Conservative United Methodists say divide over sexuality is ‘irreconcilable’

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  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    June 3, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    One group recognizes sexuality as a beautiful but easily and enticingly misused crown in the relationship of a man and a woman devoted to establishing a family, this being the purpose of marriage.

    The other group professes belief in the same God and the same scriptures, yet denies this whole picture, instead relegating sexuality to something that is self-fulfilling, rather than "completing" or procreative.

    One can't serve God and mammon. If I decided that I believe President Monson to be a prophet called of God, but that the structure and plan of the human family is wrong, un-inspired, or "old-fashioned", it'd be ridiculous. It'd be pride in my own publically swayed feelings, not in any sort of faith or history.

    This is much the same kind of scenario.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    June 1, 2014 6:49 p.m.

    @RedWings: "If the state oversees civil unions for all, there is no "separate but equal". All of us would obtain civil union licenses, and marriage returns to being a religious ordinance."

    Are you aware that there are at least 75 Christian denominations that welcome gay and lesbian members and are actively performing Same Sex weddings in states were such are legal?

    Your solution, where the state grants a license for "civil union" and then a couple is married in a church would still allow Welcoming and Affirming Christian churches to marry straight couples and gay and lesbian couples. So there would still be "gay marriage" in every state in the country.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 30, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    Sort of exactly like when the LDS and FLDS divided and split over the re-definition of the terms "marriage" and "family" 130 years ago?...

    as I recall -- it was those who changed and went along with the law of the land who kept the faith,
    and those who opposed the Government, and tried to "keep things they way they've always been", claiming "God is the same, yesterday, today and forver", and "if" the Prophet changes policy -- he is not a true and living prophet, but a fallen prophet --
    THEY were the one who were excommunicated...

    You might want to keep an "Open Mind"...

  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 30, 2014 2:07 p.m.


    You need to understand that your version of what is and is not "sin" applies to you and only you. What you're trying to do is legislate your view of sin into law. That is a violation of the 1st Amendment. Just because you consider something 'sin' doesn't mean that every does, nor that they must.

    If you believe something is sinful, refrain from it. You have no business telling others the behavior they must follow just because you happen to have a belief about it.

    I spent 30+ years trying to overcome being gay. 30 years praying every day that it would go away - it didn't. It wasn't until I finally accepted that I am perfectly fine just as I am that life became liveable. You don't want to accept your attractions, fine, stop trying to force others to be like you.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    May 30, 2014 6:57 a.m.

    I wish to congratulate RedWings on his courageous post. I believe that it takes guts in this day and age to say that you have struggled with, and overcome, SS attractions. I do believe, unlike Tiago, that the Lord God, who made us all, can help us to overcome ANY struggle with addiction, addictive behaviors, and so on. However, it takes humility and a willingness to listen to something other than our own voices, something that the World is not willing to do. People, of course, are on a broad spectrum with regard to attraction. Some more, some less. There is no scientific evidence that SS attraction will be "cured". However, there are many people, like Redwings, who claim that they once felt SS attraction and now are happily married to an opposite gender spouse. I know of a few myself. These people likely took advantage of what the gospel had to offer in terms of "help". God bless.

  • Kally Salt Lake City, UT
    May 29, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    @ Redwings: Actually, no - making "civil unions" the government standard and "marriage" the religious standard would not solve any problems.

    Same-sex marriages would be taking place and your refusal to photograph or make a cake for a same-sex wedding now becomes discrimination against a religious ritual, which would be even less allowable and controversial.

    Every comment against same-sex relationships would be a comment against religious practices.

    Well, okay - it might solve the problems, but not in your favor.

    As for marriage being a religious ritual, if you actually study the history of marriage and the history of religion, marriage has always been a function of government and has always been to control inheritance and property rights. When religion has been involved in it, religion has been late to the game. During the time of Christ, marriages took place anytime, anywhere, and did not require any form of church recognition. It was not until the middle ages that marriage became so closely imbedded with religion. In many European countries, marriage is strictly civil.

    May 29, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Laura B:

    I speak of marriage as a religious ritual because it is one. The state took over issuing licenses to make money. Giving the state power to issue civil union licenses to all couples would be non-discriminatory and take care of the marriage debate.


    I apologize. I spoke simply about a very complex issue. In my case,SSA weakened after years and years of denying it. That will not be the case for all. Thank you for your insights and comments.


    Sex with my wife to whom I am married is not sin in my religion. Sex outside that bond is, regardless of who it is with. In my religion, marriage is a covenant between me, my spouse, and God.

    I am railing against nothing. I agree that gay couples should have the same secular rights as straight couples. They can engage in their behavior as long as it does not interfere with my rights.


    I am an example that reparative therapy is healthy. To deny this is discriminatory and bigoted.

    And I am fine with same-sex civil unions. It protects all and would actually solve the debate.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    May 29, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    "So, your being offended over my position on gay rights is your problem, not mine? "

    Yes. It bugs me because I let it bug me. Granted it's because I don't like to see the rights of others trampled on so it's not like it's much of a negative for a "problem".

    "Those who have overcome SSA do not wish to return to it."

    Reparative therapy is damaging.

    "All of us would obtain civil union licenses, and marriage returns to being a religious ordinance."

    You do realize there would be same-sex marriages under that scenario right?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    May 28, 2014 9:44 p.m.

    @RedWings: Let's be clear about the difference between religion and law.

    Many things are "sin" in one religion or another. A religion says you can be put to death for violating the Sabbath. Our law says no such thing. Another religion says you can be put to death for marrying outside of your religion. Our law says no such thing. Profanity, exposing skin, eating certain foods, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, not covering your hair, having dirty feet, are all sins in somebody's religion. But our laws say no such thing.

    According to some religions, all non-procreative forms of sex are sins, whether practiced by homosexuals OR heterosexuals. But our laws say no such thing. Such mutually consensual private behavior is protected by our Constitution. All remaining laws on the books against it were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003.

    You are railing against perfectly legal behavior. Worse, this behavior has nothing to do with you. You don't have to participate, to watch, or spend your time imagining it.

    In my religion, a loving couple is bonded to God by their mutual affections, both emotional and physical. Period.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    May 28, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    "There are hundreds of thousands who have oversome same-sex attraction and live happy lives married to opposite sex partners"

    I wish you would be more clear when you talk about people overcoming SSA. I think you mean that they have found tools to control behaviors they find distressing. You are defining SSA based on actions rather than feelings. For most people who experience SSA, the fundamental orientation is innate and immutable. They will always feel attracted to their own gender in the exact same way that straight people are attracted to the other gender.
    People can control and repress conscious thoughts and behaviors. There are thousands of gay people like me who are celibate because of our beliefs and thousands more who have married women. Someone who is gay but doesn't act on it does not suddenly become interested in women. All the gay guys I know who are married to women still feel SSA. None of them claim to have become straight. There is no evidence of any spiritual or therapeutic tool that changes people's fundamental sexual orientation.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    May 28, 2014 5:04 p.m.

    RedWings, my husband and I were married at the courthouse 35 years ago. There was no church involved. Are we any less "married" because a judge signed our license? If not, why do you talk about marriage as if it's a religious ritual?

    If you have a problem with people unlike yourself using the word "marriage" (when they marry), then please start gathering signatures to force the government to issue only civil union licenses.

    You don't need to accept that gays have equal rights. You don't need to accept that blacks or dwarfs have the same rights that Mormons have. You do need to respect the law.

    My married gay neighbors go to work, raise their children, pay their taxes, and have the nicest garden on the block. I'll take this "lifestyle" any day over someone who uses his church's pronouncements as excuses to discriminate.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2014 4:52 p.m.


    Thank You for your outstanding post at 3:25 p.m. One of my best friends also struggled with SSA when we were college roommates. He too was able to overcome it and is married with six children. SSA is no longer an issue for him as well.

    I have my own tendencies that are not consistent with my religous beliefs and I work on overcoming them as well. Examples like yours and my friends help me in that process.

    May 28, 2014 3:31 p.m.


    So, your being offended over my position on gay rights is your problem, not mine?

    Bi-sexuality and overcoming SSA are totally different things. Those who have overcome SSA do not wish to return to it. They love their opposite-sex spouse and God more than that.

    If the state oversees civil unions for all, there is no "separate but equal". All of us would obtain civil union licenses, and marriage returns to being a religious ordinance.

    Again, the gay movement is all about forcing the acceptance of a certain lifestyle on all of us, and ignoring the blatant hypocrisy that is at the core of the movement....

    May 28, 2014 3:25 p.m.


    Not sure how you determined my "attitude" from my post. I have gay friends, and I love them just as much as my other friends. However, I do not condone their lifestyle. They know that, so we spend time on other things that we have in common. Some of us can disagree without expressing hatred.

    Those of us who believe that homosexual activity is sin are being forced to keep quiet. How many citizens have been forced from employment over their personal beliefs? How is that different than religion ostracizing homosexuals? Media and education have forced one set of beliefs about homosexuality on all of us.

    And just to be clear - same-sex attraction is not sin, acting on it is. I struggled with SSA early in my life, but was able to overcome it. That was my choice, not the choice of gay activists who want to hide the fact that SSA can be changed. And no, I am not bisexual. I am no longer attracted to men.

    Apparently hypocrisy is not a problem for the left or the gay movement...

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2014 3:18 p.m.

    "Do you think it would be OK for any wedding photographer to refuse to take pictures at a reception for a Mormon couple?"

    Yes I absolutely think that would be fine and I am LDS and am married. This isn't complicated. I oppose someone being refused service based on identity.

    However if someone does not want to participate in an event they don't support on religous grounds even if that involves me so be it. I believe in the 1st Ammendment more that P.C.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    "Just what makes it "our problem" that we do not agree with SSM? "

    Forgive me for forgetting which General Authority said it but being offended is something that the offended allows to happen.

    "The gay movement is not about "equal rights""

    That pretty much is what they're looking for.

    "There are hundreds of thousands who have oversome same-sex attraction and live happy lives married to opposite sex partners."

    Bisexuality is a thing.

    "Civil unions are a completely reasonable and tolerant solution"

    Yeah, just like we "tolerated" black people by giving them separate schools and water fountains. How'd that work out?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    May 28, 2014 2:02 p.m.

    @RedWings: No one is forcing you to do anything. You're only being prevented from using laws to force your beliefs on others. Just because you've lost that ability to force others does not mean you're being forced yourselves.

    In your private life, you may still scoff, sneer, and treat others with utter contempt, just as your religion suggests. No one is trying to stop that, so go right ahead. That more people are finding your attitude reprehensible, whether or not that affects you is entirely up to you. Free speech works both ways. You can condemn others, others can condemn you. But, that's just speech.

    No one is forcing you or your church to sanction anything, to do anything or to stop doing anything. But, this secular society of ours, all of ours, is moving ever so slowly but inexorably, towards accepting all of our citizens as equals. We don't have to like each other, but we're all entitled to live our lives out here in America in relative peace and freedom.

    So, tend to your own knitting and let others do the same.

    May 28, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    Laura Bilington -

    Just what makes it "our problem" that we do not agree with SSM?

    The gay movement is not about "equal rights"; it is about forcing the rest of society to condone a set of behaviors. Homosexuality is not a characteristic. There are hundreds of thousands who have oversome same-sex attraction and live happy lives married to opposite sex partners. They even have biological children together!

    Civil unions are a completely reasonable and tolerant solution to the gay rights vs religious freedom debate. However, this is really not about reason and tolerance, is it?

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    May 28, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    Carmen, if you have a problem with the concept that gay couples are as married as you are, then that is YOUR problem. The idea that the state (and the gay couples themselves) should use a different word because YOU have a problem with it is not reasonable. My mother (who was not terribly savvy in genetics) was OK with my (Caucasian) roommate and her Japanese husband because she assumed their children would be Caucasian. When I informed her that there was a 100% chance that the kids would look Asian, she was aghast. When she found out that we were adopting twins from Korea, she was horrified. But when she found out that they were just children, just like my Caucasian son, she mellowed. I would sincerely urge you to get to know some married gay couples--if anything, they treasure marriage more than you because they had to wait so long and fight so hard for it.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    May 28, 2014 10:55 a.m.


    Not a surname, a first name.

    Just for your info, I don't use any of the mentioned names as slang, or any of the many others I am aware of. The correct and proper names are professional and appropriate. It is called being polite and respectful.

    Until you are willing to return respect for respect, you have no right to demand it from others.

    Your last post shows that you will persist in being insulting. I changed my phrasing, but you refuse to change yours. I had hoped you might be interested in civil dialogue but clearly you are not.

  • Kally Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    There are many countries where clergy do not have the authority to perform legally binding marriages. The marriages take place in a civil setting with a civic leader (usually a magistrate or judge or some equivalent) presiding. If the couple then wishes to have a religious ceremony, they may do so - but it is an entirely separate event. The religions, Christian and otherwise, in these countries operate fine under this system.

    Other countries have rules where only clergy can perform marriages, legally binding or otherwise. Very few of these countries have large or strong Christian denominations and usually Christian clergy are not allowed to perform recognized marriages.

    The US has a combination system where clergy, regardless of religious denomination, are authorized by law to perform legally binding wedding ceremonies. Citizens wishing to marry can choose an authorized religious individual or a civic leader to perform the ceremony, either way their ceremony carries equal weight under the law.

    So far, no church or clergy has been forced to perform any wedding ceremony they don't want to - unworthy, inter-religious, inter-racial, same-sex, whatever. And there is no reason to believe this will change in the future.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    May 28, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Badger, if your friends whose surname is Gay are "dehumanized" when they hear that word used to indicate gender orientation, then they have a problem. Changing their surname is going to be a whole lot easier. Right off the bat I can think of three German surnames which have made it into the lexicon as slang for sexual terms. Should you tell hundreds of millions of English speaking persons that they should use alternate terms because some people surnamed Wiener or Boehner or Heine might be disturbed?

    I don't think you're going to get very far in petitioning the government to use the phrase "civil union" instead of marriage. That gay couple two blocks over are married, not "married". If that offends you, it is your problem, not the state's. Some people still cringe when they see an interracial couple with children, but they are dying off, and their kids are much less likely to see it as a big deal, no matter how hard the parents worked at passing on their prejudices.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    May 28, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    Laura Bilington

    I have friends who are named Gay. It is dehumanizing and humiliating to them to have their name used as a sexual reference. I have seen the hurt on their faces when someone insensitively uses their name in that way. That is why I choose not to use it.

    Please offer an alternative wording that doesn't offend anyone. I would be happy to use it. I don't seek to offend, anyone.

    Religious marriages are recognized by the state. The state bestows the power to perform marriages recognized by the state on priests, because they are priests. They are intermixed, and should be separated again, as they were when the nation was new and the constitution was written.

    That said, religious marriages carry more weight than the state could ever bestow. They are endorsed by the Almighty God. For many of us, that is what really matters.

    Separation of state domestic contracts and church marriages allows the merit of a committed relationship to be debated without religious influence. Isn't that what so many fellow citizens in favor of SSM are crying out for? Why reject the solution except for the desire to force and control others?

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    May 28, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Badger, using terms like "the SSM crowd" as opposed to "our fellow citizens who are gay" is a way to dehumanize people--i.e. make them different from you. Then you feel comfortable in treating them as lesser beings.

    Religious marriage has ALWAYS been separate from any state action. Without a marriage license, a religious ceremony by itself carries no weight. States call people single unless they have that piece of paper in hand. Changing the term that the state means would mean that your marriage, also would become a civil union in the eyes of the state.

    Do you think it would be OK for any wedding photographer to refuse to take pictures at a reception for a Mormon couple? Let me assure you that in West Whistlesnitch, Alabama, you are not going to find a photographer who isn't Baptist. Suppose the venue you want to hold your reception at ---which does wedding receptions all the time--asks you where the marriage is taking place before they will tell you if the date is open--and then tells you, sorry, it's booked--and, surprise, surprise, all other dates are already booked--would this be OK?

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 28, 2014 7:21 a.m.


    You have in my opinion, stumbled onto an interesting way to approach the issue. Civil union licenses, that may or may not culminate in a "marriage" from a religious institution. The unions of course having all the same rights as any marriage union. The LDS Church of course already has something like this system with the Temple Marriage.


    What really destroys marriage is that so many couples are just "living together" these days. That has become in modern society the first step to getting engaged to be married, (if that ever happens.) And then maybe a marriage after that. All the while, the living together couple are likely raising children. Women sure have given men an easy out to responsibility these days. Hugh Hefner must be proud.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    May 27, 2014 11:11 p.m.

    Madden I am with you. The separation of church and state, of civil unions and marriage, It can't come soon enough, but it won't be soon. For all the claims that this is about freedom and equality, the SSM crowd is too steeped in trying to control the thoughts and religious practices of others to consider a fair, reasonable, and constitutional solution like separating religious marriage from state endorsed domestic partnerships.

    Forcing people to:
    Make their cakes
    Rent to them their facilities
    Make their flower arrangements
    Take their pictures
    Perform their ceremonies
    In your churches, synagogues, cathedrals, temples, regardless of your religious beliefs
    Give them children

    There just isn't room, in their minds, for anyone to be free to do as they choose and believe, except themselves.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    May 27, 2014 9:24 p.m.


    Civil Unions are one thing. Calling it "marriage" destroys the meaning of the word marriage and turns it into something else that is less specific. Choose another word. And it is ok for society to confer slightly different tax incentives on civil unions vs traditional marriage. Tax incentives should reflect societal values, and are subject to change as those values change. But let's stop pretending that marriage and a "civil union" are somehow equal. As much as some would like to will it to be so, it is not. And destroying the meaning of marriage to make room for civil unions under a broad umbrella is equally insensitive to those who regard marriage between a man and a woman to be God given, as those fighting against basic civil rights for those who are gay.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    May 27, 2014 5:12 p.m.

    These kinds of splits are inevitable. I think almost everyone can support any couple (straight or gay) having the same legal protections and rights that stem from a civil union under the law. The problem within a religious organization is that some acts are considered a sin, and therefore cannot be condoned by the church. Homosexual acts are and will be considered sexual sin for many churches.

    The only solution I see in the US is that we will all eventually have to get a civil union license from the government, and then those who want to have a religious marriage ceremony will do that as an extra step (and churches will no longer have legal authority to officiate a legally-binding marriage). Until we finally arrive at that solution, the extremes on either side will continue to threaten individual rights or rights of conscience.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    May 27, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    The history of Christianity is replete with schisms. In fact, one could argue that it's a natural outgrowth of the life of the spirit. Denominations that not only permit, but encourage individual conscience, that support the study of scripture, not by rote, but with insight are going to be more susceptible to disagreements of opinion/interpretation.

    If you're going to err in your insights regarding the proper interpretation of living a Christian life, you could do worse than err on the side of believing in the universality of God's love.

    My own dear Quakers have split, rejoined, split, and rejoined factions so many times that the graphic wall chart poster someone composed nearly covers a whole wall with tiny print. Contentious though it was for us in "liberal" Meetings, we made peace (or at least detente) with our "conservative" brethren. We have more in common than what separates us.

    In the case of these Methodists, it appears those conservatives are not willing to co-exist with their liberal brethren. I wish them peace, but offer them hope, that even in schism, through discernment they may later rejoin.