Friday, October 19, 2007

Say When

So is there any way that homosexuality could ever be acceptable? I can just picture what would happen if all of the sudden the first presidency announced that being gay is a legitimate lifestyle. I’m pretty sure that I would be happy camper. But maybe I’m on to something. Haven’t there been other cases in which at one point certain practices were acceptable- even ordained by God, but later the policy changed? What about polygamy? Certainly the majority of Christians outside the church consider our doctrine of plural marriage to be repulsive and damnable. Even some members within the church have a hard time agreeing with the idea of multiple wives. We know that polygamy has been okay at certain times in the past- Abraham and Jacob from the OT, for example, and of course it played a significant role in the earlier years of this dispensation with Joseph Smith and other church leaders. Church doctrine even suggests that plural marriage/companionship will exist in the celestial kingdom. And yet, at other times (like right now), polygamy is a hideous sin that merits excommunication. In the Book of Mormon, Jacob condemns the practice. So we know that it is possible for a lifestyle to be acceptable and good at one point, and disobedient and sinful at another, depending on the will of Heavenly Father.

Now what prevents homosexuality from qualifying as a similar situation? Granted, I can’t find any scripture that would support this- only scriptures that call homosexuality an “unnatural affection” and a terrible sin. But remember that polygamy is also condemned in various scriptures, so perhaps we can’t assume that homosexuality is always bad. We can also recall scriptural instances in which things like “smiting” and murder are acceptable. What if homosexuality is actually okay at the right time? Perhaps the general authorities speak out against it because it is only not acceptable right now. Why would this ever be the case? Maybe it can compared it to blacks receiving the priesthood. This was something which, for a very long time, the church did not permit. Why? The only doctrinal reason provided by the church is that God said so, but a deeper explanation might be that, culturally or socially, it was prudent to deny this privilege. Perhaps Heavenly Father knew that, had the policy been altered earlier, the church would have lost members who harbored feelings of racism- more members than the church would have gained from the policy change. And there’s no denying how many members felt- have you ever read what Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConckie said about blacks? Another way of saying it, suggested by biggins in a comment to a previous post, is that God always approved of blacks receiving the priesthood, but that human fallibility or racism prevented change. Either perspective can play into the rest of this argument.

Obviously God, being an all-loving parent, wants to save as many of his children as possible; so perhaps He had to wait for the proper social circumstances to arise before blacks could be given the priesthood. What if homosexuality is the same? Couldn’t it be that society- that the general membership of the church- is simply not ready to accept it? How many members would leave the church if gay marriage suddenly became a legitimate covenant? I think the answer is: too many for things to change right now. So maybe I should support politicians who endorse gay marriage so that society begins to change. But then again, it’s hard to imagine millions of homophobic people and the children that they raise with the same prejudices changing their minds about this issue. I guess I can still hope that things will be different in the next life.
I wonder- If I ever make it to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, will I be able to make worlds where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is a horrible sin? I sure hope so.


Abelard Enigma said...

will I be able to make worlds where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is a horrible sin? I sure hope so.

Sounds like you should watch "Almost Normal". It's about a gay man going through a mid life crisis who is yanked back in time to his high school days; however, this time the world is gay and to be straight is considered deviant behavior. It's not rated; but, I would give it a PG-13 since there isn't any nudity or sex (although, I watched it on Logo which does edit out objectionable scenes; so, I don't know if there would be anything inappropriate on the DVD).

draco said...

Thanks- I'll look that one up :)

Brady said...

I think I'd be pretty happy if the First Presidency announced a change in the policy, too! :)

I've thought about a lot of these ideas many times before. It does seem that there is a precedent for change in the church, even with big and "unalterable doctrines" like blacks and the Priesthood as it was taught in the early days of the church. It has been argued that the law of chastity is totally different from 'policy issues' like the priesthood thing, but I'm not entirely convinced. I can see lots of ways that gay marriage could be sanctioned by the church at some point in the future if it became socially acceptable. Maybe I'll write a post about that...

biggins said...

That would be great if the First Presidency decided to do that, but I'm not too optimistic that it'll happen. Certainly not any time soon. There is certainly precedent for big changes, blacks and the priesthood and the whole being required to live polygamy to enter the celestial kingdom doctrine being two good examples. The big difference to me, though, is that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have authored an official joint statement basically saying that only marriage between a man and a woman is OK. To my knowledge, while there were certainly many (perhaps virtually all) General Authorities who in the past thought blacks would never have the priesthood, there wasn't ever an official proclamation saying they wouldn't. That doesn't mean it can't happen, but it would be overturning precedent on a whole new level, I think. I like the idea though.

-L- said...

There's a qualitative difference between the church's changes on many topics in the past and gay relationships. There is, in my view, absolutely no way to hold out hope that any gay sexual relationship is or ever will be approved by God. Speculation otherwise is understandable by those of us who it influences on such a personal level, but I do fear that it does harm.

-L- said...

I suppose I should clarify that I don't think talking about it necessarily does any harm. It's an interesting topic. But, when I see people perseverating about it and building up a whole view of the church as changeable (equivocating to fallible) and spending all their time and effort on bringing about the change they desire rather than spending efforts trying to learn and follow the church as it is, that's when I get disturbed.

forever barred said...

I want to live in your world.

Wait, that didn't sound the way I intended- I want to live the world you are going to make when you become divine. There, clearer intent.

I think this comment will evolved into a draft for a future post. I used to cling desperately to the expectation that one day I would change and no longer have same gender attractions. Every day that I didn't change was a disappointment, and grounds for self abuse.

That wasn't healthy. Fortunately, I have been able to accept myself and stop expecting a change. It is great. The only problem is, I got rid of one unhealthy expectation only to adapt another.

Now I hope and cling to the expectation that the Church will change. It makes sense. I tried to change me, and I couldn't, so maybe I can try and change the church. I think the new expectation has the same effects as the former. Every General Conference and every Sunday where there is no change is a disappointment. This time instead of abusing myself, I abuse the Church.

But even after acknowledging that, I still cling to the hope.

It was nice to meet you yesterday, by the way.

draco said...

haha- yeah, I was pretty sure I'd get some interesting feedback on this post.

Even though blacks and the priesthood might be a 'policy issue,' I think polygamous relationships definitely deal more with the law of chastity. And I totally smoked you at bowling.

I'm not that optimistic about it either. Your point about official statements is interesting. I am also unaware of any official church proclamation that stated that blacks would never receive the priesthood, but both Bruce R. McConkie and Joseph Fielding Smith firmly believed that it would never happen and published their opinions in Mormon Doctrine and Doctrines of Salvation. With polygamy, we do have an official statement- Official Declaration 1 in the back of the D&C: "We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice... And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land." And isn't gay marriage (for the most part) similarly impeded by the law of the land?

And to -L-
Perseverating- that's a great one :) -I have a special affinity for big words.
I know that I probably sound pretty apostate and I appreciate your concern. I confess that sometimes I even disturb myself. I'm not sure if my inquisitive mind is a blessing or a curse in this case; I know that the Church discourages most speculation, but I suppose I've always had a hard time accepting appeals to authority as legitimate premises in religious arguments. I don't think that saying that the Church is true and infallible eliminates the possiblility of fallibility among its members- even its leaders.
It really all comes down to my testimony of the Church, which is admittedly wavering.

forever barred:
I hate the disenchantment that I feel right now toward the Church. I wish that I could just reconcile all of my feelings and beliefs because living in limbo can be draining.
It was nice meeting you too- I'm sure I'll be seeing you around :)

montchan (MJ Bliss) said...

Holy mother of batman!
Yours must be one of the best ever blogs out there.
And don't call it a "lifestyle", because that implies a choice of a style. Homosexuality isn't.

I'm not gay, but my brother is. And we are both filthy, nasty apostates, so don't read my blog!