“Enlarging the Wounds of Those Already Wounded” in Our Sexuality Discussion Today

Jacob Hess

After the passing of his dear older brother, Jacob stood before the people of Nephi with an earnest interest in “consoling and healing” them through the “pleasing word of God; yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul” (Jacob 2).

Even while doing just that, Jacob also admitted feeling “weighed down with much desire and anxiety” for his people’s welfare – to the point that he felt constrained to share other things he acknowledged would likely “enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded.”

In particular, Jacob knew that his cautionary words about sexual boundaries being crossed among his people would be painful for some listening, which made his deeply-felt obligation to speak personally painful as well:     

Wherefore, it burdeneth my soul that I should be constrained, because of the strict commandment which I have received from God, to admonish you according to your crimes, to enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded, instead of consoling and healing their wounds; and those who have not been wounded, instead of feasting upon the pleasing word of God have daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds. (Jacob 2)

I believe the prophets in our day feel a similar pain, especially when teaching about issues they know are sensitive, and deeply personal. But like Jacob of old, they feel “constrained” to speak what God puts on their hearts – recognizing that whatever pain some might feel in their words, they are necessary to address a deeper woundedness that exists independent of their words.    

Wounded America.  There are enough wounds to go around in America today – of all kinds, and in all directions.  Even more pervasive and life-threatening than physical wounds are those tearing at hearts, and minds – spirits and souls. In particular, lots of people feeling wounded when it comes to questions of sexuality today. The pain is real, often overwhelming, and sometimes even lethal.

So we are right – all of us – to bring attention to how to minister to those hurting and do whatever we can to “heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). That is the ministry of Christ and His followers, as described by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland last year

Jesus is asking us to be instruments of His grace—to be “ambassadors for Christ” in “the ministry of reconciliation,” as Paul described it to the Corinthians. The Healer of every wound, He who rights every wrong, asks us to labor with Him in the daunting task of peacemaking in a world that won’t find it any other way.

That is how we try to act as followers of Christ.  I believe that many people who disagree with the orthodox teachings of faith communities like our own are also seeking to minister with tenderness and compassion.  I don’t doubt the earnestness and sincerity of their love – as critics have consistently seemed compelled to do with our own.

It’s out of this same love that I also understand many feel compelled to advocate and fight for people they see as not only pained by the teachings of latter-day prophets, but significantly harmed.

Truth sometimes hurts…but this bad? It’s become popular to speak of Jesus as someone who went about mostly trying to make people feel good – aka, “what Jesus cared about more than anything was making sure people felt loved.” The implication often seems to be that if you make someone upset or offended by your words, you must not be following Jesus.

Obviously, this popular sentiment ignores numerous instances where Christ Himself – the Lamb of God – spoke words that were painful, offensive, difficult, and “hard to accept” (John 6:60). It seems clear from the scriptural text that it was not uncommon for those listening to Jesus to feel pained, and even enraged by His message. 

But it’s more than this kind of discomfort and pain that critics insist comes from prophetic teaching today. In the broader conversation about sexuality, it’s now become common to hear claims of deep existential harm and even suicidality coming as a direct result of orthodox religious teachings.

It’s hard to imagine a more serious and sobering accusation than this. (Imagine someone accusing you of causing someone’s death by suicide!)  And yet, insinuations and explicit claims like this show up all the time online – as if it were a widely-accepted and obvious conclusion – e.g., “Elder ____ just spoke in conference and said gender is eternal.  Here is the suicide hotline, friends.” 

One friend told me in response, “There is something not just wrong, but appalling, about those kinds of statements.”

I agree. But I don’t believe that those making these comments fully appreciate why many of us see these accusations as so profoundly misguided and damaging. One reason for the misunderstanding is how complex the whole question can be. For instance, if God’s truth often does feel legitimately painful, as Jacob himself acknowledged, how are we to differentiate that from the suicide-inducing pain we are now being accused of widely promoting? 

To those critics (and the members they continue to influence), I write the following, praying that my words might be received in the spirit I intend them. 

Two propositions. I would like to two make two simple propositions, followed by a simple illustration of these claims in actual practice.   

First, the way critics talk about and write about the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fundamentally different than how leaders and active members speak, talk and write – to such an extent that they are simply not the same thing. 

Secondly, the influence of the collective writing, teaching and speaking of critics about us, about God, about identity, and about sexuality is far more despair-generating and profoundly upsetting than virtually anything people hear from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Now, the illustration:  starting with my own best attempt to articulate how our faith community most often speaks, talks and writes about sensitive questions of sexuality:[1]  

1. One of the most precious truths of all is this: You are a son or daughter of God – not metaphorically, not poetically…but literally – to the core of your immortal spirit.  As such, you are of infinite worth – and have every potential inside to become like our beloved Heavenly Parents. 

2. During your experience in this fallen world, you will face more confusions, struggles and challenges than you can possibly imagine – including in the area of sexuality. But you can still find joy and peace as you stay on the covenant path and do your best to follow the counsel of the Lord’s prophets.   

3.  You don’t have to do this alone!  In addition to the loving ministry of the Savior, you have trustworthy family members, friends and leaders – all of whom you can depend on as companions on your journey home.   

Putting yourself in the shoes of a member of the Church of Jesus Christ with questions about sexuality (teenager or adult, man or woman), what kinds of emotions are generated for those brothers and sisters as they hear these kinds of things in general conference, or church, or seminary/institute?  

Now, compare that emotional impact with those arising from the following three teachings: 

1. Whatever else you used to believe about yourself, you now know the truth: You are gay. This is fundamental to your identity as a human being now, and into the eternal future – and more important than other identities you may have previously held to be precious (which you may have to leave behind if you want to be happy). 

2. Because this is who you are, your happiness and well-being are dependent on allowing this internal orientation to dictate major life decisions – even if it takes you away from people, promises and possibilities you previously held to be precious. Anyone who suggests otherwise is displaying narrow (“heteronormative”) standards that are certain to be damaging to your future happiness. 

3. Those leaders and parents who have taught you differently are profoundly misinformed. They don’t get you, and they may not even love you. Although you could still go to Church, you’d be signing up for a life of chronic loneliness, heartache and pain. Let’s be honest: There isn’t really a place for you there. 

Now imagine, once again, a teenager or adult, man or woman, with questions about sexuality (active in the Church, to this point) and hearing these messages.  Tell me honestly:  What kinds of emotions do these teachings generate for these brothers and sisters?

From a mental health perspective, some of the darkest, and most toxic emotions are heavy resentment, and despair. Whose teachings and doctrine are incubating these dangerous emotions the most?  Prophetic reminders of eternal possibilities – or accusing insistence that there is no place for you there?     

Whose teachings are destabilizing faith and removing people from that which used to be precious and meaning-giving?  

Two roads diverge in a yellow wood.  And more people with questions about sexuality are choosing the latter path outlined above.[2]  Given this, can those, our critics, see how confusing it can be to see people we love following and living out the teachings of critics (coming out, separating themselves from us, pursuing another life), and then when these same individuals feel despair, even to the point of suicidality, to have the finger pointed back at us? 

Last week, a man who used to be a brother (and still remains a friend) wrote me, “The damage the words of God’s servants have done is inestimable and horrific…there is a tremendous blood debt on the shoulders of the church.” [3]

To this man (and those who believe as he does), I write in response: As you might expect, I see you as having it exactly upside down.  Our message is one of redemption, relief from bondage, rebirth, and the sweet joy that comes from the atonement of His beloved son – for everyone…no matter what they feel or face.

This is a message so many of you used to believe, relish and share with others as witnesses yourselves. So, it will not surprise you to hear me argue that it is not from the teachings of the Lord’s prophets that people find crushing despair or heartache – but in a world urging, pushing, and seducing them into a betrayal of the same. This is the gaping source of despair, heartache, angst, suspicion, and endless resentment in those most vulnerable.

If people want redemption, relief, peace in this life – and eternal life in the world to come – we offer that as a church and people. We do!  The peace you and they can find in the covenant path is as wide as eternity – and available for all.  Let’s be clear about who is cutting people off from that – and who is pleading and working to bring more people to that in the world today.   

For the many who continue disagreeing sharply with this, I pray the blindness of anger will not cloud their vision forever – and that they may one day see the truth, sooner than later. That’s why I write this!  Not to cause additional pain, or enlarge existing wounds….but exactly the reverse. 

May that true healing come to us all. 


Notes:

I believe we can disagree sharply on lots of important stuff, without insisting on each other’s malevolence, evil, or stupidity. I’ve written for years about ways we can cultivate this in our relationships, and wrote a book with a gay-identifying Christian man called, A Third Space: Proposing Another Way Forward in the LGBT/Religious Conservative Impasse (Disagreement Practice, Treasonous Friendship & Trustworthy Rivalry in the Face of Irreconcilable Difference).

[1] Often when describing Latter-day Saint teaching, critics selectively reference obscure, exceptional references in old texts – or a passing comment from a Bishop…in a way that conveys an especially heavy, and harsh (inaccurate!) spirit of our overall message. I would argue that the following more accurately reflects the true and consistent spirit of what we teach.

[2] Compared to simply how someone feels, this is about how someone believes, thinks and responds to certain feelings (all of which, yes, are clearly choices).

[3] I do believe this whole conversation touches on the very rawest of nerves in an already deeply sensitive, painful, and personal conversation between the LGBT and religious conservative communities.  The intensity of disagreement – and the stakes involved – are stunning.  I stand all amazed at the pain and fear and anger involved. 

64 thoughts on ““Enlarging the Wounds of Those Already Wounded” in Our Sexuality Discussion Today

  1. There are many factors in the non-traditional sexual behavior that passes as common today.

    One item of note from the weekend NPR pieces was discussion of how individuals imprint on the characteristics of the first individual with whom they have a sexual experience (e.g. orgasm). The point of the NPR piece was to encourage folks to be aware of this experiential bias and strive to overcome racial prejudice in seeking subsequent partners.

    I would have preferred a conversation that encouraged individuals to reserve that formative sexual experience for the individual with whom they planned to create a family.

    To the same gender attraction thing, it is popular to assert that people are attracted to people of the same gender at birth, with no power to alter than attraction. In a world where even cesium atoms can’t decay at the same frequency, clearly not all who at some point find themselves attracted to those of the same gender were born that way.

    How much of the social pain will ultimately be found to have been caused by individuals and folkways that actively advertised the goodness of same gender attraction?

    For what it’s worth, a sibling’s child who identifies as trans tends to get vocally angry at twits who raise the suicide topic. I have heard their diatribe against irresponsible use of the suicide card is pinned over at the exmo reddit thread.

    To those who have not created an experiential preference based on sexual activity, please reserve that preference for the person you plan to commit to for your entire life, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for eternity if possible.

    Specifically, don’t fecklessly form that preference with someone of the same gender merely because same gender sex is “safe” or trendy.

  2. I appreciate your post. Well done. We should always emphasize our true identity and who God wants us to become first. It explains everything if you give the idea some brain power.

  3. I find your thought experiment interesting – and important to consider, John. Looks like we have a thought-experiment showdown on our hands! (:

    Speaking seriously, I’ve always loved the way these Einstonian experiments of the mind introduce fresh inquiry and curiosity. In the case of yours and mine, juxtaposing our two thought experiments might also be helpful. The most striking difference I see is that yours own thought experiment takes as a given one narrative of identity, whereas mine makes that one of the working variables.

    Once you (or we or anyone) takes for granted that cis-gender/gay identities represent two fundamentally different kinds of human beings, then I would agree with the overall trajectory of your inquiry – aka, it doesn’t bode well for people’s mental health to be living, breathing, worshiping and loving in a context that, essentially, “questions who one truly is.”

    So, in other words, if I truly believed that about identity, I think I would agree with your conclusions. But I don’t. And as Terryl Givens has pointed out in his recent book, neither does Latter-day Saint doctrine*. If that’s true, then it seems to me the sensible thing to do would be to talk openly about those differences in identity narratives – and consider together (with as much respect, fairness, and kindness as we can fathom), how they play out in the real-life implications of these life-and-death questions.

    That’s what I’m trying to do here – and in other related pieces in the past (here and here). I would welcome your own thoughts, about the thought-experiment I’ve laid out – and will add my own to yours now.

    *Terryl L. Givens says the following in Feeding the Flock: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Church and Praxis 1st Edition, p. 190:
    “Gender is eternal,” reaffirms the 1995 “Proclamation on the Family,” reiterating a position that has never varied in Mormon theology. Gender is defined as co-eternal with core human identity, that is, intelligence. Certainly, one does not experience one’s own sexual orientation as a contingent rather than essential facet of one’s identity. However, Mormon theology of the human soul implies that, notwithstanding the reality and validity of the affective and emotional bonds that may unite same-sex couples as deeply and powerfully as those that govern heterosexual unions, the sexual component of a same-sex bond (which the church acknowledges is not itself a willed factor) is an epiphenomenal aspect of identity, in contradistinction to a competing eternal constituent, that is, gender. Hormones and chemistry and conditioning all play indisputable roles in sexual attraction and sexual satisfaction, and Mormon theological anthropology implies that these may be aspects of a transitory mortal form peculiar to our temporal existence. And in the case of same-sex attraction, that epiphenomenal dimension threatens to usurp the primary o a more essential gendered difference and re-directing two mortal beings from the only path that would in the eternities eventuate in the fullest measure of joy consistent with a particular eternal identity and destiny. Such, at least, appears to be the Mormon theology of gender and sexuality that drives the shape and limits the scope of temple sealing. At the same time, Mormon leaders have acknowledged that Mormon theology is not – or not yet – fully adequate to address a range of sex and gender issues that have become urgent in the contemporary environment.

  4. p.s. John – you’ve cut off commentary on your blog post. If you open it again, I’m happy to add my thoughts.

  5. Thank you, Meg. In recent years, I’ve been trying to draw some attention to the potential (inadvertent, long-term) pain that can ultimately arise from well-intentioned activism aiming to “save lives” (while cutting people off from covenants, faith community, and larger eternal possibilities). What I’m learning is that it’s remarkably hard for people who are earnestly trying to do good to think openly, honestly, critically about potential harms.

    Think, public school teachers deeply considering fundamental problems with mass-level education – *OR* home-school advocates deeply considering fundamental problems with micro-level education. The same resistance shows up anytime I ask someone who has prescribed (or taken) anti-depressants to consider some of the inadvertent, long-term consequences of the same. Certainly the same thing has often applied to me, when someone stridently questions a belief I consider sacred and base my life upon. It’s *hard* to ask questions – really, truly ask them – if your life, career and trajectory are centered around the very assumptions under question!

    And honestly, I don’t know how to get around that – except to recognize that this variation in openness is understandable, and natural…and should not discourage the conversation itself from happening.

  6. Meg, re: someone’s first sexual experience can imprint them to characteristics of their partner.

    NPR wrote/said that? That’s … that’s…. I dunno. That’s something that one might expect from one of M*’s more polemic and anonymous commenters, from way back before Obergefell (2015) even.

    Actually, psych professional Dr. Miriam Grossman (Jacob, look up a few of her Youtub videos), says that each partner can imprint, overlapping, compounding, confusing, making-and-breaking impressions. Which is why promiscuity is psychologically harmful, especially to teens and young adults, because the multiple made/broken/re-made imprintings damage the ability to form the bonds needed to get married and stay married.

  7. I’d like to share a pattern I’ve noticed when members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come out as LGBTQ.

    These are people who have light in their faces, and have often served missions and have temple marriages. Strong people with strong testimonies. But after coming out, suddenly they’re visible to the LGBT community. They engage with that community, and their opinions on the gospel that once brought so much joy to their lives “evolves.”

    And it starts off slowly. It always begins – ALWAYS – with light criticism of some conference talk or other, usually with the caveat, “I’m only mentioning it because I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I feel we as a people can do better than this.” Over time the criticism increases in strength and vitriol, until it’s ad hominem attacks against the apostles, and assertions that the entire gospel that they once loved is intrinsically harmful. The light goes out of their faces, joy is replaced with anger and resentment.

    Why would this be? Were they really so much more miserable before coming out? I’d like to suggest that NO, they weren’t. You can’t fake light in your face and a happy countenance. Instead, I submit the LGBT community is inherently poisonous. You can be gay and stay on the covenant path, but you cannot have one foot in the temple and the other in the Pride Parade – it’s not sustainable. If you let darkness into your life it’s going to eat up your soul.

    If you visit Josh Weed’s blog and read the archives, you can see it happening in over the course of five years. I’ve seen it in real time with others, people whom I loved and counted as dear friends.

  8. Thank you for sharing this, Nonny Mouse. You’ve expressed it well. I see the same pattern – over and over….a pattern that people involved seem blinded to. It’s so painful to witness. Drawing on some of the published accounts from people in this arena, I tried to break down the incremental process in careful detail a few years ago (http://unthinkable.cc/why-i-believe-the-mama-dragon-approach-is-ultimately-hurting/) – in hopes of helping them see more clearly what seemed to be unfolding over time. What else can be done to help raise this to people’s eyes? I do not know.

  9. Jacob: the equation or connection of same-sex attraction with identity seems based on, or at least strongly linked, to the assumption that SSA is always and only in-born.

    I’ve read that there is some evidence that effeminate traits in some males are in-born, with linkages to hormone levels in the mother during pregnancy. But then not all effeminate men have SSA, and not all SSA men are effeminate.

    Maybe there is some linkage between effeminate boys attracting sexual abusers, and the sexual abuse then tilts things towards SSA.

    Jacob, have you interviewed older psychologists who were around before the APA’s controversial political decision to remove homosexuality from the DSM? They were quite confident in some of the causes of homosexuality/SSA before the APA rewrote the narrative, and then rewrote the psych textbooks.

    The imprinting effect, brought up by Meg, is a factor among adults too, as evidenced by the prison population in the United States, and the continued practice by some of same-sex sex after release. It is a real problem in the African American community, because such a significant percentage has gone through prison, and when even a small percentage gets hooked, it damages their future relationships, and is a contributing factor in further child abuse.

    this is not to say that SSA is never in-born, but is strong evidence that it is not always inborn.

    The communication problems being that: a) talking about prison sex is just not done in polite society, b) continuation of same-sex sex (“on the down low”) by convicts after prison goes against “the narrative”, c) the imprinting effects of sex also go against the narrative of “it’s just sex/physical”, d) people forget the lessons from the sexual history of ancient Greece and Rome, ie, “you don’t have to be gay to do gay.”

    Those four things, along with the stats that show that a majority of homosexuals were sexually abused as children, could be used to help change the accepted “always in-born” narrative.

    But then… the SSM narrative, that same-sex sex is officially sanctioned/approved by the state, is creating another or “new” narrative, that “there’s nothing wrong with same-sex sex, therefore it’s okay to choose it if you want.”

    But… even most of the faithful saints on this blog seem to have had bought into the “always inborn” narrative, so therefore very few understood my rantings that the new generation growing up under Obergefell was going to see same-sex sex as an “available option” to scratch their itch, so to speak. (Though a few commenters did pipe up about “pro choice sexual orientation” among their children’s peers.)

    “Fluid” and “bisexual” are the in things. Hence, the front line of the battle has moved. Clueless adult liberals who think same-sex orientation is always inborn are behind the times. The real avant-guard (such as, for example, Miley Cyrus) has gone beyond that, claiming/admiting they can choose to have sex with both sexes on/off/back/forth/whenever and that “there’s nothing wrong with that.” ie, “you don’t have to be gay to do gay” AND “so what? there’s nothing wrong with it.”

    State-issued/recognized SSM marriage licenses are both de facto and de jure evidence or “proof” to the younger generation that there is nothing wrong with same-sex sex, because government _approves_ it.

    (If you are not aware, google “on the down low after prison” to see that it is a real problem in today’s African American society.)

    Your efforts at communication/dialogue are admirable. You might be able to reclaim some of the older adults, over age 35 perhaps, and maybe a slight few between 21 and 35. But I’m afraid those under 21, who reached the age of adolescence/puberty/sexual-experimentation-age under the SSM debate and Obergefell, were programmed/raised with a whole different sexual paradigm that the forces for good just didn’t, and most still don’t, understand.

    (I’m still surprised that NPR admitted the imprinting thing. That was the enemy’s secret weapon. It’s like things have gone so far they don’t need it now?)

  10. Jacob: Also, if you would, please put the name/initials of the person you are replying to at the beginning of your comments. You shouldn’t assume you’re replying to the immediately previous comment, mainly because someone else may post a comment while you are composing yours. Lack of an “addressee” makes it confusing to later readers as to who/which comment you are addressing, especially when you post more than one comment in a row in reply to more than one previous comment.

    And even when not quoting specific text, some people repeat the time-stamp of the comment to which they are replying, as in:
    “Jacob Hess on April 27, 2019 at 4:58 am” as it helps with the flow. Thx.

  11. A Nonny Mouse, it makes me sad to say it, but I have observed that pattern in real life and also on the pages of this blog.

  12. “But I’m afraid those under 21, who reached the age of adolescence/puberty/sexual-experimentation-age under the SSM debate and Obergefell, were programmed/raised with a whole different sexual paradigm that the forces for good just didn’t, and most still don’t, understand.”

    Very high levels of programming, and it is ubiquitous in our public schools from elementary school all the way through to the Ivy League universities. The mainstream media traffics in it; Hollywood revels in it. In short, there are extremely few areas of our society that haven’t been infiltrated by the programming.

    And it’s not just limited to matters of sex or LGBTQ dogma. Vast swaths of contemporary society are programmed by the same culprits and institutions to believe in ancillary doctrines and principles. Extremism leads to other forms of extremism.

    The only way to escape the programming is to boycott it and replace it with pure gospel programming. Scriptures, prayer, church service, temple work. This is literally our only salvation. Collateral damage will rise and continue to be high as formerly strong members fall pray to the programming.

  13. I will, Bookslinger! Thanks for the head’s up on that…I was assuming if you commented below – it was somehow tied to that other comment.

    I’ve been digesting and enjoying your brave comments as well…stuff that might get you burned at the stake if you say it in public today!

  14. What a load of self justification. So as a person grows up in the church and is told that until you marry being single and celibate is a short trial until you find the right person, then marriage is the most wonderfull thing you can aspire to, but as they realise they are gay they are told that for gay people their greatest attainment is to remain single and celibate. In your mind this not a problem at all. The problem is when they go for help, and it is the help that makes them suicidal.

    J ust suppose in a few years the church accepts gay marriage, and the person realising they are gay is not a big problem, they still look for the person they can fall in love and continue, just like their hetrosexual friends. This would stop the suicides too.
    I think your theory is crazy and one of those things where some groups when they are at fault, think it usefull to claim they are the victim and find someone else to blame. Perhaps that makes you feel better, but does not help the problem.
    The problem is that at present the church is hurting gay people, and that eventually the leaders will overcome their culture and bring the church into line with the gospel. That will solve the problem.

  15. Apply this kind of logic to rape, and you are saying the rapist is not the problem, its the medical exam, and police interview if it is reported. Not good

  16. “Another view” says that the church embracing gay marriage would “stop the suicides.” Except that it wouldn’t. Because the suicides aren’t caused by the exact same social factors that have always existed (but which have been drastically reduced in the last generation–how do you account for the rise in self-harm geographically and ideologically across the board *despite* mainstream society’s move towards *celebrating* all things LGBT?).

    That rise in self harm is a calculated strategy by the socially progressive left to shame and manipulate the right into surrender. As Jacob wrote in the OP: ” And yet, insinuations and explicit claims like this show up all the time online – as if it were a widely-accepted and obvious conclusion – e.g., ‘Elder ____ just spoke in conference and said gender is eternal. Here is the suicide hotline, friends.'”

    Yes. It’s a passive-aggressive political statement, meant to reinforce who the good guys and and bad guys are. The activist left is consciously twisting the souls of the most emotionally sensitive among the LGBT population in order to score points against the conservative right. Why else do you think the debate over gay rights ended up coalescing around marriage, an institution everyone respects, and why do you think the new transgender debate is almost exclusively geared towards the “safety” of young people, where the rhetoric of the left has literally turned into that old Simpsons “Won’t somebody please think about the children!” meme. Because those are emotionally charged soft spots that are easy to manipulate. Just like suicide.

    If the left really cared about at-risk LGBT people, they would stop promoting suicide by weaponizing over it, and they would focus on building resilience instead. American activist movements were militant in nature for generations, until now, because the socially progressive left, like a Palestinian terrorist network, has discovered the propaganda value of dead children.

  17. Thanks for the post. As we can see from the comments of Another View, there is a great gap in view point. And it is not a gap we can overcome by any sophistry and argumentation, because sophistry is built on a foundation of flesh. From the “gender is eternal” perspective, we claim as true a viewpoint built on eternal truth, or a foundation of spirit. It is either true or it isn’t. You are spot on with the “Jesus is love” defined as “no hurt to the psyche” by the protagonists of the fleshy foundation. The spiritual foundation cannot be explained in fleshy terms not understood by those who espouse doctrines of the flesh. Only, spiritual conversion in the way prescribed by God can span the chasm. Those who have ears to hear will hear.

  18. “At the same time, Mormon leaders have acknowledged that Mormon theology is not – or not yet – fully adequate to address a range of sex and gender issues that have become urgent in the contemporary environment.”
    Maybe it is to our benefit to consider that we may not know all there is to know about sex and gender issues, rather than making this the hill that we (and, possibly, our children) will die on.

  19. “… and the person realising they are gay is not a big problem, they still look for the person they can fall in love and continue, just like their hetrosexual friends. ”

    @Another view: I call bull-crap on two fronts there about those crocodile tears.

    1) Homosexuality in men is not about settling down with a white picket fence around the yard. That is a smoke-screen, a fairy tale, very rare. Homosexuals in long term partnerships have always been a rare minority, the exceptions, not the rule. (It’s somewhat different for lesbians.) But rather, hyper-promiscuity has been the hallmark of modern male homosexuality.

    Even since SSM, most male same sex marriages are shams, they are generally (again with minor exceptions) “open” marriages. Or open under certain rules, like when one partner is out of town. It’s mainly about politics and economic benefits.

    Actual SSM couples are the “window dressing” for a much wider and sinister agenda. It’s just another step. Polyamory is here, and polygamy will come soon.

    Go to www. massresistance. org and read some of the actual gay Sex Ed literature that is being officially distributed in high schools. It’s still about short term hook ups, literally “having fun” (actual quote) and not about getting same-sex married.

    “Mainstream” and “normal” and “productive member of society” or “white picket fence” gays like Apple’s CEO and “Will and Grace” type gays are the minority. The majority are people living miserable lives… gay bars, bath houses, gay gyms with rooms to let by the hour, glory holes (hopefully most of those are shut down), domestic violence, drug addiction, kinksters (BDSM/Folsum Street parade) high STD rates, sex-abuse survivors, short life-spans (both before AIDS and many causes besides AIDS), former convicts “on the down low” because they got addicted to anal sex in prison (ask any pastor at any inner city black church, or google it, it’s a problem). Also ask those inner city pastors how many boys and young men they know who got raped by their uncles and cousins and older neighbors after the latter got out of prison.

    Even Elton John’s husband cheated on him at _orgies_. So is that a “loving committed relationship”, or hyper-promiscuity?

    2) the second reason those crocodile tears are bullcrap is that there are several times as many hetero-and-celibate singles-with-no-hope-of-getting-married than there are homosexuals… in all countries, both irreligious, and in all churches. The “curse” of lifelong celibacy is the fate of a heck of a lot of people, for many many reasons.

    SSA is just ONE of a myriad of anomalies/flaws/handicaps of the human condition that lead to single-hood and celibacy.

    To all the SSA folks in the church: join in with the singles events. Join the party. Join the club. The celibate pool is pretty big, and all are welcome.

  20. Thanks, Jacob.

    I believe the technical term for the sorts of arguments you’re debunking is, “blood libel”.

  21. Just to let you know that this kind of logic only works in your tiny bubble. In the rest of the world justifying discrimination against gays is viewed as on the same level as justifying racism.

  22. Can discussion, conversation and even argumentation be accompanied by the spirit, Joel – and support the kind of conversion you describe? That has always been my hope and intent.

    Certainly, devoid of the spirit of truth, any sort of conversation is not worth much. Great reminder. I’ve been thinking about it since you wrote it.

  23. Thank you for being willing to share a critical response, Another View. It takes legitimate courage to chime in with another view.

    I think you’re right that we’re talking about two, competing ways of stopping suicides. I’ve expressed one – and you reprised the other in your response.

    To my mind, if we could just have an open conversation about *those competing approaches* – we’d have taken an important step. As you would likely agree, the perspective I’ve outlined is hardly
    considered as another idea worth considering. Instead, as you yourself have hinted at, it’s taken to be bigotry, hate, attacks, etc. [And yes, the dominant viewpoint is likely taken by many in our
    community as an attack]. It seems to me that what is required is a big collective breath, an acknowledgment that we agree these are life-and-death situations, and a commitment to explore all ideas –
    including those we consider an attack. Could important things be learned by turning this into a dialogue – rather than an endless series of mutual accusations?

    I believe so. Does that sound like a conversation worth engaging to you?

    p.s. In that kind of conversation where we’re assuming good intent, I might clarify that this isn’t a doctrine I believe the Church actually teaches: “their greatest attainment is to remain single and celibate.” The problem is when they go for help, and it is the help that makes them suicidal.” To the point in my article, however, it’s a doctrine widely shared by critics AS our doctrine.

  24. Thank you for the comment, Huston. Like you, Huston, I’m deeply concerned at how widely the progressive narrative on these matters is being adopted as not only “reality” – but the only reality that is loving, fair, good, and socially acceptable.

    That being said, I would push back on two elements of your response:
    1. “The activist left is consciously twisting the souls of the most emotionally sensitive among the LGBT population”

    I do believe they are harming people in very real, lasting and eternal ways. But I do not believe they are consciously of it – not fully, and not most of them. The degree of awareness varies widely – but I tend to think (as I do with my critiques of Pharma) that the vast majority have little awareness of the true extent of harm.

    2. “If the left really cared about at-risk LGBT people, they would stop promoting suicide by weaponizing over it…”

    I do believe they have weaponized the suicide conversation – and I don’t think that will ever stop. But I don’t believe that means their love is not real…unlike their accusations of us, I find it very believable that they *do legitimately, earnestly care* about these people. The problem is that the approach they’re using – if assessed in a deep and long-term way – is leading so many of those very vulnerable souls to a dark, desperate, self-absorbed place. Not a place of profound happiness or peace.

    While acknowledge a lot of other common concerns we share, I’d be curious your response to that?

  25. So the options are that gays be treated equally. Respected as children of God and chastity be defined as sex within marriage. None of us have the power to do this in the church, so we have gay people who are suicidal.
    Not sure what you are proposing to support them, except claim those who do offer support have evil motives, and are the cause of the suicides, rather than the discrimination.
    So what do you propose to support suicidal gay members? From comments above are you proposing ignoring them so they are not encouraged. Do you propose that the parent of a gay child who is suicidal because of church teaching, tell them thats not why they are suicidal, and they are not getting any support because that will only encourage them?
    Back to the rape comparison, rape victims should not persue the rapist, just get over it?

  26. Jacob, you seem new to this. So you may not know, but you shouldn’t put someone’s email on a public response or comment. It could lead to them being doxxed. I suggest you take down the email and call that person by the name they’ve chosen for their comments.

  27. A.V.: the church’s refusal to recognize SSM as marriage in the church is not discrimination. That is a false label.

    Peter Kreeft, in his book “How to Win the Culture War” , available for $5 used on Amazon, on pages 88-94, recounts a discussion with a homosexual activist. When homosexuals demand _religious approval_ of same-sex sex acts (not SSA, but the actual sex _acts_) as part and parcel of, and as essential to, their identity as humans, they are therefore admitting that “sodomy is their religion.”

    Think of that…. those who _demand_ that all religions approve/support/allow/sanction/bless not only Same Sex Marriage, but the attendant same-sex _sex acts_ are admitting/declaring that same-sex sex is their religion.

    And… Before you continue on the gay suicide line of argument, please read the recent M* post about it:

    https://www.millennialstar.org/utah-researcher-says-no-data-linking-lgbt-suicides-to-religion/

    And others…

    this recent one by Jacob:
    https://www.millennialstar.org/why-have-suicides-increased-even-after-enormous-efforts-to-reduce-them/

    This one from 2016:
    https://www.millennialstar.org/about-that-claim-of-suicides-by-lds-teens-with-same-sex-attraction/

    and this from 2014:
    https://www.millennialstar.org/growing-evidence-links-utah-suicides-to-altitude/

  28. It would seem, however, @Another View, that the unspoken implication adopted by the LGBTQ community is that the celibate life is not a life worth living. That is factually not true. It may be a difficult life, but it is certainly worth living. If there are voices teaching youth that death is better than a life without sexual fulfillment, then it is those who peddle those messages, and not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who should be taken to task.

    What is your defense of that viewpoint?

  29. “If there are voices teaching youth that death is better than a life without sexual fulfillment”

    I’m not arguing your point here, but I do want to clarify that it isn’t really about sexual fulfillment. Which isn’t to say sex isn’t an important part of relationship development, but the true argument and goal is about emotional intimacy and connection. Big difference for most people.

  30. ReTx – “the true argument and goal is about emotional intimacy and connection.”

    I don’t agree. You can have emotional intimacy and connection without sex.

    The Church of Jesus Christ isn’t teaching LGBT people that they aren’t allowed to have *any* human relationships. The Church of Jesus Christ is teaching the Law of Chastity, a prohibition against inappropriate sexual relations. That, too, is an important distinction, because there are so many more important and fulfilling relationships to be had apart from sexual ones.

    The emotional devastation left in the wake of these suicides proves that.

  31. “The Church of Jesus Christ isn’t teaching LGBT people that they aren’t allowed to have *any* human relationships.”

    I didn’t mean to imply that the church was doing this. I’m pretty sure the church is saying that LGBT people can’t have an emotionally intimate, romantically full-filling, connective relationship with the only people they are capable of having that relationship with (recognizing that LGBT appears to be a spectrum and situations are individual, etc., etc.).

    I deeply love and care about the best friend I’ve had since high school. We roomed together in college and have stayed in close contact in the many years since, but we’re both straight and the two of us together could never have the type of intimacy I have (I need even) with my spouse. Ditto to my relationships with my siblings and my children. Perhaps other people are different though, and other straight people can have an emotionally intimate relationship with a same-sex best-friend or family member that equals that with their spouse…

  32. Jacob.
    Some time ago while pondering the parable of the sower of seeds or lately, the parable of the soils, I came to or came upon an idea that argumentation or intellectual discourse might be useful in tilling hard soil, or pulling weeds. It cannot however break rock, the “stony ground.” So, yes, maybe it can serve a purpose on the road to conversion. But as in all things human, it must begin with a desire to receive the seed. And of course, it is the only seed of truth that grows. No other seed has life, because only spirit is life, and light, and truth.
    Argumentation is always made with a focus on the flesh. It is literally built from the “ground” up. Flesh is only half the picture and honestly, not the important half. How can any discussion about physical sexuality bear any kind of spiritual fruit if it is not first founded on the truth of spiritual gender? It has to be accepted as a premise, as common ground, it is not open to discussion because it is revealed truth. And revealed truth must be taken to God one on one and one by one, not to discuss it with God about whether the prophets could have misunderstood; but to ask, with a desire to know, accept and live the truth as already revealed. Only then is truth revealed to the individual soul. God’s rules, not mine.

    So, keep tilling, I applaud your efforts, and pray the seed finds a place.

    Hope that clears up my thinking a bit for you.

  33. ReTx: “… but the true argument and goal is about emotional intimacy and connection.”

    That’s a very new argument. And it’s a lie. That’s the new window-dressing. The politically-correct lie. The few exceptions that are touted for public relations.

    The history of most (not all) gay males is…. hyper promiscuity, gay bars, bath houses, gay gyms with rooms to let by the hour, glory holes (hopefully most of those are shut down), orgies, domestic violence, drug addiction, kinksters (BDSM/Folsom Street parade stuff), high STD rates, sex-abuse survivors, short life-spans (both before AIDS and many causes besides AIDS), former convicts “on the down low” because they got addicted to anal sex in prison (ask any pastor at any inner city black church, or google it, it’s a problem).

    I forgot Grindr, from my previous rant. Yeah, lots of “connections”, but not the emotional kind.

    If homosexual men were looking for emotional intimacy and connection all along, they (the vast majority) have been doing it wrong for decades. Now? NOW, they want “emotional connections” ?

    Are millennial gays going to be that different from older gays? I doubt it. Human nature doesn’t change that drastically. What about millennial gays in the church? Same thing. If they turn away from church teachings, the majority will revert to the same lifestyle of “unchurched” (for a shortcut word) gays of preceding generations. And if gays live the gospel, they get the same benefits as hetero singles who live the gospel.

    All along, for generations, the few gays who actually wanted to “settle down” with just one partner, JUST DID IT. Without fanfare. They didn’t need official SSM to have their “emotional intimacy and connection.” They just did it, those few who wanted that.

    But settling down with one partner was not what the vast majority of gays, at least throughout the 20th century, and especially since the 60’s, actually did.

    Was no else here paying attention in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s?

  34. Concerned Citizen, You stated, “you can have emotional intimacy and connection without sex….there are so many more important and fulfilling relationships to be had apart from sexual ones.” Agreed, but as an analogy, as a heterosexual man or woman, do you really think on average that a person could have a deep, personal, meaningful relationship with the opposite sex and not fall in love and seek a deeper companionship and to share one’s life and ultimately a physical one? Have you listened to many Voices of Hope accounts of gays trying to hang in with celibacy. Hard. But, granted, for many it provides a life they feel more at peace with.
    But, what blows me away is that as a Church we expect to influence all those who are gay and who do not believe in our prophets or maybe even in any religion and convince them (or legislate them) that they would be better off to just remain celibate their whole life, just because we said so? If you were gay and not a member, would you choose that life, with little to no evidence it would provide more happiness in this life?

  35. Bookslinger, It appears to me that you are overreaching the data. Stating that “a majority”… in the statement below seems like a push.
    “Those four things, along with the stats that show that a majority of homosexuals were sexually abused as children, could be used to help change the accepted “always in-born” narrative.” I would love to see some current data on this statement.
    Also your statement that, “Homosexuals in long term partnerships have always been a rare minority, the exceptions, not the rule. (It’s somewhat different for lesbians.) But rather, hyper-promiscuity has been the hallmark of modern male homosexuality.” If true, how is this much if any different than the male heterosexual population?

  36. Jacob Hess,
    I again appreciate your astute thinking and respectful, empathetic approach. But, like other writings, I agree with much of what you say, but also, disagree with some of the implications of your conclusions.
    You’re right. If that is the messages they heard, they would definitely become depressed as they process the last set of statements. But, many have moved past those statements, gone on missions and returned and tried to make a go of celibacy with the supports you give in the first three statements. But, the realities of “more confusions, struggles and challenges than you can possibly imagine” arose and for reasons only each individual can identify, many felt or feel they are at an impasse. They can’t reconcile all that is cramming into their hearts and minds. I doubt they are taking their thoughts from someone else’s playbook of your last three statements. They are rational beings with spiritual acuity and theological understandings. They come to a point where they feel they must decide and when the feelings, desires, hopes, promptings, thinking and experiences of their lives are weighed, some choose to live openly gay, not because they just need sexual intimacy, but because their emotional and mental health is at risk. How can I not honor the sincere use of their agency?
    So, your main conclusion that gay affirming organizations and individuals are contributing to gay LDS members being less happy may be true for some, but I don’t feel we can say that all or even most gay members are going to be happier people, even among a more welcoming LDS culture. There is too much evidence that is not true. I would list statistics reflecting this from a large survey of LDS gays, but since one of its authors is John Dehlin, I don’t think readers of this forum would believe it.

  37. Bookslinger, You really are convinced of the hyper sexualised gay person. Until you overcome this you are incapable of loving or even respecting your fellow man who are gay. Also it is untrue. The main reason we are on earth is to have joy by loving our fellow man, you are failing miserably.
    Agree with ReTex above about us refusing to allow intimate relations for gay people. This is whats leading to suicide.
    There is a general election in Australia. A member of a far right party, who opposed gay marriage, as opposing family values, who is in his 50s and married, has just resigned because film of him fondling and propositioning an exotic dancer has emerged. I think this is evidence that all men gay or straight, can be hyper sexual, unless they choose not to be.
    Again you blame the victim, by refusing marriage then claiming they don’t really want it because thy are not capable of monogamy like us straight guys. Do you really know more about their needs than they do?
    This whole post is about desperately twisting logic to defend the indefencable. The church will change this in a few years and the problem will be solved, once people can adjust.

  38. “The church will change this in a few years and the problem will be solved, once people can adjust.”

    The Savior said many interesting things that I ponder often, such as overcoming the world, taking up your cross to follow Him, and cutting off (metephorical) limbs if they offend you and prevent you from achieving eternal life. I know all mortals have their crosses, offending limbs and struggles with the pull of the world. We have agency to choose whom to follow, and to follow Christ requires faith amidst all the wisdom of the world.

    My faith in Him requires me to deny myself of things my body wants, of things my mind desires. I have faith that by so doing, I will overcome the world onw day like He did. My hope is that everyone will choose to follow Christ by making and keeping covenants with Him.

    The problem is not the Church nor the commandments of God. The Church and the covenants with assiciated commandments are the solution to the problems of the world. The second provides guideposts for making choices in this mortal life, the first provides a community with people who made those same covenants and are, like you, looking forward to eternal life. Like a marathon, everyone in the race pulls for each other and encourages them to the finish line.

    God respects our agency though, so it is up to us individually to make our choices. I am satisfied that, for many people, making and keeping covenants with God is simply too hard for then at this present time. I respect that choice, but hold on to hope that in the future circumstances will change and those same people will willingly submit to all that their Father requires of them. Covenants by definition require sacrifices (broken heart and a contrite spirit). Choosing a celibate life in a hypersexualized world is an enormous sacrifice that breaks many hearts – and even minds.

    AnotherView, life is HARD. I do not pretend to know how hard it is for those who never marry, nor for those with strong attractions to the same gender, to make covenants and try to keep all of Gods commandments. It definitely would break my heart and spirit to struggle like my gay brothers do. But I am here in this world to encourage everyone to keep trying, because the eternal rewards are worth soo much more than we can possibly imagine, and nothing in this world can be worth more than the gift of eternal life.

    ReTx, I see two problems with this: First and foremost, Christ didnt offer statistics when inviting people to ‘come and follow Him’. It was all based on faith. On occasion he mentioned how few would find the straight an narrow path, so in a sense, even negative statistics concerning some principle of the gospel is in perfect harmony with what Christ taught in hos mortal ministry.

    Second, I always ask myself if the source I am reading would publish data that is 1/x what they found. For instance, if JD supposedly found that ‘100% of those undergoing therapy changed their sexual orientation’, would he publish the data or allow his name to be on the paper? If the answer is ‘no’, I always take what they say with a grain of salt.

  39. “That’s a very new argument.”

    Hmmm… Back in the early nineties my employment had me working in an industry with a much higher than average percentage of gay men in the 25-35 age range. I probably would have agreed with your assessment at that time.

    In the last couple of years, I’ve found myself back in a different-but-similiar industry also with a high percentage of gay men in the 25-35 age range. The culture seems radically different (same geographic area of the US). Commitment seems to have become valued, and that seems related to the push for the formalization SSM.

    It’s hard for me to judge a population for not valuing commitment themselves when the larger population looked on that commitment as a social ‘crime.’ I accept I could be wrong on my reasoning though and of course this is all anecdotal. It would be interesting to see the statistics on fidelity in SSM vs hetero-marriage in the countries that have had SSM for a while.

  40. Lucas, I’m not quite sure what statistics you are referring to as I didn’t use any. I absolutely agree about the bias problem in statistical analysis, especially when information is collected via internet polls and by people with axes to grin. Peer review (although not a perfect system itself) is so important. Anecdotal evidence makes us more empathetic though, especially first-person, so I don’t like to discount its importance entirely.

    And I agree about Faith. A deep and personal connection to Jesus and through that our own personal revelation, should be what guides us down the straight-and-narrow.

  41. “Lucas, I’m not quite sure what statistics you are referring to as I didn’t use any.”

    The only one that came to mind is his statistic refering to “0% of homosexuals changed their orientation after therapy” (somewhat paraphrasing the findings, but his claim of ‘0% change’ is something he frequently mentions as a finding of his research).

    Peer review is necessary, for sure. I wonder however how much we can trust peer review in maters so sensitive as this. Like I mentioned before, suppose a researcher finds evidence that ‘Children of SSM fare worst in _____ compared to their peers raised by heterosexual couples’. I have my doubts that peer review would be objective as they evaluate the findings. I have found that peer review works best in matters where controversial findings are allowed to be presented and debated by both sides without fear of being labeled ‘__phobic’ or ‘hateful’.

  42. There is definitely a lot more to learn and know and see, John C.

  43. Good head’s up, John C. I made that edit you suggested. Appreciate that. I’ll avoid it in the future.

  44. To your question (another view), it’s not support I’m questioning here, as much as a kind of support that estranges people from their faith via aggressive attacks, undermining of covenants and nurturing of suspicion. It seems clear to me that there are many powerful ways of supporting that don’t involve so many dark, heavy, aggressive emotions. I’m also pointing out the degree to which those who participate in this kind of “support” don’t often consider or acknowledge some of the longer-term consequences of removing someone (especially in formative years) from a system that has given them meaning and purpose for their entire known life.

    My friend Ty Mansfield has been leading faith-affirming support efforts in this vein for years with North Star International – https://northstarlds.org/

  45. Well said, Concerned Citizen (It would seem that the unspoken implication adopted by the LGBTQ community is that the celibate life is not a life worth living….If there are voices teaching youth that death is better than a life without sexual fulfillment, then it is those who peddle those messages, and not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who should be taken to task).

    I would add that these same voices additionally underscore that the celibate life is the *only* life available for many of these same individuals who choose to stay in the covenant path, discounting future possibilities, sexual fluidity, and Christ’s own invitation towards “mighty change” (for all of us).

  46. I find a lot of wisdom in your words, Joel. Especially love your point about the limits of argumentation…reminiscent of what Jonathan Haidt calls the “rationalist delusion.”

    I also appreciate your willingness to concede and submit to the possibility of God’s ways being higher than ours…not a popular doctrine in our day!

  47. I think the points ReTx are raising are worthy of a fair dialogue, Bookslinger. I disagree with him, but think they’re worth exploring.

    I also think you’re pointing out something not often acknowledged – that deserves attention.

  48. KarlS & ReTx- some of what you’re articulating here (“remain celibate their whole life”….can’t have an emotionally intimate, romantically full-filling, connective relationship with the only people they are capable of having that relationship with”) is precisely the *interpretation of Latter-day Saint teaching” I’m trying to draw attention to here as distinct from the teaching itself.

    I would argue our message is fundamentally different -and far more expansive than this – with *everyone* having a possibility of an eternal union one day. BUT, *your* version is what is presented publicly (and privately) over and over to folks…If we can agree those teachings are not the same, the question I’m raising is which of those teachings is leading people to despair?

    I deeply love and care about the best friend I’ve had since high school. We roomed together in college and have stayed in close contact in the many years since, but we’re both straight and the two of us together could never have the type of intimacy I have (I need even) with my spouse. Ditto to my relationships with my siblings and my children. Perhaps other people are different though, and other straight people can have an emotionally intimate relationship with a same-sex best-friend or family member that equals that with their spouse…

  49. KarlS – I don’t doubt the struggle is real. I’m only raising questions about the narrative/interpretive nature of the suffering (as I’ve done with the suffering of depression, suicide, etc.). In every case, the raw, real experience of suffering is profoundly influenced by the narrative.

    Until we have open exploration of these influences, it’s hard in my mind to have an honest conversation about what’s happening. And, of course, the public conversation rarely acknowledges any narrative influence except that of the Church’s own teachings. Hence, the inquiry.

    Certainly this shouldn’t deny people’s intuition and wisdom they can find (point well taken). And agency must be honored. But if constrained by a dispiriting, accusing narrative – is that person really free as an agent? I don’t believe so.

    That people’s only option is celibacy, and that their mental health is threatened without making a move – is what I would call part of the dominant narrative, with inadvertent, especially long-term consequences.

    Dr. Dehlin’s own contribution in shaping that narrative has been significant – with his work often taken as a gold-standard proof of its truthfulness. I reviewed some of his conclusions years ago (http://www.flirtingwithcuriosity.org/?p=1734). To his credit, he met up with me for a back and forth after publication that was remarkably civil and interesting.

  50. I agree, Another View, at the possible dangers of overstating the hyper-sexualised narrative – and, of course, you’re right about this: “there is evidence that all men gay or straight, can be hyper sexual, unless they choose not to be.”

  51. Fair argument, ReTx – and a point really worth considering. Everything has a context.

  52. Jacob Hess, Thanks for the response. Relative to John Dehlin’s work. I have studied all the papers I could find coming from his dissertation (8 total) along with the actual questionnaire the survey used to make sure I felt like the questions weren’t leading, etc. and the results not misleading. I found them basically good to my understanding, other than it not being a random survey and one other thing mentioned below, though a large one 1100+. They asked various questions trying to assess the person’s well-being. The results overwhelming showed that the gays in the survey were most “happy” who: a. believed their same sex sexuality was based primarily on biology, vs. social factors, b. were furthest away from LDS church activity (not affiliated with the church vs. active), c. were furthest away from the recommended Church relationship type (furthest away is a same sex committed relationship or SS marriage vs. single celibate or heterosexual marriage), and d. were furthest away from sexual activity recommended by the Church (sexually active committed SS relationships vs. no sex outside marriage).
    However, I did notice one large omission—a blind spot in one set of questions. All of the papers I read except one (“Religious Experiences of GBTQ Mormon Males”) are somewhat misleading as they do not address the LDS individual who feels their orthodox devotion to God and participating with the LDS community are more important than some of their social, emotional and desires for intimacy. None of the questions in the survey explicitly asked about spiritual well-being. An individual could feel their self-esteem and quality of life in their social and even family and church life was not that good because of insufficient or inconsistent acceptance they feel there, and at the same time they could feel loved and accepted by God, and because that is such a high priority for them, feel at peace overall. This was not investigated in the study as currently reported.
    However, it doesn’t seem very likely that they would have answered all the other psychological survey questions negatively, if their spiritual lives were doing well. Nonetheless, it appears that at this time we cannot conclude that a gay person that disenfranchises themselves from the Church and its teachings about homosexuality will overall have better well-being than a person who embraces the Church and its teachings because data about the person’s spiritual life and its importance relative to their social and intimate life were not obtained in the survey.
    The “Religious Experiences of GBTQ Mormon Males” study does acknowledge and discuss the faith affirming option for gays (celibacy and Church activity), but dismisses it, by stating that their data did not find that such an approach was successful for retaining Church activity.
    I was in contact at the time (2015) with Utah researcher and therapist Lee Beckstead who, along with a diverse health care practitioner’s group Reconciliation and Growth Project who includes Ty Mansfield, were developing a survey (4OptionsSurvey.com) similar to Dehlin’s. From the course of our conversations, he added some questions to the survey to get at the issue omitted in Dehlin’s work. The results are supposed to have been out by now, but are not.

  53. KarlS,

    Me: “Those four things, along with the stats that show that a majority of homosexuals were sexually abused as children, could be used to help change the accepted “always in-born” narrative.”

    You: “I would love to see some current data on this statement.”

    I have not found _primary_ research on the web to support that assertion I made. Secondary sources are some pro-family and Christian mental health professionals who have actually worked with SSA folks who have sought counseling for a variety of things, not for conversion therapy.

    And, if you talk to older secular psych professionals (who have not bought into the APA’s political rewrites, or the modern gay narratives) they usually confirm it has always been common knowledge in psych circles, but that it is now verboten to even mention it publicly. (Main two “causes” of homosexuality in men: 1-sexual abuse as minor, and 2- the combination of overbearing father/overprotective mother. Third might be “just for the kink.”)

    Also, my own private conversations within my social circles, and comparing notes with friends who also have SSA folks in their social circles. Generally speaking, it’s _at least_ 50% correlation for gay men, and 65% for lesbian women. “At least” because many likely don’t want to admit it.

    In reply to:
    — Also your statement that, “Homosexuals in long term partnerships have always been a rare minority, the exceptions, not the rule. (It’s somewhat different for lesbians.) But rather, hyper-promiscuity has been the hallmark of modern male homosexuality.” If true, how is this much if any different than the male heterosexual population?

    Not sure I should respond literally/factually to your literal question of fact, because the over-riding factor of any response is that heterosexual marriage is ordained of God, and same-sex sex is always bad, not merely because God says so, but it’s also psychologically bad for the participants. And is _extremely_ damaging to society as a whole when society openly approves it; see the “creeping margin” arguments of Jane Galt at
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120420204152/http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

    I’ve often commented on that and shown, citing _primary_ research surveys, that margins HAVE crept noticably since the SSM debate started in the US around 2011. See an above comment for the link to Jr Ganymede blog about posts containing “younger gayer”. (Actually the faster trend is toward bisexuality, which is still “gayer than” heterosexuality.)

    But just to address your literal question:

    1) Because the majority of the heterosexual population do want marriage. going by actual marriage rates, in the older generations it is 65% and younger generation 50%. Plus more who want to get married but either aren’t ready/elligible or can’t find a suitable partner. Well, that shows how “it is different”, but not the most important meaning, which is….

    2) the point of how few homosexual men actually _want_ marriage/committed relationships is evidence to the fact that SSM is a political, and at its source satanic, ploy. Getting gay men “married and settled down” and “civil rights” and “compassion for gays who just want their human rights of emotional fulfillment” is all a stalking horse for destroying society. It’s all a COVER STORY, craftily constructed lies to appeal to compassion and to the intellect so as to hide the real satanic purposes.

    The destructive-to-society argument is well-made in Jane Galt’s essay. I’ve ranted about it here for years, about margin creep, soft-coded versus hard-coded sexual orientation, imprinting effects upon first-time experimenters, etc.

    In essence her argument is that when compassion for bad behavior turns to acceptance/approval, public and otherwise, you get _more_ of the behavior from that margin of people who would otherwise not have engaged in the destructive behavior due to social taboo. Once that marginal layer crosses the line, there is another layer a year or two behind them, who then asks “where’s my compassion?” and the margin creeps further and further.

    The denial of reasons other than”born that way” creates a false narrative that there won’t be creeping margins in the matter of sexual orientation like there were no-fault divorce, out of wedlock births, and welfare-ism.

    “Always and only born that way” is a false narrative. But the veil is being lifted, slowly. Claims of “Fluid” gender/orientation is evidence against hard coded-ness fixed at birth. “Pro choice sexuality” is now a thing.

    So, now that the taboo is lifted, the people onthe margins, who would otherwise have staunchly asserted their heterosexuality, can -choose- to “do gay” even though they don’t claim to “be gay.” Cite: prison sex, post-prison on-the-down-low, Ancient greece, Miley Cyrus.

    Several surveys, in the US, including the harvard freshman survey, and UK, illustrate that it has started and is in full swing among younger age groups of adults. _Multiple_ surveys with _clear trends_. Again, see above links for a list of links to the surveys.

    And then what? less marriages, less families, less children, depopulation of the West. The West has started the die-off process.

    It’s not all the gays’ fault either. The heterosexual phase of the sexual revolution of the 60’s did the lion’s share of delaying marriage, destroying marriage, delaying children, fewer children, more messed-up dysfunctional children of broken families, born-out-of-wedlock children, absent fathers, etc. The enemy rubbed their hands with glee, and asked “what’s next?” Apparently: the homosexual/bisexual phase of the sexual revolution.

    Maybe the time for alarmism is past. As someone else said, we are now fighting a retreating battle.

  54. AV: “This whole post is about desperately twisting logic to defend the indefencable. The church will change this in a few years and the problem will be solved, once people can adjust.”

    You’re not really addressing the issues of the post, nor of the overall subject matter. And you responded to the issues I brought up in a trollish and rather social-justice-warrior manner. (Your use of SJW vocabulary is kind of telling.)

    Do you believe the foundational truth-claims of the LDS church? (IE, do you believe Joseph Smith was an actual prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, that Pres Nelson is a prophet and that the current quorum of 12 are real apostles?)

  55. KarlS, (addition/correction)

    a) estimates for the settle-down/commitment faction of homosexual men is in the 5% to 15% range. Again, sorry I have no links to primary research on that.

    b) “Claims of “Fluid” gender/orientation is evidence against hard coded-ness fixed at birth.”

    Should have been: Claims of “Fluid” and bisexual orientations are evidence against there always being a hard-coded-ness fixed at birth.

  56. ReTx: re: younger generation of gays being less promiscuous.

    You could have a point there. But I would respond with the younger generation’s tendency to be SJWs, and the SJW tendency to put on a false front, or represent a false “upper crust”. So yeah, I think they’re lying. Cite: Grindr.

    (Though I do acknowledge a small percentage of gay men do “settle down” or at least try to. )

    But the majority are lying for sexual politics, just like the majority of socialists lie for communism/totalitarianism. And you can never be sure which ones are honestly duped, versus which ones are knowingly lying.

  57. This is not an attempt to hijack the discussion but I wonder if you or someone knowledgeable might discuss the links between LGBTQ people and mental illness. I am not saying all LGBTQ people are mentally ill. I have known many who are not. However, I am concerned about the number of mentally ill people who say they are gay. The percentages are too high in studies of people with Borderline Personality Disorder who are male and also suffer from addictions to be ignored, over 50% I believe. Last year I read research that said about 50% of gay men suffer from anxiety and depression, even those who were fully supported when they came out and who came of age after the legalization of gay marriage. The old excuses that they suffered because of fear of exposure and persecution were having to be reexamined.
    I do think many of the LGBTQ community could be helped if we could develop better tests for mental illness and better treatments. For example, the Personality Disorders are not well treated at all, having no effective drug therapies. And they seem to be a major factor in transgender orientation. (Be careful of the study conducted in Iran. There is reason to be suspicious of it.) The sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol addiction, rages including physical violence, and suicides are symptoms of both bipolar and Borderline.
    I have no formal training in mental health but was married to someone with Borderline who also had a sister who suffered from it, so have quite a bit of first hand experience.
    While Church leaders have been kind, they are not remotely educated about this and the standard approach is to hold a church court to excommunicate the person, then try to get them to repent. This does not work with severe mental illness. And I can testify, the symptoms of severe mental illness were everywhere in my marriage. I just did not have the knowledge to recognize them. Again, too much exposure to doctrine about personal responsibility can blind you to a different reality.

  58. There is a doctrinal problem with all the polls and surveys that ask questions about happiness. That happiness at present is subjective is the Lord’s will, but it will not always be so, because the Lord [will] not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. It is inferred from this that he does presently let us take happiness in sin. When the Lord withdraws his spirit, and let’s Lucifer take his due, and he will, they/we will feel the full weight of misery the Lord presently spares them/us from. So, no I don’t accept the conclusions of such polls because, again, they are founded on fleshy, not spiritual foundations.

  59. Sorrry, I should have cited the scripture. Mormon 2:13. He, Mormon, saw first hand what happened when the people he loved ripened in sin.

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