Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective
1) President Packer's general conference talk 2)The recentrash of suicidesby 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 untilHomosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspectivewas 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 beforecommitting suicideon 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."
You may be touched and learn some things you had never considered about same-sex marriage and homosexuality in the LDS church.
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.
- Tworeviewsfrom 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.