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Mormon Homophobia, Part Three 20 August 2006

Posted by Todd in Democratic Theory, Ethics, Gay Rights, Homosexuality, Inequality & Stratification, Mormonism/LDS Church.

[Continued from Part Two. My comments in bold italics.]

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Let’s fast-forward again. My son has now stopped coming to church altogether. There seems no prospect of him returning. Now he tells me he’s planning on going to Canada where same-gender marriage is allowed. He insists that he agrees that loving marriage relationships are important. He’s not promiscuous; he has one relationship. He and his partner intend to have that relationship for the rest of their lives. He cannot understand that a lifetime commitment can’t be accepted by the Church when society seems to be moving in that way. Again, if I am a Latter-day Saint father, what would I be expected to tell him?

WICKMAN: For openers, marriage is neither a matter of politics, nor is it a matter of social policy. This is simply not true, as the most cursory study of the history of human relationships or the anthropology of marriage reveals. Ignorance.Marriage is defined by the Lord Himself.Religious belief. Irrelevant. It’s the one institution that is ceremoniously performed by priesthood authority in the temple [and] transcends this world. It is of such profound importance… such a core doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the very purpose of the creation of this earth. One hardly can get past the first page of Genesis without seeing that very clearly. It is not an institution to be tampered with by mankind, and certainly not to be tampered with by those who are doing so simply for their own purposes. There is no such thing in the Lord’s eyes as something called same-gender marriage. So what? Whose Lord? What does this have to do with a pluralistic democracy at all?Homosexual behavior is and will always remain before the Lord an abominable sin. They are careful now to say “behavior”, aren’t they? But ultimately, in practice, you’re calling a homosexual person an abomination because for someone whose sexual desires are homosexual, it is part of who they are. They desire abomination. Calling it something else by virtue of some political definition does not change that reality. It is a religious belief, not a reality.

OAKS: Another way to say that same thing is that the Parliament in Canada and the Congress in Washington do not have the authority to revoke the commandments of God, or to modify or amend them in any way.Religious belief. But a bit odd coming from a Mormon, whose own practice of “plural marriage” was constrained by the federal government. Neither the government of Canada nor of the U.S. has taken any action that would prevent the LDS Church from continuing on its path of homophobia; nor does any same-sex marriage law anywhere in the world require a church to marry couples they do not want to. This is a red herring.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: On some gay web sites there are those who argue that homosexual behavior is not specifically prohibited in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. Some argue that Jesus Christ’s compassion and love for humanity embraces this kind of relationship. What is the Church’s teaching about that?

WICKMAN: For one thing, those who assert that need to read their Bible more carefully. Actually, I agree with Wickman. The Bible is completely homophobic. But it is true that Jesus never talked about it, and healed the lover of the centurion without batting an eye. But the old testament and Paul’s epistles are homophobic to the core. But beyond that, it is comparing apples and oranges to refer to the love that the Savior expressed for all mankind, for every person, for every man and woman and child, with the doctrine related to marriage.No he didn’t. In fact, he taught that marriage was bad and led away from the path. And that if you wanted to follow jesus you had to leave your parents, your spouse and your children.

In fact, the Savior did make a declaration about marriage, albeit in a somewhat different context. Jesus said that “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and they twain shall be one flesh. What God has joined together let no man put asunder.” yadda yadda, cultural construction of the religious nature of heterosexual relationships. blah blah, so what?

We usually think of that expression in the context of two people, a man and a woman, being married and the inappropriateness of someone trying to separate them. I think it may have a broader meaning in a doctrinal sense. Marriage of a man and a woman is clear in Biblical teaching in the Old Testament as well as in the New [Testament] teaching. Anyone who seeks to put that notion asunder is likewise running counter to what Jesus Himself said. It’s important to keep in mind the difference between Jesus’ love and His definition of doctrine, and the definition of doctrine that has come from apostles and prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ, both anciently and in modern times. more religiousness. still no rational argument.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: What of those who might say, “Okay. Latter-day Saints are entitled to believe whatever they like. If you don’t believe in same-gender marriages, then it’s fine for you. But why try to regulate the behavior of other people who have nothing to do with your faith, especially when some nations in Europe have legally sanctioned that kind of marriage? Why not just say, ‘We don’t agree with it doctrinally for our own people’ and leave it at that. Why fight to get a Constitutional amendment [in the United States], for example?

WICKMAN: We’re not trying to regulate people *CHOKE* You’re not? How many millions of dollars has the church spent fighting against gay rights?, but this notion that ‘what happens in your house doesn’t affect what happens in my house’ on the subject of the institution of marriage may be the ultimate sophistry of those advocating same-gender marriage. Stop saying sophistry. It’s only sophistry if the person making the argument doesn’t believe it and it’s only made for the sake of argument. This is not sophistry but a very real argument in the tradition of democratic societies. Why? Because in a pluralistic democracy, you must show that a particular action or practice harms someone else’s rights in order to justify proscription in the law.

Some people promote the idea that there can be two marriages, co-existing side by side, one heterosexual and one homosexual, without any adverse consequences. The hard reality is that, as an institution, marriage like all other institutions can only have one definition without changing the very character of the institution. He’s kinda right here. By opening up the civil definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, it has changed the civil institution. However, he’s wrong the multiple definitions can’t exist side by side. The mormon definition of marriage (polygamy) existed side by side with the dominant deifnition. Mormon homophobic marriage will not go away if the government recognized same-sex marriages. Hence there can be no coexistence of two marriages. This is simply not true. Every pluralistic society has multiple kidns of marriage in it, as evidenced by the vastly different ways that straight people organize their marriages, based on class, race, ethnicity and religion. In other words, the sociology and history on this matter pretty much show this to be a false argument. Either there is marriage as it is now defined and as defined by the Lord, or there is what could thus be described as genderless marriage.This either/or thinking is simply absurd in the state of the world today, not morally absurd, but substantively absurd. Our very experience living in a pluralistic democracy tells us that Wickman is off his rocker. We all know that people can live all kinds of meaningful lives side by side. The question isn’t about the loss of the Mormon or leave-it-to-beaver definition of marriage, but rather, the question is what should the government’s relationship to marriage be and which marriages should have legal standing? These are questions of democracy, not religion or even about your personal definition of marriage (unless you think your personal definition of marriage should be enforced by the government). The latter is abhorrent to God, who, as we’ve been discussing, Himself described what marriage is — between a man and a woman. Religious belief, irrelevant.

A redefinition of that institution, therefore, redefines it for everyone — not just those who are seeking to have a so-called same gender marriage. It also ignores the definition that the Lord Himself has given. Yes and no. See above. And who cares about the Mormon lord himself in the public sphere? That’s a meaningless argument.

OAKS: There’s another point that can be made on this. Let’s not forget that for thousands of years the institution of marriage has been between a man and a woman. Until quite recently, in a limited number of countries, there has been no such thing as a marriage between persons of the same gender. This is simply wrong. First, marriage is so vastly different from culture to culture and in different times and places that this just makes Oaks look like an idiot. Second, many cultures in various times and places have had fully sanctioned same-sex relationships of all different kinds. Again, Oaks and his ilk are simply ignorant of history and anthropology. Suddenly we are faced with the claim that thousands of years of human experience should be set aside because we should not discriminate in relation to the institution of marriage. This isn’t sudden, it’s simply the current development in our current society. Changes in marriage have not only happened around the world in different societies, but in America itself, we’re in roughly our 4th general cultural iteration of marriage in the mainstream, and that’s if we ignore all the religious and ethnic variations. There have even been socially accepted same-sex relationships in the U.S., most notably among Native Americans. When that claim is made, the burden of proving that this step will not undo the wisdom and stability of millennia of experience lies on those who would make the change. Actually, what the historical record reflects is millennia of human beings changing and adapting their marriage/relationships to match their values and experiences at the time. There is no burden of proof here, in the sense that Oaks would have us believe. Although Scalia has enshrined this ridiculous and frankly false idea in the Supreme Court, it is a red herring. Like any other legal change in a democracy, the burden is to demonstrate harm on someone else’s rights. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage harms no one’s rights, religious or otherwise. It doesn’t harm children, it doesn’t lead to the degradation of society. 35 years of social science and history amply demonstrate that. Yet the question is asked and the matter is put forward as if those who believe in marriage between a man and a woman have the burden of proving that it should not be extended to some other set of conditions.Yup. You have to show that it’s going to harm someone’s rights. That’s just basic democracy, Dallin.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: There are those who would say that that might have applied better in the 1950s or earlier than in the 21st century. If you look at several nations in Europe, for example, traditional marriage is so rapidly on the decline that it is no longer the norm. If marriage is evolving, ought we to resist those kind of social changes?

OAKS: That argument impresses me as something akin to the fact that if we agree that the patient is sick and getting sicker, we should therefore approve a coup de grace. The coup de grace which ends the patient’s life altogether is quite equivalent to the drastic modification in the institution of marriage that would be brought on by same-gender marriage. I realize that hyperbole is an accepted rhetorical device, but this is just ridiculous. Now homosexuality is like euthanasia? Whuh? But seriously, here’s what’s wrong with Oaks’ argument: 1) it assumes that homosexuality is like a social disease, that is, that there is something wrong with a society that accepts its homosexual members as full citizens. He is fine to take that moral position, but in doing so he must engage in the arguments, which are, either show me why historically, anthropologically, or in any way factually, why a society shouldn’t fully recognize its homosexual members as full citizens? 2) it makes the specious and increasingly maddening argument that recognizing same sex marriage will destroy marriage. There is absolutely no indication from any quarters that that is in any way true. It’s a paranoid propaganda tactic.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: You talked about the harm that could come on society by redefining marriage. What would you say to those people who declare: “I know gay people who are in long-term committed relationships. They’re great people. They love each other. What harm is it going to do my marriage as a heterosexual to allow them that same ‘rite?’

WICKMAN: Let me say again what I said a moment ago. I believe that that argument is true sophistry, because marriage is a unified institution. Marriage means a committed, legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman. That’s what it means. All institutions *mean* what the society in which they exist say they mean. And those meanings change constantly for numerous reasons. this is basic social science and psychology. That’s what it means in the revelations. Who gives a shit about your so-called revelations?That’s what it means in the secular law.That is what it has meant. Now our society is at a different place and is changing. Welcome to the real world. You cannot have that marriage coexisting institutionally with something else called same-gender marriage. It simply is a definitional impossibility. This is simply the reasoning of a small mind. At such point as you now, as an institution, begin to recognize a legally-sanctioned relationship, a committed relationship between two people of the same gender, you have now redefined the institution to being one of genderless marriage.

As we’ve mentioned in answer to other questions, [genderless marriage] is contrary to God’s law, to revealed Word. Scripture, ancient and modern, could not be clearer on the definition that the Lord and His agents have given to marriage down through the dispensations. Religious belief, irrelevant.

But it has a profound effect in a very secular way on everybody else. What happens in somebody’s house down the street does in very deed have an effect on what happens in my house and how it’s treated. What, in very deed, is that effect?Show us. To suggest that in the face of these millennia of historywrong and the revelations of God who cares? and the whole human pattern wrong they have the right to redefine the whole institution for everyone see above for an explanation of the faulty logic of this argument is presumptuous in the extreme and terribly wrong-headed. how so? why? Merely to state that it has a negative effect does not make it so. What this really boils down to is that someone wants to have a kind of marriage that Mormons don’t want. Fine. Then mormons don’t have to have it or recognize it. But the State of Utah might (and indeed should).

You know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s really Oaks and Whitman who are engaging in sophistry. Their only argument against gay marriage is a definitional one, that if legal sanction is given to any kind of same-sex relationship, then the definition changes. It’s not based on the practice of marriage in any given context; nor is it based on research. It’s merely that the definiton will change (which is true at the legal level). At the very least, Oaks and Whitman should be providing us with an argument for why their definition of marriage is the one that should be enshrined in the law, granting hundreds of privileges to the participants in the institution. What are the reasons it should be? The best they have is flip references to a mythic “1000s of years” (which is simply just stupid for a mormon to make, given our own history).

OAKS: Another point to be made about this is made in a question. If a couple who are cohabiting, happy, and committed to one another want to have their relationship called a marriage, why do they want that? Considering what they say they have, why do they want to add to it the legal status of marriage that has been honored and experienced for thousands of yearsbullshit? What is it that is desired by those who advocate same-gender marriage? If that could be articulated on some basis other than discrimination, which is not a very good argument,huh? being treated equally under the law is not a good argument in a democracy? what the hell is he talking about? it would be easier to answer the question that you have asked, and I think it would reveal the soundness of what we’ve already heard.

There are certain indicia of marriage — certain legal and social consequences and certain legitimacy yup. gay people want legal recognition and all the privileges extended to straight people— which if given to some relationship other than marriage between a man and a woman tend to degrade if not destroy the institution still waiting for any sort of rational, substantial argument as to how. that’s been honored over so many thousands of years. This constant reference to “1000s of years” is just so fucked up. Do we really need to rehearse the histories of war rights? women as chatel? polygyny? etc.

In addition, if people want to legalize a particular relationship, we need to be careful if that kind of relationship has been disapproved for millennia. why? 1) some societies did, others did not; 2) while we can learn from other societies, their lives and contexts were different from ours, and their definitions and answers may not actually be the best ones for our society. For example, we no longer buy and sell our wives in these vaunted man-and-woman marriages. Maybe we should go back to that? Suddenly there’s a call to legalize it so they can feel better about themselves. Or maybe it’s because we are demanding equality under the law. That argument proves a little too much. Suppose a person is making a living in some illegal behavior, but feels uneasy about it. Red herring. Homosexuality is not illegal and is not immoral. This is a false argument.(He may be a professional thief or he may be selling a service that is illegal, or whatever it may be.) Do we go out and legalize his behavior because he’s being discriminated against in his occupational choices or because he doesn’t feel well about what he’s doing and he wants a ‘feel good’ example, or he wants his behavior legitimized in the eyes of society or his family? I think the answer is that we do not legalize behavior for those reasons unless they are very persuasive reasons brought forward to make a change in the current situation. What is actually revealing is Oaks comparing homosexual love and marriage to criminal behavior. Homophobia on its face.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Would you extend the same argument against same-gender marriage to civil unions or some kind of benefits short of marriage?

WICKMAN: One way to think of marriage is as a bundle of rights associated with what it means for two people to be married. What the First Presidency has done is express its support of marriage and for that bundle of rights belonging to a man and a woman. The First Presidency hasn’t expressed itself concerning any specific right. It really doesn’t matter what you call it. If you have some legally sanctioned relationship with the bundle of legal rights traditionally belonging to marriage and governing authority has slapped a label on it, whether it is civil union or domestic partnership or whatever label it’s given, it is nonetheless tantamount to marriage. That is something to which our doctrine simply requires us to speak out and say, “That is not right. That’s not appropriate.” Fine. That’s your political position. Now justify it without appeals to God (this is a pluralistic democracy) or if you appeal to history or anthropology, do so accurately. Ready? Go!

As far as something less than that — as far as relationships that give to some pairs in our society some right but not all of those associated with marriage — as to that, as far as I know, the First Presidency hasn’t expressed itself. You just did. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are only partially granted those rights.There are numbers of different types of partnerships or pairings that may exist in society that aren’t same-gender sexual relationships that provide for some right that we have no objection to. Which rights granted to heterosexual couples would you object being granted to homosexual couples? Power of attorney? The tax breaks? inheritance taxes? How exactly are these secular rights connected in any way to your religious definition of marriage that you were extolling earlier? All that said… there may be on occasion some specific rights that we would be concerned about being granted to those in a same-gender relationship. Adoption is one that comes to mind, simply because that is a right which has been historically, doctrinally associated so closely with marriage and family. Nope. The world is full of homosexual people raising children. This is again just using a false claim to a history that never existed. Try again. I cite the example of adoption simply because it has to do with the bearing and the rearing of children. Our teachings, even as expressed most recently in a very complete doctrinal sense in the Family Proclamation by living apostles and prophets barely living, is that children deserve to be reared in a home with a father and a mother.Research doesn’t back this up. Negative effects on children raised by single parents and same-sex couples basically come from either economic circumstances (e.g., poverty) or from the pressures of a society that treats them poorly because of who their parents are. Children deserve to have parents who love them. Period.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: On the issue of a Constitutional amendment prohibiting same-gender marriage, there are some Latter-day Saints who are opposed to same-gender marriage, but who are not in favor of addressing this through a Constitutional amendment. Why did the Church feel that it had to step in that direction?

OAKS: Law has at least two roles: one is to define and regulate the limits of acceptable behavior. The other is to teach principles for individuals to make individual choices. this is a weird definition of law. Laws are there to protect individuals from others’ behavior that would infringe on their fundamental rights. Period.The law declares unacceptable some things that are simply not enforceable, and there’s no prosecutor who tries to enforce them. We refer to that as the teaching function of the law. Interesting idea. what examples are there? I do think the law has symbolic effects (which is why I’m in favor of anti-hate crimes legislation), but I obviously don’t think anyone needs to be “taught” about the evils of homosexuality through the law, so for me, this point is useless. The time has come in our society when I see great wisdom and purpose in a United States Constitutional amendment declaring that marriage is between a man and a woman. There is nothing in that proposed amendment that requires a criminal prosecution or that directs the attorneys general to go out and round people up, but it declares a principle and it also creates a defensive barrier against those who would alter that traditional definition of marriage. What it actually does, Dallin, is enshrine inequality into the constitution. Of course, that has been the case since the constitution was ratified (think: slaves and indians), but in 2006, shouldn’t we have learned enough to be beyond that?

There are people who oppose a federal Constitutional amendment because they think that the law of family should be made by the states. I can see a legitimate argument there. I think it’s mistaken, however, because the federal government, through the decisions of life-tenured federal judges, has already taken over that area. This Constitutional amendment is a defensive measure against those who would ignore the will of the states appropriately expressed and require, as a matter of federal law, the recognition of same-gender marriages — or the invalidation of state laws that require that marriage be between a man and a woman. Kinda like how the federal government stopped slavery? forced the states to let women to vote? forced the states to consider Asian immigrants citizens? Forced the states to allow inter-racial marriages? Forced the states to allow poor black people to vote? This again is a red herring. The federal government’s job is to ensure that the states do not create laws that abridge the rights all Americans should share regardless of what state they reside in. So the real question isn’t about states’ rights, but about same-sex marriage itself. It’s really about enshrining forever a second-class citizenship into the constitution. It’s really about asking whether or not there are legitimate reason, reasons beyond religious outrage or aesthetic preference, that homosexuals should not enjoy full citizenship and all the privilieges granted to heterosexuals in society. In summary, the First Presidency has come out for an amendment (which may or may not be adopted) in support of the teaching function of the law. Such an amendment would be a very important expression of public policy, which would feed into or should feed into the decisions of judges across the length and breadth of the land.Yes it would. The wrong one. And who cares what the First Presidency has to say on this matter? That’s not an argument.

WICKMAN: Let me just add to that, if I may. It’s not the Church that has made the issue of marriage a matter of federal law. Those who are vigorously advocating for something called same-gender marriage have essentially put that potato on the fork. They’re the ones who have created a situation whereby the law of the land, one way or the other, is going to address this issue of marriage. This is not a situation where the Church has elected to take the matter into the legal arena or into the political arena. It’s already there. So we’re not responsible. It’s those pesky Jews/blacks/women/Indians/immigrants/homosexuals’ faults for demanding equality. This is like the white people in the 1950s saying that it was the black people’s fault they were beaten and attacked by dogs and their homes burnt. They were being “uppity.” It’s so weird how people in the position of privilege can be so blind to it.

The fact of the matter is that the best way to assure that a definition of marriage as it now stands continues is to put it into the foundational legal document of the United States. That is in the Constitution. That’s where the battle has taken it. Ultimately that’s where the battle is going to be decided. It’s going to be decided as a matter of federal law one way or the other. Consequently it is not a battleground on such an issue that we Latter-day Saints have chosen, but it has been established and we have little choice but to express our views concerning it, which is really all that the Church has done.

Decisions even for members of the Church as to what they do with respect to this issue must of course rest with each one in their capacity as citizens.

Still waiting for the argument. Yes you have a right to fight for what you believe. But in the public sphere, people talk back to you. And the people who stand to be forever reduced to a second-class citizen have a right to hear a reasoned argument as to why that should be so. So far, all you’ve got is that God told you what religion is supposed to be and that homosexuaity is an abomination; you’ve falsely represented history and sociology; and you’ve expressed love for those of us who struggle. So far, these are at best religious arguments, and you are and will continue to be free to believe that. But there is nothing here that should convince anyone that your legal position should be respected and adopted.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: The emphasis that has been placed in this conversation on traditional marriage between a man and a woman has been consistent throughout. Do you see any irony in the fact that the Church is so publicly outspoken on this issue, when in the minds of so many people in the United States and around the world the Church is known for once supporting a very untraditional marriage arrangement — that is, polygamy?FINALLY!

OAKS: I see irony in that if one views it without the belief that we affirm in divine revelation. The 19th century Mormons, including some of my ancestors, were not eager to practice plural marriage. They followed the example of Brigham Young, who expressed his profound negative feelings when he first had this principle revealed to him. The Mormons of the 19th century who practiced plural marriage, male and female, did so because they felt it was a duty put upon them by God.I don’t follow. So they found it distasteful? And how does that apply?

When that duty was lifted, they were directed to conform to the law of the land, which forbad polygamy and which had been held constitutional. When they were told to refrain from plural marriage, there were probably some who were unhappy, but I think the majority were greatly relieved and glad to get back into the mainstream of western civilization, which had been marriage between a man and a woman. In short, if you start with the assumption of continuing revelation, on which this Church is founded, then you can understand that there is no irony in this. But if you don’t start with that assumption, you see a profound irony. Oh jesus christ, this is such a waffling as to be ridiculous. People were commanded to marry like this and they sacrificed everything for it, and when it became ‘discouraged’ they continued to do it for another nearly 30 years. Is Oaks seriously arguing that this was not a commandment from god in the first place? (That’s a direct contradiction of mormon scripture.) Or is he arguing that the law of the land were right all along? Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is sophistry.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: What about various types of support groups for those with same-gender affliction?

WICKMAN: I think we neither encourage nor discourage them, but much would depend on the nature of those groups. We certainly discourage people getting involved with any group or organization that foster living a homosexual lifestyle. But of course…

Ultimately, the wisest course for anybody who’s afflicted with same-gender attraction is to strive to extend one’s horizon beyond just one’s sexual orientation, one’s gender orientation, and to try to see the whole person. Two things: 1) we live in a world where gay people *must* think about their sexuality more than other people, because it’s so different from the majority and because there are real and dangerous consequences for not doing so. But 2) most gay people have whole full lives already, and this is pure ignorant assumption to say otherwise. Gay people have jobs, hobbies, careers, families, interests, and politics. They are fully human. If I’m one that’s afflicted with same-gender attraction, I should strive to see myself in a much broader context… seeing myself as a child of God with whatever my talents may be, whether intellect, or music, or athletics, or somebody that has a compassion to help people, to see myself in a larger setting and thus to see my life in that setting. See above.

The more a person can look beyond gender orientation why is it so hard for W to say “sexual orientation”? gender orientation would have more to do with transgender issues (a whole other ball of wax that the church is equally evil with), the happier and more fulfilling life is likely to be Does he council straight people to stop thinking so much about their marriages and their relationships with their families? This is an absurd argument. The worst possible thing for any of us — no matter what our temptations, no matter what our mortal inclinations may be — is to become fixated with them, to dwell on them. Ya know, I heard this alot when I was a mormon. I wonder what that means, to ‘dwell on’ your problems. The key here, however, is that a gay person livin gin a mormon community will be forced by the very nature of that experience to dwell on their homosexuality, to by hyper-vigiliant in monitoring their behavior and feelings, and to always be on guard against temptation; they will be obsessed because that is what the church has asked them to be. Telling them to do everything possible not to act on their feelings, and then telling them to get a hobby is just laughably cruel and devoid of any form of compassion. When we do that, not only do we deny the other things that comprise us, but experience teaches that there will be an increased likelihood that eventually we will simply succumb to the inclination.

OAKS: The principle that Elder Wickman has talked about, in a nutshell, is that if you are trying to live with and maintain ascendancy over same-gender attractions, the best way to do that is to have groups that define their members in terms other than same-gender attractions. The church (BYU and LDS Social Service) used to tell gay men to join sports teams, because they only thought they were gay because they lacked male companionship. Is this what he means? *snicker*

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: If you had to describe this enormously complex question in a couple of basic principles, what would that be?

OAKS: God loves all of His children. But some children more than others, so he gives them an entire social system designed to support their sexual desires. But other children he hates, and condemns to a life of torture and darkness, forbidding them to know love or peace, requiring that they fight off their desires and loves or suffer eternal damnation! He has provided a plan for His children to enjoy the choicest blessings that He has to offer in eternity. Those choicest blessings are associated with marriage between a man and a woman Isn’t mormonism weird? Who came up with the idea of attaching sexuality to salvation in this way? by appropriate priesthood authority to bring together a family unit for creation and happiness in this life and in the life to come.

We urge persons with same-gender attractions to control those and to refrain from acting upon them, which is a sin, just as we urge persons with heterosexual attractions to refrain from acting upon them until they have the opportunity for a marriage recognized by God as well as by the law of the land. That is the way to happiness and eternal life. God has given us no commandment that He will not give us the strength and power to observe. That is the Plan of Salvation for His children, and it is our duty to proclaim that plan, to teach its truth, and to praise God for the mission of His Son Jesus Christ. It is Christ’s atonement that makes it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and His resurrection that gives us the assurance of immortality and the life to come. It is that life to come that orients our views in mortality and reinforces our determination to live the laws of God so that we can qualify for His blessings in immortality.More religious blah blah. Whatever.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Thank you. No, thank *you*.



1. Todd’s Hammer » Blog Archive » Mormon Homophobia, Part Two - 20 August 2006

[…] Mormon Homophobia, Part Three […]

2. Lori - 21 August 2006


As painful as it was for me to read the entire article it must have been excruciating for you to have to read such pure and undiluted BS. I love, love love your comments and found myself nodding and yelling “hell yes” at my computer.

This needs to be more widely distributed.


3. Todd - 21 August 2006

Thanks Lori. Spread it around. I was increasingly agitated as I wrote it, so I don’t know how effective it would be for a believer, but I’d love to have TBMs directed here and read my responses and maybe consider for the first time the problematic position of the church vis-a-vis homosexuality.

4. Mark - 31 August 2006


TBMs would not have a clue if they were directed to your site. Sad to say that blinders worn by TBMs would prevent them from reading the truth. I think this quote of yours sums up the problem:
“This is like the white people in the 1950s saying that it was the black people’s fault they were beaten and attacked by dogs and their homes burnt. They were being “uppity.” It’s so weird how people in the position of privilege can be so blind to it.” A few years ago in a Priesthood meeting, I began to speak about the issue that everyone should have the right to marriage. As I spoke and the silence became cold, I pointed out that marriage is a civil contract. The LDS Church can have its temple marriage and do what they want, but it still takes a marriage license from a civil authority for a temple marriage to take place. Marriage has nothing to do with God or religion. When I was finished, all the upset and angry Elders Quorum President had to say was, “I am glad we have a living prophet to guide us” and no one spoke to me after the meeting. I hope the LDS Church and other Churches fail in the attempt to put in place a constitutional amendment for one man one women marriage. The idea is wrong and would not change anything. It is sad that those who say they love mankind cannot see how unloving they are.
Great comments. I enjoyed reading what you had to say in all three parts.

5. Mark - 31 August 2006

Ok, I could not resist posting the following quote from Linda Sillitoe’s History of Salt Lake County. The law argument and the “that is the way things have been for thousands of years so lets keep it that way” sucks for anyone who is not in the majority:

“Of course, back in the ’60s—in the early 60s, people like me had a
hard time,” African-American Billy W. Mason recalled in an oral
history for Salt Lake County’s Neighborhood House.
Here and just about everywhere else. In those days, black
people didn’t have any place to go bowling, you know. We didn’t have
a place to go roller skating. Oh, there was a Normandy Skating Rink
on Sixth South and Main. The only time we could go roller skating
there was from 12 o’clock at night until 1:00. One hour. Yeah. We
couldn’t eat at certain restaurants, or get into certain social
clubs. . . .
. . . That’s why we got to keep talking about those early
days—so no one forgets those times. And we have to talk about how
the civil rights movement—the human rights bill—brought about
I remember the day we picketed Rancho Lanes. With members of
the NAACP, we went there to bowl. The guy says, “You can’t bowl
here.” So, we picketed. We had about 50 or 60 people with us. Blacks
and whites. Boy, it’s rough when you have to think about picketing a
bowling alley to achieve equality. Well, finally, after some time,
we got to bowl, just like everybody else. Then, as the movement
continued, more changes came about. Segregation in housing changed
and jobs got a little better.”


6. Mark Wilkinson - 2 January 2008

Hey, Todd, I realize this posting is really old, and I apologize for not having read it when it was originally posted, because it was much more fun to read this with your interspersed comments than it was to read the original version by myself!

The one point I find interesting about this whole issue and the church’s position, is this: Okay, so the Church apparently thinks that sexual orientation is something that can, despite all the waffling here, be changed or overcome, or dealt with. And apparently, their hand-wringing is much greater over The Gays than it is over the poor “single sisters who can’t seem to get married,” because our sin, by getting into even committed monogamous relationships is still a sin next to murder. So where are the attempts at church programs to help/support these “afflicted members”? Where are the general conference talks exhorting members to be more tolerant, and loving, to give examples of this “loving the sinner but hating the sin” because THAT really is something difficult for even a well-meaning member to wrap their head around. The fact that the church heirarchy isn’t really DOING anything other than talk about it in abstract terms really shows how much they care about supporting the few gay members who seem to want to stay active and celibate?! If orientation can be changed, wouldnt’ the church be funding research on the best ways to change it, no matter how misguided the research?

No. They just think the whole thing is distasteful, the people who are gay (whether they are fighting it or not) are distasteful, and it’s all up to THEM to deal with it by themselves.

The one part of this Q&A thing that made me MADDEST was the answer about how a righteous parent would treat a child and their partner who wanted to “come home” for holidays or whatever. The church’s official recommendation their sounds like almost the worst-case scenario, from my perspective. “We love you, but don’t want to see any representative of who you are in our house. Don’t bring your filthy partner here, and don’t plan to stay long!”

Fortunately for me, no one in my family seems to have read the Church Q&A on this (believe me, I wouldn’t point it out to them unless I knew they would disagree with it), and if they did, they must not aren’t “righteous” enough to follow this counsel.

One other thing… unlike the “blacks and the priesthood issue” which seems to have occurred in a time when things were much less documented than they are now, won’t the Church have a really difficult time explaining all of the homophobic text they are generating nnow, when they inevitably receive the revelation correcting all their craziness? This Q&A will be much harder to disappear. I think they’d be better off, from a PR perspective, just saying “We think it’s wrong. We don’t know why.” 😉

7. Todd - 4 January 2008

the three families in the ward I grew up in with gay sons don’t follow the counsel in this Q&A at all, thank god. I wonder if they even know about it? Sometimes i think one of the reaosns the church survives is because most of the rank and file are ignorant of the bullshit coming out of the COB.

8. James - 6 February 2008

I am sure there are alot of gay men in Mormonism. When I went through the temple rite for the first time a male attendant to me to the changing room to prepare for the washings. I took of my clothes and noticed him standing around the corner staring at me. When he performed the ceremonial washing I noticed he was getting a hard on, but I tired to ignore it. When I went to change into my clothes he came into the room as I was standing there in the nude. He tried to act like he did not see me, but I know he did. I should have started to play with my d–k to see what he would do.

9. Michael - 3 October 2010

This is freaking GOLD. (Not the thin hammered-metal plate variety, but metaphorical, rhetorical gold.) Thanks for your eloquent and well-reasoned rebuttal of this manure. A few points of my own:

+ The “official” line of the church is that all members will be welcomed into “full fellowship” in the church regardless of attraction/orientation, as long as they obey the law of chastity. In other words, no punishment for merely stating your preference/attraction. However, this directly contradicts the policies of the Boy Scouts of America, which are more or less controlled by the church, and which is practically an auxiliary of the church for all intents and purposes. In other words, under the bylaws of the BSA, proclaiming one’s sexual orientation as homosexual (or bisexual) automatically makes one ineligible for membership or participation. The church, which is by far the biggest funder of the BSA and has enormous control over policy, is being very hypocritical and contradictory on this point. Can we really say that a young man who acknowledges his homosexual orientation has “full fellowship” when he is technically and officially excluded from participation in the Boy Scouts and, by extension, the youth programs of the church?

+ The doctrinal assertion that non-straight sexual tastes, preferences and desires are only a condition of the current life and will not carry over into the next life is totally contradictory to other doctrinal teachings. How many times have you heard the Sunday School lesson that the only thing you take with you into the next life is the bonds created via the priesthood, and your mind and its contents; that you’re still the same person in the next world that you are in this one; and that temptation and free will will still exist in the world to come. (There’s a commonly-cited Book of Mormon passage supporting the content-of-your-mind doctrine, but I don’t have the will or stomach to look it up right now.) The idea that my attraction to men will somehow vanish, and that I would still be the same person if it did, is a TOTAL contradiction to these well-established doctrines.

Incidentally, the church teaches that the lowest kingdom in eternity is similar to (but better than) than the Earth we live on now, and that EVERYBODY, even those consigned to the lowest kingdom, will receive resurrection and everlasting life with a perfect body and free agency. If I have to make a choice between an eternity where I will be married to a woman and denied the expression of my tastes and passions FOREVER, or to live forever in a world better than this one with free agency and the perpetual body of a 22-year-old underwear model and companionship with others of similar physical perfection and tastes and inclinations, I’ll gladly pick the latter, thank you very much. Which one sounds like paradise to you?

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