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The Matthew Gong Letter


pogi

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13 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.

Are you saying his past comments marginalize, reject or persecute LBGT people? Is that your position? Otherwise I can’t figure out what relevance that paragraph has for this discussion. If lease explain why you find it relevant. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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12 minutes ago, Calm said:

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

Wow.  Now you are really straining IMO.  

First - The small quote in the newsroom article does not bring up anything about he comments you are referring to.  When you write an article and quote from another source, it is good journalistic practice to reference the original, as has been done - this does not imply that the entire interview linked to is meant to support the newsroom article.  Anyone with a cursory knowledge of writing knows this.

 

Second - back to the original 'offending' line - The reading here is still a BIG stretch to find that Pres Oaks is stating that members should react the way he said.  He said he 'imagines' that in 'most circumstances' parents would say "please don't do that."  His 'imagining something does not mean anything other than this man is using his imagination - he could be entirely wrong, he is not saying 'I hope most members would say this.'  He also imagines other circumstances - so which one is his 'right' imagination?  And then he ends by saying There is no one-fits-all answer.  Sounds pretty open-ended to me - and that is the most villainous comment from Pres. Oaks?  Not much of a dust-up IMO

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.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

 

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. 

both are true for me

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3 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

First - The small quote in the newsroom article does not bring up anything about he comments you are referring to.  When you write an article and quote from another source, it is good journalistic practice to reference the original, as has been done - this does not imply that the entire interview linked to is meant to support the newsroom article.  Anyone with a cursory knowledge of writing knows this.

 

It is listed as an additional resource as well.

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28 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

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.

Correct. Hopefully I didn’t say he did. It is clear to me that Elder Oaks thinks we should love LBGT people. He thinks we shouldn’t make them feel rejected or marginalized. Further, however, telling a gay child to leave his partner at home when visiting is fully constant with this approach in Oaks view. Additionally telling a gay child 

“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.””


can be done in love without reaction in Oaks view. I for one think it’s worth pointing that out. Again, this isn’t some gotcha question from years ago. This is to my knowledge the only detailed answer to the question the church has published and it is still featured on its website. Given it’s a public affairs piece, Oaks would have had a chance to review and correct any misunderstandings. He still does. 

28 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

 

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.  
 

Why give the example at all then? Why put in terms like “surely” and “most”? 

28 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.

I’m having real trouble with this. Are you saying Oaks disagrees with his coast comments? How on earth did you reach this conclusion?

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8 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

both are true for me

Then why is it problematic to understand his current remarks in light of his previous expressed views on the topic. You act as if I’m committing some great offense here. I’m just trying to understand him. 

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For those who want to discuss multiple conference talks, there is this database....not sure if you can search by speaker, but it could give who discussed homosexuality, same sex, etc in recent years.

https://www.lds-general-conference.org/

If someone gives me a time period, I might later do a survey myself, but I don't want to do 25 years and then find out someone felt only the last ten should count or the reverse.

hmmm...may not work, I am searching on homosexuality, homosexual, and same sex and getting no hits above 2000.

And trying to do a search on one speaker by using this format (Oaks: homosexual) isn't working either, possibly because it doesn't allow italics on my tech.

Here are other possible options for searching:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/quick-tip-finding-older-general-conference-talks?lang=eng

Edited by Calm
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There is a face to face event with Elder Gong in a few days.  It will be interesting to see if he talks about this letter at all, probably not given the topic:

Quote

On November 17, 2019, Elder Gerrit W. Gong will participate in a Face to Face event for all children and youth (ages 7–18), parents, and leaders. He will be joined by Sister Joy D. Jones, Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, and Brother Stephen W. Owen.  

The event will focus on the upcoming Children and Youth effort, which will begin in January of 2020. The guests will answer questions about the effort from children and youth from around the world. If you would like to submit a question, you can do so below. 

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/broadcasts/face-to-face/?lang=eng

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Correct. Hopefully I didn’t say he did. It is clear to me that Elder Oaks thinks we should love LBGT people. He thinks we shouldn’t make them feel rejected or marginalized. Further, however, telling a gay child to leave his partner at home when visiting is fully constant with this approach in Oaks view. Additionally telling a gay child 

“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.””


can be done in love without reaction in Oaks view. I for one think it’s worth pointing that out. Again, this isn’t some gotcha question from years ago. This is to my knowledge the only detailed answer to the question the church has published and it is still featured on its website. Given it’s a public affairs piece, Oaks would have had a chance to review and correct any misunderstandings. He still does. 

Why give the example at all then? Why put in terms like “surely” and “most”? 

I’m having real trouble with this. Are you saying Oaks disagrees with his coast comments? How on earth did you reach this conclusion?

I'll back up, as it seems we might be talking past one another - because my response is also geared towards Calms comments.

If the point being made is that Oaks is a bit 'old school' and traditional in his personal approach or understanding of LGBTQ issues - then I can agree with that whole heartedly.

If the point being made is that Pres. Oaks comments are advising, encouraging, or condoning mistreatment of LGBTQ people, or that his opinion or imagining of what 'most' parents would do somehow means he thinks that is the way we should treat gay people - that is where I see a failure to draw a definitive link.  The original assertion that I was addressing is that Pres. Oaks frequently makes hurtful, and even morally repugnant comments about LGBTQ.  I don't see that as defensible,

Any other interpretation of my comments go beyond my intended mark.  🙂

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

For those who want to discuss multiple conference talks, there is this database....not sure if you can search by speaker, but it could give who discussed homosexuality, same sex, etc in recent years.

https://www.lds-general-conference.org/

If someone gives me a time period, I might later do a survey myself, but I don't want to do 25 years and then find out someone felt only the last ten should count or the reverse.

hmmm...may not work, I am searching on homosexuality, homosexual, and same sex and getting no hits above 2000.

And trying to do a search on one speaker by using this format (Oaks: homosexual) isn't working either, possibly because it doesn't allow italics on my tech.

Here are other possible options for searching:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/quick-tip-finding-older-general-conference-talks?lang=eng

Do you really believe there is even the remotest likelihood that more than 50 percent of the general conference talks given by President/Elder Oaks have focused on gay issues in the Church, Pogi's initial assertion?

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27 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Do you really believe there is even the remotest likelihood that more than 50 percent of the general conference talks given by President/Elder Oaks have focused on gay issues in the Church, Pogi's initial assertion?

Not seeing how me posting links to search functions for conference talks implies that.

I posted the info for those who are making the claims so they can demonstrate accuracy.

Edited by Calm
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5 hours 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 I were home where my laptop is, I could share some. Here's one..https://kutv.com/news/local/mothers-of-lgbtq-children-say-remarks-at-lds-general-conference-are-harmful-rhetoric

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7 hours ago, Calm said:

For those who want to discuss multiple conference talks, there is this database....not sure if you can search by speaker, but it could give who discussed homosexuality, same sex, etc in recent years.

https://www.lds-general-conference.org/

If someone gives me a time period, I might later do a survey myself, but I don't want to do 25 years and then find out someone felt only the last ten should count or the reverse.

hmmm...may not work, I am searching on homosexuality, homosexual, and same sex and getting no hits above 2000.

And trying to do a search on one speaker by using this format (Oaks: homosexual) isn't working either, possibly because it doesn't allow italics on my tech.

Here are other possible options for searching:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/quick-tip-finding-older-general-conference-talks?lang=eng

I wasn't quite sleepy enough for bed, so I took some time and examined each of the general conference talks given by Dallin H. Oaks starting in April 2010 and ending with the most recent conference this past October. I didn't just check titles; I scanned each talk individually and manually (not employing a search engine or other form of digital assistance). 

In that time period, he gave 20 talks: two per year from 2010 to 2017 inclusive, and then four per year in 2018 and 2019, while he has been a member of the First Presidency. 

Of those 20 talks, gay issues came up in five of them: October 2013, October 2014, October 2017, October 2018 and most recently in October 2019. 

Pogi's initial claim was that the "majority" (which would have to be more than 50 percent) of his talks "focus on" LGBTQ issues as they pertain to the Church. In truth, only a couple of the talks I compiled in the above list could truly be said to focus on those issues as opposed to touching on them peripherally. For example, his October 2017 address, "the Plan and the Proclamation" was on the Plan of Salvation and the Church's family proclamation, but it dealt peripherally with gender and same-sex marriage. Similarly, his October 2014 talk, "Loving Others and Living with Differences" touched peripherally on the matter of Church members being branded as bigots or fanatics because of the Church's position on marriage. But I didn't want to be accused of undercounting,, so if gay issues got even a mention, I included the talk in my tally. 

So, by my calculation, of the 20 talks given by Elder/President Oaks in the 2010 decade, only five -- or 25 percent -- have included even a mention of gay issues, much less "focused" on them, as Pogi claimed. As I already knew intuitively, that's far short of the "majority" (more than 50 percent) that Pogi initially claimed.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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5 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I wasn't quite sleepy enough for bed, so I took some time and examined each of the general conference talks given by Dallin H. Oaks starting in April 2010 and ending with the most recent conference this past October. I didn't just check titles; I scanned each talk individually and manually (not employing a search engine or other form of digital assistance). 

In that time period, he gave 20 talks: two per year from 2010 to 2017 inclusive, and then four per year in 2018 and 2019, while he has been a member of the First Presidency. 

Of those 20 talks, gay issues came up in five of them: October 2013, October 2014, October 2017, October 2018 and most recently in October 2019. 

Pogi's initial claim was that the "majority" (which would have to be more than 50 percent) of his talks "focus on" LGBTQ issues as they pertain to the Church. In truth, only a couple of the talks I compiled in the above list could truly be said to focus on those issues as opposed to touching on them peripherally. For example, his October 2017 address, "the Plan and the Proclamation" was on the Plan of Salvation and the Church's family proclamation, but it dealt peripherally with gender and same-sex marriage. Similarly, his October 2014 talk, "Loving Others and Living with Differences" touched peripherally on the matter of Church members being branded as bigots or fanatics because of the Church's position on marriage. But I didn't want to be accused of undercounting,, so if gay issues got even a mention, I included the talk in my tally. 

So, by my calculation, of the 20 talks given by Elder/President Oaks in the 2010 decade, only five -- or 25 percent -- have included even a mention of gay issues, much less "focused" on them, as Pogi claimed. As I already knew intuitively, that's far short of the "majority" (more than 50 percent) that Pogi initially claimed.

Ummmm... I thought we had moved beyond this?

Good job, you have proven that I really was using hyperbole and not being literal as we have both already acknowledged.  You have  also effectively demonstrated his fixation on the subject for me.  From 2010 to now, there were only two years he didn’t mention it.  That is nearly every year! 1/4 of his talks!  Can you show me any other apostle who has fixated on issues surrounding a group of sinners as much as President Oaks has on the LGBT issues (porn, adultery, lust, word of wisdom, gambling, etc.) - speaking about it nearly every year?  No wonder my mother in law was so easily able to predict the message of his talk.  I highly doubt she could have so easily predicted any other apostles topic.

I understand why he has fixated on it - To him, this is a battle against critics who are seeking to take away our religious freedom.  I get it, that is important to him, but again I think that many families dealing with these issues are getting caught in the cross fire without receiving the type of attention they desperately need. I understand not all families take issue with his approach.

Edited by pogi
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6 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I wasn't quite sleepy enough for bed, so I took some time and examined each of the general conference talks given by Dallin H. Oaks starting in April 2010 and ending with the most recent conference this past October. I didn't just check titles; I scanned each talk individually and manually (not employing a search engine or other form of digital assistance). 

In that time period, he gave 20 talks: two per year from 2010 to 2017 inclusive, and then four per year in 2018 and 2019, while he has been a member of the First Presidency. 

Of those 20 talks, gay issues came up in five of them: October 2013, October 2014, October 2017, October 2018 and most recently in October 2019. 

Pogi's initial claim was that the "majority" (which would have to be more than 50 percent) of his talks "focus on" LGBTQ issues as they pertain to the Church. In truth, only a couple of the talks I compiled in the above list could truly be said to focus on those issues as opposed to touching on them peripherally. For example, his October 2017 address, "the Plan and the Proclamation" was on the Plan of Salvation and the Church's family proclamation, but it dealt peripherally with gender and same-sex marriage. Similarly, his October 2014 talk, "Loving Others and Living with Differences" touched peripherally on the matter of Church members being branded as bigots or fanatics because of the Church's position on marriage. But I didn't want to be accused of undercounting,, so if gay issues got even a mention, I included the talk in my tally. 

So, by my calculation, of the 20 talks given by Elder/President Oaks in the 2010 decade, only five -- or 25 percent -- have included even a mention of gay issues, much less "focused" on them, as Pogi claimed. As I already knew intuitively, that's far short of the "majority" (more than 50 percent) that Pogi initially claimed.

 

45 minutes ago, pogi said:

Ummmm... I thought we had moved beyond this?

Good job, you have proven that I really was using hyperbole and not being literal as we have both already acknowledged.  You have  also effectively demonstrated his fixation on the subject for me.  From 2010 to now, there were only two years he didn’t mention it.  That is nearly every year! 1/4 of his talks!  Can you show me any other apostle who has fixated on issues surrounding a group of sinners as much as President Oaks has on the LGBT issues - speaking about it nearly every year?  No wonder my mother in law was so easily able to predict the message of his talk.  I highly doubt she could have so easily predicted any other apostles topic.

FWIW I used Calm’s search link on the terms “same-sex” and “same-gender”. Non exhaustive I realize. 12 of 22 references since 2010 were from President Oak’s talks. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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35 minutes ago, pogi said:

Good job, you have proven that I really was using hyperbole and not being literal as we have both already acknowledged.  You have  also effectively demonstrated his fixation on the subject for me.  From 2010 to now, there were only two years he didn’t mention it.  That is nearly every year! 1/4 of his talks!  Can you show me any other apostle who has fixated on issues surrounding a group of sinners as much as President Oaks has on the LGBT issues (porn, adultery, lust, word of wisdom, gambling, etc.) - speaking about it nearly every year?  No wonder my mother in law was so easily able to predict the message of his talk.  I highly doubt she could have so easily predicted any other apostles topic.

I think we all agree he speaks on it the most out of all the general authorities. I do not think he alone has such an unusual fixation on the topic. Part of me wonders if he may have been formally or informally assigned to be the punching bag in the topic by the Prophet. He is by far one of the most careful speakers (regardless of his “slip up” when he said homosexuality is a life style) and would make sense if he was asked to tackle such a topic. His views on homosexuality are not any different than the other authorities.

And I think it is important for someone to tackle it. With all that is going on, particularly in families where members are coming out, we are becoming not just tolerant, but encouraging homosexual activity for those that are homosexual. If God is ok with that, then it isn’t a big deal and no one needs to talk about it. But if homosexual acts are as gross of a sin as the prophets make it sound, then a member of the presidency ought to speak on it in order to keep the members in a correct state of mind on the topic.

We ought to have tolerance, support, defend, advocate for equality, and have charity for them. But don’t become an advocate for “changing” revealed truth on it. They deserve all the respect, love and equality we do, but that doesn’t change the fact that an active homosexual is breaking commandments and Covenants (If any were made)

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16 hours ago, pogi said:

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. 

Okay.  I see what your saying.  The challenge, though, is that we are being accused of not being "sensitive" for simply teaching the Law of Chastity, and by resisting - even using the most moderate of terms - societal shifts regarding same-sex behavior and same-sex marriage.

16 hours ago, pogi said:
Quote

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?

Therefore perhaps some introspection is in order.  Perhaps some balancing of perspectives is in order.  Perhaps some moderation of rhetoric is appropriate.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

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

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

You seemed to have been crafting a narrative that I have seen many times before.  That narrative, in essence, says that the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable, and that the only way to find happiness is to turn away from the Law of Chastity.  That narrative is being used as a wedge between gay Latter-day Saints and their community.

It looked like you were advancing that narrative, or sympathizing with it.

16 hours ago, pogi said:
Quote

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.

Here is the context of your statement: "For them {LGBT members}, in their current perspective, the mortal and eternal outlook is bleak."

And this: "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..."

Again, you seemed to be characterizing the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable.

Nobody has suggested that gay family members cannot gather with family on holidays.

16 hours ago, pogi said:
Quote

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.

Again, Pres. Oaks is raked across the coals much less for the actual substance of what he has said, and much more because he is a convenient targeted by critics and dissidents.

Also, I can't help but wonder if Pres. Oaks' remarks are vital on this point.  Many folks seem to harbor some expectation that the Church will incrementally dismantle the Law of Chastity relative to same-sex behavior and same-sex marriage.  If nothing else, Pres. Oaks' treatment of this issue provides some real clarity in the face of this wishful thinking.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

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. 

I agree.  You seem to be treating him with respect.  I appreciate that.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

He might even be grateful for caring enough to say something.  So, I'm not sure why many here are being offended for him.

I'm not.  Again, I understood your comments as advancing what I think is a misleading narrative (that the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable).

16 hours ago, pogi said:

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. 

Yes, I think I will disagree.  Pres. Oaks is privy to all sorts of information that you and I are not.  And again, given his legal background, and the legal dimension associated with the emergence of same-sex marriage and societal pressures regarding same-sex behavior generally, his attention to this issue (which I would not characterize as "fixation") is understandable.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

It doesn't change how I, and many others in the church, feel.

That's subjectivity for you.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

You can't have a more extreme position on a behavior than total and complete prohibition. 

So then you similarly characterize the Church's prohibition on sex outside of marriage as "extreme"?  Or are you saying that some fornication/adultery is acceptable?

What about the Church's teachings against pornography?  Is that "extreme?"  Or are you saying that some use of pornography is acceptable?

What about the Church's teachings about the Word of Wisdom, and the "total and complete prohibition" of, say, recreational use of drugs?  Is this "extreme"?

I'm realy not understanding your position here.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

The other extreme would be absolute permission and acceptance of a behavior.

There are all sorts of "total and complete prohibition{s}" that not "extreme" by any reasonable use of the word.  Fornication, adultery, murder, rape, and many, many more.

The controversy, which is of fairly recent vintage, is that same-sex behavior is "total{ly} and complete{ly} prohibit{ed}."  Lots of people in and out of the Church really, really want that prohibition removed.  This is, I think, wishful thinking.  It just won't happen.  One of the clearest indicators of that is . . . the reasoned and articulate statements of General Authorities, including that of Pres. Oaks.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

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

I disagree that the Church's teachings are "extreme."  They are, instead, reasoned and reasonable.

Thanks,

-Smac

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19 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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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.

It was responsive to the innovation that is same-sex marriage.  

19 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Just wondering how that fit into moderation and compassion. 

See here:

Quote

“We recognize that same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States and some other countries and that people have the right, if they choose, to enter into those, and we understand that. But that is not a right that exists in the Church. That’s the clarification.”

Further, he said, in the United States and in other countries around the world there needed to be some distinction between “what may be legal and what may be the law of the Church and the law of the Lord.”

“It’s a matter of being clear; it’s a matter of understanding right and wrong; it’s a matter of a firm policy that doesn’t allow for question or doubt,” Elder Christofferson explained. “We think it’s possible and mandatory, incumbent upon us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, to yield no ground in the matter of love and sympathy and help and brotherhood and serving in doing all we can for anybody; at the same time maintaining the standards He maintained.

“That was the Savior’s pattern. He always was firm in what was right and wrong. He never excused or winked at sin. He never redefined it. He never changed His mind. It was what it was and is what it is and that’s where we are, but His compassion, of course, was unexcelled and His desire and willingness and proactive efforts to minister, to heal, to bless, to lift, and to bring people toward the path that leads to happiness never ceased.”

Elder Christofferson said Church leaders will not yield on their efforts to help all people find what brings happiness, “but we know sin does not.”

“There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ,” he said.

Speaking not only as an Apostle, but also as a husband, father, and grandfather, Elder Christofferson said the new policy originates out of compassion. “It originates from a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years. … We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different.”

For example, Elder Christofferson explained that a baby blessing in the Church places a child’s name on the records of the Church and triggers many things—including the assignment of home and visiting teachers and the expectation that the child will attend Primary and other Church-sponsored activities. “That is likely not going to be an appropriate thing in the home setting, in the family setting, where they’re living as children where their parents are a same-sex couple.”

After the child reaches maturity, he or she can make an informed and conscious decision about their own Church membership, said Elder Christofferson. “Nothing is lost to them in the end if that’s the direction they want to go. In the meantime, they’re not placed in a position where there will be difficulties, challenges, conflicts that can injure their development in very tender years.”

So the policy was clarifying and informative in a number of ways:

  • Welfare of children ("We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different.");
  • Triggering events stemming from baby blessings, which events might cause consternation or acrimony in the home of a same-sex couple (assignment of home/visiting teachers, etc.);
  • Clarifying to members of the Church the serious transgressive nature of same-sex marriage (“We recognize that same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States and some other countries and that people have the right, if they choose, to enter into those, and we understand that. But that is not a right that exists in the Church. That’s the clarification.”);
  • Clarifying distinctions between what is allowed under church law versus civil law ("Further, he said, in the United States and in other countries around the world there needed to be some distinction between "what may be legal and what may be the law of the Church and the law of the Lord.'");
  • Alleviating confusion and doubt regarding the Church's teachings on same-sex marriage (“It’s a matter of being clear; it’s a matter of understanding right and wrong; it’s a matter of a firm policy that doesn’t allow for question or doubt...That was the Savior’s pattern. He always was firm in what was right and wrong. He never excused or winked at sin. He never redefined it. He never changed His mind. It was what it was and is what it is and that’s where we are...”);
  • Providing guidance to members of the Church who think that same-sex marriage is somehow compatible with the Restored Gospel ("Elder Christofferson said Church leaders will not yield on their efforts to help all people find what brings happiness, 'but we know sin does not." ... 'There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ,' he said."); and
  • Reiterating and protecting the Church's First Amendment rights and protections ("The new policy is 'really two sides of the same coin,' Elder Christofferson said. 'On the one hand, we have worked with others and will continue to do so to protect rights and employment and housing and that sort of thing for all. And on the other hand, there needs to be respect and acknowledgment of the rights of the religious community to set its standards and to live according to them and to teach and abide by its own doctrines, such as regards marriage in this case.'").
19 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
Quote

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. 

So you do not object to characterize entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy, but you do object to characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy?

How you you differentiate between the two?

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 minute ago, smac97 said:

It was responsive to the innovation that is same-sex marriage.  

See here:

So the policy was clarifying and informative in a number of ways:

None of which explains how expanding the definition to specifically include same sex marriage is moderate or compassionate towards homosexual behavior. 

1 minute ago, smac97 said:

So you do not object to characterize entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy, but you do object to characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy?

How you you differentiate between the two?

May want to read my post again.

 

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19 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

None of which explains how expanding the definition to specifically include same sex marriage is moderate or compassionate towards homosexual behavior. 

Ah, well.  Reasonable minds can disagree about such things.  

19 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
Quote

So you do not object to characterize entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy, but you do object to characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy?

How you you differentiate between the two?

May want to read my post again.

Well, let's recap:

1. I asked:

Quote

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

2. You responded:

Quote

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

3. I responded

Quote

So you do not object to characterize entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy, but you do object to characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy?

How you you differentiate between the two?

4. You responded:

Quote

May want to read my post again.

I'm not seeing an explanation as to how you differentiate between characterizing entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy (which you do not find to be objectionable) and characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy (which you do find to be objectionable).

What am I missing/misunderstanding?

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

You seemed to have been crafting a narrative that I have seen many times before.  That narrative, in essence, says that the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable, and that the only way to find happiness is to turn away from the Law of Chastity.  That narrative is being used as a wedge between gay Latter-day Saints and their community.

It looked like you were advancing that narrative, or sympathizing with it.

Ya, not even close.  I think other's here recognize that, and I think you should know me better by now.  To suggest that I even sympathize with those who suggest the only way to happiness is to turn away from the Law of Chastity is a gross mischaracterization.   I have never suggested they can't be happy either.  I have only suggested that there are wounds that need to be healed and it would help if the messaging on the subject was more balanced towards healing those wounds.  How you interpret that to mean healing = being unchaste is beyond me and completely unfair.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Nobody has suggested that gay family members cannot gather with family on holidays.

Once again, out of context.  Not even close to being the same and you know it.  To say such a thing is really insensitive to what they are going through.  Is that what you tell couples who are struggling with pains of infertility around Christmas - "get over it, nobody said you cannot gather with family on holidays.  What's the big deal?"

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Also, I can't help but wonder if Pres. Oaks' remarks are vital on this point.  Many folks seem to harbor some expectation that the Church will incrementally dismantle the Law of Chastity relative to same-sex behavior and same-sex marriage.  If nothing else, Pres. Oaks' treatment of this issue provides some real clarity in the face of this wishful thinking.

I agree, they are vital.  I just think it needs to be a little more balanced.  That is all I am suggesting.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I'm not.  Again, I understood your comments as advancing what I think is a misleading narrative (that the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable).

Nope. 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

So then you similarly characterize the Church's prohibition on sex outside of marriage as "extreme"?  Or are you saying that some fornication/adultery is acceptable?

What about the Church's teachings against pornography?  Is that "extreme?"  Or are you saying that some use of pornography is acceptable?

What about the Church's teachings about the Word of Wisdom, and the "total and complete prohibition" of, say, recreational use of drugs?  Is this "extreme"?

I'm realy not understanding your position here.

There are all sorts of "total and complete prohibition{s}" that not "extreme" by any reasonable use of the word.  Fornication, adultery, murder, rape, and many, many more.

I think it is a perfectly reasonable use of the word.  Again, I am using a scale or continuum of two extremes - on one extreme is complete prohibition, on the other extreme is complete allowance/acceptance.  Lets not get into endless debates about tangential semantic issues.  I will continue to defend my use of the term, so I suggest you just let it go...it's not worth it.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I disagree that the Church's teachings are "extreme."  They are, instead, reasoned and reasonable.

Thanks,

-Smac

 And I would suggest that extreme teachings can be both reasoned and reasonable.  But again, that is semantics. 

 

 

 

Edited by pogi
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8 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Mama Dragons?  The same folks who were corrupt enough to fabricate suicide statistics in order to make the Church look horrible?  And then never retract those claims, even after they were falsified?  Even after they were noted as being conducive to "suicide contagion?"  (See here for more information.)

Not really the best source for a reasoned or reasonable perspective on General Conference talks.

Instead, we should examine the talks themselves and see if they can be reasonably characterized as "harmful rhetoric."  I don't think they can.

Thanks,

-Smac

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54 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Ah, well.  Reasonable minds can disagree about such things.  

Well, let's recap:

1. I asked:

2. You responded:

3. I responded

4. You responded:

I'm not seeing an explanation as to how you differentiate between characterizing entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy (which you do not find to be objectionable) and characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy (which you do find to be objectionable).

What am I missing/misunderstanding?

I lack standing to object to how the church defines apostasy. No where did I state I objected to the church defining same sex marriage as apostasy. I do object to you calling that policy moderate and compassionate. You asked what I thought about plural marriage and I stated my opinion (which as far as I know, the church still considers plural marriage an eternal principle). Also as far as I’m aware the church handbook does not list polygamy as apostasy either. 
 

It seems to me that you want to have your cake and eat it too. You stated: “For the last many years, the Church has utilized a very moderate and compassionate approach to same-sex behavior.“

The church teaches that same-sex behavior (including dating, hugging kissing etc IIRC) is forbidden. How can this possibly be moderate? The church in 2008 helped organize a campaign to remove the civil right for gays to marry in California. While defending the traditional family led by a married father and mother, the church warns about “counterfeit” lifestyles implying gays and lesbian families are counterfeit. The church releases a policy mandating church discipline for entering a government sanctioned same-sex relationship. This is all within the church’s right to do. That said, you don’t get to redefine words and call this compassionate and moderate towards homosexual behavior. Moderate compared to what? Saudi Arabia? Is that the standard?

My sister once opined how it was unfair that people thought her bigoted for her opinion on same-sex marriage. I pointed out to her that she considers them sinners, and believed they were bound for Eternal punishment. Things they probably thought were unfair... Again you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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26 minutes ago, pogi said:

Ya, not even close.  I think other's here recognize that, and I think you should know me better by now.  To suggest that I even sympathize with those who suggest the only way to happiness is to turn away from the Law of Chastity is a gross mischaracterization.   I have never suggested they can't be happy either.  I have only suggested that there are wounds that need to be healed and it would help if the messaging on the subject was more balanced towards healing those wounds.  How you interpret that to mean healing = being unchaste is beyond me and completely unfair.  

Not even close to being the same and you know it.  To say such a thing is really insensitive to what they are going through.  Is that what you tell couples who are struggling with infertility on Christmas - "get over it, nobody said you cannot gather with family on holidays.  What's the big deal?"

I guess I'm confused as to what you are saying, then.  And as we're not moving towards clarification, I'll retract my statements, apologize for the misunderstanding, and ask that we move past this point.

Quote
Quote
Quote

You can't have a more extreme position on a behavior than total and complete prohibition. 

So then you similarly characterize the Church's prohibition on sex outside of marriage as "extreme"?  Or are you saying that some fornication/adultery is acceptable?

What about the Church's teachings against pornography?  Is that "extreme?"  Or are you saying that some use of pornography is acceptable?

What about the Church's teachings about the Word of Wisdom, and the "total and complete prohibition" of, say, recreational use of drugs?  Is this "extreme"?

I'm realy not understanding your position here.

There are all sorts of "total and complete prohibition{s}" that not "extreme" by any reasonable use of the word.  Fornication, adultery, murder, rape, and many, many more.

I think it is a perfectly reasonable use of the word, and you don't get to tell me how to style my language.  

I'm not telling telling you how to do anything.  I'm having a conversation with you.  I am disagreeing with you in some respects, agreeing in others, and apparently misunderstanding in still others.

Quote

Again, I am using a scale or continuum of two extremes - on one extreme is complete prohibition, on the other extreme is complete allowance/acceptance.

You are characterizing a "total and complete prohibition" as "extreme."  I disagree with that.

"Extreme" is defined as:

Quote
  1. of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average:extreme measures.
  2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree:extreme joy.
  3. farthest from the center or middle; outermost; endmost:the extreme limits of a town.
  4. farthest, utmost, or very far in any direction:an object at the extreme point of vision.

I totally and completely prohibit my children from taking the Lord's name in vain, using physical violence against siblings to get their way, using alcohol/drugs, and many, many, many other things.  

Are you suggesting that these prohibitions are "extreme"?  That they are "farthest removed from the ordinary or average"?  That they are "utmost or exceedingly grate in degree"?

The Church totally and completely prohibits adultery.  Are you suggesting that this is "extreme"?  

Soceity totally and completely prohibits many behaviors (murder, sexual assault, armed robbery, tax evasion, etc.).  Are you suggesting that these prohibitions are "extreme"?

Quote

Lets not get into endless debates about tangential semantic issues. 

But it's not tangential at all.  It's not just an issue of semantics.  Let me recap (in the next post).

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Keep getting 403 errors, so I can't post the rest of my response.

Oh, well.  Perhaps Providence is stepping in with the 403 error as a way of stopping my from arguing with a person as good as you, Pogi.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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