do with hormones, environmental influences and interpersonal relationships as a child people come to believe they are irreversibly gay, lesbian or transgendered. We should have compassion for their struggles but it won't result in a single doctrinal change. Never!

DSB
Cedar Hills, UT

@LDS Revelations - sounds like we need to promote you to prophet and president of the church, since you're clearly more enlightened and knowledgeable about truth and morality than our current one.

Despite 50 years in the church, serving in various callings, including teaching and leadership, I've never heard that the church's stand on blacks and the priesthood was a matter of morality. Sexual boundaries have been established since the beginning of God's people on the earth, and now apparently you, Jon Fairborn, Christy, and many others think you're more inspired than all the prophets who ever lived, combined, on this matter.

I fully agree with your suggestion that we are tested to love all of God's children, including those who struggle with the endless possibilities of human challenges, including homosexuality. I don't know what you mean by ACCEPT, but you seem to imply that we must not only accept them as children of God, but that we must accept their scripturally sinful behavior as well. Right on the first acceptance, not so much on the second.

But, you can accept anything you want - that's the beauty of free agency.

As for me and my house...

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

LDS Revelations,

When I joined the church in 1975 I brought the question of the priesthood ban to an institute director. He reviewed with me statements that indicated the ban would be lifted one day. I spoke with a long-time black member and he also expected the day when either he or his sons would receive the priesthood. So, the overturning of the ban (while it might have surprised some in its timing) was not otherwise a surprise.

Homosexuality is demonstrably different. To expect the church's stance on it to change noticeably is simply wishful thinking.

LDS Revelations
Sandy, UT

@ Twin Lights-

Some expected it or hoped it would change. Many did not expect it before the millennium and had the quotes from early LDS leaders to back them up. So if you're implying that it was seen as imminent I'd say that's a stretch.

That said I get the difference between how the Curse of Cain and homosexuality in LDS theology. Currently there is accommodation for anything other than heterosexuality. Even by LDS standards though that does not mean that there is not 'revelation' to come. 'Further light and knowledge' could change all that.

Personally I think that societal pressure and opinion is the real source of most of the large revelations that have dramatically changed LDS policy, practice and/or doctrine and I think it will be again. It may take a long time but I think eventually in an effort to remain relevant on a global scale the Church will change it's views on homosexuality. This is how it happened with polygamy. From the first real attacks on plural marriage by the US in the 1860s to the 2nd Manifesto in 1904 it was 40 years or so. This could easily take that long.

LetsDebate
PLEASANT GROVE, UT

@LDS Revelations 12:07 - when you say that societal pressure and opinion is the "real source" of most of the large revelations that have changed LDS policy, are you saying LDS leaders implemented major course corrections for no other reason than to "remain relevant on a global scale" and that revelation from God had nothing to do with it?

Or, are you saying that societal pressure and opinion was the impetus behind the diligent seeking of LDS leadership to know the will of God, that ultimately led to inspiration and revelations on the subjects?

If the latter, I can accept that. If the former, wow, I don't know how anyone who believed that could feel good about being a member, because that is so very contrary to the most fundamental theology of our religion, which is to represent God, not to seek global relevance.

Strait is the gate, and narrow the way, the FEW there be that find it. Although a desire for global relevance may cause us to reconsider traditional dogma, I certainly hope it never overshadows following God's will as the motivating force behind major policy and doctrinal shifts.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

LDS Revelations,

I agree that the timeline was thought to be farther off. Hence my comment reference timing.

But the priesthood and polygamy are not good examples here. Homosexual acts are considered to be a serious sin. There was no such consideration for the other two.

Also, the priesthood (in whatever timeline) was considered a temporary situation. Polygamy was (and is) understood to be only when so directed. The injunction against homosexual acts is not in any way seen as temporary or something that would be reversed either here or in the eternities.

They are simply different.

I understand that you think that societal pressure and opinion are the issue. I think otherwise.

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