191: BYU Professor Bill Bradshaw on a Biological Origin of Homosexuality

September 24, 2010
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Yesterday (9/23/2010) Dr. William Bradshaw of BYU’s Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology delivered a lecture entitled “The Evidence For A Biological Origin For Homosexuality” at Brigham Young University.  The audio can be accessed below, or on the Mormon Stories podcast feed.  The visuals can be accessed here.

Dr. Bradshaw is a former mission president, former member of a stake presidency, has written about the biology of homosexuality elsewhere, and was covered by BYU’s Daily Universe here.  He is also the host on a short video entitled, “Embracing our Homosexual Children.”

We will soon be releasing a full Mormon Stories interview w/ Dr. Bradshaw.

(This presentation was recorded and is provided with full permission of Dr. Bradshaw).

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158 Responses to 191: BYU Professor Bill Bradshaw on a Biological Origin of Homosexuality

  1. September 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    This was such a fantastic lecture! It made me very proud to be a member of the LDS and BYU community. There was a big turn-out (many from outside BYU I think), and there was an overwhelming applause/standing ovation. Also, I had a nice conversation with Tom(?) from Mormon Expression there because I recognized his voice when he asked a question to Dr. Bradshaw.

    I cannot wait for the full Mormon Stories interview, John!

  2. Marsco
    September 24, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Is homosexuality genetic ? It would appear it is.

    I hope some young gay LDS person that is considering suicide will get to see this. It might save their life.

    The Church does not take a position on the cause of homosexuality? Then why the involvement in Prop 8 ? It seems duplicitous. Absolutely not a Christian action. I am confused.

    Before the Prop 8 action and the commensurate fallout this man would never have been given the latitude to give this lecture.

    Marsco

  3. Bill
    September 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Nobody can question Dr. Bradshaw’s credentials, his faithfullness or his motives. He is not trying to take the church down or make it look stupid. He is motivated only by LOVE. Big kudos!!

  4. September 25, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Thanks for posting this, John. I was hoping you would get this posted as I was unable to attend the actual presentation.

  5. TGC
    September 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    @Derrick
    I’m not sure how this “makes you proud to be a member of the LDS and BYU community”. You do understand the viewpoint of the church, right? It is not quite the same as Dr Bradshaw’s. It’s my understanding that the church still believes homosexuality to be a choice. Review comments made by Keith McMullin, James E Faust, Spencer W Kimball, Boyd K Packer, Gordon B Hinkley, etc… I’m not quite sure how this “makes you proud to be a member”.

    John,
    Thanks for posting this. This was a great lecture, and solidified my stance. I’m sickened by the church’s involvement with Prop 8, and their treatment of gays. Lectures like this should be listened to by every church member. Kudos to Dr Bradshaw.

    • Spammealso
      March 6, 2011 at 6:00 am

      Either the prophet is the prophet or he isn’t. Which side you stand on?

      • Staceybj
        April 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm

        The Prophet is as man. He can make mistakes.

  6. hillplus
    September 25, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I don’t think there is a question that homosexuality is sometimes biologically based. That doesn’t change the fact that is is an aberration. The actions people take ARE choices!

    • manlover
      July 7, 2011 at 4:44 am

      i am a bisexual mormon and I’ve tried to kill myself before and spent three weeks in the loony bin.

      being gay is not a choice, and don’t expect gay people to EVER be celibate their whole lives.

      You are a bigot and people like you are the reason I tried to hang myself!

      • Anonymous
        November 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

        One of my best friends is a woman, 30, LDS, endowed, etc. and is still not married.  She has expressed time and again her frustration that she will never be allowed to have sex if she never gets married, which she feels may never happen (she’s kinda obsessed with sex).  But she doesn’t think it’s fair of the church/god to require her to be celibate her entire life, never having experienced the wonderful act of sex.   

        I ask, how is this different than a gay or lesbian woman?  If you have made covenants in the temple, you know what those covenants are, and what is expected of you, right?  No matter how wonderful sex may be, you have made a covenant with serious consequences.  Unless you a legally married gay/lesbian, I don’t think it is wise to have sex.  Period. 

        • Kathy
          February 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm

          It’s different because gay people don’t even have the hope to have a relationship that would be fulfilling, socially acceptable, and true to their attractions under the current restrictions of the church.  Single people at least have the possibility, however unlikely it may or may not be.  

          It’s also different because there are additional restrictions for a homosexual person that may or may not be church wide.  I’ve personally been counseled to cut off any sort of relationship with another woman who I am attracted to.  I’ve had bishops counsel me with who I should or shouldn’t have as roommates.  But frankly, if I’m supposed to cut every woman out of my life who I am ever attracted to, I would run out of people to be friends with very quickly.

          Finally it’s different because of the enigma that the single homosexual is inside of a marriage crazed, family obsessed church.  I’m constantly having to dodge questions about whether I’m dating anyone in addition to watching people at church, my friends and family make their lives with their spouses like a starving kid outside of a restaurant.  

          Personally I think the main problem that the church has with homosexuality is what the picture would be in the eternities.  They wouldn’t be able to have families, if our bodies functioned the same as they do now.  We believe that people’s bodies will heal in the resurrection, including folks who can’t have children.  Is it inconceivable that God has a plan for gay people that they could have kids with each other?  Personally I am not very excited about my reward for living a good life and fighting the good fight to be a husband.  That’s not what I want at all.  I don’t think that a loving God would set his kids up for that.  

  7. Mason Patterson
    September 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Homosexuality is not soley question of genetics, whether or not you are predisposed to something genetically does not change what is right and wrong. We all have struggles hopefully this information will help people be more compassionate towards our brothers and sisters who are struggling with this challenge.

    • October 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Homosexuality need not be a challenge. It certainly does not have to be a struggle.
      Due to a lack of understanding, imposition of law, and demonizing homosexual relationships, it is made out to be a “struggle”, a mental illness, an impurity. This is not the case!
      Love. Be open and accepting of change.  The Church has changed so much since its inception. You’ll find your heart more open, and more Christlike than you ever knew possible.

  8. Marshall Bond
    September 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I believe that Prof. Bradshaw has the clout to have an impact on the Church leadership’s stance on this issue. From my days at BYU in the mid-eighties, I recall that he and then university President Holland were fairly tight. God bless Prof. Bradshaw for his dedicated and thorough study of the “nature” of SGA. I believe we will look back on him as a pioneer on this issue. “It’s rough to be odd,” he said in response to Tom’s question (paraphrased, I think). Thank you, Bro. Bradshaw, for having the courage to be “odd.”

    • Spammealso
      March 6, 2011 at 6:04 am

      It is not about “clout” it is about the will of the Lord and obedience and love for Him. If He says something is wrong or is a matter of choice, the it is. He know so much more than you, professor Bradshaw, or me. We fallow His revealed truth first and compare all that we hear and learn from man against His revealed word—that is the pattern.

  9. Randy
    September 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I struggle with the logic that people so easily embrace. I have been studying biology and human science for 17 years. I hear that people want to say it is human nature, somehow out of our control. Even Darwin’s principle is that those that don’t pass on their genes lose. Those that reproduce win. It is not out of our control. We all struggle with challenges in life. We all have different flaws. Our trial is to see how we handle these. Having homosexual tendencies is not the choice, acting on these is the choice one faces. Living in obedience to our creators laws is OUR choice alone. Biology cannot and will not force us to choose things we will ourselves against. We must choose to follow or not. Saying that biology somehow forces us one way or another is a lie.

  10. Duane
    September 25, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    “Biology cannot and will not force us to choose things we will ourselves against… Saying that biology somehow forces us one way or another is a lie.”

    @Randy: I can appreciate how this makes sense at first, but if you follow this to its logical end then the brain does nothing (“biology is not involved in decision making”) and the soul does everything (“the spirit makes all decisions”), which clearly is not the case. If it were so, then mental disorders such as Down syndrome, clinical depression, and Alzheimer’s disease would have no basis in neurobiology. But these examples are clear cases where biological function affects actual decision processes–to the point that most people do not hold victims of these diseases accountable for their actions. Is it such a leap to believe that “accountability” is not a YES/NO condition, but rather a continuum? If it is a continuum, then perhaps not all people are bound by the same parameters that you are. For example, perhaps “[God] will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” is a scripture meant for a subset of the Lord’s children and not the whole (I hope you would agree that it does not apply to the 3 examples of mental disorders).

    In addition, I’ve noticed that some people feel the need to speak out against homosexuality while neglecting the much greater epidemic of heterosexual guilt in the church. I don’t know an elder’s quorum that doesn’t hang its head low when it’s time for the bishop to give the chastity talk. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” is powerful not only because it prevented a mob from killing a guilty person, but because it shows the wisdom of pouring out love even to those who appear to deserve condemnation.

  11. Shane
    September 26, 2010 at 2:03 am

    For all heterosexuals out there, which I am. Let’s imagine a different situation. You are heterosexual, and religion is telling you, that you should only have homosexual relationships, and if you are heterosexual you have to be celibate. How long could you live this way? How long could you live without being intimate with anyone? How long could you be faithful to a religion that is denying you a basic human need/desire, that as we can see by this lecture, is biological. Heterosexual members have the luxury of knowing after marriage they can leave celibacy behind them, and high percentage still can’t even wait until marriage. But, if your homosexual, you have to practice celibacy for life, with no positive outlook for a future relationship.

    There will be some who could do this, but I think it would be a small percentage and they would be living in emotional pain. This is not compassion. I am truly tired of people hurting because society is uncompassionate and deems them different.

    • Kadi Heath
      May 16, 2011 at 2:05 am

       Shane,
       I appreciate that you sympathize with the lack of compassion for those suffering with feelings of attraction for the opposite sex. I would, however, like to address your statement:

      “How long could you live without being intimate with anyone? How long
      could you be faithful to a religion that is denying you a basic human
      need/desire, that as we can see by this lecture, is biological.”

      Firstly, we lived without intimacy before we came to this earth. Granted, emotions and physical urges are profoundly stronger in our very physical bodies, but God has given us very clear rules about what we are and are not allowed to do with our bodies. We are to refrain from sexual intercourse before marriage. Period. Now, you claim that it would cause emotional pain and I agree. However, we were sent to this earth to experience trials and grow through pain, discomfort and tribulation. Life was never meant to be fair. God has given us the opportunity to become like Him and each of His children will have different degrees of tribulation. That said, we are all promised that we will return to Him if we obey the laws He has set forth for us. This mortal life has been called “the blink of an eye” when compared to all eternity and those who do not have the opportunity to marry in this life (through no fault of their own) will be given that opportunity in the next.

      Secondly,  what you call biological God calls “the natural man.” We are commanded to “[put] off the natural man” (Mosiah 3:19) which most people would agree means we need to learn and practice self-discipline. I’m not expecting someone with homosexual feelings to be perfect in their thoughts, but it is possible through Christ to be perfect in their actions (and by perfect, I mean not indulging or acting on those feelings). Self -discipline can extend to thoughts, but that will, for most people, take time and effort. The most important component for putting off the natural man is to seek God’s help. He loves us and wants to help us obey His commandments.

      Lastly, you might not have first hand recollection but you supported God’s plan before you came to Earth. You supported Jesus Christ as your Savior. Your being here on the earth is unequivocal proof of that. I urge you to examine (or reexamine) that plan at this location: http://lds.org/plan/our-eternal-life?lang=eng

      Good luck and all the best!

  12. Jan
    September 26, 2010 at 4:54 am

    We all try to read the Mormon tea leaves as best we can…and I think I hear the church saying that “being” homosexual is not a choice (nor is it cause for excommunication), but “practicing” homosexuality is. Evidence of a genetic component has been accumulating for some time. Dismissing homosexuality as merely a “lifestyle choice” is beginning to sound rather quaint.

  13. monte
    September 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    People in my family have a genetic tendency towards alcoholism. Champagne and wine can look very attractive, fun and entertaining. However, the gospel of Jesus Christ requires of us to abstain from these things. The tendency is there, but so is the choice. Unlike animals, we have a higher intelligence which gives us the privilege of free-agency and therefore the blessings of our sacrifices. I know I have been blessed for making such sacrifices. I know each of us will come across at least one thing in this life that requires us to choose, at great pains, God or what is more comfortable or seemingly easy for us.

    If I love God, it does not matter what He asks of me. I will do my best to do it. If I intend to put Him first, He will remember me at the last day. If I love myself and my tendencies more and put them above God, then I will have chosen to aspire to lesser things.

    If homosexuality is not a choice, then why did my friend John (who claims to be homosexual) marry a woman? If homosexuality is not a choice, then why do I recall a Phil Donohue panel, from the ’80s, of five men who had once lived the homosexual lifestyle, then made a CHOICE to repent and do God’s will, and abandoned that lifestyle entirely–using the “power of Christ” as they testified, to overcome–and all five are now leading healthy, heaven-blessed heterosexual lives?

    We each have genetic tendencies that both bless us and curse us. And did you know that on average each of us even has approximately three genetic mutations? Most we don’t even know about. But such helps give us each our own bag of difficulties, as well as joys in this journey to become like God. Only God and Christ can judge who’s really got it better or worse down here.

    Surely common sense helps us realize how important agency is above all of this–for if every genetically endowed homosexual follows a biologically dictated path, without considering the greater power of agency–the entire group eventually commits genocide. How then can there be for him the godly increase of the eternities?

    I know that God will not accept my genetic weaknesses as excuses for all that He has commanded me to do–especially when He has also told me He will turn my weaknesses into strengths if I come to Him to do this. And I’ve seen enough in my many years on this planet to surely know that we can even be genetically refined through Christ. (There is evidence of such in Japanese research on healing water, if you seek for a sign.) May we have faith in the answers for our temptations.

    • Mormongirl
      November 3, 2011 at 7:43 am

      God asks you to love all and judge none… why don’t get on that task and leave the gay folks alone.  How do they hurt you? We live in a country where peole are free to practice the religion or lack of religion that they choose.  Be Mormon all you want but keep your nose out of other people’s lives.  Historically, Mormons were shunned and marginalized by society and to some degreee still are seen by many as a freak cult.  Why?  Because they believed differently than the rest of society.  If any group in this country should have compassion for those who are outcasted because they are different, its the Mormon Church.   Yet rather than practice the compassion of the Jesus they like to quote and tout as their role model they in turn inflict the same hatred and marginalization onto others that do not believe as they do.  Their torture (at places like Evergreen and BYU) and ostracizing of homosexuals puts them on a par with Nazis.  

      At the end of each year Mormons in thelir local ward attend a tithing settlment meeting to make certain they have given adequate financial support to the church.  There is no settlement meeting for one’s morality or ethical behavior though… no confession.  Sort of tells you what’s most important to the church.   

      • LDSmom
        April 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

        You obviously aren’t a practicing Mormon, inferred by your comments when referring to “them” when talking about the church members. If that’s the case, you might want to change your name on here, so as to not be lumped in with the rest of us that you compare to Nazis. And just for reference, there are meetings with the Bishop regarding moral and ethical accountability and confession/repentance. You can meet with the Bishop any time, but at least every time you are renewing your temple recommend. In regards to tithing, it is a commandment of all Christians, at least anyone who has read the Bible would know that it is not just the Mormon church. Or do you not think our leaders should encourage the members to follow the commandments of God? The Bible also tells about inappropriate relationships being wrong in the sight of God, which includes homosexuality. So if you are not a practicing Mormon or are anti-Mormon, maybe you should not post about Mormons. Just sayin….

  14. Millennial Mormon
    September 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    As I hear people say that these are “just tendencies” and Mormon gays and lesbians can choose, I somtimes wonder if these people who say that “we all have our challenges” would be willing and able themselves to choose to live a COMPLETELY CELIBATE LIFE UNTIL THEY DIE if they were in the shoes of a gay or lesbian Mormon because that is what we are asking them to do. We know that telling them to just get married and it will “cure” their “tendencies” has failed. I think if the shoe were on the other foot many of these judgmental people would be saying something quite different.

    Please note that Jesus Christ NEVER said anything about homosexuality in the New Testament or the Book of Mormon. Although there are a few references to it in the New Testament, for the most part it is a relic of the Law of Moses which has been fulfilled.

    Many years from now this will be viewed with a similar view as Blacks and the Priesthood. I can only pray that we will be a little earlier on this issue than on the other one.

  15. Shane
    September 27, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Monte: Homosexuality is not a tendency. That is clear. The comparison of Sexual attraction and drug dependency (alcoholism) is quite a reach. Comparing one drug dependency to another is viable. Comparing the amount of attraction that a heterosexual has compared to a homosexual is viable. Unlike animals we do have a higher intelligence, but that intelligence is also wrapped up in our biological pressures and that is companionship. It’s not so simple. Again, could you really commit to celibacy for life?

    Last time I checked, Phil Donahue is a strong supporter of LGBT rights. He has multiple awards from GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and aired many shows about homosexuality from all points of view. Focusing on a single episode from over 60 episodes in his career doesn’t represent his view well at all. Finding 5 men to support sexual orientation choice from an entire homosexual population of the US isn’t a hard task, nor does it by any means support your argument. It is by no means a scientific study. It would be interesting to know what these 5 men are doing now. I’m sure we could locate 5 people in the US who worship maggots as gods. What would that tell us what? Absolutely nothing. Many homosexuals marry heterosexuals due to many outside social pressures including religion. Assuming sexuality is a black and white subject (strictly gay or straight) is wrong. There are varying degrees of homosexuality/heterosexuality. It is quite gray. This variation would allow certain individuals to be attracted to both sexes at varying degrees, and allow for some marriages to work. Search the “Kinsey scale” on wikipedia or any source you prefer. For more on Phil Donahue and homosexuality, see http://www.stevecap.com/alternatechannels_net/us/ongoing/donahue.htm

    To address the relationship of genocide and homosexuality. First of all, Bill Bradshaw’s lecture made it clear that studies show in other species (he sited sheep), they have a similar rate of homosexuality without achieving genocide. Bradshaw’s lecture also shows studies that homosexuals are very common in large families. A high percentage of homosexuals are born to highly fertile women with large families. This would keep your unsupported notion of genocide through homosexuality from happening. Also if 90% of our race is procreating, that is more than enough to propagate our species.

    I’m sorry for this direct attack I will be making. But I do hate the argument that age and experience equals intelligence and knowledge, just as much as youth equals athleticism and a fast mind. Your age does not give you the right to claim scientific proof without study and testing. Remember, the church has said it doesn’t participate in the argument of nurture or nature, saying “It’s best left to science.”

    The church evolves due to social pressure. It’s well documented, and this issue will follow the same route. Polygamy, support to the federal Government, political party changes, beards, dress, garments, blacks, and ERA issues/changes have all been accepted by the church in time. This issue isn’t much different. The church does change due to social, economic and political influences.

    I don’t mean to offend if I have. I feel facts on any issue are important to study and know before making a decision that affects mine or any other’s life.

  16. September 27, 2010 at 3:38 am

    In reading through these thoughts I am struck that we are inclined to confuse correlation with causation. That there are measurable biological differences between hetero- and homosexual adults of the same sex cannot be attributed solely to genetic causes. Our brains’ plasticity enables some structural changes to develop through habitual action.

    I am also concerned that we conflate homosexuality, the attraction and sexual partner choice, with the condition of having a higher proportion of opposite-sex [interesting that we still refer to it as opposite] characteristics than is the mean for our own sex. Simon Baron-Cohen has written a very accessible book entitled The Essential Difference, based on his own psychological research, in which he discusses the highly overlapping distributions between men and women of two styles of cognition, empathizing and systemizing, in his terms.

    My own thinking styles, finger measurements, and other characteristics that may be genetically and hormonally affected, including spatial skills, find me having more typically male characteristics than generally females do. But not more than female characteristics. That is a very important distinction. I have enjoyed the intellectual companionship of males a great deal through my life, I have also been happily married and raised six children, and enjoy the company of women in nonsexual companionships. All my social relations are not about sex. We have not, for many, many years measured male and female characteristics along a single continuum with “real male” at one end and “real female” at the other.

    We all have characteristics associated culturally with one sex or the other in various proportions. We are who we are, and if our Father in Heaven is capable of loving us as we are, and our Savior willing to redeem us, who are we to conclude otherwise?

  17. eric
    September 27, 2010 at 5:22 am

    And when it is found that I have a biological tendency(overwhelming urge) to have more than one sexual partner? Will we change the temple covenants? Not sure this proves or suggests what some seem to want it to. A biological tendency does not make destiny. Indeed, that seems to be what life is, according to LDS thought at least, to overcome the biological man.

    • Darcie
      February 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

      We did, didn’t we? We could always go back to the Masons and see if they have any new ideas. But I have a feeling they’re more unchanging than the God I was raised on.

  18. Stephen Graham
    September 27, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Was Prof. Bradshaw’s talk announced anywhere? I would like to have attended. What room and building was it in at BYU?

  19. Chris
    September 27, 2010 at 9:24 am

    @eric on September 27, 2010 at 5:22 am:

    “A biological tendency does not make destiny.” Well, some biological tendencies are destiny. You’ll never hear a Mormon proclaiming that we overcome our biological urge to procreate.

  20. Julene
    September 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I could hear a child/ren in the background. I need to register my strong objection to allowing children to be present, no matter how young, at these kinds of lectures. I’m hoping Brother Bradshaw will take note of this in the future.

  21. Kathleen Jones
    September 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    OH Julene. This is a joke, right? You have zero right to dictate to another parent what they want their children to learn!

  22. Julene
    September 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Kathleen, there are laws against exposing children to sexual subjects inappropriate for their ages. Even the public schools are careful to keep that kind information from very young children. This has nothing to do with “dictating” to any parent. They can do what they want in the privacy of their own homes (even if they use poor judgment), but the organizers of a public lecture should be responsible enough to monitor the make up of the audience. And, sorry, but children should NOT be exposed to this material until they are old enough. That child was clearly not old enough.

    • October 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      Sexual orientation and biological studies = obscene to children?
      Goodness gracious.  

  23. Gary Swenson
    September 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I find it disingenuous of anyone who isn’t required to live a life of celibacy to dictate that another person live that life. “Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.” Joaquin Setanti

    Comparing homosexuality to alcoholism from an LDS standpoint is invalid, since you don’t get excommunicated for alcoholism. Alcoholism also has multiple victims, the spouse, the children, the accident victim who is paralyzed by the drunk driver. Monogamous same sex relationships have no victims–only two joyfully united people who are happier together than they were apart. “Men are that they might have joy”–unless you are gay.

    Gay couples NEVER have unwanted children. They are always welcomed and planned, unlike far too many children born to heterosexual LDS couples. Does the LDS church actually believe that God would rather one of his spirit children be born to a heterosexual couple that doesn’t really want her and is financially overburdened with the 6 other children in the household rather than sending her to a financially secure gay couple who will adore her, educate her, nourish her, and teach her to be good, loving and kind?

    Interesting scenario: Dave and Jim met in college, fell in love and got married in Massachusetts. Adopted kids are now 7 and 4 years old. One day, LDS missionaries knock on Jim and Dave’s door, and Dave lets them in. He hears the message, prays, and decides he wants to be baptized and join the church. Does the church require Jim and Dave to get a divorce before Dave can get baptized? Does the church require that Jim and Dave break up their family and jeopardize their children’s security so that Dave can have eternal life? When Dave’s daughter, Elizabeth, tries to do her genealogy on the church’s computer program, how does she fill in her parents (who, by the way are both listed on her birth certificate) when the computer program refuses to allow her to list two males as her parents?

    (My mother cannot fill out her family group sheet since two of her sons are legally married to men. Her only choice is to say that the spouses are ‘female’ or to list her sons as single. Both answers are dishonest, but that is the only thing the church’s program will allow.)

    The church doesn’t like legal same sex marriage, because the definition of chastity has always been: “You shall have no sexual intercourse, except with your spouse, to whom you are legally and lawfully wed.” The church has always deferred to secular law to define marriage in order to give wiggle room to a member who marries a non-member. A civil heterosexual marriage, even if performed by a wiccan priestess, somehow absolves them of committing adultery. Since legally married, monogamous same-sex couples are not violating the law of chastity as defined in the temple ceremony, what law are they violating? These social advances provide too many embarrassing situations for the LDS leadership to cope with.

  24. @Julene
    September 27, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I would hardly think this would be considered illegal under “exposing children to sexual subjects inappropriate for their age.” Its a stretch to say the least. Not to mention it is no responsibility of the venue or lecturer to “ID” people as they walk in the door. That, my dear friend, should be criminal.

  25. Jordan
    September 27, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Amen Gary!

  26. Gary Swenson
    September 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Julene,

    Parents can legally take their seven year-old children to R rated movies that show scenes of sexual intercourse that expose every part of the actors’ bodies except the genitalia. I’m not saying it’s good to do that, but it’s most certainly legal. Instead of saying it is illegal, your argument should have been that it was unwise of the parents to bring their children to that meeting.

    However, even then your argument would be wrong. This was a benign presentation that didn’t dwell on titillating anecdotes of sexual arousal, and it wasn’t a ‘how-to’ primer on gay sex either. Progressive parents are perfectly capable of answering any questions such a lecture might raise in a young child, as they are savvy enough to provide factual answers that are truthful but not elaborative. Puritanical parents, however, can only think of sex and the sex act when the word homosexuality is mentioned, and they panic that their children are thinking the same thing, when in actuality, most enlightened people (and almost all children) think of relationships (be they heterosexual or homosexual) as being more about loving and caring for someone for your entire life, which may require wiping up their vomit when they’re sick and rejoicing with them when they get a raise at work and working together to try to get Sally to stay in school or even walking the dog together.

    Uniquely, the Christian church (including the LDS faith) has been the primary destroyer of marriage for this very fact. Most Christians (and Mormons) cannot disengage the term “marriage” from the word “sex.” In fact, marriage has actually been reduced to being merely the ecclesiastical permission for a couple to have sex, and nothing more. Let’s examine this:

    Rhonda and Renee share a house together to cut down on expenses. They share the household duties. They do the yard work together. They go on vacation together. To make things more convenient, they opened a joint bank account and pooled their incomes. Rhonda sat up all night in the hospital by Renee’s bedside when she had a bout of pneumonia. Renee reminds Rhonda to take her blood pressure medication. Rhonda cooks hamburgers on the grill and Renee fixes wonderful casseroles and pies. Rhonda and Renee love each other and can’t think of life without each other.

    Rhonda and Renee don’t have sex. Never have. Never will. (Don’t ask me why–this is just an illustration).

    Not even the LDS church has any grounds to bring disciplinary action against Rhonda and Renee. In fact, Rhonda and Renee do EVERYTHING a married couple does, except have sex, and the church is not at all upset. In fact, good Mormon households in the ward comment at dinner that they wish Fred and Louise could be more like Rhonda and Renee.

    Since sex is the only variable in this equation of what Rhonda and Renee are doing as a couple as opposed to Fred and Louise, the only real need for marriage in the gospel is to allow a couple to have sex without violating a commandment. How sad that this is the only thing that marriage accomplishes for the Christian in today’s society.

    Gays and Lesbians don’t want to get married so they can have sex; they’ve been doing that without the benefit of marriage for years. Gays and Lesbians want to get married because marriage means something to them, something that too many in the church have lost sight of. The church is so preoccupied by looking at people’s zippers with regard to marriage that its leaders have forgotten what marriage really means. The church, not the gays and lesbians, has been the primary destroyer of marriage in today’s society.

    “Is it good for man to be alone?”

    “It is NOT good for man to be alone.”

    I find it sadly ironic that the church’s answer to homosexuality is to proscribe a status for its gay members (i.e. celibacy) that God himself has declared “NOT GOOD.”

    Is it any wonder that most gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals choose to leave the church in preference to being alone?

  27. Terry Anderson
    September 28, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Loved the lecture. The more this is discussed the better. Even though I enjoyed reading Gary’s retort above, I got a little lost in his logic. If Ronda and Renee are living together, but not having sex, then the church would not have a problem with that. What they seem to be longing for is a ceremony that allows them to commit to each other for life, without the need of sex. Can’t they do this without a marriage? Is marriage the only way you can show someone that you want to be with them for the rest of your life? Secondly, I don’t think most LDS hetero’s marry just to have sex. I think they look at something more enduring than that, particularly when the temple is involved. It includes the bearing and nurturing of children and building long term relationships with them. Marriage in the LDS church is a three way covenant, that’s what makes it a marriage. I agree, if God sanctioned homosexual mariage, then he should allow them to ultimately receive all the blessings that hetero’s receive. Trouble is, I’m not sure if he does sanction it, at the moment. And nobody out there in cyberland really knows. I trust him to know that he will be as merciful to homosexuals as he is to hetersexuals, after all we can do to be righteous. I agree that it is not good for a person to be alone, man or woman and that we should encourage lifelong companionship, whether it be hetero or homosexual. IMO it depends on how you want to define marriage, and this means different things to different people. If marriage is just about lifelong committment, then I cannot see a problem with homosexuals being married. If it’s about bearing and raising children in a harmonious supporting environment, then any combination of sexes that can produce children should be allowed to get married. With today’s technology, same sex partners can access children and God doesn’t stop it. He even allows children to be born into the most reprobate circumstances. If one believes that only heterosexual centred relationships endure for eternity, then you get a temple marriage. I guess I just described three types of marriage. Maybe the Church should welcome them all. BTW, I started promoting gay and Lesbian rights after church on the weekend, starting with one of the most red-necked members. I received a typical response, so I’m not surprised there is little said about this in Church.

  28. Richard Allen
    September 28, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Julene.

    I was about 6 chairs away from the child that was making the noise. The whole time he was playing with his mom’s iPhone and I doubt that he understood anything that was going on.

  29. Jason
    September 28, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Does anyone here have any idea how big this is? This is ground breaking! Way to go, and thanks for being on the cusp of this John! I $ure hope people are $upporting you through all of this!

  30. Gary Swenson
    September 28, 2010 at 6:08 am

    @ Terry Anderson:

    Yes, my logic can get fuzzy at times. I was merely trying to make the point that since Rhonda and Renee have accepted all the responsibilities of civil marriage, why are we so reluctant to give them the title? Why must we insist on calling it a civil union or a domestic partnership? And if Rhonda and Renee want to share intimate times together after having made such a tremendous commitment to each other, I find it curious that the only objection the church has to this relationship is the sex part. Loving couples wish to please each other, and sexual intimacy can be an important part of that process. I’ve yet to see a logical argument on the part of religion that justifies “celibacy within marriage” as the church wishes Rhonda and Renee to observe.

    I agree that most heterosexual couples marry for reasons other than sex (and good for them–those are the marriages that are more likely to succeed), but the sacrament of marriage within Judeo/Christian/Muslim tradition has evolved into little more than the permission to have sex without being disciplined by church authority. We may say otherwise, but in practical reality, this is what it boils down to. The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage is all about eternal increase (i.e. sex and procreation). According to scripture, that is the only distinguishing factor between those in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom and those in the other two levels. Sex is the carrot on the stick that scripture uses to entice us to the top tier of Celestial Glory.

  31. September 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    This is an outrage. He shouldn’t even have been on campus, having been uninvited in the past due to previous lectures and anti-LDS teachings. His “evidence” is faulty at best, and his argument has even more flaws in it than the usual. It’s a good thing this guy is retired, or the masses would be clamoring for his immediate dismissal.

  32. Adam
    September 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Seriously?! Have none of you read The Proclamation to the Family? If you have then all issues would be cleared up on the subject. God is loving and understanding, but He is also unchanging and eternal. His laws are set and we must keep the commandments to be cleansed by the Atonement of Christ. Celibacy is asked of all who are not married. If you can’t/don’t get married, that law doesn’t change. God will not excuse our choices just because of our genetic makeup. He knows our weaknesses. and He will help us through them. To think that he will change His laws to fit us is just plain silly. Especially when we all know that “the natural man is an enemy unto God.” All I can say is that I hope that we can remember the God loves all of us, and we should have that same love and charity for each other. Yes, we might disagree and even make different choices, but love is an eternal principle. To those who struggle with anything at all, remember, “with faith, all things are possible.”

  33. Rob
    September 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    This is a very deep and complex issue within the Mormon community. Some of the people have talked about “anyone who isn’t required to live a life of celibacy” is disingenuous. Interestingly enough it is the very thing asked of those who can not or do not wed. And there are those who spend their life time as heterosexual celibate members, both male and female, many of whom it was not by choice. Granted the percentage is small, but there they are. And it is hard for them. I know many having spent many Sundays at a congregation of people (who chose to have their own congregation) whom this was their experience. Spending a life as “single.” And they too felt at times alienated from the family oriented structure of the Church. Christ came not for those that are “perfect” but for the sinner. Genetically men are disposed to not being monogamous, but to spread our genetic material as much as possible, however that is not condoned by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I don’t feel the Gospel of Jesus Christ will accept the contrary actions of any based on genetic disposition, I do feel that we as universal sinners, need to reach out with love and compassion for everyone struggling to live the gospel. We must all travel down that difficult road of putting off the natural man and becoming followers of Christ.

  34. OzPoof
    September 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    The LDS church claims it’s leaders are in direct communication with God. Prophets are said to have spoken face to face with Christ in temples. The leaders continually tell us this is God’s church on Earth. Most Mormons believe this.

    If this is true, why is it clear the Mormon leadership is stumbling around in the dark slowly coming to learn what the rest of the (predominantly) secular world knows related to homosexuality? In my lifetime (42 years) I have been told that I chose to be gay, that as far as sin I was next to a murderer, and that I would be spending eternity apart from my family.

    These lies scarred me deeply, physically and mentally, but eventually led me to leave the church because I knew I did not choose to be gay. I knew the leadership could not possibly be in communication with the Lord.

    BYU electrocuted gay kids to try and cure them. This is historical proof that Mormonism believed homosexuality was a choice that could be changed. How uninspired was the decision to allow this torture? It should be noted that several prominent leaders were present at BYU during this program of torture.

    Now it seems Mormonism is changing its attitude to gay people. There is no longer the suggestion that people marry the gay away, but how did the leadership arrive at this change of policy? It was only after many ruined marriages, and wives unfulfilled by distant husbands that this policy was seen to be based on falsehood. Where was the inspiration?

    Mormon people who attend presentations at BYU or anywhere else owned by the LDS church need to be aware of the elephant in the room. Why is God’s church so clueless? Doesn’t this complete lack of understanding on the part of LDS leadership tell you something?

    A church led by men who communicate with God should not wait for science to reveal the truth, or social norms to change. The fact the LDS church leads the fight against the fair and equal treatment of people who were born gay shows they still see homosexuality as something that gay people can help being, and should therefore not be entitled to live a life with love and physical intimacy. This is uninspired nonsense, and a continuing confirmation that the LDS church is led by men who pretend a loving God would approve of their treatment of gay people.

    God’s true church would not be waiting for yet another government action before it changes the way it treats yet another group of people.

  35. Jim
    September 28, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    It could be that the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by the LDS Church and so many others, is nothing more than the gospel according to MAN — as man defined how man should be. As we learn the truth we change our thinking. It appears that we’re doing it again.
    If God is truly communicating with ANY religious leader, it appears that He is also allowing leaders to LEARN as they can by whatever means are available. LDS leaders have certainly shown their ignorance about other truths in the past.
    How sad it is that we have so blatantly ridiculed and rejected people simply because of a biological condition. And, how sad it will be if we continue to deny them the opportunity to find love according to their natural desires.

  36. Bif
    September 28, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Dear OzPoof,

    It breaks my heart to hear of the intense struggles and feelings of injustice you felt as a member of the Church. I believe the Church is true and I also believe it is lead by a loving Savior, the Son of God, one who knows each of us by name and who understands our pain and suffering. It is His Church.
    Sometimes it is hard for me to accept, but I believe nevertheless true, that we are all infinitely weak in ourselves. I really believe that we need Jesus Christ, just as we need water. Without him, we can not rise above our most difficult personal challenges. As I struggle with my own weaknesses and challenges, He is my only hope of rising above them, as I seem to continually fall back into selfish habits and practices. My hope in Him is that He can change me, make me become more as He is as I try to align my desires with His will.
    I know he wants me to be happy, but it is hard to be so when I repeatedly do the wrong things. I am so grateful he has enduring love for me (and I believe for all of us) and that he lovingly and patiently helps us move toward aligning our lives with His example as we allow Him to. I have also learned that He will never force me. It has to start with my own desire to change. It requires heartfelt prayer to Heavenly Father in the name of Christ, expressing my desire to change, and a plea for His help. And it requires working at it, and not giving up when I fail. Then He willingly blesses my life and I see His hand working on my behalf.
    I know without a doubt that Jesus Christ changes people. I know He has that power. I don’t know how He does it or how His power works, but I know it is real and that He changes our natures. He has not given up on me and I know He hasn’t given up on you or anyone else, because of our weaknesses. He will continue to help us and bless us and help us change along the way if we allow Him to.

  37. Steve
    September 29, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Does anyone know of what the Church teaches about gays who maintain celibacy in the hereafter?

    Would they be able to receive exaltation, or will they only be able to serve those who do?

    In other words, is homosexuality something that God will ‘fix’ at the Resurrection, and give them the chance to marry and get to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom that is reserved for couples?

  38. Bill
    September 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

    The only ‘struggle’ that gay people endure in terms of their sexuality is in their dealings with the heterosexuals who created them.

    We are happy, loving, kind, compassionate people who wish we could same the same about the human beings that created all of us.

  39. Joe
    September 29, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Adam:

    Are you married or single? Gay or straight? Really, these questions are not relevant. Here is what is… You make an incredible claim:

    “God is loving and understanding, but He is also unchanging and eternal. His laws are set and we must keep the commandments to be cleansed by the Atonement of Christ. Celibacy is asked of all who are not married. If you can’t/don’t get married, that law doesn’t change. God will not excuse our choices just because of our genetic makeup. He knows our weaknesses. and He will help us through them.”

    OK buddy… why don’t you personally show all of our homosexual brothers and sisters the way. Please abstain from any and all sexual acts and behaviors for the rest of your (mortal) life. When you are “well stricken in years” and have completed your life of loneliness and celibacy, then (and only then) come back and preach “your gospel of christ” (small caps intentional).

  40. Joe
    September 29, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Oh, and one more thing Adam…

    If God is unchanging and eternal, could you please explain the LDS Church’s position on the following:
    * Adam/God Theory (and many other doctrinal subjects)
    * Churches stance on Polygamy and Polyandry (do you know what polyandry is?)
    * Africans and the Priesthood (during the J.S. era, the B.Y. era, then after 1979)
    * The LDS Churches position on the ERA (again this shifted three times)

    And we could go on and on Adam. The LDS Church has flip-flopped on numerous issues many, many times. Honestly, you need to learn your LDS History. Or don’t… and enjoy your ignorant bliss.

  41. Terry Anderson
    September 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    hi Joe,
    I detect some animosity there towards the Church and particularly its leaders. I have studied your hit list of topics above for many years and found the research enlightening. You might enjoy reading some of the background material too. I particularly like the polyandry stuff because this was practiced in the old testament, when a wife was taken from some unrighteous person and given to a more worthy candidate. There are also elements of the Abraham pseudo-sacrifice of Issac in there as well. But to get back to your central point, I can only conclude that our leaders are fallible and learn as we do, by study, prayer and inspiration. they do what they believe is right, based on their understanding of scripture. And at the top, it takes unity among the brethren for policy to change. Often this policy needs to change as the society around us changes. I have met many parents of gay members and being such a parent myself, I empathise with them. I hope for the day when we can include members with same sex attraction, who live intimately with a partner after marriage, within full fellowship. I can see, however, that this introduces some complexities. Is the membership ready for it? I imagine myself sitting in sacrament meeting, with a Gay/Lesbian couple in front of me, arms around each other and giving the occasional affectionate kiss. Next to one is a child that was conceived in a test tube and is now being raised by this couple. Then I look across the room and see a faithful single sister, who for no fault of her own, but because of the lack of men in the church where she lives, or a plain appearance, is condemned to a celibate life. I think to myself, “Life’s a bitch” for some.

  42. OzPoof
    September 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Bif,

    Thank you for your reply. I’m not sure if you meant it, but I got the impression from your message that you thought Jesus might still be able to “change” me.

    I want you to tell me how many amputees have been changed by Christ to be whole again. How many people with no legs have grown legs when they really, really ask Jesus with a sincere heart? Would Jesus change a quadriplegic to someone who can ride a bike and flick through scriptures if he really wanted to go on a mission? What about something easier, like changing brown eyes to blue? How many people with innate physical or mental traits have had them changed by Jesus? If you believe I can be made heterosexual through prayer, you are sadly mistaken.

    When I was in my 20s I began taking drugs – anything I could get hold of – in order to feel different. I was convinced by the church you believe in that I was going to rot in hell for ever because I was gay, so I had nothing to lose. I thought of suicide daily, cut and scratched my skin, and believed I was evil. I hated myself, so I hated everyone else and the world I had to endure. This was my life in a church that claims it follows Christ’s teachings.

    I suffered so much anxiety that I would pass out. I woke up sweating in a panic every night. I eventually had a complete breakdown.

    At this, my lowest point, I was tired of it all. I prayed as sincerely as someone who was ready to die could pray. I cried and prayed for many hours, I prayed for God to end my misery. I was ready to live for eternity in a low kingdom with murderers. I was utterly resigned to this lie, and when I felt like I was *literally* sinking into my bed I saw a truth. When I was at my most desperate and sincere, there was no one there but me. I was alone. I could not go home to my LDS family, and the God I had been taught of from birth was non-interventionist at best, and non-existent at worst.

    I ended up in a hospital ward on suicide watch. They forced me to take medication, which after 3 weeks turned my entire life around. Unfortunately there are many kids who don’t get taken to hospital in time.

    I can hear you saying that the paramedics were the answer to my prayers, but I can tell you with utter certainty that I was alone. There was no help, no comfort. I could not have been in more need and pain.

    I received many sessions with psychiatrists. I see it now as deprogramming from a cult mindset. I was not an evil person. I was not someone who deserved eternal punishment. I never chose to be gay. I always knew this but the church had convinced me otherwise. I can remember having a crush on a male teacher when I was 10, not a sexual thing, but still an attraction. That’s not a choice.

    As I have distanced myself from the LDS church more I have become a much nicer person. I don’t judge as much. I feel better about myself, and even tell myself I deserve happiness too. I don’t feel guilty all the time for how I was born. I enjoy life and respect all life more now. I see people as rich and diverse and all worthy of love, from others, AND self love. I no longer believe Jesus was ever a God, if he existed at all. I now even doubt there is a God, but I am not becoming a terrible person because of this thought.

    I now interact with others easily. I hold my head up, and look into the eyes of other people now. I feel confident and happy. Do I need to be fixed of this? No. I am doing far better without the terrible guilt and angst your church loads on the shoulders of people who are fine just how they were born.

    Please don’t wish that I return to that terrible place within Mormonism. I don’t deserve that at all.

  43. Steve
    September 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Why does the date on the Daily Universe article say March 25, 2004??? This lecture happened last week!!

  44. Jeremy
    September 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I have not yet listened to the podcast yet but there are a couple things I’d like to mention. First, it is a logical fallacy to conclude that just because some mormon professor says homosexuality is biological, therefore homosexuality is biological and the church should therefore change its entire policy regarding homosexuality. I’m not saying it isn’t or that it shouldn’t but science relies on a body of evidence, not just one guy’s opinion and a religion is not exactly about science. Anyway, perhaps I should wait until I listen to the podcast before I comment further.

    Secondly, the real heart of the issue of allowing People of the same sex to marry is that of gender and more specifically that of gender differences. If there is no significant difference between men and women then it really doesn’t matter if men marry men or women marry women.

    If there is a difference then it would seem to matter a lot, especially with regards to the raising of children. Can two Dads or two Moms give a child the same upbringing that a Mom and a Dad can give? I don’t doubt that they can love a child the same or provide for the welfare any less but is there something a child is missing by not having both a Mother and a Father? If so, it would seem to make a lot of sense to keep the heterosexual relationship the ideal.

    I tend to see men and women as different. Anecdotally, I have a boy and a girl and can see clear differences which seem at least to be gender specific. Of course they have their own personalities and aren’t just like every other boy or every other girl but my daughter is very much a girl and my son is very much a boy. Obviously this is not scientific but how many who are coming from either position are relying on science to make their decision on the matter?

  45. Jeremy
    September 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    After having listened, he makes a good case for the broader point he was trying to make, that it is biological, though some of the specifics seemed unclear. I tend to think that it is biological but some things bothered me.

    First, where can we find access to the studies he used? He said to those in attendance that they could write their email addresses on the yellow peices of paper. Is there a place where he has listed his source material? Did someone get an email with the listing that they can share?

    Secondly, he made the statement: “This is personal to me.” Could his judgement be clouded by his personal feelings? Could his source material be cherry picked (unconsciously even) to support his point of view?

    Thirdly, lots of correlation but little on connecting the dots to point to a cause. Also, much of the connections he tries to make are all over the place. Sometimes gay men are more “masculine” than straight men (such as in the cognitive example), sometimes they are more like females (hand anatomy). There also seems to be differences with homosexuality in men and women.

    Basically I’d like to see the studies he’s used to support this talk. I don’t doubt that biology is a significant factor in sexual orientation but I’m not sure his conclusions are an accurate representation of the science, which frankly seems to be all over the place.

  46. Joe
    October 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Hi Terry Anderson:

    If there is any animosity, it is directed towards the inaction of people to stand up for that which is good or right. And when a person actively fights against that which is good or right… I believe that person’s actions are even worse.

    I served a Southern States mission not too long ago. I can tell you that racism is still alive and well in the church TODAY. And this racism (in the South) can be traced directly to the LDS Churches’ stand on African Americans and the Priesthood.

    The stories I could tell (from my mission) would shock… and they still made me sick.

    I see the same thing happening today with our homosexual brothers and sisters. It is not acceptable.

    Joe

    PS–I wasn’t making a comment about whether or not polygamy and polyandry are right or wrong. I was only stating that the LDS Churches position had changed dramatically. That said, when I see how the FLDS Church practices polygamy and polyandry (which doesn’t seem too different from the LDS Church, circa 1850s-1910s), I am not really a fan. There seems to be too much David-of-old type corruption in it.

  47. Melissa
    October 1, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I am amazed at how hurtful & judgmental many of these comments are. I wish I could say something that would actually help those who see acting on these biological desires as damaging, open their eyes & hearts.

    Unless this is an issue you are dealing with PERSONALLY, not as a parent or friend, you have no idea what you are asking someone to do. It’s true we each have our own struggles… you are free to deal with yours how you will, but let other people deal with theirs.
    & It’s not the same as a heterosexual person who is not married. Those people may not have found someone to share their life with. What about a gay person who has?

    I have been married for almost 10 years to my loving husband. He is my best friend, my confidant. I can not imagine a loving Heavenly Father who would deny that experience for some of his children, (who he created that way) just as a test of their faithfulness. That is not a God I chose to believe in.

    I really appreciated this podcast. John, I truly hope this kind of exposure will bring some sense of compassion & understanding to the LDS church as a whole. Once the “gay issue” is not considered taboo anymore, we might actually start thinking of the people who have been affected by all the fear, negativity & condemnation and truly start acting like CHRISTians.

  48. Matt
    October 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Just a thought… I think the Catholic Church is wrong on many issues, so I am not Catholic. I think Islam is incorrect, so I am not Muslim. If you believe the LDS Church is fundamentally incorrect, and teaching a hateful doctrine, then you clearly don’t believe it is led by a prophet of God as it claims. Why not simply leave the church and find a gay-friendly religion like Wicca or Episcopalian? I’ve never understood people that want to torture themselves by practicing a faith that they feel is at odds with their very being. Happy Journeys.

  49. Carrie
    October 2, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Reply to eric on September 27, 2010 at 5:22 am who wrote:

    “And when it is found that I have a biological tendency(overwhelming urge) to have more than one sexual partner? Will we change the temple covenants? Not sure this proves or suggests what some seem to want it to. A biological tendency does not make destiny. Indeed, that seems to be what life is, according to LDS thought at least, to overcome the biological man.”

    I believe the temple provided people with multiple sexual partners during those polygamy years….

  50. Eric
    October 2, 2010 at 10:06 am

    @ Melissa

    “Acting like Christians” does not always mean that we agree or support other peoples ideas or agendas. Is it impossible to be loving and supportive of gay people without agreeing that we should change the legal definition of marriage? I think you can. I don’t agree with redefining the legal definition of marriage but I believe in extending many rights to gay couples through civil unions. I don’t think they should be able to adopt and raise children. But I can still be loving and kind without needing to agree with them on these issues.
    People have said the Jesus did not say anything about the gay issue in the New Testament. He also did not say anything about pedophiles. He also did not say anything about polygamy. Does that mean that these things are okay? Of course not- we do not need to be told everything that we cannot do in the New Testament.
    I do not believe the lds church will EVER openly accept homosexual marriage as righteous. They will NEVER allow gay people to be married in a temple. Any religion who claims God as the source of their doctrine will not openly disobey God in their church-sanctioned doctrines or rites.
    I know there are many people commenting here (including our host, John Dehlin) who do not believe in God as described in the NT or that Jesus is truly our Saviour and washes us clean from sin. But these people are still Mormon for a variety of reasons- mostly familial and social reasons. The fact that our viewpoints start from a VERY different premise is the cause of why we perceive each other’s views so differently. It’s easy to be liberal when you don’t believe in an actual God that has set up certain rules that He wants us to follow. Its easy to be confident that a sexually active gay lifestyle, a sexually active unmarried lifestyle, a sexually active polygamous lifestyle, and a sexually active adulterous lifestyle are all in conflict with Gods commands. So we will always be at an impasse as long as our “premises” are different. We can be nice and considerate to each other and agree to disagree but the rhetoric is moot as far as changing our opinions of the subject.

    I do not have to agree with your agenda or opinion on a matter to be a good CHRISTian. Jesus did not agree with everyone in His day and chastised many. But He had genuine love in his heart for all. We can follow His example and be kind and loving of all people without agreement on issues.

  51. Gary Swenson
    October 2, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Eric,

    I would be interested to hear your logic as to why you would be opposed to gays and lesbians adopting and raising children. All children brought into gay families are wanted. None are accidental additions to a family. These children begin life in a better situation than many children born to “legal” heterosexual unions. Thousands of unplanned and undesired children are born to heterosexual couples each year, and in denominations such as the Catholic and Mormon churches, where large families are promoted, many couples give into the social pressure of having more children than they can reasonably support or psychologically handle. When mom is popping anti-depressants just so she can deal with the gaggle of children her horny husband has inflicted upon her, I hardly consider that a godly environment.

    I will assume that you feel that children raised by gays and lesbians will be harmed by the environment they are raised in. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if this is your objection, then we should forbid all environments where children might be harmed. Children of obese parents are more likely to become obese themselves, and this undoubtedly violates the doctrine of ‘moderation in all things.’ Perhaps God should forbid obese people from marrying and producing offspring. Children of mentally ill parents have a much higher chance of being mentally ill themselves. Should we forbid those with depression or mental illness from reproducing? Please show me one thing about being a gay parent that disqualifies a person from successfully rearing a child.

    Speaking of obesity, has anyone else found it ironic that a visibly obese President Monson and other visibly obese general authorities are quick to point out that God will assist us in controlling our appetites and passions, as long as that passion is not food? I think that in order to prove that God can help us overcome all physical desires, the general authorities as a whole should trim down to their ideal body weight, proving to the world that God can intervene and help them overcome their appetites and unhealthy behavior. If I drink one glass of wine with my dinner three times a week (proven to be healthy), I can’t get a temple recommend. But if I eat the entire Thanksgiving turkey singlehandedly, my obese Stake President gladly uses his chubby fingers to give me a pass into the sacred house of God.

    What happens in the church, as in all of life, is we are quick to point out the faults of others that we don’t personally struggle with (easy to condemn homosexuality when you are not homosexual). But we are quick to defend ourselves when the problem hits closer to home. To me, that explains why, even which Christ has stated clearly His opinion on divorce, that the church bends the rules to allow divorced people (who divorce for reasons other than adultery) to still maintain their good standing in the faith. Christ’s very New Testament words on divorce are repeated in 3 Nephi, so it can’t be attributed to the “many plain and precious things” being lost in the translations of the Bible. The plain and simple truth is that divorce is so common, the church cannot afford to apply Christ’s law to its members. Same with obesity. The Word of Wisdom is clear in its ‘moderation in all things’ mantra, yet the church would have few adherents if we strictly enforced the word of wisdom with regard to gluttony. The temples would be empty if we actually required people to live the word of wisdom, and therefore our fat leaders give our fat members a bye on this commandment.

    Why is it the church is so disinterested in regulating the lives of its own members and yet it is consumed with regulating the lives of non-members? The only people affected by Proposition 8 in California were non-members, since same sex couples who marry are, by definition, in forfeiture of their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church astonishingly encouraged its members to spend millions of dollars in a campaign to control the lives of those who are not even on its roster. This is beyond bizarre. This penchant for forcing even non-members to live the gospel is frighteningly reminiscent of Satan’s plan in the pre-existence.

  52. Anthony
    October 4, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I agree with Eric. People ARE NOT born gay! Pres. Boyd K. Packer said that yesterday. I DO NOT agree with Dr. William Bradshaw and never will about this subject. The LDS church has clearly said people ARE NOT BORN GAY.

  53. geb
    October 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Jesus would gag at the self-righteousness that is being displayed in some of these comments. I only hope that these people are too young to know better yet.

  54. Matt
    October 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    What I find interesting is that a lot of the really zealous anti gay comments sound alarmingly similar to crap I was fed in reparative therapy (gay to straight) therapy. To those of you commenting on here that are going to a therapist to be “cured”, please see the real light. Don’t let them hurt you and keep you in a cycle of shame and self loathing like they did me for a year and a half. Love yourself for who you are.

    I was lucky to make it out of there with enough sense and sanity to see a real therapist afterward.

    Also, to those of you who believe we aren’t born this way, it is irrelevant. As a gay man, I believe that if I wasn’t born gay, an omnipotent god knew that I would be gay and he sent me here to find joy for “men are that they might have joy”. None of you know what my joy is and can therefore never tell me that I do or don’t have it. I can tell you that following the prophet never brought me joy, but experiencing the love that my partner gives me has brought me a great amount of joy. I won’t tell you what joy is to you, so don’t do it to me.

    Another thing, if there is no gene for homosexuality, I dare you to find a gene for heterosexuality. And when you do, you will also see that there are individuals that it has been mutated in…possibly homosexually mutated. Though you might not believe in species evolution, I find difficult to believe that there is anyone that denies genetic evolution, cancer is, I think, irrefutable proof.

  55. Jesus Christ
    October 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.

  56. Anthony
    October 4, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    You took the scripture out of context for one. You quoted a scripture from the Book of Mormon which calls homosexuality a sin and which God condemns in the book as well so you are contradicting yourself by quoting it. If you beleive in that scripture you quoted that means you beleive in the Book of Mormon which means you beleive in Joseph Smith which means you believe that homosexuality is a sin. You never found joy in following the prophet because you don’t love God enough to follow Him. This professor who claims what he has has been deceived and he knows that by what he listened to yesterday when Pres. Boyd K. Packer spoke. I wonder how he felt when a prphet of God said those things…..I’m wondering what all you LDS members on here that are commenting that you agree with the professir are feeling or wondering regarding Packers talk.

  57. Eric
    October 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Regarding BKP’s recent talk, I’m reminded of a similar conflict between science and religion not so long ago:

    “The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.” – Ferdinand Magellan

    • Eric
      May 5, 2011 at 6:32 am

      *attributed to

  58. Anthony
    October 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    when has the church said the earth is flat? when? where? by who? etc….?

  59. Eric
    October 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    BKP stated in conference yesterday broadcast to millions that homosexuality was “unnatural” and a choice.

  60. Anthony
    October 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    oh i see you’re putting it in a different context and in other words it has nothing to do with the “earth”……..it’s all about “people”

  61. Sam
    October 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    The entire premise of the lecture AND the ensuing comments here have been slightly off base. There’s no questioning that there is a biological component to what homosexuals feel about themselves. The main question: What is it to be homosexual? Does it mean HAVING chemical tendencies toward attraction to the same gender based upon biological or environmental (and, yes, there are PLENTY of environmental causes) causes, or does it mean ENGAGING in Sexual actions with those of the same gender? The question “is it a choice?” depends ENTIRELY upon the way you define it.
    Allow me to be VERY clear— having DNA that codes for proteins that affect your attraction does not make you decide one way or another. It constitutes one aspect of the things that affect the way you approach choices. Having a tendency does not make you some way just as having a genetic pre-disposition to alcoholism makes you an alcoholic. You can avoid alcohol at all costs, though it may be everywhere, as alcohol is. What the hard question to be asked is, how do those who struggle with those tendencies make their way best through this life in obedience to the commandments? The church has struggled to understand how to best counsel people who struggle, and, unfortunately, have not been successful all that often.
    I think President Packer’s comments need to be put into context. President Packer was referring to ANY practice or tendency that would lead people to suppose that they have no agency and place them, fundamentally, at odds with God’s commandments. His point: God does not create some one a “certain way” with no power to overcome those circumstances and take aware their agency, because “He’s our Father.” The chemicals in your body do not define who you are– what you DO with yourself is what defines you.

    The call of the gospel is that, despite ANY circumstance you may be in, or that may be in you, if eternal life is your goal, and if it is worth enough to you, there IS A WAY to be obedient to what God has asked of us, and it is possible through Christ. Each person has his struggles– it’s what we do with it that defines who we are. If living with God is not worth it to you, there are plenty of things in the world to keep your mind and heart occupied. When this life is over, you will have enjoyed it the best you can, and I hope all are content. But remember, we don’t just live for this life.

    (BTW, the church isn’t “regulating the lives of nonmembers”– it is taking a VIABLE stand for morality in a world in which religious and moral ideals are not taken seriously enough to affect policy, which affects society. Don’t reduce the church to a neo-Nazi propagandist group)
    Also, Joe– don’t try to act like the CHURCH has “changed position”— I have studied it. Polygamy didn’t change, neither did ACTUAL doctrines of having certain groups in charge of priesthood responsibilities, according to church doctrine– it is still the same. Certain church leaders often offer explanations, but it is mostly speculative. You also have to understand that church leaders know a great deal about what goes on in the world, and seek living guidance to those questions- hence the 1978 declaration. And also, I know PLENTY of people who have lived celibate and AMAZING lives. Just because you know you aren’t willing to try, or in your words, CAN’T, don’t expect everyone to be the same. You just don’t care enough to really want to try, and being ‘alone’ scares you beyond expression.

  62. October 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    He needs to be heard by more.

  63. Gary Swenson
    October 4, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Fat people telling gay people to control their appetites. Gotta love it!

  64. Cr
    October 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

    My gay brother who proclaimed the LDS church to be the only true church until the day he died told me if the church embraced homosexuality/lesbianism he would know it was no longer true.

  65. Drew
    October 5, 2010 at 11:22 am

    @Sam- Have you ever thought that Boyd K Packer is just offering his explanation on homosexuality? Just as McConkie was offering his “explanation” on blacks? Also, BKP’s comments that it is a choice and God did not make his children gay contradicts Bro. Holland’s comments in 2007. So who is right? McConkie was clearly wrong. Could it be possible that Packer is wrong? I think the church and its member would do better in focusing on the two great commandments. To paraphrase Joseph Smith,speaking on the two great commandments being the cornerstone of our religion, everything else is just an appendage to the two great commandments. If it is an appendage wouldn’t we all be better in simplifying our lives and focusing on what really matters? Loving Our Neighbors.

  66. Mike
    October 5, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Fact: The theory that testosterone levels can influence sexual orientation was shot down in the 1980s. Male homosexuals and male heterosexuals show the same variance in testosterone (some of both orientations have high testosterone levels, others average and others lower). So nothing new here except it makes it sound convincing if one makes a presentation and has lots of different angles to make their point (even though the conclusion may be wrong).
    As for the ring-finger ratio to index finger thing, the andronized female hypothesis for lesbianism has also been shown to be faulty and non-replicable in further studies. The only thing that the long ring finger ratio has been shown to influence is levels of competitiveness and athletic ability for both males and females. Males with long ring-fingers also have higher sperm counts. I have known many quite feminin lesbians and bi-sexual women who have a short ring finger while many women (my wife included) I have known are heterosexual and have long ring-fingers. Also, by the logic that is presented a woman who uses anabolic steroids should start developing lesbian yearnings, yet this is not the case.
    So, while one might try to grasp for biological reasons one may go gay or bi there are no replicable studies that can be used in any predictive measure to show one is more gay or straight due to endocrinology or neurology.

  67. Anthony
    October 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    @Drew I’m very curious on hw BKP comments contradicted Elder Holland’s talk in 2007. I just read Holland’s entire talk and saw nothing contradicting…..please explain….

  68. Eric
    October 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Although both genes and environment play a role in human nature, there is a clear ability for genes alone to account for homosexual behavior, at least in mice. (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2156/11/62/abstract) I’m pretty sure we’ll find this in humans as well. It’s only a matter of time.

  69. Drew
    October 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    @Anthony. Although both said committing a homosexual act was a sin similar to sex outside of marriage I saw one major difference in their talks. Others can correcting me if I am interpreting the talks incorrectly but this is how I saw them. Paraphrasing both. BKP- God would not make you gay it is your choice to be gay. Holland seemed to imply he recognized that it was not a choice to have those feelings. In fact the story at the beginning of his talk illustrates this. That is how I saw the talks.

  70. Richard Allen
    October 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    @Anthony

    BKP was expressing his position at General Conference when he said it was not a choice.

    Please read this

    http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/official-statement/same-gender-attraction

    ===
    ELDER OAKS: That’s where our doctrine comes into play. The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.
    ===

    Elder Oaks may have Position, BKP may have a position, Bill Bradshaw may have a position, Sheri Dew may have a position, but according to the Church newsroom web site, which is used to clear up misconceptions, it states “whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.”

    I am sure you have a position also, but don’t go telling everybody “what the church thinks” about being born gay because, they don’t have a position.

    Thanks!

  71. OzPoof
    October 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    What is this “Gay agenda” everyone is so scared about? If wanting to live a life free to love and marry who you want and not be discriminated against or bashed in the street is an agenda, then isn’t it a human rights agenda?

    The only agenda I can see is that of religious zealots misinterpreting the words of the Bible that were mis-translated and meant for a group of people thousands of years ago so they can force their own hatred and bigotry on others with some flimsy Biblical justification. The day Mormons or any other religious group live by the Bible or any other scripture in ENTIRETY will be the day they have any credibility.

    The LDS church admits it has no clue whether homosexuality is a choice or innate. What’s the prophet there for? Aren’t issues such as homosexuality and stem cell research more pressing than how many earrings we should wear? Isn’t the fact that the so-called prophet doesn’t prophecy or inform the world of the answers to difficult moral questions a clear sign that these men are NOT in communication with the Lord? They are waiting for science to tell them how to phrase their revelation, just as they had to wait for pressure from the US government to come up with the “revelations” about polygamy and Black rights. Packer has always hated gays. He unashamedly advocated gay bashing in an earlier talk. He will never change his thinking.

    Let’s see if Packer is preserved long enough by the Lord to head the church. If Packer’s agenda is what the Lord wants for his church, he should outlive Monson. If he croaks, and as the rest of the fossils croak, more empathetic and humane men (people?) will advance and the church might then start to resemble something closer to a church that claims Jesus as its head.

  72. Gary Swenson
    October 5, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    True hermaphroditism is a genetic condition that even people like Dave cannot deny. Occasionally people are born with both ovaries and testicles. They are mosaics, probably due to fraternal twinning with a male and female morula which then merge into a single fetus which has both XY and XX cell lines.

    Can a true hermaphrodite marry?–because no matter whom they marry, they are entering into both an opposite sex and a same sex marriage. Is it wrong for them to even have a crush on another teenager, since that would constitute same sex attraction? Can they get a temple recommend?– because it’s a bit confusing to know which side of the endowment room they should sit on. Can they be ordained to the priesthood and pass the sacrament with their male cells, or do their female cells preclude priesthood ordination? If they adopt a child, are they recorded as the mother or father on the genealogical record? I guess the true hermaphrodite just has to be celibate and single, and attend Relief Society and Priesthood Meeting on alternate Sundays.

    There is a known case of conjoined twin girls who have two heads, two thoraces, but only one abdomen and one pelvis, with a single set of sex organs. They could not be surgically divided as infants, since both would have died, so the parents opted to let them both live in this bizarre conjoined state. Since the two girls are two distinct beings with different personalities and thoughts, if they marry, can they both marry one man, or is that polyandy? If they marry two different men, does the one twin commit adultery while the other has sexual intercourse with her legally and lawfully married husband? Both, by simple laws of physics, must be present, using their common sexual organs for any intimacy that would occur.

    Does a kid with Tourette’s syndrome who involuntarily blurts out profanity just need Jesus in his life, or are his actions really beyond his control? (Didn’t Paul say he wouldn’t be tempted beyond his ability to resist?) Is Tourette’s a mental illness or is it just a person choosing to be wicked?

    If a person is genotypically XY, but has androgen insensitivity and looks and appears like a woman, is she spiritually a woman or spiritually a man? Can she be ordained to the priesthood since she has a Y chromosome? Does spirit match genotype or phenotype? And back to the true hermaphrodite, since there were two eggs fertilized by two different sperm, are there two spirits in the same body (one male and one female)?

    Sexuality isn’t tidy, no matter what BKP or anyone else in the church believes. For every “normal” you can provide me, I can provide you with a counterexample within the range of human genotype and phenotype. BKP seems to think that “God would never make you that way. How could he? He loves you!” But God makes the conjoined twins and the true hermaphrodites. So he must not love them, because according to BKP, they wouldn’t be “born that way” if a loving God had anything to do with it.

    The church hierarchy clings to their ‘scriptural science’ even when real science disproves their claims. When the papyri from which the facsimiles from the Pearl of Great Price were copied were actually found and translated (yes, they still exist), we learned that they have nothing to do with Abraham, but in spite of irrefutable scientific proof to the contrary, the church still believes that Joseph’s ‘translation’ of the book is accurate, even when his very translations can be proved to be inaccurate. We concoct circumnavigations around the truth in order to keep believing the story which scripture tells us. Like the medieval church, we insist that the earth is the center of the universe and charge Copernicus with heresy for saying otherwise.

    The beauty of the LDS faith is that some day in the not too distant future, a man who is 20 or 30 today will become the prophet, and with the ease of a single proclamation, declare that God now blesses monogamous same sex relationships and awards those righteous individuals their place in the second degree of the Celestial Kingdom. A few curmudgeons will spew and rant and leave the church, but the majority will secretly rejoice, just as we did with the revelation about blacks and the priesthood, and the church will go on, stepping along nicely as always, only a few short decades behind reality.

  73. Melissa
    October 6, 2010 at 10:17 am

    @ Eric You said- “It’s easy to be liberal when you don’t believe in an actual God that has set up certain rules that He wants us to follow.”
    I feel I need to clarify what I meant when I said, that is not a God I chose to follow. I DO believe in God and until very recently I have been a faithful active member of the LDS church. Until recently when I trusted in not only my heart, but also in my mind.
    The God I chose to believe in is one who loves us all. A God who, contrary to BKP’s ignorance, did create all kinds of different people. Why Did he? “To beautiful & give variety to the earth”.
    I don’t think God has a laundry list of rules for us to follow. Those have been added by man, granted in his name, but I don’t believe God would want our gay brothers & sisters to feel like second class citizens. Just as it had been in the past by our black brother’s & sisters.

    What did he teach? Love one another & serve each other. That is the message that should be constantly preached. And yes, there were a few of these talks in conference this past week, but they become null & void after such angry & damning language as was heard by BKP. That is not love. That will NOT lift anyone’s spirit. It is one man speaking out his ill-informed opinion, poisoning those who are taught to listen to the prophets as they are the voice of the Lord. I no longer chose to believe that. The Lord I listen to is the one who I believe will judge a person based on their actions in this life, not by where or even IF they went to church on Sunday.
    There is TOO much good in the world to think it all has to be about Mormonism.

    @ Anthony, You just make me sad. I too once relied on the church & it’s teachings as my source of “truth & light”. I only hope someday you will open your heart enough to recognize that these are just men. You can still have a testimony in the LDS church & not agree with everything they say. History has proven that the church can teach incorrect principles at times. I have to say, this “no one is born gay” is one of them. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that time will prove that true.

    @ OZ, I think the “gay agenda” people are talking about, at least as far as I’ve understood it , Is the fear that the “gay community” is recruiting…. I couldn’t even type that with a straight face, (no pun intended).
    When I first discussed my feeling of sadness at how the church handled the Prop 8 mess with my Mom, she said that’s what “they” do and that’s why the church is so against it. Don’t worry, we’ve had MANY chats since then & I think she realizes now how silly that idea is.

    @ Gary
    “Fat people telling gay people to control their appetites. Gotta love it!”
    HAHAHAHA!!! AMEN!!! & I LOVED your last paragraph about 20-30 years from now. Well said.

    Okay- enough on my soap box. I know we all feel very strongly about our positions. And thankfully we all have the right to do so.

  74. Jeremy
    October 6, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I do get slightly annoyed when church leaders give their opinion and then half the church thinks this is the church’s position. I get annoyed at the leaders for not being more careful and I get annoyed at members for thinking this is the official church position.

    Okay, I’m still waiting to see what Dr. Bradshaw’s sources were. Anyone else think it fishy that he doesn’t make them a bit more public?

  75. Eric
    October 6, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Well… this is a game that the church plays. I’m not sure why us hopefully intelligent people can’t see through this obvious loophole the church uses to rid themselves of any and all responsibility for their words?

    The fact remains: The entire Quorum, including Boyd K. Packer, are introduced as “prophet, seer, and revelator.” There is no asterick beneath their title on the screen with the qualification, “*but what we say doesn’t really matter.”

    The truth remains that what is heard in general conference sets the stage for what most members perceive as official church doctrine. Most members probably also think these men speak with God on a regular basis.

    Why have conference anyway if none of it really matters? How many excuses do we have to give for their mistakes? Well, I left the church awhile ago. So I already made up my mind on that matter.

  76. Stone
    October 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Disclosure: I am a heterosexual, temple recommend holding member who attends Church regularly (rediculous that I even have to preface that – as if that gives me some kind of mo or church-cred). I’m amazed at some of the comments here – some of you think that you actually know more about this subject than Bro. Bradshaw?! Are you freaking kidding me!?

    Did he not say that he’s been studying it for like 20+ years? Not only that, but he’s counseled with our “very own” Mormon brothers and sisters who are either professionals or who have also been at this for decades trying to help people “overcome” these feelings. Give me a break, seriously! Usually after clinical data has been compiled and the dust settles one has to examine the data and look at the real world and make some logical conclusions. On this very issue the data looks fairly compelling that our G&L brothers and sisters are born this way and then when you put it up with what our G&L brothers and sisters are telling us it’s very difficult to just say flippantly that it’s not true and that Bro Bradshaw is completely in the dark.

    Facts are stubborn things…….take a look at them for what they are!

    Naturally, one might ask what I think of Elder Packer’s talk on Sunday. My answer is pretty simple: My understanding is that as of today only President Monson can speak for the Lord on points of doctrine on behalf of the Church – based on the 14 points of following the prophet pointed out twice in this very conference.

    I’m not to worried about it because I know that homosexuality is not contagious and it’s not going to get me or you or anyone else……individuals that have “SSA” or homosexual tendancies have them simply because they are homosexuals and we need to concern ourselves more with LOVING ALL OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS instead of calling them evil and distancing ourselves from them. We need to do what Christ would do and that is simply to love them.

  77. Jim Jasper
    October 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    As a Church member I have struggled with the Church’s position on homosexuality and its tolerant attitude towards persecution of gay members and people in general.

    Over the years, I have become friends with a number of homosexual gay and lesbian brothers and sisters both in and out of the Church. (We need to remember that ALL people are God’s children and thus all people are our brothers and sisters.)

    I KNOW that being homosexual was not a choice these brothers and sisters made but was already a part of who they were from the time they were born. I can only hope that the Church will begin to embrace all its members fully and welcome our gay brothers and sisters into the Church, rather than cause them the guilt so powerful they sometimes desire to and do take their own lives.

    • Moda
      January 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Jim, conviction like this is what I think Jesus asked of us…to love…..anything less is not ……thanks!

  78. Brian
    October 7, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I suggest, amid some (and some not) well thought out comments above, that those who were given the lot of homosexual attraction–through no choice of their own–may be the most valiant spirits God had in store for this earth.

    Knowing that fallen man came with inclinations, maybe only those great and noble ones were given to deal with such a task on earth.

    I pray for your success. I am convinced the Lord needs and wants you in church–despite how rough a road that may be. And despite how difficult some less enlightened in the church may think.

  79. N.W. Campbell
    October 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    @Brian: I guess you would refer to President Packer as one of your “less enlightened” ones then?

  80. Randy
    October 7, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I’ll believe the strong words of President Packer given at general conference much sooner than I will a lecture from some BYU professor that apparently enjoys the attention and popularity from pop culture more than being an obedient disciple. I’m proud that the church has not changed their stance in the face of an unbelievably potent and relentless liberal attack.

    • Buffalo
      April 12, 2011 at 1:19 am

      Ignorance like that is nothing to be proud of .

  81. Eric
    October 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    @Randy: Dr. William Bradshaw is not doing this in the name of popularity. Conflicts have emerged between science professors at BYU and the general authorities many times in the past. He is not the first. He is simply stating what is scientifically observable. Dr. William Bradshaw and other scientists like him employ the scientific method. This is not a method that is subject to opinion but is instead an objective method employed to extract scientific data that might eventually be used to support a scientific theory.

    Do you think most scientists originally wanted to believe in the theory of evolution? The answer is actually, no. The majority of scientists during the 19th century believed in God and a literal creation. It is these very same scientists who slowly lost their faith in a literal creation, not because they wanted to, but because the evidence for evolution became overwhelming.

    Likewise, I would suppose that Brother Bradshaw would rather *not* believe that people are born homosexual since it might conflict with his religious beliefs. But what can he do? He is not to blame. He is simply the messenger.

  82. Randy
    October 7, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    If it makes you feel better about disagreeing with President Packer, then I hope science is there to defend you when the time comes. As for me, I find little faith in what some scientist says. I don’t know what his motivation is, nor do I care. This wouldn’t be the first time that science has been wrong – or rather that what some people hope science to prove, for their benefit, has been wrong – though I’m sure you’re not willing to admit that. The second we start thinking we know more about science than God, is when we are done for.

    Of course, arguing with people on this website is a waste of time. Few people are hear to find the actual truth. You don’t need a website for that.

  83. Eric
    October 7, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Actually, no, I wanted to believe in the church. But I found it extremely difficult. I couldn’t fake it either. I don’t think science will ever defend me. The difference between these two processes of arriving at truth you talk about is that I choose to believe in things that are supported by evidence, even if they are not very comforting.

    There is a better way. Humanity can find comfort in accepting what is and embracing it. Once we are past the stage of denial and find common ground, then we can stop focusing on and investing in our differences and make some real progress. I see it happening, but it is sure taking a long time.

  84. Stone
    October 7, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Randy,
    I respect your opinion because you have the right to your opinion but you have no facts behind what you are saying besides Elder Packer’s opinion. The brethren aren’t perfect. They don’t know or claim to know everything and they aren’t always right. If I recall, I think Spencer W. Kimball once claimed that our indian brothers and sister’s skin appeared to be lightening up – I don’t think he was accurate but I’m not going to beat him up for it. Other leaders have claimed that blacks were not as valiant in the pre-existence and so they were cursed in this life – I don’t believe they were correct on that either. Did you know that some leaders used to preach that having sex for any other reason other than to procreate was sinful- and now they leave it up to the married couple to decide(thank freaking goodness!)? Did you know that early members used to drink alcohol (yes, even after the WoW revelation, and yes, even the very man that received the revelation) and they didn’t think anything of it and now if we were to sip one drop we are told that we’ll turn into wild alcoholics – I don’t hold this against our leaders either.
    What I do is I look at the facts, and I decide for myself, and then I put that up against what is required of me from my Church leaders and I see very few conflicts. Bro, its okay to look at the facts that Bro Bradshaw has studied for 20+ years and then ask yourself – is it possible that these are indeed facts and that just maybe we need further light and knowledge on the subject? Is it possible that our leaders need further light and knowledge and they are just going with what they believe is right but perhaps they haven’t even looked at all of the facts just yet?
    We constantly talk about what is “true” in church so shouldn’t we look at the facts to build on the truth?

  85. October 8, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Randy,

    What about when they alter Elder Packer’s words post-conference?

    http://mormonsformarriage.com/?p=299

    Then will you keep believing in them? Which version will you believe?

  86. Joe
    October 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Mike on October 5 said: “FACT: The theory that testosterone levels can influence sexual orientation was shot down in the 1980s.”

    Mike:

    You are manipulating the scientific evidence. Or maybe you just don’t understand it?

    Testosterone levels–those in a person on a daily basis–may not impact sexuality.

    But what HAS BEEN PROVEN SCIENTIFICALLY is that abnormal testosterone levels (during fetal development) CAN impact sexuality. Specifically, with males/homosexuals, the genitalia of a fetus can develop as “male” while the sexual components of the brain can develop in a manner that is comparable to “female”. And vice-versa with female/lesbians.

    Since DNA triggers are turned on and off at different points during fetal development, abnormal testosterone levels can cause a fetus to develop in a manner where the sex organ outside (genitalia) doesn’t match their sex organ inside (in the brain).

    Seriously Mike… if somehow you magically woke up tomorrow as a female (physical/genitalia-wise) but you remained the same person inside that you are today, do you really think you could start liking dudes instead of dames? Seriously?

    We all need to realize that the LDS Churches stand against homosexuals TODAY is IDENTICAL to the LDS Churches stand against individuals of African decent (from Brigham Young to G.A. Smith[ish]). Forty years from now the LDS Churches position will have changed. And our children’s children will wonder why the heck we couldn’t get our stuff together.

    Joe

    PS–I used the term abnormal. I apologize for not using a better word. When somewhere between 7-15 percent of fetuses develop this way, I don’t know if abnormal is a fair word. But a better word escapes me right now.

  87. Joe
    October 8, 2010 at 11:28 am
  88. ruth
    October 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Wow! Just a few points:

    There is NO basis for genetic same sex-attraction…no studies are reliable….nothing.

    Tell me a gay person who wants to be gay…and I don’t mean because it is condemned by many in society….I mean within himself. At least not until he gets told it’s okay to be gay.

    I think we are on Zion’s march and the whiners who can’t understand this absolutely “stupid, worthless march” are crying and crying.

    By the way….I’ve studied and experienced this for years…so no lectures on loving gays. I love many many “gays.”

    • Info
      November 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      …and some of your best friends are black too…

      Ruth, I can’t understand your absolutely stupid worthless bigoted position.You love many many gays?  I don’t believe you.  Even if it were true, I’d love to hear what those ‘friends’ think of your condescending attitude.  Someone needs to put you straight, Ruth.  Perhaps it will be a son or your husband…  maybe your father.  When that day comes, you will regret this self righteous bigotry.  I hope you will experience this sooner than later…  the less you will have to regret.I’ve studied and experienced homophobia for years…  so no lectures.  I will just have to try to help change the many many homophobes I know and love… one at a time.

  89. Bonnie
    October 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    For those who are still against homosexualities. Let’s just say: If YOU were born in a world where MEN were with MEN and WOMEN were with WOMEN… and they told you that YOUR sexual orientation of being with the opposite sex was a SIN.. would you 1) Opt to go along with societal norms, your religion, your parents EVERYONE you know and be with the same sex JUST to fit in? 2) Opt to go with your feelings and be with the opposite sex but HIDE it from society? or 3) Opt to be with the opposite sex and NOT hide it from your society although you know you will be outcast, shunned, physically and emotional abused? And try to get it so your sexual orientation is accepted into your society?

    Yes, I know I will get responses, “Well, that would never happen”.. or “God wouldn’t do that”.. but what if?… answer the question? 1) 2) or 3)? Just answer the question. You can’t can you?

    BTW, I’m heterosexual.

  90. Joe
    October 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Ruth:

    I remember just over a decade ago sitting in a car with a bishop in a Southern Ward and hearing him say, “Elders, you better not bring those [explicative for African Americans] back to church again.” This was just over a decade ago.

    I remember another incident with an old timer (also in the South). We shared Alma 26: 23-24 with him in hopes that it would soften his heart, and help him overcome his racial hatred. It worked. His heart was softened. But his final words to us were “I can’t change. What would my [old timer] friends think?”

    You (and Mike) can try to dismiss the evidence. People who fought against racial integration used junk science to try and prove that African Americans were inferior. But at the end of the day, truth, right, and goodness prevailed. The junk science was proven to be just that. And the generals (or Brethren) who valiantly fought against racial integration admitted that they were wrong.

    As a Church we have tried to move forward. Unfortunately, the slow action of members to correct our prejudice came with great cost (both then and now).

    So our choice is simple. Do we fight against that which is right all in the name of honoring ideas of our father… ideas that are likely wrong? Do we fight this fight simply because our parents fought the fight? Or do we stand up and fix a wrong?

    You may call it a “stupid, worthless march”. You certainly have the right to call it that. But I am telling you… I saw this vial hatred just over a decade ago in the South. I saw it in the Church. And I saw it twenty-plus years after Declaration 2 was released.

    This issue is NO DIFFERENT!

  91. Joe
    October 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    That said, I can admit I perhaps I am wrong. Right now I am 99.99 percent confident that I’m not. But I would love to admit I am wrong. So when/if the First Presidency says something along the lines of “We have seen the LORD… face to face as you see us now. We touched His wounds… and washed His feet with our tears. Our experience is as that of Joseph Smith, Moses, Paul, and Adam. Our LORD blessed us. And He gave us direction for The Church.” And then they go on to give us council that (among other things) homosexuality if wrong… then and only then will I be willing (heck, I will be happy) to join you in your battle.

  92. Joe
    October 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    BTW, I am very, very heterosexual. I definitely like women!

    And shame on anyone who tries to dismiss another person’s ideas based upon that persons sexuality!

  93. ruth
    October 8, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Joe: The “stupid worthless march” refers to comments people were probably making as they were asked to follow their leaders. Some did, some didn’t. I will patiently wait for words from our anointed ones. And the science? What science? Is there a gay gene? Not so.

    That Bishop should have been excommunicated. So sad.

  94. Balancekeeper
    October 8, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I am attracted to women. I am married to a man. He knows. I have been absolutely faithfull to him. He knows that too. We have three children. They are happy. My husband is happy. I am happy, for the Lord loves me. I feel I need say no more.

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