Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Elder Bednar on Homosexuality


On Friday, I had the opportunity to attend a fireside for Young Single Adults in New York. Elder David A. Bednar was the featured speaker, and he decided to have an open forum question and answer period. (For those of you reading who may not be Mormon, Elder Bednar is a member of the modern Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a special witness of Christ...so he is a pretty big deal.)

I got there about 45 minutes early and the room was quickly filling up. One of my friends had saved me a seat in the front, and so I joined her on the pew. I settled in and removed a piece of paper from my bag that had the question I wanted to ask written on it.

Thank you so much for all of your suggestions as to what I should ask Elder Bednar. I took a little from each of you and came up with a question that I thought would be a good one for him to answer that was not accusatory or offensive but more inquisitive and genuine.

Here was my my question.
I believe that sexuality is not a conscious choice in this life. I have a question with two parts. 1) How does homosexuality fit in the plan of salvation, and 2) what is the church specifically doing on a general level to better support and uplift the thousands of our gay brothers and sisters, both active and inactive, who are in need spiritually, socially and emotionally?

I realized that by asking the question I was going to essentially out myself to the whole audience of young single adults from three stakes. Yes, I was nervous, but I had made the choice and wanted to hear his answer. (I teased my straight friend about her asking the question for me, and she said she couldn't do it with a straight face.)

I am coming up on being out to myself for a year now (wow!) and really don't mind people knowing about me being gay, so I raised my hand at every opportunity, hoping to be called on. But I wasn't.

The audience was packed with raised hands, and only a few were picked to ask a question since each answer lasted from 10 to 20 minutes. I was a little disappointed because I was ready to take that step and ask the question that would establish myself publicly as a gay Mormon.

However, I did get to hear him talk on the subject for nearly 12 minutes. One of the last questions asked from an ASL interpreter was about homosexuality. (Sidenote: the ASL sign for gay/homosexual is putting the thumb and forefinger on your chin, like signing the letter G and tapping it on your chin. Very cool.)

I have included the transcript of that question and his comments below as well as an audio recording. Please remember that Elder Bednar's comments were said to a specific and relatively small group and would not be in any way official statements from the church. This should be simply classified on his thoughts on homosexuality.

Without further ado, here is the transcript and recording, which you can also download here:

Sister (asking verbally and in sign language): I have a question but I... [pause] Sorry, I am interpreting at the same time as asking a question.

Elder Bednar: Don’t be sorry! (laughter from audience)

Sister: My question is a really big question that I am not really sure how to ask. But in concern with homosexuality, I’ve heard people say, “Well, the same as blacks in the priesthood. It will change someday in the future.” (Which I don’t believe that. We have the Family Proclamation that says different.) But I have many friends in the church and out of the church who struggle with homosexuality and it's a huge struggle. And I just want to know what can I do to help them, and some who have chosen that lifestyle and others who are just struggling and say, "I want to get married in the temple but I can’t." So... I just... What's my place and what can I do to help them?

Elder Bednar: What a courageous question. Thank you for asking. This is another example of where it is important to be doctrinally grounded so that you’re not tossed to and fro by every doctrine of men. Now this is going to be very simple. Some of you are going to be disappointed because of the simplicity. I would encourage you to not be blinded by the simpleness of the way. Do you recall that the children of Israel could be healed if they would simply look, but because of the simpleness of the way they refused to look. And a tremendous blessing was missed.

Now let me begin with a few fundamental principles. We are agents, we are not objects. We have the capacity to act, we are not simply acted upon. We are sons and daughters of God first, foremost and always. We are not defined by sexuality. We are defined by our divine heritage.

In mortality everyone that has ever been born has some type of a thorn in the flesh. I do not want to get into chemistry, biomechanics or genetics. I’m not going there. But there are different peoples who seem to have various kinds of predispositions to various substances or other things. I don’t know where those come from, and ultimately I would suggest to you where they come from is not the most important question. The question is how do we respond to them as agents who can act and not simply be acted upon.

Paul described the fact that he had a thorn in the flesh. I have no idea what it is. Some people will have a thorn in the flesh of a particular type. Others will have another thorn in the flesh of a particular type. There are valiant, virtuous, magnificent couples that are sealed in the temple. Their only yearning is to invite children and for a reason I do not know and cannot explain, in mortality they do not have the blessing of children. And you could ask the question, “Why in the world would these two righteous young people not have this blessing?”

Well, the only thing I know is that we will live in families in eternity. For some couples, being prepared to be a family in eternity involves marriage, sealing and the birth of their own biological children. For other couples, preparation to be a family in eternity may include a sealing but not having their own biological children. I do not know why one couple is prepared one way and another couple is prepared another way. But I know that they will live in families in eternity. For that couple, that can be a thorn in the flesh.

Now, in terms of homosexuality, the issue is chastity. It matters not whether you are talking about relationships between a man and a woman or between two of the same gender, the Lord’s standard is the same: chastity.

To those who have same gender attraction, that attraction, in and of itself, is not a sin, any more than inordinate attraction to a member of the opposite sex is a sin. Now if there is dwelling on it, inappropriate evil thoughts, that is a sin. But we have the capacity to master and control those thoughts. You can cast them out, regardless of what the object is of those thoughts. We have the capacity to act and not simply be acted upon. And the standard is chastity, and virtue, and moral purity. It doesn’t change.

Now there are some people who will never perhaps overcome attraction to those of the same gender. If they honor their covenants, work to control their thoughts and do not act on the attraction, they are chaste. They can be worthy and receive temple blessings and every other blessing that is available to members of the church, because they abide by and live the law of chastity. And that is the universal standard.

There are other people who, for reasons I can’t explain, will fast and pray and that attraction may be remedied. It may be lessened. It may be eliminated. I don’t know why that occurs for some and not for others. But ultimately the issue becomes, how do we act in response to whatever the thorn in the flesh is, knowing that this life is only a portion of our eternal life and a preparation to live in eternity in families.

[To the sister:] Help me know if any of that made sense, dear sister, or did I miss some of what you were asking about.

Sister: [Pause] Yes, it makes sense. Yes, I understand. And I think that the other part of it is what can I do to help these friends?

Elder Bednar: Now consider what I just tried to outline in the answer I gave to your question. It’s in the Proclamation on the Family, it’s the principle of agency, it’s understanding the fundamentals of the doctrine of Christ restored to the earth in these latter days that focus on who we are as sons and daughters of god, why we are here upon the earth, what is the nature of the plan, what is the purpose of the plan, what is our role in the plan, and what is the nature of gender in the plan. This goes back to the dating and marriage and stuff.

By divine design, by divine design, as a part of the father’s plan, there are differences between male and female spirits. A part of the plan is for a male and a female spirit to progress together towards the blessings of family in eternity. That’s the reason for those simple statements in the Proclamation. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the Family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. That’s just foundational and fundamental.

And when we see and understand that, you don’t talk about marriage as a sociological institution, and the benefit that it has for a community or a nation. It is a doctrinal, foundational bedrock truth. How do spirits get from premortality to mortality in preparation for living in families in eternity? The authorized channel for those spirits to come into mortality, obtain a physical body of flesh and bone, is marriage between a man and a woman, and only in a marriage between a man and a woman. God has said that is the channel.

Well that gets pretty clear in a world that has a lot of sophistry explaining a whole bunch of things. God’s plan is pretty straightforward and pretty clear, and all of our debate is not going to change it. That’s His plan.

So your question about what can you do? Get doctrinally grounded. Focus on the fundamentals, and don’t be seduced by the voices and philosophies of man. And you can only avoid that seduction if you are doctrinally grounded.

[To the sister:] Did that respond?

Sister: [Pause] Yeah.

Elder Bednar: You don’t sound sure.

Sister: It’s because I’m wondering what I can do to help my friends who are… like, I am doctrinally grounded myself. Do I suggest to them to become more doctrinally grounded as well?

Elder Bednar: K, now I am going to push back on you a little bit.

Sister: K.

Elder Bednar: It sounds like you are asking, “Well tell me the four things that I am supposed to do.” [Sister: Yes.] I’m not going to do that. You get that for yourself. Once you get doctrinally grounded, you can’t go give it to them. Don’t try to give them a list of “well here’s the four things you need to do.”

In the right way at the right time, you’ll be able to give a reason for the hope that is within you. You’ve heard that in the New Testament. Well, when they say, ”Well, you’ve got goofy ideas about this. Well, where do your goofy ideas come from?” They come from the foundation, the fundamentals of the restored gospel. And you’re able to simply and clearly explain and testify. And then encourage them to go and do thou likewise.

So I’m not going to give you a prescription of what you do to them. You get it and then you help them so they can get it for themselves, not borrow it from you, get it for themselves.

[To the sister:] Did we get it this time?

Sister: Yes.

Elder Bednar: All right. Good. [Laughter from audience.] Terrific question.

I am not commenting on my thoughts about what Elder Bednar said at this particular moment. I will post on that later, along with a little detail on a one-on-one interaction I had with him. Needless to say, it has caused personal reflection and some pensive soul searching.

I would, however, love to hear your comments, asking that they remain respectful in this open forum for discussion.

35 comments:

  1. In the time allotted to his answer, Elder Bednar could not discuss all the ramifications of what he said. What he did say strikes me as pretty unremarkable. As a Catholic who has always accepted my Church's teaching that homosexual sexual activity is wrong, I find myself in agreement with his position, as I understand it, on chastity. (Although he didn't draw any explicit point on what chastity is for same sex attracted people — just that heterosexual marriage is how souls are to reach this part of life).

    What is striking to me is his refusal to state what homosexuals should be doing, only what they should not be doing. The question that occurs to me is whether that is because each person must find his own way, once properly grounded (we Catholics might say once he has properly formed his conscience). That would leave open the possibilities of different ways of sexuality for different men. Or was it because he is convinced that the right grounding will lead everyone to the same conclusions about how to live?

    One must also allow for the possibility that he hasn't thought through the implications of the doctrine beyond what he said about chastity, so that he is unprepared to go further in saying what a good life for a MoHo would include.

    If someone comes to all of this hoping for some words condoning "gay sex" I suppose one comes away disappointed, but probably not very surprised. If one comes to it hoping for a step beyond "thou shalt not," one may still be disappointed, but not so badly.

    But there was no suggestion that same sex attraction should exclude men from the church. There was a clear recognition that chaste men are eligible for blessings, and so on. That is perhaps the most positive thing. SSA's are welcome in the church.

    Well, I've rambled on, and I've ended up feeling pretty good about he said, after starting out feeling underwhelmed.

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  2. Jeff in ColoradoMarch 1, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    I appreciate you taking the time to record and transcribe his answer for the rest of us.

    He said: "They can be worthy and receive temple blessings and every other blessing that is available to members of the church, because they abide by and live the law of chastity."

    This is one of the newest and most popular LDS Inc talking points on the subject of homosexuality. My question to him on that statement would be: "Well, aren't love, companionship, and family considered blessings? Those are blessings frequently referred to in LDS literature and from the pulpit yet they are denied to homosexual members of the church."

    The childless couple is an inappropriate analogy... they are not being denied the blessing of children by church dogma but by a biological reality.

    I suspect that what the sister with the question might have really wanted to know (whether she could put it into words or not) was how to counsel gay friends in living a celibate life. That's really what we ask of our homosexual brothers and sisters in the church and yet, to her point, we don't really provide much in the way of teachings on how to live celibacy. Our entire culture is actually built around quite the opposite (consider all the aspects of singles wards and single adult programs in the church).

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  3. There is nothing new here. Bednar simply reiterated the Church's previously stated positions. Reduced to their essence, his answers were: (1) We can't explain it, but it doesn't matter because (2) we already have the complete picture of The Plan, so (3) it doesn't matter what gay people feel because everybody has to fit the same template, and thus (4) if they can't change or marry in the temple, gay people are just gonna have to suffer through this life as the price of the brass ring later on.

    Like I said, nothing new here. And given Bednar's demonstrated lies in his Youtube video during the Prop 8 campaign, I didn't expect anything different.

    Meh.

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  4. I have a problem with this:
    Now, in terms of homosexuality, the issue is chastity. It matters not whether you are talking about relationships between a man and a woman or between two of the same gender, the Lord’s standard is the same: chastity.

    Chastity is defined (in the temple) as having "no sexual relations, except with your husband or wife, to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded". By that "standard", married gay couples are not violating the law of chastity.

    But of course, we all know that the church still prohibits gay sex, even between individuals who are "legally and lawfully" married. It's disingenuous, then, to suggest that "the issue is chastity", because it's not.

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  5. When Elder Bednar says, "It matters not whether you are talking about relationships between a man and a woman or between two of the same gender, the Lord’s standard is the same: chastity."

    He's really being disingenuous. The standard is completely different. The church's view of chastity between a man and a woman allows for courtship, dating, holding hands, appropriate kissing, and eventually marriage and all of it's accompanying benefits. The church's view of chastity between two women or two men involves none of that. You can't even dwell on the thought of holding someone's hand, let alone think about starting a family with them.

    It really is a heart-breaking response. I don't suffer from a "thorn in my side" or any other kind of defect.

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  6. I thought it was a very simple and profound response. I loved it, thank you so much for posting it.

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  7. "Get doctrinally grounded" and beware of "sophistry" are the gist of what Elder Bednar said. To translate: doctrinal ideas matter more than people, and arguments based on facts, reason and justice are dangerous. I'm sorry, but "dig in your heels doctrinally and shut your ears to the voices of your gay loved ones" is a pretty unempathetic response to a sincere question about very real human suffering.

    On the plus side, I read his response as being very defensive in tone. A siege mentality polarizes things in the short term, but it's also a precursor to fundamental change.

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  8. I agree that this is nothing new. Like cancer, blindness or any other affliction, you homosexuality is a defect presented to you as your challenge in life. So, suck it up and endure and someday, somehow you will be rewarded. No it doesn't have to make sense or be explainable because it is revealed truth.

    I will differ with some who conclude that Elder Bednar and the church leadership (with the exception of perhaps Elder Packer) are wantonly or intentionally cruel and insensitive. It just works out that way for those of us on the receiving end. I don't think, for the most part, these men really appreciate how hurtful and callous their words can be. And I do think they honestly believe what they say.

    Funny, too, how our heterosexual friends so very much appreciate the "simplicity" and "beauty" of such statements. I guess it's easy to see it that way when you are living the Mormon dream. I on the other hand cannot see it in such simple and convenient terms.

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  9. Thank you for your faith, Horizon, in considering the question, asking for input, going early, and in being willing to out yourself.

    About my Dear Elder Bednar: I had such hope for this young pup when he was first called. Then in an early address my hopes dimmed. Then with his Pickle address, I think I saw into his heart. To me it became clear he admired process, preservation and regimentation, rather than anything as fresh and alive as individualism, but bless his earnest heart, the boys in my stake all loved him and started getting closely cropped Bednar haircuts.

    On the plus side, at least he didn't use the term "gender confusion" in this address.

    I say we take him at his word. When he says "It matters not whether you are talking about relationships between a man and a woman or between two of the same gender, the Lord’s standard is the same: chastity."

    So if it is OK for a man and a woman to hold hands in a chaste way, it is also OK for a man and a man or a woman and a woman to hold hands in a chaste way. I say let's see more same sex handholding. Who is my authority on this? Elder Bednar and the other brethren who say the standard is the same.

    On spirits coming to earth, I found this troubling: "The authorized channel for those spirits to come into mortality, obtain a physical body of flesh and bone, is marriage between a man and a woman, and only in a marriage between a man and a woman. God has said that is the channel."

    Well it certainly is ONE of the CHANNELS. But as a descendant of polygamists, I doubt that Elder Bednar is going to discount my authenticity as a child of God because one of the channels I came through included a man who was married to multiple women.

    But what if my parents weren't even married? What if my bio dad doesn't even know I exist and my mom was pressured to have me but really wanted to abort me? Does my Father in Heaven see me as an inferior puzzle piece that doesn't fit? What if I consider myself to be gay, too. Am I then in double jeopardy?

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  10. (part 2--sorry this is so long)

    I doubt he intended this, but the following Bednar statement seems to imply that adopted children and biological children are not of equal value to their parents, "Well, the only thing I know is that we will live in families in eternity. For some couples, being prepared to be a family in eternity involves marriage, sealing and the birth of their own biological children. For other couples, preparation to be a family in eternity may include a sealing but not having their own biological children. I do not know why one couple is prepared one way and another couple is prepared another way. But I know that they will live in families in eternity. For that couple, that can be a thorn in the flesh."

    Just what are you saying here about adopted children, Elder Bednar?

    My greatest disappointment isn't so much what he said about homosexuality, it was the way he approached the girl's question about how to help her gay friends.

    If homosexuality is no more than a thorn in the side, if we are all really equally deserving of God's love--gay, straight or bi, "bastards" or adopted or hailing from God's one authorized channel--then why wouldn't he advise that she be loving and kind, that she treat "them" just like the Savior would have us treat anyone?

    How refreshing it would have been to hear him preach the gospel of love, to hear him quote the Savior or Joseph Smith's favorite hymn about a poor wayfaring man of grief. Why was there no room in his remarks for a gentle reminder that inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me?

    One of the explanations is that we are all learning but not at the same pace. I am learning. You are learning. Elder Bednar is learning. He's a junior Apostle. He's not quite fully pickled yet. Maybe with more time in the brine he will begin to shine just fine.

    Horizon: I do look forward to your report about your one-on-one with him, when and if you're willing to share. Thank you for providing these space to both ponder and vent.

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  11. @Scott N:

    You wrote: "Chastity is defined (in the temple) as having "no sexual relations, except with your husband or wife, to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded"."

    In my last temple recommend interview my Bishop asked me to define the law of chastity. I gave the exact wording from the temple (the words you used above). He went on to say "yes, and it's also..."

    He went on to discuss pornography, impure thoughts, etc. But I really wanted to stop him and say "wait, are you telling me that the law of chastity as taught in the temple is INCOMPLETE?"

    In any case, LDS Inc leaders can say it over and over again but we know that the absolutely, undeniably is a DIFFERENT law of chastity for homosexuals vs heterosexuals. There IS a double standard and it infuriates me that these men can stand up and proclaim otherwise.

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  12. Some really great observations here...

    MohoHawaii wrote: "I read his response as being very defensive in tone."

    That's a good point, if you take a good look at what he said it was very defensive. Almost as if he felt the need to justify the LDS Inc position on homosexuality... One might expect that in a room of non-Mormons but he was at an LDS YSA fireside.

    And Ned wrote: "How refreshing it would have been to hear him preach the gospel of love..."

    Also a great point.

    When Bednar made his entrance into the Q of 12, I feel like many in the church saw him as someone who might change the tone a little. Instead it is feeling like they have changed him... he chose to respond to this sister's question with a very dogmatic approach rather than the Christlike response that we might have hoped for.

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  13. He is the only apostle I've ever personally met (just before he was called), and the only apostle whose personality and traits I had to "get past" when he was called. Maybe I never did completely get past them, but this response falls all kinds of flat with me, though I know fully well I would have found it profound and uplifting had I heard it 10 years ago, before it stopped being abstract.

    There is beauty in simple truth, but it's also very easy to hide truth behind a mask of simplicity.

    But then, that's the conundrum, if we start with assumptions in an anti-scientific way (presumably, eternal truth is not subject to scientific method because it goes beyond or transcends currently observable, quantifiable experiment): if he's right, he's right, and we all have to deal with that, and "right" choices become very limited. Of course, limiting options often actually relieves stress and produces a strange sense of "peace" (akin, in my opinion, to resignation, which reduces conflict by accepting limitations) on a conscience which is straining to sort out many factors and 'sophistry'--including that coming from the pulpit.

    It all comes down to your "testimony": is this man called of God? And if so, is everything he teaches accurate and whole? And if not, where are the lines drawn and who has any right to reject certain aspects of what he says? Isn't God the only one who can rightly defy him? Have you asked God whether he's right about this? If your answer is that he's not, is your answer false by mere virtue of it disagreeing with his statement, or is there more to it than that? Etc.

    On the other hand, he's sticking with established, official statements, here, rather than inserting a lot of dos and don'ts and speculation, which is probably as it should be, and I like the fact that he leaves the application of what he is teaching to the listeners to sort out for themselves.

    It would be nice if he had voiced something--anything--that reflected a deeper understanding or sympathy about the issue on a real-life, personal level, but as far as I could tell from my brief encounter with him years ago, that's not his style, and besides, nobody personally understands every struggle, and it's his job to teach principles and doctrine which apply to all of humanity as he sees it.

    So...I'm not sure what more anyone should expect, to be honest.

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  14. Yes, that was the perfect response. The perfect response that is for Mandy and Mark. But since the church is made up almost entirely of Mandys and Marks it works well. Yet the world isn't made up of the "perfect" (as they themselves call themselves in their blog) families of Mandys and Marks which is why the church stand isn't working.

    I'm not sure what was expected to come from Elder Bednar. How and why on earth would he go against the church position? Especially since it really doesn't affect him personally. It reminds me a story told by a character in the movie "The Crying Game". About a scorpion that stings a turtle when the scorpion promised the turtle it would not sting if it carried it across the river. When the turtle asked the scorpion why it did it the scorpion answered: "I'm a scorpion. what did you expect?; that's what we do. It's w/in our nature." If there is something I have learned from the church is that for good or for bad the church is logical. Sadly, I believe the church won't change its stand on gay marriage until it is legalized by the nation. Which is why I believe it is fighting it tooth and nail even though it has taught us to separate church from state. We have seen it before w/polygamy when it wanted to be accepted in the union and w/blacks and the priesthood when it didn't want to lose its tax exemption.

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  15. One more thing. I find it ironic to say it is a simple response (a very simple response to be exact) and then goes on to take about 10 paragraphs to give it and then an additional 5 to clarify what he said. No, Elder Bednar it's not a simple response you and everyone knows it but somehow by calling it "simple" it seems we can downplay the elephant in the room.
    Tony

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  16. In fairness to Mandy and Mark, the specifically state that neither they nor their family are perfect. I do not think it worthwhile to attack those with contrary opinions. Especially when one is only willing to do so anonymously.

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  17. I thought the question itself was more interesting than the answer... This woman seemed to have a genuine desire to help her gay friends. She also didn't seem to feel helped by what she was being told...

    I think a lot of straight, faithful LDS are exceedingly dismayed right now, because they see so many gay people "falling away," leaving the Church. They see some much genuine anguish and woundedness (to speak nothing of the problem of gay Mormon suicide), and simply reiterating the Church position to them and urge them to "hang in there" doesn't seem to be working. So what I really heard in her question is, "What more can I do that will actually work?" And I sensed she didn't feel she'd gotten her answer, and after the third try she realized there wasn't much virtue in pressing the point.

    I would have answered her question by saying, "You can help your gay friends by loving them totally and unconditionally, and sticking by them through thick and thin; fiercely defending their freedom to figure things out for themselves; and working hard to help their voices be heard, so they can feel like they are a valued part of the Church, just like everybody else."

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  18. The comment about Mandy and Mark was not meant as an attack in any way and I'm sorry if it was taken as such. It was made mainly to illustrate the point that many people in the church, whose lives make it difficult to perceive the tragedy of being raised w/a doctrine that condemns being gay, will not grasp the unfairness of Elder Bednar's comments. I wasn't being sarcastic when I quoted Mandys and Marks lives' being perfect (and for the record I'm no sure if they "specifically" state that their families aren't perfect; they are ambiguous if anything) I truly believe they have a near perfect life which is why it is difficult for them to understand the plight of those who are gay and have been raised under the Mormon doctrine. Also I do not have a blog; I just happened to come upon this blog although I did put my name @ the end of the second comment (I don't really know how to use the other options); but speaking of anonymous is your name really "Controller One?"
    Tony

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  19. I apologize for apparently misconstruing your comment. For the record, I have no idea who Mark and Mandy are. I do, however, believe that they pretty clearly disclaim perfection, all be it in a sarcastic way.

    As for my name, of course it's not Controllerone. However, anyone can go to my blog and see where I come from and what my approach is. FYI, I'm not sure but I think you can set up a profile without actually creating a blog.

    Finally, I totally agree with your view of LDS culture on this subject.

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  20. ControllerOne, I did go to your blog and it's ironic how similar our points of view are. One of your posts did sadden me a lot but I will address it @ your blog. And thanks for the advice but I don't think I have the interest to do the whole profile thing. I doubt Mindy nor Mark will read this but if you do please don't take it as an attack anymore than I will take as an attack you agreeing w/Elder Bednar's misguided and ultimately destructive views towards me.
    Tony

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  21. So if I have a boyfriend, and one of us declares that we are "a female spirit," we can get married. Right? <.<

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  22. serious... it seems to me that the church classifies gays in two ways, the mormon ones and the non mormon ones. if youre non mormon and gay fine, do your thing and leave us alone... ie: the churches response to SLC's non discrimination ordinance. but if you are mormon and gay damn it you better not do so much as think like a gay, they some how admit its ok to be gay but thats it. HUH wtf this makes me want to write my letter right now... or better yet get ex'ed so I can tell 15 other bigots my opinion of who christ really is... sorry that pissed me off...

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  23. I wonder what me meant by this: "Now, in terms of homosexuality, the issue is chastity. It matters not whether you are talking about relationships between a man and a woman or between two of the same gender, the Lord’s standard is the same: chastity."

    You could almost spin it to be pro-gay marriage, because he is putting hetero- and homosexual relationships on exactly the same level, if chastity is "only have a sexual relationship to your legal spouse". :)

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  24. My friend, there is nothing wrong with you. What is inside you is not a demon, but who you are. The sooner you stop trying to find a way to fit into the LDS paradigm, which honestly has no place for you, the happier you will be.

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  25. I get tired of hearing the same things over and over about how homosexuality is just another challenge and we all have our row to hoe and everyone is expected to obey the same set of commandments, etc., etc. We get it. How about something a little deeper that offers some eternal perspective, especially within the context of the central marriage/procreation/family theme of the gospel. I want to hear something like: "Those challenged with SSA in mortality were the most valiant spirits in the pre-existence and the select few who even qualified for the honors program. Those special spirits very nearly earned their salvation before mortality and need only make it through this life without killing themselves in order to qualify for Heavenly Father's greatest gifts." How about something like that? Surely that would be more encouraging than "Wicked, wicked...do not do" delivered with a patronizing finger-wag.

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  26. Ok, this is wonderful stuff BUT even when you want to remain as simple and doctrine grounded as possible you will always have people who understand things differently.
    And the problem for me is not that you understand things a different way from your neighbor but when your neighbor wants to force his/her vision on you and considers you a bad member because of your vision of things and tries to leave as little room for you in church because of your interpretation.
    And the worse is that I am not even gay.
    I guess if I were I would simply leave.
    Don't get me wrong, I love my ward and to me this ward is functioning pretty much like the best examples we have in the scriptures.
    But when I hear SOME people's view on this subject I shiver. And when I see how much this is like a way out to their fears and hatred I just get really angry.
    I guess this is the point of this subject for me as well: to try to master my anger.

    And I love the comparison between homosexuality and blacks with the priesthood. I really do.
    Do you recall the account of the reaction of a big part of the people?

    I love how those how are SO doctrinal grounded will claim to follow the Ensign as modern days scriptures. I would hate the prophet to come with a rather bold change about the subject no matter how far it would go. They would just throw a fit or go totally nuts this time for good (to me they are already belonging to the pathological area in some ways).

    Anyway, just needed to let a little steam out on the subject.

    I love how Elder Bednar kept it to the most simple truth: chastity.

    The rest is literature and between each person and God, not each person and the community.

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  27. Gwennaëlle - I found your comment so moving... Thank you.

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  28. I think that the big message that Bednar gave in his answer was that he doesn't know exactly how to help. I don't think that the apostles and everyone really have a 100% solid view on the subject and Elder Bednar was maybe introducing some of his ideas that he is working with. I don't feel like the church knows entirely about Homosexuality in this day and age yet. I wish that they would just come out and say it.

    In my opinion his answer was essentially this. "I don't have a answer for you. In my own searching for this answer I am thinking that the subject of chastity should play a larger factor in the discussion, although it is not bulletproof. In the end, study the scriptures and pray and ask God to tell you for yourself what you need know to help your friend and yourself. I can't tell you something that I am not sure about."

    I think that it is ok for these men to say that they don't know for sure yet but that the lord does, so ask him. I wish that the leaders of the church wouldn't be scared to say that.

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  29. To the comment about "Bednar statement seems to imply that adopted children and biological children are not of equal value to their parents". My wife and I have adopted 5 beautiful children as well as having 3 biological children. When we attended my sisters wedding in the Salt Lake temple the person performing the sealing spent a good 15 minutes talking about how both my sister and her husband were choice children of our heavenly father's because they were born under the covenant. That rubbed both my wife and I the wrong way. I'm glad my children weren't present.

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  30. Elder Bednar is sincere, I believe, but careful and troubled about certain things to the point that he sometimes looses sight of the weightier matters. For example, I don't think he even heard the question in the spirit that it was being asked (though it was asked twice). What I heard the questioner asking was, "How can I show Christ-like love to my homosexual friends"? What he heard was "How can I deal with my friends' political positions and attitudes?"

    Whether my analysis of that aspect of the Q & A is right or not, the question I would pose to Elder Bednar is, How would the Lord have answered this question?

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  31. The response is everything I would expect from Bednar. The reality is the position is chastity for straights, celibacy for gays. The New Testament is quite specific that celibacy is not the way of the Lord.

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  32. Larry in Alexandria VAMarch 20, 2011 at 6:34 AM

    Let us image that Elder Bednar had said, "Okay then. What really matters is the quality of the relationships you form - not whether those relationships are gay or straight."
    No matter how true that might be, Elder Bednar could never say that, because it would not be good for LDS business; that is, the success of the LDS business plan relies on you needing their permission to get into the Temple, and if you can't get into the Temple, you can't get a Celestial inheritance in the next life.
    HIs comments have nothing to do with what is most healthy or helpful for gay or straight people. They are simply entirely consistent with a business plan that keeps the LDS Corporation in control of your life - so long as you let them.

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  33. I know I'm commenting on a very old thread but it is an awesome one. Yeah this isn't much new at all. Being a Latter-day Saint myself and having a gay brother makes this relevant to me on both counts.

    While there are a lot of generous comments from people here, there are also a lot of naysayers as well.

    Bednar's message is not a unique one. Sympathy, love, and acceptance of people does not mean to encourage everybody to follow all of their physical instincts.

    While many are right that it didn't signal any specific things for homosexuals to take, his answer is an appropriate one. If anybody lives their life as they should and genuinely seek the inspiration of the Lord - they are entitled to know the course they should take.

    It just happens! - it is true under every challenge which I have faced in life and I figure it will be no different despite the fact the challenge is inherently different.

    A lot of us suffer from things that we didn't necessarily choose. The suffering may occur due to different things, but in the eternal scheme of things - the specific burden we bear has no bearing on the direction we should take. That direction is trust in God and our most sincere efforts to know Him and follow Him will end in strength, peace, and complete happiness.

    God will make it right with us in the end - despite the challenges that are inherently part of us during the here and now of mortality.

    It is all true.

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  34. Does anyone else want to slap him across the face? His response seem kind of harsh, like he was being all defensive and close-minded. I respect him as a son of God, but sometime "Sir Hate" really pisses me off.

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  35. I think you asked him for bread and he gave you a stone. When you pointed out that you were still asking for bread he told you to be satisfied with the stone.

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