Thursday, May 18, 2006

Revelation on homosexuality

With a sincere desire to help, [they] write letters to Church leaders and pray that God will inspire the Brethren to understand homosexuality and change Church policies to be more favorable toward those who have homosexual desires. The leaders of the Church seriously consider homosexual issues and have a clear understanding of what God would have them do. There will likely never be a revelation on homosexuality that will become a section in the Doctrine and Covenants to answer all our questions. I likewise don't see a section about overcoming alcoholism or other mortal conditions. Revelation on these matters comes individually. The gospel already has the answers we need, and we can receive individual revelation as we need it to understand how to apply gospel principles to our specific problems.
Jason Parks,
in Resolving Homosexual Problems: A Guide For LDS Men

There is plenty I agree with in this book, but there are a few minor points with which I take issue. In fact, as I re-read this quote line by line, there is nothing explicit in it I disagree with. It's just the overall implication that the church is currently all set up to adequately meet the needs of its gay members that I find disagreeable. Sure, the gospel has the answers we need, but that doesn't mean making those answers easier to understand or more accessible isn't a good idea. Why isn't it appropriate to humbly suggest policy change where a need is perceived? It's a tricky thing, I realize, when your average member like me doesn't have access to the same body of information the brethren do. But, it's possible, I think, they may benefit from receiving more information.

Further, while I don't expect there to be a new section in the D&C changing doctrine on the topic, continued revelation and clarification are fundamental tenets of our faith, and I think to assert that no new revelation (other than individual) will come is presumptuous. There is, in my view, a pervasive ignorance in the church on homosexual issues. I do not believe it is widespread among the high leadership (although certain writings appear to evidence some), but I believe it is widespread among the membership. Teaching more on the subject would serve both those who struggle with gay issues and those who don't but who haven't given it much thought.

I do not wish to spend time in the comment section defending the brethren against insults or out-of-context quotations that misrepresent the church's position, so please keep any comments respectful.


Foxx said...

Is Jason Parks a homo?

Anyway, I wish there was something better to compare the all-encompassing challenge of homosexuality in Mormondom than alcoholism. Homosexuality is not an addiction or anything close to a substance that can be abused. It is another expression of the basic human need to love and be loved.

Chris (hurricane) said...

Thanks, foxx. You said it better than I was going to.

-L- said...

Yup, he's a homo. Or, at least, was.

I think he also holds that homosexuality is not an addiction exactly or an abused substance. It's just an analogy--imperfect. Perhaps he wishes there was a more apt comparison as well, but I think he would disagree with your description of it as "all-encompassing". As do I.

Foxx said...

All-encompassing in that it touches every part of my life. Every part.

LDSwithSSA said...

If you understand the addiction cycle, the analogy fits better than most of us want to admit (until one gives himself over to the lifestyle, then it's a different dynamic). Triggers and relapses, remorse and bargaining, etc.

Jason Park said...

When I said "The leaders of the Church seriously consider homosexual issues and have a clear understanding of what God would have them do," what I meant was that they clearly understand the doctrine around gender and sexual orientation. I didn't really mean that they have it all figured out in terms of how to help.

They are doing a lot, but I think the real issue here is that many people think that the Church should provide us a step-by-step plan on how to overcome all our problems. While the gospel of Jesus Christ provides the context within which we can solve all problems, the Church doesn't outline a step-by-step plan for every problem.

Same-sex attraction is one of those things that is a little different for every person. No one step-by-step plan will work for everyone. See for more on the subject.