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The Matthew Gong Letter


pogi

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I think a lot of that "wound" is being inflicted by critics and opponents of the Church, who go out of their way to foment hatred and strive against the Church, from within and without.

The Church teaches the Law of Chastity, which prohibits all sexual behavior except between a husband and wife.  For the last many years, the Church has utilized a very moderate and compassionate approach to same-sex behavior.  To suggest that the Church's teachings about sexual purity are causing "a wound" is, in my view, incorrect.

Pres. Oaks is just a convenient target.

Thanks,

-Smac

Critics and opponents are indeed inflicting a wound, but of a different type.  The wound I am referring to is felt by LGBT members and their families/friends.  They are grappling with their eternal identity, their outlook of a celibate life, and an eternal future of a heterosexual man/woman marriage if they remain faithful.  For them, in their current perspective, the mortal and eternal outlook is bleak.    What parent with any heart at all would not struggle with this issue?  At the very best, their son/daughter gets to look forward to a single life in mortality with no children, no grandchildren, no family gatherings on holidays with a spouse and offspring...  It would be heartbreaking.  All of the happiness and fulfillment that you experience in marriage and family life in mortality, and that you want for your children, will not be realized in this life.  Some people ignorantly protest that there should be no such sorrow because of the glorious promises to those who remain faithful.  Yes, well, I can have faith in a resurrection, but that would not erase the sorrow I might feel if my child was born without limbs - or was legally blind with albinism.  Promises of a beautiful future give hope, but they don't erase acute sorrow.  So, for those active members who have children who are unapologetically queer and in a relationship (or are even faithful and queer), there is a natural, unavoidable wound that requires sensitivity and a compassionate healing approach.  So, for those families, to be reminded over, and over, and over again that their son's/daughter's behavior is wrong, evil, unnatural, and will keep them from eternal happiness, is not healing, even if the message is technically correct.  Sometimes a wound simply needs time and space to heal.  You can give too much attention to a wound, impeding its healing.  Sometimes it is best to cover the wound and give it time and space to heal.   We don't need to be reminded of the church's position on LGBTQ behavior any more.  I think we all really do get it, without any ambiguity, whatsoever.  To continually address the issue is to some like peeling the scab off and reopening a wound over and over.        

I don't know if I would agree that the church takes a moderate and compassionate approach to "same-sex behavior" (perhaps you are speaking of the person rather than the behavior).  I think it is anything but moderate - if anything it is an extreme prohibition.  I personally don't disagree with the position of the church on the issue, but again, there may be better ways to address it. 

Edited by pogi
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10 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I feel Pres. Oaks has caused tons of hurt by being the point man for the church in this regard. And having a grandson who is gay, I wonder if it's hurt him also. 

Hurt in what sense?  In the sense of feeling like his sexual attraction to men is not acceptable to or considered good by President Oaks?

He should learn that not everybody thinks it is good for men to be sexually attracted to other men to the point of wanting to have sex with them.

... that t here are still people on this planet who believe that kind of sexual attraction is wrong and sinful and not what our Father in heaven wants another man to want.

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42 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

Funny that.  My opinion is that Tacenda is spot on.  Oaks keeps pounding that same key over and over again.   I think Oaks along with several others of the Q15 are still recovering from the SCOTUS decision on marriage equally.  My opinion is that they need to get over this and move on.  The same thing happened in 1890 when the government put an end to the new and everlasting covenant.  The church survived this, and they can survive society accepting our LGBTQ bothers and sisters into the full rights and privileges that all citizens enjoy.

So long as there exists a sentiment that the Church should follow societal whims and abandon a core doctrine such as the law of chastity and associated doctrines such as the eternity of the family unit, there will always be a need for the leadership to maintain boundaries and the purity of the doctrine. They are not going to abdicate that responsibility and “move on.” 
 

Furthermore, they have a duty to teach those in their watch care who might be vulnerable to false ideologies and philosophies of the day that are antithetical to gospel teachings. It is a shepherding role that all leaders and teachers in the Church share. 
 

And if you agree with Tacenda’s shrill accusation, then you and she are wrong together. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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4 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
Quote

For the last many years, the Church has utilized a very moderate and compassionate approach to same-sex behavior. 

Is that what we call labeling same-sex marriage "apostacy"? 

Meh.  That's pretty much an issue of semantics.  The difference between "apostasy" and something like "very serious transgression" is a difference of degree, and a fairly minor one at that.  

And one that is probably not significant to someone who enters into a same-sex marriage.  Doing so is objectively at odds with the teachings of the Church.  A couple is certainly at liberty to enter into a same-sex marriage, but I reject the notion that they will do so in ignorance of its departure from the teachings of the Church.

BTW, would you consider entering into a polygamous marriage a form of apostasy?  Why or why not?

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Meh.  That's pretty much an issue of semantics.  The difference between "apostasy" and something like "very serious transgression" is a difference of degree, and a fairly minor one at that.  
 

Right, but the policy was one of the most significant changes with regard to homosexual behavior in past years. Just wondering how that fit into moderation and compassion. 

4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And one that is probably not significant to someone who enters into a same-sex marriage.  Doing so is objectively at odds with the teachings of the Church.  A couple is certainly at liberty to enter into a same-sex marriage, but I reject the notion that they will do so in ignorance of its departure from the teachings of the Church.

BTW, would you consider entering into a polygamous marriage a form of apostasy?  Why or why not?

I would not. Otherwise the prophet would be in apostasy. 

4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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54 minutes ago, smac97 said:
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I would invite you to provide some examples from the Church's publications - say within the last ten years - that are not "moderate and compassionate."

FWIW, I would describe the idea that most Latter-day Saints would not allow a child’s (son or daughter not minor for Ahab) same-sex partner in the home as an extreme position that is neither moderate nor compassionate when it comes to same sex behavior. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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2 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

FWIW, I would describe the idea that most Latter-day Saints would not allow a child’s same-sex partner in the home as an extreme position that is neither moderate nor compassionate when it comes to same sex behavior. 

A child's same sex partner?

How old is this "child" you are talking about?  Under 18?  With a same sex partner?  My mind is racing here.

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5 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

FWIW, I would describe the idea that most Latter-day Saints would not allow a child’s same-sex partner in the home as an extreme position that is neither moderate nor compassionate when it comes to same sex behavior. 

I totally agree that is a jerk move but I don't think that is Church teaching. The same can be said for parents that react badly if a child returns home early from a mission. Its a jerk move but not Church teachings in my opinion. Thanks

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1 minute ago, Nacho2dope said:

I totally agree that is a jerk move but I don't think that is Church teaching. The same can be said for parents that react badly if a child returns home early from a mission. Its a jerk move but not Church teachings in my opinion. Thanks

It is how Elder Oaks thinks most Latter-day Saints  would react after prayer and deliberation. It is on the church website. I don’t know what “church teaching” means. 

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1 minute ago, Nacho2dope said:

I totally agree that is a jerk move but I don't think that is Church teaching. 

I don’t agree it’s necessarily a “jerk move.” Depending on the circumstances, there may be a compelling reason, the presence of young, impressionable children in the home for example. I don’t think “Church teaching” mandates going one way or the other. 

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14 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

FWIW, I would describe the idea that most Latter-day Saints would not allow a child’s (son or daughter not minor for Ahab) same-sex partner in the home as an extreme position that is neither moderate nor compassionate when it comes to same sex behavior. 

The idea that the partner should be admitted under all and any circumstances — which is what you seem to favor — is no less extreme. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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4 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Sorry I was using child as a substitute for son or daughter not for a minor. 

So you think it's an extreme position for parents to not want their son or daughter who has a same sex partner to live in the same house with them? 

I'm assuming these would be parents who think it's not okay for anyone to have same sex partners.  And that it is their home, where they preside and make the rules about what is and is not acceptable.

I think you're being unreasonable about what parents should be able to decide about what goes on in their own home.  It isn't up to their children to dictate how things should be in their parents home.  So if the parents don't want it going on there, it shouldn't be going on there.

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5 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

It is how Elder Oaks thinks most Latter-day Saints  would react after prayer and deliberation. It is on the church website. I don’t know what “church teaching” means. 

The Church has never said don't let you gay children live in your home. At least that I am aware of 

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6 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t agree it’s necessarily a “jerk move.” Depending on the circumstances, there may be a compelling reason, the presence of young, impressionable children in the home for example. I don’t think “Church teaching” mandates going one way or the other. 

You are absolutely right. I think someone from the outside looking in may say that. They don't have all the information. I have a bother who has a drug addition problem and my parents will not let them live at home. I agree with their approach; however, I am sure someone may say its a jerk move.

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2 minutes ago, Nacho2dope said:

The Church has never said don't let you gay children live in your home. At least that I am aware of 

That’s not what he’s talking about. He’s referring to parents allowing gay offspring to bring their gay partners into the home. 

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I am not comfortable characterizing compliance with the Law of Chastity as a "wound."

Neither am I.  I wouldn't frame it that way - nor did I.  Those who struggle with infertility in the church can have deep wounds (I know from experience) - in the same way, a homosexual with no prospects of children in mortality could be considered wounded, along with their parents who wish to raise grandchildren in this life. Sensitivity to these, and other, wounds are imperative.  Also, parents who have gay children in relationships could be said to be wounded.  Extreme sensitivity is warranted. 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

For some, yes.  Perhaps even for many, yes.  But certainly not for all.  This bleak outlook is, in very large measure, a matter of perspective and choice.

Therefore what?  We shouldn't cater our message to the many who are struggling?

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

No.  But there are many struggles in life.  This one is a bit unique in that there are social pressures to abandon the Law of Chastity - in whole or in part - because it is or can be difficult for some to obey.  I don't think that works.  

Neither do I, nor did I suggest as much, so I'm not sure why you bring it up.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Homosexual behavior does not result in children/offspring or grandchildren.  It is perhaps that fundamental point that renders it incompatible with the Restored Gospel.

Ok?  Again, I'm not sure why you bring this up as if I would suggest otherwise.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I also disagree with the rest of your characterization.  A gay son or daughter can "look forward to" all most (and even for some, all) "family gatherings."

You have taken what I said out of context.  I said family gatherings with spouse and children.  Big difference!  To suggest otherwise is being insensitive.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Again, Pres. Oaks gets a bad rap.  Not because he is profane or abrasive or bigoted.  He is nothing like that (hat tip to Tacenda).  Instead, he is clear and reasoned and articulate.  He is a good man.

I agree, he is a good man.  I would say great man.  I love and respect President Oaks deeply.  I just don't think he is the best man for this particular message.  That is my personal opinion.  You can disagree if you want.  I am not offended. And honestly, I don't think he would be offended at me if I were to sit down face to face with him and vocalize my concerns and the reasons behind them.  He may not agree with me, but I don't think he would be offended or take it personally.  He might even be grateful for caring enough to say something.  So, I'm not sure why many here are being offended for him.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I disagree with the "over, and over, and over again" characterization.  The Church doesn't fixate on this issue and bring it up every five minutes.  Its critics do.  The Church doesn't attempt to foment anger and resentments and hatreds pertaining to this issue.  Its critics do.

I feel that the church (President Oaks specifically) does fixate on it more than is helpful.  That is entirely subjective, so feel free to disagree.  It doesn't change how I, and many others in the church, feel.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I would invite you to provide some examples from the Church's publications - say within the last ten years - that are not "moderate and compassionate."

"Extreme?"  How so?

You don't disagree with the Church's "extreme prohibition"?

Thanks,

-Smac

You can't have a more extreme position on a behavior than total and complete prohibition.  The other extreme would be absolute permission and acceptance of a behavior.

No, I don't disagree with extreme prohibition.  Do you?

Edited by pogi
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1 minute ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That’s not what he’s talking about. He’s referring to parents allowing gay offspring to bring their gay partners into the home. 

Correct, I should have stated that better to say The Church has never said to not allow you gay children and their partners to live in your home. Thanks for catching that.

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11 minutes ago, Nacho2dope said:

You are absolutely right. I think someone from the outside looking in may say that. They don't have all the information. I have a bother who has a drug addition problem and my parents will not let them live at home. I agree with their approach; however, I am sure someone may say its a jerk move.

I not sure if this was your intent or not, but a comparison between illicit drug use and legal gay relationships is highly problematic.

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3 minutes ago, Nacho2dope said:

Correct, I should have stated that better to say The Church has never said to not allow you gay children and their partners to live in your home. Thanks for catching that.

A person's home is their temple, a sanctuary apart from the world.   A place where the people whose home it is should be able to feel at peace, having everything as they it like as much as possible. Sometimes when the people whose home it is have children, their children somehow get the idea that their parent's home is their home, too.  As if the children should be able to have everything as they like it as much as possible, not realizing they are there only temporarily and it is predominantly their parent's home.  So I suppose some children feel "hurt" when their parents tell them they don't like something they do while they live in their home, not realizing their parents have the right to tell them what they like and don't like in their home because, after all, it is their own home.  Spoiled little brat children, I call them, with the parents partly to blame I suppose for not adequately teaching their children enough about the rules of living in a society where people have the right to tell each other how they feel and what they think even if some people don't like to hear things they do not like to hear.

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23 minutes ago, Ahab said:

So you think it's an extreme position for parents to not want their son or daughter who has a same sex partner to live in the same house with them? 

Visit not live.

23 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I'm assuming these would be parents who think it's not okay for anyone to have same sex partners.  And that it is their home, where they preside and make the rules about what is and is not acceptable.

I think you're being unreasonable about what parents should be able to decide about what goes on in their own home.  It isn't up to their children to dictate how things should be in their parents home.  So if the parents don't want it going on there, it shouldn't be going on there.

I completely agree, it is the parents prerogative. Parents can do whatever they want. I would not characterize such a decision as moderate or compassionate however (using SMAC's words). YMMV.

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13 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I feel Pres. Oaks has caused tons of hurt by being the point man for the church in this regard. And having a grandson who is gay, I wonder if it's hurt him also. 

 

4 hours ago, Maestrophil said:

I have to admit first off, that I have not read the entire post, so if this is already mentioned earlier, please point me to it, and I will educate myself - but has anyone on this thread actually shared actual quotes from Pres. Oaks that have bothered them?  I have listened to his talks in conference, and have not heard anything that I bristled at in terms of sounding not in harmony with gospel teachings. What, specifically are people objecting to?

I am a father of two children that have alternate sexual orientations.  And my experience with the local and global church has not put a wedge between us, even with our acknowledged differences.  They both see the church as tolerant and loving, while still understanding that full activity (including temple worship) requires choosing not to engage in non-heterosexual activity.  I completely understand why my gay daughter no longer desires to be part of the church for this reason, and she understands and respects the church's position on chastity.

@Tacenda and others who are so offended by Elder Oaks, I too like Maestrophil would like to know why you and others feel that Oaks has 'caused so much hurt' and that it is worth vilifying him? From everything I have seen, his most offensive comment seems to be:

Quote

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: At what point does showing that love cross the line into inadvertently endorsing behavior? If the son says, ‘Well, if you love me, can I bring my partner to our home to visit? Can we come for holidays?’ How do you balance that against, for example, concern for other children in the home?’

ELDER OAKS: That’s a decision that needs to be made individually by the person responsible, calling upon the Lord for inspiration. I can imagine that in most circumstances the parents would say, ‘Please don’t do that. Don’t put us into that position.’ Surely if there are children in the home who would be influenced by this example, the answer would likely be that. There would also be other factors that would make that the likely answer.

I can also imagine some circumstances in which it might be possible to say, ‘Yes, come, but don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your “partnership.”

There are so many different circumstances, it’s impossible to give one answer that fits all.

see: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction

It seems to me that Elder Oaks was saying it's okay for parents with children in same-sex relationships to have boundaries. I personally don't like his example of "introduce you to our friends," (and wonder if he were writing his responses instead of speaking if he would have used a different one) but to me the other examples are not terrible. It's okay for a parent to say I disagree with some of your decisions and have the following boundaries. It's okay for the child to like-wise say the same thing to the parent. Ideally those following Christ in this example are seeking God's will to know where/how to set boundaries and also erring on the side of love.

Also, as a bit of context, this particular quote was made in 2006, 9 years before same-sex marriage was made legal. I have seen the church change its stance on how it interacts with those in same-sex relationships, and more specifically marriages, since the US made it legal. I don't think that Elder Oaks would suggest these same boundaries if he were asked today. This is because when someone is married, they are in a different relationship than when they are dating. For example, if my daughter was dating an absolute scumbag (drug addict, unemployed, lazy, never showered, verbally abusive, etc.) I would have act differently towards both this person and in how I expressed my opinion of daughter's relationship than if she were married to the same person. 

So again, I want to ask the question to all those who vilify Elder Oaks, is there more he has said about same-sex marriage that is so offensive or is the above as bad as it gets? And if this is the worst he said, his Elder Oaks worthy of this kind of comment: "Pres. Oaks has caused tons of hurt by being the point man for the church" and other such statements?

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4 hours ago, pogi said:

There is a wound in the church over this issue, make no mistake about that. 

Of that, I am sure.  I see it in my own world all the time - I just don't know that I see any of the brethren unleashing hurtful rhetoric as people seem to accuse them of.

Unless those same people see the Proclamation to the Family as hateful and defending that amounts to hurtful speech - if that is the case, I would argue the issue goes far beyond any individual leader's words and to the core of what it means to be a member of the LDS faith.

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