Monday, January 30, 2012

The latest stance on Homosexuality by the LDS Church

I was there in the conference center when President Boyd K. Packer was brought out on his wheel chair for the commemoration of 100 years of seminary. Watching him get set up, and watching the care with which he was assisted, I had two thoughts that I am slightly embarrassed to admit to. 

The first was that the brethren assign him difficult topics because he may be not long for this world with his advanced age they would rather blame any harshness or insensitivity on him.
My second thought was that maybe it is just old school to say what he thinks, and Boyd K packer certainly does. The “oh, that’s just Elder Packer.” Has been used plenty to “excuse his brashness. 
Getting ready to choose his sexual preference?
I often wonder whether that was said of Lehi – certainly his wife said it in 1st Nephi chapter 5.  Visionary it was called.  Until he was proved right.  It may take a bit longer for history to prove that Elder Packer was right.

I was not surprised to hear him take on “Gender issues.” Regardless of the topic, he seems to bring gender issues to the fore front, and frankly I am glad that he does.  I want them talked about in the church.  I may or may not agree with everything the church publicly states on the subject, but I am thrilled when it is brought up in a way that can’t be ignored—like in the conference center live to thousands of young men and women and their parents.

"You cannot lie or cheat or steal or act immorally and have those (spiritual) channels remain free from disruption," he said – parentheses added. "Do not go where the environment resists spiritual communication. You must learn to seek the power and direction that is available to you, and then follow that course no matter what."

So far, so good.

Sharing a "to do" list with the youth, President Packer described things individuals can do in their lives to have the direction of the spirit. He spoke about prayer, following the word of wisdom and keeping one's body clean. He also spoke of the importance of staying morally clean and the eternal nature of gender.

"This matter of gender is of great concern to the Brethren, as are all matters of morality," he said.

Here we go.

"A few of you may have felt or been told that you were born with troubling feelings and that you are not guilty if you act on those temptations. Doctrinally we know that if that were true, your agency would have been erased, and that cannot happen. You always have a choice to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and live a morally pure and chaste life, one filled with virtue. …

"You have ... agency. Use it wisely to deny acting on any impure impulse or unholy temptation that may come into your mind," President Packer said.

"The key word is discipline — self discipline," he said. "The word discipline comes from the word disciple or follower. Be a disciple/follower of the Savior and you will be safe."
He was clear to iterate that sex between those unmarried “members of either gender” is wrong, and “is a standard of the church that will not change.”

Well, I agree with him—which doesn’t make for very interesting blogging.  I would, personally like to change the wording slightly, but only slightly, and it may not be an issue at all depending on how you look at it.  I will explain my POV.

It has to do with this thought of his: “A few of you may have felt or been told that you were born with troubling feelings and that you are not guilty if you act on those temptations. Doctrinally we know that if that were true, your agency would have been erased, and that cannot happen.”

One of my feelings is that I was born with the inclinations of being gay (same sex/gender attracted, with homosexual inclinations, whatever wording you choose.) I don’t remember ever choosing to whom I was sexually attracted.  Most of the SGAttracted folk I know do not remember their sexual preference as a choice they made.  Like the straight folk, it seems to be innate.  I prefer girls.  I prefer guys.

Yes, it may have been nurture—I fit into just about every stereotypical family mess that has been presented as the “Cause” of Homosexuality.  If these were my environment before an age of accountability, then is there agency involved?  Or is the agency activated when I decide where to go from that point on?  Once I realized that I was attracted to my same gender, and it is too late to be born into another environment,  there are choices to be made.  Agency.

So I differ somewhat in the thinking that there is one cookie cutter and that we all came from that exact standard.  There is too much personality and individuality, and we know so little about genetics and gender to make a ruling.  Is it possible that someone is born with the inclination to prefer one gender over the other? I think yes. 

Does this negate agency?  No.

In the first place, I can still choose who I have sex with.  In the second place, and more to President Packers point, I may have been given the opportunity to ok any challenges or personality issues that the Lord saw fit to bestow upon me in the pre-earth life. We agreed to come to earth to get bodies and to make choices that would bring us back to heavenly father.   

The assumption by many is that our choices and our agency began after we were born.  I say they started before that. 


  1. From my perspective, our choices began well before we were born. That said, our sexual attractions began well before we were born as well. That said, what we do with what we understand about who we are is what matters.

  2. President Paker makes the same argument here he has made before, and that is what's troubling. He says in essence that God cannot make a mistake. That these "feelings" are a doctrinal impossiblity "and cannot happen." (If your agency cannot be taken away, then the feelings that seem to bind you contrary to church doctrine must also be impossible.) So that leaves these emotinally tender spirits hearing once again an apostle state that they are inherently vile and wrong.

    As someone who is now less wise than his years might indicate, I can understand a different meaning to his words, but if I go back to my teen years so long ago, once again I can feel myself try to melt into my chair.

  3. No melting is allowed. We can figure this out, Andy

  4. I guess I'm tired of Boyd K. ragging on this. No one knows, at this point, what causes homosexuality. This familiar rant of his does nothing to make gay people feel better about who they are and where they fit in the Church. There needs to be a new approach. My opinion.

  5. But... This isn't just about sexuality. Of course just because you feel attraction, you don't need to act on it. The world would descend into chaos of people just acted on urges without mediation.

    This is about connection. Relationship. That seems so fundamental to me, focusing on sexual attraction and not addressing the connection/relatedness/need for family issue is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel...

    Fortunately, Church leaders spend a lot less time talking about "attraction" than they do about family, about the ways that family blesses and strengthens us and enables us to walk the difficult roads we have to walk in this veil of tears; about the joy that focusing on family offers us. As I hear these talks, I find myself quietly nodding in agreement. That's what I experience with Göran and with our son.

    I'm longing for the time when Church leaders can see me three-dimensionally.

  6. I have to say. I really enjoy reading your blog. I respect your choice to stay active and to be faithful to your wife. I used to be mormon and am gay. You sound more bi-sexual than gay. As a true gay man I literally cannot bring myself to be sexual with a woman in any way. It just isn't in my make up. (I was in love with a woman and almost got married. But no way could I have sex with her.) You seem to be able to. That would you make you bisexual. (Just not acting on the same sex side) Yes?

  7. That was a good post, but me (being gay) and hearing what Elder Boyd said make me mad...

  8. So true, J-G-W! I've done a champion's job of "using my agency" up to this point in my life (I'm almost 27), and it is precisely the ingrained teaching of the importance of family that is driving me to finally move away from the Church's position on homosexuality. I want a family. It makes no sense to me that we should be in a situation where we just can't have that. People can marry those of the opposite sex outside of the temple and not lose their "blessings" or be (too) looked down on. Why can't same-gender love just be one of that multitude of things that gets "sorted out in the afterlife?"

    The proactive stance on family (of the Church and also deeply inculcated into my own character and person since youth) outweighs the fear of disobeying a senseless requirement to NOT do something. Or, at least it does in theory... I'm not exactly (truly) dated anyone before, ha ha.

  9. I appreciate your blog. This is the first time I've checked it out. (Love the superman photo--you probably have to have superhuman powers to get through life at times. Of course, don't we all.) Not related specifically to this post, but to the recent news buzz, I really would be totally fine with having you or any other virtuous gay man like you be my son's scout leader. I don't see the difference between that and a chaste heterosexual person coaching teens of the opposite sex.