A recent blog post that tries to bolster the church’s position against gay marriage has created a bit of a stir in social media. The author decries the fact that “some members of the Church, particularly among Millennials, are beginning to oppose the Church’s position in record numbers” and sets out to prove that the church’s position is “virtually invincible.” If that’s his goal, he’ll need some actual evidence first. Here are some of my thoughts in response to this blogger.
You argue that “Western notions of romantic attachment developed over the last few centuries, and the way our society defines it and obsesses over it is a fairly recent phenomenon. That makes it impossible to claim that ‘the Church is killing LGBT members by depriving them of a basic human need.’”
Romantic love may not have been the driving force behind marriage throughout most of history (which point I also make in my essay), but let’s get down to something even more basic and primal – the sex drive. That is absolutely what makes people pair up, get married and support a family. And that is what numerous church leaders have taught in talks on chastity and marriage: those feelings (i.e., sexual feelings) are God-given, and God-ordained, and when expressed in the bonds of marriage are the “ultimate symbol of total union.” The sex act in marriage is basically elevated to a sacrament.
When you tell gay people they have to shut down such a basic human need or desire, the desire for human connection and intimacy – physical, emotional and spiritual – you are condemning them to a kind of hell. That’s the hell Josh Weed was expressing in his recent blog post. And what makes it worse is that gay people look all around and see their straight friends and family members falling in love and expressing that kind of intimacy, but they can’t because people like you believe their internal “wiring” for that kind of love is evil. Which brings me to my next point.
You are operating from the pre-determined assumption that same-sex love and marriage are sinful, even if expressed in a monogamous, lawful marriage. What makes you think the biological variant of a having a same-sex orientation and “acting on it” is any more sinful than the biological variant of being left-handed and acting on it? Where’s the evidence? What we do have evidence of is people in same-sex marriages who are reaping the same consequences and blessings as people in heterosexual marriages. Your only comeback – and this is why your position is NOT INVINCIBLE – is “because the prophets have said so.” At the end of the day, that’s all you can argue. It may be enough for those who believe that when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done. But for those of us who sustain and believe in prophets but also see that they are fallible and have said numerous things throughout history that have proved to be wrong, sometimes we need to get our own revelation – which brings me to my last point.
You bring up the warning that individualism may be trumping what the prophet says. Yet at the beginning of your essay, you state that, “some members of the Church, particularly among Millennials, are beginning to oppose the Church’s position in record numbers.” So here’s my thought. Maybe the answer to this vexing question of gay marriage will have to come in the form of inspiration, revelation and a change of heart felt among the body of the membership, which will have the effect of moving Church doctrine and policy. In my opinion, this is another way God reveals his word and moves the work along – through the common-variety membership of the church. And this is another reason why the prophet “can’t lead the church astray” – not because God won’t let the prophet speak in error, but because the majority of the church membership who have the Spirit will move in the right direction *despite* any incorrect teaching a prophet or apostle might give.