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The Matthew Gong Letter

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5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm not sure "it goes without saying."  It does for you, and for me.  But for the vast majority of the world, it very much needs to be said.

I don't think he is speaking to the world.  I think church members are his audience.  He made it fairly clear in his letter that he is hoping that church culture can have an influence on the hierarchy of the church.  His approach, I think, will be to influence church culture which he hopes will have an impact on the decisions of those in leadership.

9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You do.  I do.  Because Matthew isn't plowing any new ground.  He's not telling us anything we don't know.

  He is telling us something we don't know, his perspective, which he hopes will be influential. 

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1 minute ago, pogi said:

Yes, I think it is a pretty clear that he will continue to write, what remains to be a mystery is what specific changes he wants to see.  He wasn't very clear with that.

I think he was: 

Quote

There was some trepidation about becoming visible. More than the fear of unwanted negative attention, I didn’t want to risk what I had worked so hard to reclaim. I am afraid that speaking truth to power will strain important relationships. By choosing to become more visible, some people will think that I’m a radical dissident, while others will be annoyed that I’m not critical enough. The Church’s treatment of LGBTQ people needs to change, and I can’t sit on the sidelines any more.

I think he intends to speak against the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity, and particularly as pertaining to its prohibition against same-sex behavior and same-sex marriage.

1 minute ago, pogi said:

The issue where bridges are in danger of potentially being burned as both father and son follow their conscience. 

I wonder about that.  I think he is going to fixate on, and perhaps even publicly speak against the Church about, one sliver of the overall message of the Restored Gospel.  That sliver is small relative to the overall message, but it appears to be of paramount importance to him.

1 minute ago, pogi said:

Clearly, homosexuality and the church's stance on the subject is a sensitive issue for families dealing with them.  

Yes, I think the Church's stance on homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage will be his focus.  However, I think he will frame the issue as primarily one of identity, not behavior.

Thanks,

-Smac

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I’ve reread his letter with an eye toward understanding Matt’s overall take on the Church.

I enjoyed his description of Church members “striving for meaning and a better life.  Beautiful in their attempts, terrifying in their potential, and human in their efforts.”  It’s a description I would have been satisfied with had I written it myself.

There was a notable absence of direct references to Deity in Matt’s description of the Church, but there was this indirect one which I believe characterizes Matt’s overall tone regarding the Church...at the core of the Church is “an elegance that is beyond human intention.”  I find that a beautiful description of Deity and agree that elegance is part of the core of the Church.

As Matt continues to write, l hope he will share thoughts and experiences regarding his relationship with God and the Savior as well as his experiences with the Church and its members.

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57 minutes ago, smac97 said:

2+2=4.

Donald Trump is currently the President of the United States.

I am a lawyer licensed to practice law in the State of Utah.

The earth is an oblate spheroid.

I posit that these are "the truth," and not "my truth."  What I believe about them does not alter their status as "truth."

Thanks,

-Smac

I was tempted to give a response, but I don't want this thread to turn into a never ending debate about the nature of truth.  Suffice it to say that great minds have debated the issue for millennia and can't come to an agreement, I don't suspect we will make any headway on that debate. 

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6 hours ago, pogi said:

I know many, many people (very conservative I might add) who while they may technically agree with most of what President Oak's says, feel like his approach is...off-putting, unrelenting, overbearing, and almost obsessive.  They don't even have gay children and so may not be nearly as sensitive as those who are in the middle of struggling with these challenging issues and dynamics like Elder Gong is right now with his son in an active relationship with another man.  It is one thing to clearly delineate boundaries, but when the majority of your talks focus on one group (even when it is couched in "but we need to be nice to them"), it starts to feel like something more than simply delineating boundaries.    

That strikes me as an unjust characterization of President Oaks’s “approach.” And without direct evidence to the contrary, I would reject any assumption that Elder Gong or Elder Christofferson or any others of the Brethren who might have a close family member who is gay would object to President Oaks’s attitude. Everything I’ve seen indicates they are unified. 
 

I would invite anyone who harbors notions to the contrary to consider videos featuring President Oaks in the website mormonandgay.org (I presume it’s still up; I haven’t checked in a while). 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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6 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Maybe I have missed it. Is there something official from the church that says gay people are not allowed to date?

I think the confusion is this nonsensical policy of expecting gay members to never ever act on it - so, depending on how "Oaks-Like" someone's thinking is, dating may cross that ridiculous line. 

 

Incidentally, the letter was beautiful  

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

2+2=4.

Donald Trump is currently the President of the United States.

I am a lawyer licensed to practice law in the State of Utah.

The earth is an oblate spheroid.

I posit that these are "the truth," and not "my truth."  What I believe about them does not alter their status as "truth."

Thanks,

-Smac

Nah. My “truth” is that the earth is borne on the back of a giant turtle. 
 

That’s my “iteration,” and I’m sticking to it. 

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9 minutes ago, artoffloundering said:

I think the confusion is this nonsensical policy of expecting gay members to never ever act on it - so, depending on how "Oaks-Like" someone's thinking is, dating may cross that ridiculous line. 

 

Incidentally, the letter was beautiful  

It’s not a “nonsensical policy.” It is consistent with doctrine pertaining to the law of chastity. 

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

His lived experience and beliefs are "his truth".  Show me the "the truth" and I will show you your iteration/interpretation of it (your truth).  See parable of the blind men and the elephant.

In the fable to which you refer, none of the men came up with “truth,” as such. Each arrived at a false conclusion based on his own limited perception. That’s not truth; truth is not that ambiguous. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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35 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That strikes me as an unjust characterization of President Oaks’s “approach.”

Unfortunately, the difficulty with being in a leadership position is that it is not always about what you say and do, but how you are perceived.

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14 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

In the fable to which you refer, none of the men came up with “truth,” as such. Each arrived at a false conclusion based on his own limited perception. That’s not truth; truth is not that ambiguous. 

They each came up with an honest assessment of truth as they experienced it ("their truth').  An elephant is like...  Truth is like...  "The kingdom of heaven is like"...  They are all approximations of something ineffable. 

I think that is the point of the fable, we all see through a glass darkly and can only come to an approximation of absolute truth in mortality based on our own limited perception.

I don't want this to turn into a debate about the nature of truth, as that is not the point of this thread.

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That strikes me as an unjust characterization of President Oaks’s “approach.” And without direct evidence to the contrary, I would reject any assumption that Elder Gong or Elder Christofferson or any others of the Brethren who might have a close family member who is gay would object to President Oaks’s attitude. Everything I’ve seen indicates they are unified. 
 

I would invite anyone who harbors notions to the contrary to consider videos featuring President Oaks in the website mormonandgay.org (I presume it’s still up; I haven’t checked in a while). 

Elder Oaks says that in “most circumstances” a gay child’s partner should not be welcomed in the home. There might be other circumstances where they would be allowed in the home, but not stay overnight and don’t expect parents to introduce the couple to friends. He also uses scare quotes to refer to gay people’s “partnerships”. 
 

So much love there I can hardly stand it. https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding

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26 minutes ago, pogi said:

Unfortunately, the difficulty with being in a leadership position is that it is not always about what you say and do, but how you are perceived.

That doesn’t make an unjust assessment or conclusion any the more excusable. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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15 minutes ago, pogi said:

They each came up with an honest assessment of truth as they experienced it ("their truth').  An elephant is like...  Truth is like...  "The kingdom of heaven is like"...  They are all approximations of something ineffable. 

I think that is the point of the fable, we all see through a glass darkly and can only come to an approximation of absolute truth in mortality based on our own limited perception.

I don't want this to turn into a debate about the nature of truth, as that is not the point of this thread.

I don’t want it to turn into debate like that either, but I stand by my position as I have here expressed it. 

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2 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Elder Oaks says that in “most circumstances” a gay persons partner should not be welcomed in the home. There might be other circumstances where they would be allowed in the home, but not stay overnight and don’t expect parents to introduce the couple to friends. He also uses scare quotes to refer to gay people’s “partnerships”. 
 

So much love there I can hardly stand it. https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction

Love ought to be a two-way street in which love is not made conditional on one party abandoning deeply held moral values. I’d call that emotional blackmail. 

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3 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Love ought to be a two-way street in which love is not made conditional on one party abandoning deeply held moral values. I’d call that emotional blackmail. 

Their deeply held moral belief to not have to associate with your life partner? This is why people think Latter-day Saints dislike gay people. For what it’s worth, Tom Christofferson’s partner was welcomed in the home of his parents. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding

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4 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That doesn’t make an unjust assessment any the more excusable. 

Sorry, what is the unjust assessment exactly, and who is making it?

Here is what I said:

Quote

I know many, many people (very conservative I might add) who while they may technically agree with most of what President Oak's says, feel like his approach is...off-putting, unrelenting, overbearing, and almost obsessive.  They don't even have gay children and so may not be nearly as sensitive as those who are in the middle of struggling with these challenging issues and dynamics like Elder Gong is right now with his son in an active relationship with another man.  It is one thing to clearly delineate boundaries, but when the majority of your talks focus on one group (even when it is couched in "but we need to be nice to them"), it starts to feel like something more than simply delineating boundaries.  

To say that his approach feels "off-putting..." is as subjective as saying "I like oranges" or "I don't like oranges".  You can't really say either is just or unjust.  You can attack the messenger in defense of President Oaks if you want, but that isn't going to help how he is perceived by some.  In fact, to tell someone they are wrong or "unjust" for how they "feel" is usually only going to empower them to be defensive and strengthen their resolve.  That's bad PR. 

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15 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Their deeply held moral belief to not have to associate with your life partner? This is why people think Latter-day Saints dislike gay people. For what it’s worth, Tom Christofferson’s partner was welcomed in the home of his parents. 

Nothing Elder Oaks said in the link you cited precludes that. If anything, he was advocating against a one-size-fits-all approach in such circumstances. Yet that appears to be exactly what you are calling for. It doesn’t seem very loving to me to in effect issue an ultimatum to parents or other family members that would require them to abandon their values in order for their love to be accepted or recognized. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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19 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Nothing Elder Oaks said in the link you cited precludes that.

Of course, but in “most” as well as “other” circumstances it wouldn’t happen. After a straight forward read of Oaks, it would appear that in his view more than 50 percent (most) families would not allow a same sex partner into the home. 

Quote


If anything, he was advocating against a one-size-fits-all approach in such circumstances. Yet that appears to be exactly what you are calling for.
 

For sure, you got me! I think all families should welcome their children’s loving partners into their home with extremely rare exceptions. 

Quote

It doesn’t seem very loving to me to in effect issue an ultimatum to parents or other family members that would require them to abandon their values in order for their love to be accepted or recognized. 

No one is asking them enter a same sex relationship. Let’s turn this around. Let’s say someone thought all Latter-day Saints were cultists bound for hell. Their child converted and married a Latter-day Saint. They tell the child that the child can visit, but can’t wear garments, talk about their religion, bring their spouse or mention the religion in any other way. The child tells them exactly where they can put their “love”. Who is emotionally blackmailing who here?

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15 hours ago, pogi said:

Sorry, what is the unjust assessment exactly, and who is making it?

Here is what I said:

To say that his approach feels "off-putting..." is as subjective as saying "I like oranges" or "I don't like oranges".  You can't really say either is just or unjust.  You can attack the messenger in defense of President Oaks if you want, but that isn't going to help how he is perceived by some.  In fact, to tell someone they are wrong or "unjust" for how they "feel" is usually only going to empower them to be defensive and strengthen their resolve.  That's bad PR. 

I believe one can choose to be more or less fair in how one arrives at an opinion, however subjective it might be. For example, one can choose the criteria on which he bases an opinion or the priority  he places on certain criteria over others, or whether some factors are to be ignored or discounted  altogether. 
 

Regarding President Oaks, he has made statements over the years that, by any fair evaluation, ought to be seen as kind, just and merciful. Yet I don’t see much consideration, if any, being given to those statements where people are making President Oaks out to be the hard-hearted bogeyman in discussions regarding Church members who self-identify as gay. 
 

This discussion is similar in concept to the matter of whether one has any volition over his own racial prejudice as opposed to being driven involuntarily to it by factors beyond his control.  Would you say that racial prejudice, like antipathy for President Oaks’s “approach,” is “neither just nor unjust”? Both are matters of opinion, after all. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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5 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

Where's @mfbukowski when we need him? ;) 

Tired of repeating it all.

Look out or I will play the video again!  ;)

Everybody talks about truth but no one can tell you what it is.  

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7 hours ago, smac97 said:

"His truth?"  What does that mean?  How is it different from "the truth"?

We all use the term but cannot define it.

2000 years of Western philosophy and it still has not been defined.

Is it "true" that "murder is wrong"?   On what basis?

Is the church "true"? On what basis can that be logically justified?   See the problem?

It can be justified under the theory that "The church is true?  Oh! that's smac's truth but not mine".

People do not like to hear that their religion is "false" without you being able to justify it somehow and it is not objectively verifiable.

THAT is what "his truth" is about.

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23 hours ago, pogi said:

I know many, many people (very conservative I might add) who while they may technically agree with most of what President Oak's says, feel like his approach is...off-putting, unrelenting, overbearing, and almost obsessive.  They don't even have gay children and so may not be nearly as sensitive as those who are in the middle of struggling with these challenging issues and dynamics like Elder Gong is right now with his son in an active relationship with another man.  It is one thing to clearly delineate boundaries, but when the majority of your talks focus on one group (even when it is couched in "but we need to be nice to them"), it starts to feel like something more than simply delineating boundaries.    

Incidentally, Pogi, not to be nit picky, but when you implied that the “majority” of President Oaks’s talks “focus on” gay people, did you mean that literally, or were you engaging in hyperbole?

Hyperbole is fine as a rhetorical device — I sometimes indulge in it myself — but I ask because I can recall only a handful of his talks that could be so characterized, certainly nothing anywhere close to “the majority.” 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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19 hours ago, smac97 said:

2+2=4.

Donald Trump is currently the President of the United States.

I am a lawyer licensed to practice law in the State of Utah.

The earth is an oblate spheroid.

I assume you believe the Book of Mormon to be true.  99% of the world does not believe the book to be true.  So is it true?  Or is it your truth.  

 

Quote

I posit that these are "the truth," and not "my truth."  What I believe about them does not alter their status as "truth."

Thanks,

-Smac

Is there a living prophet?

Was Christ the Son of God?

Was the Book of Abraham written by Abraham himself?

While they all may be your truth, it can not be compared to 2+2 =4.  99% of the world would say your truth is not true at all.  It doesn't mean it is not your truth.

Of all the people on this board who has a lot of "your own truths", it is ironic that you would be attacking, once again, someone who had a different point of view that is every bit true to them as your own truths.  What is my truth is you pretty much attack anyone who has a different "truth" than you.  Sometimes listening and trying to understand a different point of view might be more important than trying to always shoehorn others into your own belief system.  

Just something to think about.

Edited by california boy
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