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Author Topic: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church  (Read 2349 times)

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Offline SabbyTopic starter

Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« on: December 07, 2012, 08:10:23 PM »
But they maintain that it is still Sinful. So basically, they've recognized homosexuality as a thing some people are born with and would like to offer their support and understanding while we await a solution.

I appreciate the step forward they're taking out of their little reality bubble, but really? I'm not sure whether to humor them with a polite clap or just simply ignore the gesture until they can give a proper one. If you need to amend 'you're choosing to burn in Hell' to 'You're just inherently Hellbound and we love you anyway' then I'm not sure you've made any progress at all.

Quote from: NBC News
The Mormon Church has launched a new website in an attempt to "encourage understanding" with gays and lesbians, an effort heralded by activists as a departure from the church's perceived hostility toward the LGBT community.

Presented as a “collection of conversations” with LDS leaders and Mormons “who are attracted to people of the same sex,” the website, mormonsandgays.org, launched Thursday.
The site includes an unusual statement for a major religious body: that sexuality, including same-sex attraction, is not a personal choice. But it maintains that acting on that attraction is still a "sin."
“What we do know is that the doctrine of the church – that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married – has not changed and is not changing,” Elder Quentin Cook said in statement announcing the site's launch. “But what is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same-gender attraction.”

The website, which a spokesman said has been in production for more than two years, features a number of videos from top church leaders and gay and straight lay Mormons, who share their experiences counseling Mormons who suffer from AIDS and advising Mormon parents not to reject children who pursue a gay lifestyle.

The development of the site was launched only a short time after the Mormon Church encouraged its members to get involved in the high-profile fight over Proposition 8 -- a ban on gay marriage -- in California in 2008.

The church, which was blasted by the LGBT community at the time, has since ended directives that Latter-Day Saints should oppose civil rights for gay families. In 2009, it officially endorsed gay rights initiatives in Salt Lake City that stopped just short of civil unions or marriage.

“On this website we witness something that church leaders rarely do: admit that we’ve done things wrong in the past. In light of this, the clear admission that things need to change is particularly welcome, if long overdue," Spencer Clark, executive director for Mormons for Marriage Equality, said in an email to NBC News.

Public acceptance of gay marriage among all Americans has increased to record highs. A Gallup poll released Wednesday showed that 53 percent of Americans favor legalizing same-sex marriage.

Year-to-year membership statistics for the Mormon church place it among the fastest-growing religions, with more than 5 million members in the U.S. and more than 14 million members worldwide, the church reported in early 2012.
Randall Thacker, president elect for Affirmation, an organization supporting gay and lesbian Mormons, said the site brings to surface the openness of the Mormon culture to adaptation.

“The church is adaptable because we have a worldwide religion, which brings in people every day from all different perspectives and frames of reference, and so we have to be able to have a church membership that is ready for change,” Thacker told NBC News.
For Clark, the website represents a turning point for his faith’s stance on homosexuality.

“Too often, gay Mormons and their families have felt that they had to choose between their loyalty to each other and to their church,” Clark said. “Latter-Day Saints have often described gay individuals as ‘struggling with same-sex attraction’ without considering whether the true test from God was on those who are straight to see if they would struggle loving those who are gay. We simply can’t claim to love God, and not love the gay children, parents or neighbors that he has placed in our lives.” 

Jim Dabakis, a former Mormon missionary and soon to be the only gay person in the state legislature, told the Salt Lake Tribune he’s thrilled with the new site.

“I give tremendous credit to the LDS Church,” Dabakis said. “This can’t have been easy,” acknowledging ever-improving relations between the Mormon church and the gay community.

Clark said he believes the website will help heal deep-seated wounds. 
“It is clear that church leaders have heard the voices and stories of so many Mormons who have been working to make things better for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and I believe this will help open the door to even greater progress in the future.”

Offline Missy

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2012, 01:34:09 AM »
Was Mormon for twenty two years.

It would certainly be a surprise if Mormonism acknowledged the possibility that homosexuality could be a natural in any way, in my opinion anyway. I could be completely wrong, but I don't think it would be very likely to happen. If it did then I doubt they would ever get over calling it a sin, I could always be wrong, but that's my take on it.


In any case in twenty two years, well there's nothing in that websites front page which sounds new to me. I'm not saying there isn't anything in the videos since I haven't seen them, any of them, yet, but on the front page it's all old news to me. It's one thing that's admirable about Mormonism, they ideally believe in loving everyone. In my own time 'enemy' would have been too strong a word for most people, even on the opposite end of the spectrum. This stuff just sounds more like making publicity about stuff any Mormon already knows to me.

I could be wrong and I won't say don't look into the videos, I think it's a good thing learning about different outlooks on life. You never know they might actually be changing for the better, just it's not obvious at a glance. I would only take a sign of change seriously if it came from a twelve or a First Presidency though, I suppose logically.

Offline vtboy

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 02:00:17 AM »
The problem with getting any church to amend its moral teachings is the difficult job of convincing it either that: (i) those teachings did not come from god in the first instance, or (ii) god has changed its mind.

If, according to Mormon doctrine, engaging in homosexual acts is a sin, but being a homosexual is not, one has to wonder what god's purpose was in burdening so many with a mandate to deny themselves the god-given joys of sexual intimacy. Worse, the mandate requires the abnegation of a fundamental imperative, sewn into our genes. 

Maybe it's just a Job thing.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 09:56:28 AM by vtboy »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2012, 12:01:26 PM »
Church organizations are by nature very conservative, the Mormons are one of the most conservative ones out there. To have this much come out so soon after Prop 8.. that is a MAJOR concession and will enable change to continue to come in the coming years.

Don't expect acceptance this year.. or decade.. or the next. I don't see a major change in outlook in the Mormon church till a LOT of the current elders are in the ground..but this IS a concession and a willingness to move towards acceptance.

That being said.. I don't know if short term wise if it is a good thing. I see a LOT Mormon attempts at 'treating the problem' coming out of this. And anyone here on this board knows how bad some of those can go.

Overall .. long term this is a good first step.. just don't expect the next big concession before midcentury though. Barring some major changes.

Offline Caela

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 04:36:18 PM »
The problem with getting any church to amend its moral teachings is the difficult job of convincing it either that: (i) those teachings did not come from god in the first instance, or (ii) god has changed its mind.

If, according to Mormon doctrine, engaging in homosexual acts is a sin, but being a homosexual is not, one has to wonder what god's purpose was in burdening so many with a mandate to deny themselves the god-given joys of sexual intimacy. Worse, the mandate requires the abnegation of a fundamental imperative, sewn into our genes. 

Maybe it's just a Job thing.

Really you sort of answered your own comment along with your question/observation. A lot of churches, not just the Mormons, recognizes that certain impulses/drives/etc. are natural to feel but acting on them outside a specific set of parameters is still considered sinful. For example, sex in general (gay, straight, other) is considered a sin in most churches unless it is within the confines of a marriage. You can feel it, but you aren't supposed to act on it.

Just reading the OP, it looks like the Mormon church has put it's gay members on the same footing as it's single members...you can feel desire, but if you act on it with anyone but a spouse, you are going to Hell. It's a baby step in the right direction, which is better than no steps at all but I think that Callie is right and you probably won't get much more until the next generation of Elders steps up.


Offline vtboy

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 06:36:00 AM »
Really you sort of answered your own comment along with your question/observation. A lot of churches, not just the Mormons, recognizes that certain impulses/drives/etc. are natural to feel but acting on them outside a specific set of parameters is still considered sinful. For example, sex in general (gay, straight, other) is considered a sin in most churches unless it is within the confines of a marriage. You can feel it, but you aren't supposed to act on it.

Just reading the OP, it looks like the Mormon church has put it's gay members on the same footing as it's single members...you can feel desire, but if you act on it with anyone but a spouse, you are going to Hell. It's a baby step in the right direction, which is better than no steps at all but I think that Callie is right and you probably won't get much more until the next generation of Elders steps up.

The prohibitions faced by homosexual are of a different sort. Heterosexuals may be required by their churches to delay sexual intimacy until marriage, but the LDS church and others bar heterosexual members from ever knowing sexual intimacy, at least of the sort impelled by their nature.

Unlike temporal governance, religious law is not generally conceived as grounded in utilitarian concerns or in majority sensibilities. It may be that the Mormons will eventually change their teachings on homosexuality to conform to the sea change in public attitude and may recognize homosexual marriage. But, what will their explanation be: that all these years they misunderstood god's rules? or that god suddenly changed those rules? 

Offline Caela

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 07:26:54 AM »
IF they end up recognizing homosexual marriage then the, "We were wrong this whole time," line is most likely exactly what they'll use. It's a pretty traditional excuse when a religion of any flavor changes it's mind about things. In the end a Church has one thing in common with any other organization, if it doesn't (eventually) change with the times to keep itself relevant, it will preach itself out of existence.

Offline vtboy

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 07:46:35 AM »
IF they end up recognizing homosexual marriage then the, "We were wrong this whole time," line is most likely exactly what they'll use. It's a pretty traditional excuse when a religion of any flavor changes it's mind about things. In the end a Church has one thing in common with any other organization, if it doesn't (eventually) change with the times to keep itself relevant, it will preach itself out of existence.

I wholly agree that the highest star in the constellation of any church, as with other organizations, is self-preservation. And this is what makes clerical professions of pious certainty and divinely revealed truth so damnable. Regrettably, until the epiphany of looming unemployment, church leaders do a great deal of harm. 

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 09:19:06 AM »
I wholly agree that the highest star in the constellation of any church, as with other organizations, is self-preservation. And this is what makes clerical professions of pious certainty and divinely revealed truth so damnable. Regrettably, until the epiphany of looming unemployment, church leaders do a great deal of harm. 
Most of the larger denominations, my friend, are built to make money. And to make money, people need to buy their products. So, what the hell did you think they were going to do? It never ceases to amaze me how sensationalist some people can be about religion, as if they expected that people that are religious to be perfect, and not different from other people that want to be rich, despite their claims. I don't recall people getting all hyped up about Political leaders when what they do is make money, and the continually spout on about the good of others... please... However, when people take advantage of their positions of power to enforce something on people that they wouldn't have wanted otherwise, then it is the time to get the snowball rolling.

As for myself, I don't see any reason to be a part of any denomination, and the way I read it, Jesus said," Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thine soul, and with all thine mind. This is the first and great Commandment, and the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets". Translation: So long as what you are doing is in love, and/or not hurting anybody or blatantly disrespecting God in any way, it the precise opposite of a sin (The exact word escapes me right now). Homosexuality, so long as it is done in love and not hurting anybody, or not doing it for the reason of disrespect to someone, then what is the big deal? While it is not particularly what I would go for (You could say I wasn't born that way), I really don't see what churches have against it.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 11:03:37 AM »
I'm curious as to what sort of changes will have to occur for the Vatican to unclench on the truckload of issues it has.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 11:49:42 AM »
People leaving en mass...

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 12:11:21 PM »
People leaving en mass...

That's already happening in some areas.  I know in Ireland there is a big decline in the Catholic Church after the fallout of the investigation into church abuses where at least one order was given blanket immunity.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 12:26:05 PM »
Problem is (these aren't real statistics, mind... just assumptions) that a huge majority of the Latin American countries are still very much Catholic in majority, except maybe Argentina and Chile, which, in the questions of numbers, make Ireland seem a bit less major...

Offline vtboy

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 12:27:52 PM »
Most of the larger denominations, my friend, are built to make money. And to make money, people need to buy their products. So, what the hell did you think they were going to do? It never ceases to amaze me how sensationalist some people can be about religion, as if they expected that people that are religious to be perfect, and not different from other people that want to be rich, despite their claims. I don't recall people getting all hyped up about Political leaders when what they do is make money, and the continually spout on about the good of others... please... However, when people take advantage of their positions of power to enforce something on people that they wouldn't have wanted otherwise, then it is the time to get the snowball rolling.

First, since I am not your friend, your use of the term is condescending. Please don't do it again.

Second, I have no illusions about clerics being better than anyone else, and don't know how you could possibly have gotten that from my post.
 
Third, my outrage is not fueled by expectations of better behavior from clerics. Rather, it is fueled by the special brand of arrogance and cruelty displayed by those who presume to proclaim god's judgment on homosexuals.

Fourth, I get plenty "hyped up" about the bad behavior of politicians, too. But, this is a thread about Mormon church doctrine on homosexuality.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 12:30:23 PM »
Problem is (these aren't real statistics, mind... just assumptions) that a huge majority of the Latin American countries are still very much Catholic in majority, except maybe Argentina and Chile, which, in the questions of numbers, make Ireland seem a bit less major...

It's not just Ireland.. I use it because I am following it. You got a LOT of Europe following, America and even in the 'strong holds' of South America..their abuses and rigid standing on specific issues and tendacy to cover up their mistakes rather than clean house are starting to have an effect. You got molesting priests being sent down to South America now.. three decades from now? The 'stronghold' nations of the Catholic faith might not be so kind towards them.

Clashes between Catholic Doctrine and the people of those nations are already starting. Excommunicating a doctor for saving a little girl's life from a failed pregnancy while supporting the molesting step father?

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/25/490171/brazil-excommunication-for-abortion/?mobile=nc

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 12:38:16 PM »
First, since I am not your friend, your use of the term is condescending. Please don't do it again.

Second, I have no illusions about clerics being better than anyone else, and don't know how you could possibly have gotten that from my post.
 
Third, my outrage is not fueled by expectations of better behavior from clerics. Rather, it is fueled by the special brand of arrogance and cruelty displayed by those who presume to proclaim god's judgment on homosexuals.

Fourth, I get plenty "hyped up" about the bad behavior of politicians, too. But, this is a thread about Mormon church doctrine on homosexuality.
I didn't mean it as condescending, and I apologize since it came out as such.

You didn't say it outright, but you presented the idea that self preservation being the highest goal of churches as being something surprising, something that one wouldn't expect from someone that is somehow supposed to be better than the next guy... that was how I read it, anyway.

Your outrage is misplaced. Everyone is arrogant when presenting points that they perceive themselves to be more knowledgeable in, is you yourself demonstrated in your 'outrage'. Everyone has the right to believe as they wish, and selectivity of certain groups, while deplorable, is nothing new, presented in men's clubs, women meetings, etc.(The precise names are a bit vague, sorry). If homosexuals are not accepted in a certain church, while that is an outrage, I know of no reason why they don't just leave that church, in favor of one that accepts them without discrimination. If they really feel the need to change the church, don't sensationalize it. Bring it to the proper authorities.

I apologize for having strayed from the topic of this thread.

It's not just Ireland.. I use it because I am following it. You got a LOT of Europe following, America and even in the 'strong holds' of South America..their abuses and rigid standing on specific issues and tendacy to cover up their mistakes rather than clean house are starting to have an effect. You got molesting priests being sent down to South America now.. three decades from now? The 'stronghold' nations of the Catholic faith might not be so kind towards them.

Clashes between Catholic Doctrine and the people of those nations are already starting. Excommunicating a doctor for saving a little girl's life from a failed pregnancy while supporting the molesting step father?

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/25/490171/brazil-excommunication-for-abortion/?mobile=nc
The problem with that is that stories such as these rarely, if ever, make it to the front pages of newspapers and the television, where they belong, due to the fact that many of the news agencies around here are very tightly held by the Catholic Church, which slows down the process considerably.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 12:42:16 PM by Deamonbane »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2012, 01:09:32 PM »
It's happening though Brazil is actually two sorts of cultures. .you got a very large progressive elements in the larger cities and a very conservative rural element. There is a clash between the two of them.

Offline Skynet

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2012, 02:14:54 PM »
I'm just going to weigh in, but the pro/anti-LGBT rights divide in the US is very much a generational one.  From what I hear, even many young Mormons are more supportive of gay and lesbian people in general and don't feel threatened by them.  The LDS Church, like many other churches, has had to make major changes in their ideology over the years to avoid losing members.  But this statement might be a way of "having it both ways," so to speak, instead of a march towards progressiveness.  The Church still views homosexuality/bisexuality as a sin, but they're willing to acknowledge that it's not a conscious decision on the part of the individual.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2012, 01:03:07 AM »
If they just accepted the fact that there was nothing wrong with homosexuality in the first place, then the bit about it being choice or not would be irrelevant.  They are confused because they are still trying to justify their religious beliefs. Its nice to see these folks taking a step in the right direction at least.

I wonder if there is another angle to this though. I had read some time ago, that with polygamy, unmarried males are valued less due to the higher demand for women. If this is so, and forgive me if I'm incorrect t about that, would the validation of a homosexual lifestyle help build their community?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2012, 01:08:04 AM »
Except that the LDS (not to be confused with the FLDS) doesn't practice polygamy any more.

Offline Skynet

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2012, 12:23:19 PM »
What Oniya said.  Not only that, it was weeded out with extreme prejudice.  The LDS Church was pressured to get rid of polygamy in 1890 in order to become a US state (Utah).  Practicing polygamy is grounds for excommunication, which is pretty much social suicide for Mormons in LDS communities.

Polygamy is illegal in the rest of the United States as well.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2012, 12:35:38 PM »
Thinking a little more along those lines, the secular reasoning behind the Leviticus condemnation is that the ancient Israelites were a small, nomadic tribe, in which every additional life was necessary for survival.  (This also explains the sin of Onan - which was actually coitus interruptus, and the acceptance of polygamy in the Old Testament, along with the 'unclean' times for heterosexual intercourse.)

The early Mormon church had the same sort of issues as they moved westward and eventually settled in Utah - which wasn't incredibly prime real estate at the time.  Perhaps this is at least a token acknowledgement that we no longer need to worry about that 'Go forth and multiply' bit as much.

Offline band in the rain

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2013, 03:39:51 PM »
Oh, how cute, they're talking about choice....  funny how they never think about their choice of religion, and furthermore, their RIGHT to that choice, and heck, the right to keep having a moral code told to them rather than built up.

Oh, I didn't read the thread... shows what kind of autopilot can form so far as reacting to this sort of thing.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 05:20:56 PM by band in the rain »

Offline Dashenka

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2013, 02:04:05 PM »
Should we still spend our time and breath on brainless imbeciles who call this?

The Catholics, the Mormons, the Muslims, Protestants... they all wildy swing at minority groups because they are rapidly becoming one themselves.

Calling out this kind of things is exactly why I stopped being religious. Selfish b*stards who have to resort to little children or cults. That says it all.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2013, 03:46:19 AM »
There is one good thing about this families of gay members don't have to disown them which is likely what would happen as long as the person abstains for sex with the same gender, its not nice but to a Mormon the sex part might be a smaller price to pay for the staying in the faith part.