Gay man speaks out in support of Elder Holland’s BYU talk

This is a guest post by Nicholas Applegate.

I am a gay man married to a wonderful wife, and I openly support The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its doctrines, and its leaders. As a result, I support the BYU honor code and their decision to require their students to keep the law of chastity (see link at bottom). This is because I have a testimony that this church is truly Christ’s church and that its leaders are called of God and divinely inspired.

However, at the core of myself, I am not a gay man; I am a child of God, a priesthood holder, a husband, and a father. I am not denying my true self by living the tenets of the Church. I would be denying my true self by not living the Gospel and leaving the Church to life a gay lifestyle.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a man we believe to be an apostle of God, spoke to BYU faculty a couple days ago (see link at bottom) reaffirming our beliefs in the sacred nature of marriage between a man and a woman, the right of BYU as a private, church school to support and institute doctrinal policies, and the need of disciples of Christ to defend and support our church leaders and the doctrine we believe in. I have seen lots of posts and messages opposing Elder Holland’s remarks, and while I respect their right to share their thoughts and while I also have some reservations about Elder Holland’s choice of words, I believe that he is a divinely inspired apostle of Jesus Christ and that his message is true. He asked for more to defend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to be a voice in its support, so I have decided to do just that. Being a gay man in a mixed-orientation marriage, I think I am in a unique position to share my thoughts on the matter.

I have known from a young age that I was attracted to men. It was an emotional roller-coaster, something I mentioned to almost no one before I became an adult, and which still was told to very few individuals after. It made me feel different, gross, and mostly embarrassed, and it was hard for me to talk about. It took years for me to process this and accept myself for who I was. However, unlike many that I have heard about in my situation, I had little doubt about my future standing in the Church.

The Church has always been clear, in my lifetime anyway, that it is not attraction to men that is sinful, but acting on those desires. I always understood that if I chose to either live a celibate or a heterosexual life, my standing within the Church would never be in question. I decided essentially as soon as I realized I was gay that I would follow the law of chastity and not engage in a relationship with a man.

As I grew older and started to understand better how influential sexual and physical feelings and desires are in relationships, I started to worry and doubt my decision. I struggled with feeling out of place in the Church as I went to singles’ wards with lots of talk about dating and marriage. I started to doubt my decision to date women and one day marry a woman, and was worried whether that was really possible for me. For the first time, I found myself genuinely questioning whether I would be able to stay an active and worthy church member for the rest of my life.

After many painful personal experiences that I don’t want to share publicly, I came to understand and truly believe in the truth I had always known- that the only source of true joy in life is Jesus Christ, and that the only way I could fully experience that joy was to live the gospel as I had been taught it in the restored Church of Jesus Christ (including the law of chastity) and to have a celestial marriage with a worthy daughter of God. I saw in my life that as difficult as it might be to be a gay man not living a gay life, it would be more difficult to live a gay life that did not include active and worthy membership in Christ’s church. Many gay individuals claim that the Church asking us to live a celibate or heterosexual life is not letting us be true to ourselves.

To clarify- if anyone can have compassion for others in the LDS LGBTQ+ community, it is me. I understand how hard it is, and how deep sexual feelings run. It is not easy, and while I disagree with those who choose to leave or oppose the Church, I understand them, and I love them. I am friends with several such individuals and they know that is how I feel.

However, while I respect their right to share their opinions, I feel the need to do the same. I have seen so much opposition to Elder Holland’s remarks, and for years before I have seen so much opposition to church doctrines and policies surrounding same-sex attraction. I want to just add a voice in support of the Church and its doctrines. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much and I am so grateful for all the blessings they have given me, including the gifts of the scriptures, access to divine guidance through personal revelation and modern-day prophets, and all the gifts associated with being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am especially grateful for my wife, my baby boy, and the chance I have to be a part of a loving, eternal marriage and family, an opportunity I was not sure I would have in this life. I don’t endorse mixed-orientation marriages for everyone who deals with same-sex attraction, but for me it has given me more joy and peace than I thought possible. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I can see clearly how much happier I am now than I was before I got married, and how much happier I am than I could possibly be in any lifestyle that was not in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. I can’t count the number of blessings in my life I would have missed had I gone down another path. I can’t imagine a life without Jordan and our soon-to-be-born baby boy.

Brigham Young University, the school I have attended for three years and absolutely love, is a private school run and funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as such it has a right to require its students to live by its tenets. One of its tenets is that we follow the law of chastity, which requires that we engage in no sexual relations or behaviors except those between a man and a woman, legally and lawfully married. While I recognize it is a complicated issue and the enforcement still needs to be discussed and possibly improved upon, BYU wouldn’t be BYU without its honor code requiring its students to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am very open to answering questions and explaining more about my experiences and beliefs if people are genuinely curious and want to understand more, but I ask for the same respect and consideration for my beliefs that I extend to those who disagree with me, and that all should be extended. I love you all, and I respect your life choices and opinions, but I have waited to share my own long enough. I cannot be silent in my support for our prophet, the apostles, and the inspired and divine nature of their counsel.

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/jeffrey-r-holland/the-second-half-second-century-brigham-young-university/
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/chastity?lang=eng

39 thoughts on “Gay man speaks out in support of Elder Holland’s BYU talk

  1. Thank you, Nicholas.

    I think you hit the nail on the head for everyone when you said “… at the core of myself, I am not a gay man; I am a child of God, a priesthood holder, a husband, and a father.” You could substitute “gay man” with a person’s job, position, hobby, race, nationality, politics, etc. Once we put anything else above our core identity as children of God – recognizing that everyone else we run into is also a child of God – and our potential eternal family relationships, I think we start to lose the spirit. I have noticed this in myself at times and have had to course correct.

    I am the father of an adult gay son. He hasn’t been active in the Church for about 10 years, but he loves the Church. He loves that his parents and sister are active and find joy in it. In times of trouble, he calls his mother and me to put his name on the temple prayer roll. When he meets bitter former Church members in his community, it turns him off because he is not bitter. He is not an activist. He just struggles to know his place in the Lord’s Kingdom, and I can sympathize with him. Where does he fit? I’d love for him to find a situation like yours or like Tom Christofferson’s but, as you say, those are not for everyone.

    In the mean time we will just continue to express our love and appreciation for one another. We love being family!

    It sounds like you have a wonderful young family. Enjoy it! I am sure you hear this a lot, but one day these early years will seem to have slipped by all too quickly.

    Cheers.

  2. My brother came out as gay almost 40 years ago. Our father was stake president at the time where we lived in SoCal. There were no other “out” teens, though there were in the closet teens. My brother left the church around the same time.

    The brother became very hostile to all religion and reveled in the lifestyle and ended up living in West Hollywood for the last several decades.

    He reconciled with our father about a decade ago. 5 years ago he told me he started praying and reading scriptures daily. About 3 years ago he told me he had become celibate. About 2 years ago he told me he didn’t know if he was still gay.

    He had admitted that being gay was in part about rebellion against everything he his life. It was about being different and finding an identity.

    It may be harder for him to stop drinking whiskey and coffee these days than anything else to reconcile himself to the church. Hopefully it will be soon. I know the Lord is still working on him.

  3. @John P, at the risk of a thread jack:

    Is Tom Christofferson really an example we should hope for our gay kids to emulate? It seems to me that he basically went and lived a life of sin until his libido was exhausted through age, at which time he dumped his partner and came back to the Church to get a hero’s welcome (and a book deal). I’ve never seen him state that chastity is, objectively, a right and godly goal that *all* people, including gay people, should aspire to; and time I see his name in a news article these days he’s still taking (very subtle) pot shots at the Church, its policies, and/or its apostles.

    I mean—I suppose there are *worse* things he could be doing at this stage in his life, and I’m glad to see anyone participating in Church. But at the same time, he feels a little . . . overrated.

  4. What a wonderful testimony!
    Perhaps someone could explain to me why/how those who experience same-sex attraction have a harder time living the law of chastity than sisters like Sheri Dew and Sharon Eubanks? Being celibate is difficult for anyone with a healthy sex drive. Do those who advocate “being true to themselves” believe that everyone should give in to our sexual appetites before marriage?

  5. Rozy, I agree with your perspective, but just in the interest of explaining, what some people in the Church will say is that Sheri Dew has the hope of finding an eternal companion later in life while those with same-sex attraction do not. So, basically the argument is that same-sex attraction is part of the nature of many people, and it is immutable, and by asking them to embrace celibacy you are asking them to deny their basic nature. And you are condemning them to a life without hope and without love. And many people believe there is nothing wrong with two consenting adults carrying out mutual activities that embrace their basic nature. This is what they mean by “love is love,” ie, there is nothing wrong with two consenting people expressing their love for each other in ways that are different than but parallel to the way that heterosexual people express love.

    This is a very powerful argument in these days where most people see sex as something that is not sacred and not part of God’s eternal plan. It is extremely difficult to convince people these days that human beings are more than their sexual desires. Modern day society has convinced people that their sexual desires ARE their identity, which is why Nicholas’ point that he is not a gay man but a child of God is so important to his post. People are children of God first and foremost. Identities are WAY down the list in terms of importance. We will all understand that better during the Millennium and in the after-life, but for now it is a very difficult to convince anybody.

  6. JimD,
    I used Tom Christofferson as an example because he is the best known person who has opted for celibacy as a solution to the requirement to abide by the revealed boundaries of the law of chastity.

    However, I couldn’t help but notice that Brother Christofferson’s story as you describe it bears significant similarities to Luke 15:11-32.

    I cannot speak for Pete P or his brother, but for me I would gladly “kill the fatted calf” and make merry if my son found a path back to full participation in the Church and its sacred ordinances regardless of where the path took him or how long it may have taken.

    Cheers.

  7. Rozy, as partially explained in this link:
    https://extradeadjcb.substack.com/p/8-is-byu-gonna-make-it
    (hat tip to G at JrG)
    there is a lot to say on the subject that can’t be spoken publicly in polite society. The mental-health/psychiatric/psychology/academic/media complex has lied to the public for nigh on to 50 years now, and it/they now undergird all of Western Civilization.

    If the lies were to publicly unravel, Civilization, as _seen/conceptualized/lived_ by the vast majority of the west, would itself unravel to the point of ceasing to exist. The shock would be catastrophic to them.

  8. Hi Roxy –

    I’m not gay myself, but have a gay teenager. What my exploring the topic has lead to is that there is a huge difference between a 30/40 year old realizing that their hopes of marriage isn’t going to work out as they’d hoped/planed and a 14 year old. And not just that the 14 year old isn’t going to get that path, but that to even try is to alienate themselves from God (and sometimes their family). I look at my teen, and they are not prepared for that. It isn’t even about the physical intimacy yet, it’s about looking at an entire future without the possibility of the emotional intimacy of a spouse, partner. I hope that makes sense.

  9. Book, that link is a bit mind-blowing. If that guy is correct, it would completely explain a LOT of the Brethren’s decisions over the last decade or so. The Great Separation really will be the Great Separation, which will mean some huge new challenges in the years to come. I think all Saints in their hearts know that the Saints cannot continue to thrive in this world of fake news, fake medicine, fake politics and fake academia.

  10. @JohnP:

    There are indeed similarities, but at what point did Christofferson publicly say “I have sinned against heaven”? And do we really imagine up a midrash of “The Prodigal Son” in which the “reformed” prodigal comes home and tells his angsty younger brothers “yeah, that unenlightened Dad; he’s kinda ‘out there’ on some things! And hey, if you feel like you need to cash out your inheritance and spend your youth and vigor getting laid—well, Sparky, you do you!!!”?

    I hope Christofferson is well and truly back “in” the Church at this point—not just that he’s doing the rituals, but that he fully subscribes to the individual and universal value of the covenants and obligations that pertain to those rituals. I can’t speak as to his heart or as to whatever conversations he’s had with those whose stewardship it is to judge him. But to the degree that he sets himself up as a light or example for others, I hope *my* kids—gay or straight—will have enough integrity and commitment to avoid the kind of doublespeak in which they dismiss or deliberately sidestep the importance of the Law of Chastity in repeated statements the press, but then profess to embrace it once every two years in the secrecy of a bishop’s office so that they can get a scrap of paper whose primary use, in their eyes, is to publicly identify them as one of the “good kids”.

  11. Nicholas, thank you for this post.

    If you haven’t already, you will probably start receiving praise and affirmation from gays or related activists, welcoming you warmly and finding common ground. I watched this happen to two well-known gay men in mixed-orientation marriages, one of whom I was close to. In both cases the embrace of that community inevitably strengthened the man’s desire to live the gay life, and meant the end of his marriage. My thought is that this need not be your destiny if you just keep the activists, the spiritual darkness about them, and the fictions of modern “social sciences” (as touched on in Bookslinger’s link above) at a firm distance.

  12. Geoff: To tie things together…

    I assume that Elder Holland’s BYU address “is of a piece” (if that’s the correct idiom) with the recent Love-Share-Invite initiative. Namely, to change the culture of the church.

    In the intro to this video:
    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/how-to-share/introducing-love-share-and-invite
    Elder Cook uses the phrase (close, if not exact) “think and do from a fresh perspective.” IE, we need to not only do differently, but also _think_ differently. Wow. What else besides “sharing the gospel” are we, collectively, incorrectly thinking about?

    I forget if the phrase “change church culture” was in this video, or the other Love-Share-Invite video recently previewed to local leadership:
    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/share/worldwide-leadership-broadcast-on-sharing-the-gospel
    In this video, Elder Bednar’s choice of words indicates some profound changes are expected of members.

    Elder Holland’s BYU address, and the Love-Share-Invite initiative might be seen as a “raise the bar” for adults.

    I need to watch all three videos again. ( If anyone has only read Elder Holland’s talk, I suggest listening to/watching the video. There are some added parts.)

    I have a feeling Love-Share-Invite is going to be one of the main themes of Gen Conf this fall. And I bet some things from Elder Holland’s talk, though maybe not the BYU-specific things, will also be repeated.

    Pres Nelson was on the mark, things are getting more and more exciting.

  13. As a man who has been experiencing SSA his whole life I deeply sympathize with everybody who shares the same fate. I would never call myself gay. To be gay for me is a choice of lifestyle. But SSA is something that I’m experiencing for reasons I today know but cannot change. I know church members who consider themselves as gay and stay true to the law of chastity. It’s not about words. I just wanted to make clear how I understand the words “gay“ and “SSA“.

    Looking for love, a relationship, a family, and possibly children is the most natural feeling a man or a woman can have. We are designed by our Heavenly Father to strive for these things and have these desires and emotions.

    People who do not suffer from SSA can often only hardly imagine how devastating and cruel and hard it is to come to the realization that you will never have a family for your own and that you will never have children and that you will never have a loving spouse in your life. There is a reason why suicide rates among people who suffer from SSA or who consider themselves as gay are much much higher than in the rest of the population. No it has certainly nothing to do with feeling shameful about themselves or not being accepted. At least not for the majority. In today’s society nothing could be easier than to come out as gay. I am of course aware that in the past this situation was much different.

    But knowing that I will never have a family or children or a spouse … this is what really hurts. Our wards I designed around families. We know that a family is a heavenly unit. It’s a place where we should be, where we are designed to be. Of course there are a lot of people out there who do not have a family of their own for different reasons. But for people with SSA it is almost certain that they will have to live and die alone if they remain true to God‘s law.

    That is why I would never judge people with SSA if they ultimately leaf the church and pursue other paths. I for myself want to stay true to the gospel and to God’s law including the law of chastity. But doing so does not exempt me from having the same feelings and emotions anybody else have. And no I do not mean sexual desires. Of course this is part of my life as well. But what I mean is the deep longing for having a spouse, a family, and children. And it’s a fight every day to remain true to God‘s law when I look into my ward and see families and children knowing that this is something I will never have in my life but still keep longing for it.

    Today I know why I have SSA. I know the things that happened in the past that contributed to it and ultimately caused it. But this does not help me in any way to overcome it. And so for me and I suppose for many other men and women with SSA it’s much much harder to stay true to God‘s law specifically the law of chasity compared to other people.

    I do not know why Heavenly Father let me suffer like this. Because I know the church is true, Jesus Christ is my savior, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and this is the church of God in this dispensation, because I know all this to be true, I know that the only way back into the arms of my Heavenly Father … where and when I can finally ask him why I had to suffer like this and will finally get answers… is to stay true to God‘s law.

    And now back to the topic at hands. Because of all of this Elder Holland’s reminder to the BYU to stay true to the only path that will lead back to Heavenly Father was so important. I full heartedly support Elder Holland‘s suggestions.

    I know that the leaders of our church, our prophet as well as the apostles love and understand people who suffer from SSA. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. And I know I will one day when I’m back in his arms get all the answers that I so desire in this life. And honestly because I know how much people with SSA who still stay true to the path suffer I know that these people will be especially rewarded and blessed. There is a reason for it though I do not know why people with SSA have to suffer like this through their lifetimes.

    I would like to ask people who do not suffer from SSA to pray for their brothers and sisters who do. Pray for them that their burden might be made a little bit lighter. Pray for them that they stay true to God‘s law. Pray for them that they will always remember how many blessings are waiting for them when they will come home.

    Please excuse any grammatical errors. English is not my native language.

  14. Rozy asked, “Do those who advocate “being true to themselves” believe that everyone should give in to our sexual appetites before marriage?”

    In these matters it is very worth wondering what the heterosexuals who promote homosexuality are trying to accomplish for themselves. (Homosexuals are such a small bloc that what they themselves want would be unable to gain much attention unassisted.) There are a variety of desires leading to advocacy or flag waving, but a prominent one among those really doing something is cover for their own sexual activities. Years ago, after Cuomo and the New York legislature passed their any-sex marriage law, the NY Times ran a Saturday article on the politics of getting that passed. The word “girlfriend” came up so many times, it sounded like there was not a single political leader in New York that had a wife. When the Imagine Dragons singer made his big splash promoting homosexuality in Utah, he explained that his feelings on the topic stemmed from many years before being denied an ecclesiastical endorsement to attend BYU due to something of a sexual nature involving himself and a girlfriend. No one, he said, should ever be made to feel ashamed of anything they may have done of a sexual nature.

  15. An unpopular, but pertinent, point: heterosexual, unending, monogamous*, fruitful marriage lines up with no one’s sexual orientation. We tolerate youthful delusions aspirationally, because we all hope that our rational/faithful aspirations will eventually overcome our stupid sexual urges. Using encouraging language instead of defeatist language with a spouse is part of a deliberate effort to believe the best. This is often mistaken for ideals lining up with sexual orientation, but it’s not.

    *Everyone* has to press the down-volume button on their sexual orientation. And everyone is going to struggle with it and want compassion when they mess up, or can’t stop thinking about it. Everyone needs recognition for doing worthwhile but hard things.

    *Every* godly marriage is a mixed orientation marriage where the spouses are seeking to bring out the best and work together *despite* serious and deep incompatibilities.

    Some of the reason people are very upset with the LGBT activism is frustration that further damage to the rational/faithful aspiration of heterosexual, unending, monogamous*, fruitful marriage makes it harder for everyone to live in accordance with this goal, because everyone has a hard time going against their urges and acting rationally/faithfully when it comes to sex. It would be good if we *all* could tap into the compassion-for-all community. It makes it hard when people get to feeling that compassion only goes one way.

    *monogamy is the word I’m using to mean committed to your spouse. While it is true that many members of the church have a deal-breaker hope for polygamy for themselves in the next life, that is an idea that will mostly frustrate their love efforts with their spouse today.

  16. I agree with you, Lucinda. But I have never ever met a church member who expressed any hope for polygamy in the Celestial kingdom. I also have never met somebody who is not a member and would express such hopes for their earthly lives.

    Do you really know people who hope for a polygamist relationship in the Celestial kingdom?

  17. I agree with all of Lucinda’s comment, and I find her points very astute, except for this:

    “While it is true that many members of the church have a deal-breaker hope for polygamy for themselves in the next life, that is an idea that will mostly frustrate their love efforts with their spouse today.”

    I have literally never heard anybody say they hope for polygamy in the next life. All of the men I know are very scared of that idea. But if you mean: “some people secretly harbor fantasies and desires for other people and speculate to themselves that may happen through polygamy,” I guess you might be right, but, wow, that is a deep, dark secret that is extremely far from how people talk to each other in the here and now.

  18. Men who speak of it too much tend to get themselves in pretty big trouble in one way or another. But women definitely have sensitivity to this issue and pay close attention. That’s why you sometimes get women who are very upset that President Nelson and President Oaks are sealed to women they married as widowers, or women who insist that the church sealing policy be more equal. It may not be this way anymore, but it used to be that men were allowed to be sealed again after divorce without canceling a previous sealing, whereas women were required to obtain a cancellation of sealing.

    Anyway, it’s true that men try to avoid the topic, but women often speak of it and try to figure it out, in my experience. And they all have plentiful men-want-polygamy stories to tell.

  19. Lucinda, that is an interesting insight. Can I just say that such speculation seems very dumb to me because none of us knows how or if polygamy would work in the afterlife? It seems pretty clear to me that if you are going to the Celestial Kingdom Heavenly Father is not going to make you go through something that would be painful or negative once you get there. The experience cannot be anything like our worldly experience with polygamy in any way.

  20. Geoff,

    I agree with you that the Celestial path is not a matter of “dreaming of mansions above.” But either way, godly marriage is no fantasy for any sexual orientation. I find it meaningful in a good way, rather than just a cruelty of the human condition. Imagine if those who grew old together were just acting out their instincts. Wouldn’t that take some of the awesomeness from it? It’s an achievement because it challenges our deepest stinginess. But it is also readily achievable for those who make it a priority.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think polygamy-oriented people should feel ashamed about it. I actually think it’s better to come to terms with your sexuality, like the man in the OP, and then make rational/faithful decisions in the face of that self-knowledge, and repent when you fall short of your nobler aspirations. The problem with speculations about the perfect fulfillment of any sexual-orientation is the delusional element, which is exceedingly strong in the realm of sexuality.

    Ben,

    I have spoken with enough people about it that I find it hard to believe some members have never met anyone who said they hope for it. Though I admit Geoff’s perspective is most common among practical men with leadership potential, even there I hear something different from wives.

    Anyway, like I said, women in the Church feel the need to figure it out. I’ve tried to explore my own feelings and they are pretty mixed. I have strong anti-polygamy feelings, but it’s in the same place in my heart where I have anti-marriage-at-all feelings. So I personally try to avoid being against polygamy in principle.

  21. Lucinda,
    After 50 years in the church, I can only recall a single incident of a man expressing a hope for plural marriage in the next life. He thought he was funny, but the comment was met with complete awkward silence in the quorum classroom. So I disagree with your insistence on this being a common desire. It simply is not.

  22. Re: men wanting polygamy: my husband was a widower when I married him and he is very consistent in his expectation of having both of us in the next life. He speaks about it in church and in private conversations. To him it is just the way it is: he is sealed to two women he loves and those relationships will persist. To say that we don’t know how it will all work out is an understatement, but I believe women talk about it more than men do, on average. And he may well be in the minority, both in terms of his expectations and his willingness to discuss them, but I’m sure he’s not the only one.

  23. Thanks Julie! I’m glad you could back me up.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by there being a huge gap between women talking about this subject versus what men are willing to discuss, especially with each other. But I admit I am quite surprised! I would not have guessed men had so much stronger a social stigma mechanism for helping each other stay in line, but it makes sense now that I see it.

    And I don’t want to disturb the peace that men of the Church appear to have achieved on this topic. God bless everyone in their mixed orientation marriages!

  24. Lucinda,

    I think you are confusing the expression of hope with the expression of expectation. They were sealed to these people they loved most likely for years, and now they are gone. Falling in love again and getting remarried is not going to erase the love they had for a priory woman. Not any more than the love of a child after another child is born. And its not a sexual thing, but a love of person thing. We don’t even know if there is going to be what we recognize as “sex” up in Heaven.

    The fact is that polygamy as a doctrine (part of the Everlasting Covenant of Marriage) is not gone; only the Earthly practice. I suppose in theory if a man wanted to be sealed to more than one dead woman that was never their spouse they could. I have never heard of that ever happening, but I don’t supervise the Temple records. That said, I have never as a lifelong member of the Church heard any man express a desire to practice polygamy in the afterlife (or in life for that matter. Those who I have heard of that talked that way ended up eventually out of the Church). It is so rare, taking in account that it must happen for you to mention it, that I am not even sure how another Mormon man would respond.

  25. We have been promised in a conference talk not that long ago, that the arrangements will be far better than we can imagine. As such, just like everything else dealing with the Celestial Kingdom, our worry should be about being worthy of being allowed in, not the size of our mansion or how relationships will work out.

  26. Re: Lucinda, I broadly agree. Everybody’s got a “kink.” We tend to pick it up early, and it tends to solidify somewhere in adolescence, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out what to do with it. Some of those are pretty banal (people who like the look of a shapely hindquarter), and can be subsumed into romantic/sexual/marriage relationships without much effort. Some (like, say, some of the less extreme power-exchange behaviors) can be worked out between two people who are being open and honest with each other. Some (like heavier power-exchange activity, or a nonmonagamous itch, or SSA) become too big and unwieldy for a relationship to metabolize. And figuring out where your kink lies on the broad spectrum of kinks is important to be honest about. Turning it into your identity is absolutely the wrong choice.

    Re: Bookslinger, thanks for that Substack link. It reinforces something I’ve felt for a long time: the brethren know that eventually the church is going to have to break hard against one or more underpinnings of western society, and they’re planning for it. It’s a small thing, but I think it’s part of the Church’s Covid mask rules (Geoff, you might appreciate this). Masking right now is the western society break-point. For the church to not quasi-endorse masking would speed the coming societal break, and I don’t think the brethren feel ready for that yet. Once they’re ready enough, though …

  27. “Bookslinger, thanks for that Substack link. It reinforces something I’ve felt for a long time: the brethren know that eventually the church is going to have to break hard against one or more underpinnings of western society, and they’re planning for it. It’s a small thing, but I think it’s part of the Church’s Covid mask rules (Geoff, you might appreciate this). Masking right now is the western society break-point. For the church to not quasi-endorse masking would speed the coming societal break, and I don’t think the brethren feel ready for that yet. Once they’re ready enough, though …”

    Yes, that link and then thinking and praying about it has rocked my world. There has always been a nagging voice in the back of my mind for the last 20 years saying, “why don’t the prophets speak out more on all of the horrible things going on in the world, and why do we put up with so much obvious societal garbage?” And I keep on coming back to the point that it is simply not time yet. More temples need to be built, more missionaries need to travel to new places, and more work needs to be done in general. But it is only a matter of time until, as the link implies, the world completely turns on the Church and makes it impossible for us not to go our separate ways. I always look for historical comparisons and the inevitable exodus patterns. The Church was doing fine in the Nauvoo area for a few years until…all of a sudden the world made it impossible for the Church to stay there. And we as a church had to move to Utah where we were doing fine for several decades…until the polygamy issue made us decide to either change to get along with the rest of the world or face the closing down of temples and chapels and other church assets. So, we are in the “get along with the rest of the world” phase right now, and this means accepting mask rules and other worldly impositions…for now. I think most of us have a nagging suspicion that it is only a matter of time until the world makes it impossible for us again, and there will be another exodus pattern of some kind. The over-the-top response to Elder Holland’s very mild talk re: BYU indicates that we may be moving quicker than many people think into the exodus pattern again.

    And separating from the world has many advantages, even though it will be painful and difficult. Most people don’t think about this, but very few latter-day Saints died in the US civil war, which was one of the bloodiest and most ruthless conflicts in history up until then. I like to think that the Lord used the exodus from Nauvoo to protect the Saints (many of whom were my ancestors) from participating in that horrible war. I see a possible pattern there for future events. We may be rejected by the world, but we will also be protected from many of the worst things coming as the end times approach.

  28. ” I see a possible pattern there for future events. We may be rejected by the world, but we will also be protected from many of the worst things coming as the end times approach.”

    I think that tracks with the Scriptures. The end times will be a horrible time for all involved, including the Saints with the persecutions and high apostacy levels (2nd Nephi somewhere). Yet, it also says that those who don’t want to be involved with the World’s downward spiral will follow the Saints to the mountains. (Sorry for not quoting the Scriptures, but I know they are there) My studies of Scriptures and teachings of Joseph Smith has also made me believe that even “orthodox” members have some major (even the very elect will be deceived) paradigms they need reconfigured.

  29. Jettperson: “… that even ‘orthodox’ members have some major (even the very elect will be deceived) paradigms they need reconfigured.”

    Yea, verily. We all do.

    The reconfiguring of paradigms has started… in the Love-Share-Invite initiative as outlined in the two links/videos that I gave above.

    Elder Cook’s words, in one of them, were “think and do from a fresh perspective.” Elder Bednar’s words included “change church culture.”

    Two hour church, revamped youth program, dropping Sat night sessions of Gen Conf. That was just to wake us up and get our attention. That was superficial. (ok, maybe the new youth programs went deeper.)

    Now it is time for adults to change how we “think and do”.

    I speculated on this back in 2019, about how we are “conceptualizing” in a sub-optimal way:
    https://www.jrganymede.com/2019/07/13/stop-thinking-missionary-work/

    And I kvetched a bit about our lack of sociality in this 6 part series:
    https://www.jrganymede.com/tag/sociality/

    I may have crossed into “murmuring” territory in that Sociality series. So I beg some forbearance.

  30. I’m just gonna say it would be dumb if there were no sex for married people in the Celestial Kingdom. We spend all this life energy to learn how to communicate love by physical interaction, learning the other’s special needs, tuning in and connecting. It just doesn’t make sense to remove that. It would be like saying there’s no music in the Celestial Kingdom because we found it logically superfluous. “Welcome to Heaven! No hugging.” The idea we don’t need it anymore seems to go more with those who believe we don’t need a body at all in the afterlife.

  31. While I find your arguments to be logical it would be the least concern to me to speculate about whether or not there will be sex in the Celestial Kingdom. Our knowledge and perfection in the Celestial Kingdom will far far far exceed everything that our minds can imagine today. So for me it’s utterly useless to speculate about these things.

  32. @Ben, I must have been absent that day. I just looked it up, and found the announcement. Thanks for the heads-up!

  33. Lucinda, again I broadly agree re: “sex in heaven,” with the caveat that I have a suspicion that something even better will replace it. But yeah, the idea that the experience of that kind of intimacy won’t follow us into the eternities isn’t one I buy.

  34. “Better than sex” is a kind of cake or brownie made by disillusioned wives, so it’s hard for me to take the idea seriously.

    The problem I have with the sentiment is the ingratitude for the here-and-now. And because it often discourages couples who are struggling with marital intimacy. It’s like the ultimate sour grapes. “Well, sex is not Celestial anyway” mostly translates into disillusionment, or even worse, license.

    “Speculate” is an interesting word, derived from “to look”, coming to mean theorizing without evidence. I find I’m in favor of speculating about Heaven, since it’s the only thing we can do with Heaven. But as mentioned earlier, delusion is the problem. Because of that, it’s often necessary to speak to others about ideas to see if maybe they are delusional ideas.

    But the least delusional you can get, once you assume there even is a next life, is to observe a reality on earth, and express that the reality would still be a reality in the next life. It seems to me that the delusional idea is more likely the one that assumes a non-reality will become a reality.

    Marriages are real. Living and healthy marriages involve physical intimacy. Good intimacy forgoes exploitative desire (i.e. sexual orientation) on both sides. This is already reality.

    I don’t begrudge anyone who, for various painful reasons, doesn’t want to have anything to do with sex in Heaven. Probably everyone has been exploited by someone’s sexual orientation at various points, sometimes even their own. But to extrapolate that sex is necessarily always exploitative will be challenged by those who know from personal experience that it doesn’t have to be that way.

  35. Don’t get me wrong. I’m plenty grateful for the here-and-now of marital intimacy. My point is that, per your thoughts on speculation, I think many many people speculate that as good as some things may be here and now, we’d all like to believe everything will be “better” in Heaven.

  36. My frustration with the idea of deliverance from the realities of sex is that the Sexual Revolution has been a disaster. And this seems to always happen with utopian thinking.

    So I’m a bit of a minimalist. I like things to be tried and true.

    One thing people seem to unthinkingly wish away when they get utopian is the need for self-discipline. But self-discipline is not so hard given enough practice. I can’t get excited about an eternity where I’m relieved of the enjoyment of achieving difficult things.

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