Yes, my posts have tended toward epic length. And epic boredom. So, I'll try to tease you a bit by noting up front that this is the post where I talk about the "doctrine" of gayness. But it takes some context, so hang in there.
I've mentioned before that what happens to us here on earth happens within the context of an infinitely larger social system--one with rules which we can't possibly understand in mortality because of our human limitations. There has been and will be an arrangement of grouped relationships in families outside of this world. There will be friendship. There will be sex. And the sex will be really good, because we'll all be resurrected and have the body of Jude Law. :-)
God talks about spheres of truth. He notes that we don't understand his ways. We should hardly be surprised then when things don't make perfect sense. The confusion may lie in the pain and suffering God allows us to experience. The confusion may lie in some other seemingly unreasonable cross we have to bear. It may lie in scientific or anthropological discrepancies (which I'll address in a future post). But ultimately, we're just little kids who are entirely dependent on our Father. He tells us stories to help us understand how the world works, and we get it... a little bit. As we grow, we get it more. Unless we just jam the scissors in the power outlet anyway. Then our fried fingers may find fewer opportunities to trust.
You can easily see where I'm going with the gay issue. Despite all the talk, there remains a big fat question mark shadowing the whole topic. Some demand answers from the church--after all, the church claims to have a link from God, so let's have the straight dope. Knock and it shall be opened to you... and yet my bloody knuckles have been knocking for years. All I can say is, God must be on his own timetable for some damn good reason.
There's much, much more that we don't know. I spend a fair amount of effort keeping myself from forcing the issues. I want the answers now... in mortality. But that's impossible. And if I have faith in an afterlife at all, it's an unnecessary demand.
What we do know now is that families are destined for eternal durability. There is an eternal social structure in which mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, are an integral and necessary part of the eternal human economy. Their eventual roles are specific and largely unfathomable to us now. So, in my view, there's no use rationalizing away that eternal gay love is just as legitimate. It's like a toddler claiming that because candy is good, there's no need for vegetables.
We also know that physical imperfections will be gone in the resurrection. My personal view is that same-gender attraction is a physiologic imperfection similar to obesity--it's not a disease unto itself, it's the body working in a completely adapted normal way that happens to produce an effect that is a risk factor (not a cause) for actual, serious diseases. And obesity (I believe) will be gone in the resurrection. Perhaps then, after a life of struggling and searching for relief, I will also be more attracted to my wife when I am resurrected. I can think of nothing more wonderful to hope for. And while such a prospect may seem disgusting to you (I don't WANT to be attracted to women... I like myself just the way I am), I doubt it would bother you so much in the actual application. As for me, bring it on! I'll be keeping all my male friends, I just won't be inclined to awkwardly check them out all the time when they aren't looking.
This all seems pretty clear to me, despite that I see lots of consternation on the topic among my friends and fellow bloggers. And though it's clear to me logically, it doesn't assuage the very real dread pit of longing in my stomach.
I have more difficulty applying this reasoning to women. Presumably, there is some larger reason that women don't hold the priesthood. We're told that they are equal partners with men, but then the actual practice is to relegate women to mostly non-leadership positions. It's just plain contradictory. Women can take upon them the name of Christ, but not the power and authority of the priesthood. How does that make any sense?
Well, an appeal to the same logic I've used above covers it. But for me it seems less adequate in this context. People talk about motherhood as the supernal role balancing out the lack of priesthood. But I think there are some women who would trade in morning sickness for the chance to lead a ward. But, fairly, I should also say there might be men who would trade home teaching responsibilities for the chance to be the most important single person in a baby's life.
The doctrine of eternal gender identity (i.e., I am who I am and the gender that I am for some sufficient reason that will allow me to fulfill the measure of my creation) combined with the promise of equal blessings to men and women for obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel seem to mollify me. But is there a promise of equal blessings? I'm not so sure on that off the top of my head. The example I can think of puts man between woman and God in a key way. That doesn't seem equal.
Regardless, my wife and I are pretty invested in the whole thing, and it has worked well so far. She's a feminist and I'm gay. And we are both active and practicing Mormons. The union between my wife and I is one of the most boring appearing, and yet remarkable and fascinating commitments I know of.
And though I intended to address gay and women's rights in this post, I'm going to put that off. I started writing more and there was just too much for this post. The central issue of this particular post is humility when we consider how little we know and how much God has in store for us. And I look forward to the time I can get to know a little "more".