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Eternal Gender: Why? (a part II, more focused thread)


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I first wrote a great deal more but I think it can be distilled down to a simpler situation.

  • Exalted beings (eventually) are omnipotent. The have full control over existence inasmuch as control is possible . That would include their own physical and spirit body.
    • If such a being wants to change his hair, eye, skin color -- he or she can.
    • If such a being wants to retain physical markings consistent with mortal wounds -- he or she can.
    • If such a being wants to be a foot taller or have four fingers -- he or she can.
  • Celestial and Eternal Society is the pinnacle of harmony, peace, felicity, and efficacy.
    • Our species has chosen to be basically gender binary
    • We know that numerous sex/gender models exist and are present in different species
  • Our spirit bodies were created by our Heavenly Parents
    • A part of us is eternal and uncreate (I call that intelligent matter) and predates our spirit bodies
    • We do not know if gender existed for us before our spirit body (as the D&C suggests, eternal does not necessarily mean into the infinite past or future)

These are the basic facts of LDS theology. While I have several non-majority (yet still consistent with orthodoxy) opinions, I think these are mostly non-controversial as being consistent with our theology.

So, how would you answer these questions?

  • If an Exalted Being wants to change the physiological gender of their resurrected body, is that possible?
  • Why has Eternal and Celestial Society chosen a gender binary mechanism?
  • If gender existed before our spirit body, what does "gender" mean for a something that has no body?
  • If gender did not exist before our spirit body, what was the mechanism whereby our Heavenly Parents chose a gender? Is that an immutable choice?

 

A note: These questions are not designed to be subversive in any way even though it might come across that way. I am theologically orthodox and orthopraxic. I fully support and sustain the Brethren, Elder Oaks, and the rest. I have my own partial answers to these questions, but other commentary may add insight that had not occurred to me.

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There are so many things that are going to be taken care of in the Millenium or in the eternities, that it is strange that Mormonism would lead with the nature human procreation as the absolute model for an ultimate exaltation. The idea of eternal gender need not be subverted by people who are intersex or gender fluid, or trans or nonbinary. Spirits could be eternally binary--and those could include intersex and trans people that may be a one gender spiritually while their body is temporarily inconsistent. And Spirits could be eternally nonbinary, eternally fluid.

Most of all, love can be used as a strong guide for these difficult matters. I do think the church could untie the difficult knot of its homophobia and transphobia if it led with love, and could still have a remaining robust cosmology of beings co-eternal with God and enjoying exaltation in unions between loving beings who create eternally. 

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I want to try to answer one of your questions.  I feel strongly that this is about the resurrection more than we think.  I remember when I found out how shocking it was that nothing is sacred in nature such as two babies being born joint up and sharing vital organs etc... So this presents a problem that applies to gender.  1. We can believe that the resurrection is perfect no exceptions.  2. We can believe that two conjoined twins might chose to be resurrected that way in eternity .  This is not all heresy if you know the scriptures the Lord was resurrected with his wounds intact,  he has a perfect body without perfect appearance.  Is a custom resurrection available only to the Lord?  I do not know.  So these different ways of believing can apply to physical gender in the resurrection such as those born where the doctors decided as best what the gender of the child should be. So one belief is compassion in the resurrection, a male child born so deformed that he was raised as a girl would be able to choose what to be for eternity or no exceptions.  I do believe that once resurrected you cannot change your body.

Edited by Metis_LDS
grammar and addition
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3 hours ago, Nofear said:

I first wrote a great deal more but I think it can be distilled down to a simpler situation.

  • Exalted beings (eventually) are omnipotent. The have full control over existence inasmuch as control is possible . That would include their own physical and spirit body.
    • If such a being wants to change his hair, eye, skin color -- he or she can.
    • If such a being wants to retain physical markings consistent with mortal wounds -- he or she can.
    • If such a being wants to be a foot taller or have four fingers -- he or she can.
  • Celestial and Eternal Society is the pinnacle of harmony, peace, felicity, and efficacy.
    • Our species has chosen to be basically gender binary
    • We know that numerous sex/gender models exist and are present in different species
  • Our spirit bodies were created by our Heavenly Parents
    • A part of us is eternal and uncreate (I call that intelligent matter) and predates our spirit bodies
    • We do not know if gender existed for us before our spirit body (as the D&C suggests, eternal does not necessarily mean into the infinite past or future)

These are the basic facts of LDS theology. While I have several non-majority (yet still consistent with orthodoxy) opinions, I think these are mostly non-controversial as being consistent with our theology.

So, how would you answer these questions?

  • If an Exalted Being wants to change the physiological gender of their resurrected body, is that possible?
  • Why has Eternal and Celestial Society chosen a gender binary mechanism?
  • If gender existed before our spirit body, what does "gender" mean for a something that has no body?
  • If gender did not exist before our spirit body, what was the mechanism whereby our Heavenly Parents chose a gender? Is that an immutable choice?

 

A note: These questions are not designed to be subversive in any way even though it might come across that way. I am theologically orthodox and orthopraxic. I fully support and sustain the Brethren, Elder Oaks, and the rest. I have my own partial answers to these questions, but other commentary may add insight that had not occurred to me.

Just some initial thoughts:

·         If an Exalted Being wants to change the physiological gender of their resurrected body, is that possible? An exalted being is a male-female couple and would not lie.

·         Why has Eternal and Celestial Society chosen a gender binary mechanism? It is part of the eternal round (it works toward a fulness of joy, and is the way an exalted being -- couple -- holds to the opposing forces of male and female.)

·         If gender existed before our spirit body, what does "gender" mean for a something that has no body? It is a force which manifests or expresses itself according to one’s perspective (i.e. reckoning from where they stand).

·         If gender did not exist before our spirit body, what was the mechanism whereby our Heavenly Parents chose a gender? It is a force which manifests or expresses itself according to one’s perspective (i.e. reckoning from where they stand). Is that an immutable choice? No, but only up to a point of progressing perspective. Once we progress so as to choose an eternal perspective (which can happen as an intelligence/spirit), gender has meaning.

Edited by CV75
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18 hours ago, Nofear said:

So, how would you answer these questions?

  • If an Exalted Being wants to change the physiological gender of their resurrected body, is that possible?
  • Why has Eternal and Celestial Society chosen a gender binary mechanism?
  • If gender existed before our spirit body, what does "gender" mean for a something that has no body?
  • If gender did not exist before our spirit body, what was the mechanism whereby our Heavenly Parents chose a gender? Is that an immutable choice?
  • This is the equivalent of asking can God sin?  If he is omnipotent, then surely he would be able to choose to be evil. God would never choose to be evil; it is not a matter of choice, but of nature. He is eternally holy and the epitome of Light. No darkness can dwell there and thus choosing sin is never a choice - it is beyond or outside of his nature. This is the same answer for all celestial beings. You are posing a mortal condition and putting it into a celestial existence. The two are not equal and don't exist because the nature of the beings are not comparable. 
  • The family unit was chosen because existence is more than self-satisfaction. It goes beyond the self and into the whole. We are not saved alone, but with our families. These concepts of "binary mechanism" - gads, what a demeaning phrase in order to support the non-binary as equal and acceptable. Humans, children of God are made to be so much more than consumers - which is the end product of being for all sexual aberrations and all of the -isms that conflict and destroy the family unit. 
  • Spirit bodies - such as those that chose to follow Satan - hunger for the physical. This was the reason that asked to enter into the herd of Swine after being cast out of the young man's body by the Savior. Gender is an eternal part of each child of God. There is no concept of anything else in the eternities; there is never a question of am I male or am I female. Such conditions only exist only in a fallen world and such philosophies only exist in the mind of Satan who works to deceive all humanity.
  • The assumption is not one that I would make. I assume that all, even intelligences, had gender as a part of their identity. 
Edited by Storm Rider
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38 minutes ago, CV75 said:

·         If gender existed before our spirit body, what does "gender" mean for a something that has no body? It is a force which manifests or expresses itself according to one’s perspective (i.e. reckoning from where they stand).

Gender as a "force". That's a new meta-physical perspective for me. Curious. But then, what is that "force" (relative perspective or no)?

 

31 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:
  • This is the equivalent of asking can God sin?  If he is omnipotent, then surely he would be able to choose to be evil. God would never choose to be evil; it is not a matter of choice, but of nature. He is eternally holy and the epitome of Light. No darkness can dwell there and thus choosing sin is never a choice - it is beyond or outside of his nature. This is the same answer for all celestial beings. You are posing a mortal condition and putting it into a celestial existence. The two are not equal and don't exist because the nature of the beings are not comparable.

I quite agree that God would/can never choose evil. Perhaps one can argue that changing one's resurrected body is a sin. A part of me even agrees intuitively. Though, I think that assertion needs some justification or at least some insight. Your answer, however, is tautological (If A then B. But B is true because A. God, by nature, cannot choose evil. Evil is that which is not in God's nature to choose.)

 

41 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:
  • The assumption is not one that I would make. I assume that all, even intelligences, had gender as a part of their identity. 

An assumption, true. I tend to side on the other side. To me it seems reasonable that any substance/item/thing/object which is self-existent from the infinite past would also be "simple", without constituent parts or organization. In philosophy speak monad. But, that is also an assumption. With a little thought, one can see how I wonder how "gender" would apply to a substance/item/thing/object that has no body. What would that mean? e.g. see response to CV75.

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1 hour ago, Nofear said:

Gender as a "force". That's a new meta-physical perspective for me. Curious. But then, what is that "force" (relative perspective or no)?

By "force" I mean something like gravity or magnetism which, when someone has sufficient knowledge, can act upon (at least harness and use as a tool). Until then, they are acted upon by these forces. These forces at a finer levels can reveal, depending on the perspective (as in being able to see or discern matter that is more fine and pure) other, additional forces, or even manifest as an alternative force altogether. For example, the finer makeup of a quantum of time might exhibit a condition of "no-time" at all, or perhaps time flowing backward. So I'm suggesting that gender is a force like gravity and magnetism are, which also display phenomena in terms of attraction.

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15 minutes ago, CV75 said:

By "force" I mean something like gravity or magnetism which, when someone has sufficient knowledge, can act upon (at least harness and use as a tool). Until then, they are acted upon by these forces. These forces at a finer levels can reveal, depending on the perspective (as in being able to see or discern matter that is more fine and pure) other, additional forces, or even manifest as an alternative force altogether. For example, the finer makeup of a quantum of time might exhibit a condition of "no-time" at all, or perhaps time flowing backward. So I'm suggesting that gender is a force like gravity and magnetism are, which also display phenomena in terms of attraction.

If it is such a force (certain masses/elements possess gender like some possess magnetism), it could explain the necessity of binary gender in exalted relationships (magnets possess ‘north’ and ‘south’ poles, there are no known naturally occurring monopoles last I heard).  In order to properly function, the gender force must have both male and female present. 

But this is a very different conception than is currently held.  Since I think we are pretty clueless about what eternal attributes are, that is not an issue for me though.

What if gender is the force that allows binding of spirit to intelligence and then that to a physical body?  And that is why male and female are required for procreation or perhaps creation of any kind since all things are spiritual before they are temporal. 

Edited by Calm
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12 minutes ago, CV75 said:

By "force" I mean something like gravity or magnetism which, when someone has sufficient knowledge, can act upon (at least harness and use as a tool). Until then, they are acted upon by these forces. These forces at a finer levels can reveal, depending on the perspective (as in being able to see or discern matter that is more fine and pure) other, additional forces, or even manifest as an alternative force altogether. For example, the finer makeup of a quantum of time might exhibit a condition of "no-time" at all, or perhaps time flowing backward. So I'm suggesting that gender is a force like gravity and magnetism are, which also display phenomena in terms of attraction.

I'll grant it's a curious idea. Pretty similar in idea to the Chinese yin and yang. A few thousand years of the Chinese concept hasn't yielded anything of substance or predictive efficacy. It has explanatory cuteness and so persists but is, nonetheless, infertile as a speculation. It is like the barren olive tree that the Savior cursed on his way to Jerusalem. The tree promised fruit but produced none and so was destroyed.
 

The physicist in me also dislikes the application of the word "force". The four fundamental forces all act on specific particles that have a "charge" corresponding to the force (see link). What does the "gender force" act on? Am I male because I have more "male particles"? What of animal species that can change gender, have no gender, or have a gender that doesn't correspond to a binary male/female like system?

Anyway, to quote Joseph Smith, "This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. ...  You say honey is sweet, and so do I."
To me, this speculative idea of a gender force does not taste sweet. While I like sweet food such as the King Follett Discourse, maybe my taste buds are simply deadened as I like spicy food too. :)

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10 hours ago, Calm said:

If it is such a force (certain masses/elements possess gender like some possess magnetism), it could explain the necessity of binary gender in exalted relationships (magnets possess ‘north’ and ‘south’ poles, there are no known naturally occurring monopoles last I heard).  In order to properly function, the gender force must have both male and female present. 

Not quite sure what you mean here.  I am sure you realize there are some species that are both male and female.  And there are some species that start out one gender and change to the other gender during their lifespan'.  Even in humans, there is a village in the Dominican Republic where  1% of the female children turn into males at puberty.

I think it is pretty safe to say that God can create any gender combination work.  The human body is not locked into a binary gender.  What the eternal implications are are all really completely unknown.  Anyone who says they. know what God will do is just guessing.

 

10 hours ago, Calm said:

But this is a very different conception than is currently held.  Since I think we are pretty clueless about what eternal attributes are, that is not an issue for me though.

What if gender is the force that allows binding of spirit to intelligence and then that to a physical body?  And that is why male and female are required for procreation or perhaps creation of any kind since all things are spiritual before they are temporal. 

 

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54 minutes ago, california boy said:

am sure you realize there are some species that are both male and female

Just riffing off of CV’s idea with first things that strike me, what it could mean eternally speaking. Pure speculation of course with assumptions that can’t be proven.

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, california boy said:

Even in humans, there is a village in the Dominican Republic where  1% of the female children turn into males at puberty.

That would depend on how you define the male and female sexes. Genetically they are male in the sense of XY, correct?  The lack of enough of a hormone until puberty delays development of male physical characteristics.

”Imperato and her colleagues found that a deficiency in the enzyme 5-α-reductase was responsible for the Guevedoce's rare condition.

Without this enzyme, the body doesn't create the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which prevents the development of male sex organs – until puberty hits, at least, when increased levels of testosterone belatedly reveal that Guevedoces are, in effect, male.”

I am assuming you don’t really define male or female sex by the appearance of genitalia. 

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Calm said:

That would depend on how you define the male and female sexes. Genetically they are male in the sense of XY, correct?  The lack of enough of a hormone until puberty delays development of male physical characteristics.

”Imperato and her colleagues found that a deficiency in the enzyme 5-α-reductase was responsible for the Guevedoce's rare condition.

Without this enzyme, the body doesn't create the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which prevents the development of male sex organs – until puberty hits, at least, when increased levels of testosterone belatedly reveal that Guevedoces are, in effect, male.”

I am assuming you don’t really define male or female sex by the appearance of genitalia. 

But is that how the church is defining it? Or does it allow for some grey area there?

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16 hours ago, Calm said:

If it is such a force (certain masses/elements possess gender like some possess magnetism), it could explain the necessity of binary gender in exalted relationships (magnets possess ‘north’ and ‘south’ poles, there are no known naturally occurring monopoles last I heard).  In order to properly function, the gender force must have both male and female present. 

But this is a very different conception than is currently held.  Since I think we are pretty clueless about what eternal attributes are, that is not an issue for me though.

What if gender is the force that allows binding of spirit to intelligence and then that to a physical body?  And that is why male and female are required for procreation or perhaps creation of any kind since all things are spiritual before they are temporal. 

Excellent point, since the body and spirit in their perfected form are inseparably connected and each possesses the same gender.

However, I also think that the binding is more a function of authority (as in priesthood power) than the actual force that exists between spirit element and physical element (at some fundamental level they are comprised of like/coextensive/undifferentiated material).

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16 hours ago, Nofear said:

I'll grant it's a curious idea. Pretty similar in idea to the Chinese yin and yang. A few thousand years of the Chinese concept hasn't yielded anything of substance or predictive efficacy. It has explanatory cuteness and so persists but is, nonetheless, infertile as a speculation. It is like the barren olive tree that the Savior cursed on his way to Jerusalem. The tree promised fruit but produced none and so was destroyed.
 

The physicist in me also dislikes the application of the word "force". The four fundamental forces all act on specific particles that have a "charge" corresponding to the force (see link). What does the "gender force" act on? Am I male because I have more "male particles"? What of animal species that can change gender, have no gender, or have a gender that doesn't correspond to a binary male/female like system?

Anyway, to quote Joseph Smith, "This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. ...  You say honey is sweet, and so do I."
To me, this speculative idea of a gender force does not taste sweet. While I like sweet food such as the King Follett Discourse, maybe my taste buds are simply deadened as I like spicy food too. :)

I don’t see this as a science discussion, so I think yin-yang and “opposition in all things” are an OK way to begin characterizing what I’m describing. Hopefully you can see that I’ve taken it a little further than that, as speculative as these brainstorming ideas are.

I see force to be the result of the interaction between two objects rather than the actor upon them.  For example, a physicist may say that a large object “acts” on a smaller one via gravity, but putting a D&C 93 “spin” on it (😉), intelligences act and elements or objects are acted upon. So, I see the power and authority of God, in many cases expressed in concert with the agency of His children, being directed according to His will or allowance upon the elements to bring them together.

As the result of interaction between two objects, I see a force as the amalgam of new, finer objects created by that interaction. There is no immaterial matter, and there is always something “more fine or pure” than that which is discernible from the observing sphere of reckoning.

I also see God as designing laws and forces out of more fundamental principles (this is getting into theoretical, not classical physics—the former being sweeter to me when I join a theoretical discussion on matters that we are admittedly clueless about). Different laws for different kingdoms, some being eternal. The Family Proclamation says gender is an eternal principle

Edited by CV75
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5 hours ago, Calm said:

That would depend on how you define the male and female sexes. Genetically they are male in the sense of XY, correct?  The lack of enough of a hormone until puberty delays development of male physical characteristics.

”Imperato and her colleagues found that a deficiency in the enzyme 5-α-reductase was responsible for the Guevedoce's rare condition.

Without this enzyme, the body doesn't create the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which prevents the development of male sex organs – until puberty hits, at least, when increased levels of testosterone belatedly reveal that Guevedoces are, in effect, male.”

I am assuming you don’t really define male or female sex by the appearance of genitalia. 

Personally, I don't necessarily define sex by the appearance of genitalia.  Out of respect for the person, I see them in whatever gender they wish to be identified as.  It is really not a threatening concept for me.  But for some, genitalia is the only way they see the sex of the individual.  

Ahab, for example, thinks that if a man transitions to a woman, the only way they can repent is if a penis gets reattached.  Not sure who is volunteering to give theirs away however.  

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

But is that how the church is defining it? Or does it allow for some grey area there?

“the intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation and as used in Church statements and publications since that time is [binary] biological sex at birth.” https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/october-2019-general-conference-first-presidency-leadership-session?cid=HP_NWSRM_10_2_19

I'm assuming he means for general, practical purposes addressing questions that arise during mortality, and not for discussions like these :)

"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose (per the family proclamation). For this discussion, we can speak of birth in these other spheres, even if not strictly "biological" in the mortal sense. We were born as spirits, can be spiritually reborn of God, we are "born" into the most-mortal spirit world, and "born" again into resurrected bodies -- not all of these are biological processes but each still includes binary gender as an essential characteristic.

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54 minutes ago, california boy said:

Personally, I don't necessarily define sex by the appearance of genitalia.  Out of respect for the person, I see them in whatever gender they wish to be identified as.  It is really not a threatening concept for me.  But for some, genitalia is the only way they see the sex of the individual.  

Ahab, for example, thinks that if a man transitions to a woman, the only way they can repent is if a penis gets reattached.  Not sure who is volunteering to give theirs away however.  

That's easy:

Organ printing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_printing

Xenotransplantation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenotransplantation

So many other techniques: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regenerative_medicine

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7 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I don't think several of the 'basic facts' you wrote actually are 'LDS theology'.

For example, an Exalted Being is a Couple, or even a Family or a Council or a Church of the Firstborn... and so never acts alone, or in a vacuum, or in a self-contradicting manner (God would not cease to be God). Now this is something that was not fully fleshed out in the King Follett Discourse :) But then, why should it have been, and why should we hold ourselves to that alone?

 

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8 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I don't think several of the 'basic facts' you wrote actually are 'LDS theology'.

Several of them definitely aren't.

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6 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

But is that how the church is defining it? Or does it allow for some grey area there?

My understanding is there is no set policy in regards to intersex cases where surgery has taken place or otherwise, so when there is biological ambiguity I see that as likely a grey area for the Church. 

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I know of a man in KY who surgically transitioned from man to woman, then found the gospel and is back identifying as a man, the gender he was born as. From what I know, he is a fully active temple attending individual who has never had a reversal surgery.

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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Several of them definitely aren't.

  • Exalted beings (eventually) are omnipotent. The have full control over existence inasmuch as control is possible . That would include their own physical and spirit body.
  • Celestial and Eternal Society is the pinnacle of harmony, peace, felicity, and efficacy.
  • Our spirit bodies were created by our Heavenly Parents

Pray tell, which one of these ideas you disagree with?

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On 10/12/2019 at 11:55 AM, Nofear said:

Pray tell, which one of these ideas you disagree with

  • Exalted beings (eventually) are omnipotent. The have full control over existence inasmuch as control is possible . That would include their own physical and spirit body.
    • If such a being wants to change his hair, eye, skin color -- he or she can.
    • If such a being wants to retain physical markings consistent with mortal wounds -- he or she can.
    • If such a being wants to be a foot taller or have four fingers -- he or she can.
  • Celestial and Eternal Society is the pinnacle of harmony, peace, felicity, and efficacy.
    • Our species has chosen to be basically gender binary
    • We know that numerous sex/gender models exist and are present in different species
  • Our spirit bodies were created by our Heavenly Parents
    • A part of us is eternal and uncreate (I call that intelligent matter) and predates our spirit bodies
    • We do not know if gender existed for us before our spirit body (as the D&C suggests, eternal does not necessarily mean into the infinite past or future)

These are the basic facts of LDS theology. While I have several non-majority (yet still consistent with orthodoxy) opinions, I think these are mostly non-controversial as being consistent with our theology.

The bolded parts.  Because they aren't basic facts of LDS theology.

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