A smattering of thoughts on homosexuality and the Church (previously posted on Facebook).
First, I fully support the policy change. I believe that it is from God and is not a mistake. (Maybe this is where I should start keeping a tally of how many friends I lose over this post.)
Aslan is not a tame lion. What I mean is this: God does things his own way. I believe it is important to find the will of God and change ourselves to align with him; I likewise believe that it is futile to try to mold God in our own image, to fit him into our mental, preconceived God box.
God’s ways often do not align with current popular opinion. Sometimes they do, and that’s a wonderful thing, but God is often unpopular, for a variety of reasons. God is not progressive—at least not in the way the world would like him to be.
Current popular opinion is that homosexuality is good, healthy, and normal. God’s prophets, however, have repeatedly warned that while same-sex attraction is not a sin, active homosexual behavior breaks the law of chastity and is a grievous, serious sin, and as such it is not good, it is not healthy, and it is not normal (where we redefine “normal” to mean meeting the standards the Lord has set, because society’s “normal” is of course at odds with the Lord’s).
Restating point #4, God does not approve of homosexual behavior or same-sex marriage. People seem to mistakenly think he’s okay with it, but the prophets have made it clear (repeatedly) that this is incorrect. This is of course an increasingly unpopular position, one that a lot of people nowadays have a hard time going along with because homosexuality looks harmless.
As is somewhat obvious, these conclusions are dependent on a single point: whether the prophets accurately represent the will of God. It’s a serious issue, at least to those in the Church. (I’m not entirely sure why people outside the Church care one way or the other.)
Mosiah 13:4 comes to mind: “But I must fulfil the commandments wherewith God has commanded me; and because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. And again, because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad.”
People who believe that the Church will eventually accept active homosexual behavior as good — unsin the sin, as it were — are mistaken in their belief and will be deeply disappointed (and already are, in most cases).
As far as has been revealed, homosexuality is not part of the order of heaven. It appears to be a temporary artifact of mortal embodiment, not something essential or inherent from an eternal perspective.
The Church does not hate gay people. If you redefine “hate” to mean “disagree with,” however, then sure, but that kind of linguistic tampering is immature. Leave the language alone, people.
Some members seem a little too eager to take anything in the Church they disagree with and label it a mistake, apparently without considering that it could actually be the will of God. Not everyone who disagrees with the prophets does this, of course, but I do see it a lot in the bloggernacle.
People clearly are hurting because of this. This is sad and unfortunate, but keep in mind that their hurt feelings do not mean that this is not from God. God does not prioritize our comfort over truth. Likewise, the number of people who fall away from the Church because of this, no matter how many, is not evidence against the policy being divinely inspired.
Before some of you start calling me an empathy-lacking monster (not that this will stop you): as disciples of Christ we are commanded to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, even if (perhaps especially if) we disagree with those people. Christ commands us to accept everyone. He does not command us to accept everything.
I am glad that the brethren do not fall prey to the currently popular (and incorrect) idea that people should get whatever they want.
The issue of homosexuality is a good case study in why prophets are important: they can see truth from a higher perspective, piercing through whatever incorrect ideas happen to be blinding people at the moment.
This is a really, really hard issue on all sides, and the difficulty isn’t going away.
I’m currently retypesetting the print edition of my Book of Mormon reader’s edition. The 2006 edition was one of the first books I ever typeset, and my skills then were, well, limited. (Because now they are unlimited. I jest.)
Here’s a glimpse at 3 Nephi 5 (which is normally 3 Nephi 11, but in this edition I use the chapter breaks from the first edition of the Book of Mormon):
I’m using Arno 11/14 for the body text, and the paperback will be available at cost via CreateSpace. The good news with the move to CreateSpace is that the book will only cost around $9 instead of the $18 it is at Lulu. (And I should add that I make no profit on these, nor do I want to.)
I will also be typesetting a matching, combined reader’s edition of the D&C and Pearl of Great Price. And after that, I’ll be doing a study edition of the D&C and Pearl of Great Price, as a companion piece to the Book of Mormon study edition.
Thus far I’m including conference talks and addresses at Church universities (BYU, BYU–Idaho, BYU–Hawaii, LDS Business College).
It’s still very much a work in progress — it only includes conference talks from 1971 and later, the BYU–Hawaii sections are fairly incomplete, etc. — but I plan to expand it to include other members of the Quorum of the Twelve (past and present) and any other talks I find.
Inspired by Elder Bednar’s talk in the afternoon session of conference today, I’ve made a list of the last general conference talks of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve. It currently has the last twenty-two members to pass away; when the Church adds the pre-1971 conference talks to LDS.org, I’ll expand the list.