Comments about ‘LDS Church clarifies survey question on same-sex attraction’

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Published: Tuesday, April 29 2014 10:05 p.m. MDT

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dontrejectmeagain
Wakefield, West Yorkshire

The word "struggle" was ambiguous, and reminds me of this joke:

The bishop asks: "Do you entertain immoral thoughts?"
"No," is response, "they entertain me"

Ranch
Here, UT

@Chris B;

Many people do struggle with religious addiction. We love you anyway and I'm sure there's a 12 step program for you somewhere.

The only "struggle" we face is dealing with people who think we shouldn't have the same rights as heterosexual people.

@SamL;

The problem with the wording is that I am NOT a heterosexual "struggling with same-sex attraction', I am a homosexual facing constant religious bigotry.

Since you believe that marriage is between a man and woman, that is what YOU should have; but your opinion on the matter is irrelevant to anyone else and you don't get to tell others who they may or may not marry.

@RedneckLefty;

I love your analogies; they put a smile on my face.

@LogicalPrime;

It is illogical to expect LGBT people to remain abstinent until marriage and deny them marriage.

@cambodia girl;

Nope. Wrong. "The Savior said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)." He never commanded LGBT people to marry straight people, nor did he command you to judge others.

@Cats;

Bigot is not something that you are, it is something that you do. "The Church" is wrong.

BJMoose
Syracuse, UT

I have read on other comments on the Deseret News the fact exists that if one confesses or confides to their bishop that they have had a homosexual experience, their record is marked with this information for life. Kind of a Scarlett Letter approach. If this is true so be it. If it is not true the fact that the "rumor" exists would be enough to sway individual's answers. Being sent by email, the survey is not anonymous. If nothing else, the responses could be tracked by the email address they came from. I would think many would not answer truthfully for fear of follow-up and reprisals. I also think the survey was constructed in such a way to influence the responses to fit a pre-conceived conclusion. Like what we saw with the Regnerous study that the state first relied on and then disavowed.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "I, too, wonder if framing same sex attraction as a 'struggle' is correct."

Wonder all you want, but to many, it is, indeed a struggle.

For more than a few faithful LDS, their deepest desire is to live in accordance with God's will and His plan for them. They recognize that yielding to same sex attractions they may experience is contrary to both. So, rather than capitulate to disingenuous worldly sophistry, they struggle with, and quite often overcome such temptations -- meaning they refuse the advice of those that encourage them to flout God's law, and continue to live their mostly happy, faith-filled lives.

Like many of us who struggle with many other issues, they trust in God to buoy them up when their struggle becomes more difficult. Unlike thoughtless or disingenuous activists, they don't try to remake Him in their own image, or to speak for Him on the subject.

Tiago
Seattle, WA

I don't understand everybody defending the initial wording of the survey. It was not good. The reasons have been explained in the comments and in the article. The church recognized the error and changed the wording. There is nothing to gain from defending that initial wording. I'm sure the person who wrote it didn't mean harm, but any way you slice it, "heterosexual and struggling with same-sex attraction" is not the best or even a good way of describing most people who experience same-sex attraction.
Lots of people saying "no big deal" and "your fault if you're offended." Please try to have a little more empathy. You are coming from a position of privilege. It is not nice to say things that are hurtful and then blame the victim for being hurt. I agree this is not the end of the world or anything, but it could have bothered people and it's ok to try to understand why that might be and to actually acknowledge the validity of other people's feelings.

LogicalPrime
Rigby, ID

It's interesting how often people fail to recognize the fact that "the church" is not a coherent, cohesive entity consisting of a single point of authority on all ideas. While it strives to make God that single point of authority, by the very fact that people are involved, the truth is far more complex. In this case, I think it is likely that the survey authors failed to ask the question correctly because they simply failed to study out the issue. It seems to me like the survey was written too quickly, preventing the proof reading and careful consideration that all mass communications require.

iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

I am not an authority in the Church, I am simply a member, but let me offer you this....

The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints is here in all it's fullness to help husband and wife to enter into Celestial marriage covenants. Keeping these covenants rewards them with exaltation and glory..they can become kings and queens exalted to thrones in the eternal world.
To not reach that objective, whether it be a same gender diversion or other issues of unworthiness is considered to be a 'struggle'.

Cheesecake
Salt Lake City, UT

The question was poorly worded, and changing it was the right thing to do. It's not about "offense," rather, it's about asking the right question to get an honest response. As was pointed out in the comments already, the original wording of the question seems to indicate that those administering the survey do not fully understand the situation.

alanjones520
Tustin, CA

Someone said "Homosexuality or gayness is not something that you are. It's something that you do. It is behavior. Behavior is ALWAYS a choice." Really? In this society that persecutes (and more so in the past) who would choose it?
THEN I guess "Heterosexuality is not something you are, but is a behavior and always a choice." Tell your wife/husband tonight that today you choose to behave heterosexual and see what response you get.
Why the mixed message - we have the church website MormonsAndGays.org (it uses the "G" word) but then in surveys like this it is always "same-sex attraction" I guess most members are not heterosexual but we have "opposite-sex attraction".
There was an LDS specific handbook by psychiatrists to help church leaders and others be supportive of gay members who might consider suicide, but the church rejected it because it called them "gay" rather than "same-sex attracted". Sad to loose that resource, advice, professional help for those leaders and their members who need it because of the choice of words. Lets use "same-sex" and then "opposite-sex" attraction then.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

How about: "I am atheist, but struggle with Mormonism"?

ambistoes
Vernal, UT

It's a good thing that survey question was changed because it does presuppose that anyone who experiences same-sex attraction are "struggling" with it. Maybe some experience it and then indulge in it with no struggling about it. Best to make surveys with fewer leading questions as possible. Better to stick with factual questions that produce factual answers.

SlopJ30
St Louis, MO

RedneckLefty wins "Post of the Day." He spoke direclty to me . . someone who prefers Sprite but struggles with an occasional raspberry iced-tea attraction. My famliy suffers because of this.

My reaction to the survey was not "Oh, how offensive!" but rather "Well, that's telling and just about right." If you listen to enough General Conference talks, you'll hear statements or insinuations that no-one is really gay; God makes us all straight and some of us choose to dabble in homosexuality . . oops; I mean "same-sex attraction."

This is so obviously, undeniably wrong that it boggles the mind that a lot of people still believe "Oh, it's totally a choice." I see some posters decry any "just be yourself" advice as if it's as simple as choosing vanilla over chocolate. If you were asked or "commanded" to be attracted to a group of people you just weren't attracted to, how would you respond? If your answer is "Well, if it came from the prophet, I'd make it work," then we have nothing further to talk about. Let me know when you've come back to reality.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

The article points to the difficulty of good survey design, i.e. design that yields useful, interpretable results and responses that actually address the researcher's objectives. The initial wording of the question simply does not achieve the stated goal of identifying the respondent's sexual orientation. The loaded language ("struggle") and the limited options (both preselected options premised on heterosexuality as the default) amount to "push polling" and betray the (possibly subconscious) biases of the survey designer. I suspect that whoever wrote the question could not conceive that people would self-identify as other than heterosexual or that they might actually be comfortable with SSA.

The heteronormative assumptions in the original wording ignores the current state of knowledge. It is not unusual, for instance, for men to answer "yes" to both "Are you heterosexual?" and "Have you had sexual contact with men?" in surveys. The contradiction stems from a disconnect between self-identification and behavior. The revised question is an improvement, but still has some ambiguity. What does it mean to "experience" SSA? Does it mean emotional feelings or behavior? More nuanced questions acknowledging a broader range of human behavior are in order.

vangroovin
West Jordan, UT

@Bill McGee

Are you saying that humans are held to the same standard as animals? We are not. We are children of a loving Father in Heaven who has a plan for all of us. We can all choose how we want to live our lives. That is regardless of what obstacles, afflictions, trials, etc. are placed in our way. We have to ability to overcome all things regardless of what they are through the help of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Many of the conversations on here from those who are offended by the wording of a question for a survey. If the LDS Church wants to know the attitudes of its members in an effort to understand them and put into play some means to help them, how is that any different than a company conducting a survey for its employees to learn how to employ strategies to be more competitive? The LDS Church would never send something out to its members that was meant to offend - that's not what the Church is about. The Church is about helping every son and daughter of God to come to know Him and eventually return to Him.

sjames
AMERICAN FORK, UT

@Schnee

Same sex attraction IS a struggle if someone is a faithful LDS. Not because of some cognitive dissonance or cultural influence, but as a trial and temptation. I don't struggle with same-sex attraction, but I most struggle with heterosexual attraction.

The action one chooses to take dictates their level of peace.

Rexburg Reader
Rexburg, ID

As a parent of a gay child, the word struggle is most definitely appropriate. Despite trying our best to be non-judgmental, supportive and loving, we watched our once high-achieving child flunk out of college; go in and out of jail; submit to substance abuse; deal with multiple partners with a laundry list of major problems, including being physically abusive and being thieves; and not be able to hold down even a minimum wage job. This all happened immediately after coming out of the closet. It's not PC to say this, but you'll never convince me there wasn't a clear connection. Being gay is not the Candyland so many say it is. Based on my experience, a gay person's worst enemies are usually their own lack of self-esteem, and other gay people.

I applaud the LDS Church for taking steps to try to better understand its gay members, as this survey was intended to do. I hope such efforts continue. I also think it's unfortunate no matter what the Church does, so many people automatically default to being critical.

MoJules
Florissant, MO

So if a person is attracted to the opposite sex and there are thoughts or behaviors that do not comply with LDS standards. Then could we not say they struggle with opposite sex attraction? There are many where be it same or opposite sex, they struggle to abide by this law.

kiddsport
Fairview, UT

@Redneck Lefty:
I never struggle with Pepsi.
I DO struggle to write left-handed.
I cheer for BYU and the only time I cheer against Utah is when they play BYU.

I never get offended when someone accuses me of being unjust. That only tells me they don't know me, they don't understand me, and they don't understand justice.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@U-tar – “The same sex crowd will always be offended and upset at almost anyone and every thing. Why even try to appease them, waste of time.”

I know, right?

Wanting to be understood, accepted and even loved for who they are… what nerve!

Tiago
Seattle, WA

I am a faithful Mormon who experiences same-sex attraction. I don't like calling it a struggle. I just like guys in the same way other guys like girls. I deal with it. I avoid sin just like everybody and struggle against the natural man, but that is a struggle with sin. My attractions and desire to love are not sinful and not something I struggle with. The fact that I find a guy charming and care about him is not a sin and not something I struggle with.
Would you like it if someone characterized your marriage as "struggling with adultery" or your religion as "struggling with Mormonism" or your fatherhood as "struggling with being a dad" or your job as "struggling as an attorney?" Sure, all of those things involve things that are tough sometimes, but the struggle doesn't define what it is.

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