Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why is homosexuality considered a sin according to many church doctrines? Biblically, there are few, if any, real direct references to it. Within the LDS church, I know much about the doctrine of same gender attraction, but I don't always understand the reasoning. I also know why being gay is wrong for me, but is it wrong for everyone else as well? I am also very aware of what the consequences would be if I decided to have sex with another man. Is it these consequences that make the act a sin? The consequences for me, would be devastating. Is it only a sin because it hurts me and others in some way? I have more I want to write about this, but I want to hear some of your thoughts first.

13 comments:

One of So Many said...

It's all about modern revelation...from people culturally disposed to believe homosexuality is a sin worse then death. I wonder if they have truly had a revelation specifically about it rather then lumped into the "Family Proclamation."

Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed because of this evil and vile sin that so few have (and not the majority of church goers thankfully) and not for things like pride, selfishness, deceit, anger, and violence that so many more of the church deal with.

Because how scary is it to think for the regular church members to think that it doesn't take homosexuals to make a Sodom and Gomorrah. Imagine if it was becasue of sins more accessible to most people. Scary thought.

Yes I'm in a mood and this was a bit sarcastic.

santorio said...

i'd like to think that S&G was not about gay sex, but that's another post.

part of the problem is traditional christianity's hang-up with any kind of sex. adam and eve didn't have sex until they were thrown out of the garden, mary was a virgin, painful birth is curse on women, a woman's menses makes her unclean...

another issue is the social need for scapegoats: gays, gypsies, jews, blacks, flds, you just gotta have someone to blame

and then fear--we are afraid of what we don't know or understand. and it's great to be able to classify as sin anything we are afraid of.

i have no problem with society needing to put some controls on sex. sex without personal intimacy--the classic one night stand--is destructive and demeaning to all involved, but the target should be on promiscuity, not gender attraction

Beck said...

I think, like santorio, that it comes down to fear. We are afraid of anything different from the norm. And if it is "different" then it must be "wrong" and if it is "wrong" then it must be a "sin".

As much as I can and do accept the Plan of Salvation and the purpose for this life centered on eternal families - I still feel the bigger picture of the Plan is LOVE and learning to be more like the Savior and LOVING all as he loves us all.

Somehow, there is more to learn in loving the differences within us than just being afraid...

robert said...

Too often, especially as gay men, we think that our difference from straight men is primarily sexual (and certainly gay men do have a very different approach to sex than straight men) However, sex and intimacy is where we begin, not where we end.
To accept the admonition of religion against homosexuality is to accept that the world has not evolved since the writing and rewriting of these ancient texts. To wit: Nothing should ever change. We should never increase our own awareness or discover new insights into ourselves. Christians and Muslims evaluate a specific action itself, based on whether it is good or evil according to a system of morality derived from that group's interpretation of the Bible or Koran, respectively.

While many millions live this way, it does not square with my experience of life. I lived in a strict Muslim country in the 1980's and a quasi Buddhist country today. If anything, I find religion quaint...but mythology nonetheless. In its most extreme forms, it is an institution of control and money. Why is "gay" considered sinful in some, but not all, religious doctrines? I would suggest for the same reason it was considered a mental illness for many years. People did not UNDERSTAND it. They focused on the sex acts and not on the spirits of the persons involved. Because MOST people did (do) not share gay insight or sensibility or attraction, it was (is) deemed wrong...like witchcraft or left handedness. Centuries ago, the Catholic Church declared left-handed people to be servants of the Devil. For generations, left-handers who attended Catholic schools were forced to become right-handed.

Since we are "sexual" outsiders we bring a different view to questions of love, intimacy and society as well as to the big questions of religion and God.
Many of us were deeply religious as youth. A disproportionately large number entered the seminary or studied for the ministry. Often it was our budding homosexuality itself which inspired such religiousness. It certainly was true for me. I was ministering in the church at the age of 15! Little did I realize at this tender age that much more was to be revealed...that the genesis of my spirit was a clapboard small town baptist church still amazes me today.

At 15, I knew vaguely that I wasn't normal, that I was special, that I wanted something different from life from my parents, that I was not drawn to the usual life of marriage and family. I knew I was "called."

The term "spirituality" has come to be used these days to refer to the concerns and sentiments that previously have been called "religious." People who used to think of themselves as deeply religious now often call themselves spiritual instead. This is certainly true among gay people.

As we explore and deconsruct the mythology of our ancestors thanks to writers like Joseph Campbell, Teilhard de Chardin, Henry Giroux and many others, a new spiritual worldview emerges which embraces the human condition with compassion. I already see it in the children I work with here in Vietnam. People are changing. Religion is losing its control and those who are deeply invested in the institutions will have great difficulting adjusting to the evolutionary process.

Now, when exactly is the rapture? Oops, wrong religion...What about those bodhitsatvas?

Apparently, the Buddha did not leave any teachings on homosexual orientation or homosexual behavior. He strongly encouraged his followers to "be a lamp onto yourself" -- to examine and test the truth of religious teachings before accepting them.

robert said...

ELDER OAKS: Let me just add a thought to that. There is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband, a wife, and posterity. Further, men are that they might have joy. In the eternal perspective, same-gender activity will only bring sorrow and grief and the loss of eternal opportunities.

So you believe this, Forester?

J G-W said...

Just to clarify... You said "I also know why being gay is wrong..." Obviously, nobody in the Church (nowadays at least) is saying it is wrong to be gay, but only to act on it.

As far as other (non-Mormon) Christians are concerned, the handful of biblical texts that deal with homosexuality are a very spurious basis for condemning homosexuality as a sin... Others have discussed this far better, but a good place to start as far as examining the various biblical arguments Mollenkott and Scanzoni's Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?

The Book of Mormon and D&C are completely silent on the subject. But the central issue for LDS, as far as I can tell, has to do with belief in eternal marriage and its corollary, eternal procreation. If you believe that it is impossible to be exalted without marriage, and if you believe, as Joseph Smith stated, that damnation is whatever prevents us from progressing eternally, then anything that prevents you from achieving exaltation should be considered a sin.

That, in a nutshell I think, is the LDS case for why homosexuality is a sin.

Damon In CO said...

Forester-

You bring up the core of the issue. And I think I know what you're saying.

For you it is a sin because you have already made covenants and commitments to your wife, to your children and to your family unit. Breaking these to be with a man would be wrong. Is that what you're saying in your post?

However, you also ask that beyond that, is there a reason that makes it wrong. Meaning if a man is single, never married why can't he share his life with another man he loves. Correct?

I believe that is the main problem. Christians as a whole proclaim it as wrong and if you ask them why "because the bible says so" is as close as you get. They cannot explain how homosexuality will destroy society or undermine marriage.

In the LDS faith we are told it is wrong because our gender and the family unit are eternal and divine and part of the plan of salvation. Homosexuality and the union of homosexuals frustrates the plan of salvation.

However, I would imagine if all of the homosexual LDS members were to remain celibate as I was counciled to do, then doesn't that frustrate the plan of salvation just as much as if I was in a commited relationship with a man?

It's the same question I posed to my family when I came out. Where is the sin and what is the problem if I am in a committed, monogomous relationship with another man? If we are good to each other, uplift each other, contribute to each other and to our community and society then where is the harm done? Where is our sin except in our love for each other? Is there such a thing as an evil love? (not lust, but love)

No one has been able to answer that question for me and it is the same answer and clarification I seek.


The bible recounts some brief rejection of homosexuality. However Christ himself never addresses it. Moreover, it would seem that any statements regarding homosexuality are obviously missing from both the Book of Mormon and the D&C. As we are taught the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the earth, written to our generations for the last days. The D&C: God's modern day counsel directly through His Prophet.

Considering what a difficult struggle this is for us that are going through it and what a divisive issue this is for people, isn't it odd that it hasn't been addressed at all?

We have modern day revelation. However, through the course of years even Church policy hasn't remained the same regarding homosexuality. It wasn't an excommunicatable offense until
1968. Certainly there is evidence homosexuality existed in the Church prior to this. For many years Church policy was to recommend men stay faithful and marry in faith and through that faith and action of that faith through marriage this burden would be removed. Clearly that isn't the case and no longer is this advised by the Church.

I don't understand where the sin lies. I don't think your question has any obvious or easy answers.

Forester said...

I know I have asked a hard question, especially for those of us in the church who want to remain in the church. It's also difficult for me to hold the same measure of sin I have for myself up to others in vastly different circumstances. For me, I know that I would not be happy living without my wife and children. I believe that we are held to varying standards, based on what we know and based on our abilities. I don't hold my own children to the same standard - my older children are held to a greater standard than my youngest, simply because they have a greater knowledge. I think the church sets the highest standards, knowing that its members will not be able to live up to those standards completely - based on circumstnace and the make-up of each individual. And becuase of this, we are instructed not to judge each other. Judgement is left to those in authority, but even beyond their judgement lies a greater, more merciful and just judgement from Christ. I guess where I'm goig with this is that the degree of sin is different for each individual.

robert said...

You said:
"Judgement is left to those in authority, but even beyond their judgement lies a greater, more merciful and just judgement from Christ."
Would you please provide the names of "those in authority"? I would very much like to read what they have to say on the subject of homosexuality, assuming, of course, that these individuals have "more divine information" than you or I do.

Yeti said...

Forester....I'm an married LDS but thinking of having at least 1 fullfilling encounter that I ache for...just one fullfilling moment before I become decrepid/ What do you think?

Forester said...

Robert, I was referring to Bishops and Stake Presidents as those higher in authority, where authority doesn't hold the same meaning as the secular meaning. I've always found the Bishops I have talked to very understanding, loving and wise in their counsel and guidance to me. And no, they have no more access to divinity than we do ourselves, but for me, they have served to lift me up when I was down, strengthened my resolve to be a better person and provided hope where I could find none.

Yeti, I can only answer your question for myself. For me, having that one experience would destroy everything I hold as precious.

Yeti said...

thanks Forester

bravone said...

Forester,

Are you okay? You haven't posted for a while. I hope all is well with you.

Bravone

Since July 15, 2007