One of Those Great On-line Conversations (This time about the Atonement applying to homosexuals)

Copied and pasted form LDS Family Fellowship FB group with permission of the participants.

Can I pose a question? This is not a new idea but I am very curious on people’s opinions both in the walls of this group and also within the walls of traditional Mormons (who aren’t informed about LGBT concerns):

If the Atonement applies to ALL sin for ALL people, meaning that through faith, diligence, prayer, and fasting, we can rid ourselves of ANY sin, why are there no examples of ANYONE who has been able to successfully apply the Atonement to SSA? Many have certainly diligently tried.

I know the obvious answer but how does one explain this while still keeping in line with the current teachings of the Church? — with Wendy Williams Montgomery and 5 others.

  • Daniel Parkinson and another by me:http://www.nomorestrangers.org/no-respecter-of-persons/

    www.nomorestrangers.org

    From a very early age I was taught that God was fundamentally fair. We were given laws and told to obey. We were taught that we would be punished for disobedience. We were taught that there was an …
  • Jake Abhau These are wonderful blog posts. And are framed well. Thank you Daniel

    But is this the one question that no one wants to talk about directly because there is no answer? I know for myself, I don’t even like to think of it. Mostly because it turns my world upside down. 

    The only parallels that I can draw is when Adam and Eve were asked NOT to partake of the forbidden fruit AND asked to multiply and replenish the Earth. The other is when the commandment of “Thou Shall Not Kill” was evident yet, Nephi was commanded to smite off the head of Laban. Admittedly, these held their own unique circumstances. And both are examples of “exceptions,” not commandments that applied to an enormously large group of people.

    There was no way to obey the second commandment without disobeying the first. And since God’s commandments would never contradict, how is this so?

    If I may be so blunt as to say: It sounds like the Atonement does not apply to Satan, his followers, and, of course, Gay Mormons.
  • Daniel Parkinson I look at it this way. How do we decide what is a commandment? What is the ultimate authority? There are huge contradictions in the bible. There are huge contradictions in modern Mormonism. The only reason we should accept Mormonism in the first place is personal revelation. Therefore we have to rely on the personal revelation to help us manage the contradictions. You can’t honestly say that the church has all the answers. For every answer it gives it raises 50 questions. You also can’t say that church leaders trump personal revelation. We have to have personal revelation to know the basic questions: (ie was Joseph Smith a prophet? is the Book of Mormon scripture?)…but then you need more revelation to proceed (is the LDS church the true church? or the RLDS church?). Then you need further clarifications (is polygamy part of God’s plan? did God really want to withhold the priesthood from Blacks?). And in the end you have to trust your personal confirmation about each of these issues. LGBT people are forced to do this, and they are surprised by the affirming response that God gives them. I suspect that parents of LGBT people have to do it too.
  • Meg Hendrix Abhau Yes, parents of LGBT kids DO have to do this. I feel like I got VERY confirming revelation that this is not a sin. I said personal because I know there are people who are gay and who still feel like this is a sin. It is too personal a thing to ask someone to see what you see or feel what you feel. But, for me, I do not see it as a sin. I’m certainly entitled to my own personal revelation on this. (I can hear the roars of some of my sisters/church members now) ‘God’s laws are eternal’ ‘what about the FP?’ ‘That’s convenient!’ ‘Don’t listen to your mother heart!’ ‘This is the purpose of Prophets!!’

    Sorry, I will not turn off my mother heart. I will listen to my inner self and come to my conclusions. I will not look to my church and say, ‘what do you guys think of my son?’ I will look to my heart and hear what it tells me. I will never tell my son that his love is unnatural or a sin. Never. Not because I want to spare his feelings, but because I believe it in my heart. This sounds apostate, I know, but it really does align with some things the church says and we have all agreed that there are many contradictions in the Bible and our own church. So, the answer for me is to listen to my mother heart and trust that. I was given a heart and a mind of my own. I trust it.
  • Daniel Parkinson If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God
  • Meg Hendrix Abhau Also, I too loved those blog postsDaniel. Thanks for sharing! I also found great comfort in ‘For the Bible Told Me so’.
  • Jake Abhau The Bible does contradict, I agree. History is inconsistent with itself in maintaining consistent truth.
    BUT:
    in modern times, the Church does not contradict itself in the same period. It can always explain away a change or an adjustment of doctrine but never does it say that Polygamy is right and wrong at the same time.

    This is the part of it that does not compute. Is there an answer to this? I know we all have our own personal versions. But what does the church say? What do active members say?
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery Jake, I have been down this theological road. One thing to note is the conflicting commandments is a situation created by God. I am fairly certain there is no scriptural basis that says God can’t create conflicting commandments. He could and has done just that to create certain situations. On the surface, our need for the Atonement is inherently unfair. While we approach everything with attention on justice and mercy (the Atonement), the fundamental situation was unfair, but voluntarily accepted by man. Our problem is we seek for fairness with only our limited context. Life is full of inequalities and injustice. You could say Mormons and Mormonism is the exception. Very few in this life will even know what the Atonement is or means or have access to the ordinances of salvation.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery While I am still an active member, I have learned that not everyone is theologically destined to be a member of the Church or should be. The Church is a living, breathing entity with it’s own life and prejudices. The Bible, while being a record of the ‘Chosen’ people, is more about the rise and fall of those religions/cultures. The Book of Mormon is a record of repeated, cyclical rise and fall of the Church. It is again unfair to expect a perfect evolution of the modern Church as well. I think those who reject the Church for it’s imperfections and mistakes miss the greatest message of scripture: how God relates to his people in different times and places evolves and changes.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery Note: It evolves and changes because of the people and times are different, not because God changes. Maybe the City of Enoch got it right and it is why they aren’t here any longer.
  • Jake Abhau Interesting though Tom. I wonder if there were any gay people in the City of Enoch. Seriously.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery Statistically there would be. My personal belief is that as a righteous generation of youth grow to maturity in and accepted by the Church, the revelation will come. Just as with blacks and the priesthood, once the Civil Rights movement had changed the hearts of the majority of the Church and righteous black men were ready, willing and able; the revelation came. But the hearts of the majority of the members of the Church needs to change. Right now they aren’t worthy of our sons.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery I say that sadly.
  • Jake Abhau I should clarify my above question:

    I wonder if there were any Gay Couples in the City of Enoch?
  • Gina Crivello My first reaction to Jake’s question (which is a great Q) is that it must not be a sin, then. God’s laws may never change, but people’s interpretations do. For instance, there are supposedly “clear cut” scriptures supporting slavery and segregation. During the 50’s, Apostle Mark Peterson taught that God wanted segregation and had proof from the Bible and added, “Who are we to change God’s plan?” (Sound familiar? That phrase is used in mormonsandgays, “…for God’s law is not ours to change”). 

    People see in the scriptures what they want to see to justify their behavior.

    Also, scriptures clearly say the world was created in 6 days, but now members reason it could mean 6 periods. Our understanding changes. We are beginning to understand that what is referred to in the scriptures may not be what was originally intended.
    6 hours ago via mobile · Edited · Like · 3
  • Jake Abhau The obvious argument here is that the Atonement need not apply to those with SSA, only those who “act ” on it. So, in theory, the Church has no explaining to do on this topic. However, in Ether, we read that weaknesses can become strengths. It is not any sort of stretch to think that the SSA “weakness” could be changed into a strength (turning straight or no longer having the SSA temptation) though I’ve yet to hear of this happening. So my question still stands.

    I hope that makes sense.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery Again, touching on slavery, I don’t think God ever justifies slavery, but he is working with the people he has. Look at the price our society had to pay to end slavery. Hundreds of thousands died and we barely won.
  • JaneAlly Wonderful discussion. I tend to agree with Meg…I will follow my own heart. I know what I know and I feel what I feel. The gospel is important to me and I know all is well. I know that my son was created from the beginning of time just like I was. I am OK with not knowing all the answers right now. I am willing to wait until the next life to receive the rest. In the meantime I love unconditionally and accept with open arms all those that are in my life.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery I think the Biblical scriptures have the least amount of weight to Mormons in discussing homosexuality. The real contexts are where and how they fit into the Plan of Salvation and the ‘Overcoming the Natural Man’ discussions. Mormons allow modern revelation to trump the Bible all the time (See Leviticus 2, we don’t believe most of it.)
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery Elder Holland said in the last conference, “So be kind regarding human frailty – your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fullness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all. Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving.”
  • Jake Abhau Couldn’t agree more. And that’s what I am referring to. Modern revelation. And, of course Jane is correct, all that matters is that we love and rear our children as best we know how to. But Tom, I think you and I probably tend to over think things (maybe to our own detriment)  

    But I can’t get enough of it. I am a seeker of knowledge. But, in this case, I am probably seeking for knowledge that just doesn’t matter to me in my life because of what Jane pointed out.

    But I still can’t help discussing it.
  • JaneAlly Love Thomas and Jake…”endure to the end” is a phrase I completely understand”. But while I am enduring I plan on partaking of much happiness within the walls of my own home. My husband pointed out while we were daing that the only thing you take of importance after you leave this earth is relationships. I know my son is suppose to be a part of our family. I love him and my other five children. I want the best for him as he travels through life. I want him to feel love, know how to love, how to serve, and how to leave a positive blue print on everything he does. I will be by his side along the way. Of course, I want him to stay close to God because I feel like if he does his life will be blessed with much greatness. He is an incredible spirit and I am proud to be his Mom.
  • JaneAlly I guess what I am trying to say is that it doesn’t matter to me what “I don’t know”. That will all come in time. (sorry for rambling).
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery My opinion is that the revelation can’t come to the Church as a whole because they are not worthy or ready for it. Some day it will be. Our Stake President said in one of our first meetings, “You know, you guys are way ahead of the curve on this one.”
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery It’s almost like you have to trust and have faith…..
  • Gina Crivello I know what you mean, Jake (“But I can’t get enough of it. I am a seeker of knowledge”). I’ve been studying scriptures that have been used to persecute gay people. I don’t care what they say because it isn’t going to change that it’s simply wrong to be hateful and prejudice, but I had to see for myself, nonetheless.

    ‘Modern revelation trumps scripture,’ but they had to learn their understanding from somewhere…an understanding passed down for hundreds of years and where no one dared question in fear of consequences.

    (I’ve taken so long to write this on my phone that the topic has probably moved on – LOL)
    7 hours ago via mobile · Edited · Like · 2
  • Jake Abhau Thomas, I love how you are going to be able to use that line from your SP for good and bad through the years. I, like you, am hoping it was a compliment. Either way, he is right. It’s a nice place to be. Ahead.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery It was kind of a comment that said ‘You are way ahead of me’ and ‘I am not comfortable where you are’ all at the same time. I am not sure he knew which.
  • Caleb Herlin The Plan of Salvation and the whole “overcoming the natural man”… In terms of the latter, I think people like to render a distinction between gay and straight where they should be drawing one between lust and love. I wouldn’t hesitate to trust God’s servants less than God Himself–our Father and Creator, and the order of the universe He Created wouldn’t make any sense to me if the distinction between good and bad sexuality was straight and gay rather than commitment and promiscuity. What I fell like gets in the way for most people here is the question of how gay couples would function in the eternities–and with what we do know about sexual orientation and its unchangingness, it seems frankly impossible that to me that there is something we do not know about the role of gay people and couples in the Plan of Salvation. Really, the whole Plan of Salvation is enormous and ridiculously complicated. Our scriptures give us its basic layout, but to give every detail of God’s plan would fill more libraries than we have in the world. The eternal role of His gay and lesbian children in general is obviously a bit of a larger detail, but for such a detail to remain hidden can be seen as part of God’s plan and His purposes, and we can clearly see at least part of the reason He would delay such a (general) revelation. The principle of revelation is a huge part of the reason I personally love the Gospel, and I’m trying to seek and work off of my own personal revelation whilst also praying that the prophets will seek for and obtain revelation concerning all we yet do not know about God’s LGBT children.
    June 12 at 5:23pm via mobile · Like · 2
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery There was a comment recently on Mormons Building Bridges quoting Elder Oaks as saying the Church has received a ton of backlash (from members) regarding www.mormonsandgays.org. The writer noted that perhaps the website was as far as the Church could go in the current Church culture. The people have to change in order to receive higher revelations.

    www.mormonsandgays.org

    This official website does not offer a comprehensive explanation of everything r…See More
  • Gina Crivello Caleb– big YES and amen to “commitment” vs “promiscuity,” “lust” vs “love.”
    June 12 at 6:01pm via mobile · Like · 1
  • Gina Crivello I had been thinking about Oaks’ comment the other day. Tongue in cheek: Is the church afraid that if they were too radical about making things right with the LGBTQI community that they may drive away members? So… those who want to hold onto discrimination leave while those who want to love stay (and return)? Is that such a bad thing?
    June 12 at 6:05pm via mobile · Like · 2
  • Caleb Herlin That surprises me that there would be backlash from the more bigoted members because of Church leaders saying…anything, really. I was under the impression that bigotry in the Church thrived on adhering to the anything and everything the apostles say as if they themselves were God.
    June 12 at 6:43pm via mobile · Like · 1
  • Jake Abhau History (blacks and the priesthood) suggests otherwise.
  • Thomas Palani Montgomery History: Old Testament (Moses, loss of higher law), New Testament (Peter, gospel to gentiles & eventual apostasy) Book of Mormon (continuous pride cycle) and D&C (consecration, polygamy, apostasy of Church leaders) would suggest otherwise.
  • Tom Christofferson Some random thoughts: first, some in Northstar feel that they have been able to apply the atonement to function in a way that is fulfilling to them in marriage with an opposite gender partner; that isn’t my experience but it is obviously not my place to judge the psychological or spiritual “wholeness” of someone else’s experience. Second, a well-meaning church friend once told me he was confident that gay couples would at some point be able to be sealed in the temple, would hold to the same standard of fidelity and commitment, and would have a resurrection in a portion of the Celestial Kingdom working alongside of and in support of those who would continue create and multiply. He quoted another gay friend as saying that it wouldn’t be heaven to him if he was without his partner and suddenly matched with a woman in order to progress. I told him I appreciate the positive intent of his thinking but I don’t see a situation where our Heavenly Father would have created some of us in a way that forecloses the possibility of attaining the kind of eternal life that allows full association with Him and continued progress. Third, the current stance of the church is that there is no sin in being gay, their concern is with any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage, which says to me that at least at some level there is no conflict with being gay and the Plan of Salvation. Sorry this has rambled — I very much like and agree with Caleb’s comment about the goal being to seek personal relegation about what our Heavenly Father would have us individually do in light of our own circumstances.
    June 12 at 8:56pm via mobile · Like · 2
  • Daniel Parkinson My broader theological argument is this (and it was similarly stated above by some of the other people who have posted here): God and the universe are so impossibly complex, that our human brains can’t possibly understand them. We are given a narrative that may be true (eternal families, and eternal progression that includes creating like God does) but is also an EXTREME simplification of what will happen in the afterlife (as Caleb nicely points out above). We have this narrative that says that in order to participate in the highest degree of glory you have to do it as part of an eternal marriage, but that leaves out millions of details (thanks again Caleb). We don’t really truly know what is the process that leads to creation in the afterlife, so we are given a metaphor that it is like pro-creating in this life. Gay people are left out of the narrative, but I doubt it has occured to any modern prophets to ask God about their place in the plan.

    Meanwhile, Jake, I see the atonement as a separate issue. Christ died for all the sins. He even died for the murderers. I don’t see any sin as being excluded from Christ’s atonement. Each sin requires repentance, and the repentance is obviously more complicated for murder than for minor things, so it is all perspective. 

    I don’t buy into the idea that God consider’s it a sin for me to enter into a committed long-term relationship…so that is where the hoped for revelation will hopefully clarify. But even if it is, Christ’s atonement covers everything, and we will have even have a chance to repent in the next life (furthermore every human will have to repent of at least something in the next life…no one can even go a full day without some sin). After we accept the atonement we will be assigned the kingdom that we belong in based on a completely fair judgement. 

    This is all based on my understanding of Mormon doctrine, (and not necessarily what I believe personally).
  • Jake Abhau Great thoughts, Tom (non rambling thoughts, that is).
    A co worker of mine framed it this way for me today. He is unaffected by homosexuality other than the fact he knows my son. And I can’t really see where I disagree with what he said:

    “While I’ll be the first to admit I do not understand even a fraction of the atonement, you can make the argument that a defining result of the atonement is progression. Progression that is caused by a ‘change’ in oneself.

    We are all unclean and for us to become ‘at one’ with God, we must change. This would suggest that we, not only no longer sin, but that we no longer have disposition to do evil. Power over temptation. Power over the desire to ‘act out’ on our ‘sinful’ wants and desires.

    If actively being gay is a sin, wouldn’t the atonement be able to be applied here somehow? Couldn’t we use it to change our ungodly desires? Why can the alcoholic use the atonement to rid himself off the desire to drink but not the homosexual for his desires? Why does it appear to have limits in its power?

    Could it possibly be because changing homosexuality would not yield progression, the exact result of its incredible power? Could homosexuality be a pathway of progression that we simply do not understand yet? I don’t know. There is no way to know. But so many of us have applied Moroni’s promise to this topic and we seem to all come to the same comforting conclusion. There is a reason we are here. A reason we meet online with one another. I don’t know what I did to be so fortunate to be part of this group but I thank you all for letting me in. It’s an incredible journey.
  • Jake Abhau Daniel, I think we’re saying some of the same things here. Thanks for your comments.
  • Jake Abhau Meg told me that I may not have been clear about the point I am making above. So let me be now:

    How can being in a committed homosexual relationship be a sin if the atonement can’t make a gay person straight?
    June 13 at 8:41am via mobile · Like · 2
  • Jake Abhau Meg and I just had an interesting conversation and here’s the result:

    She asked me if I thought that acting out on Homosexuality was a sin. She was expecting a yes or no answer to this question.

    But I say this. According to Webster, Sin is:
    Noun
    An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

    Divine law? How do we describe this? With so many different opinions, how do we even know what divine law is? The answer to me is simple. Divine Law is the law of God based on the individual defining it’s understanding. This means that if you, in your deepest heart think that it is a sin, it probably is (to you). But if you do not, then it’s not.

    We can only be judged on what we know to be true and right. This is why we have the Holy Ghost. It guides us. It teaches us. It helps us understand. And if we are acting in accordance to what the Holy Ghost (God, Himself) teaches us, how can we go wrong?

    So, is it a sin?

    My answer:
    Who am I to judge? It certainly doesn’t feel like it. And if it doesn’t feel like it, then how can it be?
  • Daniel Parkinson I don’t think the atonement removes desire for sin from our lives. We all sin, and we all sin again after we repent. The atonement allows that we can progress in spite of the sin, and be forgiven so the sin doesn’t become a barrier to eternal progression. And the atonement applies to every sin and everybody who accepts it regardless of when they accept it (this life or the next).
    And furthermore, after the judgement, Satan is cast out and there is no more desire for sin.

    So what about committed homosexual relationships? 

    To start with, if there is sin in a committed homosexual relationship what is the sin? The fact that there are sexual relationships? what if there are none and it is just a commitment with no sexual relationship (like my cousin and her partner). Are they sinning because they live together and support each other economically? Or are they sinning because they are committed to each other? Or are they sinning because they are refusing to look for temple marriages with men (at age 65)? Would it be a bigger sin if they protected their financial security by getting married (this is a real scenario…and my cousin would never get married because she is a mormon, and they are paying a huge economic price for that). Are they sinning because they love each other?

    So if the sin is only the sexual relationship, should gay men look for a way to have a fulfilling relationship with one another, but remain celibate?

    This is hard for gay people at accept, and it is hard for their families to accept too, because we see the unfairness of it, and we can’t accept that god is unfair. So the only other alternative is to believe that it isn’t a sin. Most church leaders don’t have that same kind of reservation. They don’t have any trouble seeing an unfair God. And of course we see all around us examples of God’s unfairness, so it is easy to hang on to the notion that God allows unfairness to exist on the earth, and that he will correct it in the end. However….we as LGBT people and allies know that he will have to correct it in a REAL way, and to us the correction of the unfairness really only makes sense as a correction of the theology, not a correction of the LGBT individuals.

    We don’t know what will be considered a sin in the next life, and we don’t know what will be relevant about sex, chastity, pro-creation, so we can’t really know what would be the place of homosexual relationships in the next life. We don’t know what will be allowed or forbidden as far as love, commitment, affection. But we do know that we will no longer desire sin.
  • Jake Abhau You bring up many great points, Daniel. It’s a whole lot of grey that most people will never have to face.

    As far as the atonement (my understanding). If, in fact, the “gay” is removed from gay people at the end of this life (no one wants that, I know but if it is truly a sin, you would think that would be the case), but if it is, it is the atonement that will do it. It should be able to do that in this lifetime, too.

    Again, I am only speaking within the framework of the Mormon Church. That is what this question is all about.

    Disclaimer: I personally, do not think gay people will be straight after we die. Just as I don’t think straight people will be gay.
  • Jan Martin I am Jake‘s mom. This conversation has been very helpful for me as I navigate my journey in regard to this issue. I wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to write such thought provoking words.
  • Gina Crivello Sister Martin, you have a wonderful son, a beautiful and loving DIL, and a talented, fabulous grandson. The Crivello’s love your family.
  • Jan Martin How could you not! They are amazing. Thanks.
  • Daniel Parkinson I agree Jan Martin, you did something right, and must be an amazing matriarch. I wish there were more families like yours in the church.
  • Meg Hendrix Abhau Agreed! Daniel, she IS amazing!! We are so lucky.
    June 13 at 1:37pm via mobile · Like · 3
  • Carolyn Law Herlin I’m reading a book right now called “The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life” by Terryl and Fiona Givens. It doesn’t talk about homosexuality, but it has a discussion of the atonement that I think may be pertinent to this discussion. I’m not able to adequately summarize what they say right now. I need to finish the book and read it a couple more times. I just want to recommend the book.

    And yes, Caleb, I know you’re supposed to underline or italicize book titles, not put them in quotes. I just can’t figure out how to underline or italicize on this device I’m using.
  • JaneAlly I feel a group party coming on! It is great to have such a group to vent to and learn from.
  • Alexander Shafer As a gay youth in the church, I constantly tried to use the atonement to “heal” me of my homosexuality. Personal revelation told me that it was ok to be gay, and yet I persisted in my mistaken belief that I needed to change. This belief was imposed on me by imperfect men, who were trying to grapple with a situation that isn’t clearly laid out. It unfortunately caused me to trust some very shady theories on human sexuality, which both my own experience and the experience of thousands of others have proven false. That’s what I get for “trusting in the arm of flesh” (bogus psychotherapy- I should note though that good therapy founded in sound ideas has a very productive and positive result). 

    Being gay isn’t a sin, and it isn’t possible for it to be a sin. Otherwise it could be repented of. Being straight isn’t a sin either. There can be nothing inherently sinful for being, unless we believe in original sin all of the sudden. Therefore, desire is also not a sin, but for some purpose. For a heterosexual person, that has been explained. Sometimes not knowing leads gay people to think they are broken, not part of God’s plan. This simply can’t be. 

    God’s knowledge and plan are a lot bigger than any of us. It’s best to think of this as an individual thing, that God has a purpose and plan for gay people that hasn’t been revealed to the church at large (mostly because of ignorance and not being willing to learn). It’s uncharted waters, but it’s ok that some people choose a different path. We’re taught to respect that, and I think we need to respect the agency of gay people to choose the best path or what they believe is the best path. Trusting that they might know something about themselves that other members don’t know (I speak from plenty of personal experience here). I think people are learning and receiving light and knowledge, and this group is evidence of that. And that’s a beautiful thing. “Ask and ye shall receive.” I think there’s a lot of light and knowledge still to come.
  • Jake Abhau I want to thank everyone who participated in this discussion. It was very educational to learn from all of the different perspectives. I find it fascinating how we all learn to “cope” with understanding of this topic. 

    All in all, this issue doesn’t really matter to me. I have enough faith in my God that the good people of this world will be blessed. And I have already been so blessed to have been accepted into this world with such wonderful and beautiful people.

    Thank you for accepting me (despite my straightness).
  • John Gustav-Wrathall I’m not sure I have a lot more to add to a very thorough and great discussion here…

    All I can really contribute is my own personal experience with this. I originally came at this with the assumption that same-sex sexuality was completely sinful.

    I feel the Lord challenged this assumption through a series of powerful personal and spiritual experiences that took place over the course of decades. I think I’ve finally come to a place where I understand that my gayness is an essential and good part of who I am, and that my relationship with my husband (going on 21 years now) is part of the good destiny God intended for me in this life.

    The Atonement does apply in my life all the time…!!! I need forgiveness and renewal every day of my life. I make mistakes all the time. But at one point it came clear to me that it is not my relationship with my husband Göran that is the sin or the problem, it was my failures to fully honor and be true to that relationship as I ought.

    FWIW.
  • Wendy Williams Montgomery I have been loving this conversation! How wonderful it is that we all have a place like this to talk about these issues and ask hard questions. This is my personal feeling: I think we should level the playing field and not have double standards. What applies to straight youth (and adults) should also apply to gay youth (and adults). If it’s okay for a straight couple to hold hands, hug, kiss, etc. it should be okay for a gay couple to do the same. When it comes to intimacy, I think the same thing should apply. No sex before marriage and total fidelity after marriage – whether you are gay and straight. Jordan has the same rules and expectations to live by that all our other children have. I may be naive and ignorant to hope that he will wait to be in a committed, monogamous before he has sex, but that is what I hope for and we strongly encourage him to do. But by the time he is old enough and ready to be in a relationship, hopefully gay marriage will be legal in CA. If we call pre-marital sex a sin – then it should be for gay and straight couples equally. We had a leader tell us that even gay people holding hands is grounds for discipline. I completely disagree with this. We need to create equal ground for gay couples. It is the only fair way to handle this.
  • Gina Crivello I watched a documentary (Trembling Before God) about orthodox gay Jews wanting to continue to be orthodox. It was one rabbi’s counsel that as long as the committed gay couple (or straight couples) didn’t engage in sodomy then he didn’t see the problem… It was that one particular act (in his understanding) that was forbidden and that other intimacy was okay. Other rabbis didn’t hold the same view.

    The documentary showed me the scriptures weren’t specific, and things were assumed. In interviewing couples, it also showed that it’s a false assumption that gay equates desire for that one particular act.

    I agree, Wendy, about the same standards.
    6 hours ago via mobile · Edited · Like
  • Daniel Parkinson But it is interesting that the Mormon Church has pretty much stayed out of married people’s bedrooms (lately). The same sexual practices that were once considered sodomy are not worthiness issues for Temple Married Couples, neither is it discussed in ecclesiastical interviews (I hope). Even though large families are encouraged there has never been a prohibition of family planning and contraception (that I know of). 
    However, Gina, that Rabbi’s attitude is interesting because he took the time and thought to ask the same question: What exactly is the sin?
    3 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2
  • Meg Hendrix Abhau I can’t imagine the earful my bishop would get if I was asked about my sex life. Starting with *none of your business!!* and maybe ending with *you’ve got some nerve!!*.
    It should be the same for gay couples.
    Friday at 3:07pm via mobile · Like · 1
  • Carolyn Law Herlin Our bishop disciplined my son for having a same-sex relationship status on Facebook, regardless of any physical contact that was or was not going on. He seemed to be worried about the publicity more than anything.
  • Daniel Parkinson How long ago was that Carolyn
  • Carolyn Law Herlin About 2 years ago. My son was about 16 or 17 at the time. He is almost 19 now.
  • Daniel Parkinson I hope the new website helps shut down that type of response.
  • Carolyn Law Herlin I should add that we later met with the stake president who told the bishop to back off.
  • Tom Christofferson This has been a fascinating conversation to catch up on today (finally had time to read everything in full), thanks Jake for including me!
  • Tom Christofferson I had a conversation with my parents several years ago some time after I had returned to active participation in the church. We were talking about what they prayed for with regard to me and the gospel. It was a long and loving conversation, including expression of their affection and appreciation for Clarke, my partner now of seventeen years. In the end we concluded that the best prayer was one of gratitude to our Heavenly Father that in His love He made possible the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, of confidence that His judgements are righteous, His knowledge and understanding are greater than ours, and a plea that while striving to know and follow His voice that we would feel His peace.  For my parents and for me, knowing that we have been united in our prayers has been a source of strength and comfort to us.
  • Jake Abhau Fantastic, Tom. Really. I’m glad you have such amazing parents.
  • Tom Christofferson sorry, not sure why the Return key keeps sending the message rather than adding a paragraph. I wanted to add that, like Nephi, I was born of goodly parents, a blessing for which I am constantly grateful. Reading the comments above from other goodly parents who are striving to reconcile love for the Savior, His gospel and for their children, siblings and grandchildren, I’m sure they likewise are and will be as grateful for your love and support and fighting spirit on their behalf!
  • Caleb Herlin Pssst…you can add a paragraph break using shift+enter. ^^’
    Friday at 5:11pm via mobile · Like · 2
  • Friday at 5:18pm via mobile · Like · 1

1 comment for “One of Those Great On-line Conversations (This time about the Atonement applying to homosexuals)

  1. Dan
    June 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I don’t usually comment, but I felt drawn to this time. Maybe the discussion nature makes it feel more natural. Anyways I just thought I’d leave my 2 cents.

    I believe in universal morality still, in the “law decreed in heaven before the foundation of the world”. But that law is not the same as church law. Church law gets messed up from peoples (even prophets) cultural biases, from misunderstanding scriptures, and many other sources of error. The relevant example is homosexual relationships, everyone I know who’s asked if they’re a sin has got the answer they’re not. But thats a hard question for so many members to ask because of their own biases, or because of the difficulties that follow. It introduces so many questions about what we assume is the plan of salvation and exaltation. And what do you do with the answer, especially if you’re not LGBT yourself, you dare not bring it up with your ecclesiastical leaders, because you’re likely to have your temple reccommend taken at the least for not supporting the brethren (maybe this varies by person, all I know is thats the position my last bishop + stake president and my current bishop have taken). And just because it’s not a sin doesn’t mean its right for everyone. For some people making that sacrifice might be the right choice for whatever reason.

    To my mind the reason it’s not sinful, or something the atonement can change. Is I feel that sexual orientation is something that is as much a part of us as gender. And I don’t think it’s going to go away magically at the resurrection either like the church teaches. How many times are we told that in the resurrection or spirit world we’ll still be the same person, with the same appetites, desires, passions etc. that we are at death? And if that applies to things that can be overcome with the atonement in this life, wouldn’t it make even more sense to something like homosexuality which so many have tried and failed to get rid of through the atonement?
    Maybe the “highest level” of the celestial kindom requires a man and woman sealed in the temple, or maybe it doesn’t. I believe that if it does the spot we will be in will be where we are meant to be, and want to be, with our spouse regardless of their gender relative to ours.

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