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The Matthew Gong Letter


pogi

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59 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I thought we wanted to let this go and “move on”.

I made a comment, I appreciate his response to me.

PS:  I don't see myself as involved in the "let go" and "move on" discussion between you and Pogi.  I see Pogi as having valid points though I am not fully agreeing with all of them.  My view is his use of extreme is relatively accurate, but is less than ideal in communicating his point imo.  I am probably harping on it too much given the other commentary going on, but figure that Pogi will have conversations in the future and I see the use of "extreme" as distracting from his reasonable and moderate conversation, so I think he will be benefited by finding another way to express his point of the absolute nature of this requirement.

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

The trend is that he talks about it every year, with a two year hiatus every three years.  We can squabble about the word "nearly" if you want, but I don't see the point. 

This is an issue that keeps getting brought up by people in and out of the Church.  Do you think it is incumbent on Pres. Oaks to ignore such an emphatic point of concern/distress?

Thanks,

-Smac

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21 minutes ago, pogi said:

Not all mistakes require apology.  Why are you speaking for Scott anyway? Do you think I offended him by using hyperbole (something he acknowledged that he uses on occasion as an effective tool in language - I doubt he apologizes for using it) in stating "the majority" instead of the actual 30%?  Does my lack of apology for using hyperbole, even after he acknowledged and welcomed the clarification justify his continuing jabs?  Who should be apologizing here?   If he really is looking for an apology (I don't think he is), perhaps an apology from him is warranted too for accusing me of using "hostile criticism" towards President Oaks.  He has not retracted or apologized (despite my asking), or even attempted to defended his accusation.  He has been mysteriously silent on the subject after I asked for a retraction.  Think of the connotation "hostile criticism" has - that puts me on par with John Dehlin and others.  Good grief!  I am not unfriendly to President Oaks, and I am certain he would not view me as a hostile critic, but have been very respectful throughout.  Smac has even thanked me for it.  So who really should be apologizing here?

Is this some kind of childish mind-trick?  You initiated this, not me!  If a comment is directed at me, I deserve a response.  You have commented.  I have responded.  The slate is now cleared.  Do you want to continue on this dance?  If you lead, I may or may not follow. 

I didn’t realize until now you were expecting a retraction from me on “hostile criticism.” I don’t even clearly recall the context now. I’d have to go back and refresh my memory. 
 

We can talk about it now if you like. Or not. You keep telling me to move on. 

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58 minutes ago, Calm said:

It was a Church PA interview, not an off the cuff or news agency interview.  Do you believe that Elder Oaks would have not been consulted prior to the interview about what topics should be discussed, what questions asked?

I think if Pres. Oaks had thought it inappropriate to have that type of question, the question wouldn't have been there.

I agree, but I also think he could have added examples where there was more expression of love and acceptance of the individual, such as a family who had discussed their position about chastity with a child who clearly understood it and therefore they were not concerned about sending mixed messages, were in fact comfortable about welcoming their child and partner into the home for family gatherings and even having them stay over with a commitment during that time from all the adult family members to avoid any sexual behavior with their partners as a compromise for asking the gay partners to refrain while in their home.

I don’t mean to suggest excuses for either the question or the response. I thought both were reasonable. It is good enough for me that Elder Oaks did not lay down hard-and-fast rules either way. 
 

And I think it might be helpful to some parents to know that they need not necessarily feel guilty when they decline to invite a son’s or daughter’s homosexual partner into the home when they feel they have good reasons not to. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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37 minutes ago, pogi said:

Is this some kind of childish mind-trick?  

I object to you calling what I said and was doing as some kind of "trick".  I love children so I don't mind you calling it childish.

And that is all I have to say about that.

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10 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

And I think it might be helpful to some parents to know that they need not necessarily feel guilty when they decline to invite a son’s or daughter’s homosexual partner into the home when they feel they have good reasons not to. 

I think it would also be very helpful to some parents to know they need not necessarily feel guilty when they invite partners into the home when they have good reasons to do so.

Edited by Calm
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32 minutes ago, smac97 said:

This is an issue that keeps getting brought up by people in and out of the Church.  Do you think it is incumbent on Pres. Oaks to ignore such an emphatic point of concern/distress?

Thanks,

-Smac

No, I don't think it should be ignored.  As I have said, I just think there needs to be more balance towards the other side of the issue too - those who are caught in the middle.

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36 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

You didn’t use the word, no. But you were complaining that President Oaks talks about the subject more than other Church leaders. To me, it seemed you were agreeing with Pogi that he “fixates” on it. 

No I never complained. I didn’t accuse. I did report on the facts of my search just as you did. For someone that seems so fixated on word usage in others, you sure don’t seem to use the same level of care in your own posts. 

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12 minutes ago, Calm said:

I think it would also be very helpful to some parents to know they need not necessarily feel guilty when they invite partners into the home when they have good reasons to do so.

From my perspective, Elder Oaks’s response conveyed that message as well. As I said, no hard-and-fast rule either way. And rely on the Spirit for guidance. That’s what he said. 

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Just now, Scott Lloyd said:

From my perspective, Elder Oaks’s response conveyed that message as well.

Not from my perspective. 

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16 minutes ago, Calm said:

I think it would also be very helpful to some parents to know they need not necessarily feel guilty when they invite partners into the home when they have good reasons to do so.

i don't think very many would feel "guilty" about inviting their gay or lesbian children, or their lovers, into their homes.  I think most would just not feel "comfortable" with that situation. 

And President Oaks seemed to be saying that the answers/responses most parents would get in prayer would help them to feel comfortable about not getting themselves into those types of situations.

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2 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

No I never complained. I didn’t accuse. I did report on the facts of my search just as you did. For someone that seems so fixated on word usage in others, you sure don’t seem to use the same level of care in your own posts. 

I was only explaining how it appeared to me. My own perspective. Or we could call it “my truth” if you’re in the camp that refuses to differentiate between perception and reality. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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21 minutes ago, pogi said:

No, I don't think it should be ignored.  As I have said, I just think there needs to be more balance towards the other side of the issue too - those who are caught in the middle.

The “other side of the issue” being what? That homosexual behavior is perfectly OK and that the Church needs to get with the times and change its doctrine and practices accordingly? 
 

I think that’s an unreasonable expectation. 

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7 minutes ago, Ahab said:

i don't think very many would feel "guilty" about inviting their gay or lesbian children, or their lovers, into their homes. 

I think reasonable and principled decisions about such things can be made.

Parents might not feel comfortable in attending a same-sex wedding, but may afterward welcome the couple to family functions.

Parents might welcome their adult child and his/her same-sex partner to visit, but not stay the night in their home.

And so on. 

7 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I think most would just not feel "comfortable" with that situation. 

Yep.  But discomfort is not the end of the world.  We can make things work.

7 minutes ago, Ahab said:

And President Oaks seemed to be saying that the answers/responses most parents would get in prayer would help them to feel comfortable about not getting themselves into those types of situations.

Or setting boundaries that alleviate or mitigate the issue.

Thanks,

-Smac

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39 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

The “other side of the issue” being what? That homosexual behavior is perfectly OK and that the Church needs to get with the times and change its doctrine and practices accordingly? 
 

I think that’s an unreasonable expectation. 

I feel like I am speaking to a wall sometimes.  I don't know if you are following the thread or not, but I have addressed this already with smac and others.  You should know me better by now Scott to know that I don't support any behavior contrary to the law of Chastity - My participation on these boards over the past many years should warrant me the benefit of the doubt.   I don't know why my comments keep getting twisted that way.  In no way have I come close to insinuating such a thing.  The fact that I said, "I don't think it should be ignored" should have been a dead give away. 

Caught in the cross-fire of the offensive critics and the defense are individuals and families who are suffering and need healing over this very sensitive issue. So, while the two warring groups are focusing their attention intently on each other's every move, they are easily distracted from those who actually need their attention most right now.  The other side of the issue is the healing approach rather than the defensive approach. I would like to see more balance between the defensive approach and the healing approach.  That is all I have said all along. 

Edited by pogi
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5 minutes ago, pogi said:

I feel like I am speaking to a wall sometimes.  I don't know if you are following the thread or not, but I have addressed this already with smac and others.  You should know me better by now Scott to know that I don't support any behavior contrary to the law of Chastity - My participation on these boards over the past many years should warrant me the benefit of the doubt.   I don't know why my comments keep getting twisted that way.  In no way have I come close to insinuating such a thing.

Caught in the cross-fire of the offensive critics and the defense are individuals and families who are suffering and need healing over this very sensitive issue. So, while the two warring groups are focusing intently on each other's every move, their attention seems to be diverted from those who actually need it the most right now.  The other side of the issue is the healing approach rather than the defensive approach. I would like to see more balance between the defensive approach and the healing approach.  That is all I have said all along. 

Careful...taking a thoughtful, more moderate approach to issues of controversy around here will result in both sides being suspicious of you and win you no friends.  Ask me how I know....

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2 minutes ago, pogi said:

Caught in the cross-fire of the offensive critics and the defense are individuals and families who are suffering and need healing over this very sensitive issue. 

For the record, I think there is a massive asymmetry in this "cross-fire."

The Church, which is to say its leaders, are working very hard at teaching the Law of Chastity while being kind, compassionate, understanding, civil, and so on.  Meanwhile, there is all sorts of vitriol, spite, and hatreds being vented against the Church, its leaders, its members, etc. because of the Law of Chastity.

2 minutes ago, pogi said:

So, while the two warring groups are paying attention to and focusing intently on each other's moves,

I dispute this characterization.  

2 minutes ago, pogi said:

their attention seems to be diverted from those who actually need it the most right now. 

I dispute this, too.  The counsel we are receiving is substantial and on-point and correct.

2 minutes ago, pogi said:

The other side of the issue is the healing approach rather than the defensive approach.

Why "rather than"?  

2 minutes ago, pogi said:

I would like to see more balance between the defensive approach and the healing approach.  That is all I have said all along. 

What do you have in mind?

Thanks,

-Smac

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39 minutes ago, smac97 said:

For the record, I think there is a massive asymmetry in this "cross-fire."

The Church, which is to say its leaders, are working very hard at teaching the Law of Chastity while being kind, compassionate, understanding, civil, and so on.  Meanwhile, there is all sorts of vitriol, spite, and hatreds being vented against the Church, its leaders, its members, etc. because of the Law of Chastity.

I don't disagree with your assessment. There is a massive asymmetry.  The vitriol, spite, hatred, etc. will never stop, but we don't need to, nor should we even attempt to match and return attack.  To even acknowledge them, empowers them and makes them credible.  Look, how many times do the leaders need to say that same-sex behavior is wrong?  I think ALL members get it without question.  I don't think there is a single one who wonders what the church's position is.  Some may wonder, hope, and push for change, but we don't need to restate our position every time someone pushes for change - it is already crystal clear (almost annoyingly so, to me - as in, I tire of hearing it).  I am not suggesting we should never talk about it or bring it up, but just more balanced.  Being reflexive and defensive is allowing critics to control the narrative.

I think a refocus, giving more attention to healing, will do more good long-term in retention and...healing.  I feel very, very strongly about that. 

39 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I dispute this characterization.  

I dispute this, too.  The counsel we are receiving is substantial and on-point and correct.

You are entitled to your opinion.

39 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Why "rather than"?  

I have always supported "balance", not a one or the other approach.  I used the word "rather" to simply differentiate the two approaches.  

39 minutes ago, smac97 said:

What do you have in mind?

Ahab asked me for an example of this already and I composed a short message of what I would like to see more of.  You can use that as an example. Match that with less of the defensive approach.  That is what I think would be most helpful for those questioning if they should stay or go. 

Edited by pogi
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9 minutes ago, pogi said:

I don't disagree with your assessment. There is a massive asymmetry.  The vitriol, spite, hatred, etc. will never stop, but we don't need to, nor should we even attempt to match and return attack.  To even acknowledge them, empowers them and makes them credible.  Look, how many times do the leaders need to say that same-sex behavior is wrong? 

As many times as it is brought up, I suppose.

How many times do leaders need to encourage us to exercise faith?  Serve missions?  Perform service for others?  Pay tithing?  Keep the Word of Wisdom?  Avoid pornography?  This and other topics are addressed and re-addressed over and over and over.  Because they continue to be points on which the members need continuing guidance.

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think ALL members get it without question.  

Actually, I think there are plenty of members who are in a "wishful thinking" kind of space, where they think that the Church's teachings on this point are merely "policy," or that they can be changed through political-esque pressure tactics.

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

I don't think there is a single one who wonders what the church's position is. 

But I think there are quite a few who think they can push the Church into changing its position.

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

Some may wonder, hope, and push for change, but we don't need to restate our position every time someone pushes for change - it is already crystal clear (almost annoyingly so, to me - as in, I tire of hearing it).

Oh, I'm right there with you.  The fixation on this issue is annoying.  We don't (or shouldn't) need to re-litigate the legitimacy of the Law of Chastity.  But the fixation is coming from critics and dissidents, and even from well-intentioned-but-angst-filled members.

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

I am not suggesting we should never talk about it or bring it up, but just more balanced.  Being reflexive and defensive is allowing critics to control the narrative.

What "more balanced" measures do you have in mind?

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think a refocus, giving more attention to healing, will do more good long-term in retention and...healing.

Okay.  What is it that you think the Church should do that it is not currently doing?

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

Ahab asked me for an example of this already and I composed a short message of what I would like to see more of.  You can use that as an example. 

Can you point me to your response that includes what you would like to see more of?  We're at nearly 400 posts in this thread.

Thanks,

-Smac

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38 minutes ago, smac97 said:

How many times do leaders need to encourage us to exercise faith?  Serve missions?  Perform service for others?  Pay tithing?  Keep the Word of Wisdom?  Avoid pornography?  This and other topics are addressed and re-addressed over and over and over.  Because they continue to be points on which the members need continuing guidance.

You can never get enough inspirational messages in my opinion, and these are more often than not framed that way.  For example, the messages on porn have improved over the years from less guilt/shame type messages to more healing/empathy/inspiration type messages.  It has been helpful and welcome in my experience.  Again, I am not asking for less same-sex messages, just different ones. 

38 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Actually, I think there are plenty of members who are in a "wishful thinking" kind of space, where they think that the Church's teachings on this point are merely "policy," or that they can be changed through political-esque pressure tactics.

We are not talking about what other people wish for - let them wish! Like I said, I don't think there is a single person who questions the brethren's position.  

38 minutes ago, smac97 said:

What "more balanced" measures do you have in mind?

Okay.  What is it that you think the Church should do that it is not currently doing?

Can you point me to your response that includes what you would like to see more of?  We're at nearly 400 posts in this thread.

Thanks,

-Smac

Here is what I said.  I have taken the freedom to lightly edit a couple places for clarity.

Quote

 

"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 [spouse and children] in morality as you see others around you enjoy.  The pain and fear of romantic loneliness is a heavy burden felt by many.  You hear messages at church about how one of the central purposes of mortal life is to raise a family, and that such an experiences teach 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.

 

More of this, less of the defensive.

 

 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Maybe it’s one of those “my truth”/“your truth” things. 

I think given the context of that time (2006), by not providing concrete examples of how to be more inclusive, he was ambiguous enough imo that parents could be left wondering if they were ‘too tolerant’. 

Nowadays the examples he gave are more likely to be seen as unusual. Back then the examples he gave were more default behaviour among the members I knew offline. 

Edited by Calm
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13 minutes ago, Calm said:

I think given the context of that time (2006), by not providing concrete examples of how to be more inclusive, he was ambiguous enough imo that parents could be left wondering if they were ‘too tolerant’. 

Nowadays the examples he gave are more likely to be seen as unusual. Back then the examples he gave were more default behaviour among the members I knew offline. 

Meh. I still think his response is workable.

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