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.