Monday, October 4, 2010

Biology and Homosexuality

I came across these today.

 I listened to the entire lecture and then read Dr. Bradshaw's written findings on the topic.  (the first link you can listen to the audio of the lecture, the second link points to the written findings of Dr. Bradshaw.)

I found myself to be very touched by this.  Below are some excerpts which really made sense to me (you can read the entire writing at the second link listed about):

A reasonable, conservative estimate is that there are over 500,000 gay Latter-day Saints, 5% of church membership. Based on the preceding I conclude that these important human beings, my brothers and sisters, have a romantic attraction to persons of the same sex that is rooted in inherent biological factors over which they have had no control, and that this is a condition that they will not be able to change, even with Herculean effort. What should they do? My primary response is one of compassion at the realization that these people are unable to make, in full honesty, a complete commitment to a wife or husband that characterizes the temple marriage covenant. What then? It seems proper to apply a standard of conduct in which an individual gay Latter-day Saint finds a path in life that most fully permits the acquisition of goodness and the practice of service, traits and behavior that find their highest expression in the life of the Savior. It seems to me that there may be several different paths appropriate to that end. 
There are, of course, many married, gay members of the church. Often they entered marriage with the false hope that a heterosexual relationship would allow them to change their orientation. That doesn't happen. Some, with the help of understanding and highly courageous spouses, have opted to remain in those families, finding it the best, if difficult, individual solution to their situation. Others have not, driven, I believe, by a sense that they can not continue to live a lie and must find some other way to be true to themselves - a principle they have been taught in the church. Single gay people have the same dilemma. 
I propose, as have others before me, that when the two or three Biblical writers denounced homosexual behavior they were addressing the issue of heterosexual persons engaging in homosexual acts. We can join them in viewing such behavior sinful. I can believe, however, that for most of human history it has been generally inconceivable that there were persons whose natural state was to be romantically oriented to those of their same gender. Such a possibility just did not occur. I note the absence of a reference to homosexuality in the Book of Mormon, or Pearl of Great Price, or, especially, in the The Doctrine and Covenants. I submit that our current perspective should take into account recent knowledge and experience. Human understanding of what is true changes over time. Truth may be eternal, but our comprehension of it is neither automatic nor complete. It takes time, usually a long time, for us to learn. What seems apparent is that God doesn't jump in and correct our knowledge deficiencies; He waits patiently while we figure things out for ourselves. I offer these last sentiments in the spirit that we are woefully ignorant of many of the aspects of homosexuality, and ought to be open to the further light to be shed on the subject, from whatever source. 
I know that at the present time there is a great deal of animosity, ill will, intemperate language, and ignorance with regard to gay people among the Latter-day Saints. Our gay brothers and sisters are labeled as perverts and deviants unworthy of our association. They find activity with us too painful. We lose the blessings of their gifts. I cannot believe that the Savior is pleased, but do believe that He will do all He can to help us find a better way. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Conference Weekend

I've been out to my family for almost two years now. It's been sort of weird. The day I told them, it was amazing. Probably one of the most relieving days of my life-- I went to bed that night with part of the void in my life filled. I had always had the love of my family, and we're all really close. But before I had "come out" to them, I wondered if the love would falter or change? I went to bed that night knowing it hadn't.

This weekend was Conference. Every time conference comes around my dad, my brothers and I go to the priesthood session together. Ever since, probably, the first priesthood session I had ever gone to I have prayed and asked and hoped that one of those wise men, being broadcasted to every corner of the world, would talk about what I was going through. Selfish? Yeah, I guess so. But I craved it. I still crave it. Every year I've gone away disappointed.

As I've grown older I've found my own way. I'm starting to find out what I believe is right and wrong. Now, what I want more than anything is for younger people to have the help and comfort that I craved so much when I was their age. So every time conference comes around I ask, pray and hope that conference will be used to educate and comfort those who are going through this, those who know someone who are going through this, and those who will someday know somebody going through this.

Today in the morning session of conference President Packer spoke about relationships. "Elder Packer discussed how unrighteous relationships are of the devil, why we need to stand up against same-sex marriage laws, and stances I felt were dated concerning what it means to be gay." This is not the kind of talk that is going to persuade a 12 year old out of ending their life. This is not the kind of talk that would have comforted me when I was young. This talk would make me want to never tell anyone about what I go through, thus leaving me feeling alone and unloved.

Surely, the "wise men" referenced earlier in this post know that this talk wasn't constructive. Surely, they know how hurtful it was to many.
Surely, they know there are better ways to word things.
Surely, this talk will setback progress for many young kids in the church.