New study destroys myths about gender identity and same-sex attraction

The prophets and the Proclamation on the Family are correct once again.  A major new study that you can read HERE destroys many of the myths about gender identity and same-sex attraction.  Among the findings of the study:

The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.

Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

 

The 143-page report discusses more than 200 peer-reviewed studies and documents what scientific research does and does not show about sexuality and gender.  The report was authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

The Redemption of the Endowment

France Paris Notre-Dame-Adam and EveThis past Saturday I attended the temple with my husband. This was the first time I’d experienced the endowment ceremony since coming to believe that Hyrum Smith, rather than Joseph Smith, may have been the third man Martha Brotherton described in her 1842 affidavit.

In my post earlier this summer suggesting Hyrum was implicated in promoting illicit intercourse, I described honored figures of the past who had fallen into transgression, only to repent and become the greatest. I mentioned Saul of Tarsus, Alma the Younger, and Moses’ brother Aaron.

I completely overlooked Adam and Eve, the iconic figures who transgressed and yet were then promised the salvation of Christ could redeem them.

For those not familiar with the endowment, let me repeat Glen M. Leonard’s description. The endowment:

[set] forth a pattern or figurative model for life. The teachings began with a recital of the creation of the earth and its preparation to host life. The story carried the familiar ring of the Genesis account, echoed as well in Joseph Smith’s revealed book of Moses and book of Abraham. The disobedience and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden set the stage for an explanation of Christ’s atonement for that original transgression and for the sins of the entire human family. Also included was a recital of man’s tendency to stray from the truth through apostasy and the need for apostolic authority to administer authoritative ordinances and teach true gospel principles. Participants were reminded that in addition to the Savior’s redemptive gift they must be obedient to God’s commandments to obtain a celestial glory. Within the context of these gospel instructions, the initiates made covenants of personal virtue and benevolence and of commitment to the church. They agreed to devote their talents and means to spread the gospel, to strengthen the church, and to prepare the earth for the return of Jesus Christ. 1

I have previously made reference to the commitment to personal virtue, the requirement that the endowed individual refrain from sex with anyone other than a legal spouse. 2 What I had failed to understand was the power of the creation narrative for those affected by the heresy of illicit intercourse. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Leonard, Glen M., Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, A People of Promise, (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 2002), 258-259, cited by Devery S. Anderson, The Anointed Quorum in Nauvoo, 1842-45, Journal of Mormon History, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Fall 2003), pp. 137-138, available 22 Aug 2016 at https://archive.org/stream/AnointedQuorum/Anointed%20Quorum_djvu.txt
  2. I am not certain what the wording of the original endowment was, but I am certain that it did not allow for random liaisons of temporary duration, which was the hallmark of Bennett’s illicit intercourse or “spiritual wifery” heresy.

Go see Ben-Hur

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The remake of Ben-Hur is easily the best of the recently produced biblically themed epic movies. It may be the best of that genre ever made. It is better than the 1959 version, and I am a big fan of that epic movie with Charlton Heston.

The acting is excellent. Jack Huston plays the title role with surprising range, handling all of the vicissitudes of Ben-Hur’s life with a believable quality. Morgan Freeman is great as the chariot owner who helps redeem Ben-Hur, and Nazanin Boniadi does excellent work as Ben-Hur’s wife Esther.

You may or may not know that the movie is the fifth film adaptation of the 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” The story centers on Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jew from Jerusalem in the first century AD. His adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) is a Roman who ends up becoming an officer in the Roman army. The Romans have occupied the Holy Land, and Judah Ben-Hur is caught in the middle between the Jewish people who oppose Roman rule and Messala’s desire to pacify Judea for the glory of Rome.

If you have seen the Charlton Heston version, you may know that Judah gets ruined by the Romans and sent to work on a slave galley ship for five years. He is kept alive by hatred of his adopted brother and his desire for revenge. There is an epic battle scene (one of the most thrillingly realistic and gruesome battle scenes ever in the movies) and Judah survives. He ends up washing ashore and being saved by Morgan Freeman, who takes advantage of Judah’s knowledge of horses. Soon he is training for the chariot races, where he will face Messala in a climactic showdown.

The Savior is in the background in this story. Judah first meets him when he is a well-spoken carpenter in Jerusalem more than five years before his crucifixion. The Savior helps Judah when he becomes a slave by giving him water and helping him stand up when he is weak. The spiritual high point of the movie comes during the Savior’s crucifixion, which is portrayed extremely well.

Ben-Hur is a movie about forgiveness, family and the power of love and sacrifice. It is a spiritual movie without being preachy or corny. It has some of the best action scenes I have ever witnessed in the movies. Good acting. Great cinematography. I plan on watching it again soon.

Some of our biblical scholars may be bothered by the fact that the movie has Christ working as a carpenter in Jerusalem five years before his crucifixion, which contradicts the scriptures. Hey, it’s a fictional account, and the authors took a few liberties.

Another warning: the two action scenes on the galley and in the chariot races are too overwhelming and bloody for children. These scenes are why the movie has a PG-13 rating. I would not recommend that any children under 14 see this movie.

But otherwise, this movie is a rarity in a day when so many horrible movies are being made. Go see it.

Fort Collins temple open house officially starts today

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The Fort Collins temple open house starts today Aug. 19. I had the pleasure of volunteering as a parking attendant at the temple a few days ago (for the pre-open house opening to neighbors of the temple), and I was able to tour the building. It is spectacular.

I have been inside dozens of temples, but two things stand out at the Fort Collins temple. The first is the incredible wood work. The doors and chairs and much of the frames of the art work includes beautiful carvings. The second is the art work in the endowment rooms. There are two endowment rooms before you get to the celestial room, and they have sensational original art work from the Colorado mountains on the walls. One scene is of a meadow in the Rocky Mountain National Park, which is less than an hour drive from the temple.

We live just 25 minutes away from this beautiful building, the closest I have ever lived to a temple since I joined the Church.

Another story that readers might find interesting: one of the designers of the temple attended our ward for a year before the temple opened. The word went out that he was working on the temple, and nearly every Sunday people would ask him for details. He never disclosed a single detail except to give his testimony that it would be a beautiful temple. He has since moved on to another temple being built in the U.S. (I can’t remember which one). Anyway, it was great to see him at Church every Sunday and to observe the temple grow from empty field to House of the Lord.

The temple will be dedicated in October, and we hope to go at least once a month after that.

Please check out photos of the Fort Collins temple here.

McMullin on same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court

Several of my friends appear enamored with Evan McMullin, the newly announced presidential candidate. I would like to bring to readers’ attention this article from the National Review, which includes these paragraphs.

After I scoured Evan McMullin’s Facebook page, I went to his website, wherein he says he’s very pro-life, but the only policy he commits to is no taxpayer financing of abortion; he boasts of support for adoption; and he commits to virtually nothing concrete on any issue, much less religious liberty, trying, I suppose, to be a unifier through vagueness, as many consultants would no doubt advise. This may or may not help you win (I think not, in this instance, as voters are onto this game), but it definitely makes it almost impossible to have a victory worth winning, as the GOP majorities in Congress have proved time and time again.

A few days later, consistent with his desire to be the new face of the Republican party that existing Washington GOP power players are longing for, McMullin was asked by Mark Halperin about gay marriage: “As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but I respect the decision of the Court, and I think it’s time to move on,” McMullin said, according to Lifesite News.

When Halperin asked if a President McMullin would at least appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Obergefell decision, he replied, “I wouldn’t.”

He could have evaded. He could have said he would look for constitutionalists like Justice Scalia. But he didn’t. He instead said its time to accept that the Left gets to decide what is in our Constitution and move on.

No one who cares about or understands constitutional conservatism would answer that way.

Readers can make their own decisions about McMullin, but he is definitely not getting my vote.