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The Matthew Gong Letter


pogi

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1 minute ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Visit not live.

Okay, that is different.  So you think it's an extreme position for parents to not want their son or daughter who has a same sex partner to come over to their (the parent's) house for a visit? Do you mean with or without their same sex partner (in sin)?

Maybe they consider that to be something like aiding and abetting... since they know that is wrong.  Have you asked them why not? 

Do the parent's ever go over to their son or daughter's home for a visit?  With or without their sexual partner (in sin) there?  Or to any other place where they can all be together in the same place?

It would be hard for me to have to deal with something like that.  My 2 sons are not perfect but at least they like women as they are supposed to.  And they work on their imperfections, as I do, rather than living in sin as if living in sin is okay.

1 minute ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

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.

What choice do they have other than to show some kind of acceptance for their child's sinful behavior, though?  I imagine things would be different if their child didn't engage in sinful behavior, or tried to repent from their sins when they messed up.

Imagining all of them living happily ever after while the parents know their child is doing something wrong and will not stop or even try to stop must be heart wrenching for the parents, even if the only thing that bothers the child is that their parents do not accept their sinful behavior.

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44 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

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

This is a misrepresentation of my position (if you care). Earlier in the thread I stated the following in direct response to you:

"I think all families should welcome their children’s loving partners into their home with extremely rare exceptions."

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/72393-the-matthew-gong-letter/?do=findComment&comment=1209941844

 

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53 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. 

 

45 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. 

I think you are extrapolating a lot of your opinion into this. I have quoted what Elder Oaks said above. He did not say, "don't allow someone into your home," but in fact said just the opposite, of come into our home but don't stay overnight. 

I agree that not letting a same-sex partner into your home is an extreme position. But I want to set the record straight that this is not what Elder Oaks said.

Also, I still feel that the situation would change in how I react and the boundaries I have with my children and who they date, versus when they are married. I still feel it's important to remember that this quote was off the cuff and was pre-legalization of same-sex marriage.

That said, I am still not a fan of Elder Oaks' boundary example of not introducing your relationship to our friends. I feel it sounds high-falutin to say that. It is kind of a poor boundary example and one that Elder Oaks probably wouldn't make if he were writing out examples instead of speaking impromptu. I am glad I don't have all of my words immortalized on the church website for everyone to critique.

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33 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

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

I see your point - a more apt example would be that we don't allow our non-married heterosexual kids who live with their SO to spend the night in our home in the same bedroom

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5 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

 

I think you are extrapolating a lot of your opinion into this. I have quoted what Elder Oaks said above. He did not say, "don't allow someone into your home," but in fact said just the opposite, of come into our home but don't stay overnight. 

I agree that not letting a same-sex partner into your home is an extreme position. But I want to set the record straight that this is not what Elder Oaks said.

Read it again. It’s exactly what he said. He said people should pray for guidance. Then he outlined two possible positions parents might take to respond to a request  To bring a gay child’s partner into the home. 
 

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.”

This is how he thinks most Latter-day Saints would react. 

5 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

Also, I still feel that the situation would change in how I react and the boundaries I have with my children and who they date, versus when they are married. I still feel it's important to remember that this quote was off the cuff and was pre-legalization of same-sex marriage.

It was not off the cuff. It was for a preplanned interview with church public affairs. I’ve worked with public affairs (not for the church) before and everything gets reviewed. 

5 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

That said, I am still not a fan of Elder Oaks' boundary example of not introducing your relationship to our friends. I feel it sounds high-falutin to say that. It is kind of a poor boundary example and one that Elder Oaks probably wouldn't make if he were writing out examples instead of speaking impromptu. I am glad I don't have all of my words immortalized on the church website for everyone to critique.

He could update or change it at anytime. 

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4 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

I see your point - a more apt example would be that we don't allow our non-married heterosexual kids who live with their SO to spend the night in our home in the same bedroom

Do you allow them to visit your home at all? Again the position Elder Oaks expected most people to take after prayer was not to allow a visiting same sex partner at all. 

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38 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

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

I was trying to make the point that people will judge looking at a situation from the outside not knowing all the facts and I gave a personal example.  I don't think I made that comparison my point was on people making judgement calls. I definitely apologize if you felt I made that comparison. It was simply a personal example. Thanks

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14 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Do you allow them to visit your home at all? Again the position Elder Oaks expected most people to take after prayer was not to allow a visiting same sex partner at all. 

Yes -but reading the quote again, there is nothing there from Pres. Oaks that mandated people to not accept SS couples in their home.  Expecting that many would do it, or even desiring them to is not a mandate.  He also said "That’s a decision that needs to be made individually by the person responsible, calling upon the Lord for inspiration"  Quite a far cry from a mandate to reject people from coming to your home as a blanket rule.

Edited by Maestrophil
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21 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Do you allow them to visit your home at all? Again the position Elder Oaks expected most people to take after prayer was not to allow a visiting same sex partner at all. 

So it sounds to me like he's expects the answer most people will receive in prayer is to not allow a visiting same sex partner.   Which makes sense to me since I would see that person as someone who is encouraging my child to sin. 

What good reason would there be for me to want to visit with such a person, except maybe to tell that person to stop encouraging my child to sin!

So YOU"RE the one encouraging my child to sin!  Stop doing that!  And child, you should stop doing that too!

And then maybe if they agreed to stop we could sit around and have a nice little visit.

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3 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

Yes -but reading the quote again, there is nothing there from Pres. Oaks that mandated people to not accept SS couples in their home.  Expecting that many would do it, or even desiring them to is not a mandate.  He also said "That’s a decision that needs to be made individually by the person responsible, calling upon the Lord for inspiration"  Quite a far cry from a mandate to reject people from coming to your home as a blanket rule.

I agree there is no mandate, but it is nonetheless helpful in understanding how Elder Oaks thinks things should be and illuminating to understand what he means when he talks about loving LGBTQ people for example in his recent address here:

 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/35oaks?lang=eng

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5 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I agree there is no mandate, but it is nonetheless helpful in understanding how Elder Oaks thinks things should be and illuminating to understand what he means when he talks about loving LGBTQ people for example in his recent address here:

 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/35oaks?lang=eng

What's wrong in that talk?  I found it very well done - including this part

Further, we must never persecute those who do not share our beliefs and commitments.20 Regretfully, some persons facing these issues continue to feel marginalized and rejected by some members and leaders in our families, wards, and stakes. We must all strive to be kinder and more civil.

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1 hour ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

 

@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:

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?

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/35oaks?lang=eng

Just when I thought he was going to give it a rest, he starts it right off the bat.

I read on other boards and have saw that this indeed hurt the LGBTQ crowd that are believing members or parents/family that are. Please read through the talk and see why.

Did you see elsewhere on this thread how many times he's brought it up in talks? 42 times compared to in the teens with Pres. Hinckley, I think it was 17. And my favorite, Pres. Eyring is at 0 times.

Words do indeed hurt/harm. I'm on my kindle so it's difficult to c/p. If you want I will find the post. ETA: This church separates families, and puts their gay loved ones in a different kingdom. No other religion does that, of course some stupid religions send them to hell though.

Edited by Tacenda
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7 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

What's wrong in that talk?  I found it very well done - including this part

Further, we must never persecute those who do not share our beliefs and commitments.20 Regretfully, some persons facing these issues continue to feel marginalized and rejected by some members and leaders in our families, wards, and stakes. We must all strive to be kinder and more civil.

Loving a sinner while hating all sin can be a hard thing to do.  Telling a good joke can help some.

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3 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/35oaks?lang=eng

Just when I thought he was going to give it a rest, he starts it right off the bat.

I read on other boards and have saw that this indeed hurt the LGBTQ crowd that are believing members or parents/family that are. Please read through the talk and see why.

Did you see elsewhere on this thread how many times he's brought it up in talks? 42 times compared to in the teens with Pres. Hinckley, I think it was 17. And my favorite, Pres. Eyring is at 0 times.

Words do indeed hurt/harm. I'm on my kindle so it's difficult to c/p. If you want I will find the post.

Do you realize that each time he has given that message it has been to a different audience?

Maybe if the press didn't follow him around like a rock star, publishing every comment he made about something, you would just think something like: Okay, when he goes somewhere to talk in public about this, then he is going to say this....

Because he is nothing if not consistent and he pretty much always says the same things.

How many more times do you want to hear it?  If you've heard him enough on this message you don't need to keep following him around like a groupie.  Just realize he is going to say pretty much the same thing every time, whoever he talks to.

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3 hours ago, pogi said:

We don't need to be reminded of the church's position on LGBTQ behavior any more.

While I agree we need to be careful with delivering the message to not make things worse, I am not sure because we don't  need to be that concerned about the Church's position being clear to members and others, it means we no longer need to have apostles and others teaching what that position is and why.

Given the changing of beliefs held personally by many members, especially younger ones, I think if the Church wants its members to accept the Church's teachings as valid, they need to continue to teach them.  I also think how they choose to do so can affect the acceptance of those teachings.

Edited by Calm
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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

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.  

One difference that apparently leaders saw as important to make, so I don't see it as a "fairly minor one".

Quote

And one that is probably not significant to someone who enters into a same-sex marriage.

Perhaps not, but probably very significant to many of their faithful family members.

(Given the comments on the board over the years and my experience with FairMormon, I think equating apostates with sons of perdition is not that uncommon for one thing.)

Edited by Calm
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52 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Read it again. It’s exactly what he said. He said people should pray for guidance. Then he outlined two possible positions parents might take to respond to a request  To bring a gay child’s partner into the home. 
 

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.”

This is how he thinks most Latter-day Saints would react. 

OK. I see better why you think he is saying a blanket statement of don't visit. When I read this response, I was thinking he was referring to potential different use cases. I can better see what you mean.

 

54 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

It was not off the cuff. It was for a preplanned interview with church public affairs. I’ve worked with public affairs (not for the church) before and everything gets reviewed. 

He could update or change it at anytime. 

Let me ask you, if he updated his quote on the church website, wouldn't it maybe cause a stir from ex-LDS that the church is trying to white-wash their history? What do you think most anti-LDS and LGBT would say if he updated or changed this quote? Honestly, I am curious what your opinion would be if he edited out the visit aspect but kept the spend the night aspect? Would that make it better in your view?

Or instead a better idea that might not be met with hostility from the LGBT community would probably be if Elder Oaks gave a talk in conference. Maybe he could give a talk on the importance of loving those who are different than us, specifically with the LGBT community in mind. He could even use the acronym LGBT during the talk. I bet that this would help those who were offended in the past to better understand what he meant. I'll have to start watching for a conference talk from Elder Oaks on the subject . . . 

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46 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

What's wrong in that talk?  I found it very well done - including this part

Further, we must never persecute those who do not share our beliefs and commitments.20 Regretfully, some persons facing these issues continue to feel marginalized and rejected by some members and leaders in our families, wards, and stakes. We must all strive to be kinder and more civil.

I didn’t say there was anything wrong with the talk. The entire talk is about figuring out how to both love God and love our neighbor. Knowing Oaks views on the subject of a son or daughter’s same sex partner is helpful in interpreting what Oaks means here. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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18 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/35oaks?lang=eng

Just when I thought he was going to give it a rest, he starts it right off the bat.

I read on other boards and have saw that this indeed hurt the LGBTQ crowd that are believing members or parents/family that are. Please read through the talk and see why.

Did you see elsewhere on this thread how many times he's brought it up in talks? 42 times compared to in the teens with Pres. Hinckley, I think it was 17. And my favorite, Pres. Eyring is at 0 times.

Words do indeed hurt/harm. I'm on my kindle so it's difficult to c/p. If you want I will find the post.

Please do indeed tell me what was offensive in this talk.

I don't see anything offensive about this talk if you accept the tenets of the Gospel "that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God" and "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

I really would love it if you laid out all of the awful things that Elder Oaks has said that has so hurt the LGBT community.

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Should I care what Elder Gong's son thinks about anything?

And if his name was Fred Schwartz would anyone care?

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 minute ago, mfbukowski said:

Should I care what Elder Gong's son thinks about anything?

No, not really.  Move along. 

Move along.

But if you do decide to care you might want to define limits for how much you should care.  An 11 page thread devoted to this guy's comments might seem like more than you are willing to put into it.

 

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1 hour ago, Maestrophil said:

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.

I don't see hurtful rhetoric either. 

Let me share with you a portion of an interview with Elder Oaks that might shed light on his approach to the issue:

Quote

 

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: At the outset, can you explain why this whole issue of homosexuality and same-gender marriage is important to the Church?

ELDER OAKS: This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach.

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

 

As you can see, President Oaks is taking a very defensive approach on the issue.  For him, the issue is about defending religious freedoms.  I think he has taken this issue upon himself in a defense lawyer type of way, protecting the church's religious liberty.  He has made it clear that he is not going to be quiet on the issue as critics would wish.  So, while he is not wrong for defending religious freedoms against critics, his approach is not about healing hurting families at all.  What about the struggling and hurting families dealing with these issues directly who are caught in the cross fire between the two-groups?  Who is speaking to/for them?  I don't see much of a voice directed at them.  I see more defense than compassion. I think we need to see more balance there.   

While there is nothing incorrect about preaching that homosexual behavior is sinful, how many times do we need to say it before the message is clear?  At what point does it become insensitive to repeat that message to parents of actively gay children who are desperate for compassion, understanding, and healing?  I am not suggesting that it should never be said, but that we need to consider how and when.

 

 

Edited by pogi
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32 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Did you see elsewhere on this thread how many times he's brought it up in talks? 42 times compared to in the teens with Pres. Hinckley, I think it was 17. And my favorite, Pres. Eyring is at 0 times.

Wasn't that just in regards to how often he was cited in the wiki?  Which he would have no control over....

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/72393-the-matthew-gong-letter/?do=findComment&comment=1209942235

 

Edited by Calm
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3 hours ago, pogi said:

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. 

Not every LGBT member or family member is wounded by Elder Oaks. Some of us find great solace and comfort in his thoughtful and loving remarks. The clarity with which he speaks is needed more than ever in my opinion.

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