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The Matthew Gong Letter


pogi

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8 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Where is the activism against Church policy in this letter?

I think this letter was more of an introduction to his future activism as evidenced by the following comment:

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The Church’s treatment of LGBTQ people needs to change, and I can’t sit on the sidelines any more.

 

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Just now, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Fair enough. I apologize. How exactly might Matthew Gong burn bridges?

Phrases like "speaking truth to power" and "I can't sit on the sidelines any more" are some hints.

Publicly badmouthing the Church ("When they said everyone was worth saving and actually meant it?") was a hint.

It's not like we haven't seen this before.  Kate Kelly, Bill Reel.  Sam Young.  

Just now, SeekingUnderstanding said:

What exactly in the letter made you particularly concerned about this enough to mention

See above.

Just now, SeekingUnderstanding said:

and are you equally concerned about Elder Gong burning bridges?

Not particularly.  I doubt Elder Gong is fixated on the one aspect of the Restored Gospel (the prohibition against same-sex behavior in the Law of Chastity) that is the singular and vital point of dispute for his son.

Just now, SeekingUnderstanding said:

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.

Again, I have no idea what you are talking about. 

And since when is it a bad thing to express a hope that a son not burn bridges with his family?

Just now, SeekingUnderstanding said:

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. 

Still not sure what you are talking about.  But let's not press the matter further.

Thanks,

-Smac

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20 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Elder Oaks has an 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

That may be the case.  I certainly am not accusing President Oaks, or anyone else, of nefarious motives.  I was simply commenting on how the not-infrequent treatment of the issue by him has affected perceptions by some. 

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24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

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?

Obviously not. No one has to pay for anything they don’t want to. A Latter-day Saint parent is perfectly entitled to not pay for a gay son or daughter’s wedding. However a child is also entitled to feel less loved when his parents pay thousands of dollars for siblings weddings and none for theirs. And they would not be wrong for this feeling. We all have to live our lives and live with the consequences of our decisions. 

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

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

You quoted it in your post. He gives the answer that individuals should seek inspiration, but in his opinion “most” would not allow a partner in the home. “Some” might allow it, but with significant caveats including one not to be dealt with in a public situation. Notably absent (but not expressly forbidden) is an unequivocal welcome into the home and family activities such as Elder Christoffersen’s brother experienced with his partner. 

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

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:

Thanks for providing the full text. When we hear Elder Oaks preach love for LGBTQ people we need to remember this is the context of how it looks. 

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Thanks,

-Smac

-John

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1 hour ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

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

This would indicate that the expression (POMMWS) acknowledges an additional disadvantage to that which was written by fallible men who have filtered through their weakness the divine message under the power of the Holy Ghost. In other words, there is a kind of fallibility that allows grace and another kind that repels it.

Two friendly challenges: 1. Which scripture do you take to be among the least adulterated? 2. Which scripture sparks a divine message to you, not because of its refinement, but because of what the Holy Ghost has caused it to mean for you?

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10 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think this letter was more of an introduction to his future activism as evidenced by the following comment:

  Quote

The Church’s treatment of LGBTQ people needs to change, and I can’t sit on the sidelines any more.

Do you think this refers to the organization (where policy comes into play), the religion (doctrine), or culture (actually, geographically-dependent cultures as he points out)?

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4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Phrases like "speaking truth to power" and "I can't sit on the sidelines any more" are some hints.

Publicly badmouthing the Church ("When they said everyone was worth saving and actually meant it?") was a hint.

It's not like we haven't seen this before.  Kate Kelly, Bill Reel.  Sam Young.  
 

If Matthew Gong is merely speaking honestly about the world as he sees it, why in view should this be seen “burning bridges” anymore than Elder Gong speaking honestly about the world as he sees it? I assume that Elder Gong views himself as a watchman on a hill required to teach a message regardless of how the world might view it. So why is one burning bridges but not the other?

4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

 

See above.

Not particularly.  I doubt Elder Gong is fixated on the one aspect of the Restored Gospel (the prohibition against same-sex behavior in the Law of Chastity) that is the singular and vital point of dispute for his son.

Given the tenor of Matthew’s post, with respect this is far from their only point of disagreement.

 

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23 minutes ago, CV75 said:

This would indicate that the expression (POMMWS) acknowledges an additional disadvantage to that which was written by fallible men who have filtered through their weakness the divine message under the power of the Holy Ghost. In other words, there is a kind of fallibility that allows grace and another kind that repels it.

Two friendly challenges: 1. Which scripture do you take to be among the least adulterated? 2. Which scripture sparks a divine message to you, not because of its refinement, but because of what the Holy Ghost has caused it to mean for you?

None. I view scripture as man’s attempt to interact with God. On a personal level, I don’t believe in God. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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On 11/7/2019 at 3:49 PM, pogi said:

2 days ago Matthew Gong, Elder Gong's son, wrote a letter and published it on facebook.  Apparently he is gay. I was not aware of that.  He came out to his family 7 years ago.  He eloquently describes his experience of being gay and having his father become an apostle of the church.  It feels honest and genuine.  It is refreshingly not hate filled but is respectful of his father, his family, and he even graciously acknowledges the good in the church.  He states - "I believe at the religion’s core is an immensely powerful set of values that drive human progression. In that core, I see an elegance that is beyond human intention."  He paints an interesting comparison of the early church to the church today, calling the early church "punk rock" and "radical", which it kind of was.  Overall, I think he is an exceptional writer. I think his approach is effective at stating his perspective without putting members on the defensive.  I feel empathy for him.  I feel empathy for his father and family and am thrilled that they have been able to keep a happy and healthy relationship.  What a trying position for all of them to be in!  It will be interesting to see how Matthew chooses to proceed from here and what the reaction will be to his letter.  I hope that people will be gracious.  I think about Elder Gong and what his approach will be and I wonder how he feels about President Oaks approach to the whole issue. This will certainly be a more sensitive subject for Elder Gong having a son go through all this.  I am always happy at the opportunity to peek into the perspective from another side, especially when it feels genuine.

Any thoughts?

Here is the letter:

https://m.facebook.com/notes/matthew-gong/birthday-letters-27-28/10158377175735021/

Being gay is not good, anymore.  Being gay used to mean a person was happy, but that is usually not what people mean when they use that word now.  Now it usually means the person, usually male, has sexual desires toward men that interfere with him having sexual desires toward women, and that can interfere with his eternal happiness unless he learns how to channel his sexual desires in a good way rather than in a way that will lead to him having less happiness in his life than he otherwise could have if he were not gay.

I anticipate some good counsel regarding being gay from Elder Gong soon, as his heart is drawn out to God for ways that he might be able to help his son and others to have more happiness in their lives.  More good stuff, and less bad stuff.  I appreciate Elder Gong's demeanor when he says what he says and I think he'll probably say some good things about some other things too in the future, but this gay stuff needs to be addressed more from people who have more experience with it and how it can lessen a person's experience of happiness in their own lives.

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3 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Do you think this refers to the organization (where policy comes into play), the religion (doctrine), or culture (actually, geographically-dependent cultures as he points out)?

That's a good question that I think has yet to play out.  I am guessing it is a little of all three but curious to see how he will proceed from here.  This might be a little revealing:

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 I have also seen the human intentions in the history of weaponizing the religion. The religion also taught me that queerness, is a mental illness, is vile, or simply does not exist. I learned this explicitly from the pulpit, and implicitly through the actions of members of my congregation. A lot of people say that the doctrine is inclusive, or, if it isn’t now, that it could be. Someday… if people would just be a little bit more Christlike… if the leaders would just be a bit more inspired… if god would change his mind. I still hope for a day when the radical free spirit of the Church will be rekindled and shakes off the rust. Maybe someday, the religion will change. For me, waiting for that day was like standing on a glacier and hoping that it would melt before I froze. That is to say, the conflict and tension of the predicament were artificial, a false dichotomy. Those weren’t my only options.

 

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30 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I anticipate some good counsel regarding being gay from Elder Gong soon, as his heart is drawn out to God for ways that he might be able to help his son and others to have more happiness in their lives.  More good stuff, and less bad stuff.  I appreciate Elder Gong's demeanor when he says what he says and I think he'll probably say some good things about some other things too in the future, but this gay stuff needs to be addressed more from people who have more experience with it and how it can lessen a person's experience of happiness in their own lives.

I totally agree that Elder Gong would be a more natural and better face for the church on the issue.  It will be interesting to see what he says and does - if he will remain more silent, in an attempt to preserve his relationship with his son, and let others, like Oaks, remain the point man; or, if he will stand out as a more active voice on the subject.  

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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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?

Obviously not.

I'm glad we established that.  To be candid, this point did not seem very "obvious." 

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No one has to pay for anything they don’t want to.

But it's not just about paying for stuff.  I asked: "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?"

What are your thoughts about this?

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A Latter-day Saint parent is perfectly entitled to not pay for a gay son or daughter’s wedding. 

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's decision to have an elective abortion?  

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's decision to have gender reassignment surgery?  

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's start-up marijuana business?

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's attendance at the Folsom Street Fair?

It appears that you are trying to make this a "gay" thing.  A Mormon-parents-are-free-to-hate-their-gay-children kind of thing.  However, if you concede that a Latter-day Saint father is entitled to decline to support / endorse / celebrate behavior which the father finds morally problematic, then singling out "a gay son or daughter's wedding" becomes a bit of a distraction.

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However a child is also entitled to feel less loved when his parents pay thousands of dollars for siblings weddings and none for theirs.

The child, being an adult, should be capable of understanding material and reasonable differences.

As a father, I am willing to pay for my son's medical treatment for his celiac disease and bipolar disorder.  I would not, however, be willing to pay for another child's gender reassignment surgery or abortion.  Not because I love this other child less, but because I find the proposed surgery to be morally and ethically problematic.  I would be sure to to explain that to this other child, and I would anticipate that this other child would understand.

As a father, I am willing to consider investing in a child's start-up business pertaining to, say, digital marketing.  However, if another of my children asked me to consider investing in their start-up marijuana business, I would decline.  Not because I love this other child less, but because I find the business of selling marijuana to be morally and ethically problematic.  I would be sure to to explain that to this other child, and I would anticipate that this other child would understand.

So I guess I have a hard time with your scenario.  The child is an adult.  Even if he is not an observant member of the Church, surely he would not be oblivious to the potential problem in asking/expecting his observantly-Latter-day-Saint parents to pay for, or celebrate, or endorse, or otherwise support, an event or activity that he knows they find morally problematic.

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And they would not be wrong for this feeling.

How do you know?

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We all have to live our lives and live with the consequences of our decisions. 

This has a rather weird vibe to it.  "Hey, nice familial relationship you have there.  Sure would be a pity if something happened to it."

"Pay for my same-sex wedding, even though you find it morally problematic.  If you don't, it means you don't love me.  We all have to live our lives and live with the consequences of our decisions."

"Pay for my elective abortion, even though you find it morally problematic.  If you don't, it means you don't love me.  We all have to live our lives and live with the consequences of our decisions."

"Pay for my startup marijuana business, even though you find it morally problematic.  If you don't, it means you don't love me.  We all have to live our lives and live with the consequences of our decisions."

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Quote

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

You quoted it in your post. He gives the answer that individuals should seek inspiration, but in his opinion “most” would not allow a partner in the home. “Some” might allow it, but with significant caveats including one not to be dealt with in a public situation. Notably absent (but not expressly forbidden) is an unequivocal welcome into the home and family activities such as Elder Christoffersen’s brother experienced with his partner. 

Oh, brother.  "Notably absent (but not expressly forbidden)" is your gloss.

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Thanks for providing the full text. When we hear Elder Oaks preach love for LGBTQ people we need to remember this is the context of how it looks. 

Indeed.  

People who truly love each other do not (or, at least, should not) use that love to coerce or manipulate family members into supporting, either financially or otherwise, behavior which the family members find morally problematic.

I hope you are not tacitly suggesting a contrary perspective.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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4 minutes ago, pogi said:

That's a good question that I think has yet to play out.  I am guessing it is a little of all three but curious to see how he will proceed from here.  This might be a little revealing:

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 I have also seen the human intentions in the history of weaponizing the religion. The religion also taught me that queerness, is a mental illness, is vile, or simply does not exist. I learned this explicitly from the pulpit, and implicitly through the actions of members of my congregation. A lot of people say that the doctrine is inclusive, or, if it isn’t now, that it could be. Someday… if people would just be a little bit more Christlike… if the leaders would just be a bit more inspired… if god would change his mind. I still hope for a day when the radical free spirit of the Church will be rekindled and shakes off the rust. Maybe someday, the religion will change. For me, waiting for that day was like standing on a glacier and hoping that it would melt before I froze. That is to say, the conflict and tension of the predicament were artificial, a false dichotomy. Those weren’t my only options.

I took this to be a very individually subjective expression and opinion, as are the contents of the rest of the letter, which is consistent with his upbringing to share "I think" statements. It seems he is speaking of all three (organization, religion, culture).

I think that any Church-centric LGBTQ advocate worth their salt should include the asexual and the aromantic in their concerns over reconciling sexuality with doctrine (i.e., What is the asex’ and aroms’ responsibility toward temple marriage? What was their identity in pre-mortality, and in the resurrection?). The effective advocate in the coming day and age will need as broad a conceptualization of the children of God as do the administrators of the keys and covenants so that no one niche can be left out.

In my opinion, true inclusiveness does not require ever-increasing specification and labeling of finer and finer mortal challenges.

 

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26 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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Phrases like "speaking truth to power" and "I can't sit on the sidelines any more" are some hints.

Publicly badmouthing the Church ("When they said everyone was worth saving and actually meant it?") was a hint.

It's not like we haven't seen this before.  Kate Kelly, Bill Reel.  Sam Young.  

If Matthew Gong is merely speaking honestly about the world as he sees it, why in view should this be seen “burning bridges” anymore than Elder Gong speaking honestly about the world as he sees it?

I didn't say say his letter "burned bridges."  I was speaking prospectively.  Hoping that he won't burn bridges in the future.

And I wasn't speaking about Elder Gong, so it's sort of weird that you keep bringing him up in relation to my comments.

26 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I assume that Elder Gong views himself as a watchman on a hill required to teach a message regardless of how the world might view it. So why is one burning bridges but not the other?

Again, I wasn't speaking about Elder Gong.

26 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Given the tenor of Matthew’s post, with respect this is far from their only point of disagreement.

Meh.  I'm not inclined to speculate that much.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

However a child is also entitled to feel less loved when his parents pay thousands of dollars for siblings weddings and none for theirs.

I don't think entitled is the correct term because it seems to assume he is right about this when it may be far from the truth.  If the issue for the parents is they believe the marriage would be harmful to their child, then it may be an act of great love to risk separation from their child in hopes their action will 'wake them up' to the consequences of their choices.

I remember feeling 'less than' in some ways and still do because of different treatment (including being willing to drop everything to rescue my sisters, but not me when I asked and another situation where they spent thousands of dollars paying for alternative treatments for my sister's health, but not mine at that time), but even as a teen it was never to me because my parents loved me less, but rather they didn't understand me and my needs (I wasn't as dramatic as my siblings in expressing myself and they didn't seem to understand my siblings anymore than me, my parents just saw their needs as more urgent than mine I believe from their behaviour), which still hurt a great deal, especially when it registered they weren't really listening to me, but listening to their expectations of me.  But it was never about questioning their love even when I saw them making sacrifices for others they didn't make for me.

Now do I think many kids in that situation of perceived and actual inequality will feel less love?  I have no doubt about that, but I don't believe they are always entitled to do so and I think describing it that way may lead to greater misunderstandings between parents and children, so better not to use that term imo.

Edited by Calm
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On 11/10/2019 at 3:45 PM, california boy said:

The truth part is God may exist or may not exist.  The answer to that question is not an absolute truth.

Only if you are looking at this from your own personal perspective--a person can insist that their own 'truths' are relative, but in reality---truth exists outside of each of us.   But, if you look at this question of whether or not God exists, from outside yourself, it is either true or false.  Either he exists or he does not exist.  We shall all find out the truth one day. 

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4 minutes ago, alter idem said:

Only if you are looking at this from your own personal perspective--a person can insist that their own 'truths' are relative, but in reality---truth exists outside of each of us.   But, if you look at this question of whether or not God exists, from outside yourself, it is either true or false.  Either he exists or he does not exist.  We shall all find out the truth one day. 

The truth is that yes God does exist, and we are it.  Or if by "God" you are referring to our Father, and not simply our kind of being, then the answer to that question is yes, too. Better to find out for yourself rather than just take my word for it but my answer is true, nonetheless, and if you don't know already then yes someday you will find out, or actually remember, what this experience was all about and how well you did, or didn't do, while you were here.

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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

People who truly love each other do not (or, at least, should not) use that love to coerce or manipulate family members into supporting, either financially or otherwise, behavior which the family members find morally problematic.

@smac97  From one litigator (Skadden, Arps) to another I invite you to consider that your penchant for advocacy often gets in the way of acknowledging and building upon common ground.  

When Jesus identified the human characteristics of eternal worth, peacemaking made the short list.

So instead of pointing out how the above statement, along with a number of others you made have some obvious shortcomings you’d likely rebut rather than concede were they pointed out to you, I will instead invite all of us to remember: Blessed are the peacemakers.

Godspeed to you.

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7 hours ago, smac97 said:

I'm glad we established that.  To be candid, this point did not seem very "obvious." 

But it's not just about paying for stuff.  I asked: "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?"

Obviously not.

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What are your thoughts about this?

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's decision to have an elective abortion?  

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's decision to have gender reassignment surgery?  

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's start-up marijuana business?

Is a Latter-day Saint parent also entitled to not support / endorse / celebrate his child's attendance at the Folsom Street Fair?

Entitled to all of the above

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It appears that you are trying to make this a "gay" thing.  A Mormon-parents-are-free-to-hate-their-gay-children kind of thing.  However, if you concede that a Latter-day Saint father is entitled to decline to support / endorse / celebrate behavior which the father finds morally problematic, then singling out "a gay son or daughter's wedding" becomes a bit of a distraction.

The child, being an adult, should be capable of understanding material and reasonable differences.

Okay. Let's take money off the table too. It is a distraction as well.

 

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As a father, I am willing to pay for my son's medical treatment for his celiac disease and bipolar disorder.  I would not, however, be willing to pay for another child's gender reassignment surgery or abortion.  Not because I love this other child less, but because I find the proposed surgery to be morally and ethically problematic.  I would be sure to to explain that to this other child, and I would anticipate that this other child would understand.

As a father, I am willing to consider investing in a child's start-up business pertaining to, say, digital marketing.  However, if another of my children asked me to consider investing in their start-up marijuana business, I would decline.  Not because I love this other child less, but because I find the business of selling marijuana to be morally and ethically problematic.  I would be sure to to explain that to this other child, and I would anticipate that this other child would understand.

So I guess I have a hard time with your scenario.  The child is an adult.  Even if he is not an observant member of the Church, surely he would not be oblivious to the potential problem in asking/expecting his observantly-Latter-day-Saint parents to pay for, or celebrate, or endorse, or otherwise support, an event or activity that he knows they find morally problematic.

Let me try again. Imagine the following scenerio. It is 1944. A faithful Southern Baptist family firmly believes that inter-racial marriage is wrong. They have a daughter who decides to marry a black man. The parents tell the daughter that they will take no part in the wedding, and will not allow their son-in-law in their home as they don't want to imply consent or approval to a union that they view as immoral. The parents have strong moral leanings. They really believe that they are doing the right thing. They are genuinely concerned that associating with their son-in-law and their (the daughter and son-in-law) clearly immoral beliefs (from the parent's perspective) will send the wrong message to society and will enable their behavior.

Let's now consider the daughter. She strongly believes that her parents views are not just wrong, but immoral. She marches in civil rights parades. After she weds her husband, she is genuinely concerned that associating with her parents with their clearly immoral beliefs (from her perspective) will send the wrong message to society and will enable their behavior. Not only that, she worries that associating with her parents without her spouse, will damage the relationship that she values more than any other in her life. 

Who is burning bridges here? Who is wrong? Is it wrong for the daughter to refuse to associate with her parents? If she loved them wouldn't she accept their beliefs that she grew up with and not ask them to do something they saw as immoral? What about the parents? Is it wrong for them to refuse to associate with the daughter and her partner? If they loved them wouldn't they accept their beliefs that she strongly and genuinely holds? 

Matthew Gong has genuine, strongly held views that he views are moral. Elder Gong has genuine, strongly held views that he views are moral. Since many of these views will be opposing, I object to your characterization (at least my understanding of your position) that a potential falling out between him and his father would be due to Matthew burning bridges. 

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How do you know?

This has a rather weird vibe to it.  "Hey, nice familial relationship you have there.  Sure would be a pity if something happened to it."

"Pay for my same-sex wedding, even though you find it morally problematic.  If you don't, it means you don't love me.  We all have to live our lives and live with the consequences of our decisions."

I find this problematic indeed, but it is the mirror image of Elder Oaks "Please don't put us in that position." That is Elder Oaks seems to say, if the child loves and respects the parents they will acquiesce and not bring their partner so as not to put them in a difficult situation. Both are problematic.  

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People who truly love each other do not (or, at least, should not) use that love to coerce or manipulate family members into supporting, either financially or otherwise, behavior which the family members find morally problematic.

What about manipulating a family member to leave the most important person in their life behind? If your parents were opposed to your union, expressly forbade you from coming to their home with your spouse and your children would you visit? If you did, how do you think your spouse and children would feel? Would you feel like you were being manipulated in anyway? My whole point is that it is a two way street. That is what Elder Oaks fails to grasp. The idea that you should have to leave the most important part of your life behind in order to see your parents is just as manipulative as its opposite. 

 

 

 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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8 hours ago, smac97 said:

Phrases like "speaking truth to power" and "I can't sit on the sidelines any more" are some hints.

President Nelson recently stated:

“In doing so, sometimes we are accused of being uncaring as we teach the Father’s requirements for exaltation in the celestial kingdom.  But wouldn’t it be far more uncaring for us not to tell the truth—not to teach what God has revealed?

It is precisely because we do care deeply about all of God’s children that we proclaim His truth.  We may not always tell people what they want to hear. Prophets are rarely popular. But we will always teach the truth!”

Is he burning bridges or telling the truth as he sees it (even telling truth to power given how small the church is in the world)? He’s certainly not sitting on the sidelines. Don’t you think Elder Gong would speak similarly?

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Publicly badmouthing the Church ("When they said everyone was worth saving and actually meant it?") was a hint.

And people that engage in homosexual behavior are committing abominations, their lifestyle is counterfeit, etc etc. Again why is it burning bridges for Matthew to speak the truth as he sees it, but not for church leaders who speak the truth as they see it. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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3 hours ago, let’s roll said:

@smac97  From one litigator (Skadden, Arps) to another I invite you to consider that your penchant for advocacy often gets in the way of acknowledging and building upon common ground.  

When Jesus identified the human characteristics of eternal worth, peacemaking made the short list.

So instead of pointing out how the above statement, along with a number of others you made have some obvious shortcomings you’d likely rebut rather than concede were they pointed out to you, I will instead invite all of us to remember: Blessed are the peacemakers.

Godspeed to you.

The "shortcomings," if any, in this and other statements on this thread from smac are neither obvious nor self-evident.

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7 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

The "shortcomings," if any, in this and other statements on this thread from smac are neither obvious nor self-evident.

To whom?  😊

 Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Godspeed to you as well Scott. 

 

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35 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

To whom?  😊

 Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Godspeed to you as well Scott. 

 

I think the question could be turned back on you. You're the one who is claiming "obvious shortcomings."

Being poor in spirit does not amount to capitulating to error.

And Godspeed to you as well. 

---------

I like your proper use of the object form whom. Well done!

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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14 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. 

If by the above you are admitting you don't really believe that "the majority" of President Oaks's talks "focus on" gay people, but that you were exaggerating for rhetorical effect (the definition of hyperbole), I acknowledge and welcome your clarification.

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President Oaks involvement on the subject goes far beyond conference talks, if that is all you are looking at.

I said "published talks" and included in that his talks in other settings beyond general conference. And his talks are not all I'm considering, no, but I was responding to your assertion that "the majority" of his "talks" focus on gays. It's that assertion that I was challenging. 

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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. 

It has been noted here by others that President Oaks seems to be something of the "point man" for the Brethren on this topic. I don't think that warrants hostile criticism of him. I'm glad for it, in fact. He is an intelligent and wise man, and his talents are sorely needed on such a sensitive issue.

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Also, you can't simply skim through the titles of his conference talks to determine if it is about homosexuals or not. ... So, you really have to look beyond the title. 

Oh, I fully recognize this. It goes without saying, doesn't it? (My youngest son might say, "Thank you, Captain Obvious.") But even granting that, his talks focusing on gays still don't come anywhere near being the "majority." 

And at this point, I'm a bit confused. I thought you had acknowledged above that your assertion amounted to hyperbole, yet here you seem to be defending it as though you meant it to be taken literally.

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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.

Again, this doesn't strike me as all that remarkable, nor does it make President Oaks ripe for criticism.  

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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

 

See above regarding him being the "point man."

But on this point, I don't know how much stock you can put in a crowd-sourced reference like Wikipedia, where anybody and his dog is free to add to or edit the entry. If President Oaks, as you have intimated, is regarded by many as the bogeyman of the Church with regard to LGBT issues, it is not unreasonable to surmise that some of that attitude at large regarding him would be reflected in this crowd-sourced entry.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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