Author Topic: Religion (Potentially sensitive)  (Read 20458 times)

Armadius

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2007, 06:16:50 AM »
Hehe, not to worry. Living in small-town Massachusetts amidst petty, catty high school students tends to make people fairly thick-skinned. I'm almost impossible to offend, to the point where I often wind up mistakenly assuming what doesn't offend me won't often others. You can't fathom how many sarcastic religious quips I'm holding in. And don't worry about sticking your nose in either; I value everyone's two cents.
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EUOL

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2007, 06:38:44 AM »
What a wonderfully well-thought and articulated response, Armadius.  You're sixteen? You need to become a writer.

Anyway, I think Skar correctly identified my thoughts on that point.  However, to be perfectly honest, I would rather have someone in a monogamous gay relationship than have them being promiscuously heterosexual. It seems to me that this one sin has been over-emphasized in proportion to some others.  But, let me look at your points one by one.

1.  You are right, I think, to question this.  The simple fact is that the Bible--as wonderful as it is--really can't be used in this issue extensively.  Christ never spoke against homosexuality. The scriptures we can quote on the topic come from Paul or Moses. And, you've already pointed out the problem with the Sodom scriptures--they are by no means conclusive in regards to homosexuality.  That leaves us with a scripture in Leviticus where man is commanded not to lie with mankind, and the quotes from Paul (who, in similar passages, is known for commanding that women should not be allowed to speak in church.)  So, I must say, you certainly win this point, in my opinion.

The only response I can offer gets us into two more points of LDS doctrine.   We take a lot of flack from mainstream Christian churches for these points of belief.  1) We believe that the Bible has a lot of flaws that have crept into it through miss-translations and other errors.  2) We believe that if God has a true church on the Earth, he will lead it by way of prophets to whom he speaks in the same way he did to Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, and Isaiah. 

The LDS church was founded by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have seen a vision of God and Jesus Christ. (Story is here, in his own words, if you are curious:

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1

 Since him, the church has been led by a prophet in turn.  (There's a hierarchy, kind of like the Catholics except for two things: the LDS church has no paid ministers, so these men are retired people who quit their other jobs when asked to serve in this position, and seniority leads--there is no electing the next leader, and no politics involved.) 

We respect the teachings of these leaders above the things taught in the scriptures.  We believe they receive direct guidance from God to lead the church.  (We put a lot of stock in guidance from God--like I said earlier, we believe that all people are entitled to revelation and guidance from God to lead and guide them.)  So, the prophets (there are fifteen, with the eldest being "the" prophet and president of the church) are very important to us. A book written two thousand years ago can offer great things, but modern prophets are necessary to talk about today's concerns.

So, the modern prophets (I quoted Elder Oaks earlier) have confirmed that homosexuality is a sin.  It is because of this stance that the church as a whole can take a stand against homosexuality.  (Though, hopefully, an understanding stand.)  It is not inconceivable that this stand could change. I don't think it will, but there are times when the church position has altered.  The biggest example of this was when the church changed positions to allow blacks to be ordained priests.  We believe this direction came from God, and that the world and church had changed enough to allow this.

Either way, we have modern confirmation from a man we believe receives direction from God that church members are not to engage in homosexual romances.  We don’t have to rely on the Bible—which is wonderful, but sometimes vague (like it is on homosexuality.)

--Edit, link to Joseph Smith's history added. More responses coming.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2007, 06:41:52 AM by EUOL »
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2007, 06:56:07 AM »
2.  Understood.  I'm actually interested to hear this, and I apologize for assuming that everyone who was gay wanted to be straight.  My gay friends express this desire--not that they really wish to be straight, but that if they had to chose, they'd probably be straight just so they wouldn't have to deal with all the societal issues of being gay.

3.  Again, I appreciate hearing this. 

Maybe I'd best get into the real core of why homosexuality doesn't work with LDS doctrine.  Our focus on family comes from deep theological beliefs.  The point of life is to gain experience and learn.  The ultimate point of existence, however, is much more than that. We believe that we are learning and growing because we are the children of God, and in so being are capable of becoming like Him in all ways. That means Godhood is our ultimate goal. 

However, spirits come in two types--male and female.  Joseph Smith taught--and this is some deep doctrine that we really don't often get into because we really don't know much about it--that God was once like we are now.  And, in order for a person to become like him, one must have a spouse.  One man, with the power of the priesthood, and one woman, with the power of creation.  Together, they can create and become as God (who also has a wife.)  Two men together, however, would not be complete, and neither would two women. There are two types of marriage for us. Worldly marriage, in which you make a covenant for life. Eternal marriage, in which you make a covenant for eternity. 

So, I think THAT'S the core.  The Church's stance against homosexuality comes from a deep belief that it is contrary to God's ultimate  goal for us.  (And we also believe we had gender before birth. This begs the question of hermaphrodites, which I don't even want to touch.)
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2007, 07:31:11 AM »
4.  I can really have no argument here, either, other than to point out that I am aware that Homosexuality is not something that can be 'cured.'  People who try to do so don't understand the nature of it.  It can, however, be resisted.   Yes, it would be hard to live in a world where heterosexuality is stigmatized.  (That brought to mind an interesting image, by the way.  There's probably a story there, somewhere.  Unfortunately, it would be hard to do right.)  Anyway, remaining celibate as a gay person can be no more difficult than remaining celibate as a heterosexual person--something we, as members of the church, are asked to do when we are not married.

Celibacy is a hard thing, and it is not something I could suggest that you do.  The thing is, you're not a member of my faith.  As I stated in my original religion rant, I think a person is held to the dictates of their faith.  I believe in the LDS doctrine.  For that reason, I remained celibate until marriage.  (Which didn't happen until I was 30, so I at least have a little grounds to stand on in this argument.)  For a person who is not a member of my faith, however, these dictates don't really hold.

The homosexuality issue--though it is fun to debate, because it lets us express our different beliefs--is actually a small issue.  Before I would have any grounds to convince you (which, indeed, I really don't think I should try to do.  My goal so far has only been to explain where we are coming from in our beliefs) you would 1) have to believe in God and 2) have to believe in my religion.  My only grounds to stand on are the words of the prophets, which are meaningless to someone who doesn't share my faith. 

And so, these things I offer as explanations more than arguments.  I think, in particular, our belief in the divine nature of mankind is the most explanatory and foundational of why we think the way we do.    For this reason, our church calls the act of practicing homosexual sex as a sin, and resists gay marriage legislation for the reason that it would legalize this act, which we believe is a miss-use of creative power.  (It's actually very rare for the church to take an official stance on a legal issue.  Each election year, the church leaders release a statement that must be read in each church congregation.  It states as a reminder that the church does NOT endorse any one political party, and that members should not imply that it does.)

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2007, 03:03:26 PM »
I, like skar, get into fights. I hope not to, but I feel compelled to explicate a couple things.

Homosexuality being genetic has not, to my knowledge, been conclusively proven by science. It is also not Church doctrine that homosexuality is a trait one is "born" with.

In fact, I have seen a lot of studies -- both clinical and anecdotal -- that demonstrate that attractedness can be a learned behavior, in either direction.

I don't think there's any problem, in the church, with loving someone of the same gender. Unless that love is also physical. If it's purely emotional love, I'm not sure I really see any difference between non-physical love and "best friends."

So I think there's less conflict than you do. You claim that homophilia is what you experience, but are confused (not sure if I'm using the right adjective there) by a church that preaches against it. However, from what I understand, the Church doesn't teach against homophilia. It specifically outlaws homoSEXUALITY.

I also don't think that "love" and "family" are as synonymous as you establish. Certainly love is a prerequisite to a ...uhm. successful? family -- a healthy, happy family. But part of family, esp in the Church's view, is progeny -- having children. For a host of doctrinal reasons. This would be why the Church can teach against homosexuality and be so aggressive in family teachings. Ancestry and descent are important elements in family.

Shuez

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2007, 07:09:40 PM »
I was really worried about Armadius for awhile, I thought that this was going to turn ugly! I detest religious debate on forum boards that are not about religion.

Armadius, I agree with Brandon, your responses are NOT those of a sixteen year old. Very well written.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2007, 11:46:52 PM by Shuez »
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2007, 09:28:28 PM »
SE,

I don't know.  I'm pretty much convinced on the genetic side of it.  Knowing my cousin, who wanted very badly to be straight (not for church reasons, but because he just wanted to not have to deal with the issues) went to counseling for some six years to try getting over his same sex attraction.  For him, it's genetic, I'm 100% convinced. 

The Church, I've noticed, doesn't take a stand either way--which I think is wise.  The Church is not a source of medical authority.  All the leaders say is "No matter where this comes from, we take a stand against sexual relations between people of the same gender."  The numerous articles published for church members about resisting inclinations seems to indicate to me that they realize that--nature or nurture--there are many people who don't have any choice regarding which gender they find attractive. 

Your points are very well put, however--and I agree with the other ones.
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Spriggan

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2007, 09:58:59 PM »
Heh, love the AdWords for this thread.  One can always count on google to make any conversation humorous.
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2007, 10:07:53 PM »
for the record, I didn't say it *wasn't* genetic. I simply said what you just said: the Church does not say it is genetic. I have yet to be pointed to conclusive proof that science says it's genetic. This does not mean it isn't. It means that when you say it's genetic, it's an opinion. That opinion may be founded on some evidence, but it doesn't make it fact.

A person, even a person who wants to, not being able to change his behavior is not even solid evidence that the behavior is genetic. People fail to do things they really want all the time. There are many factors.  You used alcoholism as an example. You aren't born an alcoholic. YOu may have an inherited predisposition toward alcoholism, but even if you do, having a few drinks does not automatically make you an alcoholic.  Thus I don't find your conclusion remotely convincing -- especially given your description of why your cousin wanted to change his attraction. It sounds to me like he didn't have a conviction that he *should* change.

The most I'm willing to admit possible is that *some* homosexual attraction is genetic. Or, more likely, that there are genetic *influences* on homosexual attraction. I've seen a lot of people change their attractions. To me that says they don't have a gene that dictates their attraction. I don't think that anyone is born programmed to like the same gender. My conclusion is also an opinion, i admit, but I looke at all the evidence before me, and that's the conclusion I believe most likely.

Anyway, that's really neither here nor there, it's just the sort of discussion I like to have. As you say (and I said just a few paragraphs ago), the Church has no stance on the genetic nature of homosexual attraction. So, doctrinally, all we can say is that homosexual behavior is forbidden. The rest is details.

Armadius

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2007, 10:14:15 PM »
Studies can indicate anything, SE. I can all but guarantee you that I could locate just as many studies suggesting a genetic basis for it as you could suggesting another view. My certainty that homosexuality is a genetic trait comes entirely from the fact that I see no other likely possibility; take it from one who would know best: it's not a choice. I never made the choice to be gay and, frankly, there's no logical reason why I would. I enjoy my life as a gay man, but that's due largely to the experiences I've had; I have no desire to change, but if I had been granted a choice, without knowledge of the experiences I'd have being gay, I doubt I would have opted for it.

And while you're perfectly entitled to think that it's a nurtured characteristic rather than an intrinsic one, I disagree. I ask you, what factors would lead to a homosexual child? An absent father figure, some claim, but my father's been anything but. He's hardly a paramount example of society's ideal "man's man", but my straight brother - also raised by him - seems to suggest there is no tie between a father's hand in rearing his son and his son's sexuality. Even if this isn't your argument, I'll be happy to refute whatever you claim nurture's homosexuality in a person.

And I'm perfectly aware that the Church doesn't take a stance on two people of the same sex loving each other. My point, though, was that homosexuality shouldn't be grouped with adultery, beastiality, etc. as "sexual immorality" because "homosexual" really is something of a misnomer in most cases. There is, in my mind, a very distinct difference between "best friend" love and romantic love; I can quite honestly say that the romantic love I've felt is NOT the same as the love I have for my best friends. And please, don't try to tell me the difference is the presence of carnal attraction, because I've been very attracted to some of my friends before, but they're still just that - friends.

Also, the church's stance doesn't confuse me. It just seems a tad contradictory, to me, to preach against gays raising families but preach in favor of families as a whole.

In addition, I'm not trying to equate love with family, but I do think the two are very, very strongly related. I think even LDS members can agree with me on that. For a family to function the way it should, and to be considered "successful", I believe its members must love one another. The fact that two gay men cannot rear a child who is biologically related to them does not mean they cannot raise children; as I've said, some of my very good friends are raising two, even three kids, and they're shaping up to be ideal members of society. Genetics isn't all that makes a family. In fact, it's a very small part. If I weren't genetically related to my parents, I doubt it would seriously damage my family's cohesion. I love my mother and father far more for the effect they've had on my life to this point than I do for their having created that life in the first place.

Perhaps "debate" wasn't quite the right word.

Also, Suez and EUOL, thanks for the compliment. Call me arrogant, but I never tire of hearing that ;) (Is an emoticon considered adequate ending punctuation? It looks weird if I throw a period before/after it.)

And EUOL, I've actually considered being a writer before, but I don't currently have the patience to write a novel of any respectable length, and (pardon me if this is offensive or whatnot) I don't think writing can yield as much money as I'd need to support the kind of lifestyle I want. Now, that's not to say I really expect to be able to live the way I want to - but I'm only a kid. Allow me my hopes and dreams ;)
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2007, 10:23:34 PM »
Why do we think Homosexuality it wrong? quite simple.

We believe to get the full blessings of heaven you need to be married and both male and female bring what's necessary to the equation, it's like a plug you can't get power by placing the same ends together.  There are two parts to the whole, a male and a female, and no other combos will work.  And buy not having that combination you can't get those blessings and thus are doing something that impedes your heavenly progression.

So it pretty much comes down to either you believe God commanded it or you don't, there's no hypocrisy or double standards because God has said what the reason is.  It's not because we can exclude a group, which no religion wants to do, it's because there's a Heavenly Law that dictates it and God does not make exceptions to any rules.
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2007, 10:58:26 PM »
I also do not want to be offensive, but I would like to add this.

A few years ago, my mother (who was a Mormon seminary teacher) went to a lecture by a psychologist.  This psychologist (I don't remember his name--If you really want it, I can see if my mother kept track of it but she has a very bad memories for names and so may or may not be able to comply) worked solely with members of the LDS church who were homosexual and did not want to be.  This means his numbers are skewed because he didn't work with people who did not have a religious reason for not wanting to be homosexual, and he didn't work with people who were content with their sexuality.

He said that about 70 percent of the people he worked with could overcome their homosexual tendencies.  Now that still leaves a large portion that could not.  He also said that while many of the people he saw seemed to be homosexual from birth most likely because of a genetic predisposition, he also saw a large number of people who had been sexually abused as children.  My impression from what he said is that his success was mostly with this latter group.

I am not saying that homosexuals were all abused.  I believe that a lot of people who are homosexual were born with those feelings.  But I don't believe they all were.  It becomes a difficult issue because many people think that it's either an all or nothing.  Either all homosexuals have the possibility of becoming heterosexual or none of them do.  I think the truth is somewhere imbetween.  The difficulty is that some people seem to think that saying any homosexuals can change is an attack on all homosexuals.  Oddly enough, there is something very similar among the deaf community where deaf activists think that surgeries to restore hearing are an attack against all deaf people.  I believe the logic is something along the lines of, "You wouldn't try to cure being black or try to cure being female, so why would you try to cure being deaf?"

It's a difficult issue because people are so emotionally involved.  Emotions tend to make people think less rationally and to be more likely to take offense.  That's my two cents.
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2007, 11:09:26 PM »
I think another thing that clouds that issue is the people like Ann Hashe who become gay to be trendy and then switch back and fourth when it suits their needs.  A lot of people sadly form opinions on important social issues just by watching what's ever popular or making news in Hollywood at the time.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2007, 11:13:57 PM by Spriggan »
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Armadius

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2007, 03:35:51 AM »
Spriggan - I agree. It does all boil down to whether or not one believes God commanded it. However, I don't quite agree with your perspective on why it's wrong - you say same-sex couples can't complete "the equation", but that relies entirely on the belief that there is an equation to complete. I don't doubt there's a reason we're here, but I don't presume to know what it is. The view that we exist only to perpetuate life seems, to me, fairly narrow. For, as I see it, I'm probably never going to pass on my genes, but I still exist. If I were meant only to procreate, I wouldn't exist. Now, that said, the validity of this depends entirely on whether or not you believe homosexuality is a choice.

Also, please don't make the mistake of saying someone "becomes homosexual" and then shifts back. Displaying homosexual tendencies does not make someone gay; plenty of angsty teenagers pretend to be bisexual because it gets attention. This does not make them truly bisexual. People who use sexuality as a publicity stunt demean and belittle the importance of the issue.

Sigyn - That's something I hadn't even considered. I'm actually a little bit stuck trying to refute it, because you have a very good point. I don't want to get too heavily into Freudian psychology (being that I'm about as much a psychologist as I am a Bible scholar) but I've heard from many sources that psychosexual development can be stunted  and/or warped by traumatic experiences. I've seen this used as an explanation for the whole pedophilia scandal that plagued the Catholic church. But let's assume that I'm speaking of people who have had no traumatic sexual experiences; I certainly never have. It's my firm belief that sexual orientation, unless affected by traumatic experience, can't be changed. Those who claim otherwise seem, to me, to be delusional; sometimes desire can override perception of reality, and if someone wants badly enough to be straight, he/she can convince him/herself that he/she is.
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2007, 05:30:01 AM »
Armadius, I think you were confused by Spriggan's talk of plugs. He's not talking about perpetuating life here on earth, but about heavenly progression after this life. It's something we believe God says can only be done in male/female pairs. So then it just goes back to whether or not one believes God commanded it.

There's also some confusion here between being homosexual in orientation and being homosexual by practice. A person certainly can change their sexual practices and "become (practicing) homosexual" and then later switch back. This isn't talking about orientation (though some people claim to have changed their own orientation as well, so saying some people claim this would not be making a mistake—and I think that unless you know them personally, calling them delusional is overreaching).
« Last Edit: January 19, 2007, 05:31:46 AM by Ookla The Mok »
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