Jul 19, 2009

Can Love Be A Bad Thing?

The following must not be interpreted as petition to the Church. It's simply a summary of some thoughts I have had that I would like to hear other perspectives on. Criticisms are welcome, but let's keep it respectful, compassionate, and understanding.

I actually wrote this post a while back for Mormon Matters, but for some reason I was waiting to post it on my own blog. After the latest Church vs. Gay controversy on Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City, I think the time is right to discuss it again. (GayLDSActor did an excellent post about "the kiss" here for those who are interested.)

This post isn't about marriage. It isn't about sex.

It's about love: something that we all desire, crave, yearn, seek, and strive for. I have, and so have you.

Romantic love is not sex. Neither does it necessarily involve or lead to marriage or sex. It's that feeling of being captivated by another human being and caring for them, as well as expressing our emotions for them verbally or physically, often in a non-sexual manner such as holding hands, embracing, caressing, and innocent kissing: behaviour that is appropriate, according to LDS tradition, even between a couple that is not yet married. In other words, it's not like loving your mom.

It's not unheard of for people to live their entire lives and, if they never enter into marriage, never go beyond the non-sexual displays of affection that I just mentioned. Contrary to what some may think, most human beings are capable of living and functioning without sex, without suffering any "damage." I'm not sure, however, that the same would be true for all who desire and yearn for romantic love, but are denied that opportunity. Can you imagine life without love? If you are not currently in a romantic relationship, you probably have it as a hope or are always on the lookout for an opportunity, even subconsciously. Right?

A sexual relationship between two unmarried adults is immoral. Sex is, in this case, sinful. But is their love also a sin?

Look at the picture above. If the two people were of the same sex, how would you feel about it? Would you feel differently about it? Would you see their behaviour as immoral and something to be avoided? Why or why not?

The following "compromise," if you want to call it that, will not satisfy all. It will not satisfy those who demand no less than equal marriage status within the Church, heterosexual or homosexual, as well as Church-sanctioned homosexual sexual relations; neither will it satisfy those who believe that two members of the same sex who even sit together like that couple in the picture are treading down a wicked path. The term "compromise" is, actually, misleading in my opinion, because the way I see it, the Church would not be compromising anything in regards to the doctrines or policies related to marriage, families, or the Law of Chastity. The only thing that would change would be that heterosexual and homosexual members of the Church would truly be held to the same standards of chastity and morality outside of marriage. That would mean that a couple, such as depicted in the photo, sitting on a bench on BYU campus or outside the Tabernacle, would face no disciplinary action for their innocent display of romantic affection -- whether heterosexual or homosexual.

We know that we have a problem in the Church with homosexuals feeling alone, ostracized, without real purpose, and some even resorting to suicide.
  • Would acceptance of non-sexual same-sex relationships within the Church help to ease the burden of those who struggle and help them to remain in the Church?
  • What if gay members of the Church were truly held to the same standards of the Law of Chastity when it comes to expression of love and dating relationships?
  • Do gay members of the Church need to be celibate AND alone in order to be chaste?
  • What, if anything, would the Church be sacrificing or compromising on in order for gay members to be able to date openly, in the same way as heterosexual couples, without facing discipline?
  • Why is/isn't this a good idea?

"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."
-Proverbs 10:12

39 comments:

A.J. said...

I think it would be as if The Church said homosexuality was a natural thing, which I believe it is. By allowing homosexuals to show affection instead of convincing them they are broken and need to struggle. I don't think many members are ready to believe that God would create some of us gay and some straight. To many it is easier to see it as a choice. If a person chooses to have these "sinful" feelings then we can feel good about feeling uneasy around same sex couples or gay people because it's wrong. I have to say I don't think being gay is a choice. I feel Love is Love whatever the gender of the people. I wish church members could be more excepting of the celibate gays in their midst or even those of us in MOMs.

natalie said...

I think it would be great if this happened. However, I think there is nothing sinful about homosexuality, and want all adults to have the freedom to enter into consensual relationships according to their own conscience. From the church's perspective, I see several problems with the position you described.

First, what is the purpose of dating and entering into any kind of romantic relationship? One could argue that it is to fulfill a need for a certain type of human interaction and a feeling of security and acceptance. But, as I'm sure any member has heard countless times, the purpose of dating is to find someone to marry. If you are dating someone whom you can never marry, there is no point to it, and the physical relations could not have any kind of divine sanction.

Also, I think AJ brings up a good point. Accepting the relationships you describe above would "normalize" homosexuality. While the church is now walking a fine line with its explanation for how homosexuality occurs, this would push it squarely into the "nature" camp, which I do not think they are prepared to do. To say those feelings are "natural" is not too far from saying they're okay or even right.

I agree that right now the church's position is setting ridiculous rules for gay members. No sex, fine, but no affection? No love? You bring up some very deep and important questions here, FD, as always.

Adair said...

I randomly came across this, and I think this post and the comments are very moving and insightful.

Many people in the asexual community (who have no need or desire for sexual contact) also strongly feel the need for romantic intimacy and partnership.

However, even under this proposed compromise, I am worried for those gay members who grow up in the LDS church and who do need sexual contact for their mental and physical health--and the health of their relationships. I would expect such a compromise to retain gay members in the church for longer--and consequently to lengthen their suffering and guilt over their own repressed sexuality. I know for some people romantic contact fans the flames of sexual frustration, and it would be easier to choose to live alone and bitter than to endure that for their entire lives.

But perhaps allowing same sex romance and seeing that it doesn't destroy the world would allow more people to favor the next step. But if the church stuck with the romantic compromise indefinitely... it would hurt people who would otherwise get more relief by no longer following the church's prescriptions.

Kaylanamars said...

Wow, what a great post. I just don't think the church could hold the same standards for gay couples as heterosexual couples. The church doesn't believe that it's "normal" or "divinely sanctioned". If they held it to the same standard then like others have said, it's like they would be saying it's normal or divinely sanctioned...dating and all that is supposed to lead to marriage and since that's out in the Church it would be too much of a compromise on their part to hold the same standards for both.

I agree with A.J. and wish that there could be more tolerance of gays and especially when there are those in the Church who are gay and strive to be celibate despite the feelings they have for love just as much as anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I don't think what The Church thinks is nearly as important as what Heavenly Father thinks. And it is not at all clear to me that HF would give birth to spirit children or have us give mortal bodies to children who are "unnatural" or "sinful" in their intrinsic natures.

I can not understand why The Church refuses to acknowledge what science is clear about and what all the opprobrium and actual physical attacks of society can't extinguish. I can't understand why The Church stands by and creates such self-loathing in gay saints that the suicide rates are so high, why they allow families -- both the families of origin and the families created by marriages that gay saints can't sustain for long -- to be tossed into confusion and tragedy or why it has positioned itself so poorly by it's actions in relation to Prop 8 in California that people are leaving the church and that the public has become distrustful of it/us.

This is not the work of Heavenly Father. This is not the work of prophets and revelators. This is human ego causing confusion and suffering.

Anonymous said...

I have commented several times before on this blog, but for this one I must be Anonymous.

I am a homosexual member of the LDS community. I am in my late twenties and unmarried, for obvious reasons. At this point in my life, my choices seem to be to live a life not unlike that of a nun, or marry a man that I admire, but do not really love. This saddens me, but my faith in the gospel and love of HF MUST be more important than hormonal reactions.

I see it this way: we are all here to undergo testing and we all have predispositions to particular sinful behaviors. Some people are challenged by drugs, alcohol, or battle with aspects of their personalities, such as tendencies to be judgemental, etc. My challenge is homosexuality.

I don't want to be alone, but I don't see any other option for me. I don't know what kind of man would want to marry a woman like me. I do understand, though. I wouldn't want to marry someone who wasn't attracted to me, either. I feel that I have a great capacity for loving, and I do want a family.

I should mention that I don't feel any need for the church to change any of its positions regarding homosexuality. I do hold myself to the same standards of morality that is expected of straight members. I live a chaste life and have a temple recommend. It's lonely, but it's the life I've got.

A.J. said...

Anonymous, there is a support community for gay people married to straight spouses. http://ldslights.org/ also Scott and Sarah are a married couple in Utah that hold FHE for gays in Utah. Everyone is welcome. It is not my place to tell you how to live your life but I think it would be helpful to talk to others in MOM before getting married. It is very difficult and it would be a good idea to know what you are getting into. If you need to talk feel free to email me also I think Sarah would be a good person to email as well. -A.J.

A.J. said...

sorry let me post a link to Sarah's blog http://serendipitystr8wife.blogspot.com/ and Scot's http://mormoninthecloset.blogspot.com/2009/07/cuddle-me-this.html

Anonymous2 said...

Anonymous, I wouldn't presume to give advice, but here's a thought on the idea of marrying straight. You've probably already thought of it, but as you haven't been married yet perhaps you haven't.

Sexual intimacy is a key aspect of spousal love, especially for men. For women sex is a response to feeling loved, but for men feeling loved is a response to sex. (That's grossly oversimplified of course, and while I'm not a sexual therapist or anything of the sort, that's what the books we read tell us, and that realization has made a difference in our marriage.)

There may be men out there who would thrive in a marriage like the one you describe. I think there probably are. And if that's what you want, I hope you do find it. But I would hope you'd be very frank with each other about the situation and expectations, and understanding that (unless he's widowed/divorced) he may not yet understand the implications of his decision for a platonic marriage.

In any case I hope you find the love and spiritual comfort that you need. I doubt I could function alone (speaking non-sexually now).

MoHoHawaii said...

I don't know what the solutions are, but I do know a nonsolution: mixed-orientation marriage.

The incompatibility of a mixed-orientation marriage is not just sexual. It is very difficult to form a pair bond when sexual orientations don't align. It's an issue of intimacy and emotional connection. I would never advise a young person to enter a mixed-orientation marriage.

In the 1970s and 80s, the Church pushed mixed-orientation marriage as a solution to homosexuality. This failed so spectacularly (in terms of the number of divorces and marital problems that the Church leadership had to deal with) that they retrenched in the 1990s with new advice that stressed celibacy.

thefirestillburning said...

I think this is so sad.

Is there a pattern here where the LDS church eventually realizes that the plan of salvation has places for ALL people who seek to follow Christ -- regardless of race, matital status, or gender -- but only AFTER a lot of people get hurt?

If the theology is correct, than you do what the Heavenly Father requires. But if the theology reflects imperfect understanding of God's will -- the mistakes of men -- than what a tragedy.

FireTag

Gay LDS Actor said...

In answer to your questions:

*Would acceptance of non-sexual same-sex relationships within the Church help to ease the burden of those who struggle and help them to remain in the Church?

As a gay man, you would think I would shout, "Yes! Let's do it!" But I wonder what the other ramifications would be. If acceptance of non-sexual same-sex relationships was suddenly allowed, yeah, it would make it easier for gay people in the church in some ways, but I think it could also cause some problems. If the church still maintained that sexual same-sex relationships were still sinful, then allowing the non-sexual displays might lead to two gay people taking those acts of affection farther than the church would be comfortable with, and since the church sees its role as keeping people from doing immoral things, it seems that allowing gays to engage in non-sexual relationships would be dangerous territory for them.

Also, you have a faction of the church that would never be comfortable with any act of affection between two people of the same sex, sexual or non-sexual, and those people might do things that would make the gay person feel even more ostracized.

On the other hand, allowing non-sexual acts between two people of the same sex might help people see the normalcy of it rather than viewing it as some bizarre perversion.

But I do think for a church that bases much of its foundation on eternal marriage between man and a woman, allowing same-sex couples any leeway would be difficult territory for them.

*What if gay members of the Church were truly held to the same standards of the Law of Chastity when it comes to expression of love and dating relationships?

I'm not sure. All I can say is that I think there is definitely a double standard that exists both in the rules and the punishments for opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples in the church, and I think it would be better if all were held to the same standards. That being said, those who are attracted to the opposite sex at least have the hope that they will eventually find someone they can love and marry in the temple. The same is not true of those attracted to the same sex, and that is a hard road to be on.

*Do gay members of the Church need to be celibate AND alone in order to be chaste?

By the church's standards, I guess they do. Not something I was able to do myself. I just think the nature of who I am and what the church expects of me are incompatible.

*What, if anything, would the Church be sacrificing or compromising on in order for gay members to be able to date openly, in the same way as heterosexual couples, without facing discipline?

As much as I'd love for the LDS Church to approve of my love for my partner, I do think when they start compromising, in some ways it will be like a house of cards. For a church that has commanded and taught for so long that homosexual relations are sinful and that eternal marriage between man and a woman is necessary to become like God, compromising on those doctrines would cause the church to lose its credibility is some ways, and there would be a major schism, I think, from the ultra-conservative members (of which there are many) who would disapprove of it. Sure, it would be lovely for me and many of those like me, but I think it would be bad news for the church as an entity (not that there isn't already bad news for the church as far as this issue is concerned). It's a very tricky wire for the Brethren to walk, I think.

Why is/isn't this a good idea?

Read the above.

Just my thoughts. Probably very ironic from a gay guy who is all for gay rights, but I'm also trying to see it from the Church's point-of-view as well. In an ideal world, the Church never would have taught that homosexuality was wrong in the first place. :-)

The Faithful Dissident said...

Anonymous, you said:

"I should mention that I don't feel any need for the church to change any of its positions regarding homosexuality. I do hold myself to the same standards of morality that is expected of straight members. I live a chaste life and have a temple recommend. It's lonely, but it's the life I've got."

Forgive me if this is too personal a question, so feel free to take the 5th on it. :) But I'm just really curious. When you say that you are chaste and that you hold yourself to the same standards of morality that is expected of straight members, does that mean that you would or wouldn't engage in non-sexual displays of affection with another woman? Do you feel that you have to hold yourself to higher standards than a chaste straight member?

Cody, thanks for your analysis. Your point of view is always greatly appreciated. :)

"If the theology is correct, than you do what the Heavenly Father requires. But if the theology reflects imperfect understanding of God's will -- the mistakes of men -- than what a tragedy."

I agree, Fire Tag. One can certainly feel very torn. I don't really have a problem obeying something when I'm confident that it's right, but I feel that our historical track record as a Church leaves more than enough room for doubt as to whether this is really the way God intends it, or whether things will just be changed down the road as has been the case with so many things in the past. Whether it's God who is unwilling to change, or the members and leaders of the Church, I don't know. But I often feel very strongly that it's the latter. What black members of the Church had to go through in times past was certainly a "tragedy," as you put it. I think it could definitely be the same where gay members are concerned.

Frank Lee Scarlet said...

"Why is/isn't this a good idea?"
As a gay Mormon, I would see it a step in the right direction, but still insufficient. I would imagine that, if the Church were to sanction gay relationships to the extent that you outlined, it probably would be at a point where it would sanction homosexuality altogether. On the other hand, maybe acceptance isn't such an all-or-nothing affair.

For me, the (pseudo)compromise would amount to a tease, basically.

Abelard Enigma said...

Would acceptance of non-sexual same-sex relationships within the Church help to ease the burden of those who struggle and help them to remain in the Church?

Yes!

Although (and I mean this in the nicest way), the use of the word 'struggle' kinda raises my hackles a bit. I don't 'struggle' with same gender attraction - for me it feels normal and natural. I struggle with opposite gender attraction - and I say that as a married and active Mormon - who happens to be gay.

What if gay members of the Church were truly held to the same standards of the Law of Chastity when it comes to expression of love and dating relationships?

I'm not really sure how to respond to this. I'd be happier, but I'm sure other members wouldn't be - either because they felt the church was doing too much to cater to the homosexual community, or because they felt the church still wouldn't be doing enough.

Do gay members of the Church need to be celibate AND alone in order to be chaste?

According to current church dogma - yes. The pamphlet "God Loveth His Children", essentially tells us that it's OK to be gay and Mormon - as long as we pretend to be straight. And, if you're male, straight, unmarried, and not dating women then you are at the very bottom of the social hierarchy in Mormon culture - which is a very lonely place to be, especially if you're only pretending to be straight. It's much easier for a woman to remain single in LDS church culture than it is for a man. Not saying that it's easy for women - just that's it's even worse for men.

What, if anything, would the Church be sacrificing or compromising on in order for gay members to be able to date openly, in the same way as heterosexual couples, without facing discipline?

After proposition 8 in California, for the LDS church to accept non-sexual same sex relationships could be viewed as contradictory and hypocritical. Basically, the church has painted itself into a corner - and it won't be able to get out without sincere remorse regarding past actions. Something I don't expect to see in the foreseeable future.

Why is/isn't this a good idea?

Homosexuals are a group that people love to hate. If the church as an institution were to start showing any level of acceptance, it could quite likely fracture the membership with some demanding a return to the 'old ways'. Just look at what's happening in the Episcopal church - it's naive to believe the LDS church would be immune to such discontent.

thefirestillburning said...

I'm afraid A. E. has a point. If the CofChrist hasn't found a way around this -- and gay/straight issues aren't even involved in our concept of the afterlife -- it's even going to be harder for the LDS.

FireTag

KG McB said...

I feel I agree with kaylanamars.

The displays of affection are seen as a step moving towards the next step in intimacy, and so I don't see the church or its members feeling it would be acceptable to see a gay couple on the bench. Even on BYU campus, too much PDA of heterosexual couples is discouraged by some.

onikarenee said...

You asked if it's wrong to show romantic love for someone as long as it doesn't lead to sex.

I don't think you describe romantic love accurately. If there were no sexual feeling it would be platonic love and the affection expressed would be no different than you would show any of your friends and family. Romantic love (worshipful admiration) is intended to lead to sex, which is the highest form of affection and worship because that person is God to you.

This question should answer your question: If it's so innocent, is it wrong or immoral for a married person to romantically love someone other than his/her spouse as long as they don't engage in sex?

The Faithful Dissident said...

"...is it wrong or immoral for a married person to romantically love someone other than his/her spouse as long as they don't engage in sex?"

I would say yes, because it would involve deceit and lying to one's spouse or partner. It's cheating, even if it's only on an emotional level. But I'm not sure what this has to do with a same sex loving relationship between two people who are not committed to anyone else. It doesn't involve lying or deceit, or going outside a committed relationship.

Scott said...

Very interesting questions and discussion!

I think that an ideal situation that would still strictly adhere to the Church's currently-defined doctrine (though it would require a re-writing of policy--and a major change in cultural mindset) would be an equal application of "standards" across the board--with the one proviso that the Church does not "recognize" civil same-sex marriage as "lawful" (according to God's law).

In other words, a non-married person is free to do anything that is currently considered appropriate with another non-married person--regardless of the genders of the people involved--but the Law of Chastity is still considered binding: members can only remain in good standing if they abstain from sexual relations with anyone except for their husband or wife to whom they are legally (civilly) and lawfully (God's law) married.

As far as I know, the phrase "legally and lawfully" has never technically been defined in this way, but by making this distinction the Church can truthfully claim a single standard for all of its members.

And with the freedom to date and show appropriate physical affection, gay members of the Church have less reason to feel "less than", and less reason to remain in the closet, and in many cases a greater ability to adhere to the Church's policy of celibacy.

Of course, many won't be satisfied with the superficial relationships and will want more, and many will still leave the Church to pursue a serious (and sexual) relationship. But the only way to prevent that is a complete acceptance of same-sex marriage...

...Which would be a lot easier if the Church hadn't ever spoken against homosexuality, but it's actually not any anti-homosexual-relation doctrine that's the issue (IMO), but rather the Church's (rather recent) anti-gay-marriage efforts that put it in a sticky situation when it comes to any possible future change.

In an 1986 interview with CBS Sunday Morning News, Elder Oaks specifically stated that the Church's issue with homosexual relations was that they were extramarital (a transcript of the interview is available here). Based on that position, had the Church passively accepted the legalization of gay marriage, it would also have been implying an acceptance of homosexual relations (within a marital relationship). Obviously this has not happened, and as Cody and Abelard have both pointed out, any change in position now would result in a huge loss in credibility for the Church.

Anyway... I think that anything that (1) improves the Church's image as a homophobic organization and (2) makes it easier to be a gay member is a good thing, and I think that a clearly-defined acceptance of same-sex affection would accomplish both of those tasks.

But that doesn't mean I expect it to happen any time soon.

Scott said...

Oh... and Anonymous: I'm the "Scott" of the "Scott and Sarah" that AJ mentions, and you are absolutely welcome in our home if you would like to come to one of our get-togethers. They're more "socials" than "FHEs", but through them we've made lots of wonderful friends, and we like to think that at least a few others have benefited from them as much as we have.

Please talk to several MOM (mixed-orientation marriage) couples before deciding to marry. I'm a gay man married to a wonderful woman, and we've done quite well since I came to terms with being gay and came out to her (about a year ago), but as "successful" (and lucky) as we've been and as amazing as my wife is and as happy (in general) as we are, it's still a hard situation. If I could go back and talk to my 21-year-old self I would do my best to convince him not to get married, and I'm with MoHoHawaii in recommending against a mixed-orientation marriage for any young gay person who is considering it.

That said, I also support each person's right to choose their own path--and to those who do choose to marry or who are already in a MOM I offer whatever support and encouragement I can give. If you're determined to marry, Sarah and I would love to talk to you about what we've found works and what doesn't.

Best of luck!

MoHoHawaii said...

Not to detract from anything Scott says above, I would especially recommend against a mixed-orientation marriage for any young straight person who is considering it.

It's not a contradiction to support and celebrate couples like Scott and Sarah while simultaneously advising against new mixed-orientation marriages.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Scott, thanks for your comments and for that fascinating transcript with Dallin H. Oaks. I think there was one part that was very relevant to this discussion in particular:

CBS: So really you're not making any distinctions here between homosexual or heterosexual activity, the distinction is with or without marriage.

ELDER OAKS: Exactly.


Which is why I agree with you, Scott, that the policy needs to reflect "an equal application of "standards" across the board.

It's really too bad that Elder Oaks was not posed the questions we're discussing here. I really would have liked to hear his response.

"In an 1986 interview with CBS Sunday Morning News, Elder Oaks specifically stated that the Church's issue with homosexual relations was that they were extramarital (a transcript of the interview is available here). Based on that position, had the Church passively accepted the legalization of gay marriage, it would also have been implying an acceptance of homosexual relations (within a marital relationship). Obviously this has not happened, and as Cody and Abelard have both pointed out, any change in position now would result in a huge loss in credibility for the Church."

This perhaps puts Prop 8 into perspective. But as far as homosexual non-sexual affection is concerned, I'm not really seeing any doctrinal conflict. Certainly not from Elder Oaks' statement, anyways, since he seemed pretty adamant that marriage is the deciding factor here.

"Anyway... I think that anything that (1) improves the Church's image as a homophobic organization and (2) makes it easier to be a gay member is a good thing, and I think that a clearly-defined acceptance of same-sex affection would accomplish both of those tasks."

I agree.

"But that doesn't mean I expect it to happen any time soon."

I was hoping that the whole Main Street Plaza controversy would at least get people thinking and talking about it. I wonder whether any of you Utahns hear anything about the issue of homosexual affection, or whether the gay marriage issue simply dominates.

A.J. said...

I think part of the reason Elder Oaks could make the statement he did is because in 1986 the idea of gays being given the right to marry seemed crazy. Now that gay people are given the right to marry in some states. I hope get this right in other states we have the Proclamation on the family which might as well be scripture the way it is quoted and used to deny people same sex marriage rights. Sorry I guess I'm just feeling cranky today.

onikarenee said...

...is it wrong or immoral for a married person to romantically love someone other than his/her spouse as long as they don't engage in sex?

"... But I'm not sure what this has to do with a same sex loving relationship between two people who are not committed to anyone else. It doesn't involve lying or deceit, or going outside a committed relationship."

I was just trying to show that romantic love isn't innocent and eventually leads to sex.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"I was just trying to show that romantic love isn't innocent and eventually leads to sex."

Tell that to all the single members of the Church who are serial daters and real-life 40 year-old virgins.

That romantic love leads to sex is what happens in most cases. I agree with that. But I reject the notion that being in love with someone will inevitably lead to sex.

onikarenee said...

Faithful Dissident:

You said, "Romantic love is...that feeling of being captivated by another human being and caring for them, as well as expressing our emotions for them verbally or physically, often in a non-sexual manner such as holding hands, embracing, caressing, and innocent kissing: ..."

You were talking about more than just "being in love", which I would interpret as just having a feeling, but not necessarily expressing it. If those feelings are expressed, which you seemed to be wondering if it was o.k. or not, they will most likely lead to sex, otherwise why would a married person have to hide those actions from his/her spouse? If they don't lead to sex, they are not romantic and do not have to be hidden.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"If those feelings are expressed, which you seemed to be wondering if it was o.k. or not, they will most likely lead to sex, otherwise why would a married person have to hide those actions from his/her spouse?"

Why would a married person have to hide those actions from his/her spouse? Well, they shouldn't be. Because then we're talking about an extramarital affair. Even if it's only on an emotional level, it's going outside the marriage if someone falls in love and has romantic feelings about someone else other than his/her spouse -- even if no sexual activity has occurred.

I'm talking about two consenting adults who are not bound to anyone else in marriage or a commitment, who have strong feelings for each other and express them in a controlled, non-sexual manner. Happens every day on BYU campus, I'm sure.

onikarenee said...

People need affection, but if strong feelings (passion, desire, sexual feelings) are accompanied with it either the (BYU students) couple will have sex, get married, or break up because they don't want to have sex or get married at that time. It doesn't remain static.

Affection expressed should be no more than what a married person should express to someone he/she is not married to. If the homosexual wants to achieve the goal of becoming a god in the next life, then he/she should not add fuel to those feelings, but instead try to develop feelings for the opposite sex, otherwise he will take those feelings/desires with him into the next life and be in the same situation, not being attracted to the opposite sex or able to reproduce.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Affection expressed should be no more than what a married person should express to someone he/she is not married to."

Wow, no offense, Onikarenee, but that sounds like one boring date. :D

"If the homosexual wants to achieve the goal of becoming a god in the next life, then he/she should not add fuel to those feelings, but instead try to develop feelings for the opposite sex, otherwise he will take those feelings/desires with him into the next life and be in the same situation, not being attracted to the opposite sex or able to reproduce."

Interesting. Most within the Church who are opposed to homosexuality claim that the homosexual feelings will disappear in the next life. I think you're the first one I've encountered who says that the feelings will still be there.

onikarenee said...

Alma 41:

10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.
11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.

We will be the same people after we die, have the same beliefs, desires, addictions, habits, we just won't be able to satisfy them without a body, which is a spirit prison or hell. You will still love your husband after you die.

The Faithful Dissident said...

I'm surprised that you are disagreeing with the GA's on this one, Onikarenee. According to the official Church publication, God Loveth His Children:

"As we follow Heavenly Father’s plan, our bodies, feelings, and desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God’s children may find joy in a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and children."


So, the GA's are saying homosexuality will disappear if they just remain faithful. You are saying that if someone can't overcome their homosexual feelings in this life, they will continue to have them in the next. Why do you disagree with them on this one?

Abelard Enigma said...

First of all, God Loveth His Children is a pamphlet that covers the current opinion of the brethren - it is not signed by the first presidency and should not be raised to the level of scripture, IMOHO.

It's also worth noting that the opinion of the brethren regarding homosexuality has changed over the years. 20-30 years ago, we were told that homosexuality was caused by distant fathers; and, we should just get married because once we started having sex with a woman then all thoughts of men would leave us.

And what does that statement mean for me? I already have a family consisting of a husband, wife, and children. Frankly, telling me that I'm going to magically turn into a heterosexual after death just feels wrong - it's like God is playing a cruel joke on me. I get no comfort from such comments.

The Faithful Dissident said...

I couldn't agree more, Abelard. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

onikarenee said...

Faithful dissident:

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with them. I think they are saying "as we follow Heavenly Father's plan" that the change can happen gradually in the next life, just like someone trying to get over a drug addiction. It would be very hard to do as a spirit, and easier to do with a body.

onikarenee said...

Abelard Enigma,

"Frankly, telling me that I'm going to magically turn into a heterosexual after death just feels wrong - it's like God is playing a cruel joke on me. I get no comfort from such comments."

Are you saying it's a cruel joke because God should make the change happen now, in this life? I agree if that's what you mean. I guess some people would say it's just your test. It's like being married to someone you're not in love with because your parents arranged the marriage. You feel an obligation and responsibility for what you have agreed to. Why did you agree to it? Pressure from others? You thought things would work out and get better later, but they didn't. You were in denial for a while until you met someone you were attracted to and then you were reminded of your true feelings toward your spouse. Living with her is like living with a good friend/roommate with whom you raise your children. You can't leave now because you have to wait until they are raised enough and independent enough that it won't hurt them too badly. You know, I've thought of a good compromise. Get a duplex, and you live in one half and she and the children can live in the other half. That way they can see you everyday and it wouldn't be too expensive.

Abelard Enigma said...

Whoa! onikarenee, I think you've made some rather harsh, and false, assumptions about me. I've been married 28 years and my children are all grown and married. I've always been 100% faithful to my wife. I'm not looking for an 'excuse' to pursue a gay relationship.

While I have chosen to live a gay celibate life - that doesn't change the fact that I am gay. Being gay doesn't define me - but it is an essential part of me. It's more than just sexual attraction, it permeates every part of me. If you take that away from me then I would just be empty and full of holes.

For that reason, telling me that I'm going to magically turn into a heterosexual upon death doesn't give me comfort. It'd be like telling a musician that they will not take their musical talent with them to the hereafter.

If believing that homosexuality is a condition for this life only makes you feel better then that's fine and I respect that. But, you also need to accept that not all of us buy into that. I choose to believe the scriptures which tell us that "for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world."

onikarenee said...

Abelard Enigma,

I didn't mean to make any harsh or false assumptions. I was just describing how I would feel. I don't know how you can live like that. You must be very good friends with your wife. I admire your strength.

That is interesting that you said being gay is more than just sexual attraction. I don't understand what you mean. Would you mind elaborating? Have you ever been attracted to a female? I was thinking that we love what we value. Is there something men have that you value that women don't have?

Abelard Enigma said...

Would you mind elaborating?

Not at all - but I don't know that we should hijack this thread for that purpose. Please feel free to send me an email, my email id is in my profile.