Jump to content

The Matthew Gong Letter


pogi

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

In order to prove an axiom, however, you must rely on *some*  other axiom, or some assumptions other than that axiom you want to prove.

It can be we extremely useful to switch out different axioms and observe their results.

For instance, in this letter, Matthew Gong seems to be describing his own navigation between different systems which are, respectively, founded on different axioms:

The first system is the one we speak of here, Mormonism. The second system seems to be characterized, at least in part, by him valuing the moral potential in his sexual orientation. And though these systems are not fully consistent one with the other, he takes great care to find commonalities in both.

He seems to use the kindness that he applies to himself and applies it to members of the church, by valuing the church in terms of the benefit it does them.

Although both systems are not based on the exact same axioms, imo he demonstrates that by employing kindness as an axiom, he can value both systems.

I would say that the more an axiom results in the beneficial navigation of more than one system, the more robust the axiom.

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
19 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

It can be we extremely useful to switch out different axioms and observe their results.

For instance, in this letter, Matthew Gong seems to be describing his own navigation between different systems which are, respectively, founded on different axioms:

The first system is the one we speak of here, Mormonism. The second system seems to be characterized, at least in part, by him valuing the moral potential in his sexual orientation. And though these systems are not fully consistent one with the other, he takes great care to find commonalities in both.

He seems to use the kindness that he applies to himself and applies it to members of the church, by valuing the church in terms of the benefit it does them.

Although both systems are not based on the exact same axioms, imo he demonstrates that by employing kindness as an axiom, he can value both systems.

I would say that the more an axiom results in the beneficial navigation of more than one system, the more robust the axiom.

 

The reconciling axiom in this case, I think, is charity.

  • Like 1
Link to post
4 minutes ago, CV75 said:

The reconciling axiom in this case, I think, is charity.

Yes. I think of it as synonymous with kindness. :)

  • Like 2
Link to post
48 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

It can be we extremely useful to switch out different axioms and observe their results.

For instance, in this letter, Matthew Gong seems to be describing his own navigation between different systems which are, respectively, founded on different axioms:

The first system is the one we speak of here, Mormonism. The second system seems to be characterized, at least in part, by him valuing the moral potential in his sexual orientation. And though these systems are not fully consistent one with the other, he takes great care to find commonalities in both.

He seems to use the kindness that he applies to himself and applies it to members of the church, by valuing the church in terms of the benefit it does them.

Although both systems are not based on the exact same axioms, imo he demonstrates that by employing kindness as an axiom, he can value both systems.

I would say that the more an axiom results in the beneficial navigation of more than one system, the more robust the axiom.

 

The promise of this thread returns!  Thanks Meadowchik.

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 11/8/2019 at 11:22 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

Incidentally, Pogi, not to be nit picky, but when you implied that the “majority” of President Oaks’s talks “focus on” gay people, did you mean that literally, or were you engaging in hyperbole?

Hyperbole is fine as a rhetorical device — I sometimes indulge in it myself — but I ask because I can recall only a handful of his talks that could be so characterized, certainly nothing anywhere close to “the majority.” 

Yes, it was hyperbole in the same sense that some might use it when speaking about Elder Uchtdorf and the subject of airplanes, even though there are only a handful that I can think of.  President Oaks involvement on the subject goes far beyond conference talks, if that is all you are looking at. If you do a google search you will find interview after interview about the subject and his involvement on the subject in other areas as well.  Also, you can't simply skim through the titles of his conference talks to determine if it is about homosexuals or not - for example, his last conference talk was entitled, "Two Great Commandments", one of the first things he says in the talk is this:

Quote

“This Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally.”1 That teaching has important implications for persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, commonly referred to as LGBT.

So, you really have to look beyond the title.

He speaks about it enough to where my mother-in-law (extremely conservative) leaned over to my wife this last conference when President Oaks was about to speak and said, "I bet I can guess what he is going to talk about..."  About 10 seconds into the talk, they both looked at each other and laughed.  True story.  

For illustrative purposes, I just pulled up this wikepedia article on "Homosexuality and the Church of Jesus Christ...", with the hypothesis that President Oaks would be referenced, or mentioned, far more than any other apostle because of how much he speaks about it. My hypothesis was overwhelmingly correct - beyond what I expected.  (This is a based on a simple control-F search for each name and the number of times the name is used in the article)

 Here are the numbers:

Eyering - 0
Ballard - 3
Holland - 5
Uchtdorf - 0
Bednar - 5
Cook - 1
Christofferson - 11
Anderson - 0
Rasband - 0
Renlund - 0
Gong - 0
President Nelson - 4
President Hinckely - 17
Oaks - 42
 

Here is the link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints

 

Edited by pogi
  • Like 4
Link to post
On 11/8/2019 at 1:52 PM, pogi said:

I was tempted to give a response, but I don't want this thread to turn into a never ending debate about the nature of truth.  Suffice it to say that great minds have debated the issue for millennia and can't come to an agreement, I don't suspect we will make any headway on that debate. 

Good point, sorry

Yet another gay thread? Let it be.

Link to post
4 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Good point, sorry

Yet another gay thread? Let it be.

Gay thread... Nature of truth thread... pick your poison ;)

I didn't want this to be a general "gay thread", but wanted to discuss Matthew Gong's letter specifically.  Given his unique relationship to an apostle and an emerging vocal activist against church policy, I thought it might be a dynamic situation that some might want to follow.  I also genuinely liked his letter and though others might too. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I would say that the more an axiom results in the beneficial navigation of more than one system, the more robust the axiom.

Philosophies of MEN (arm of flesh) mingled with scripture?  Sorry but it does not feel so robust.  We should not cower in front of that Great and Spacious Building.  It is quite disturbing that certain people (such as California Boy and Tacenda, among others) feel morally superior to the Church.

Link to post
8 minutes ago, longview said:

Philosophies of MEN (arm of flesh) mingled with scripture?  Sorry but it does not feel so robust. 

Do the scriptures circumscribe all truth?  Should that be our only source of moral/spiritual learning?  Or, should we do as the prophets have encouraged and seek for truth "wherever you may find it."

Quote

Such a plan incorporates every system of true doctrine on the earth, whether it be ecclesiastical, moral, philosophical, or civil; it incorporates all good laws that have been made from the days of Adam until now; it swallows up the laws of nations, for it exceeds them all in knowledge and purity, it circumscribes the doctrines of the day, and takes from the right and the left, and brings all truth together in one system, and leaves the chaff to be scattered hither and thither (DBY, 3–4).

Quote

...it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, … to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion (DBY, 248).

 

17 minutes ago, longview said:

We should not cower in front of that Great and Spacious Building.

I don't think it is fair to equate all teachings outside of the scriptures with the great and spacious building. 

20 minutes ago, longview said:

It is quite disturbing that certain people (such as California Boy and Tacenda, among others) feel morally superior to the Church.

If that is indeed how they feel, I honestly don't find it disturbing at all.  Naturally, if you didn't view your position as superior in some way, you simply wouldn't hold it.

  • Like 3
Link to post

If people really want to discuss the nature of truth in this thread, don't let me hold you back...

I understand that threads sometimes develop beyond their original purpose based on the interests of participants.  If the main topic has died, I don't want to force a topic. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 11/8/2019 at 1:20 PM, smac97 said:

Yep.  I hope he doesn't burn bridges. 

This to me sums up the problem with how you view this whole thing. Somehow speaking his mind might burn bridges. Where is your similar concern that Elder Gong not burn bridges? Couldn't Elder Gong's son interpret the very act of accepting the apostleship as a burnt bridge? Any relationship that does not include enough mutual respect to accept divergent points of view is not worth having. @Scott Lloyd has a similar problem. For him (at least if I understand him correctly), it is emotional blackmail for a child to force a parent to include the most important person in the child's life (i.e. Child says "I will be bringing my same sex husband when I visit or I won't visit at all"). The reverse is not emotional blackmail though - That is, it is fine for a parent to say I will not allow you in my house unless you leave the most important person in your life behind.

  • Like 1
Link to post
33 minutes ago, longview said:

Philosophies of MEN (arm of flesh) mingled with scripture?  Sorry but it does not feel so robust.  We should not cower in front of that Great and Spacious Building.  It is quite disturbing that certain people (such as California Boy and Tacenda, among others) feel morally superior to the Church.

Unless you view men to be infallible, all scripture is the philosophies of men mingled with God. How could it be otherwise?

Link to post
1 hour ago, pogi said:
On 11/8/2019 at 11:22 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

Incidentally, Pogi, not to be nit picky, but when you implied that the “majority” of President Oaks’s talks “focus on” gay people, did you mean that literally, or were you engaging in hyperbole?

Hyperbole is fine as a rhetorical device — I sometimes indulge in it myself — but I ask because I can recall only a handful of his talks that could be so characterized, certainly nothing anywhere close to “the majority.” 

Yes, it was hyperbole in the same sense that some might use it when speaking about Elder Uchtdorf and the subject of airplanes, even though there are only a handful that I can think of.  President Oaks involvement on the subject goes far beyond conference talks, if that is all you are looking at. If you do a google search you will find interview after interview about the subject and his involvement on the subject in other areas as well.  Also, you can't simply skim through the titles of his conference talks to determine if it is about homosexuals or not - for example, his last conference talk was entitled, "Two Great Commandments", one of the first things he says in the talk is this:

Quote

“This Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally.”1 That teaching has important implications for persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, commonly referred to as LGBT.

So, you really have to look beyond the title.

He speaks about it enough to where my mother-in-law (extremely conservative) leaned over to my wife this last conference when President Oaks was about to speak and said, "I bet I can guess what he is going to talk about..."  About 10 seconds into the talk, they both looked at each other and laughed.  True story. 

Yes.  I would call that reading between the lines.  Many precepts have major implications that have "ripple effects" on many other areas of concerns.

1 hour ago, pogi said:

For illustrative purposes, I just pulled up this wikepedia article on "Homosexuality and the Church of Jesus Christ...", with the hypothesis that President Oaks would be referenced, or mentioned, far more than any other apostle because of how much he speaks about it. My hypothesis was overwhelmingly correct - beyond what I expected.  (This is a based on a simple control-F search for each name and the number of times the name is used in the article)

 Here are the numbers:

Eyering - 0
Ballard - 3
Holland - 5
Uchtdorf - 0
Bednar - 5
Cook - 1
Christofferson - 11
Anderson - 0
Rasband - 0
Renlund - 0
Gong - 0
President Nelson - 4
President Hinckely - 17
Oaks - 42
 

Here is the link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints

The author of this wiki may be experiencing what I would call "controversy bias".  If we were to go outside the scope of the wiki and survey the LDS website for "implications and ripple effects" (my description in my earlier paragraph), we would see much higher counts with a more even distribution.  However, I do agree that Elder Oaks appears to be the "point man" for defending (upholding) the sanctity of marriage and espousing the Family Proclamation.

  • Like 1
Link to post
5 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

This to me sums up the problem with how you view this whole thing. Somehow speaking his mind might burn bridges. Where is your similar concern that Elder Gong not burn bridges? Couldn't Elder Gong's son interpret the very act of accepting the apostleship as a burnt bridge? Any relationship that does not include enough mutual respect to accept divergent points of view is not worth having. @Scott Lloyd has a similar problem. For him (at least if I understand him correctly), it is emotional blackmail for a child to force a parent to include the most important person in the child's life (i.e. Child says "I will be bringing my same sex husband when I visit or I won't visit at all"). The reverse is not emotional blackmail though - That is, it is fine for a parent to say I will not allow you in my house unless you leave the most important person in your life behind.

I don’t think Deity ever burns bridges (at least not in the context being discussed here).  

I believe we best keep our promise to love our brothers and sisters when we neither burn bridges nor interpret the acts of others as bridge burning.

All i saw in Matt’s letter was an effort to find, not burn, bridges.  And an invitation for all of us to doing the same.  

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
36 minutes ago, pogi said:

Do the scriptures circumscribe all truth?  Should that be our only source of moral/spiritual learning?  Or, should we do as the prophets have encouraged and seek for truth "wherever you may find it."

I was gonna say that quote, thanks!  It is something that helps me find common ground now with believing LDS and it also edified me when I was one.

  • Like 2
Link to post
13 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

I don’t think Deity ever burns bridges (at least not in the context being discussed here).  

I believe we best keep our promise to love our brothers and sisters when we neither burn bridges nor interpret the acts of others as bridge burning.

All i saw in Matt’s letter was an effort to find, not burn, bridges.  And an invitation for all of us to doing the same.  

 

 

I couldn't agree more. My favorite Latter-day Saints happen to be my neighbors. We once discussed gay marriage and this particular sitting bishop who is the epitome of faithfulness and orthodoxy stated that of course he would help pay for a gay daughter's wedding (at least the first one). Given Jesus' penchant for eating with sinners, I just can't quite wrap my head around Elder Oaks advice that most parents wouldn't even allow the significant other of a gay son or daughter into their home. Or the fact that he views an outing in public with a gay son or daughter's partner to be anathema: "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.'"

  • Like 1
Link to post
6 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I couldn't agree more. My favorite Latter-day Saints happen to be my neighbors. We once discussed gay marriage and this particular sitting bishop who is the epitome of faithfulness and orthodoxy stated that of course he would help pay for a gay daughter's wedding (at least the first one). Given Jesus' penchant for eating with sinners, I just can't quite wrap my head around Elder Oaks advice that most parents wouldn't even allow the significant other of a gay son or daughter into their home. Or the fact that he views an outing in public with a gay son or daughter's partner to be anathema: "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.'"

Right. 

 

26 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

I don’t think Deity ever burns bridges (at least not in the context being discussed here).  

I believe we best keep our promise to love our brothers and sisters when we neither burn bridges nor interpret the acts of others as bridge burning.

All i saw in Matt’s letter was an effort to find, not burn, bridges.  And an invitation for all of us to doing the same.  

 

 

Agreed.

If the pure Love of Christ has power and meaning, then extending it to others can only help. Extending that love is an expression of faith in God.

  • Like 1
Link to post
49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
Quote

Yep.  I hope he doesn't burn bridges. 

This to me sums up the problem with how you view this whole thing.

As opposed to . . . asking me how I "view this whole thing"?  If you are curious as to my views, you can just ask.  I'm not shy.  No need to speculate.

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Somehow speaking his mind might burn bridges.

And there you are.  Speculating.  I didn't say that.

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Where is your similar concern that Elder Gong not burn bridges?

We were not speaking of Elder Gong.

I've also seen no evidence that Elder Gong migh be prone to burning bridges.  

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Couldn't Elder Gong's son interpret the very act of accepting the apostleship as a burnt bridge?

That would be a pretty unreasonable interpretation.  And a selfish and myopic one.

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Any relationship that does not include enough mutual respect to accept divergent points of view is not worth having.

What are you talking about?  Who is it that is not "accept{ing} divergent points of view"?  

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

@Scott Lloyd has a similar problem.

Oh, the irony.  Here you are, hectoring others for not "accept{ing} divergent points of view" in one sentence, and then objecting to Scott's point of view (characterizing it as a "problem") in the next.

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

For him (at least if I understand him correctly),

A mighty big "if," I think.

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

it is emotional blackmail for a child to force a parent to include the most important person in the child's life (i.e. Child says "I will be bringing my same sex husband when I visit or I won't visit at all").

Sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about here.  If you have a beef with Scott, take it up with him.

49 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

The reverse is not emotional blackmail though - That is, it is fine for a parent to say I will not allow you in my house unless you leave the most important person in your life behind.

I've never said anything like this.

-Smac

Link to post
53 minutes ago, longview said:

Yes.  I would call that reading between the lines. Many precepts have major implications that have "ripple effects" on many other areas of concerns.

I'm not sure what you are referring to here.  Can you explain?

53 minutes ago, longview said:

The author of this wiki may be experiencing what I would call "controversy bias".  If we were to go outside the scope of the wiki and survey the LDS website for "implications and ripple effects" (my description in my earlier paragraph), we would see much higher counts with a more even distribution.  However, I do agree that Elder Oaks appears to be the "point man" for defending (upholding) the sanctity of marriage and espousing the Family Proclamation.

I honestly don't think the distribution would be that different.  Being the "point man", naturally the distribution will be unbalanced.  I don't think we should expect an even distribution of most topics, let alone this one. 

Link to post
16 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I couldn't agree more. My favorite Latter-day Saints happen to be my neighbors. We once discussed gay marriage and this particular sitting bishop who is the epitome of faithfulness and orthodoxy stated that of course he would help pay for a gay daughter's wedding (at least the first one).

What if a father was asked to help pay for a gender reassignment surgery for his (adult) child?

What if a father was asked to help pay for his (adult) child's elective abortion?

What if a father was asked to help pay for his (adult) child's (legal) start-up marijuana business?

What if a father was asked to help pay for his (adult) child's airfare to attend the Folsom Street Fair?

And on and on and on.  Does a father's affection for his child obligate him to support, either financially or otherwise, the child's behavior which the father finds morally problematic?

16 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Given Jesus' penchant for eating with sinners, I just can't quite wrap my head around Elder Oaks advice that most parents wouldn't even allow the significant other of a gay son or daughter into their home.

Um, where did Elder Oaks say this?  CFR, please.

16 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Or the fact that he views an outing in public with a gay son or daughter's partner to be anathema: "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.'"

You know, whenever I read quotes like this, I think "Huh, I wonder if this has been deliberately decontextualized.  To sensationalize it.  For shock value.  Even to distort the meaning and intent of the speaker."

Here is Elder Oaks's statement in context:

Quote

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

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

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

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

Thanks,

-Smac

  • Like 1
Link to post
1 hour ago, longview said:

Philosophies of MEN (arm of flesh) mingled with scripture?  Sorry but it does not feel so robust.  We should not cower in front of that Great and Spacious Building.  It is quite disturbing that certain people (such as California Boy and Tacenda, among others) feel morally superior to the Church.

I don't feel morally superior, I just feel gays are born that way. Just as people who are born heterosexual, if they were told they can't love/marry whom they love, I would stand up for them as well.

Link to post
4 hours ago, pogi said:

Yes, it was hyperbole in the same sense that some might use it when speaking about Elder Uchtdorf and the subject of airplanes, even though there are only a handful that I can think of.  President Oaks involvement on the subject goes far beyond conference talks, if that is all you are looking at. If you do a google search you will find interview after interview about the subject and his involvement on the subject in other areas as well.  Also, you can't simply skim through the titles of his conference talks to determine if it is about homosexuals or not - for example, his last conference talk was entitled, "Two Great Commandments", one of the first things he says in the talk is this:

So, you really have to look beyond the title.

He speaks about it enough to where my mother-in-law (extremely conservative) leaned over to my wife this last conference when President Oaks was about to speak and said, "I bet I can guess what he is going to talk about..."  About 10 seconds into the talk, they both looked at each other and laughed.  True story.  

For illustrative purposes, I just pulled up this wikepedia article on "Homosexuality and the Church of Jesus Christ...", with the hypothesis that President Oaks would be referenced, or mentioned, far more than any other apostle because of how much he speaks about it. My hypothesis was overwhelmingly correct - beyond what I expected.  (This is a based on a simple control-F search for each name and the number of times the name is used in the article)

 Here are the numbers:

Eyering - 0
Ballard - 3
Holland - 5
Uchtdorf - 0
Bednar - 5
Cook - 1
Christofferson - 11
Anderson - 0
Rasband - 0
Renlund - 0
Gong - 0
President Nelson - 4
President Hinckely - 17
Oaks - 42
 

Here is the link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints

 

Elder Oaks has a legal background.  Much of the discussion about LGBT issues vis-à-vis the Church center on legal issues.

Elder Christofferson also has an extensive legal background, and also has a gay brother.

It's not really surprising that these two would tend to speak more frequently on this topic.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
Link to post
2 hours ago, pogi said:

Gay thread... Nature of truth thread... pick your poison ;)

I didn't want this to be a general "gay thread", but wanted to discuss Matthew Gong's letter specifically.  Given his unique relationship to an apostle and an emerging vocal activist against church policy, I thought it might be a dynamic situation that some might want to follow.  I also genuinely liked his letter and though others might too. 

Where is the activism against Church policy in this letter?

Link to post
24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

As opposed to . . . asking me how I "view this whole thing"?  If you are curious as to my views, you can just ask.  I'm not shy.  No need to speculate.

Fair enough. I apologize. How exactly might Matthew Gong burn bridges? What exactly in the letter made you particularly concerned about this enough to mention and are you equally concerned about Elder Gong burning bridges?

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Oh, the irony.  Here you are, hectoring others for not "accept{ing} divergent points of view" in one sentence, and then objecting to Scott's point of view (characterizing it as a "problem") in the next.

A mighty big "if," I think.

His comments are here in the thread. And I asked him specifically about it. And no irony. I’m pointing out that if Scott is going to use a term like emotional blackmail, it should apply equally regardless of which side of the divide you happen to be on. It’s why I (prematurely - my apologies) called you out for specifically worrying about Matthew Gong burning bridges but not his father. 

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about here.  If you have a beef with Scott, take it up with him.

I've never said anything like this.

-Smac

Fair enough. The parallels (that I prematurely made in your case - my apologies) were the labeling of your out group as burning bridges, while not labeling in group behavior similarly. I regret the error. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...