This week, Bryce Cook published a new comprehensive essay on the church’s stance toward LGBT members. Bryce Cook is a founding member of ALL (Arizona LDS LGBT) Friends & Family and a co-director of the annual “ALL Are Alike Unto God” Conference held every April in Mesa, Arizona. He is married to Sara Spencer Cook and together they have six children, two of whom are gay. Since their oldest son came out publicly in 2012, Bryce and Sara have become public allies for LGBT people in and out of the church.
The essay is a long but fascinating read. I’ll cover a few highlights here, but I encourage you to read it in its entirety for yourself here.
The essay begins with an overview of the historical statements by various church leaders on the topic of homosexuality. It is easy to demonstrate that positions have changed dramatically as time has increased understanding of homosexuality. He demonstrates clear shifts in the following:
- Is it a choice? The original stance is that individuals chose to be homosexual through personal weakness or sin. The idea that homosexuality was an innate characteristic is called a “lie” in the most vociferous terms. Current statements show that it is not a choice and that it may be “inborn.”
- What causes homosexuality? In earlier statements, a child’s relationship to his parents was considered to be the cause of the child’s homosexuality. Current statements console parents by stating that they are not to blame for their child’s sexual orientation. Several parent-blaming statements in a talk by Hartman Rector were removed.
- Is it curable? Early statements reflect a strong belief that homosexuality could be overcome or changed either through personal effort or heterosexual marriage. Current statements discourage marriage as a way to change one’s orientation. E. Holland even makes the statement that nobody expects someone’s orientation to change.
- Difference between being homosexual and ‘acting on it.’ The prior stance was the being gay was sin enough. The current stance is that being gay is not a sin but a trial; acting on it is a sin.
Pew Surveys showed that Mormons were becoming more accepting of gay people, a 50% increase in acceptance of homosexuality (from 24% to 36% in 7 years), and at the same time, gay marriage was becoming legal. As a result, the church began to retrench on its positive positions toward homosexuality and our LGBT members. This retrenchment culminated in the Nov. 5 policy to exclude children of gay-married parents from ordinances and to consider any gay-married church members as “apostates” and adding to the psychological pressure faced by LGBT members.
Cook continues by enumerating other areas of change the church has embraced in contrast to earlier held positions:
- Scriptural positions on women, slaves, suicide, and charging interest on loans that are no longer embraced.
- Birth control which went from being called “wickedness” by Joseph Fielding Smith to the current statement that it is a private matter between the couple and the Lord and that Church members should not judge one another in this matter.
- The priesthood and temple ban on those of African descent and the racist statements to defend it were contrasted with its ultimately being questioned and changed despite a long standing tradition.
The rest of the essay pivots on two premises:
Being gay is not a choice. A person’s sexual orientation, or attraction to one sex or the other, is instinctive and innate. It typically begins to manifest at an early age and grows in great intensity with sexual maturation. While the etiology of sexual orientation is not yet fully understood (although there is strong evidence of a biological/genetic component), we have the testimony of countless numbers of gay people – including members of our own church – who have told us that their sexual orientation is innate and not chosen, and that intensive and persistent effort to change it has not succeeded.
Homosexuals are just as capable as heterosexuals of forming committed, love-based relationships with a person they are naturally attracted to. And those relationships can be just as edifying and meaningful as the relationships formed by heterosexual couples. (Note that acceptance of this premise does not require belief that it is acceptable to God.)
Cook asks that the reader who doesn’t personally know many gay people or hasn’t talked with them about their own experience suspend their ignorance long enough to read the remainder of the essay, which includes many first hand accounts from believing Mormons who are also LGBT.
The next section discusses the doctrinal origins of the church’s stance. There is very little in canonized scripture that refers to the modern love-based same-sex relationships developing in our day. Cook explains the context and beliefs behind existing scriptures that do prohibit homosexual behavior.
Modern day teachings on homosexuality are next reviewed, although they are more focused on describing heteronormative relationships, not on discussing those cases in which individuals are attracted to someone of the same sex. Because these documents don’t speak to the homosexual experience except implying it is not “normal” (or the heterosexual norm described), Cook asks if we are certain that we understand God’s will on this subject. Have we sought revelation from the perspective of a gay person or just from a set of assumptions as heterosexuals who believe heterosexual unions are the only way to protect society? He also talks about the oddity of prescribing celibacy, a requirement that the church has often decried in other churches.
Celibacy is the prescribed solution for the question to which we have no revelation. It is not mentioned in the Proclamation. It is not [taught] in the Bible. Neither celibacy nor homosexuality is mentioned in any work of modern scripture… There is no modern apostle or prophet who has expounded on how to live a celibate life. There is no handbook, guide or Church website addressing the subject. It is just expected. It is what you are left with when the commandments leave you nothing else.
Speaking of the old adage from Proverbs 29:18 that “where there is no vision, the people perish,” Cook talks about the lack of vision for homosexuals that has contributed to suicides in the LGBT community.
Cook reviews the church’s main arguments against same-sex marriage:
- Procreation argument. Gay people can’t procreate, therefore they shouldn’t be allowed to marry. But of course, we all know that many heterosexual couples cannot procreate (due to illness, age, or other factors) but aren’t prohibited from marriage. The church’s stance is also that sex is not solely for the purpose of procreation. Since heterosexuals are allowed to marry without procreation, why not homosexuals asks Cook.
- Complementarianism argument. This is the idea that men and women have different but complementary traits and roles, and that homosexual unions don’t contain these same differences. Since gay couples don’t experience an inability to form a loving relationship on this basis, speculation about these matters isn’t a very firm foundation to justify the exclusion of homosexuals from companionship and love, especially since individuals of both sexes display a variety of traits–no one behaves like a complete stereotype.
- Families & Children Argument. The church has cited articles from conservative political sources that oppose same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, but has deliberately ignored the numerous studies and experiences that reach different conclusions. Additionally, if the church opposes gay people raising children, that should be the focus of its opposition, not gay marriage.
Cook mentioned one other important callout, the claim made by E. Wickman in a 2006 interview that homosexuality did not exist in pre-earth life and will not exist after we die. While this may give straight people some comfort that the unfairness in this life doled out to homosexuals is temporary, it can foster suicidal thoughts in homosexuals who believe that they would be better if only their earthly trial would end. This is certainly not an outcome the church should be encouraging, even accidentally through feel-good speculation.
Cook ends the discussion on doctrine with some valuable questions about how certain we are about God’s will. Is our certainty so strong that we can accept the consequences of our statements on the gay community? Or are we speculating on the basis of traditions and biases that we will later regret as we have with other issues?
Cook encourages all of us to follow Pres. Kimball’s example in questioning our own motives and biases in defending positions that harm LGBT church members.
Cook observes that many of the opponents of LGBT rights focus solely on the sexual aspects of their relationships, not on the loving aspects, and as he points out, it would be equally unfair to judge heterosexual relationships in this way, and yet we manage to avoid that.
He also cautions readers to avoid assuming their instincts and revulsion about homosexual sex are morally right. He compares this to the feelings of disgust that some have held toward interracial marriage or that children feel when they first hear about sexuality. Likewise, the notion of homosexuality feeling “unnatural” is debunked. Heterosexual sex seems “natural” to heterosexuals. Homosexual sex seems “natural” to homosexuals. Celibacy, on the other hand, does not feel natural to either.
The last argument about the moral basis for our position on homosexuality is whether it causes harm or benefit. LDS parents of gay children desire for their children to have stable, committed relationships that result in their wellbeing, just as they do for their straight children.
This section talks about the fruits of our policies toward gay church members.
The word “empirical” can be defined as “based on observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.” Jesus advocated this approach in judging whether something was of God when he taught, “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Elder M. Russell Ballard has stated that, “A church, or any way of life, should be judged by the fruits or results that it generates.” Therefore, if the church’s position on homosexuality is based on eternal truth and is morally sound, we would expect that living that way would produce “good fruit,” while being in a same-sex relationship would produce “bad fruit.”
Cook goes on to describe his own experience with gay church members, having two sons who are gay, and helping to found an LDS LGBT support group with over 500 members. He also actively participates in Affirmation, the oldest and largest LDS LGBT organization. His oldest son came out 13 years ago, and he has met and knows personally hundreds of LGBT people.
Cook shares the observed fruits of the church’s stance for gay youth:
Early stages (acknowledging being gay/same-sex attracted)
- Extreme guilt and self-loathing (even when living church standards)
- Depression and despair with occasional suicidal thoughts
- Extreme religiosity and scrupulosity (perfectionism and unhealthy obsession with righteous living and rule keeping in hopes of changing or proving worthiness)
Later stages (realizing sexual orientation isn’t changing)
- Periods of depression and despair with suicidal thoughts, sometimes leading to suicide
- Social/emotional detachment, inability to form relationships with others
- Stagnation, apathy, hopelessness
- Overcompensation, perfectionism, overachievement
- Obsessive/compulsive behavior associated with pornography and masturbation made worse by feelings of shame, worthlessness and hopelessness
- Living in a perpetual cycle of shame trying to suppress innate sexuality and live according to the church’s standards but always falling short (periodic hookups, pornography, etc.)
- Loss of faith, anger and bitterness against the church and God
- Vast majority leave the church to preserve emotional and mental health
One of the most powerful aspects to the essay is what follows, a sharing of the personal stories of many LDS LGBT individuals. If you don’t know many gay Mormons yourself, reading these stories will help you to understand their experience in a more profound way.
I’d love to share them all, but in the interest of space, I’ll choose just one:
I felt discouraged that I had not changed. My life felt stagnant. Many times I thought of driving off a cliff or into a rock wall, but luckily it was just thoughts that filled my mind on those serene lonely drives. … Over the next five years, I continued to go through cycles of false hope, frustration, and depression: My mind just keeps going in circles … I think I have no hope of marrying, so I get depressed and think I have no purpose in my life, so I think of just ending it now. It would make things so much less painful. Just think of having to endure never being intimate physically or emotionally with anyone. … Every day I am at a crossroad. I am paralyzed to succeed in my life. My procrastination and negative thoughts poison my future. …
I spoke a lot of how my faith in God has waned and that I honestly do not believe in God anymore. I said, “I could not understand how a God with a plan of Eternal Families could put 2-5% of his children down on earth lacking the fundamental key to be able to at least marry.” … I reread a lot of the teachings of the Church, and I realized that the teachings I had been taught about homosexuality were incorrect and were based on false stereotypes. I began to feel betrayed. I finally accepted that being gay did not make me broken. I accepted that I was not innately evil. I realized that if any of the amazing guys that I had been attracted to had reciprocated my interest, then I would have been in a committed monogamous relationship. I had never wanted to live the stereotypical “gay lifestyle” that I had been taught was what gays innately want to “act out.” I knew I wanted and aspired to have the same type of relationship that many straight Mormons desire to have.
The same reasons that heterosexual marriage makes society stronger are the reasons that gay marriage does. Pair-bondings and families strengthen society by giving individuals emotional, financial and physical support when they need it. Marriage helps individuals behave more morally. Preventing gay people from marrying a person to whom they are attracted gives them the damaging message that they don’t deserve stability or support or family, and that they should behave in immoral or reckless ways. Honoring commitments to a partner creates stability and morality and strengthens our society.
The longer this change is in coming, the more people we will lose – not just gay people, but increasingly their family members, their friends and other sympathetic members of the church, particularly younger people, who do not see same-sex marriage as a threat to society or a sin against God. And unlike black people who had the choice of not joining the church during the priesthood/temple ban, gay babies are born into the church every day and at increasing numbers as the church grows. Their departure – along with their families and those who care about them – ultimately harms us as a church more than it does them. It leaves a gaping wound in our church, the body of Christ. And sadly it is our doctrine, not their weak character or lack of spirituality, that is pushing them out.
Cook ends his essay with a plea for courage to ask for further revelation, but also on a hopeful note that we can find the right path.
They can tap dance all they want on the head of that pin but the bottom line is that their position will always be out of line with common human decency and compassion until they accept that gay people are gay through no fault of their own, that there IS no fault in being what ANY of us were born and that gay people — Mormon and gentile — are entitled to the same fulfillments and companionship in life as anyone else.
That doesn’t take doctrine. It doesn’t take essays. It just takes simple acknowledgment and a HUGE and sincere apology. I know that will be humiliating for the church but it will stop needless agonies and suicides. There is NO justification on the planet Earth or any of the eternities for them to do anything else.
And I would add that every minute they drag their heels on that apology and 180˚ shift is a sin FAR greater than anything an individual mere mortal could possibly commit.
This is a nice recap. The essay echoes many of my own thoughts and, I think, highlights the continuing problems the church is going to face in a rapidly evolving world. Also, the essay points out the untenable, uncharitable and harmful stances the church has taken in the past.
The most frustrating thing about all of this for me has been twofold:
1. The point Cook makes about gay people being just as capable as straight people when it comes to forming relationships. The church’s definition of family is, frankly, simply too narrow to accommodate a lot of people, even those who aren’t homosexuals. Divorced/single parents, widow/ers, polygamists, etc. For an institution that emphasizes the importance of family, the LDS Church actually does more harm than good in that area with its teaching, especially when it dehumanizes people to the point that it believes they can’t form healthy family relationships while simultaneously causing tension in families with gay children.
2. The lack of progress on matters concerning gay people in general. The church talks so much about the importance of continuing revelation, and on issues of sexuality and gender, it reveals that it’s really actually not able to deal with current social issues at all. I’ve always thought that if we’re the ONE TRUE CHURCH, we should be about 200 years ahead of the curve, not 100 years behind. And that’s especially evident on this issue. It’s really unconscionable how we exclude groups of people while simultaneously denying that we do it. I’m with Alice. There’s a lot of apologizing and changing that needs to happen. Unfortunately, past patterns dictate that those things aren’t likely to happen anytime soon.
Unfortunately, human institutions are run by babysitters, not parents. We only ever get a filtered version of what parental intent is. This month’s Ensign has a particularly terrible article referring to gay marriages as counterfeit and likening them to lust. What I appreciate about Cook’s articles is that he acknowledges that homosexual relationships are not just about lust any more than heterosexual ones are. When we demonize people, we misrepresent them to make ourselves feel better.
I say, let the Church accept people who proclaim themselves homosexuals, but they must abide by the law of chastity, and see how far that flies.
It’s not just a case of “Accept me for who I am”. It’s what follows along with it.
ACCEPT What I do
ACCEPT where I go
ACCEPT who I associate with and
ACCEPT my vilification of those who don’t accept me.
How are you defining chastity Markag?
Mark – which definition of the law of chastity are you referring to? The 19th century Mormon belief that women are permitted sexual relationships with one husband while men are permitted relationships with many wives (regardless of secular law)? The early 20th century Mormon belief that sexual relationships are permitted between married couples of the same race as long as they don’t use birth control? The late 20th century Mormon belief that sexual relationships are permitted between heterosexual, legally married couples regardless of race or birth control?
I personally hope that the 21st century definition will come to mean a Mormon belief that sexual relationships are permitted between married couples. Period. End of story. And I hope we start to realize that celibacy isn’t a viable prescription for our adult members of any gender or orientation.
Markag: “ACCEPT What I do
ACCEPT where I go
ACCEPT who I associate with and
ACCEPT my vilification of those who don’t accept me.”
Sounds a lot like what mainstream Mormons expect from others, often under the guise of religious freedom.
Mark – In the essay I actually make the point that the law of chastity should apply equally to all members, whether gay or straight. Recently, the church redefined the LOC to exclude gay people who are legally married. Straight people are to remain sexually abstinent only while single. They can enjoy the benefit of a romantic, physically-intimate relationship with the one they love once they get married. But gay people must remain abstinent for their entire lives because their marriages don’t count in the eyes of the church.
This has been a deal-breaking topic for my relationship with the church. When you step back and survey the historical accuracy of the utterances coming from our prophets as compared to society at large, you find out that our prophets are not at all prophetic on matters of profound importance such as this one. They make some claim and state that it is “God’s will”, only to backtrack on a many-year lag as compared to society at large. They’re useless and it’s time we admitted it. Sure, they can dish pithy quotes suitable for social media just as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul, but where are they on the really important matters? They’ve been either flat wrong (e.g., black temple and priesthood ban, women/ERA, homosexuality) or missing entirely (church historical issues, which basically are doctrinal issues for us, have effectively been turned over to the historians and apologists).
When we as a community are willing to step back and stop sacrificing people to our twin idols of “prophetic” leadership and The Family, we will begin again to regain credibility. I don’t have the patience for this any longer. My kids are of the age where this stuff matters a great deal to them. I don’t have 30 years to wait for the church to get its $*#t together. I want my children to have a durable spirituality that matters in the years ahead. What the church is producing these days doesn’t fit that requirement, so a formally active, committed, family of five has stepped away. We won’t be party to this crap any longer.
I finally just finished reading the full article. There’s a lot to digest, but the recurring feeling I had throughout is that this article is important, like landmark important. And on a personal note, I’m overjoyed (and more than a little bit vindicated) to see such a well reasoned article draw parallels between current LGBT treatment in the church and the race based priesthood ban. I have been failing at making that argument for awhile now and am thrilled to see it done correctly. Thank you for drawing my attention to this article.
The law of chastity as presented in several different settings , is sexual relations only with your spouse.
Per LDS theology, only a faithful husband and wife will be exalted and permitted to continue as families after this life. All others will live separately and singly forever and ever. Knowing what will happen in the end, we must not encourage our brothers and sisters to pursue this avenue knowing where it will end. Doing so will only jeopardize your own exaltation.
What makes us qualified to make that decision for others? Don’t we claim to allow them the privilege to worship “how, where, or what they may?” If your view of exaltation is strictly heterosexual, then you are free to live a strictly heterosexual life, but it isn’t your prerogative, or mine or anybody else’s, to force that religious view and it’s implications for mortal life onto anyone else. But I digress. The whole point of the original article is that we don’t have as much doctrinal basis for our beliefs against homosexuality as we may think. It encourages us to genuinely and openly ask the Lord for guidance.
Spouse. So…. Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, relationships between homosexual spouses are permitted by the law of chastity. Unless you want to argue that spouse means church/God sanctioned marriage partners, in which case I refer back to my original comment about the changing nature of our understanding of this definition.
I googled a definition for birth defect: a physical or biochemical abnormality that is present at birth and that may be inherited or the result of environmental influence.
I don’t know the answer as to why some people are born gay. I’ve read that only 3 to 4% of the population is gay. Some researchers are considering gayness may be a birth defect.
When it comes to Mormons and other people of faith, in the past (before the 1980’s), some chose to marry the opposite sex. Others remained celibate. Then of course, others abandoned faith.
Nowadays, it isn’t much different, except I would guess more choose to abandon faith than in the past.
No one is encouraging anyone to be gay. It happens at birth without any human encouragement involved. The question is what right anyone has to interfere with someone who is gay living their life fully and freely.
Markag, that definition of the LoC is exactly what so many people are hoping the Church will finally accept. I don’t understand the “see how far it flies” comment you made in this context. Queer people are like straight people. We don’t have a desire to have sex with everyone we meet of the same gender as us. We value committed relationships in the same way you do. The fact that the Church sees us as diseased and *doesn’t* define the LoC as sexual relations only between spouses is the underlying cause for the faith crises of so many of us.
Practicing alcoholics may not have full fellowship in the church yet alcohol is legal.
Practicing homosexuals may not have full fellowship in the church even though gay marriage is legal.
Your argument does not hold water.
Think very carefully what you are doing. Encouraging your brothers and sisters to follow this path is not a good thing.
Ronkonkoma, I’m afraid you missed the point of Mr Cook’s article — the church thought we knew black skin was a result of premortal indecision; the church thought we knew a man could only be exalted in the company of more than one wife; there are a lot of things we thought we knew that later revelation altered or completely countered. What might we think we know today that will yet be revealed to be different than we currently understand? This author makes a compelling case for seeking revelation on the plan of salvation as it pertains to our LGBT brothers and sisters. If we as the church and the church leadership humbly pursue further light and knowledge on this topic, and the Lord reveals that exaltation really is heteronormative, then we’ll have to individually and collectively cross that bridge to come to terms with it. But why be so stubborn as to refuse to ask? Asking shows Christlike love for our fellow beings, humility before the Lord (not my will be done, but thine), and follows a grand scriptural pattern of asking and receiving, knocking and opening, trusting in the God who giveth liberally and upbraideth not. Asking is the least we can do to honor our covenant to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of it.
Ronkonkoma, you aren’t even comparing apples and oranges; you’re comparing apples and compost. Alcohol is not a basic human need. Abstaining from it does no harm. Intimate companionship, however, *is* a basic human need. Abstaining from it results in extreme loneliness, usually resulting in depression and suicidal ideation. Additionally, the way the church teaches LGB individuals that they are diseased or broken causes other mental health issues in their teens and young adulthood which can have long-term effects throughout their lives. The fact is that for most LGB individuals, following the church’s commandments regarding their sexuality has a negative effect on their mental health and can lead to depression and suicide. Homosexuality is not something that you can “practice”, nor is it a “lifestyle”. Orientation is completely outside of human control. And the lifestyle you are condemning LGB individuals for practicing is the exact same one that you yourself practice. It’s called monogamy with someone you’re compatible with.
Or are you saying that it’s God’s will that we encourage LGB people to follow a path that, for most, leads to poor mental health and greatly increases their risk for suicide, and who are we to argue against God?
I am VERY comfortable standing up for the rights and dignity of my fellow Saints whoever and however they may be. We are all doing our best to be Christ-like in the circumstances we find ourselves in. We are all imperfect and we all sin. And your sins, my sins and Ronkonkoma’s are no more or less sinful.
I have thought about it very carefully for a very long time, I assure you. Decades before the ugly and dishonorable Prop H8 business! And I feel far better about myself and others when I speak out plainly and clearly than I do when I hunker down and let anyone think for a moment I support an outmoded, uncaring and craven policy that results in family divisions, warped marriages of desperation and innocent lives of misery, self-loathing and rejection and that end too often in suicide.
“Per LDS theology, only a faithful husband and wife will be exalted and permitted to continue as families after this life. All others will live separately and singly forever and ever. Knowing what will happen in the end, we must not encourage our brothers and sisters to pursue this avenue knowing where it will end. Doing so will only jeopardize your own exaltation.”
I wonder if the same thing is happening to others. The LGBT issue is opening my eyes – I don’t believe what the churches teaches on several broad fronts. That only couples are exalted. That singles receive a lesser reward. That anyone who loved their family in this life will be deprived of them in the next. That we really know anything.
I wonder if the church realizes that the perfunctory “per LDS theology” intro is stopping people in their tracks. Wait a minute; do I really believe that? Can I be with people who are so sure they know?
Angela C, which current Ensign article are you referring to? I’d like to look it up. Thank you.
Teresa, there’s a rich discussion of it on BCC (link in the post): https://bycommonconsent.com/2017/03/21/lets-talk-about-counterfeit-marriage/
– I don’t believe what the churches teaches on several broad fronts.
It all comes out in the wash. You don’t believe the doctrine.
The correlation between the priesthood ban and homosexual acts is inapt. From Brigham Young on down it was always taught that at some point the ban would be lifted. Only most felt that it would not happen in this life. Revelation changed that. Ronkonkoma is fighting a lone battle here it seems. Wveryone else seems to think that the prophets who lead the church are not listening to God on this matter.
There are so many who have loved one that are in the lesbian and gay community who sorrow at the emotional distress they go through because of the dissonance between their religion and their desires. I understand that completely. But the Church leadership is not in error in their stance. They are doing as much as they can to help, without changing a edict they have declared is from God. Just because they have not changed that to something that the more “enlightened” now believe does not mean that it is wrong, nor that they have not prayed about it.
Ronkonkoma, has a valid point. The teachings on homosexual acts and SSM will not change. The essay notes that attitudes towards homosexuals have changed by individuals in leadership positions, but the basic understanding about the acts themselves as sinful has not changed. That is something that everyone would be wise to understand. Ronkonkoma is attempting, I think, to tell people not to encourage gays and lesbians to engage in homosexual acts and marriages, leading them to hope and believe that the doctrine, the teaching that homosexual acts are sinful will change. Based on LDS theology, the reality is, they are being encouraged to continue doing things that will lead to their spiritual downfall.
This is not a popular idea here, but the gospel has never been based upon whether something is popular, but whether it is the truth.
Glenn, I know it’s not a popular idea among most members of the church, but teaching that such a basic and (according to the church) sacred human need as that for intimate companionship is sinful for a specific subset of God’s children causes deep, long-lasting harm and is not of God. I understand that this concept may be impossible for you to grasp. It certainly is to the current leaders of the church. While many LGBT saints leave the church for their health and safety, I weep for those who see themselves as disabled or diseased, and for the children who are taught subtly and consistently to hate themselves in order to “please” God. Please, please educate yourself before making more statements like you did in your post. Those statements are exactly why LGBT youth have 4x the risk of suicide compared to cisgender heterosexual youth. Christ taught that the way we know something is not of god is if it bears evil fruit. The Church’s teachings on homosexuality consistently, undeniably do so. Take care not to call evil good.
“…the gospel has never been based upon whether something is popular…”
But it has been based on the idea that Jesus Christ himself authored it. I just don’t see it: Christ separating families, rewarding good singles differently that good marrieds, etc.
If the whole argument against homosexual behavior hinges on these things, I think fewer and fewer will be convinced. There needs to be some other reason.
“…the gospel has never been based upon whether something is popular…”
I’d take this a step further and say that those of us with an interest in history scratch our heads at statements like this. History seems to say otherwise. Sweeping change happens in the church when society puts so much pressure on the church for ‘bad’ doctrine that it has no choice but to face/change such doctrine. I can’t see how anyone could look at the end of polygamy or the end of the priesthood ban and say otherwise.
Now personally, I think that means the brethern (with biases on such matters to start) are forced to search out answers from God in a way they were not previously prepared to do. But I can also see that meaning they just cave because they recognize the church reputation is getting so smeared it hurts the missions of the church. Clearly we are not there yet with SSM. My guess is it will take an other 20 years.
“Clearly we are not there yet with SSM. My guess is it will take an other 20 years.” How many years until we figure out that women exist?
When the number of women willing to put up with patriarchy gets so low that the leadership is forced to deal with it. Sadly, I see that taking longer than SSM. But that’s just my guess of course.
Glenn Thigpen, BY did not merely teach that at some point the priesthood ban would be lifted. He taught when it would be lifted: “the Lord told Cain that he should not receive the blessings of the preisthood nor his seed, until the last of the posterity of Able had received the preisthood, until the redemtion of the earth.” BY, Feb 1852 speech to Utah legislature (Brigham Young Addresses, Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, dated Feb. 5, 1852, located in the LDS Church Historical Department, Salt Lake City, Utah). While some may dispute whether blacks of African descent are the seed of Cain, the rest of BY’s speech makes it clear that he believed it and was talking about all of them — no priesthood for them until the redemption of the earth and until the last posterity of Abel had received the priesthood. The comparison is apt, though imperfect, like any other analogy.
To any brothers and sisters who are dealing with same-sex attraction and who want to repent from transgression I offer a test. Go to your bishop and ask his counsel. Anyone on this blog or anywhere else who offers you advice that is contrary to his is not of God.