What Does the Church Want Non-LDS Gay People to Do?

I’ve read a lot of posts on gay marriage in the last few weeks, and seen a lot of arguments. But I have a question about the subject that I haven’t ever really seen directly addressed. So I’m going to jump into the fray, and ask it. My question is: what, exactly, does the church want non-LDS gay people to do? For members, the requirement is currently either celibacy or a mixed-orientation marriage. Though I find this situation problematic, I want to set it aside, and ask what the church might realistically hope for when it comes to the vast majority of gay people who aren’t LDS.

Here are the options I can come up with:

1) Celibacy. If this is a requirement for Mormons, one might ask, why not for everyone? But I think even the church would realize that this isn’t a realistic requirement for those not of our faith. Many see the rejection of same-sex marriage as imposing our values on others; such a move would be taking that to an extreme.

2) Mixed-orientation marriages. This is an unlikely scenario, given the high failure rate of such marriages, and the fact that gay people who don’t have the religious views of Mormons aren’t really going to be motivated to enter into such marriages. The church has actually come to recognize that this is a problematic prescription even when applied to members; it’s unlikely to be a satisfactory solution for non-members.

3) Go back to an earlier time, when gay people had to remain closeted and homosexuality was much less socially acceptable. In other words, sweep the problem under the rug and hope it goes away. But the tremendous toll this takes upon not only gay people themselves, but also families which include gay parents and spouses, should make this a questionable option.

4) Live the “gay lifestyle.” By this I mean, engage in promiscuous sex and don’t enter into committed relationships. (I’m not seriously saying that this is a fair term, by the way; I’m using it because I think many LDS imagine it as meaning that.) I don’t think the church explicitly wants this, but at least for some, this is equated with homosexuality—if you’re gay, this is inevitably what you do, and that’s one reason why it’s a problem to be gay. This also might arise as the alternative once you assert that marriage is bad for gay people. But given its teachings, I think it would be odd for the church to not have issues with this as the norm.

5) Enter into civil unions. I imagine this would be a common answer, but it raises some questions. For one thing, it leaves a certain group of people as having a second-class status when it comes to their partnerships. Maybe the church doesn’t care about that. But I don’t see how it’s consistent to be in favor of civil unions while rejecting gay marriage when your basic argument is that tolerating homosexual behavior is bad for society. On a practical level, what is it exactly that makes civil unions acceptable when gay marriage is bad? It’s also worth noting that because they are easier to dissolve, civil unions are less likely to lead to committed, enduring relationships. The church may not care whether gay unions have those qualities, but I think on the basis of what is good for society (by their own reckoning), they should. To put it another way, why is it worse for straight couples to live together without marrying, but better for gay couples?

6) Gay marriage. The church, as we all know, is vehemently opposed to this.

But here is my question. Given that it’s unreasonable to expect non-LDS gay people to follow church standards on this, how is gay marriage not the best of the remaining options? It might still be seen as sinful and detrimental to society, but it’s surely the lesser of several evils. It’s more likely to encourage stable relationships—and I think there is widespread agreement that those are preferable for children, and I think arguably better for society as a whole. It also has the advantage of giving all people equal treatment, which I think in general the church doesn’t necessarily see as a bad thing, especially given our own history of being persecuted for socially unacceptable marriage practices.

Another important question is what the church would expect from the many already-existing families in which the spouses are gay. Should they divorce, in the interests of what is best for society? Especially if they have children, this seems a problematic option.

I think one of the problems here is the church currently makes no moral distinction between promiscuous, extra-marital gay sex, and gay sex in the context of a committed relationship. It’s all indiscriminately bad. But I think this position needs to be seriously questioned, if the church is going to make the case that it wants not only what is good for its members, but what is good for society more generally.

34 comments

  1. This is a great question. I would re-frame your question this way: how would the Church prefer that non-Mormon gay people act regarding their sexuality? From what I can tell, the Church’s official position is that the prohibition against gay sex applies to all of humanity and is not a commandment specific to just the covenant people (Mormons) and there is no marital exception like there is with straight sex. They are going to take the position that what is good for the Church and its doctrine is good for society, or takes precedence over what is good for society. Given that, their order of preference would seem to be:

    1- celibate and in the closet: no commandment breaking and we don’t have to think about it
    2- celibate and out of the closet: no commandment breaking even though we have to think about it
    3- mixed-orientation marriage out of the closet: no commandment breaking but with open disclosure
    4- mixed-orientation marriage in the closet: I put this after 3 because I think the Church has learned that hiding sexuality from the spouse is generally disastrous but hopes that with disclosure and consent these marriages can be successful.
    5- in the closet but sexually active: if people are going to break the commandments, I think the Church wants it to be hidden and shameful. If homosexual relationships are open and unapologetic, then the Church ends up looking bigoted and intollerant when they condemn them.
    6- “gay lifestyle” without exclusive partners: although this is open, it does not have the appearance of being a “legitimate” family and so it is easier for the Church to distinguish. Also, there would seem to be a greater possibility of the person repenting and possibly joining the Church if they are not in a long-term, committed relationship.
    7- Civil Union: do these still exist, and is anyone going to choose them?
    8- Gay marriage: From the Church’s perspective, this is the least desirable option. It locks in the sinful lifestyle, so to speak, making it harder for people to repent. It also makes missionary work and conversion to the LDS Church the least likely, since conversion would require the breaking up of a family (similar to polygamous families in Africa). It increases the number and percentage of children who have two dads or two moms instead of one dad and one mom (which messes with the plan of salvation and current sealing options). The more common gay marriage and gay families are, the more bigoted and intolerant the Church seems for rejecting them. From their perspective, it normalizes sin (calling evil good and good evil). (This is the same type of thinking that causes conservative religions to prefer abstinence education over birth control education: they don’t want to condone sinful activity even at the expense of increasing undesirable outcomes like abortion and unwanted teen pregnancy).

    Even though I think those are the hierarchies of preferences for the LDS Church as an institution, I think the membership generally, over time, will come to the opposite preference as they know more and more people entering into gay marriages and see the positive individual and societal outcomes. It will be interesting to watch.




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  2. 5- in the closet but sexually active: if people are going to break the commandments, I think the Church wants it to be hidden and shameful. If homosexual relationships are open and unapologetic, then the Church ends up looking bigoted and intolerant when they condemn them.

    Joel, this is a fascinating point–does the Church, to some extent, want gay people to remain Other, alien and threatening and dangerous? Having a reliable and scary Other is a great way to support community cohesion and solidify ideology. And when gay people get married and raise families in bourgeois suburban homes it becomes really difficult to maintain the sense of threat.




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  3. Joel, you make some really great points, and I like your re-frame of my question. I hadn’t thought about the angle that the church would see what is good for the church as good for society, but it makes a lot of sense. I’m intrigued by the possibility that the church would actually rather have gay people live a promiscuous lifestyle than be in a committed relationship, because (among other reasons) it makes it easier to condemn homosexuality.

    I’ve wondered a lot about the question of missionary work. Will we just kind of give up on gays, at least married ones, because them joining the church would lead to such thorny issues? I suppose it’s not a huge issue right now, because how many gay people are going to be interested in being Mormon? But it does seem like something we can’t avoid forever, especially if we’re serious about the gospel being for everyone. I can imagine a church in which people in gay marriages are allowed to join without breaking up the marriage, but remain kind of second-class citizens—like other people who get married outside of the temple (though probably even lower on the totem pole). The fact that there are wards where gay couples attend and are accepted—even if such wards are few and far between—makes me think that’s not out of the realm of possibility, even if temple sealings remain out of reach. Of course, whether any gay people would willingly sign up for such a situation remains an open question, but stranger things have happened.




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  4. Joel’s comment seems spot on. I would add a preference right at the top. The zero’th preference of the LDS church, if you will:

    0- convert to Mormonism, forsake your sins, and repent. Of course, this option is not exclusive with being celibate or entering mixed orientation marriage.

    Having said that, I decided some time ago that I would not encourage any gay person, or parent of a gay person, to join the church until I feel more comfortable with the church’s position, and I’m less comfortable with it now than I’ve ever been in the past.




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  5. Since the Church views itself as being the source of the greatest amount of truth found on Earth, I think it’s approach has always been to want to encourage situations and structures in place that will push the maximum number of people possible on the path to conforming with the beliefs and practices of Mormon Christianity. This could be by both positive and negative means. If we look at an unmarried non-Mormon heterosexual couple, having marriage as a societal norm would be positive because it would be a form of preparation for living the LDS Gospel. Likewise, I have always perceived the Church to be somewhat tacitly satisfied when horrible life circumstances seem to correlate with living contrary to the Gospel because this, too, can push people to conform to the standards of the Church. I think that is the extent to which they care how non-members behave.

    Although this mindset has somewhat tempered in recent years, the Church has tended to have a binary view wherein the Church plays a stabilizing, saving role in society where there is a sense that societies outside of the Church will inevitably choose to destroy themselves individually and collectively. The Church feels a moral obligation to try to influence people otherwise, but aside from speaking up, I believe there’s a certain resignation that stems from scriptural prophesy.

    I think they believe that eventually things in society will get so bad that people will flee to the Church as a refuge.

    To more directly answer your question, I think the traditional mindset has been that if society makes things hard enough on LGBT people, they will have motivation enough to conform no matter how much it goes against their nature and the Church should never encourage situations that will make non-Mormons permanently incompatible with potentially becoming committed members of the Church.

    Again, I think these mindsets are changing and softening a bit in recent years.




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  6. Thanks for raising this question, Lynnette, and thinking through the possibilities. Unfortunately, I think you could make a strong argument for #3. Even current GAs appear to be aware that it wouldn’t come across well if they openly said, “Back to the closet, you gay people!” But when they openly pine, over and over, Conference after Conference, to go back to the standards of fifty plus years ago, it appears that they have three culture war issues on their minds: homosexuality, abortion, and pornography. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if at least some GAs would rather that gay people just go back to being closeted, even if they don’t say so in as many words.

    For example, here’s a line from the “background materials” section of the letter read in US and Canadian wards in the last couple of weeks: “For much of human history, civil laws have generally been compatible with God’s laws.” In this context, I find it difficult to read this line as being anything but chicken homophobia. We wish teh gayz would just go away like they used to in the good old days.

    (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/top-church-leaders-counsel-members-after-supreme-court-same-sex-marriage-decision)

    I also think there’s a lot to be said for M’s point: “I think the traditional mindset has been that if society makes things hard enough on LGBT people, they will have motivation enough to conform no matter how much it goes against their nature and the Church should never encourage situations that will make non-Mormons permanently incompatible with potentially becoming committed members of the Church.”

    I used to live in Arizona, and at least when I was there, it seems like there was an anti-Mexican initiative on the ballot every election. The content varied (e.g., “Let’s make English our official language!”) but the message was consistent: let’s send Hispanic people a message about how much we dislike them. I see the Church’s response to gay marriage kind of like this. The particular content doesn’t matter so much as is the subtext, which is that they really want to be able to send a message to gay people about how unwelcome they are and how much we dislike them.




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  7. I think that gay marriage will fit rather nicely into the Church’s narrative of an increasingly wicked world, and that the Church will not really do much work to try to figure out how to tailor their missionary message to the homosexual community or figure out how to convert them. It’s a lost cause for them. The Church’s real pain will be the continued slow bleed from young gay members leaving the church after they give up on a lifetime of celibacy, and their family and friends, and all the pain associated with that.




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  8. Another sharp post, Lynette. Your 6) seems to me to capture the reasoning that led the Conservative party in the UK to legalize gay marriage–precisely because marriage preserves the socially conservative values you mention.

    That said, Joel’s comment is on point.




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  9. An extremely thought provoking post Lynnette, it’s easier to say something is a problem, it’s much harder to propose a solution.
    I’m hoping it will all die away quietly, in a few years. Though we still have most members who believe Negroes are as a result of the curse of Cain, but are no longer racist.




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  10. This probably isn’t what you want to hear, bit I don’t think any of your theories reflect what the Church actually wants. What they want for “gays” is the same they want for everyone:

    To come unto Christ, drink deeply of the waters of life…To repent and be healed. and




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  11. I tend to think that the Church wants gays to go back into the closet–what it wants is for Gays (and LGBT) to not exist. And this post seems to imply that members of the Church even want to engage in moral deliberation on the issue. They don’t. In fact, I wonder if most members are even capable of any kind of moral deliberation aside from Divine Command.

    Lynette, the last two posts have been awesome! Maybe getting these ideas out there will help people to see the issue more clearly.




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  12. I don’t disagree that that’s what the church ultimately wants for everyone, SilverRain, but I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Yes, the church wants gays to come to Christ and repent. But significantly, in the eyes of the church, for gays that involves particular requirements, ones which don’t apply to heterosexuals: to be either celibate or in a mixed-orientation marriage. You can’t use the fact that the church hopes for everyone to come to Christ to gloss over the details of what that actually looks like for different groups of people.

    But more to the subject of my post, I’m asking this in a practical way. I think the church to at least some degree accepts that it lives in a pluralist world and can’t impose its values on everyone. For example, the church might ultimately want everyone who drinks alcohol to come to Christ and stop drinking. But at least these days, there’s no attempt to ban alcohol for non-members. I’m asking, given the reality that not everyone—not even most people—are going to accept LDS teachings, is there any sense that some actions are still preferable to others? Back to my example of alcohol, you can advocate for responsible drinking as preferable even if you ultimately think that all drinking is problematic. I simply don’t think the church can realistically expect gays in general to follow LDS teachings on the subject of homosexuality. Are we going to work with that reality, or are we just going to dismiss all homosexual behavior as equally problematic and say that social stability in that context doesn’t matter?

    (And by the way, you don’t need to put quotes around the word gays, as if they didn’t actually exist. Whether or not you like it, we do, and I think even the church has come to accept that.)




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  13. I agree that the church’s first choice is for everyone to join the church. The problem when it comes to teh gays is the problem you chose to set aside for this post: The church has no reasonable solution for gay people within the church. Therefore, it’s not practical to ask gay people to join the church. With that in mind, #3 is the church’s best option. So long as there are people out there who don’t fit within the church, then the church’s stated mission to convert all the people comes into question. If gay people simply don’t exist–keeping us in the closet being the next best alternative given a reality where we do exist–then this major gap in the church’s mission goes away (or at least becomes invisible again).

    That said, I suspect #4 is the church’s second choice. Not only does it otherize teh gays for good straight members, but it motivates closeted gay members to stay in the closet and in the church. You don’t want to be one of THOSE people, do you?




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  14. Re: “The Church’s real pain will be the continued slow bleed from young gay members leaving the church after they give up on a lifetime of celibacy, and their family and friends, and all the pain associated with that.”

    Yes, there will like be a continued “bleed” of gay members. This is a relatively small part of our church and society. The bigger problem for the church is that there will continue to be a bleed from not only gay members but also those sympathetic to them. That is, today, a much larger number and it is likely to continue to grow.




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  15. Thank you for discussing this with me, Lynette. There are some things I haven’t quite yet figured out for myself regarding this topic, so I appreciate your willingness to converse with me even though I don’t see things as you do.

    “for gays that involves particular requirements, ones which don’t apply to heterosexuals: to be either celibate or in a mixed-orientation marriage”

    And I don’t agree with this assertion. I am required to be celibate until I find someone with whom I can form an eternal covenant of marriage, as well. I will likely never find a man who will join me in such a covenant, and I don’t see a significant difference. There is still mourning, there is still struggling, there is still just as much wondering why I was created so antithetical to what is expected for an eternal marriage. We are all imperfect, and all must come to Christ and humble ourselves. I just don’t see sexuality as such an non-negotiable aspect of our discipleship. I don’t see celibacy as such an unacceptably onerous request from my God. I don’t see a mixed-orientation marriage between two people who decide that works for them to be so abhorrent or beyond what God typically asks of us.

    It’s not “glossing over” to me. It’s boiling things down to the bones, discovering what is really important in life. I’ve had to do that no less than those who have to come to terms with their own same-sex-directed desire.

    I think it is…one sided?…to ask people who believe in a truth to abandon preaching that truth. To those who truly believe this is the path to happiness…let alone those who KNOW it is by their own experience…you can’t expect them to just abandon the hope of presenting that option to those who don’t believe or know. In a way, you’re asking them to be sociopathic: to abandon empathy. You can only ask that, if you’re willing to do the same: to stop preaching acceptance of gay marriage as the only moral decision.

    I put quotes around “gays” because I reject the idea of labeling people with only one aspect of their identity. I don’t see “gays.” I see people.




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  16. How is the church’s mission not still applicable? It has never been assumed that everyone would join the church because it requires a mighty change of heart and some people are not going to choose that. Jesus said “Come follow me”. Not “Follow me if it doesn’t inconvenience you too much”, or “Follow me if it fits what you already believe and doesn’t contradict your firmly held world views”. It is certainly more difficult, if not impossible, for those who do not feel they should have to change. The world is actively telling people that it doesn’t matter who you love or how you love and you should do what you feel. That is not the same message that the Lord has given. So it shouldn’t be the church’s message either.

    I’m with Silver Rain. Repent and come unto Christ is the entire point, for everyone. It’s going to be hard, even harder for some than others. But that is the commandment.




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  17. SilverRain, calling your view that there’s no difference between telling straight people to be abstinent until marriage and telling gay people to be celibate forever “empathy” and saying that asking you to give this up would be asking you to abandon empathy is completely absurd. Your refusal to recognize the difference is rather a complete failure of empathy. Saying that you see “people” and not “gays” fits with this completely. People have differences, and your careful glossing over of them doesn’t make them disappear or not matter.




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  18. Along with the commandment, J Town, is a promise that following the commandment will bring joy, not only in the next life but also in this life. For myself and many, many other gay Mormons, that was not the case. I knocked at the door until the bones of my knuckles tore through the flesh, and all I found was pain and emptiness. It may not be assumed that everyone *will* join the church, but it’s assumed that everyone *can*, and that doing so will bring joy. This simply is not the case when it comes to the vast majority of gay people. You can believe as fiercely as you want, but my experience tells me otherwise. I repented and came unto Christ for twenty-five years, but found no one there waiting for me.




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  19. Also, while many might disagree, I think coming unto Christ does not necessarily entail coming to the Church. Coming unto Christ means having a relationship with Him, so that you can come to know and understand the life Christ wants you to lead. This is not always one-size fits all as we are led to believe.

    It is entirely possible that Christ wants or is letting the Church hold the position it is holding for whatever reason, but is communicating to individuals contradictory directives that are in their best interest. I think we need to be careful about denying decisions people have made for their own lives after sincere and persistent prayer, sometimes over the course of years. It is akin to denying the spirit in a way.

    So coming unto Christ does not always mean following the Church.




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  20. I like that, M, even speaking as an atheist. Your position is in line with the church’s doctrine of personal revelation, and more importantly (to me) it shows respect for a wide variety of experiences.




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  21. SilverRain, I do see a significant difference between what is asked of gays and what is asked of straights—even straights who are single. Yes, there are those in the latter category who may not have much hope of marriage in this life. I’m not saying that isn’t a challenging situation or doesn’t cause a lot of pain for many people. I don’t want to downplay that. I don’t want to get into a competition about who suffers the most.

    But I think it’s worth noting that gays are told that their very desires for marriage and family are sinful, that in some basic way they’re flawed and in need of fixing. That’s not the same that as saying that everyone is in need of a mighty change of heart, particularly given that LDS teachings are that humans are at the most basic level, good, and children of God. And while we’re all called to repent, the attempt to have people repent away their sexuality has been a disaster.

    “I think it is…one sided?…to ask people who believe in a truth to abandon preaching that truth.”

    I’m genuinely confused. Where did I say that the church should stop preaching its truth? I’m not saying that the church shouldn’t continue to proselytize. Again, I’m asking a practical question—given the reality that not all (or even most) gay people are going to join the church, can we talk about the optimal situation for society in that context? All through the same-sex marriage debate, the church claimed that it took its stance not only for its own sake, but for the sake of society. In other words, they’ve been making the case that they have a stake in a certain kind of society. I don’t see how thinking about what that might look like is mutually exclusive with continuing to proclaim the gospel.

    “I don’t see “gays.” I see people.”

    Claiming not to see differences between people in a society where those differences are tied up with privilege is a sure way of perpetuating the oppression of minority groups. It would be nice if those differences didn’t matter. But right now, they do, and we won’t get anywhere if we pretend we don’t see them.




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  22. J Town, as I said to SilverRain, I’m not saying that the church’s mission isn’t applicable. Of course we’re going to continue to preach that people should follow Christ. But that doesn’t cancel out the question I’m posing in this post. If not everyone is going to adopt the church’s behavioral standards—and clearly they’re not—are some situations nonetheless better than others?

    I would ask this to any opponent of same-sex marriage. If you don’t want gays to marry, what is it exactly that you want us to do instead? Your answer seems to be, convert to my religion. Okay. But as you say, not everyone is going to follow that particular path. Given that, are some of my remaining options better than others? Will some be better for society? My argument is that the answer to that question is yes.




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  23. Mr. Fob, I haven’t really gotten into it here, but I do think that’s a crucial point: the church, generally speaking, does not work for gay people. Of course there are exceptions who are toughing it out. But most people end up leaving, and I can’t blame them. Many, many gays find themselves better off psychologically and even spiritually when they leave behind Mormon teachings. Given that, I think we should be careful about holding up conversion as the answer for non-LDS gays.

    (I say this, by the way, as a believer. I’m not saying we should stop preaching Christ and his gospel. But at the same time, I think we should be hesitant to prescribe religious solutions for things like homosexuality, especially when they have such a bad track record.)




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  24. If the defining characteristic of any single person is not having (authorized) sex, then, yes, abstinence is basically the same for those who are straight and those who are gay. But I don’t think that is an adequate description of the lives of my single, straight LDS girlfriends. Along with plenty of heartache and loneliness, my single friends have nearly all had some guilt-free romance in their time–dating, kissing, dreaming, hoping, and so on. Some have been married (to a person they were presumably in love with and attracted to) and subsequently been widowed or divorced. Some have had children. Overall, even if they aren’t currently married, they’ve had some romantic and even sexual opportunities that aren’t available to LGBT people living according to LDS standards.

    Have my single, heterosexual LDS friends ever sat in church thinking, If the people around me knew I was single, would they despise me? Did they wonder whether their parents would throw them out of the house if they admitted they were single?

    So, yeah, being straight and single and LDS, or living by LDS standards, doesn’t seem exactly like being LGBT and LDS, or living by LDS standards, even if the goal is the same.

    This isn’t to say that God can’t ask hard things of people. But it feels compassionate to me to admit the magnitude of what is being asked.

    Whether it’s God asking, of course, or good men doing their imperfect best to speak for God, that’s a separate issue. As is how realistic it is to ask these things.




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  25. The natural man is an enemy to God, not the natural gay man is an enemy to God. We are all told that our desires are sinful, that without Christ we are wicked, vile, and eternally damned.

    I’m sorry, but there is nothing special about any particular sin, even homosexuality. The sooner everyone realizes that on both sides, the more like Zion we will be.




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  26. Ah, but there’s the rub. The current (and, to me at least, confusing and arguably untenable) position of the church is that homosexuality is NOT a sin.




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  27. “We are all told that our desires are sinful, that without Christ we are wicked, vile, and eternally damned.”

    Wicked, vile, and eternally damned? You’d make a good Calvinist. But I don’t think LDS theology actually goes for the total depravity of human beings. Yes, we’re told that the natural man is an enemy to God. But we’re also told that our nature is divine, that at the most fundamental level we’re children of God.

    Straight people are told that their desires to partner up with someone to whom they’re sexually attracted are natural, even God-given; that they’re part of the plan of happiness. That’s where I see things getting complicated with homosexuality. Especially since, as The Captain says, the church no longer sees homosexual desire itself as as sinful.




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  28. The church wants LDS and Non LDS gays to just go away. This is in no way an insult on gays, rather, I am saying the church’s view is that pathetic. Clearly, as you point out, the church doesn’t know what to do so it said it was a choice forever (and the church was wrong) and now it acknowledges it is not a choice but still won’t give a clear answer. Like you said, the church SHOULD prefer that gays enter committed relationships over promiscuity, but the church won’t say this. They want to call any gay sex wrong. The church needs to wake up and realize gays aren’t going away. The church should encourage committed relationships among gays the way it does among heterosexuals. And it will, eventually.




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  29. “But I don’t think LDS theology actually goes for the total depravity of human beings. ”

    Neither is that what I said. But LDS doctrine certainly does teach that we are wicked and eternally damned unless we “yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” and come to Christ to be perfected in Him. That is true for all, gays not excepted. It is what the Church wants for everyone, whether or not they are members of the Church. The Church doesn’t represent God’s will for His people, it represents God’s will for the world. Asking them to have one standard for members, and another for society at large is asking them to water down their message, and compromise who they are.

    I recognize that you don’t see that, which is why I’m trying to explain it. I’ve seen you around enough and I respect your opinion and character enough to believe that you are not just trying to preach to those who are like-minded, but are actually trying to sway the perspectives of those who support the Church’s decisions. If you’d rather I don’t try, I’ll stop. My intention is not to be annoying or controversial.

    I don’t intend to go into personal detail in a public forum to “prove” I know what I’m talking about. But suffice it to say that my desires for an eternal companion are not what will allow me to actually make that covenant with someone. I have had to humble myself more than once and allow God to tear out the parts of my personality which are against His will. I am not the person I was when I was a teenager. I’m almost diametrically opposed. Having core parts of your personality which are not in alignment with God is not the sole purview of homosexuals.

    More broadly, every person on this earth has desires that are against God’s commandments. Desiring anything against God’s commandments is not a sin (though they are weaknesses that can be exploited.) We are always able to choose what we will do with those desires, no matter what they are. We are able to choose whether or not our desires are more important to us than God’s desires, or if we will humble ourselves before Him, accept Him at His word for what will bring us lasting happiness, repent, and come to Christ to be healed. That choice MAY be sin, or may be sanctifying. That choice is always ours.

    I have found it immensely comforting to know that I am not alone in having a “thorn” in my side. Knowing that having characteristics which make me, personally, unfit for the Kingdom of God, is not a state which is unique to me opens my heart up to the ability to repent. To put such things in perspective. Desires, no matter how strong or how integral to our being they may be, are just desires. We are still free to choose God over ourselves.

    And those who don’t will still be blessed. Just not as blessed as those who lose themselves in God’s service. If you really believe that, you must think, speak, vote, and act according to that belief (both privately AND publicly) in order to have any integrity and compassion.




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  30. SilverRain, I appreciate your sharing all of that; it helps me better understand where you’re coming from. It sounds like church teachings have been very effective and powerful in your life, and I respect that. I don’t think that’s the case for everyone. But I think we’re just continually talking past each other, so I’m going to drop this. I wish you well.




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  31. This is the root of my gay marriage support: for people who don’t have my beliefs and choose not to live by the church’s standards….what do I want for them? What is the healthiest thing for their life? What strengthens my community? To have legally bound, committed marriages.




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