Thursday, February 19, 2009

All or Nothing

A video posted by Ty Mansfield (a talk given by Neal Maxwell where he states that we are moving toward "irreligion" or the void of religion, the void of morals), Buttars's statement that gays are immoral, and a friend's recent statement that it's all or nothing has me concerned.

It's all rooted in vanity: We have the complete book of morals; anyone who is not following all our religious beliefs are living a life lacking in morality. To them, irreligion equals non-Mormon.

To them it's either "irreligion" or "our religion" -- there's nothing in between.

Someone cannot believe in God if they believe homosexual behavior is condoned by God because their god does not condone homosexual behavior. To them, this belief in God is a ploy, a lie, a trickery by immoral beasts who would blind and seduce the believer, convincing her/him to a life without religious beliefs.

People fighting for gay marriage are fighting against all religious beliefs (because all religion is Mormonism; or rather, Mormonism is the only true religion; therefore, going against what it currently* thinks is going against true religion). They ignore that a great deal of people who are fighting for gay marriage are doing so because of what they believe God is truly about -- love, compassion, understanding, peace, charity, treating others as we would be treated ourselves, etc.


No. Quite the opposite.


Just because someone doesn't believe in your god or your moral standards doesn't mean they are godless or immoral. It just means they have different beliefs in God and have different moral standards than you.

It's not all [your beliefs] or nothing.

*Yes, "currently"... Mormonism changes its mind all the time.


  1. The "only true church" catch of Mormonism definitely creates a "our way or the highway" mindset.

  2. When has Mormonism changed its mind all the time? I'm scratching my head to think of a time. I mean, there once was polygamy, but that was circumstantial. The mindset remains the same. Not all men could receive the priesthood, but no changing of minds took place. They knew there would be a time when all worthy males would receive it. I want to know when. Do you?

  3. Here you are again, Nightwatchman, with statements that make little sense.

    Polygamy was once very explicitly pronounced as THE ONLY way into the celestial kingdom. Now it's an excommunicable offense. At least one president of the Church said mixed race marriages should be capital offenses; one leading apostle who became president of the church said no black man would ever receive the priesthood as long as he (the apostle) was alive, and others said it would NEVER happen until after Christ personally returned to earth. Now we've had one black General Authority already. Oops.

    You don't think that's a "change of mindset"? Sheesh.

  4. Nope. Polygamy wasn't the only way into the celestial kingdom, Alan. It wasn't commanded of everyone. It was just commanded to a few men that could afford it as widows needed help making it to Utah and getting life started here and then it was dissolved shortly later.I'm surprised you didn't know that.

    So, okay, you got me with the whole black thing. I can think of the case of Bruce R McConkie. But anytime someone speculates outside the realm of revelation that possibly can happen. Definitely the will of God didn't change.

  5. Sorry Nightwatchman, wrong again. I "didn't know that" about polygamy because it isn't true. You believe a popular myth that polygamy was just a demographic tool to help poor widows migrate to Utah. That is a convenient way for today's Mormons to sidestep the fact that the Church of 120 years ago was just as radical in its time regarding marriage as it thinks today's proponents of same-sex marriage are. In fact, President Brigham Young, speaking as president of the Church, said "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.11, p.268 - p.269, August 19, 1866). Joseph F. Smith, apostle and later president of the Church, said "every man in thus Church, who has the ability to obey and practice [polygamy] in righteousness and will not, shall be damned." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, p.31, July 7, 1878). There are many more such examples, but they all say basically the same thing. For decades, prophets and apostles taught that polygamy was an essential requirement for exaltation.

    You did say one thing that is spot-on, though. "Anytime someone speculates outside the realm of revelation, that possibly can happen." Meaning that even prophets and apostles can say something that ends up being completely wrong. I agree.

    Now, go look at the Scriptures again. The uniquely LDS canon, which we believe was prepared specifically for us and the issues of our day, says NOTHING about homosexuality. Not. One. Word. If it were such a huge and threatening problem as so many in the Church seem to think, wouldn't the LDS scriptures have at least mentioned it? The handful of brief Bible references to it are all subject to a wide variety of very credible and non-pejorative interpretations that are nothing like what most Mormons commonly accept. But most Mormons don't know anything about that. I suspect you are one.

    That leaves us with the non-canonized statements of individual LDS leaders. For years Spencer Kimball and Mark Peterson preached against homosexuality in terms and based on theories that have today been so completely disproven by credible scientific research that even the Church has tacitly conceded that their approach was wrong.

    Now, in light of all that, if you really believe the 9th Article of Faith, Nightwatchman, must you not concede that there is much we have yet to learn about this whole issue, and that God may yet speak to the prophet one day about it in terms that might shock you? Joseph Smith said if the apostles knew what he knew about the kingdom of heaven, even they would try to kill him in outrage. Sounds like we might be in for some surprises. I think the Scriptures show pretty clearly that God can and has changed His will frequently throughout human history. Better hedge your bets.

  6. We will wait and see, Alan. We will see. Yeah I was right with Prophet/apostles/leadership speaking out of the realm of revelation. Everyone does it and the leaders are very concious now not to do it. Let me ask you this: in the mock interview of Dallin H Oaks, how was he speaking for himself when he was representing the church? The mock interview wasn't speculation in a memoir or a book like Bruce R. but as a representative of the church and Thomas S Monson didn't correct them for saying that homosexuality didn't exist in the pre-earth life or in the life hereafter. Think about it, even in a heterosexual way, how could anyone be sexually attracted to anyone in the preearth life with no physical body? And moreover, how could it be possible in the life hereafter if those people have that right taken away because of misuse in this life of their procreative powers. Maybe I'm just speculating.

    Now, as far as Journal of Discourses... I discredit the validity of those books.. Why? Because it fell out of the hands of the church. Period. It's the same argument about the bible tha the homosexual scriptures were put in by per se the Catholic church or whomever.

    I find it interesting that anyone that wants to bring dark secrets to light about the lds church quotes the Journal of Discourses. Those books were thwarted from people that hated the church. Period. Cite better sources next time please.. :)

  7. Think about it, even in a heterosexual way, how could anyone be sexually attracted to anyone in the preearth life with no physical body?

    This is a perfect example of the typical straight person's(*) tendency to fixate on the sexual part of "homosexual".

    (*) I'm assuming that The Nightwatchman is straight. If I've assumed incorrectly, I apologize.

    Most straight people would be offended if I were to imply that their attraction to their significant other was nothing more than sexual.

    With no physical body, it's entirely likely--even almost entirely certain--that same-sex physical attraction did not exist in the pre-existence and will not exist in the post-mortal spirit world. But being gay myself, I've seen no more evidence that homosexuality is purely physical than that heterosexuality is.

    I don't believe we've heard any statements from our leaders that bear sufficient prophetic weight for me to believe without reservation that those non-physical parts of me that desire emotional and spiritual communion with other men did not exist before I was born and will cease to exist when I die.

  8. "in the mock interview of Dallin H Oaks, how was he speaking for himself when he was representing the church?"

    Doesn't matter. The only person who can speak "the word of the Lord" and have it be binding on the Church is the president of the Church, speaking officially in that capacity. Oaks was neither of these. He is free to give his opinion, but I challenge you to find a shred of scriptural backing for the idea that sexual orientation is confined to this life only.
    "even in a heterosexual way, how could anyone be sexually attracted to anyone in the pre-earth life with no physical body?"

    What Scott said. It's clear that you have no comprehension of the depth and breadth of either type of sexual orientation. Furthermore, I'm guessing that you are probably not past age 25, and thus still have a lot to learn about yourself and life and other people. This is not a pejorative, it's simply an observation.

    "moreover, how could it be possible in the life hereafter if those people have that right taken away because of misuse in this life of their procreative powers. Maybe I'm just speculating."

    You are indeed speculating. Completely. You've made assumptions with no basis and jumped to conclusions based thereon. This is dangerous. A wise person would simply say "I don't know" and wouldn't be bothered by it.

    "Now, as far as Journal of Discourses... I discredit the validity of those books.. Why? Because it fell out of the hands of the church. Period. . . Those books were thwarted from people that hated the church. Period. Cite better sources next time please."

    Sorry, you're not going to get away with this straw man logical fallacy here. Rejecting the substance of statements by early Church leaders because you don't like the place they were published is a cheap sidestep of the issues. If you are going to disagree with those statements then you must dispute THEM, not simply evade the challenge by claiming the Journal of Discourses is not "valid" as if that were a settled issue. Actually, though, it is a settled issue, and it comes down against you.

    While the Church does not consider the Journal of Discourses officially binding or authoritative, the Journal did have the unofficial endorsement of the First Presidency when it was published, and a 30 second search of the Gospel Library on will show you pages of Ensign articles that quote the Journal repeatedly (the Ensign is not officially binding either, but I'm betting you respect what it says). So if you "discredit the validity of" the Journal of Discourses then you part company from the Church itself, which relies on the Journal repeatedly in its official publications. If that source is good enough for BYU religion professors paid by the Church, why isn't it good enough for you? Address the substance of the quotes please, don't attack the messenger.

  9. Wow, Alan! I've tried being nice to you. The things that you cry and bring to attention to me is the exact same things you do.

    I rtespect the Ensign and I respect the journal of discources as well, but I made a point to show the same logic that the gay community does with the bible all the time. Who cares who published the bible. Quit side stepping it. There are multiple scriptures in there.

    Actually the Prophet can't be the messanger for everything. That is specifically why there are more witnesses than one. What Dallin H Oaks said while representing the church is authoritative and binding. Why else would we call them the general authorities? (NO MORE OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS!) Because what they say is authoritative and binding! It is like the situation with Alma and Amulek. Just because Amulek wasn't "the prophet" doesn't mean that what he said was mere speculation.

    Now going to your quote from the journal of discourse. What Jospeh F. Smith said. Exactly! What God commands goes! He specifically called on the men who had the capacity, which reverts back to what I said, "it was just commanded to a few men that could afford it."

    Didn't you ever learn about the scripture bird in seminary? The body is the quote, but to make it fly you need to know the context and cicumstance for why it was said, or people will misinterpret it and distort the meaning of the quote.

    HYPOCRITE! You slander my age and orientation and then ask for me to "don't attack the messenger."

    I am older than 25. I'm married. I haven't alluded too much about my personal life. I was softly speculating - using the word "speculating" to not offend by stating what I deeply feel to be true - I know a lot about orientation. I know that homosexuality is a problem that only concerns this life as does adultry, masterbation, pornography, fornication, divorce, etc. Why don't we see the other things in scripture clearly lined out? Hhhmmm? Maybe that is a test to see if people will folllow the modern day prophet and apostles. A lot of members are evidently failing at that indeed. Cafeteria Christians is what we call them. People who will pick and choose what they will believe. That's not a good category to be in.

    Brigham Young said (paraphrasing, look up the quote yourself)
    that he would gladly give up the Book of Mormon and the Bible for the living oracle of God.

    In other words, without the prophet and apostles we have nothing but apostasy because what people do to interpret scripture. Why else would there be so many religions on earth? (Rhetorical question.. you don't need to respond. It should just bring you back to the realization of what makes this church unique.)

  10. I know that homosexuality is a problem that only concerns this life as does adultry, masterbation, pornography, fornication...

    Again, Nightwatchman, you demonstrate a lack of understanding of homosexuality that is common among most members of the Church and (I believe) among the majority of our leaders as well.

    Homosexuality has little to nothing in common with any of the items on your list...

    Adultery is the act of a married person having sexual intercourse with someone other than his/her husband or wife.

    Masturbation is the act of pleasuring oneself sexually.

    Fornication is the act of an unmarried person having sexual intercourse.

    Pornography is not in and of itself an act, but it is understood that the sole purpose of the act of viewing pornography is to arouse and excite sexual feelings within the viewer.

    Homosexuality, on the other hand, is an inherent trait (the Church has recognized this in recent years, through it used to deny it--there's a "change of mind" for you). Those who exhibit this trait tend to have the same emotional, spiritual and physical responses to members of the same sex that the majority of the population have to members of the opposite sex.

    Do you see? Everything in your list constitutes an action, either directly or (in the case or pornography) indirectly. Furthermore, everything in your list is either geared toward self-gratification (masturbation, pornography, possibly fornication and adultery) or involves putting one's own wants ahead of another's (adultery, divorce). It's true that homosexual relations can also meet either of those criteria, but just as a marriage relationship can be either selfish or selfless, so can a homosexual partnership. It's as accurate to say "homosexuality is [evil, selfish, a sin]" as it is to say "heterosexuality is [evil, selfish, a sin]" (that is, not accurate at all).

  11. I like Scott's views. The fact that I can discuss things with him and not feel offended. I personally got on a rant because I felt attacked by what Alan says. I'm not in the right for attacking his personna, but it is hard with the hypocrisy of arguement.

    Now, Scott, you're right. Being.. I mean, the state of being is not a sin. Who you are is not a sin as you stated. God loves homosexuals as he loves everyone and he definetly doesn't cast someone of because of who they are. In this case the homosexual. What is clear is he hates the act of it and doesn't condone it as his been brought to light by many church leaders, and that is what I meant to say.

    If Andrew or anyone thinks that due happiness is through having a same sex partner and adopting children for with that partner is giving into wishful thinking. How many straight couples can you think of that have a family that are in utter misery? Numerous. Happiness is a choice of attitude and piece of mind no matter the circumstances.. straight, gay, single, married, etc.

  12. What is clear is he hates the act of it and doesn't condone it as his been brought to light by many church leaders, and that is what I meant to say.

    ... and what Andrew and Alan and others are saying is that it might not be as clear as you believe it is... That the statements that Church leaders have made regarding homosexual activity might not be any more inspired than statements from earlier prophets and apostles that polygamy is required for exaltation or that blacks would never receive the priesthood before the millennium.

    It cannot be denied that Church leaders have made statements in the past (based on personal beliefs and limited understandings of the truth) that have later been shown to be in error. An honest seeker of truth with an understanding that our knowledge of the "many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God" is incomplete will acknowledge the possibility that statements regarding homosexual behavior might also someday be shown to be in error.

    I don't think that anyone would argue that the stereotypical "gay lifestyle" should be considered acceptable, or that the Church will ever embrace that lifestyle. But some might argue that a committed monogamous partnership is not inherently evil but could actually be seen as good and wholesome and pure when real and true love is involved. And as Andrew has shown in recent posts, Church policy on such a relationship could change without blatantly contradicting canonized scripture or the (non-canonical) Proclamation.

  13. Nightwatchman:

    You chose to insert yourself into this debate so you must accept the risk that somebody might not make nice exactly as you'd wish. I do not wish to be gratuitously insulting but I will call you out on anything that is dishonest, incomplete, contradictory, or insufficient.

    You have accused me of attacking you personally after you impugned my knowledge of Church history ("I'm surprised you didn't know that" – "that" being something which was incorrect) and my use of a credible source of that history ("cite better sources next time please"). You have insinuated that I am a "Cafeteria Christian" picking and choosing only those doctrines I like, and said this is "not a good category to be in." You then contradicted yourself (first " I discredit the validity of [the Journal of Discourses]" then "I I respect the journal of discources [sic]").

    You have screamed (in caps) at me that I am a "HYPOCRITE" because I said you should not "attack the messenger" after I allegedly "slandered your age and orientation." You mix apples and oranges. I did not slander your age or orientation. Apparently you feel attacked because I suggested your views were characteristic of a younger person that has yet to gain some wisdom and life experience. I stand by that statement and think these examples and your latest post confirms I was correct. It is not "slander" to say that you do not understand the depth or breadth of sexual orientation. You claimed to "know a lot about orientation" and to "know that homosexuality is a problem that only concerns this life as does adultry, masterbation, pornography, fornication, divorce, etc. Your fixation on solely the sexual aspect, which Scott has also noted, tells me that I was correct, as does your confusing a characteristic with actions, which Scott has also pointed out.

    A predictable casualty of letting emotion overtake logic and reason in this way is that inconsistency creeps in (already demonstrated) and substance is lost sight of. I quoted you chapter and verse with several illustrations showing how Church leaders' teachings have changed significantly over time, illustrations which disproved your prior statements. I asked you for rebuttal. You claimed the source was not legitimate (another falsehood) and refused to rebut the substance of the statements. This is not debate, it is obstinacy. It does not contribute to the dialogue.

    You have not responded to my point about how only the president of the church is authorized to pronounce doctrine that is binding on the Church membership as a whole. This principle is well-established throughout Church history and has been repeatedly confirmed by numerous Church presidents. Your statement that "what Dallin Oaks says while representing the Church is authoritative and binding" is simply wrong. If you believe that, then you do not understand Church doctrine or policy. This is not a personal attack or insult. I simply point out that you have stated something which is demonstrably incorrect.

    If you believe this post constitutes more personal attacks, then I regret that you feel that way. You would be incorrect. This is in fact how rigorous debate is conducted.

  14. How many straight couples can you think of that have a family that are in utter misery?

    Here's the question, Nightwatchman, why are these couples miserable?

    From what I have seen in life, many -- if not most or all -- are miserable because they do not want to be married (either they started out not wanting to be married or they no long wish to be married) but feel like they have to stay married.

    I, on the other hand, want to get married and I want to raise children -- not because I want to perpetuate my name but because I know I possess the skills to raise happy, healthy, well-rounded children.

    And, really, happiness is not the driving factor for my actions. I would willingly give up happiness for the will of the Lord.

    I will not, however, give up good works, especially when they are the best works I can do here on Earth.

    Providing a loving, safe, secure home for a child who would otherwise have none, in my opinion, is one of the greatest works man could do.

    And to truly optimize the safety, security, and love, I believe it imperative that a child be raised under the roof of a couple who loves each other completely.

    Bringing things back to the subject of this post:

    I believe that Christ ordains this incredibly important and good work.

    This is my religious belief... and, right now, the religious beliefs of the LDS Church and sister churches are respected higher by the US government than my religious beliefs -- when, frankly, they have no secular proof to keep this so (i.e. The evidence out there provided by the experts tells us that homosexual couples are comparable to heterosexual couples in both coupling and parenting).

    To allow my religious belief of marriage the same footing and benefits in the eyes of the government is not leading the nation toward irreligion but co-religion -- wherein my religious beliefs that do not contradict a social understanding of health and well-being to all parties directly involved are treated and protected as equally as your religious beliefs.

  15. Okay, Alan, sorry if I didn't refute your claims about your sources, but if I recall correctly, I did. Read it again. Sorry if I stirred anger for you not to get it the first time.

    For extra measure I'll do it again. What the apostles say is authoritative and that is why we call them the general authorities. In 1830 Joseph Smith received a revelation that Hyrum Paige wasn't receiving revelation from God through a stone because things needed to be done in order. That was five years before the apostles were called and sustained.

    Apostles if anything uphold the correct doctrine and safeguard its purity by not allowing apostate beliefs to come creeping in. That is even if they don't receive the binding revelation from God like you claim. Even if they didn't, which they do because they pray and receive confirmations as a group, they still uphold the truth and bear witness to the world that truth as has been revealed. When Dallin H. Oaks said what he did, he represented the church and God and what he said was authoritative and binding. Sorry, in correct view of the apostles' job, you don't have much of a leg to stand on. Or else, they would just be old men in good lookin' business suits.

    Andrew, I understand now what you mean by co-religion. I get it I think. However, I think that you have things about adoption in misunderstanding. Trust me on this. There isn't orphanages in the United States with a lot of kids with no one to raise them. Do you know how hard and expensive it is for good, honest people to adopt? Kids aren't lying everywhere on street corners waiting to be picked up. I don't doubt a gay couple could raise a kid correctly. It would seem that you have good intent to do so. I give props, but really gays have such a far way to go to get that. It might not even happen in your lifetime. I hate to rain on your parade, but I'm a realist. Just when I was in high school kids would be beat senseless for coming out or at least be sharply ostracized for being gay. For BEING gay. Not for acting upon it. To think that the public mind is ready for such co-religion in society just probably won't happen tomorrow.

  16. There are always children who need homes -- in the US as well as in any other country, especially the poverty-stricken ones.

    The time or actual arrival of co-religion isn't really my point. My point is that promoting gay marriage is not promoting irreligion but co-religion.

    It may not happen ever. But that doesn't change the point I am trying to make.

    And, really, I'm not even saying that we aren't moving toward irreligion -- again, to reiterate, I am simply saying that promoting gay marriage is not one of the forces pushing towards irreligion.

  17. Nightwatchman:

    You have not refuted what I said before, you have simply stated your personal disagreement with it. You have cited no authoritative sources in rebuttal. This is not refutation or debate. It is simply reiterating your own opinion. That does not qualify and is not sufficient.

    Now, as to your statement that "what the apostles say is authoritative and that is why we call them the general authorities". Nothing in the scriptures says that sexual orientation is confined to this life. This has never been taught by the Church before, to my knowledge. It is a new idea, a new "doctrine," stated by Lance Wickman, a member of the Seventy. I have re-read the interview before writing this comment to confirm this. Thus, according to your own statement, it does not qualify since it did not come from an apostle.

    But even if it did, it would still not qualify as binding, authoritative doctrine, and your statement would still be false. President Harold B. Lee, speaking as president of the Church, taught: "The only person authorized to bring forth new revelation is the prophet. If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as a revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth. (73-26) (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 544.)

    The idea that sexual orientation is confined only to this life is "a new doctrine" and one that "is not substantiated by the standard Church works". According to the words of a living prophet, therefore, it is "merely [Elder Wickman's] private opinion."

    You are therefore incorrect to claim that it is (1) a fact, (2) authoritative, or (3) obligatory on us as members of the Church to accept and believe it as true.

    This is the kind of response I expect from you, Nightwatchman. Logical analysis, with authoritative sources cited to back up your claims. THAT is debate. Not just reiteration of your own opinion. And while I am not in fact angry, I should also point out the continuing personal remarks in your comments, which are ironic after you accused me of hostility. You have assumed that I became angry because I "didn't get it the first time." Once again you have impugned my intelligence. Not only is this not true, but saying it does not help your credibility.

    Here's how this process works. I have given you a representative quote from a president of the Church, speaking officially as such, which shows that you are incorrect in claiming that statements of the apostles are always binding and authoritative on Church members. In order for you to refute this, you must provide proof of equal weight: that is, you must quote another president of the Church, speaking officially as such, which says this is not in fact true. If you can't do that, then you must concede the point. Reiteration of your personal opinion, or quotes from other general authorities subordinate to the president of the Church, will not suffice. I will be eager to see your response.

  18. For everyone's information, Nightwatchman posted the following comment to my latest blog entry in response to my comment here:

    "Okay, Alan, if I am going to post in response to your remarks, then I'll bring it to your blog. Give me time. I've been very busy with little sitting time. Anyways, if I am to respond in the way that you'd like with quotes alike then you'll have to give me a day or two and then we can continue the discussion."

    My response:

    Not acceptable. This is not proper Netiquette. You stepped into the discussion HERE, Nightwatchman, not at my blog. My blog is mine to administer as I choose, and given your approach so far, I choose not to engage you there.

    If you have something to say about this discussion, keep it here where it belongs. Doing otherwise is not fair or polite to those who might be following it here, and it disrespects Andrew. You stepped onto his territory and by so doing gave him, not me, the right to moderate your comments.

    Keep it short, simple, substantive, and to the point. And keep it here where it belongs.

  19. Alan, the discussion has evolved so much that, keeping Chedner in mind who isn't really part of the discussion, I thought if you wanted to continue we can do it on your blog; however, if you don't want my approach on your blogt then that is your personal choice and I can repsect that.

    If Chedner is okay with the discussion and keeps it posted then we will continue here.

    I'm at work without any sources at5 my disposal. I'm not evading your approach to good debate. The funny thing is, is that you just confirmed what I previously said with a quote: that is,

    The prophet recieves the revelation for the church/world and is presented to the apostles which is prayed over, confirmed, sustained, and then sustained by the church. That is what your quote said more or less and that is what I said more or less. As for a seventy.. Wickman's comments, I will refute that later like I said, when I have time to research more on this.

    To acredit most on this blog, this is your life. You have studied it more in depth than I. Give me time and I will attempt to reply in a manner that hopefully meets your expectations for good debate. I'm not evading your questions or posts.

  20. Nice comment, Scott. You didn't bring to attention the most important points of my post. Yes, you believe that the standard works is the end all of revelation, so to you - I assume - it wouldn't matter if you were part of the Community of Christ or a Fundamentalist. What ever suits your views the best because at least you have "The Standard Works."

    Read this whole talk by James E Faust.

    In Fact read all of them because I'm afraid that you just don't "get it."

    Your quotes did nothing to retract what I said. In fact they built upon mine. I could write along book about what you said and how it isn't backed by any logic in the church. I'll just save us the time and simply state that your wrong. Yes, if it is published by the church, said to the world while representing the church, i.e. general conference, then you have to understand that the church must stand stand to what was published or said, and the church is very careful about this. Logically you could say that is why The Miracle of Forgiveness is NOT published by the church. Maybe his approach wasn't completely correct. But the doctrine isn't.

    It has been revealed time and time again that to be in good standing with the church one must NOT participate in homosexual relations. PERIOD! That was my point. Get in line with The Proclamation because it says so and follows your quote. Hence, the reason I said that I wasn't bold in saying that my post was the end all of this debate.

  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. Richard, your comment was deleted because it was full of some of my least favorite logical fallacies such as Bandwagon -- saying that those opposed to the LDS Church's stance on homosexuality basically need to shape up or ship out (again, the "all or nothing" attitude) -- and Appeal to Ridicule -- claiming that it's stupid to be LDS and opposed to the Church's stance on homosexuality; therefore, those who do are wrong.

    If these were merely spattered in your comment, I would have tolerated it (as such is the case with other comments here); however, these were the main thesis of your comment, and therefore will not be tolerated on my blog.

  23. I'm sorry if I offended you Chendar, but I still haven't had my question answered. If I had to reconcile everything I stood for to fit the church I belonged to, I would really second guess it. Nightwatchman is right. Apparently as long as you believe the standard works you can be saved. If this is truly what you believe, then why belong to a church that places such a strong emphasis on modern day revelation? Just because it isn't written out perfectly in explicit language doesn't mean that the church is ambiguous on its stance. Your 'logic' is filled with weak attempts to justify your need to resolve. There are things within the church that we all struggle with. I have faults, but I don't try to change the doctrine of the gospel to fit my desires. I work to change my desires to fit the doctrines of the gospel. That is one thing that this blog displays none of. This comment will probably be deleted, and that's fine, but one thing you're missing throughout this entire blog is the fact that to be in good standing with the church you cannot discredit modern day revelation. Reconciling it, or saying that it's homophobic/a product of its time is ridiculous. Whether your opinions are about abortion, divorce, homosexuality, teen pregnancy, etc., if your views do not match the prophet's, you have some things to work on.

  24. Nightwatchman:

    Nobody is claiming that, right now, the LDS standards actually condone homosexual coupling.

    You using this to show that we are, therefore, wrong is known as the Straw Man fallacy, taking a distortion of our stance and using it as 'proof' that we are wrong.

    We are claiming the the LDS Church's current stance on homosexuality is possibly not rooted in doctrine but prejudice and a lack of understanding -- not just of homosexuality.

    We are claiming that there are some fundamental doctrines found within the Standard Works which would suggest an induction that homosexual behavior can, indeed, be ordained of God and is not evil.

    The core of my argument for such lies in Christ's own words as found within the Bible and reiterated within the Book of Mormon -- which words instruct us the way to judge that which is good and that which is evil, basing our decisions on the fruits of the words and actions of the concept in question.

    I have seen nothing but good fruits sprouting and growing from monogamous homosexual couples partnering for life to raise children.

    I have seen a great deal of evil fruits (suicide, drug abuse, promiscuity, etc.) being produced directly from the belief that homosexuality must be altered.

    To explain what I mean:

    Acting out on the belief that homosexuality is something to use as a framework to build a home and family creates homes and families which benefit children and society. Such homes and families, when founded and guided by charity (love, patience, meekness, long-suffering, etc.), raise exemplary children who will enrich society and their families with the values they learned within their homes.

    Acting out on the belief that homosexuality is a flaw creates a constant inward struggle to fill a believed hole, a believed missing piece of oneself (heterosexuality). When no success comes (as is the case with the majority -- if not truly all -- who are set on battling their homosexuality) there remains a feeling of emptiness and a need to fill that emptiness. When one is defeated and empty, one often (as is human nature) turns to drastic, unhealthy means to mask the emptiness -- such as drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and even suicide.

    (And, yes, I am implying that homosexuality is not the cause of the stereotypical and slanderous "gay lifestyle" (one filled with hundreds of sexual partners, riddled with diseases, constantly high on drugs, etc.) but the stance the LDS Church is so adamant on sustaining ("Homosexuality is a flaw that must be and will be fixed."))

    It is by the standards of judgment set forth by the words of Jesus Christ, Himself, in the Flesh, from His own lips and not through a medium, that I have based my stance.

    And, again, the Lord's words will not pass away, and He makes no excuses; therefore, anything that the prophets would say that would excuse this standard of judgment, in my mind, cannot be from God.

  25. Sorry... I mistakenly referred to a "Robert" in my most recent comment when in fact the person I was quoting was "Richard". Apologies!

  26. ... and the statement that I quoted from was in the comment that Chedner deleted, so...

  27. Richard:

    How to be presently "in good standing with the church" is not nor has ever been the intent of what I write. Again, this is the Straw Man fallacy, taking a distorted view of my blog (implying that it has anything to do with remaining a member in good standing right now) and using it as "proof" to discredit what I say.

    My intent is to be in good standing with God and my conscience -- and to share the beliefs which allow me to do so.

    Concerning your argument that I am wrong because I believe what I believe to benefit me, I suggest you read about the logical fallacy titled Circumstantial Ad Hominem.

    What I say is not to justify anything but to express what I have come to see as possibilities as I have studied the scriptures and words of the prophets, as I have prayed, as I have meditated, etc.

    Do not slander my intentions.

    And I did not answer your question because it is not a valid one. Even leaders of the Church, themselves, have stated that one can disagree with them on the issues such as homosexuality and remain members in good standing.

  28. I would also add that man was not made for the Gospel but the Gospel for man.

    I strongly believe that the Gospel (which was set forth in its entirety before the foundation of the world) includes the happiest, healthiest, most productive and fulfilling of lives (which are judged upon the productivity of good works) for each and every individual, the homosexual included.

    If following a principle produces the opposite of happiness, health, productivity, fulfillment, and especially good works, it is not, in my mind, a true portion of the original Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    And following the principle that homosexuality is a flaw more often than not (by vast majority) produces quite strongly the opposites of happiness, health, productivity, fulfillment, and good works. Therefore, in my mind, it cannot be a portion of the original Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. I can sigh too. Alan, you don't know me. Again you have done the same judge passing that you called us on, and very badly at that.

    Actually, I haven't had time to respond since yesterday, so to say that I was evading what they said is another misjudgment. How do you know how humble I am? Or, better put, how could I know you, and Chedner, and Scott by just a few posts? We can't.

    Scott, you made the best sense. Actually, you made perfect sense. The difference between policy and doctrine makes sense and is the best I've read on here. For example, it is policy that we abide a marriage between one woman and one man. Hence, those who practice polygamy have apostatized and sadly are excommunicated for such practice. My claim, and thanks, Scott, for clarifying what I was trying to say all along, was that those who are practicing a same-sex relationship are also out-stepping the revealed policy of the church and if they won't repent then they too will apostatize. Alan, I don't pass judgment or lack humility by stating something so clear.

    The revealed doctrine is clear and the revealed policy is also clear. Will polygamy exist in the celestial kingdom? Most assuredly. Will gay coupling exist there? I still have to side and say no even if it is only clearly policy. Maybe I will freak out when I learn all there is to know about the eternities. Who knows.

    Scott, sorry for passing judgment by saying that you didn't get anything. It was wrong of me.

  31. Alan, actually I agree with the statement of Jay Reuben Clark. A gay person must accept the truth just the same as a straight person. A gay man must make the horrifying realization that he may need to remain celibate his whole life and may never have his so desired same-sex relationship in the life hereafter. That is terrifying to accept such a trial, but the honest truth seeker must make this claim as well. I have not seen this in you or in Chedner's comments, but like I said, I truly don't know you. I'm just critiquing what you have said.

  32. A minor quibble:

    those who are practicing a same-sex relationship are also out-stepping the revealed policy of the church and if they won't repent then they too will apostatize.

    Technically, this is not correct. Apostasy, or the public promotion of philosophies that contradict the Gospel or that are harmful to the Church, is an excommunicable offense. Murder, polygamy, spousal or child abuse, homosexual intercourse and adultery can also each be excommunicable offenses--but they are not apostasy.

    Also an observation:

    Alan, actually I agree with the statement of Jay Reuben Clark. A gay person must accept the truth just the same as a straight person. ... I have not seen this in you or in Chedner's comments

    I believe that you misread President Clark's statement. He did not say that we must accept truth (though we should certainly be prepared to do so once we have found it). What he said is that we should not be afraid to search for truth--to question our beliefs and our assumptions and be willing to change our beliefs if we find them to be in error. Alan and Chedner are questioning some long-held beliefs in their attempt to find the truth.

  33. @Nightwatchman:

    You have said I don't know you and thus can't judge. Ben Jonson said "Language most shows a man. Speak, that I may see thee." You have said a lot, and in so doing have revealed a lot about yourself. While I do not judge your worth as a person, I can and do judge your analysis, your knowledge, and your attitudes because you have put them at issue by inserting yourself into this conversation.

    Scott is right on all points in his post above which corrects more of your misperceptions. This again confirms to me that you need to be more careful in your analysis. You continue to miss distinctions and details that really do make all the difference. For example, I never said you were judgmental or lacked humility because you said someone who practices a same-sex relationship departs from current Church norms. That is not in dispute. It is slipshod and deceptive of you to suggest otherwise. Again, you need to be more careful. Your judgment and teachability were put at issue by some of your other statements about the scope of Church doctrine, its source, and your treatment of those who disagreed with you.

    And although you may think such things are unimportant, the fact that you misspelled Pres. Clark's name (not the first time I have seen such errors in your posts) tells me that you are not entirely familiar with Church history and do not always pay attention to the details that, in the aggregate create trustworthy accuracy. This in turn tells me about the depth and care which go into your analysis. And that in turn reflects on the credibility of your arguments.

    Believe it or not, I am trying to do you a favor here. If you take these comments to heart, you will be better equipped for this kind of discussion in future.