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Does God Primarily Give Revelation Only In Response To Requests For It?


William James

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I have heard it said many times in the LDS church that this or that revelation came at a particular time (instead of much earlier) because the person receiving the revelation simply did not bother to ask God the question. This has been used to explain the Word of Wisdom, blacks and the priesthood, and other doctrines and how they came about. This idea seems to also be used as a way to repel claims by non-believers that the church is false or that its doctrines merely reflect the personal views of whoever happen to be the leaders of the churh at any given time. Thus, many believers or apologists would argue that Joseph Smith would have received the Word of Wisdom earlier if he had merely asked God about it. I believe there are many important questions we need to consider on this topic, including the following:

1. Does a prophet, by merely asking God the right question, while being "worthy" in the traditional LDS sense, always get the right answer from God?

2. Are there other factors (which have nothing to do with worthiness) which influence a prophet's ability to receive revelation from God?

3. Can we safely assume that church doctrine will remain as it is today on the issues which the church focuses most on today (e.g. homosexuality, historicity of the Book of Mormon, etc.)? Why or why not?

4. Have the church leaders asked God about whether there must be blanket condemnation of homosexual behavior?

My own view is that everyone's ability to receive revelation is heavily influenced and limited by their pre-existing ignorance, ambition, desires, prejudices, and fears, and that this is no different for a prophet of God. This is a much more plausible explanation for how church doctrine/policy has evolved over time. Our methodology for discerning true revelation must therefore seek as much as possible to gain a more objective and informed perspective before we jump to conclusions about the will or doctrines of God. This is where science and evidence and reason come into play.

I suspect that in 50-150 years, the LDS Church will have abandoned its official stance that all homosexual behavior is sinful. And what explanation will be given at that time for the position we have today? Will it be that Monson, et al. simply never asked God because they relied upon what they erroneously assumed were prior authentic revelations on the subject? Will it be that Monson, et al. never gave the matter serious thought, study, and contemplation, and that God has given greater light and knowledge on human sexuality?

Given the importance of the topic of homsexuality and other related issues, wouldn't it make sense for church leaders to take some time and pray about it all and give an official pronouncement on it?

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I suspect that in 50-150 years, the LDS Church will have abandoned its official stance that all homosexual behavior is sinful.

I don't see how that can be since the issue isn't being homosexual but being unchaste, the same as for heterosexuals who never marry. Chastity is a foundational principle which has existed since the beginning of scripture.

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I agree... it's a matter of chastity... I'm widowed and have kept my covenants of chastity for many years, among others covenants, so I don't expect that to change anytime soon. If I am to live a chaste life, why shouldn't every other person... and the scriptures are absolutely clear about fornication and/or adultery no matter how anyone tries to wrest them. So I really don't see any change in the Church's stance on behavior.

GG

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I don't see how that can be since the issue isn't being homosexual but being unchaste, the same as for heterosexuals who never marry. Chastity is a foundational principle which has existed since the beginning of scripture.

Thanks for your reply, Deborah. As I see it, the "it's always been that way" argument sounds a whole lot like the reasons given for denying blacks the priesthood until revelation was given to the contrary. Furthermore, how do we know that homosexual behavior automatically falls outside the definition of what it means to be "chaste"? If you are referring to the modern temple definition of "no sexual relations except with lawfully wedded husbands or wives," then I think a few acknowledgements are in order: (1) that has not always been the definition, even in the LDS church; (2) nothing in the law as stated would prohibit two gay men from being each other's lawful husbands, or two gay women from being each other's lawful wives; (3) understanding the application of any law requires understanding the reasons behind it.

In the case of chastity, while inartful attempts have been made to explain the rationale for the LDS Church's version being an intuitive law of God (Jeffrey R. Holland's "Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments" comes to mind), I don't believe the Church has ever given an official and complete explanation for the basis for the law of chastity. Historically speaking, before the LDS Church was founded in 1830, it appears that chastity was founded upon several principles, which varied greatly from one society to the other, and included one or more of the following:

(1) Conformity with a society's norms about sexual relationships;

(2) The notion that sex tends to corrupt one's character and thus must be avoided or carefully limited (it seems some Greek philosophy heavily influenced this);

(3) The notion that sexual appetite constitutes a weakness subject to exploitation;

(4) The notion that women as property of men should remain "pure" so that their husbands can have exclusive sexual rights to them and not have their egos bruised, their lineage polluted by other men, and themselves subjected to sexually transmitted diseases;

(5) The notion that pleasure is inherently evil because it goes against selfless sacrifice (some eastern philosophy has also signed onto this kind of idea);

(6) The notion that children born out of wedlock, because they have no rights to inherit from their fathers, are a problem in society.

More modern insight and philosophy (including that of Holland) tends to view chastity as justified in order to foster tight emotional bonds between spouses. We also consider it the right of children to grow up in stable loving homes in which the parents set an example of love and affection. I cannot discern any rational basis for God placing a blaket condemnation on all homosexual behavior. You may wish to dismiss this concern with a cliche reference to God's ways not being man's ways, but if that can always be used as an excuse, then we truly have no reliable moral compass, because an LDS prophet could tell you anything, and you would have to accept it no matter how ridiculous it sounded.

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Thanks for your reply, Deborah. As I see it, the "it's always been that way" argument sounds a whole lot like the reasons given for denying blacks the priesthood until revelation was given to the contrary.

The comparison with blacks and the Priesthood just doesn't work here. One cannot change his lineage. One can change his behavior. Even black members, who were denied the Priesthood remained faithful to the church. So if you want to use that as a comparison, even a homosexual member can remain faithful to the church by keeping the law of chastity.

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There is no one reason for when revelation for the whole body of Christ takes place; it just does. We have no evidence that John was seeking a specfic answer when he received his great Revelation. Joseph Smith received revelations that were not sought after and even those he resisted i.e. plural marriage.

As far as hoping that the Church will come to the point of accepting perversion as righteousness, just will not happen. Further, there is nothing in the plan of salvation that allows for such a thing. These are harsh statements, but they are honest. Simply because two people "love" each other or are in lust over one another does not mean the relationship is acceptable before God. Before God perversion has never been acceptable and never will. The human body was not made for such a relationship; the human spirit was not created to condone such relationships; and the Holy Spirit does not bless such relationships.

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It will begin with a campaign to change the defintion of "steal".

Those who condemn the right to steal will be termed as conservative bigots, after all stealing is something everyone should have a right to do or not do and judging others merely undermines the inviidual rights of those attracted to stealing.

Finally laws will be passed to ensure that children know that stealing is a natural right of all men, and that those who steal should be viewed no differently than those who do not steal. This will of course be taught in schools and no one will be allowed to skip this class since its about bullying those who steal, not about "stealing" itself.

One day we will look back and wonder at a time when revelation wasn't needed to condemn stealing. We knew it was wrong. Suddenly people are telling us it isn't.

Crazy world we live in.

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Six questions:

A. Does God Primarily Give Revelation Only In Response To Requests For It?

B. If so, does this undermine the stability of current church doctrine?

1. Does a prophet, by merely asking God the right question, while being "worthy" in the traditional LDS sense, always get the right answer from God?

2. Are there other factors (which have nothing to do with worthiness) which influence a prophet's ability to receive revelation from God?

3. Can we safely assume that church doctrine will remain as it is today on the issues which the church focuses most on today (e.g. homosexuality, historicity of the Book of Mormon, etc.)? Why or why not?

4. Have the church leaders asked God about whether there must be blanket condemnation of homosexual behavior?

Six amateur but honest answers from my own experience and pondering:

A. No- sometimes God gives revelation as a warning, sometimes He gives it as an answer... there are as many reasons for revelatory answers as there are reasons an earthly parent may give information and answers to a child.

B. No - but if you mean by stability that our knowledge of God's will never changes then remember we have an open cannon and can learn at any time from God.

1. No- Prophets are not inerrant but most importantly the prophet's personal worthiness is not the sole factor in receiving church wide revelation.

2. Yes including the revelation being revealied in God's time for reasons of testing, worthiness of His people at large, the church and the world being prepared to receive the revelation and act on it accordinly.

3. Doctrine yes, full knowledge, understanding or practices no.

4. I'm sure they have prayed about it given the number of talks on sexual purity, compassion, resources and efforts made to understand and deal with LDS members and same sex attraction. If it were simply a matter of asking God to change the policy that would have been the easy thing to do.

The laws and doctrines of God are not in place to punish people with weakness (and Homosexuality is not the only public or private sin members struggle with). They are there to help people have joy (which is not always happiness).

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...then we truly have no reliable moral compass, because an LDS prophet could tell you anything, and you would have to accept it no matter how ridiculous it sounded.

You neglect to consider the checks and balances of the Scriptures and the right and responsibility of every Saint to confirm the Prophets teachings with the Holy Ghost.

"I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually." -Brigham Young quoted in Journal of Discourses 9:150

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There is no one reason for when revelation for the whole body of Christ takes place; it just does. We have no evidence that John was seeking a specfic answer when he received his great Revelation. Joseph Smith received revelations that were not sought after and even those he resisted i.e. plural marriage.

Joseph did ask about plural marriage before receiving the response. The fact that he didn't like what he heard is immaterial to the way God give revelation. It is rarely bestowed without the person's asking for something.God may, as I said earlier, use that request as an excuse to go well beyond the proximate cause, as in the marriage revelation.

John was worshiping that "day of the Lord" on Patmos. We don't know what he was praying about, but he tells us he was in he spirit, which gives us more than sufficient basis for us to conclude he was praying, and praying about something.

9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, ...

Given his personal situation, and that of the Saints in the late I, it is doubtless case that the subject of his prayer was very much like this one:

1 O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? 2 How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?

I can safely assume this because of the answer he received.

Lehi

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John was worshiping that "day of the Lord" on Patmos. We don't know what he was praying about, but he tells us he was in he spirit, which gives us more than sufficient basis for us to conclude he was praying, and praying about something.

Those are some very big assumptions you are making about John. God is not limited to our beck and call as to when he gives knowledge. There is certainly an openess that is required of us, but there is a distinct difference in being open to the Spirit and seeking specific answers.

Paul's conversion was in no way a response to his desires or thoughts. Jonah certainly wasn't thinking about going anywhere either. I think if we go through the scriptures we would see a host of others that were not seeking what they received.

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I think you are both right.

God is not limited to our beck and call. Indeed he often provides what might be fortuitious circumstances to help us "beckon him" and "call to him". Could Moses have approached the burning bush before being humbled by circumstances? Would Joseph have prayed in the grove prior to the feverish question of religion?

The Lord visits us when it suits his purposes, when appearing to Saul on the road for example, or Zacharias in the temple.

The Lord also wants us to ask, and ask the right questions, and more importantly the right context to the questions that we must ask, and for us to be ready to receive the answer.

All of this comes into play at different times and different levels in regard to our ability to recieve those answers and necessary revelation.

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Those are some very big assumptions you are making about John. God is not limited to our beck and call as to when he gives knowledge. There is certainly an openess that is required of us, but there is a distinct difference in being open to the Spirit and seeking specific answers.

It's not a huge assumption. I laid out my rationale for the position.

Paul's conversion was in no way a response to his desires or thoughts. Jonah certainly wasn't thinking about going anywhere either. I think if we go through the scriptures we would see a host of others that were not seeking what they received.

I did say that there are exceptions, but "rarely". Yes, there are examples of God's jumping in with seaboots on. But, for the most part, and nearly always, as far as I can tell, when the issue is about doctrine, not personal conversion (but even then ...), the prophet goes to God with a question, God answers the question (and often goes well beyond the initial query). The response may not be at all what the prophet expected, but he got the answer he needed, even if not the answer he wanted.

Lehi

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I don't see how that can be since the issue isn't being homosexual but being unchaste, the same as for heterosexuals who never marry. Chastity is a foundational principle which has existed since the beginning of scripture.

If a gay couple is living within the bonds of marriage, are they not following the chaste laws laid out by God in such a way that He could decide that they were chase? Evidently God draws a big distinction between sex within the bonds of marriage and sex outside of marriage, which he calls an abomination as well. There is more condemnation in the Bible for adultery and fornication than they is being gay. Christ never even mentioned it the whole time he was laying down his doctrine. Perhaps the only issue is sex outside of marriage.

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If a gay couple is living within the bonds of marriage, are they not following the chaste laws laid out by God in such a way that He could decide that they were chase?

No.

Gay couples are not married, they merely coupulating. There is no recognition from God that they are married, anymore than stealling is forced charity. You may want to change the definition of stealing or theft to "forced charity" but that will not change what it is.

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Evidently God draws a big distinction between sex within the bonds of marriage and sex outside of marriage, which he calls an abomination as well. There is more condemnation in the Bible for adultery and fornication than they is being gay. Christ never even mentioned it the whole time he was laying down his doctrine. Perhaps the only issue is sex outside of marriage.

Suprisingly enough God draws a big distinction between stealing and charity. Charity he blesses, and theft is an abomination. Acts of homosexuality are condemned by prophets, and whether condemned once or many times is irrelevant to its condemnation before the Lord. You don't measure something wrong by the number of times the Lord tells you its wrong. In theory once should be enough.

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I suspect that in 50-150 years, the LDS Church will have abandoned its official stance that all homosexual behavior is sinful. And what explanation will be given at that time for the position we have today? Will it be that Monson, et al. simply never asked God because they relied upon what they erroneously assumed were prior authentic revelations on the subject? Will it be that Monson, et al. never gave the matter serious thought, study, and contemplation, and that God has given greater light and knowledge on human sexuality?

Given the importance of the topic of homsexuality and other related issues, wouldn't it make sense for church leaders to take some time and pray about it all and give an official pronouncement on it?

The problem is with your judgment is that the ONLY "changes" that have occurred in the LDS Church that relate to doctrine are changes that have "scriptural precedence".

Polygamy..... God has given it and taken it away according to his will all through scripture.

Priesthood..... God has given it according to his will and purposes to who he chooses for his own purposes also through scripture.

Homosexuality is a direct and clearly indicated sin in scripture. The Church will NEVER change it's policy on this.

The LDS Church is not other religions that are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and personal opinion.

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As I see it, the "it's always been that way" argument sounds a whole lot like the reasons given for denying blacks the priesthood until revelation was given to the contrary.

That is simply absolutely a false statement..... The Church consistently taught the complete opposite.

The Church had always taught that one day in the Lords Time those of African decent of the Church would be given the Priesthood.

Also another point of correction. Stop saying "blacks". Blacks WERE NOT denied the Priesthood in the LDS Church. Only those of "African Lineage" were, including some whites who had that lineage. "Blacks" of all other races, Central/South America, the Islands, India, etc. WERE given the Priesthood from the very beginning, or at a slightly later date when their lineage was determined.

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1. Does a prophet, by merely asking God the right question, while being "worthy" in the traditional LDS sense, always get the right answer from God?

2. Are there other factors (which have nothing to do with worthiness) which influence a prophet's ability to receive revelation from God?

3. Can we safely assume that church doctrine will remain as it is today on the issues which the church focuses most on today (e.g. homosexuality, historicity of the Book of Mormon, etc.)? Why or why not?

4. Have the church leaders asked God about whether there must be blanket condemnation of homosexual behavior?

Given the importance of the topic of homsexuality and other related issues, wouldn't it make sense for church leaders to take some time and pray about it all and give an official pronouncement on it?

1. Nothing of importance merely happens by mere effort. The right question is given by the Spirit anyway, as part of the progression to perfection; this is true for prophets and for anyone else. I would go so far as to say that asking the right question is likely part of the grand scheme and foreordination of the Lord’s anointed, and therefore the right time and place are just as essential. Everyone always gets the right answer from God.

2. Ultimately, there are no other factors than the Lord’s will and the prophet’s availability to hear Him which influence a prophet’s ability to receive revelation from God.

3. Church doctrine will not change (See 3 Nephi 11) because everything else is an appendage to it.

4. I do not know if they have asked this particular question, or if it is necessary. It is apparent that they have prayed about many factors related to homosexual issues (See the The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

I'm not so sure that, on a cosmic scale, homosexuality in and of itself is an important issue. It's a mere drag and a distraction from far more eternally weightier and glorious matters.

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Based on the logic presented "thou shalt not steal" will apparently lose its status as a commandment. I mean, just because its always been wrong before doesn't mean it will be wrong in the future. :crazy:

Jeff K.:

No, you are wrong. My belief that a blanket condemnation on all homosexual behavior is erroneous, is very different from the hypothetical you have presented, that stealing will be OK. The prohibition on stealing can stand on its own feet (not by a mere circular appeal to the cry that "stealing is wrong", but by pointing out that it has victims and necessarily causes objective harm). We do not condemn stealing on the basis that, "Both ancient and modern prophets have condemned stealing," or that scripture teaches us that stealing is wrong. We are able to see that it is wrong because it hurts people.

Consensual homosexual behavior, on the other hand, if responsibly practiced, has no victim. Religiously conservative heterosexuals cannot demonstrate that homosexual behavior is inherently immoral by any objectively justified standard (unlike stealing), and so they have to rely on religious dogma to support their propositions. And it is not hard to do, because homosexuals have been discriminated against for thousands of years, and homophobic sentiments found their way into scripture because of the prejudicies of the authors.

So, by way of clarification, I am NOT arguing (nor have I ever argued) in favor of moral relativism as you seem to be implying. What I AM saying is that, although God may not change, man's understanding of God and truth is constantly evolving, and we should never be content with assuming a conclusion on any controversial issue merely by virtue of it having been held for a long time in our religious tradition.

Take the hypothetical child-molestor who gets called as bishop (and it has happened). The stake president has heard of the man's great reputation and spirituality, and the stake president feels a spiritual witness (the same feeling he got when he prayed about the Book of Mormon) that this is the man who should be called as bishop. Now, we, as informed outside observers, know that it could not possibly be the will of God that this criminal be placed in a position of ecclesiastical authority where he can molest innocent children in the church. But the stake president is completely ignorant of this, and is thereby permitted to feel what he perceives is a spiritual witness. Wouldn't we all agree, that if that same stake president were aware of the truth, he would have completely different feelings about the matter, and would never extend a calling to this prospective bishop? The same principle is applicable to spiritual contemplation on other subjects. If we gather facts objectively based upon the science and the evidence, then we will be better prepared for whatever truth God wishes to reveal to us. But if our pride in never wishing to admit past doctrinal errors gets the best of us, and if we cast out the evidence in front of us because we are too afraid to even give it fair consideration, then we place ourselves in a position of potentially endorsing doctrinal stances which are no less erroneous than the stake president who calls the child-molestor as bishop. It matters that the prophets of the past addressed homosexuality without the understanding which modern science has given us. Had they understood what homosexual people go through, had they understood what a burden it would be to live a completely celibate life because you happened to be gay, had they known that you cannot simply choose to be heterosexual or pray the gay away, perhaps this would have inspired greater compassion and empathy in those prophets. Perhaps they would have come to accept the possibility that God wants gays to be happy just like he wants everyone else to be happy, and that consensual homosexual relationships can be every bit as loving and fulfilling as heterosexual ones.

I think that we heterosexuals should be honest about some things. We find it easy to condemn homosexual behavior because we heterosexuals naturally find the thought repulsive and gross. I for one am turned off by it. But kids are turned off at the thought of adult heterosexual behavior. People don't like to think about their own parents having sexual relations, but that does not make it wrong.

There are those who believe that homosexuals are treated fairly because their trial of celibacy is no greater than that of heterosexuals who wish to marry but are never given the opportunity. This may be true in some respects, but there is an important difference. To refrain from physical intimacy because it is simply an impossibility or impractical is one thing (indeed, one might not even call it "refraining," because it simply cannot be accomplished)- but to refrain based solely upon religious doctrine, where it would otherwise be possible to have a happy and fulfilling relationship, is likely to create greater misery and even self-loathing. If God's plan is for us to not simply survive, but to thrive, then it seems God would not throw up extra obstacles (beyond those already existing through nature and chance) to deprive us of joy and pleasure, such as condemning all homosexual behavior, unless there were some objectively observable and justifiable basis for it. I do NOT believe in self-denial for the sake of self-denial. There are certainly times when self-denial is a virtue (example might be when a parent fasts so that their mal-nurished child can eat), but it should never be considered an end in itself. Chastity zealots too often resort to the argument that self-denial is an end in itself.

So, in summary, the slippery-slope argument that embracing homosexuality as OK will eventually lead to tossing out condemnation for stealing, is ridiculous.

I would close with the following challenge to TBMs: Setting aside any religiously based arguments, what if any reasons do you believe justify a blanket condemnation on all consensual, adult homosexual behavior?

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Setting aside any religiously based arguments, what if any reasons do you believe justify a blanket condemnation on all consensual, adult homosexual behavior?

You've chosen to focus on the political question while your diatribe was on the religious side.

As a libertarian (small "L"), it is my position that the state ought to take no action against anyone whose own acts do not harm unwilling others. If twenty adults want to sit naked in a circular room and shoot curare-tipped darts at each other, it's their (stupid) choice, and the state ought to let them do so. However, if a non-participant wanders into the room, the game must stop immediately: he is not a willing player.

The religious argument is based on entirely different premises: God's will and knowledge on the matter are the only points that matter. While it may (which I do not concede) be right that it is our lack of willingness to embrace (figuratively speaking, of course) our homosexual brethren and sistern is all that keeps Father from reversing the course of the Church in this regard, there is no evidence to support the implication that the wickedness of homosexuality is man's work and not one of the facts of the universe.

One of those facts is that we are God's children. We bring Him glory when we become like Him, among other things. He has (at least) one wife (see "O, My Father", The Family, A Proclamation to the World), and His creative activities are based on Their being heavenly Parents. Those who do not achieve Celestial glory do not bring Him/Them glory, and Celestial glory is to become exactly as They are. Homosexuality does not permit this because Male and Female are eternal, complementary concepts.

It is therefor impossible for God to "allow" homosexual behaviors to exist in His kingdom.

We do not know why people become homosexuals. I have a well formed opinion based on personal experience as a young man working with evangelical homosexuals and seeing/reading plays/movies/books like A Chorus Line. There are homosexual recruiters out there. One frequent statement I heard was "Today's conquest is tomorrow's competition." As a myopic pre-schooler, the homosexual dancer in A Chorus Line was fondled repeatedly on the front row in a movie theatre by two old men while his mother sat further back with the rest of her children. But "how" doesn't answer the question "why?", and neither addresses your question.

I believe that homosexuality is an affront to the universe because it is in opposition to Father's plan for the human race: to become like Father or Mother. It is wholly incompatible with What They are.

Again, you ask us to use political logic in addressing a religious question. Your battlefield is oriented in the wrong direction, and is tilted strongly in favor of your chosen team.

Lehi

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No, you are wrong. My belief that a blanket condemnation on all homosexual behavior is erroneous, is very different from the hypothetical you have presented, that stealing will be OK. The prohibition on stealing can stand on its own feet (not by a mere circular appeal to the cry that "stealing is wrong", but by pointing out that it has victims and necessarily causes objective harm). We do not condemn stealing on the basis that, "Both ancient and modern prophets have condemned stealing," or that scripture teaches us that stealing is wrong. We are able to see that it is wrong because it hurts people.

You can jump through all kinds of hoops in an effort to justify a wrong thing. But it remains wrong. In fact your very premise if flawed. It is based upon a belief that condemnation is designed or manifested through the will of the members of the church, when in fact, it is revelatory. Your hope is that somehow people will eventually change their minds and accept the desires and actions condemned as something significantly worse than stealing, will one day be as accepted as charity.

And we do indeed condemn stealing on the basis that ancient and modern prophets condemn it. One wonders why we have scriptures otherwise, or how often the scriptures are referred to.

Consensual homosexual behavior, on the other hand, if responsibly practiced, has no victim. Religiously conservative heterosexuals cannot demonstrate that homosexual behavior is inherently immoral by any objectively justified standard (unlike stealing), and so they have to rely on religious dogma to support their propositions. And it is not hard to do, because homosexuals have been discriminated against for thousands of years, and homophobic sentiments found their way into scripture because of the prejudicies of the authors.

Neither does prostitution, or gambling, or shooting heroin. If you have no standards by which to judge, all these things are acceptable, but if you do have an objective standard, then it is indeed immoral, like stealing, or prostitution, or just a number of other laws that some would like to "sweep away" in order to pursue their own cravings. It is a shame when people are willing to toss out all that is good in order to justify a few bad things. Scriptures, nah, homophobic, ancient prophets? Them too. God? Well He is the worst of the lot. Toss him. Homophobic sentiments didn't work their way into scriptures, they were placed there by God and prophets. We have modern prophets who continue to agree with the same. One day they will make the fear of stealing a bad word (How dare you cleptophobics impugn my right to live as I desire). But we know it is wrong.

I think that we heterosexuals should be honest about some things. We find it easy to condemn homosexual behavior because we heterosexuals naturally find the thought repulsive and gross. I for one am turned off by it. But kids are turned off at the thought of adult heterosexual behavior. People don't like to think about their own parents having sexual relations, but that does not make it wrong.

The implication that somehow people who think homosexual behavior is wrong and a sin are dishonest is like telling someone who stopped a prostitute from doing her trade that he is oppressing the woman. It is more than a little dishonest to use such a line of thinking.

There are those who believe that homosexuals are treated fairly because their trial of celibacy is no greater than that of heterosexuals who wish to marry but are never given the opportunity. This may be true in some respects, but there is an important difference. To refrain from physical intimacy because it is simply an impossibility or impractical is one thing (indeed, one might not even call it "refraining," because it simply cannot be accomplished)- but to refrain based solely upon religious doctrine,

Celibacy is a question of religious doctrine and belief. And let me tell you, it is true, unless somehow you have a belief that the "urges" of a homosexual individual is much greater than that of a heterosexual person, in effect meaning that people are gay are indeed different in their "needs". I don't think anyone here buys taht.

If God's plan is for us to not simply survive, but to thrive, then it seems God would not throw up extra obstacles (beyond those already existing through nature and chance) to deprive us of joy and pleasure, such as condemning all homosexual behavior, unless there were some objectively observable and justifiable basis for it. I do NOT believe in self-denial for the sake of self-denial. There are certainly times when self-denial is a virtue (example might be when a parent fasts so that their mal-nurished child can eat), but it should never be considered an end in itself. Chastity zealots too often resort to the argument that self-denial is an end in itself.

You apparently have a limited understanding of LDS doctrine in regards to "God would not throw up extra obstacles". Where that true Adam and Eve would remain in the Garden of Eden, so on and so on. Joy and pleasure are nice, but you can have joy without physical pleasure, and you can have physical pleasure without joy. You seem to conflate the two. That is probably one of the key flaws in your argument. Men are that they might have joy, that does not mean "men are that they might copulate with each other".

Chastity zealots too often resort to the argument that self-denial is an end in itself

I suppose anyone who believes in chastity is a zealot? :mega_shok:

So, in summary, the slippery-slope argument that embracing homosexuality as OK will eventually lead to tossing out condemnation for stealing, is ridiculous.

It wasn't a slippery slope argument. Try again.

I would close with the following challenge to TBMs: Setting aside any religiously based arguments, what if any reasons do you believe justify a blanket condemnation on all consensual, adult homosexual behavior?

Let me rephrase. "I would close with the following challenge to the prophet and apostles of Jesus Christ. Set aside your belief in Christ and His commandments. What possible reason can you justify a condemnation of doing something wrong when adults want to do it to each other?"

Yeah, right, we give up our testimony in Christ for free tickets to the gay rights parade and a happy meal. I wouldn't sell the morality of Christ so cheaply, nor would I consider giving up my testimony just to "get along", and believe me, in California I too have paid a price for not "getting along" with the crowd. Your argument fits right in with the tired old canards regarding prostitution, gambling, and almost every other vice that hurts society.

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