“A single standard”

US civil rights law prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of characteristics such as race and gender. Prohibited discrimination can take the form of disparate treatment or disparate impact. Disparate treatment is easy to spot: it is simply treating members of different groups differently. For example, an employer who refuses to hire women would be liable under disparate treatment. Disparate impact is typically more difficult to see. It arises when a test or procedure the employer uses has the effect of discriminating against members of one group versus another. An employer who gives applicants a speech test that is scored by software that picks up lower pitches better than higher pitches might be liable under disparate impact, as women would likely perform worse on the test. (Employers are allowed to discriminate, though, if they can show that the characteristic they are using to select employees is a requirement to do the job.)

I think the concepts of disparate treatment and disparate impact are useful for talking about how the Church discriminates. In using these terms, I’m not suggesting that members are like employees; I’m just borrowing the terms to have an easy way to refer to different types of discrimination.

In the recent Face to Face broadcast for young single adults, Elder Holland was asked about gay people who don’t feel like they fit in in the Church. Here is part of his response. (The question begins at about 1:13 in the broadcast recording.)

Now, when that attraction exists, what we ask for those inclined to a homosexual feeling is exactly what we ask for those with heterosexual feelings (I’m talking to a young single adult group), and that is: be faithful. Be clean. Be chaste. . . . We’re just talking about a single standard of devotion to the Lord and keeping the commandments.

This is an argument about gay people that has been used a lot. The rules are the same for everybody. The law of chastity requires everyone to abstain from sex outside of marriage. Anybody is free to marry a person of the opposite sex.

In terms of types of discrimination, it appears that Elder Holland is trying to avoid bringing up disparate impact. He doesn’t want to acknowledge the reality that even if there is a single rule everyone has to follow, the effect of this rule varies dramatically depending on a person’s sexual orientation. To state the obvious, dating people and ultimately marrying a person of the opposite sex is likely something straight people look forward to and enjoy, but for gay people it will be stressful and difficult to say the least. I think it makes even more sense to argue that there isn’t a single standard, because it allows and encourages straight people to enter romantic relationships with people they’re attracted to, but it discourages and forbids gay people from doing so. Even if we set that argument aside, though, and accept Elder Holland’s claim that it’s a single standard, it’s still clear that the single standard has disparate impact on gay versus straight people. He doesn’t want to acknowledge this, though. Instead he wants to go back and talk about (non-)disparate treatment. Celibate single gay people can do the same things in the Church that celibate single straight people can. So there’s no discrimination. Everyone is treated the same.

It makes sense why Elder Holland would do this. Discrimination is generally seen as less acceptable than it used to be. People and organizations that openly discriminate are looked down on. So I can see why Elder Holland to want to frame the issue in terms of disparate treatment, where he can argue that there is no discrimination, and avoid getting into disparate impact, where there obviously is discrimination.

Church leaders’ concern with not being seen as discriminatory can also be seen in cases where the Church does practice disparate treatment. For example, take the female priesthood ban: men and boys are ordained, but women and girls are not. In spite of this obvious difference, there are statements like this one in the Mormon Newsroom FAQ that fall all over themselves trying to show how the discrimination isn’t really discrimination:

From the beginning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints women have played an integral role in the work of the Church. While worthy men hold the priesthood, worthy women serve as leaders, counselors, missionaries, teachers, and in many other responsibilities— they routinely preach from the pulpit and lead congregational prayers in worship services. They serve both in the Church and in their local communities and contribute to the world as leaders in a variety of professions. Their vital and unique contribution to raising children is considered an important responsibility and a special privilege of equal importance to priesthood responsibilities.

It’s clear that even in a situation where the Church is obviously practicing disparate treatment, it doesn’t want to be seen as discriminating. (Incidentally, I think part of the brilliance of Ordain Women’s Conference actions, where they asked to be admitted to priesthood session, was understanding and exploiting this disconnect.)

I would rather that the Church not discriminate by disparate treatment or disparate impact. If Church leaders do want to continue with discriminating, though, I think it would be so much better if they acknowledged it rather than trying to downplay or trying to hide it. Women are perfectly able to see themselves and their mothers and sisters and daughters not getting ordained while their fathers, brothers, and sons are. Gay people are perfectly able to see that what’s being asked of them with the law of chastity is worlds apart from what’s being asked of straight people. The rest of us are perfectly able to see this discrimination too. When Church leaders are the only ones who refuse to acknowledge its existence, they look like they’re being intentionally obtuse.

36 thoughts on ““A single standard”

  1. 1

    I love the last paragraph. If you’re going to be discriminatory, at least own it. Don’t be a hypocrite, too.

  2. 2

    “Deliberately Obtuse” is the phrase that comes to mind when thinking about those who believe that the church is a social organization, governed by the mores of the world. We are something very different, with the stated purpose of being refined in the image of God, to eventually become his heirs. Hard and unpopular. But it’s the path some of us choose. Those who don’t like it are free to choose a different one.

  3. 3

    Good post, Ziff. I agree with your last paragraph and nrc42’s comment. If we are all about the “truth” and if we’re all about doing “what is right and let[ting] the consequence follow,” then the church wouldn’t do all of this rhetorical backpedaling. It’s one reason I actually liked Bednar’s comments about “there are no homosexuals in this church” despite the fact that I found his words reprehensible. The rhetorical intent of those words is a kind of erasure, a clear example of how most of our leaders are uncomfortable both with homosexuality and with the church’s practices being seen as discriminatory. He was showing us, through his rhetoric, that he doesn’t want to talk about homosexuality and that he’d rather not deal with it. If there are “no homosexuals in this church,” he’s performed an erasure, but an erasure that all can see and can judge/respond however they will.

  4. 4

    I am a 50ish, overweight, childless, never married woman in the Church. I would be a natural ally to my gay brothers and sisters due to the similarity in our circumstances and challenges (no I didn’t say they were exactly the same). It seems to me, however, that you would much rather win the “my life is worse than your life” game than try to bridge gaps and develop relationships and take support from those that in fact CAN understand your challenges.
    Please do give me the crap that “I have hope.” No, I don’t have an hope that I will marry in this life since the single women outnumber the single men 150 to 100. I will never have children and my big reward at the end of all this is the privilege of living polygamy forever. Its not only hopeless its scary.

    To say that my sacrifices are less than yours or, in your words “worlds apart” from what you are asked to do is ridiculous. Again, we could support and help each other and help the leadership understand the difficulties of being single in the Church, but not as long as you insist that our circumstances are sooooooo different and our challenges not near as tough as yours.

  5. 5

    It took two whole comments before someone jumped to blaming God for discrimination. Firstly, the obvious historically changeable nature of the mormon God as interpreted by church leaders makes this seem thin as an argument. Secondly, this idea that everyone is supposed to be becoming like God is using a very narrow interpretation of God. Becoming like God surely does not mean we all become the same? Why create diversity if the end goal is to eradicate it? Perfection does not mean being identical. The commandment to be perfect in Matthew is translated from the word telios meaning adult, mature, fully developed. Among other things being adult generally means accepting nuance and moving beyond childlike, linear, black and white thinking. There are many different kinds of adults – can there not be many types of spiritual adults? male and female and gay and straight – even French I suppose. Finally the exhortation to go somewhere else if you don’t like it is the kind of childish fear of others that often pops up among those unable to see the contradiction of claiming exclusive universal truth while attempting to retain homogeneity and purity in their community. A true believer would call us to repentance not tell us to go elsewhere and hence burn while they sit smugly on their rameumptom. If the church were not governed by the mores of the world then Elder Holland would not prevaricate as he did in his deliberately obtuse statements. If he believed it he would surely own it?

  6. 6

    Two whole comments. Well, I didn’t blame God, I credit him with giving us a known working path. You can follow it or not. No call to repentance necessary.

  7. 7

    Becoming like God surely does not mean we all become the same?

    Yes, that is the meaning behind “one”. As in “at-one-ment.” As in “that they may be one in me as I am in thee.” No more ideological differences.

    But only if we are persuaded that God is right in his solution to the problem of existence. He won’t force his solution on us. We must freely choose it or we don’t partake.

    Why create diversity if the end goal is to eradicate it?

    That assumes diversity is created, and also assumes the end goal is to eradicate it. You don’t have to abandon your individuality, your fears, your sins, your hatred of your fellow man – hell, you can wallow in them as much as you like. Some prefer things that way. They have a society set up for that, too – I think it’s called “outer darkness.” For those who wish to never grow up, to remain immature, who seek to control others to gain security, you can have it your way.

    Perfection does not mean being identical.

    Except that it does. We may look different, and sound different, but inside, we will have all knowledge, and be filled with love, thus knowing and feeling the exact same things. That is what a fully mature human is – God. All knowing, all loving. Willing, because of that love, to leave you to your own devices so that you may learn, perhaps after a great long time, what he is trying to persuade you of by your experiences down here. Willing, because of that love, to let you go your own way, and discover the consequences of your chosen principles. Willing, because of that love, to welcome you back when you come to your senses and discern that the commandments weren’t simply authoritarian, bigoted nonsense, but the only rules by which society can be tolerable, or even enjoyable, extended over eternity.

    And if you never do come to your senses, but run screaming from him? Because he loves you, he’ll let you go.

    After all, would you enjoy living with someone who says things you vehemently disagree with, who does things you definitely wouldn’t do, whose motives you cannot understand and don’t trust, eternally? Of course not.

  8. 8
  9. 9

    I think anon makes very valid points. I do want to say though that in my mormon community gay and straight chastity is not equal. Straight people are highly encouraged to date, hold hands, and kiss goodnight if the opportunity arrises. My leaders really want the opportunity to arise. I recognize that for a full third it doesn’t but my leaders are still hoping. If my gay mormon friends dated each other, kissed, held hands they would be in trouble. Chastity for my gay mormon friends is no contact with gay people. Chastity for straight friends is no sex before marriage. That is what I am seeing. I also think the church should be upfront about the desire to discriminate because when they are vague mormons make up their own excuses. Sometimes the cover up is worse than the crime…or pretty close. For example, this causes women in their attempt to be faithful to claim they would never want the priesthood because it is too much work. They feel the need to disparage something so sacred because they feel uncomfortable with the inequality. It doesn’t serve the church well.

  10. 10

    I think the disparate treatment vs. disparate impact also relate to intent vs. impact.

    I think folks who approach discrimination from only a disparate treatment focus can tell themselves they have shown they don’t intend discrimination or harm bey eliminating disparate treatment and placing the burdens of disparate impact on the “other.” In this way, they can say, “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. because I treat people all the same and don’t intend any harm.” This serves to keep the burden of discrimination on those who are “other” rather than on those people and systems who benefit from the discrimination.

    Eliminating/reducing only disparate treatment without looking at disparate impact leaves us with sentiments like “there are no homosexuals in the church” and “I don’t see color, I just see people.”

  11. 11

    I think one thing to note (which you kinda get at in your discussion of the law) is that discrimination is only prohibited on the basis of certain characteristics. Discrimination is permitted in any number of other areas (e.g., bona fide occupational qualifications, and so on.)

    I think that asking the church to “take ownership” for its disparate treatment (with women) or disparate impact (for LGB) is asking it to do too much that is contrary to its own narrative. I mean, of course, a lot of the language of employment discrimination simply doesn’t apply to religions…but even if it did, first of all, the church would probably argue that its discrimination on priesthood is more like a BFOQ. (Obviously, a lot of folks disagree with this, but that’s basically how they would see it.)

    But secondly, the church rejects certain characteristics outright. This is why the church continued to discuss “people with same-sex attraction” rather than “homosexuals”. It would not concede disparate impact to gay people because it doesn’t see this as a defining characteristic.

    Also, I want to just respond to a few things from log’s comment.

    log,

    it seems that your counter-argument to the idea that exaltation eliminates diversity is to argue, “Well, no it doesn’t, because you can always choose not to be exalted/saved.”

    But then that still implies that if one chooses to be exalted, then that does come with an elimination of diverse characteristics.

    However, your other parts of your comment aren’t entirely consistent. You want to say that perfection means being identical, but you also want to say that “we may look different or sound different.” But if we look different and sound different, then perfection *doesn’t* mean being identical.

    People can agree ideologically, and all have the same knowledge and be filled with love, and yet have differences in other areas (e.g., personalities, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and of course, appearance, sounds, etc.,)

    The question really becomes: what sort of traits are personality differences that can coexist within a perfect (meaning “whole”) human being, and what sorts of traits are anathema to that?

    I think that most people would agree that “remaining immature” or “seeking to control others to gain security”, or remaining in fear, hatred etc., are inconsistent with that.

    But when we speak about committed LGB relationships, we are not talking about the same sort of thing. That’s really the big problem with talking about LGB. People can come up with really good reasons why other sins are destructive to self and others. But when talking about LGB issues, you really can’t do this. You end up either talking about behaviors that are not inherent to LGB relationships and/or behaviors that could also apply to many heterosexual relationships. Like, if you want to say (for example) that promiscuity is destructive, then fine — but that is neither inherent to LGB relationships nor absent from heterosexual relationships.

    So, when you say that the commandments are “the only rules by which society can be tolerable, or even enjoyable, extended over eternity,” this isn’t going to ring true with most people who actually have lived with, worked with, bonded with LGB people. We know from lived experience that a society that appreciates and accepts LGB people (plus other gender and sexual minorities like trans people) is, in fact, tolerable and enjoyable. We can very clearly and vividly see that continued triumphantly over eternity. Furthermore, we think that the inability of some folks to see this vision is evidence of immaturity, not growing up, being motivated by fear, sin, hatred, etc., We hope that we as a society can repent of that as we have repented of the same immaturity in other situations (e.g., race).

  12. 12

    Governing Myself – You do not understand Anon’s point. There are many single people in the church who never (or rarely) date. They do not hold hands or make out with anyone. They do not see the huge differences you state. Maybe they did when they were 20, but not now.

  13. 13

    Andrew,

    It is interesting to me how a claim “rings true” to people most often when the claim is aligned with what they wish to be true, and not so often when the claim contradicts what they wish to be true.

    But let us consider – would you find being forcibly proscribed in the verbal expression of your viewpoints to be “tolerable and enjoyable”?

    What if someone was of the opinion that the Law of Moses, given by Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 15:4-5), which prescribed the slaying of homosexuals, adulterers, the incestuous, the bestial, and so forth, in ancient Israel, had a publicly demonstrable rational basis? Should that person be allowed to make their case that God knew something about human nature, government, and society building, or should such characters be silenced lest someone take their words seriously and act upon them?

    What should take precedence: the liberty to speak, or the power to silence critics?

    Isn’t it interesting the differences we really cannot tolerate are ideological? That appearances really are irrelevant, except as proxies for ideological differences?

  14. 14

    log,

    But let us consider – would you find being forcibly proscribed in the verbal expression of your viewpoints to be “tolerable and enjoyable”?

    …Well, I personally discipline myself not to express my viewpoints in a way that would need to be “forcibly proscribed,” and you know, I think this is something that we all learn to do as mature human beings in a number of social situations. So, since your earlier comment talked about maturity being part of the process, I definitely see that as an element here. (To give an example, we don’t talk about sensitive political or religious subjects at work. Is that a problem? No, I think that is tolerable and enjoyable. I think it is tolerable and enjoyable to keep work a safe place for a wide range of people by limiting those conversations.) And yes, I think that we find it tolerable and enjoyable that people don’t just say whatever comes to their mind in any situation — and that, to the extent that they do, we respond accordingly.

    We find basic respect and decency for people of different backgrounds, even if that demands our own discipline and self-control — to be tolerable and enjoyable. This is something that we have decided together as a society.

    What if someone was of the opinion that the Law of Moses, given by Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 15:4-5), which prescribed the slaying of homosexuals, adulterers, the incestuous, the bestial, and so forth, in ancient Israel, had a publicly demonstrable rational basis? Should that person be allowed to make their case that God knew something about human nature, government, and society building, or should such characters be silenced lest someone take their words seriously and act upon them?

    I would say that that person would want to study rhetoric to determine the best methods — pathos, ethos, and logos — to present such an argument in a mature way that would be acceptable to their peers. They would want to see how they could present those terms to people who do not necessarily share the same starting assumptions or axioms. This is a basic part of the process of persuasion.

    If someone wants to make the case that God knows something about human nature, government, and society building, they have to, you know, *actually make that case*. If they don’t do the groundwork first, then people aren’t really going to be responsive to the argument that homosexuals, adulterers, the incestuous, the bestial, and so forth are all *comparable*, much less should be slayed. And this isn’t just for theists within a secular world — theists who believe this also have to make the case for their theistic brethren who do *not* share a similar interpretation of God.

    I think one issue when someone attempts to make that case is that they run into the problem that people have their own sets of beliefs, knowledge, and experiences from their own personal lives. In this case, you’d probably find that most people with lived experience with LGBT folks don’t think they are bad people. They find their lives to have as much potential to be admirable, praiseworthy, fulfilling, and full of joy as anyone else’s lives.

    As a result, such a person trying to make this argument would probably get some pushback in trying to make a case otherwise.

    What should take precedence: the liberty to speak, or the power to silence critics?

    Obviously, such a person can start their own blogs, or publish their own magazines, or whatever. They are not deprived of the ability to do this. But if people decide that they don’t want to read such blogs or purchase such magazines, etc., then people have the freedom to do that as well. People can collectively decide as a society that they want a society that encourages love and acceptance of diverse people rather than hatred and fear of them, and then work accordingly to make such a society.

    Isn’t it interesting the differences we really cannot tolerate are ideological? That appearances really are irrelevant, except as proxies for ideological differences?

    Actually, you can really believe whatever you want. But the problem is in *actions*, whether threatened or enacted. As a society, we set standards regarding how people must *act* as a bare minimum of courtesy and respect toward others, not what they must *believe*.

  15. 15

    So, to translate your verbose post into the relevant answer, you think it is more important to be able to silence your critics, rather than grant all the liberty to speak as they wish.

    You are therefore on the side of control, and not liberty. Control – the will to power – of course, springs from fear and intolerance.

    So be it. Until you are on the wrong side of TPTB, you will undoubtedly continue to find your LGB-accepting society quite “tolerable and enjoyable.” You are, after all, holding the whip.

  16. 16

    log,

    you can of course speak as you wish. No one is saying you can’t speak as you wish.

    But what was that one Benson quote: “You are free to choose, but you are not free to alter the consequences of your decisions”

    That’s what people are saying. If you say certain things in a certain way, don’t be surprised by the reaction that you get. If you do certain things, don’t be surprised by the reaction that you get.

    Look, I don’t know your background. But I know that as an atheistic, gay, black man, I have been — and still often am — on the wrong side of TPTB. Notwithstanding everything that is being done — slowly, in spurts, imperfectly — to make society more welcoming of minorities of various stripes, it really isn’t disputable that there is a lot of privilege in being a member of the majority of various stripes. I know from my experience that what people so often call their “liberty” often ends up being, “the freedom to treat people like me worse than they would other people of the majority.” And you know, I’m not really excited about that “freedom”.

  17. 17

    Andrew,

    Ah. No need to go further. I was unaware you were atheistic; your antipathy towards liberty is fully explained. If I was convinced this life was the only life I would ever have, and if I did not get mine here and now then I never would get mine at all, I, too, might consider it a sound policy to be open to depriving others of their liberties to maximize my personal enjoyment of life. Life becomes a game of “who, whom?”, as Stalin said. Of course, the game is to become, and stay, the “who” and not the “whom.”

    Now, this raises another question – what business do atheists have in how religious communities regard gays? Aren’t they, by definition, outside of the community of discourse?

  18. 18

    log,

    lol, I think that you’re going to have some troubles if instead of reading what people are writing, you only catch on to certain buzzwords and then impute motives, but I guess it’s your prerogative on whether you actually want to try to communicate, or if you really just want to be satisfied in your own opinion.

    Now, this raises another question – what business do atheists have in how religious communities regard gays? Aren’t they, by definition, outside of the community of discourse?

    heads up — there are plenty of atheists who were born and raised within Mormonism — there are many atheists on the records. So, no, they are not, by definition, outside of the community of discourse. If the church wants to tout its membership number as being 14 million or whatever, then I am certainly a part of that.

  19. 19

    Here’s how I would put it to those who claim to be believers in the Book of Mormon.

    The idea that “my offense is your fault” is the principle which persecutes, casts out, stones, and slays the prophets and saints. If, after all, “hurt feelings” are true injuries, then “hurtful” words ought to be actionable just as is physical assault. Thus those who killed the prophets, and Jesus, were fully justified in their actions, if it is a true principle that “my offense is your fault.”

    And that’s really the dividing line. Either we are equal, or we are not; either we have liberty to speak, and associate, or we do not. If your “tolerant” societ comes by way of proscribing my liberty to speak or associate, it’s not very tolerant to me, is it? After all, I am being compelled. And it is apparent that such compulsion comes about because my ideology and choice of associations is intolerable to you, whoever you are who seeks to compel me to conform to your will.

  20. 20

    If we are equal, then you ought not treat people unequally.

    When you talk about liberty to speak or associate, you really mean the ability to treat people unequally without social consequence.

    Here, ideology doesn’t matter, because you really can believe whatever you want. But it’s when you discriminate against others in ways that we collectively as a society have determined are unacceptable that we have consequences. You still have the ability to choose whether you will live with those consequences or not.

    What you want is to be able to treat people unfairly without any consequence.

  21. 21

    Andrew,

    When I speak, do I treat anyone at all in any fashion whatsoever? Be a dear and confine your answer to a simple yes, or a simple no, will you?

    And who shall say whom I may, or may not, associate with? Or, who shall command me? You and your power structure, which is implicit in “collectively as a society,” aka the tyranny of the majority (of guns)? But if I in my turn get the guns of society on my side, will you not be asking for them to be turned away?

    “When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.”

    What I want is to be free to speak as I will and to associate, or not, with whom I will.

    What you want is to compel me to conform to your will – to be silent where you deem my words unacceptable, to speak what you deem mandatory, and to compel me in my associations and dispensations of property.

  22. 22

    When I speak, do I treat anyone at all in any fashion whatsoever? Be a dear and confine your answer to a simple yes, or a simple no, will you?

    Yes.

    And who shall say whom I may, or may not, associate with? Or, who shall command me? You and your power structure, which is implicit in “collectively as a society,” aka the tyranny of the majority (of guns)? But if I in my turn get the guns of society on my side, will you not be asking for them to be turned away?

    That’s why we collectively engage in a political process that involves persuasion, compromise, and civil rights — so that the rules ultimately decided upon represent a mix of majority interests an minority protections. You write as if i’m a big majoritarian, but I will be the first to say that minority rights should not be dependent on popular vote. We have a court system and other checks and balances for this.

    What I want is to be free to speak as I will and to associate, or not, with whom I will.

    You absolutely are 100% free to do this. You are not free of the consequences associated with your actions.

    What you want is to compel me to conform to your will – to be silent where you deem my words unacceptable, to speak what you deem mandatory, and to compel me in my associations and dispensations of property.

    Nah, what I want is for you to be aware that your actions have consequences. If you choose to speak, own up to the consequences. If you choose to act, own up to the consequences!

  23. 23

    log,
    I honestly want to know which phrase in the OP or any of the comments equates to removing your ability to speak. Or are you referring to your ability to speak without anyone disagreeing openly?

  24. 24

    Andrew,

    What consequences are you speaking of? Are you going to claim that I can utter magical phrases that compel others to make certain choices? Are you in agreement with the notion that “my offense is your fault!”?

  25. 25

    log,

    When you choose to speak or act, the people around you can choose to respond in various ways.

    They may choose to challenge or critique your comments.
    They may choose to disassociate from you.
    They may choose to talk to other people about you.
    They may choose to do something different.

    These are all potential consequences to your actions. You talk about liberty, but you don’t want to accept the liberty of people to respond to your comments and actions.

  26. 26

    Andrew,

    I deny any and all responsibility for any decisions anyone makes as a result of my words, even while I fully accept the liberty of others to make whatever choices they wish on whatever pretext they choose. I haven’t power to not accept it, after all.

    To characterize the choices you decide to make in response to my words as “consequences” is a rhetorical attempt to deny responsibility for your choice, by making me appear responsible for your free-willed actions.

    Yet you choose. And your choices are made with an eye towards compelling conformity, or punishing non-conformity.

  27. 27

    log,

    To characterize the choices you decide to make in response to my words as “consequences” is a rhetorical attempt to deny responsibility for your choice, by making me appear responsible for your free-willed actions.

    to the contrary, I recognize that my actions have consequences. So, to the extent that I think that saying something in a certain way or doing something in a certain way would lead to consequences I would not like, I modify what I say or modify what I do. Or if I’m OK with those consequences, I go through with them.

  28. 28

    Andrew,

    You are again attempting to make it appear “consequences” must follow words. Yet, again, there is no logical nor causal relationship between my words and your actions, for your choices are free.

  29. 29

    log,

    I’m not saying “must”. I’m saying “can” and “do”. I’m speaking from a pragmatic point of view. I am personally happy with the results that *I* get, but it doesn’t seem like you’re happy with the results *you* get. You want everyone else to change accordingly. I recognize I can change my actions and get better consequences.

  30. 30

    I understand you to be saying “can” and “do.” I’m denying both. But, then, you are, in saying “can” and “do,” denying free will. I understand you’re pragmatic – you are indeed a willing participant in the game of “who, whom” and are very happy with your current status – and that your principles are centered around the will to power.

    Liars do often beat the market, getting better results – witness the rise of Trump.

  31. 31

    … “better,” that is, in acquiring power and influence among men. However, men’s opinions very often have little to do with the truth, nor the love thereof. Again, witness the rise of Trump.

  32. 32

    Re single women — it’s hard to argue that the same rules apply to single women and LG individuals when marriage for the first results in widespread yays, and for the second a disciplinary court. That alone creates a different meaning for single status of LG and straight women. Not saying that singleness isn’t equally hard for both, but the inherent rejection just isn’t there for straight women.

    Also, I reject the idea that the only option in the next life is polygamy. I agree with anon — that sounds terrible. I prefer to think that there are lots of males who don’t reach adulthood and that the numbers will all work out.:)

  33. 33

    Regarding being single and straight, with no prospects of marriage, and being gay and unable to marry – I would suggest that the difference isn’t necessarily in relative difficulty of lived experience but in the fact that a straight person who wishes to marry and is unable to is usually more a victim of personal circumstance, whereas the cause of the expectation of a gay person’s celibacy is systemic. Although straight people may not marry because of a lack of marriage prospects, gay people aren’t allowed to marry regardless of whether they have any marriage prospects. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier for straight people or for gay people – it’s hard to want marriage but not be able to have it, regardless of orientation – but the root cause of singleness is a little broader and simpler to deal with when approaching the issue with gay people, because in this case it is largely systemic rather than an individual case-by-case issue.

  34. 34

    To add to/clarify what nrc42 is saying: gay people, even if *allowed* to marry those to whom they are attracted, could end up unmarried and single for life too. It would be that particular subset of gays that would be able to empathize with the single-for-life, unmarried heterosexual.

  35. 35

    Who said that there is any “blaming God” in comment 2? I think comment 2 deserves re-evaluation because God IS the source of the complete alienation of women from any concern for our well being. God has made it clear in all teachings that there is nothing women can do to become worth His time to even think about. Only Jesus has ever cared if girls live or die. And that’s why I don’t talk to the other guy. I can’t extend myself any more to please someone who has never ever ever cared.

  36. 36

    This exemplifies a double-edged sword of LDS culture. Mormons are averse to heavy religious rhetoric, giving the impression that mormonism might almost be a kind of religious materialism — practical, pragmatic & grounded. Concerned with conduct, rules & customs.

    But reading this, you make me realize: This aversion to rhetoric is a PERFECT way to insulate themselves against questioning. Since they generally avoid all rhetoric about their faith unless they’re on their mission, they effectively block any opportunity for conflicting viewpoints, challenges to their rules & customs, debate, etc.

    In other words, what Mormons who disagree with some of these things MUST do is speak out. Because this is what the old guard is hiding behind.

    Maybe prophets really do receive the word of God, but in a state of high receptivity, receiving divine prophecy, one also allows their own subconscious to flow more easily into the preconscious and conscious mind. When the subconscious speaks to us this way, we don’t perceive it to be coming ‘from us’, but from somewhere else. Hence the nature of the subconscious mind. When in a receptive open state, the subconscious need to dominate women or for them to be obedient would most certainly be interpreted as also being the word of God.

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