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Jeff Robinson on the LGBT issue at FairMormon

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I haven't seen anything on this here and nothing in the blogosphere that I've noticed. I think if/when it hits the rounds, it could have the potential to explode. But I'm not sure. He seemed to be making an intellectual case based on scientific studies and his extensive clinical experience that gay LDS should reform and marry heterosexually. This seems to be an opinion that hasn't been voiced much for at least a decade. I thought even the church had moved past this. But maybe I misunderstood him. Honestly, his presentation was reasonably compelling to me. He's extremely experienced and seems to have an open mind to things. Based on what I read and understand, I tend to be on the progressive side of this issue and am anticipating change/revelation in the future, but it's not my field of expertise. 

 

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7 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

I haven't seen anything on this here and nothing in the blogosphere that I've noticed. I think if/when it hits the rounds, it could have the potential to explode. But I'm not sure. He seemed to be making an intellectual case based on scientific studies and his extensive clinical experience that gay LDS should reform and marry heterosexually. This seems to be an opinion that hasn't been voiced much for at least a decade. I thought even the church had moved past this. But maybe I misunderstood him. Honestly, his presentation was reasonably compelling to me. He's extremely experienced and seems to have an open mind to things. Based on what I read and understand, I tend to be on the progressive side of this issue and am anticipating change/revelation in the future, but it's not my field of expertise. 

 

Link to the presentation?

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7 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Link to the presentation?

I was looking for the page where transcripts are released and didn't find anything. Maybe none of them are ready yet. You can always purchase the streaming option and get them early. :) https://www.fairmormon.org/store/product-category/fairmormon-conference/conference-streaming

 

 

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7 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

I haven't seen anything on this here and nothing in the blogosphere that I've noticed. I think if/when it hits the rounds, it could have the potential to explode. But I'm not sure. He seemed to be making an intellectual case based on scientific studies and his extensive clinical experience that gay LDS should reform and marry heterosexually. This seems to be an opinion that hasn't been voiced much for at least a decade. I thought even the church had moved past this. But maybe I misunderstood him. Honestly, his presentation was reasonably compelling to me. He's extremely experienced and seems to have an open mind to things. Based on what I read and understand, I tend to be on the progressive side of this issue and am anticipating change/revelation in the future, but it's not my field of expertise. 

 

I’ve voiced this on another thread, but I found his presentation quite stimulating. He seemed to find a unique alternative to the heretofore binary debate that people with same sex attraction were either “born that way” or they chose it. 

He made an interesting comparison to acquiring a native language. A person is neither born with that lingual ability nor does he choose it. He learns it as part of a developmental process, influenced by his environment (nature vs nurture). Once that has happened, he cannot unlearn it, so to speak, nor can he acquire a different language without some degree of difficulty. 

Like you, I expected that the suggestion that same-sex attraction is an acquired trait (involuntary though the attraction may be) would excite some degree of controversy. So far, that hasn’t happened yet, at least not that I’ve seen. 

Point of information: The speaker, Jeff Robinson, is the brother-in-law of our own Calm here on this board. 

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1 minute ago, kllindley said:

Of course any defense of the doctrine of family and chastity is going to be met with significant opposition. It's a very unpopular position these days. 

I hope you misunderstood him. I can't imagine from my past interactions with him, including presentations at AMCAP on LGBT issues, that he would suggest that anyone "should" take any particular course of action.  

I'm especially doubtful that he would have any intellectual or clinical case to support that assumption. There may be a theological "should," but I'm not even supportive of that. 

"Could" is a reasonable option. It certainly is possible to live in harmony with the Restored Gospel. And many individuals who have identified as gay or lesbian do have fulfilling heterosexual marriages.  But there is no guarantee that heterosexual marriage will work for everyone in this life.  I think that is what the Church has (appropriately) stepped back from. The Church still teaches that striving toward a celestial marriage is the best course of action. Even for those who have no expectation or hope of attaining that in this life, the goal of working towards that outcome, including remaining sexually chaste, is still taught as the ideal. 

I could be misunderstanding. I'd like to hear what others thought. I think I heard him say that sexual orientation is not binary. And very few of the thousands or so of gay men he's treated had zero sexual attraction to women and an inability to successfully navigate a sexual and romantic relationship with a woman. 

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His observation would be generally consistent with the current scientific literature in this field. That small percentage does exist, though. 

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8 minutes ago, kllindley said:

His observation would be generally consistent with the current scientific literature in this field. That small percentage does exist, though. 

So are you saying that all but a small percentage of men with same-sex attraction could develop a sexual relationship with a woman if they chose to do so? 

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4 minutes ago, kllindley said:

His observation would be generally consistent with the current scientific literature in this field. That small percentage does exist, though. 

It's a critical scientific data point that will drive church policy, imho.

If scientific and empirical evidence suggests that our gay youth should attempt to "overcome" their same sex attraction and marry heterosexually, then I think there is no reason to expect change in church policy or doctrine through revelation.

But if evidence suggests otherwise, I think this new information will lead to revelation and change.

Every year we have about a thousand or so gay missionaries return home from honorable missions and usually about then come to terms with their sexual orientation and decide what to do. They need a default answer. Marry heterosexually or stay celibate. And I don't think stay celibate is a charitable or doctrinally correct expectation for them. 

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Posted (edited)

This is responding to Scott:

That is what research on sexual orientation and fluidity suggest. Exactly how small that percentage is, I'm not comfortable saying. I'm not sure the data allow us to specify a percentage who could. Especially because it's impossible create a representative sample of individuals to conduct that sort of experiment.

Edited by kllindley
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

It's a critical scientific data point that will drive church policy, imho.

If scientific and empirical evidence suggests that our gay youth should attempt to "overcome" their same sex attraction and marry heterosexually, then I think there is no reason to expect change in church policy or doctrine through revelation.

But if evidence suggests otherwise, I think this new information will lead to revelation and change.

Every year we have about a thousand or so gay missionaries return home from honorable missions and usually about then come to terms with their sexual orientation and decide what to do. They need a default answer. Marry heterosexually or stay celibate. And I don't think stay celibate is a charitable or doctrinally correct expectation for them. 

I completely agree. It's interesting to me that the Church does not teach celibacy. I haven't yet seen that in official Church materials. That is a word generally used by critics. What the church does teach is Chastity. I accept that in some cases a commitment to chastity is equal to a functional celibacy. In some cases, no matter how hard an individual works or how much faith he or she has, the circumstances leading to marriage will not develop.  

Edited by kllindley
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13 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

It's a critical scientific data point that will drive church policy, imho.

If scientific and empirical evidence suggests that our gay youth should attempt to "overcome" their same sex attraction and marry heterosexually, then I think there is no reason to expect change in church policy or doctrine through revelation.

But if evidence suggests otherwise, I think this new information will lead to revelation and change.

Every year we have about a thousand or so gay missionaries return home from honorable missions and usually about then come to terms with their sexual orientation and decide what to do. They need a default answer. Marry heterosexually or stay celibate. And I don't think stay celibate is a charitable or doctrinally correct expectation for them. 

I'll also add that from my personal and professional experience, I do not see any need for the teachings or doctrine to change.

Of course, that does depend a lot on what a person means by "overcome."

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Posted (edited)

 

Quote

that gay LDS should reform and marry heterosexually

Total misunderstanding or at least you are not phrasing it correctly.

Edited by Calm
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

I think I heard him say that sexual orientation is not binary. And very few of the thousands or so of gay men he's treated had zero sexual attraction to women

That is correct.

Successful navigation depends on more than just attraction though.  I can't remember if he has given percentages for a "success rate" of having a lasting relationship,with the opposite sex.  I don't think he has.

Edited by Calm
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2 minutes ago, Calm said:

Total misunderstanding.

Care to elaborate?

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46 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

I was looking for the page where transcripts are released and didn't find anything. Maybe none of them are ready yet. You can always purchase the streaming option and get them early. :) https://www.fairmormon.org/store/product-category/fairmormon-conference/conference-streaming

 

 

 We need to get any notes from the speakers (which vary from nothing to completely written out) and then at the very least doublecheck.

Jeff's will be fully written out, so once we get it, it should go up quickly.  How soon we get it will depend on how crowded family life is, but I expect it relatively soon.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, USU78 said:

Care to elaborate?

Either he said something specifically in his talk or I am remembering something he said in a family gathering about a month ago.  I want to wait until I hear or read his presentation again to be sure my language is precise, but kllindley is close if not spot on, I believe.

I remember once asking him (just to get his "official" answer, not because it even occurred to me he would do that as he has never talked that way since .I have known him) if he had ever recommended that someone get married to develop or strengthen heterosexual attraction and he said emphatically "no".  He allows the client to guide the goal for therapy and does what he did in the presentation, suggests they can look at their own feelings and behaviour from a different paradigm ('it is something I know how to do').  Language analogy follows closely.

He related, iirc, that his dissertation was supposed to be studying former homosexuals who had changed to full heterosexuals, but everyone referred to him said they still had those feelings and could choose to act on them if they wanted...Iow, (my words) no praying gay away or anything else (just like if you don't use English because you have moved to Spain, you could chose to use English again with little effort, especially if you moved to an English speaking country).

He refers to Lisa Diamond a lot on the topic of sexual fluidity.  She has some YouTube videos that cover that.  He didn't put that much info into his presentation on that as he spent a good deal of time challenging the current dominant paradigms (agency, born that way, mental illness).  I am hoping he adds those details in footnotes or references.  I told him I wanted lots of those.

Edited by Calm
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

So are you saying that all but a small percentage of men with same-sex attraction could develop a sexual relationship with a woman if they chose to do so? 

The language is problematic.  "Choice" has a lot of connotations attached to it, some that don't work with the science.

There is a small percentage of those who experience same sex attractions that only experience same sex attractions in their life span.  I believe Diamond's research claims less than 2%, better to watch the video (I posted a thread on it recently and kllindley has linked to it in the past).  The next smallest group are those who are primarily same sex attracted, but have some opposite sex attractions, then the 50/50 group.  The largest group of those who experience same sex attractions are those who primarily experience opposite sex attraction and have some same sex attraction.  The variation may occur over age, social situation (so at any moment they are exclusive, but change in exclusivity over time) or the variation is always present (often referred to as bisexuality).  Exclusive heterosexuality is in our culture the largest group by far, but this can vary by culture.

add-on:  Jeff has learned to be very careful in how he phrases things because it is a topic that is frequently highly emotional, quite nuanced imo and therefore easily misunderstood.  There is a lot of intentional and unintentional misrepresentation out there (any misrepresentation here on this board is and has been in the past unintentional, imo).

I would prefer to wait to discuss details until the talk is put up as I am certain he is more precise in language than I am.

I have already edited the above posts multiple times as I think of nuances I want to add.

Edited by Calm

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20 minutes ago, Calm said:

Either he said something specifically in his talk or I am remembering something he said in a family gathering about a month ago.  I want to wait until I hear or read his presentation again to be sure my language is precise, but kllindley is close if not spot on, I believe.

I remember once asking him if he had ever recommended that someone get married to develop or strengthen heterosexual attraction and he said emphatically "no".  He allows the client to guide the goal for therapy and does what he did in the presentation, suggests they can look at their own feelings and behaviour from a different paradigm ('it is something I know how to do').  Language analogy follows closely.

He related, iirc, that his dissertation was supposed to be studying former homosexuals who had changed to full heterosexuals, but everyone referred to him said they still had those feelings and could choose to act on them if they wanted...Iow, (my words) no praying gay away or anything else (just like if you don't use English because you have moved to Spain, you could chose to use English again with little effort, especially if you moved to an English speaking country).

He refers to Lisa Diamond a lot on the topic of sexual fluidity.  She has some YouTube videos that cover that.  He didn't put that much info into his presentation on that as he spent a good deal of time challenging the current dominant paradigms (agency, born that way, mental illness).  I am hoping he adds those details in footnotes or references.  I told him I wanted lots of those.

Thank you. I quite look forward to seeing it

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11 hours ago, churchistrue said:

It's a critical scientific data point that will drive church policy, imho. 

If scientific and empirical evidence suggests that our gay youth should attempt to "overcome" their same sex attraction and marry heterosexually, then I think there is no reason to expect change in church policy or doctrine through revelation.

 

1) what we now see as evidence, may at some later point be overturned by what we have learned since.   While I want the brethren to consider scientific evidence, I don't RELY on it as definitive, or assume we know everything just because we know something now.

2)  The church said it doesn't recommend heterosexual marriage as a cure for same gender attraction (not sure the exact wording).  I'd presume that there would be no change to that.  

3)   But that isn't to say that some individuals --- note I do not say, their parents, their bishop or any other party---- can't decide that they can make a heterosexual marriage (and do so with full disclosure to their partner).   I fear that to the extent that dealing with SSA is affecting the mental health of members, it is the feeling of hopelessness of fitting into God's plan, that you can successfully be gay and also be a faithful mormon that may be the issue.   Maybe the despair comes from what those who are trying to support gays say, (as much as from what unkind members do), giving the impression that the ONLY way to be gay is to act on those feelings, and anything else is a betrayal of your personhood.  

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13 hours ago, kllindley said:

Of course any defense of the doctrine of family and chastity is going to be met with significant opposition. It's a very unpopular position these days. 

I hope you misunderstood him. I can't imagine from my past interactions with him, including presentations at AMCAP on LGBT issues, that he would suggest that anyone "should" take any particular course of action.  

I'm especially doubtful that he would have any intellectual or clinical case to support that assumption. There may be a theological "should," but I'm not even supportive of that. 

"Could" is a reasonable option. It certainly is possible to live in harmony with the Restored Gospel. And many individuals who have identified as gay or lesbian do have fulfilling heterosexual marriages.  But there is no guarantee that heterosexual marriage will work for everyone in this life.  I think that is what the Church has (appropriately) stepped back from. The Church still teaches that striving toward a celestial marriage is the best course of action. Even for those who have no expectation or hope of attaining that in this life, the goal of working towards that outcome, including remaining sexually chaste, is still taught as the ideal. 

The thing is, marriage is always an option for anyone, gay straight, bisexual whatever.  The danger comes when promises are made that marriage will be some kind of therapy.  Most gays that I know are very respectful of the choices anyone makes.  They may not be the choice they would make, but it is not their life.  Everyone is entitled to decide what is best for them.  I don't think that anyone including Jeff Robinson should be "pushing" for an individual to make a choice based on what others have done or whatever point of view they hold.  All options should be presented.  Each individual has to choose what is best for them.  That should be the message.  And yes, one of those options is celibacy.  If that is what the person wants to do, then go for it.  If they want to marry someone of the opposite sex then the only responsibility they have, in my opinion, is to be perfectly clear with the person they marry about their orientation.  A partner making such a commitment should go into such relationship with their eyes wide open.  And another very viable choice for the majority of those who are attracted to the same sex is to choose a life with someone of the same sex.  

Each choice has its strengths and weaknesses.  They all must be weighed by the individual, not by a third party.   Dictating what that choice should be is when everything starts to fall apart.

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5 minutes ago, california boy said:

 The danger comes when promises are made that marriage will be some kind of therapy.

Totally agree. That sort of promise or implication is dangerous and unhealthy.

28 minutes ago, california boy said:

I don't think that anyone including Jeff Robinson should be "pushing" for an individual to make a choice based on what others have done or whatever point of view they hold

Agreed. Thankfully, I do not think that is what Jeff Robinson is doing at all here.

 

33 minutes ago, california boy said:

Each choice has its strengths and weaknesses.  They all must be weighed by the individual, not by a third party.   Dictating what that choice should be is when everything starts to fall apart.

Again, I'm in agreement with you here. 

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Agreed. Thankfully, I do not think that is what Jeff Robinson is doing at all here.

Never has from what I have read of his work and talked to him about. 

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16 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

So are you saying that all but a small percentage of men with same-sex attraction could develop a sexual relationship with a woman if they chose to do so? 

And reverse the positions to a heterosexual male with a man and the same would hold true.

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4 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

And reverse the positions to a heterosexual male with a man and the same would hold true.

Studies suggest that this percentage would be somewhat smaller, but yes, the majority would be able to develop same-sex sexual and romantic attraction if they were committed to it. 

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