Spinning the news to create wedges in Mormondom?

Just a quick thought on how the pro-homosexual media spins even the clearest statements to favor its ideological … oops, I mean journalistic … opinions. The Salt Lake Tribune’s religion reporter, Peggy Fletcher Stack, relishes every opportunity to create wedges within Mormondom, point out Mormondom’s uniqueness (which she thinks is peculiar) and otherwise create policy relationships between Mormons and homosexuality where none exist.

Case in point: her recent article about the Boy Scouts of America.

In writing about the decades-old debate about allowing homosexuals to serve as Scoutmasters, she not-so-subtly slips this paragraph into the mix:

If the proposed change moves forward, however, it could bring the Scouts into alignment with the LDS Church’s policy of allowing chaste gays to serve in volunteer positions.

“Chaste gays”? Her implication is that human beings can be “born gay” and that when Mormons are “born gay” they are allowed to hold LDS Church callings as long as they don’t have homosexual sex.

The truth is that no human being is “born gay,” having their agency ripped from their souls, wherein they must “choose” between being their “true” self (i.e., having homosexual sex) or their tortured, sacrificial self (i.e., not acting with moral integrity regarding their “true” self). Hardly a choice.

The truth is that any faithful Latter-day Saint may be called to and hold appropriate Church callings – no matter their private thoughts. Being “faithful” means, in fact, matching your behavior and lifestyle to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yes, the LDS Church is bending over backward to explain and expand on the hope that has always existed for people struggling with homosexuality (attractions or behaviors). That is far different than what Ms. Stack portrays: the LDS Church on the precipice of undoing doctrine regarding sexual morality and moral agency.

And she’s the person assigned by The Salt Lake Tribune to cover religion in Utah. Go figure.

Related posts:

This entry was posted in Gay Rights and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Spinning the news to create wedges in Mormondom?

  1. Josh DeFriez says:

    Mr. Mero, you seem overly willing to discuss other people’s sexuality in public discourse, and so I was wondering if you might do the world the favor of answering a few questions concerning your own.

    Do you identify as “straight”?

    Did you choose to identify as “straight”?

    If you do not identify as straight or if you feel that you chose that identity, then did you ever experience attractions to men?

    If you did not ever experience attractions to men, then have you chosen every time you have ever been attracted to a woman?

    Have you actively chosen to not be attracted to every man you’ve ever seen?

    If the case is that you have not chosen every time you have seen a man or a woman whether or not to feel sexually attracted to them, then it seems to me that these feelings are a part of the reality you experience.

    If you experience a reality, then I would expect that the word “straight” is merely a term to describe the reality you experience rather than a choice you’ve made, regardless of how you choose to act on it.

    If this is true for you (and I don’t know whether or not it is–perhaps you’ve struggled your whole life with same-gender attraction and have made the oh-so noble choice to ignore it, in which case I would respect you much more than I currently do), then wouldn’t it make sense to say that the word “gay” is merely a description of the reality a person experiences with no judgement as to choices made?

    If this is true, then doesn’t the entire argument you make in article after article concerning discriminating gays being impossible completely fall apart?

    I think you’ll find that your argument completely falls apart based on your own lived experience…but perhaps you feel you have chosen and perhaps I am being presumptuous, in which case you have my apologies.

    I would be very curious to know the answers to these questions, because by saying that no one is born gay, you seem to be implying that humans are born without sexual orientations. If this is the case in your own life, I would be very curious to know how you worked this out. 

    I would appreciate a response. You can contact me any time at jdefriez@gmail.com

    • Paul Mero says:

       It’s always fascinating how the “gay mind” (politically speaking) projects its delusions on to everything it experiences. Friend, you go from a legitimate question, even if stated differently — if we’re not “born that way,” what are we? — to all of this weird sexual innuendo about me (or anyone else who strongly disagrees with the “gay mind”). Perhaps it’s the all too common occurrence that people of faith or vocal political figures fall from grace over some sexual problem or issue…perhaps aided by Hollywood that loves to magnify those human frailties…but, whatever the source of the perverted joy the “gay mind” takes in the failures of others, it certainly is a delusion to project your sexuality on to everyone else who’s an intellectual or political adversary.

      It’s a queer irony: those obsessed with homosexual behavior must create an “obsession” in those they disagree with politically. I disagree with you, hence, I must be obsessed with homosexuality. Very queer projecting indeed.

      To answer your legitimate question — if we’re not “born that way,” what are we? — my answer is all anyone really knows about human sexuality: we are born male or female and each of us has moral agency to choose our sexual behaviors. I don’t doubt that people can struggle with their feelings in any sexual scenario. All we really know (and all that can really be known) is that, despite those struggles, sexual behavior is a choice…always. It is true that a series of poor choices can become a physical/emotional addiction and that deep trauma (say, sexual abuse as a child) can create emotional dependencies that, if not treated, can lead to addictive behaviors thereby effectively taking away our moral agency. But, on the whole, we are born male or female with moral agency to do as we like.

      You ask me if I make sexual choices every day. The answer is of course. Everyone does.

      Males and females are hard wired as males and females…which is why gender confusion is so devastating to a person’s psyche and the choice to physically “correct” nature’s “mistake” is such a painful process for anyone to go through. But notice I have not claimed that we’re hard wired as hetero or homo or bi or pedi or polyg or bestial, etc. These are all choices we can make at any given moment.

      So, no, I don’t believe in “orientation” as you see it. I believe that we are born male or female with moral agency to choose our sexual behaviors. I believe that we are hard wired male and female, not hetero or homo or whatever, and that means human beings have a natural, normal and healthy bias toward male/female sexuality as well as male/female emotional, psychological, economic and familial bonds.

      I know my view does not comport with your view. I’m quite sure that for me to express these thoughts can be painful for people struggling with homosexuality, often people looking for justifications (such as they are “born that way) to feel good about doing things they really know, deep down, that they shouldn’t be doing. But people in that struggle not looking to justify their bad behaviors will take comfort that someone, somewhere is reassuring them that a functional (not delusional) life awaits them.

      • I think you are missing Josh’s point.  The purpose of the questions is not to put any weird sexual innuendo on you but a thought excercise.  Did you choose to be straight or to be attracted to those of the opposite sex?  If the answer is yes, then that would be consistent with the view that people choose their orientation.  Then again, you could just be bisexual (not something I’m claiming of you only another possibility). 

        On the other hand, if you did not choose to be attracted to women, how can you claim homosexuals choose to be attracted to the same sex?  For me, I have tried to think of any scenario in which I could be attracted or be with another man, and I am always disgusted by any thought.  Its revolting to me because I am hardwired to be attracted to women and most men are wired similarly.  But there is a small minority of men who are hardwired to be attracted to other men and revolted by the idea of being with a woman (anywhere from 3-10%).  I don’t know why this premise is so hard to accept. 

        • Paul Mero says:

           It’s hard to accept because it’s premise is faulty. I answered his questions and provided the alternative: we’re hard wired male and female, not hetero or homo. Because we’re hard wired male and female, it is natural, normal and healthy to have sexual relations within that construct…and, likewise, the opposite outside of that construct. That you and I are “repulsed” by the idea of homosexuality and a small proportion of men and women embrace the idea is beside the point, what color hair we prefer or body type, all beside the point, which is: we are born male and female with moral agency…free to choose any sexual behavior.

          • Josh DeFriez says:

            But which premise is faulty? The premise that, according to over forty years of scientific evidence individuals can exclusively and of no choice of their own experience attractions to the same sex? And you are, in contrast, offering which premise? The unscientific premise proffered by yourself that there is no “hard wiring” when it comes to sexual orientation? Or is it simply more likely that you have never pursued a serious study of the issue and don’t understand what is meant by the term “sexual orientation” in either scientific literature or public discourse? I think you’ll find your own ignorance on the topic to be the source of variance in this conversation, and not any faulty premises.

          • Josh DeFriez says:

            Also, I would like to point out that you have a completely, categorically faulty premise. You claim that people are simply hardwired to be either male or female with no variance. This is patently incorrect. 1% of humans are born with ambiguous genitalia or incongruent chromosomal structures. For example, there are people who have XY (male) chromosomes, but because of a failure of hormones to unlock the Y chromosome are born with female genitalia despite that they are genetically male. There are also instances of XXY chromosome patterns. To put this in perspective, this means that in any LDS congregation of 300 people, there are statistically likely to be three individuals who can neither be called male nor female. 

            Again, the way you approach the subject logically and the words you use betray your complete lack of education on the subject. I believe that the book of Proverbs has a few quite critical things to say about people who speak without understanding. Perhaps you would do well to study before you speak, and especially in such public venues and with political agendas of which you are trying to persuade people. Not only do your arguments fail in powers of persuasion, but they fail to align with reality. Your continued rhetoric on this subject is disrespectful to all those who face these very real problems in their own lives and seems to suggest that you write merely out of polemical persuasion to political agendas and not of a real pursuit of truth. Is not truth the ultimate criterion in Mormonism? Then why do you speak before you have put the effort in to obtain it? Perhaps biblical prophecies of men who are ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth were in fact referring to you, and not to the intellectual community so criticized by many in the upper echelons of your faith.

          • Paul Mero says:

             A birth anomaly is not a gender.

          • Adison says:

            But this anomaly is entirely about the definition of gender 

          • Paul Mero says:

             Good grief, friend, there is NO replicable scientific or medical evidence that anyone is “born gay.” None. Lots of professional opinions but no evidence.

          •  The causes are not fully understood and evidence is pointing to a variety of causes.  That said, there is no scientific evidence that abnormal
            parenting, sexual abuse, or other adverse life events influence sexual
            orientation.  “Born gay” is a strawman, what is clear from the science is that people don’t choose to be gay. 

          • Paul Mero says:

             I chuckled…thanks…it’s been a long day. It’s not clear because there is no science. :)

          •  You’re making an either or argument.  People are hard wired to be male or female AND they are hard wired regarding their sexual orientation. 

            Also, what is the justification that the premise is faulty?  The Brethren say homosexual relations is a sin therefore the premise that people are born gay is faulty?  Therefore we can disregard all the science on the subject completely because we should follow what the Brethren say?  Is it possible they are wrong?

          • Paul Mero says:

             I’m not making an either or argument…I’m stating a fact to the best human knowledge to date: all we know is that people are born male and female with moral agency to choose their sexual behaviors.

      • Josh DeFriez says:

        You often talk about the “gay mind.” Might I ask whose mind, specifically, is the “gay mind”? The problem with this rhetoric is that among LGBT people, their allies, and marriage equality advocates exist a wide variety of opinions, understandings, and propositions. In fact, the “gay mind” in the sense that you use the term, is an utter farce and completely contrived by you. It is a straw man fallacy. It is bad rhetoric and betrays the deep biases that pervade your written work. If you would like your readers to take you seriously, I would recommend not using this term.

        You have a deep misunderstanding about what it means to be “gay.” Because of this, there is a  communication barrier. It is because of this communication barrier that I feel compelled to comment and to advocate that you change the way that you communicate. The impacts of this communication barrier have demonstrated themselves to be dangerous. You continuously talk about moral agency and the ability any individual has to choose their sexual behavior. I completely agree. In your response, however, you misinterpreted and failed to answer the question that was at the crux of my argument. I asked you if you chose daily to which males or females you would feel sexually attracted. You answered that your sexual behavior is your own choice. Yet you yourself comment that people experience feelings that are beyond their control. The word “gay” does not necessarily describe a person who chooses to have sex with people of the same gender or to engage in any actions which you would consider to be immoral. As I stated clearly in my first comment, the terms “gay” and “straight” merely describe the reality someone experiences in terms of sexual attractions (which are these feelings that you admit people experience), and not necessarily their actions. Because of this, there are many gay people who are active in the LDS Church and live the Law of Chastity. You rhetoric is dangerous because in refusing to recognize their existence, you continue to marginalize them and ignore their suffering and pain. 
        Whereas you so often appeal to religion, I will here do the same. When you were baptized, you covenanted to mourn with those that mourn and to comfort those that stand in need of comfort. The greatest injunction given by Christ was to love your neighbor as yourself. God Himself “is love.” For this reason, I stand in direct opposition to your use of the word “morality” for your own political purposes. Morality is very clearly defined in terms of love and support. Your clear and apparent lack of understanding on this issue shines through in the very vocabulary you use, and your continued polemics on the issue are dangerous. The number of suicides of gay Mormons who have lived lives filled with deep depression over the years are too many to count (see Carol Lynn Pearson’s book on the subject, “No More Goodbyes”). I feel compelled to respond to you because your rhetoric is contributing to an environment that divests these individuals of hope to the point where taking their own lives seems to be the only option for them. In contributing to this environment, I find it to be you who is failing to lead the moral high ground, and not others. Your claims of sympathy for people who “struggle with homosexuality” (you might want to update your archaic phrasing) seem to be nominal, and if they are anything more than that, then I suggest you change the way you talk about the subject.

        Ultimately, the argument that I am making is not that homosexuality ought to be embraced by society. I am making no argument for marriage equality. What I am arguing is that your personal rhetoric is contributing to a problem far greater than any homosexual person has ever caused: the devaluing of human life. Because the lives of the people of whom you seemingly carelessly toss aside as an immoral, technically non-existent minority matter deeply to me, I am asking you to do more open minded research on the subject before you make public arguments. I doubt that you consider yourself an expert on the subject (and nor would anyone who reads your frankly uninformed vocabulary when you approach the topic), and so I ask that you learn more before you make statements that hurt people. I am not asking you to do anything that violates your moral criterion–only that which you have already covenanted to do. If you truly care about these people, learn about them. Mourn with them. And then come back and write about them. In the mean time, I can only imagine a small minority of people take seriously much at all that you have to say on the subject. I would be more than happy to provide any resources you would need to actually acquaint yourself with the lives of the people whom you so frequently verbally marginalize (I’m referring mostly to active gay Mormons). Please, think more deeply on this issue. Question your assumptions and actually try to understand instead of just furthering your political agenda.

        • Paul Mero says:

           One of my favorite books is titled “The Conservative Mind” and lays out how authentic conservatives think, as a group. I don’t consider that book license to offend the many conservatives who disagree about all sorts of things. The author describes an intellectual construct. That’s all I mean by “the gay mind.”

          To your next point, if “gay” describes something other than human behavior it is pointless to argue for “gay rights” and it is rather meaningless in terms of Church life…which the Brethren have articulated quite well (i.e. you can serve faithfully if you don’t ACT on those feelings…why is that okay? because ones non-behavior…thoughts, feelings, attractions…doesn’t matter in terms of Church service).

          I don’t deny people have all sorts of feelings. But those are personal issues and do not rise to the level of law and policy. If you say that men thinking about having sexual attractions for other men means “gay,” I’ll take your word for it and then explain how irrelevant that is in law and policy.

          You do not know me privately. You do not know how I behave in love and compassion toward others. This verbal battlefield is law and policy, not personal feelings and attractions. You exhibit here what most dysfunctional people do when faced with truth: you accuse others of the sin. I get that words hurt, but someone who reads anything I’ve EVER written on homosexuality and public policy and then goes and commits suicide would have had much bigger problems than my writings.

          The pathology of homosexuality, as a human dysfunction (yes, I know the professional associations call it all natural, normal and healthy these days…due to political pressures within those organization), is never accepting of personal responsibility…again, people like me are the “problem” and if people like me would simply shut up or disappear (or be legislated out of existence), these poor souls would suddenly be happy and at peace with their decisions. It’s just not true. But that “gay mind” is exactly why those of us in law and policy who defend the societal benefits of the traditional family are concerned that homosexual activists will use the law to silence any form of human behavior that stands contrary to homosexuality. The threat to religious freedom is real…which is why the Church exempted itself from the SLC ordinances.

          I would argue that homosexual behavior, in a truly moral/human sense, devalues life and the dignity of life much more than anything I could possibly ever write.

          Again, I write in a context of law and policy, not personal affairs. Struggling people need help…but overreaching laws would heal them.

  2. Scottfranco74 says:

    So, The Sutherland Institute is a Christian organization?
    I was under the impression that it was a conservative political institution. I’m just wondering which, because as we all know, there is a separation of church and state in this country, as implied by the first amendment and Thomas Jefferson.

  3. Adison says:

    We need to figure out how to define gay. Because the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints (LDS) defines it as someone who acts on feelings to men and the rest of the world defines it as someone who is attracted to men. You are both saying the same thing when it comes to men who are attracted to men in the LDS church. The LDS church has in recent statements admitted that people may be born with a “predisposition” or possibility of becoming gay. Some people just get stuck in older stances that leaders have taken in the past about the cause of people being attracted to those of their same sex. For the LDS faith the cause ranges over the years from masturbation to selfishness to simply choosing one day to like men more than women. Their policies for how to handle being gay have also changed from, you should change how you feel and get married, to discouraging marriage to anyone unless they feel strongly towards their future wife. Not everything said from the pulpit ultimately becomes their policy forever. I am not stating that they are going to encourage men who act on desires to other men and will someday  allow them into the temple. I am not arguing they will change that is it a sin. I only argue that their understanding of those who are attracted to people of their same sex (see why people just say gay, that is long) has grown and members should try to keep up. My opinions on homosexuality differ from the LDS church and apparently the author but I feel that when we understand what someone is trying to say and not what we think it sounds like we might find out that we agree a lot more.  So if when you read this article you simply insert the wording “someone who is attracted to people of their own sex” where Peggy Stack writes gay and insert the wording “someone who commits sexual acts with people of their same sex” where the author of this article says gay or homosexual , you will find that they agree a lot more in this particular context. 

    • Paul Mero says:

       I appreciate, very much, the constructive tone and spirit of your comment. It’s rare. The point of my post and a point upon which I disagree with, at least part of your thoughtful insight, is I think the all of the easily confusing jargon, full of multiple meanings in any given usage, is part natural and part purposeful — natural in that people always looking to self-justify bad behavior will twist any word to mean what they need it to mean…and purposeful in that people, such as the Tribune reporter, knows how words are used to connote what the author is looking to promote.

      • I don’t think there is much confusion on what terms mean.  A homosexual (ie. gay) is a person who is exclusively attracted to members of the same sex/gender.  Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or activity between members of the same sex.  One does not have to be homosexual to engage in homosexuality for example.  That said, its fairly well established that homosexuals “exist”.  Some people are not attracted to members of the opposite sex.  They are gay and they can’t be “cured”.  Its true people have agency in choosing what they will do, but they don’t have a choice to choose what they are attracted to. 

        • Paul Mero says:

          Evidently there is confusion because the terms you describe are used interchangeably all of the time.

          Actually, a homosexual is a person who chooses to have same-sex sexual relations, at least under the law historically. Feelings…attractions…have nothing to do with the law. IOW, society doesn’t care what you’re attracted to or feel…it only cares how you act. That point is central to any debate about “gay rights.”

          Are there people who believe they have no choice in their attractions and feelings? Obviously. But my personal attractions and feelings don’t rise to the level of public policy…that would be particularly selfish of me to expect that.

          At a legal and societal level, I don’t care what you’re feelings or attractions are. I only care what you do and how what you do burdens society or not.

          • Rob Lauer says:

            I fail to see how two adults of the same gender acting privately upon their romantic feelings for one another justifies the government at any level getting involved. THAT involvement of the government in the private relationships of people was, after all, the principle upon which the “Gay Rights Movement” began. (It was also the principle that the LDS Church and people of Utah stood up for between 1852 and 1890…and which put the brakes on statehood for Utah for four decades.)

            As of 2003, the Federal Government agreed that the individual rights and liberty of same-gender couples had primacy over previous laws demanding that the government interfere in the private lives of these individuals.

            If homsexuality activity is what makes one gay, then why should a celibate 15 year old boy who is open about being sexually attracted to male be barred from the Boy Scouts?

            Regardless of what he calls himself, by your own definition he is not a homosexual because he is not “a person who chooses to have same-sex relations.”

            His “feelings…attractions” have nothing to do with the matter because, as you write above, “society doesn’t care what you’re attract to or feel…it only cares how you act.”

            By your own definition of “homosexual,” the 14 year old–the 15, 16, 17 or 18 year-old who announces “I am gay,” but who is celibate, should be allowed in the Boy Scout.

          • Paul Mero says:

             1) I agree…people struggling with homosexuality is a private matter.
            2) In 2003, did truth change or did politics?
            3)I’m not a Scout but it’s a private organization and it can do what it wants…and for over 100 years it has…and in 2000 SCOTUS agreed.

          • Rob Lauer says:

            I completely agree: the Scouts have a right to adopt any policy they wish…regardless of its popularity.

            Yes, people “struggling with homosexuality is a private matter” and people who live their lives in a homosexual relationship is also a private matter–just as a romantic relationship and a married relationship and a family relationship is a private matter.

            In 2003 the POLITICS changed: faith-based assumptions and conepts regarding sodomy were thrown out as a basis for arresting adults because of their private relationship.

            Truth did NOT change: homosexual relationship in no way threatened the rights of individuals–the rights which the U.S. law and government at all levels was instituted to protect. The TRUTH was, the faith-based laws regarding so-called “sodomy” (itself a Medeival Christian concept) were, when enforced, themselves an attack on the rights of individuals.

          • Paul Mero says:

             Okay…so…private relationships don’t rise to the level of law and policy, right? UNLESS, those private relationships, such as marriage, benefit society so significantly that they define society, as marriage and family do. There are no societal benefits to homosexuality…all of its “benefits” would be private (and selfish).

            It’s interesting that you would now argue sodomy laws (laws based on behavior) in defense of “gay” rights based on feelings and attractions.

            Laws against sodomy and cohabitation and restrictions on familiy-related government-controlled policies (such as adoption and foster care) change with culture, for sure — solely for political reasons…although those changes don’t negate the initial value found in those restrictions.

            Homosexual relationships don’t harm my personal relationship or yours in a direct way, true (although there are intransitive aspects that with behavior that apply to moral character and manifest in socially). But when projected from private matters to public policy, there is harm…exactly why the Church pushed Prop 8 and now defend it vigorously.

            I and many others have written about those harms…I even argue that, ultimately, freedom is at stake.

            If you care.

          • Rob Lauer says:

            Of course I care about freedom.Which is why I defend the freedom of homosexual individuals enter into a CIVIL marriage contract.

            And I defend the freedom of churches or any private organization to denounce those civil marriages, to refuse to officiate over those marriages, to excommunicate those who enter into them, advocate them, etc.

            Where is the evidence that civil mariages between homosexual individuals harm society?
            What exactly is the harm?

          • Rob Lauer says:

            I would recommend that you and readers here read and consider the points made in this excellent book, “GAY MARRIAGE: WHY IT IS GOOD FOR GAYS, GOOD FOR STARIGHTS AND GOOD FOR AMERICA” by Jonathan Rauch. http://www.amazon.com/Gay-Marriage-Good-Straights-America/dp/0805078150#reader_0805078150

          • Paul Mero says:

             I’ve read Rauch…and Bauer…and Sullivan….among others.

  4. McCams says:

    I didn’t think the Sutherland Institute would stray this much for current LDS teachings. The Church’s own mormonsandgays.org states that gays “do not choose” to have those attractions. Sutherland seems to say they do choose. Sutherland must repent, or be cast out.

    • Paul Mero says:

       Key word: attractions. Feelings come and go…we’re confronted with them all of the time. There are quite a few drivers I’d like to punch in the face, but I don’t. With all due respect, you’re wresting their words to justify your position. Watch the videos by the Church leaders and you’ll notice a distinction between even what they say and the written (PR) text. It is what it is…but not what you’re saying it is. :)

      • McCams says:

        Can you be gay, and not have same-sex attraction? They are gay because of the attraction. Hence the term ‘same-sex attraction’ as a synonym  for being gay. I follow the Brethren, and agree they do not choose to have those attractions. By your logic, being gay “comes and goes” like bad driving. That’s a poorly thought-out analogy.

        • Paul Mero says:

           You twist my words. I used the analogy to simply point out that our feelings our ours and we can choose to act on them or not. That’s what the Brethren are saying. Is there something called “gay” that means you’re sexually attracted to the same sex? OK…call it whatever you want. The label doesn’t change gospel truths: same-sex relations are a sin and if you commit that sin you are not “worthy.”

          And, not to be argumentative, but evidently those feelings do come and go, evidence people who marry and have families, and then fall away…or “bisexual” people…or the Jerry Sanduskys of the world who swear they’re not “gay” but still have sexual relations with teenage young men. And, yes, I recognize that other people’ are more stalwart in the sexual feelings. Okay, enough of that.

          • One can be in a heterosexual relationship and still be gay.  When someone “falls away” it is rarely because their orientation has changed and more because they weren’t able to continue making the mixed orientation marriage work.  You are correct though that one’s orientation can change but its rare and it is not because its a choice. 

  5. Annie P. says:

    Differ on your opinions about the origins of homosexuality as much as you like, but please try to do it compassionately.  I think Peggy Stack means to imply that people are born with natural inclinations or tendencies towards certain temptations, just as genetics can have a role in make a person inclined towards alcoholism but that does not strip them of the right to choose whether or not to drink.  People can have same-gender attractions and choose to deny them and still be thriving, faithful Mormons. 

    Also, there is no need to launch a personal attack on Peggy Stack who is herself a devout Mormon, and has greatly contributed to strengthening my personal testimony in her role as a relief society and sunday school teacher in my ward.  Such pettiness as calling her “passive-aggressive” and “mormon-loathing” only weakens your argument. 

    • Paul Mero says:

       You simply have a different experience with her. You stand by her better side…I’ll stand by what I know until I have a different experience with her. You sound like a good friend for her. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Josh DeFriez says:

    But which premise is faulty? The premise that, according to over forty years of scientific evidence individuals can exclusively and of no choice of their own experience attractions to the same sex? And you are, in contrast, offering which premise? The unscientific premise proffered by yourself that there is no “hard wiring” when it comes to sexual orientation? Or is it simply more likely that you have never pursued a serious study of the issue and don’t understand what is meant by the term “sexual orientation” in either scientific literature or public discourse? I think you’ll find your own ignorance on the topic to be the source of variance in this conversation, and not any faulty premises.
    Also, I would like to point out that you have a completely, categorically faulty premise. You claim that people are simply hardwired to be either male or female with no variance. This is patently incorrect. 1% of humans are born with ambiguous genitalia or incongruent chromosomal structures. For example, there are people who have XY (male) chromosomes, but because of a failure of hormones to unlock the Y chromosome are born with female genitalia despite that they are genetically male. There are also instances of XXY chromosome patterns. To put this in perspective, this means that in any LDS congregation of 300 people, there are statistically likely to be three individuals who can neither be called male nor female. Again, the way you approach the subject logically and the words you use betray your complete lack of education on the subject. I believe that the book of Proverbs has a few quite critical things to say about people who speak without understanding. Perhaps you would do well to study before you speak, and especially in such public venues and with political agendas of which you are trying to persuade people. Not only do your arguments fail in powers of persuasion, but they fail to align with reality. Your continued rhetoric on this subject is disrespectful to all those who face these very real problems in their own lives and seems to suggest that you write merely out of polemical persuasion to political agendas and not of a real pursuit of truth. Is not truth the ultimate criterion in Mormonism? Then why do you speak before you have put the effort in to obtain it? Perhaps biblical prophecies of men who are ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth were in fact referring to you, and not to the intellectual community so criticized by many in the upper echelons of your faith.

  7. Rob Lauer says:

    Fletcher correctly stated the LDS Church’s policy: Men who are sexually attracted to other men can participate fully in the Church as long as they don’t act upon it. Likewise, a teenage boy who is attracted to other boys can fully participate in the LDS Scouting Program/Aaronic Priesthood as long as he remain chaste.

    I have a question: If sexual orientation is a choice, when did you choose to be attracted to women? Could you just as easily chosen to be attracted to men?

    The answer to the first questions is, you did not choose to be attracted to women. The answer to the second is you could not simply chosen to have been attracted to men.

    Why do you suppose it is any different for those who are attracted to their own gender? Of course, you are free to believe anything you want, but there is still objective reality…..and the proven facts of reality regarding human sexuality is that some people really are attracted only to their own gender and that attraction is simply a part of their biological development with no choice about it. (How they act upon it–yes, that is a choice, but the attraction is not.)

    Again, one may believe otherwise based upon their religion, but objective reality will always trump belief and faith when that belief and faith are out of harmony with objective reality.

    • Paul Mero says:

       The words she used, and what you repeat here, are correct. It’s Church policy because it is both obvious and meaningless. It’s like me saying I love the smell of coffee and as long as I don’t partake I’m still in good standing. Great. So what? What your friend implied, and no doubt you agree with, is that the Church has endorsed homosexuality, what she and you call “gay.” I took exception to her use of the term “chaste gay” as if someone is a homosexual but does not act on it. I’m saying (as the Church is saying) you’re not a homosexual unless you act on it…hence, this disctinction of “gay” is a fraud to me. That the Church now accommodates the word “gay” is something new…but it’s substantive meaning remains, well, meaningless in practice.

      If all that Peggy and you are saying is that people think all sorts of things…and can be attracted to all sorts of things…but never act on those thoughts or attractions…then, yes, anyone can be a faithful LDS. No argument from me because those feelings, thoughts and attractions are meaningless in a Church context.

      But, if what she and you are saying is that the Church has somehow changed doctrine…or that its recent compassion is new in principle…I’d say that understanding is a (purposeful) misrepresentation of Church teachings.

      That’s objective reality as opposed to your “faith” a the new religion of “gay.”

      • Rob Lauer says:

        I’m NOT saying that the Church has changed it teaching on homosexual actions, thought they have changed their APPROACH to dealing with homosexuals since the 1970s when “gay rights” first became a social and political isssue. As for your comment regarding my “faith” and “The new religion ‘gay’”–I have no idea what you mean.

        My religion is Mormonism.

  8. Adison says:

    Paul Mero, 
    I generally don’t like when many people gang up on one person and I feel like that is what has happened in this feed. I feel like it causes the person who does not share the view of everyone else to put up a lot of walls and it stops the conversation in its tracks. I feel like this is a very emotional topic for everyone. No one likes to be called a bigot for their beliefs and there are a lot of pent up feelings from people who feel pain when they and their choices are misunderstood. Please don’t let harsh words from some one who does not agree with your beliefs scar you from trying to understand them. I grew up with the idea that America is a melting pot. Where we invite people to come and bring their beliefs cultures and ideas. I do not think it is right for one group to conquest over another. In reference to this article The Boy Scouts have a right to decide whether to allow gays or not, so says the Supreme Court. I however would like to see if you can understand why some people feel so strongly about it. I was a Boy Scout when I was younger. I am not usually open about my feelings and I guard them closely. I don’t consider them to be anyone’s business so I will be as brief as I can be. As I young man I found myself drawn strongly to some of my friends in ways that at first I didn’t really understand. I became more aware of what I would describe as sexual feelings when my friends would described how they thought about or felt about women. these descriptions reminded me of how I felt about some of them. I began to worry a little that I was gay. At this time the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints(LDS) had not made a big point to differentiate between feelings and actions at least in terms or in a forum that I could participate in at my age. I decided that I could get rid of them. So I didn’t tell anyone and I continued to act as if nothing was different. I would go camping and weekly activities where I learned a lot of very important lessons. When around a campfire young men talk. Jokes and comments are made even very hurtful ones like we should send all gay people to an island and nuke it. That would solve the problem. I would join in so that I did not look suspicious but be scared and hurt on the inside because I was afraid that nothing would change and that would be gay. Leaders would sometimes correct such conversations, sometimes, but not always. Leaders were their own issue. When riding in a vehicle once a classic Elton John song came on. My leader suddenly changes the radio and says he will not listen to it because I cannot support his lifestyle because he is gay. while I agree he does not have to listen to his music he had made a point to say it was because he is gay. that was the only song he did that for the entire trip. (Musicians are not known for their morality) While he was using it as a teaching moment he did not know that I was having these feelings and may have been more subtle had he known. I went through scouts, I had the privilege of serving in leadership positions and I completed my Eagle rank even through at that time I had feelings for the other young men around me. I did not act on those feelings and I respected my fellow scouts.  This is because I did not recognize scouting as a romantic environment it was about learning, camping and having friends. Just like how I treat work. I do not fraternize with my coworkers at work. You can apply what ever cause you would like to these feelings and desire it does not change what I felt. I tried as hard as I could to change those feelings but they did not go away. Those years were painful and lonely. I didn’t want to be gay, being gay would have lost me a lot of my friends. A kinder more accepting environment would have been very welcome. It would have helped me to have a greater self worth. That is why I would like to see a change in the policy. One thing that you have shared is that the policy is in place to protect scouts. this is one of the most hurtful arguments for keeping the policy. To protect scouts from perverted men and boys who will sexually abuse your children because they are all about sex. the thing is that abuse from leaders happens in scouting with the current policy. Not by gay leaders but by pedophiles. This is why they have current procedures about not letting leaders and scouts sleep in tents together or leaders be alone with scouts. There is a huge difference between being attracted to people of your own sex and being attracted to children and youth male or female.  I cannot describe to you how much that hurts and angers people. The LDS church requires that there are men at activities for the young women and there are policies in place to protect the young women and the leaders. I will say again the BSA can choose for themselves but I hope that they will understand as I hope this helps you understand why some may hope for a change. This allows for real conversations about this subject and not back and forth warfare.  

    • Rob Lauer says:

      It seems to me that Mr. Mero is “ganging up on” Ms. Fletcher, homosexuals who are standing up for their civil rights, etc….if  using “harsh words from some one who does not agree with your beliefs” is part of “ganging up.”

      I agree that no one likes to be called a bigot because of his religious beliefs–just as people do nit like to be told that their beliefs are contradicted by facts, or that their beliefs are simply mistaken, or  that their beliefs–as dear as they may be to them– simply do not carry enough weight to be convincing to anyone else.

      The fact is that “belief” alone CAN make one a bigot. It doesn’t have to make one a bigot, but it certainly can.  Clinging to a “belief” when reality and facts continue to fly in the face of that belief is, of course, a Natural Right enjoyed by every single individual; but doing so probably will not win the respect of those who choose to follow the facts and objective reality where they may lead.

      I have a Natural Right to believe that the earth is flat, that the Sun rotates around the earth, etc. And 700 years ago that belief was not only the norm, those who contradicted it were violently denounced and silenced as enemies of God, enemies of the true faith, and for rejecting the  Bible.
      But reason and science–both of which were denounced an irrational and unscientific when at first they provided evidence and proposed theories contrary to a faith-based vision of the solar system–gradually won the day.

      So it will be with the issue of human homosexuality. In the coming years the Boy Scouts will accept homosexuality as being as perfectly natural as heterosexuality. So will the LDS Church, the Conservative movement and the State of Utah. It’s just a matter of time, and it will not be because those entities are bullied or forced to change their views: it will be because the facts will become so self-evident that they simply cannot be denied by reasonable individuals. Beliefs out of harmony with objective reality will always fade. Truth is a knowledge of things as they were, of things as they are and of things as they will be. In the end the truth will always carry the day.

      • Paul Mero says:

         Mr. Lauer, I get it…you’re Peggy’s friend, you want to defend her…you also have some fondness for “gay rights.” But, friend, your “facts” are neither reason or science. The world of homosexual science and medicine is all opinion not fact…and, yes, those opinions are driven by politics. Homosexuality cannot be a civil right because it lacks every criteria used to establish a civil right. There is no replicable scientific or medical evidence that any human being is “born gay.” None. There are opinions…the two APAs and all sorts of professional groups…but they are ALL opinions.

        BTW, there is no “natural right” to believe anything let alone stupid things. Natural law and rights are not synonymous with the obvious fact that you can say whatever or believe whatever you want. In fact, natural law uses secular logic to show that homosexuality is not natural, normal or healthy.

        I admire that you defend your friend from the mean-spirited bigot — certainly the name-calling of me on her FB post is excused because her friends are right and I’m wrong? — but your brand of kool-aid just wastes time in serious debates about public policy. People struggling with homosexuality is a personal matter and does not rise to the level of law and policy. And it’s a delusion, on all sorts of intellectual levels, to pretend otherwise. That your side has a growing number of fans doesn’t change truth, fact, or objective reality.

        • Nick Mathews says:

           It rises to the level of law and policy when guys like you discriminate against people who are different.

        • Rob Lauer says:

          I made no reference to “Natural Law” which is a Catholic theological concept. I refered to Natural Rights–which is a secular Enlightement concept and the philosophy to which the U.S. Founding Fathers looked for framing our Repubic.

          I’m not serving Kool-Aid, Brother And if you want to believe that there is no evidence upon which to base the scientific theory that sexual orientation is in-born, by all means go right ahead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>