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The Matthew Gong Letter


pogi

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6 minutes ago, kllindley said:

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.

I understand that not all hurt in the same way, and I am happy for that.  While I agree Elder Oak's approach is needed, I simply am suggesting a more balanced approach as outlined in my last comment.  

Edited by pogi
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2 minutes ago, pogi said:

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:

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.  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? 

 

 

Maybe it would help if you wrote up a speech that you think he should give.  Seriously.  

I've envisioned saying something about it, from start to finish about 5 minutes.  Shall I practice that here? Probably not, but it would include some comments like this:  All of us should love each other and want only what is the best for each of us. There is nothing wrong with a man loving another man, or a woman loving another woman. But loving someone does not mean we should want to have sexual relations with them, and sometimes it means that we shouldn't.  The best future for all of us includes having a spouse to share the best of everything with, someone to have a home with, and have children with, while helping our children to raise their own families with both a father and a mother.  People of the same sex can not have their own children together, but they can share a lot of good things with each other as friends.  It is actually good to see a man who loves another man, and a woman who loves another woman, but sexual relations should be reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman. People of the same sex should not marry but may love and continue to love each other as friends.

I'd throw some more stuff in there too but that would be the gist of it.  What I don't hear much about is how it is good for people of the same sex to love each other, and I would like to hear more of that.  I think it would help to prevent people from feeling like there is something wrong with them when they consider another person of the same sex to be sexually attractive.  Each of us is, in our own way, and there is nothing wrong with realizing that fact.  We just need to realize what we need to have eternal joy, which is all about family and eternal marriage.

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16 minutes ago, pogi said:

I understand that not all hurt in the same way, and I am happy for that.  While I agree Elder Oak's approach is needed, I simply am suggesting a more balanced approach as outlined in my last comment.  

Like Elder Holland and Elder Anderson have addressed it just recently?

ETA: I personally find it funny, or maybe sad, that Elder Oaks approach and scene as harsh or strident. For someone who grew up reading as a primary source of information on homosexuality in the church "The Miracle of Forgiveness," it was Elder Oaks' 1995 talk that was the most helpful and compassionate approach that I could have imagined. Maybe the reality is that I am deeply indebted to his clarity and that he benefits from the great degree of goodwill generated through that early interaction.

Edited by kllindley
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34 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

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. 

👍

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22 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

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.

For the record I don’t see it as a blanket statement. I think in Elder Oak’s view, the majority of Latter-day Saints should not let a son or daughter’s same sexed partner into their home. Especially if there are minors still living at home. I think he also sees it as acceptable to have them visit as long as there are restrictions in place preventing over-night stays, and no public appearances which might imply endorsement of or normalize same sex behavior. He does not believe these to be the only acceptable paths, but he failed to mention the upper bound of how much acceptance is acceptable, so we are forced to speculate. 

22 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

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?
 

It could be updated with a footnote that marks the change. Easy-peasie. I don’t think it matters what nay-sayers would say. Do what is right let the consequence follow. I for one would be estatic. 

22 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

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?

I don’t care about overnight rules, though I don’t see the point personally. The overall tone in that section would need to be improved (removing “don’t expect us to introduce you to our friends or deal with you in public”). The tone overall is just offensive and if my parents ever used it to refer to my spouse we would be done. 

22 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

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 . . . 

He indeed gave such a talk and it is important to realize when he says “love” he means don’t let them into your homes (in most circumstances).  Don’t appear with them in public (in most circumstances). Etc. Reread the talk with that in mind. 

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Just now, SeekingUnderstanding said:

For the record I don’t see it as a blanket statement. I think in Elder Oak’s view, the majority of Latter-day Saints should not let a son or daughter’s same sexed partner into their home. Especially if there are minors still living at home. I think he also sees it as acceptable to have them visit as long as there are restrictions in place preventing over-night stays, and no public appearances which might imply endorsement of or normalize same sex behavior. He does not believe these to be the only acceptable paths, but he failed to mention the upper bound of how much acceptance is acceptable, so we are forced to speculate. 

It could be updated with a footnote that marks the change. Easy-peasie. I don’t think it matters what nay-sayers would say. Do what is right let the consequence follow. I for one would be estatic. 

I don’t care about overnight rules, though I don’t see the point personally. The overall tone in that section would need to be improved (removing “don’t expect us to introduce you to our friends or deal with you in public”). The tone overall is just offensive and if my parents ever used it to refer to my spouse we would be done. 

He indeed gave such a talk and it is important to realize when he says “love” he means don’t let them into your homes (in most circumstances).  Don’t appear with them in public (in most circumstances). Etc. Reread the talk with that in mind. 

Do you think there is any context to be gained from the fact that his answer in that interview was long before same sex marriage was legalized?

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28 minutes ago, pogi said:

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:

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.

 

 

I can see how things may be perceived that way.  But again, as a parent of children with alternate sexual orientations (one gay and one pansexual) I have not felt that hurt from the brethren - I have felt equal portions tolerance and reminder of the value of eternal families and marriage between man and woman.  The hurt we/I feel stems from the very fact that my kids orient differently than the church/gospel allows.   Leaders can speak nice words of tolerance all day long (and they should), but it won't change the fact that my kids and I know that practicing their orientation sexually is at odds (in the eyes of the church) with the very will of God.  That is the crux of the matter.  

I can't help but think that so many who complain about the hurt won't be happy until the GAs announce that God now loves and allows sex within committed gay relationships and it is part of His eternal plan.  I know that is not all, but I feel if we are being honest, that is the real problem many have.  And I don't see that changing ever, as I believe God does desire marriage to be a heterosexual union.  Now of course - I could be wrong - heck, we all could - but within the framework of all that has happened in the LDS faith tradition, I see chastity staying the way it has.

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3 minutes ago, kllindley said:

Do you think there is any context to be gained from the fact that his answer in that interview was long before same sex marriage was legalized?

I don’t see how, but he is free to update it or retract it. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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6 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

He indeed gave such a talk and it is important to realize when he says “love” he means don’t let them into your homes (in most circumstances).  Don’t appear with them in public (in most circumstances). Etc. Reread the talk with that in mind. 

BIG stretch there IMO. 

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2 minutes ago, kllindley said:

Do you think there is any context to be gained from the fact that his answer in that interview was long before same sex marriage was legalized?

Has the Church or rather leadership ever expressed the idea that same sex marriage is in less sinful position than fornication (homosexual or heterosexual)?

I haven't gotten that impression and see it as relatively easy for people to interpret the previous apostasy policy as indicating it was worse, even though I saw it as a different category issue, not which sin is worse...rejection of doctrine rather than chastity issue).

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1 minute ago, Calm said:

Has the Church or rather leadership ever expressed the idea that same sex marriage is in less sinful position than fornication (homosexual or heterosexual)?

No. My sense of the context has nothing to do with the severity of the Sim, and more to do with the fact that that interview was given over 10 years ago. I'm sure glad that I don't hold the same views and see things exactly the same way as I did 10 years ago. especially given the fact that there is a significant change in the social context around same sex relationships over the last 10 years, I do not see it as reasonable to view his current statements with suspicion, assuming he sees things exactly the same way as he did 12 years ago.

1 minute ago, Calm said:

I haven't gotten that impression and see it as relatively easy for people to interpret the previous apostasy policy as indicating it was worse, even though I saw it as a different category issue, not which sin is worse...rejection of doctrine rather than chastity issue).

I also saw it as a rejection of doctrine rather than a Chastity issue. 

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1 minute ago, kllindley said:

My sense of the context has nothing to do with the severity of the Sim, and more to do with the fact that that interview was given over 10 years ago

I was thinking the same thing earlier, wondering if Pres. Oaks would respond in the same way now.

At this point though, it is as far as I know the only resource of its type.  I think it would be helpful if he had changed his views, that a new interview replace it or this one be removed as they have done at times with other out of date talks and articles, especially given it is a Newsroom article which is intended to inform the press and others about the Church.  I can understand why people assume this is a valid representation of his views.

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11 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

He indeed gave such a talk and it is important to realize when he says “love” he means don’t let them into your homes (in most circumstances).  Don’t appear with them in public (in most circumstances). Etc. Reread the talk with that in mind. 

I did indeed re-read the talk with that in mind and honestly I didn't see any of what you are referring to. Instead, I read statements like this:

Quote

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 wonder if this talk was his effort to show that he doesn't have the attitude that you and other ascribe to him. You mentioned appending a footnote to his 2006 interview - I would love to see the footnote contain a reference to a statement like this saying that since Same-Sex Marriage is now the law of the land, we should ensure we do not persecute those with different beliefs and should strive to be as kind and civil as possible to our families and friends who are in these relationships.

 

@SeekingUnderstanding - What did you find in this talk that makes you feel that "when he says “love” he means don’t let them into your homes?"

Also, I will ask you the same thing I asked @Tacenda - other than this single quote from the 2006 interview, can you point to anything that Elder Oaks has said that is deeply offensive or hurtful to the LGBT community? (that is 'worse than' the "Proclamation on the Family" as lots of LGBT people seem to feel that this is deeply offensive and hurtful)

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11 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

wonder if this talk was his effort to show that he doesn't have the attitude that you and other ascribe to him. You mentioned appending a footnote to his 2006 interview - I would love to see the footnote contain a reference to a statement like this saying that since Same-Sex Marriage is now the law of the land, we should ensure we do not persecute those with different beliefs and should strive to be as kind and civil as possible to our families and friends who are in these relationships.

I think it would help if he gave what he currently sees as specific examples of how members might treat family members with same sex partners as he did in the interview ten years ago.

Does anyone know of any such more recent examples?

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

Maybe it would help if you wrote up a speech that you think he should give.  Seriously.  

A few quick thoughts:

"To those who struggle with same sex attraction or identify as gay but want to remain faithful in the church (or not), we see you.  We hear you.  We love you.  We know that it can be difficult to live in such a family-centric church and not be blessed with the opportunity to share in the blessings of a central family in morality as you see others around you enjoy.  The pain and fear of romantic loneliness is a heavy burden felt by many.  Every Sunday you come to church and hear messages about how one of the central purposes of mortal life is to raise a family.  That such an experience teaches us about eternal family dynamics and prepares us to be like our Heavenly Father.  Some who are burdened with a single life may question their purpose in life and feel like they don't fit into the plan like others might.    We know it may cause anxiety and despair knowing that the only revealed path to eternal happiness is contrary to your innermost feeling and sexual identity right now.    

To believing parents of those who are actively gay.  God bless you.  You have the deepest love and concern for your son/daughter as only a parent can.  We know that you want the best for them and desire them to share in the same blessings that you enjoy in mortality.  We understand the pain, anxiety, and desperation that parents can feel when a child wanders from the covenant path that you know provides  happiness and safety.  We know that you wonder what your family unit may look like in eternity.  How will your relationship change? What dynamics might exist, etc.   

These are challenging and heavy burdens to carry that don't have easy answers.  As you question your leaders for guidance, answers, and spiritual comfort you will no doubt hear the mantra "trust in the Lord".   It might feel like a let down to hear it so often - like a cop-out answer that doesn't provide you with the immediate comfort and direction you are striving for.  But let me assure you that God is trustworthy! Please, please don't take my word for it.  Above all else, turn to the Lord in your heart as you pray.  Go to your holy of holies in secret and develop a deep and intimate relationship with Him.  He will not let you down.  I can't provide the spiritual comfort that you seek.  He can.  Please turn to Him.  Know Him.  Love Him.  He is worthy of your love, please let Him prove it to you."  And above all else, please know, and never forget, that you are, and always will be worthy of His love.  No matter what you do, or what happens to you, you will always be of "great worth in the sight of God."

I am not saying that we never hear these types of messages, but I think there is an imbalance and there is a critical need right now for more of it.

Edited by pogi
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12 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

I did indeed re-read the talk with that in mind and honestly I didn't see any of what you are referring to. Instead, I read statements like this:

I wonder if this talk was his effort to show that he doesn't have the attitude that you and other ascribe to him. You mentioned appending a footnote to his 2006 interview - I would love to see the footnote contain a reference to a statement like this saying that since Same-Sex Marriage is now the law of the land, we should ensure we do not persecute those with different beliefs and should strive to be as kind and civil as possible to our families and friends who are in these relationships.

 

@SeekingUnderstanding - What did you find in this talk that makes you feel that "when he says “love” he means don’t let them into your homes?"

I mean that Elder Oaks thinks telling your gay child to leave his partner at the door (obviously in different words) is completely consistent with love. When he says don’t marginalize someone that doesn’t mean you need to appear in public situations with them as a couple. The whole talk is about balance the first commandment with the second. In striking this balance, Elder Oaks thinks most people should make sure they set strict boundaries with their gay children and their partners. 

12 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

Also, I will ask you the same thing I asked @Tacenda - other than this single quote from the 2006 interview, can you point to anything that Elder Oaks has said that is deeply offensive or hurtful to the LGBT community? (that is 'worse than' the "Proclamation on the Family" as lots of LGBT people seem to feel that this is deeply offensive and hurtful)

I decline to get involved in this. No time or desire. 

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3 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I mean that Elder Oaks thinks telling your gay child to leave his partner at the door (obviously in different words) is completely consistent with love.

Try using the words you think HE would use.  Obviously you're not portraying his comments in a very good light.

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8 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I’d say it’s the only way to do a faithful reading. If he’s changed his mind, it’s not like he doesn’t have a way to let us know. 

To take something someone said years ago in a certain context and then color every future word they say with that context is inauthentic and inaccurate.  First off, as I mentioned already, he NEVER said that the way to love a gay person was to not allow them in your home. And he definitely did not admonish other members to do so - as I already quoted from the same talk you referenced, he said that each person should follow the spirit as to their particular circumstances and what they require.  

 

I feel it is very disingenuous to try and force the issue as I feel you are doing by continually referring back to a comment out of full context from 2006 as the Rosetta Stone for all af Pres. Oaks future comments.

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12 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

I feel it is very disingenuous to try and force the issue as I feel you are doing by continually referring back to a comment out of full context from 2006 as the Rosetta Stone for all af Pres. Oaks future comments.

It is an official newsroom article, a site whose mission is to provide accurate info to press and others.  Obsolete newsroom articles have been removed in the past as I have gone looking for older announcements and found them gone (this was years ago and it is possible the policy has changed, but I am not aware of any announcement cautioning press to not use older articles as references).

The current topic page on the Newsroom site about Same Sex Attraction quickly quotes and links to the 2006 interview (second paragraph).  In additional resources, they list the interview.

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/same-sex-attraction

Edited by Calm
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18 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I’d say it’s the only way to do a faithful reading. If he’s changed his mind, it’s not like he doesn’t have a way to let us know. 

Sure . . . maybe he could give a conference talk and say something like:

Quote

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.

If he would only give a talk like this then everyone who has been bad mouthing him for the last decade would realize what he actually believes and stop.

Or not.

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Anonymous Mormon said:

Also, I will ask you the same thing I asked @Tacenda - other than this single quote from the 2006 interview, can you point to anything that Elder Oaks has said that is deeply offensive or hurtful to the LGBT community? (that is 'worse than' the "Proclamation on the Family" as lots of LGBT people seem to feel that this is deeply offensive and hurtful)

 

23 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I decline to get involved in this. No time or desire. 

The fact that it would take you a lot of time to dig up any additional quotes from Elder Oaks in response to my question above says volumes about how offensive Elder Oaks truly is.

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6 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

 

The fact that it would take you a lot of time to dig up any additional quotes from Elder Oaks in response to my question above says volumes about how offensive Elder Oaks truly is.

If you read my posts at all you would no where find the words “offensive” or “hurtful”. I do find the attitude that Elder Oaks expresses in this interview morally repugnant.

It seems that some faithful posters here can’t decide if there is nothing wrong with the comments or if it is extremely disingenuous to read his current statements in light of his past statements. 
 

I have no desire to go further than that in this thread. Last I checked participation here was voluntary?

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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7 minutes ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

Sure . . . maybe he could give a conference talk and say something like:

If he would only give a talk like this then everyone who has been bad mouthing him for the last decade would realize what he actually believes and stop.

Or not.

Did he give specific examples of how we should be kinder?

I believe he believed in 2006 that his examples were kind and compassionate.  If so, then his recent comment does not invalidate his previous one.

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