Required reading on the divinity of marriage

Wow. What an incredible, inspired document by the Church. I urge all people to read this carefully. There are too many key passages for me to highlight any specifically. Respectful comments that build up the Church are welcome.

This entry was posted in General by Geoff B.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

28 thoughts on “Required reading on the divinity of marriage

  1. It’s a nicely thought out presentation. It’s frustrating that in this matter (as with most things that enter public debate), most arguments for or against are pretty poor. Little cliches and half-facts are dropped as though they settle everything.

    For those supporting the Church’s position, it feels like we’re defending the sky’s blueness. Of course, it’s blue; how else could it be? Why is it blue? I don’t know; Rayleigh something-or-other. We don’t explain well something that never seemed to require explanation before. Last week my nine-year-old son asked why mirrors reverse left and right, but not up and down. This is simple geometry, but I fell short in making the matter understandable. (My explanation: it’s not left and right that are reversed in a reflection, but in and out.)

    So I’m thankful for a piece of advocacy that thoughtfully explains basic concepts underlying this cause and responds to some of the most frequent complaints lobbed against it.

  2. As an active gay Latter-day Saint, I find the news release to be somewhat balanced. I can understand the desire to define the “ideal” for marriages and to urge society to uphold and sustain that ideal. We cannot allow exceptions to take the place of the “ideal” but we can allow for consideration of exceptions in the law.

    What I do find disconcerting (and somewhat upsetting) is the targeting of SSM to the exclusion of the much greater problems impacting marriage. The news release glosses over heterosexual relationships that will not produce children (by choice or infertility), divorce and single-parenthood (by far the largest cause of harm to children), and the cultural approach to marriage as an institution of self-fulfillment (think of Britney Spears and other gloried celebrity “marriages”). If we are serious about protecting the institution of marriage as an institution for the rearing of children in the most optimal way, then our efforts should be focused MUCH more on eliminating divorce, re-defining marriage as a pro-creation institution, and legislating disincentives to single parenthood. This is where the argument falls short. It is choosing to demonize SSM as the threat while not recognizing the root causes.

    If you allow for NON pro-creation heterosexual marriage based upon self-fulfillment and love, then how can you not allow the same for gays and lesbians? For that matter, how can you allow for NON pro-creation sex? Better to take the approach of the Catholics and define appropriate sexual relations as that which only has the opportunity to result in children.

    If you don’t actively speak out against easy divorce or single-parenthood, then how can you demonize a same sex couple raising children as less than ideal? It is the lack of consistency that undermines what is a very credible argument.

    The problem the Church faces in this argument is that society has deteriorated so much that they have to acknowledge compromises from the ideal in order to remain a credible and relevant voice but at the same time not offend those who consider themselves “legitimate” exceptions to the ideal (single parents or divorced members). The Saviour is very clear in Matthew 19 that divorce is not acceptable. Yet we ignore that commandment in our allowance of divorce within Church marriages.

    And I have yet to understand why so many LDS leaders mix gender confusion with homosexuality. I have never been confused about my gender. I am a man. I just happen to be attracted to other men. I have no desire to be a woman or to have the attributes or character traits of a woman. So why do they continue to use gender confusion as a descriptive for homosexuality?

  3. “What I do find disconcerting (and somewhat upsetting) is the targeting of SSM to the exclusion of the much greater problems impacting marriage.”

    Michael, I can see how the present situation feels like scapegoating. Unfortunately, SSM is what is on California’s ballot in November, so that has to be the battle of the day. All the bigger family problems you mention are things the Church does give a lot of attention to. For example, the Church has dozens of social service offices that work on placement of babies of single mothers into homes where they will be adopted by a father and mother. Over the last decade, counsel has been directed a number of times at young women and their parents that they should give up for adoption children born outside of marriage.

  4. That’s what I’ve been looking for from the church leaders. A thorough explanation of what they see as to why it is a threat to traditional marriage. I’m glad they released this.

    John,

    Maybe in times past it didn’t matter why the sky was blue, but in our day today, we need the explanation, the details. Frankly, that’s what fascinates me about life. Not that something exists, but the WHY.

  5. How do you know the document is inspired? It does not claim to be inspired, as far as I can tell. It doesn’t mention inspiration or revelation at all. Maybe it’s just the best considered judgement of whoever wrote it.

  6. Last week my nine-year-old son asked why mirrors reverse left and right, but not up and down.

    Depends on the orientation of the mirror. Lay the mirror flat on the ground, and up and down get reversed just fine.

    (Does this count as being on-topic since I used the word “orientation”?) :-)

  7. Now, if I can attempt to be serious about this…

    In Alma 30:7 we read, “Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.”

    I can appreciate the Church taking a stand on same-sex marriage; how could they not?

    However our argument assumes the existence of a God that created the institution of marriage, and of course, we can not prove the existence of that God. To me, this seems to be an attempt to “bring men on to unequal grounds”. If one will not openly buy into the assumptions behind the argument, those assumptions become null and void for that person.

    I think our argument gets stronger when we can examine what has happened to weaken the institution of marriage in other countries where same-sex marriage has become legal. But taking the “God says so” point of view isn’t going to get us anywhere, as I see it.

  8. Thank you for speaking out, Michael.

    As an active Latter-day Saint with same-sex attraction, I appreciate this pronouncement.

    I believe the Church does focus on other threats to marriage and family (divorce, extra-marital intimacy) and the Church has been counseling traditional married couples to obey the injunction to have children (although the Church is not as insistent as it has been in the past). The Church’s efforts in this regard are less obvious or evident as its efforts to protect the definition of marriage.

    However, I also believe that part of the sanctity and role of marriage has to do with eternal progression and Temple doctrine: even if a couple cannot have children in this world, they will still be able to function as a family beyond the veil.

    One cannot give the injunction of “I say unto you to be fruitful and multiply” to a same-sex couple; one can give it to an opposite-sex couple and expect that they can try and in most cases be successful.

    The composition of the family also reflects celestial order.

    In any case, thank you for speaking up, Michael. It saddens me that the voices most heard from Latter-day Saints with same-sex attraction are those who oppose the Church. Those who support the Church need to be heard as well, else the world has a very skewed comprehension of what the same-sex world among the Latter-day Saints is like.

  9. WHY CALIFORNIA SHOULD RETAIN CURRENT MARRIAGE STATUTES
    Marriage is the legal, social, economic and spiritual union of a man and a woman. One man and one woman are necessary for a valid marriage. If that definition is radically altered then anything is possible. There is no logical reason for not letting several people marry, or for eliminating other requirements, such as minimum age, blood relative status or even the limitation of the relationship to human beings. Those who are trying to radically redefine California’s marriage laws for their own purposes are the ones who are trying to impose their values on the rest of the population. Those citizens opposed to any change in California’s marriage statutes are merely defending the basic morality that has sustained the culture for everyone against a radical attack.
    When same-sex couples seek California’s approval and all the benefits that the state reserves for married couples, they impose the law on everyone. According non-marital relationships the same status as marriage would mean that millions of people would be disenfranchised by their own governments. The state would be telling them that their beliefs are no longer valid, and would turn the civil rights laws into a battering ram against them.
    Law is not a suggestion, as George Washington observed, “it is force”. An official state sanction of same-sex relationships as “marriage” would bring the full apparatus of the state against those who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The California Protect Marriage Coalition views this as outlawing traditional morality.
    Eliminating one entire sex from an institution defined as the union of the two sexes is a quantum leap from eliminating racial discrimination, which did not alter the fundamental character of marriage. Marriage reflects the natural moral and social law evidenced the world over. As the late British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin noted in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called “expansive energy,” which might best be summarized as society’s will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.
    Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued by the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.
    When marriage loses its unique status, women and children most frequently are the direct victims. Giving same-sex relationships or out-of-wedlock heterosexual couples the same special status and benefits as the marital bond would not be the expansion of a right but the destruction of a principle. . If the one-man/one-woman definition of marriage is broken, there is no logical stopping point for continuing the assault on marriage.
    If feelings are the key requirement, then why not let three people marry, or two adults and a child, or consenting blood relatives of any age? . Marriage-based kinship is essential to stability and continuity in our state. Child abuse is much more prevalent when a living arrangement is not based on kinship. Kinship imparts family names, heritage, and property, secures the identity and commitment of fathers for the sake of the children, and entails mutual obligations to the community.
    The US Supreme Court declared in 1885 that states’ marriage laws must be based on “the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization, the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.”

  10. There is a lot of information, both anecdotal and statistical, that isn’t being talked about in the SSM debate. There are a lot of dirty-secrets from the gay and lesbian sub-culture that just weren’t dealt with on the Will and Grace tv show.

    Things like:

    - are same-sex relationships more violent on average than opposite-sex? (My understanding is yes, both gay couples and lesbian couples are much more violent on average than heterosexual couples.)

    - are same-sex unions more likely to “divorce” than opposite-sex? (My understanding is yes, cohabiting gays and lesbians split up and go on to other relationships much more frequently than cohabiting or married heterosexual couples.) If SSM goes through, divorce of homosexuals will soon be at a higher percentage than divorce of heterosexuals. If divorce is bad for children, then same-sex parents (who divorce more often than opposite sex parents) will statistically have a greater negative effect on children. But of course we won’t have enough studies and numbers to demonstrate that for another 15 to 20 years.

    - do gays and lesbians “recruit”? I don’t know how prevalent it is, but yes, it happens. I knew a couple young men who told me how they realized they were gay, and each had an older gay male “mentor” who did much to groom them. The young men didn’t use the word “groom” but based on how they described their relationship with their “mentors”, that word immediately came to mind. Another young adult male I home-taught was taken in (given a place to live when he was homeless) by a household of gay men.

    - if more social stigmas are removed from homosexuality (and SSM will do much to remove the remaining stigmas) then it seems likely that more young people will experiment. A person’s first sexual experience tends to have ingraining effects on them. And the younger the age of first sexual experience, the stronger and more lasting those effects.

    - all discussion on the causes of homosexuality seems to have focused on genetics, and moved away from the traditional views of relationships with parents and childhood development. Those traditional views were discarded by the American Psychological Association for political reasons, promoted by a minority within that association. Many older psychologists still hold to the traditional views of at least some of the causes of homosexuality.

    - how long will it take for the pendulum to swing from the “born that way” refrain to “choice.” If all stigma is removed from homosexuality, then homosexual activity effectively becomes another behavior which one may choose to participate in. If it’s a legitimate lifestyle, then why can’t someone choose that lifestyle? With society giving a stamp of approval to SSM and therefore to homosexual activity and lifestyle, it’s not just an invitation to experiment, or push the envelope, but to also consider it as a choice as how to live. Again, we won’t have statistics for another 20 years or so.

    - is SSM going to reduce the incredible promiscuity of the average homosexual male? The CDC’s figures for average number of lifetime partners for homosexual men are astounding, even in our post-AIDS world. Will a large number of homosexual men have “open marriages”? I think it’s likely. That will cheapen marriage right there. Another CDC factoid is the average life-span of homosexuals, even factoring out deaths due to AIDS. Homosexuals die from non-AIDS illnesses more often than heterosexuals, and they kill each other more than heterosexuals. Their lifespan is very shorter.

    - the realities of most people living homosexual lifestyles doesn’t match the portrayal of out-of-the-closet homosexual celebrities or homosexual advocates. But the pro-family forces seem to have already lost or conceded the battle to make that known, and no one seems to argue anymore that being homosexual is a ‘bad thing’ on emotional, social, psychological, cultural, and health-related fronts.

  11. I think Frank brings up issues that represent the thoughts of many people. However, I would like to remind readers of the following from the Church document:

    The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people.

    As Church members decide their own appropriate level of involvement in protecting marriage between a man and a woman, they should approach this issue with respect for others, understanding, honesty, and civility.

  12. Michael,
    IMHO, you have cited Matthew 19 out of context. In Jesus’ time women had no option to divorce. His words were for men only, giving them only one reason (adultery) where divorce was a suitable option. Matthew 19 likely has no bearing today, with women having more equal legal footing. With women having the same divorce option as men, I can easily think of many situations besides adultery that warrant divorce.

    Frank,
    I’m straight, but feel you are a bigot. I recall similar silly speculative arguments against civil rights reforms. The recruiting part of your comment is the worst and I don’t get the relevance to gay marriage at all. In any case, I could envision a straight person experimenting with homosexuality, but becoming gay/lesbian via a mentor? You might as well be quoting old church talks on masturbation causing homosexuality. There are many valid arguments against SSM, and I think we should stick to them.

    As I’ve commented before, I think the church’s political stance has much more to do with polygamy than SSM.

  13. I think the article points out that our society has already deteriorated with regards to marriage in so many ways. We are losing the battle of keeping kids born to married parents. We are losing the battle of keeping married people together for life. No fault divorce laws make it so easy. Fertility rates are dropping, with no one knowing if there is an end in sight. Right now, marriage and family is weakening.
    This is something we should be concerned about! Marriage has been the foundation of society and civilization for thousands of years.
    Marriage isn’t just about being “in love” with someone, so any two people who are in love should get their “right” to a wedding.

  14. “Frank, I’m straight, but feel you are a bigot.”

    And this is the crux of the problem today. If you bring out any negative statistics or observations that put same-gender relationships in a negative light you are immediately labeled a “bigot.” We have basically been paralyzed into subjection and allowed one side to completely frame the debate.

    I personally know a person involved in this lifestyle who has told us that his experience is that there tends to be notable anger in these relationships and a high number of partners. This person has participated in both traditional and SS relationships. His observation was unsolicited, candid and not sugar coated. Again, these were not my observations but his from the inside. He is personally against SSM and, having lived in such a regular married relationship before, says there is no parallel whatsoever. Again, these are from a person in the lifestyle now, which adds credibility to his argument. You can question his conclusions, but to simply throw out “bigot” as a defense is a copout.

  15. Yeah, I should have edited out that comment, but it’s too late now. Sorry, my bad.

    Comments in which one commenter calls another a “bigot” will not be tolerated on this blog. I simply won’t allow name-calling by anybody.

    Having said that, I would like to point out that the Church document does not get into many of the areas discussed by Frank. And I think there’s a reason for that. This is time for a civilized, principled approach in which we as a Church concentrate on promoting one-man, one-woman marriage for the many reasons cited in the linked document. Too much additional commentary is really not necessary, it seems to me.

  16. Returning to the document, I was impressed with the contents and the stance of the church to show some of the thinking behind the stance. There is a nice mix of secular argument/data and religious reasoning. In the end, I believe the final reason will always boil down to God given truth, but God’s laws are reasonable, even if we don’t see the reasons immediately. Unfortunately, we may not see the full effects of violation of the laws until long after the fact. Jeremiah’s advice about not siding with the Egyptians was generally disregarded, but he turned out to be right.

    I think we must always return to the _principles_ that are in play. Only when we understand correct principles can we properly judge specific cases. For example, the frequent rejoinder is “I didn’t ask to be this way.” The underlying principle being put forth behind this argument is that all inclinations or passions that I did not ask for are acceptable to act upon, or in other terms, why would God allow me to be made this way and feel these things if I’m not allowed to act on them?

    2 Nephi 2 does a brilliant job in elucidating the principle:

    “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” (2 Nephi 2:16).

    “And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.”

    “All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:30)

    These scriptures make clear that the essence of intelligent existence and agency is the ability to act for oneself, and that acting for one’s self requires that we be enticed by things that are not healthy for us. Satan exercises his influence by exploiting physical passions (“the evil which is therein”) and enticing us to exercise our agency in an inappropriate way.

    There are qualities of my personality that I don’t like and I didn’t ask for. I know what I want to become deep down, and I often wonder if I will ever be free of certain propensities and inclinations that I have in this life. Regardless, both doctrine and society have always places limits on acceptable personal behavior. We should not be surprised that we have incorrect inclinations. Such a principle is scriptural and serves a purpose, i.e., it allows us the ultimate expression of our agency. It adds depth to the phrase “overcome all things.”

    This is one example where I believe the arguments posed in defense of SSM are based on incorrect or incomplete principles.

    One side note, I have often wondered about something said by Ezra Taft Benson in his Oct 1988 General Conference talk entitled “I Testify:”

    “I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure. (See JS-H 1:45; D&C 1:9.) But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph. (See 1 Ne. 22:15–23.)”

    I have always wondered what “the issues” would be. Could it be that SSM is one of those issues? It seems to divide people both in and out of the church like no other issue has. The Brethren have take a stand, and perhaps we are reaching a point where neutrality will be more difficult to maintain.

  17. MG, nice comment. I agree with you that this is one of the issues on which we will be tested. I would add that members will also be tested on how they treat people with different inclinations and whether they show them love and make them feel welcome and accepted.

    Christ-like love is always the solution.

  18. Let me state that many of the points I put forth (and those that Frank put forth) are probably not good talking points for the Church. My/Franks points are more doctrinal in nature or speak concerning the nature of SS relationships themselves. I would not want to see those points in a Church article stating their reason for involvement in the issue. I’m glad they are not there.

    What is the tipping point for church involvement? That became clear to me this past Sunday in the BofM class. We spoke of when war is justified. The crux of the discussion came down to infringement of agency. In fact, this is the basis of the War in Heaven. Agency was in the balance. Captain Moroni did not enjoy war, but was compelled to defend the liberty and freedom of religion of his people.

    It seems the crux of the Church position is that if SSM were given legal status, there are already indications that religious freedom would be jeopardized. Many examples were cited in various places around the world. This pulls the argument out of the the realm of the theoretical. The 1995 Proclamation of the Family was prophetic. “The Divine Institution of the Family” documents, in a way, a beginning of the fulfillment of the Proclamation by citing observable examples, in other words, “and thus we see…”

    Geoff is also right on. Part of the challenge we have as members that support these documents is to keep the discussion about the issues and not let it turn into fanatical behavior. Every time I see someone bombing and abortion clinic or beating someone up because of SS attraction I just shake my head. That is trading one problem for another, and does nothing but hinder those with legitimate arguments. We can be strong in our defense of the position without resorting to poor tactics.

    Both my wife and I have family members involved in this. My wife is not hesitant to call her sibling to repentance and has enough of a relationship to do so. She points out to him some of the consequences of his decisions. He also knows of her great love for him, and she is the first one he calls when he has nowhere to turn. He knows he can count on her. She is a great example of loving the sinner while not pardoning the sin. He knows that she is driven by her great concern for him, and because of it, he listens.

  19. I’m monopolizing this post, but yet another article just came out highlighting the issue:

    California court bars doctors from invoking religion to deny treatments like insemination to gays and lesbians
    http://www.millennialstar.org/2008/08/14/required-reading-on-the-divinity-of-marriage/

    This is why the church has spoken up.

    I think the reason sometimes we are conflicted is because we see the SSM or SS group as monolithic. It is not. I’m reminded of Sheri Dew’s experience at the UN defending traditional marriage. She spoke of the mixed reaction. Some became very angry. That was how she knew the true nature of those in the audience.

    I think we sometimes fail to recognize that while there are many people we may know that are simply prone to these inclinations and are trying more or less to go about their lives, there are some who are leading the SSM movement who have no small disdain for religion and those with traditional values. They do not hesitate to squash the freedom of the religious in cases such as these. They do not hesitate to refuse the doctor to defer to another, nor respect the wishes of parents who do not want their kids being taught in elementary school that SS relationships/marriage are acceptable behavior. The person in this article that started the case was deferred to another doctor, but this wasn’t good enough. She was intent on bringing all the medical profession into compliance with her views.

    Make no mistake that there are those who would completely silence the traditional view from the public square (the priest in Europe jailed for “hate speech” for teaching homosexuality was a sin in his church is an example. Elder Oaks has referred to this case in his interview with Elder Wickman).

    Being “Christ-like” involves more than just being nice, but standing up for truth and righteousness. The apostles and prophets were not wimps. They did not forfeit their arguments because of unpopularity. They call a spade a spade. As Pres. Monson said in the last priesthood session, “sin wears the Halloween mask of tolerance.”

  20. Geoff,
    While I concede the tone of my comment pushed the boundaries of your wise comment policy, I must point out that I didn’t call anyone a bigot. It’s like if I said someone aggressively preaching against homosexuals comes off as a repressed homosexual, I’m not saying that person is homosexual. And while I think it is reasonable to conclude that someone citing stereotypes and demographic stats and universally tarring all individuals within that demographic is a sad bigot (these same arguments were used to deny civil rights to Black Americans, promote ugly anti-miscegenation laws, etc), I pulled my punch in response to Frank as far so labeling him.

  21. I still think your comment was out of line. Save “bigot” for people who are really bigots. Don’t even hint at bigotry if it isn’t there. Misusing it cheapens the word.

    For one thing, I do not think Fred was characterizing all people with same-sex attraction but was discussing trends among people with same-sex attraction. To read into his words that he was slamming all people with same-sex attraction (or all same-sex relationships) is to misrepresent or misinterpret his words.

    Second, his points are still germane. It is important for us to recognize that same-sex relationships on average are quite different from opposite-sex relationships. It is irresponsible to ignore these facts simply because they’re not politically correct or offend sensibilities. And another reason such points are important is because of those who are trying to convince others that same-sex relationships are just like opposite-sex relationships. I believed that myself, but now know better.

    That said, I agree with what has been said with regard to when and where such comments are to be mentioned. Proper words at the proper time.

  22. I think Ben Shalom’s point can be summarized by a quote from the church’s document itself where Dallin H. Oaks says:

    “Tolerance obviously requires a non-contentious manner of relating toward one another’s differences. But tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination.”

    This is where the SSM advocates often try to draw the line. Any analysis that draws negative conclusions can illicit the ire of the more vocal portion of the activist groups. For an example, see the article I submitted above on the pressure on the medical establishment. The traditionalists have been paralyzed from even discussing the negative effects of such relationships on society as a whole. Such intimidation tactics in and of themselves are evidence of the flimsiness of the position. Christ did not use strong arm tactics. Teach the truth and let those come who will.

    The person I referenced earlier who is in the lifestyle told us that most of the homosexuals he knows _do not_ want SSM. They are not interested in it. We always hear polls on what people in general think of SSM. It would be interesting to get a poll from the SS group themselves and see where the numbers lie. Again, because of fear, it will probably never be done.

  23. I believe the church is better served by giving religious reasons for their position, which for the most part is what the new document does. R Biddulph’s document (by United Families International) referenced above, while appearing to be an admirable collection of data about various issues, is actually quite weak because the data do not always support what they say they do. The summaries of many issues actually come out as biased and shallow if you follow through to the original research.

    I pulled up one research point as an example: they say “The U.S. Justice Department’s study found an epidemic of violence between homosexuals. The annual average is 13,740 male victims of violence by homosexual partners and 16,900 victims by lesbian partners.” In drilling down to the source data, that 13,7400 figure represents 10% of all violent cases against men, and the 16,900 represents 2% of violent cases against women. The government study does not represent this as an “epidemic” — if 2% of violent cases against women are by female intimate partners, I don’t believe that represents any more than a normal percentage of cases given the distribution of lesbian couples in the general population. If 10% of reported cases of violence against men are from male partners, that could be seen as higher than normal (I don’t think 10% of the population is made of gay couples), but it could also be attributed to the reticence heterosexual men have to report violence inflicted by a women.

    The weakness of documents like this, and so many other assertions that are not backed up with accurate reporting of real data, is that they are perpetuating falsehoods for a good cause. As soon as someone digs into the data they can point out the errors. Then the whole argument is suspect and credibility is ruined.

    That United Families document has a lot of disturbing statistics about the homosexual population. But the conclusions you draw from the research need to be justifiable. Like so much public discussion based on research, the bias and stretching of truth are unfortunate.

  24. I also skimmed the the United Family document and it seemed very flimsy. Sweeping arguments with little substance. I believe that many of the assertions were probably correct, but they did a poor job of backing themselves up.

    I think the church’s documented references were pretty good. They were well-known cases that were easily verifiable. The United Family doc seemed to be of the quality of many anti-Mormon “scholarly publications” that I see out there, too much hype and too little substance when you look past the surface.

Comments are closed.