Sunday, October 24, 2010

Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective

1)      President Packer's general conference talk
2)      The recent rash of suicides by gay teens across the country, accompanying “It Gets Better Project,” and current suffering of my homosexually oriented brothers and sisters
3)      My heart tells me to release it sooner than later

These are the reasons why I am releasing my book now.  I preferred to wait until Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective was groomed and edited further; however, I think now is the time.  This book is destined to relieve some of the suffering of my homosexual brothers and sisters, though I don’t yet know by how much- so why keep it on my hard drive while I spend months making minor improvements?  Stuart Matis, shortly before committing suicide on the steps of an LDS chapel on February 25, 2000 in Los Altos, California, wrote to his family: 

“Perhaps my death ... might become the catalyst for much good. I'm sure that you will now be strengthened in your resolve to teach the members and the leaders regarding the true nature of homosexuality. My life was actually killed many years ago. Your actions might help to save many young people's lives." 

So here it is- my 230+ page, 600+ endote magnum opus to date, in raw .docx and .pdf form google doc:

Watch it on youtube:

You may be touched and learn some things you had never considered about same-sex marriage and homosexuality in the LDS church. 

-Bradley Carmack

Summary: The book has two parts: 1) homosexuality (chapters 1-3) and 2) same-sex marriage (chapters 4-7). 

In chapter 1, I argue that church members should have great compassion for homosexually oriented members of the church because of the personal difficulties they experience as a result of their orientation and how the Mormon community typically responds to that orientation.  I quote a number of studies and give voice to the experiences of many LDS homosexually oriented people. 

In chapter 2, I explore causation, detailing both the religious voice and the scientific consensus.  Elder Oaks noted how appropriate this type of an inquiry is: "The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on."  I detail 60 statements by church leaders on what causes homosexuality.  On the scientific side, I discuss 32 separate subjects to juxtapose two opposing hypotheses for the causation of homosexual orientation: 1) biological factors such as genes and pre-natal hormones, and 2) factors such as infection, molestation, and choice.  Some examples of the evidence addressed: homosexual men have, on average, measurably and significantly different ratios of the second to fourth digit of their hands than their heterosexual counterparts.  The anterior commissure of their brains is gender shifted away from the heterosexual male norm and toward the heterosexual female norm.  Their limb:trunk ratio is similarly gender-shifted, as is their performance on visio-spatial tasks, third interstitial nucleus (a region of the brain thought to be directive of male-type sexual behavior) size and density, left:right brain hemisphere ratio, brain response to sex pheromones, cochlear sound production, thalamic response to female faces, verbal abilities, physical aggressiveness, expressiveness, and childhood gender conformity to name just a few. 

In chapter 3 I examine how changeable sexual orientation is by considering relevant church doctrines and looking at the empirical evidence on both sides.

In chapter 4 I show why homosexuals can reproduce, contrary to popular belief, and note that they are no different from inherently infertile heterosexual couples as to their reproductive capacity. 

In chapter 5 I show why there may be some good moral reasons to support LDS same-sex marriage.  For instance, I show how important family is to mortal experience and point out that celibacy does not provide a family experience, while same-sex marriage does.  

Chapter 6 contains rebuttals to common anti- same-sex marriage arguments, many of which are deeply flawed.

Chapter 7 applies Elder Oaks's recent speech on the Constitution.  Many church members have said that Judge Walker should not have heard the Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Prop 8) case, but instead should have let the voice of the people of California decide the matter.  I show why this view is antithetical to our constitutional system of governance. 

In closing, I explain my motivations for writing and make invitations to the reader.


- QSaltLake's cover story reviewed the book (
- The book was treated favorably by Pride in Utah during an interview podcast (

- gave a positive review of the online ( and YouTube ( versions of my book
- gave a positive review (
- Dr. Steven Peck, science editor of Dialogue, advised me to try and publish the book (I am his Teacher's Assistant).  Dr. Duane Jeffrey, Dr. Byron Adams, Dr. Bill Bradshaw, and Dr. Daniel Fairbanks, all previous or
current BYU professors, have made comments as to either the significance and/or positive value of the book.
- Librarians at both BYU and UVU have spoken positively of the book
- Mormon Transhumanist Association president and Orem resident Lincoln Cannon gave a positive review

- Qtalk Arizona's review was highly complimentary (
-  J. Seth Anderson gave a positive review (

 - Two reviews from local individuals (both coincidentally named Jonathan):

“The book is worth a read for the ideas you haven't thought through before, and a skim for the parts that you already know well. The personal accounts are moving and thoughtfully chosen to illustrate important considerations for Latter-day Saints in regards to their interactions with homosexuals. The summaries of scientific research are put together in a logical way, with descriptions that appear to be mostly accessible to the lay reader without losing accuracy… Thanks for this, Brad. I'm frankly embarrassed by how uninformed I was regarding homosexuality.”
- Straight LDS member, October 2010

“I LOVED your response to the atonement argument... The best part is that it felt like truth! It resounded with my own experiences and struggles and my own journey with faith and testimony. I had been trying to use the atonement in a way that it was-n't meant for. I was begging to be cured. But now that I have accepted who I am and what that will mean for me, the atonement HAS healed me. I went from the spiritually, emotionally dead person trying to change something core to himself, spending all my energy and time trying to "fix" myself, to a person who has come to love who he is and has been spiritually awakened with a new and greater understanding of God and excitement for life! And just like when Lehi partook of the white fruit, my immediate reaction was to reach out and share what I had found with others in my situation. Wow- thank you for your clear and thoughtful response.
It is funny how your description of a typical homosexually oriented LDS person's experience matches with mine to a T. I am so happy that you have chosen to speak out. It means a lot coming from a straight member of the  church.”
-Homosexually oriented LDS member, October 2010

Organizations that have bought and/or carry it:
Orem Public Library
Salt Lake City Public Library
Meridian Idaho Public Libary
Libraries of BYU, BYU Law, Salt Lake Community College, UVU, USU, and U of U
BYU Bookstore (sold out)
Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore (SLC)
Benchmark Books (SLC)

Brad Carmack is in his last year of the JD/MPA program at BYU. He majored in Biology, performed clerk assignments for Justice Joel Horton of the Idaho Supreme Court, and is currently a teacher’s assistant for Human Resources Law and Bioethics. Brad also regularly participates in USGA [Understanding Same Gender Attraction], an unsponsored BYU student talk group. 


  1. Brad -

    I got your comment on my blog; I'll need to read your book (I'll make time tonight... who sleeps anyway?) before I consider posting it for my readers.

    As far as publishing on controversial topics to the world in a short period of time, I have a huge testimony of the editing process and its importance. I'll try to give you as much feedback as possible as soon as I can.

  2. Brad:

    This is Mormon Guy, from

    I read your book. And cried. The pain, anger, and hatred that you've channeled from hundreds and thousands of my brothers and sisters makes my insides twist.

    You've done your homework. You know the references that all of us (we being those who live with same-sex attraction) have read and memorized, and the pamphlets we've kept on our bookshelves. You've found the same psychological and biological studies, even attended the same lectures and read from the same online blogs. Your background in a JD program shows through as you clearly show each piece of referenced evidence in the case.

    I can see the passion in your writing. The righteous indignation behind the power in condemnation of those who have written or said assuming or arrogant things against us. The sleepless nights in reading page after page of study and press conference and archived talks and letters.

    And yet, ultimately, from my perspective as a Mormon who has lived with this all my life, being totally and completely truthful, your book is the most depressing composition I've read since I was 16 and almost killed myself because of SSA. From your introduction and summary, I was expecting an equally balanced outline of the issues currently at hand, along with doctrinal clarifications of each at the end. Instead, I found page after page of evidences that living in the Church, being attracted to other men, and being happy is impossible. Your entire book claims that I can't be happy by living the principles of the gospel, just because I'm attracted to men - that right now I am living a lie and have only three honest options (1) kill myself, (2) be promiscuous, (3) live in a monogamous gay relationship.

    Part of me wants to lash out in anger - to wonder how you could have the audacity to take this position when you don't understand what it's like to be one of us. To try to dash the hopes of tens of thousands of young men and women who truthfully and honestly believe that God will fulfill His promises to them - to live happy and fulfilled lives - in this life. Your book claims that accusations against us - saying that our condition is inherently damning - is what causes depression and suicide. By compiling all of your evidences and stories of hatred, anger, and suicide, that is what you have done.

    But most of me can see, somewhere behind your bitter sarcasm and fierce anger, a brother who is in pain... and just wants to be understood.

    I don't know you, Brad. We've never met. I probably don't even know anyone who knows you. But know that I care about you, and that love really does exist in the hearts of members of the Church. Yes, we aren't perfect, but together we grow... and together we come closer to Christ.

    I don't know if you or a good friend has struggled with same-sex attraction. When I first began reading your book, I wondered if you did and this was a pre-emptive strike at coming out to the world. I haven't asked the Lord for that information. If you do, then know that it is possible to live a happy, fulfilled live, be attracted to other men, and be a completely faithful member of the Church. I know that it's possible, because I've seen it in my own life. If you don't live with the struggle, but have seen others, still know that it is possible. The world teaches that true happiness by following the teachings of the prophets and the principles of the gospel is impossible as someone with SSA... but happiness is possible, no matter who you are. And true happiness only comes by living the principles of the gospel.

  3. ...

    In the last few weeks I've been able to see major influences in the LDS/SSA world, and be a major influence. Thousands of people read what I write each day; I've been invited to write for newspaper columns and appear on TV. Men and women with same-sex attraction write me hundreds of personal comments - many more than I publish on my blog - telling me about how the message I share has brought them hope, peace, happiness, and joy in a world full of darkness, anger, and pain. And those who don't struggle with it have a newfound hope, love, and understanding for their brothers.

    In my opinion, and from my perspective as a stalwart Latter-day Saint who has lived with this trial all my life, this book is not what we need. While the stories are true, and the evidences clear, this book focuses on the negative, without a hope for light in the darkness. Essentially, my reading of it said the Church needs to change or else we will be permanently unhappy inside it - with no other alternatives. I do not doubt your sincerity in writing it, or the need that the world has to accomplish your motives - to increase understanding and love. But I would suggest rewriting many sections with a different tone - telling the good news of the gospel instead of a constant story of damnation.

    As it is, I cannot suggest that any of my readers read it; the tone doesn't match the message that I stand for - that living by the gospel of Jesus Christ brings happiness, fulfillment, and peace, no matter who you are or what your circumstance. The Atonement is truly infinite and eternal - men and women with SSA included.

    Thank you for being willing to be a voice in the discussion Brad. I care about you, and I want you to be at peace with this issue, your conscience, and the things you've learned. I know that you can live all the principles taught by the Church and be happy...

    If you have questions, I'd love to talk... just post a comment on my blog. I don't publish them until after I've read them.

    Mormon Guy

  4. Brad - We can definitely maintain a dialogue. I'm glad to hear that you believe that living a happy, faithful life is possible… even more though, I'm relieved that you have a testimony of the Church and the gospel. So many people have lost their testimonies in this battle…

    At the same time, as I read your book, I truly felt that the tone of your manuscript was at times antagonistic and sometimes even hostile towards the Church, its members, and its doctrines… and I was honest when I said I also found it depressing… but perhaps more because it brought back painful memories of my life years ago.

    I can feel that you really want to help, Brad… and I think that you may have the ability to do so. The information you've compiled, if we can shape it in such a way that it will best affect the people who read it, has the ability to be remarkable. My greatest suggestion, then, in order to help your audience understand your intentions, what you believe, and how they can improve as a result of your book, would be to find a way to incorporate a more optimistic and faithful tone.

    Your book was written to faithful members of the Church - men and women who truly believe in God and believe what the prophets say… and who have simply never experienced the pain of same-sex attraction. Yes, the information you have is relevant and powerful. And some of it needs to be shared with the world. Sharing it in the right way is incredibly important - and, in many cases, is the difference between engendering strife and encouraging love and discussion. I'm not saying you need to dumb-down your message, or even change it. Once you are able to refine it in a way that others will read it without putting up massive guards and interpreting it is a threat to their faith… then you'll have a greater ability to open the door to communication on all sides.

  5. I guess I wasn't as open minded as I thought I was. I got to your p. 110 & read #11 of your 20 Reasons - about Eschatology where you asked: "What rational man in the Church would entertain even for a minute the idea of dating this woman [a widow who was sealed to someone else] when he could instead marry someone he would be with for eternity?"
    There are numerous examples of such men. I know of one who married a young widow & had offspring with her and who later served as a Temple President. There have been others; Bishops; etc. Are they, therefore, irrational, by your characterisation? "We got crazies running our temples! Our wards!"
    Sorry, Brad. I think you should have waited to publish your book. A long time.... a very long time.

    Mondo Cool

  6. I personally believe in the Article of Faith that God will "yet reveal many great and important things", and I am open to the possibility that future revelation may touch on LGBT issues.

    I do think mormon guy has a legitimate point that there are a number of LGBT members who choose to live a celibate life and find fulfillment with the LDS Church. Perhaps the paper could be expanded to address that point.

    On the other hand, God programmed human beings in such a way that generally speaking, "it is not good for [hu]man[s] to be alone." I do not throw stones at those of my LGBT brothers and sisters inside or outside of my faith community who choose to live in a committed relationships rather than a lifetime alone. As a Mormon, I understand I am to love everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, whether celibate or noncelibate.

  7. I have been in contact with Mormon Guy, and appreciate his thoughtful and caring approach.

    @Anonymous/Mondo Cool - I think you may have missed the purposeful irony in that section. I agree with you that there clearly are rational men that would marry the young widow. The point is that for the same reason it is also rational to encourage other forms of marriage that are less than ideal and/or have an uncertain afterlife situation for those whose circumstances don't allow for the ideal.

    That's cool you got all the way to page 110 though! I'm sorry you got turned off when you did.

  8. I would like to know what causes heterosexuality? What are the biological, endocrinological, genetic and hormonal influences that might cause someone to suffer from OSGA (Opposite Gender Attraction). Once we understand, how that happens, then we can better explain SGA (Same Gender Attraction).

  9. Brad Carmack: I started reading your book online and am waiting to pick it up at the library. I am very touched that a young LDS man active in the Church and a student at BYU has risked his relationships with his family, friends, and supervisors, as well as his entire life, in order to write this book. I am also planning on writing a book about this...a fictional book, though...and I've been planning on writing it for years. I am grateful that you had a brave heart and was willing to share this with everyone. Thank you!


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