By request, I reproduce my comment responding to the 7 December BYU Student Review article, LDS Church launches site on homosexuality.
"I deeply appreciated official comments from both Elder Oaks:
is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and
families understand how to deal with same gender attraction.”
and Elder Christofferson:
only real hope in addressing these very sensitive and difficult issues
is that we are civil and listen to one another and try to understand.”
comments reflect a commitment to empathy that we would all do well to
adopt. Saying “One thing that’s always important is to recognize the
feelings of a person, that they are real, that they are authentic, that
we don’t deny that someone feels a certain way” reflects a connection to
the lived experiences of gay Mormons. Last, emphasizing the theme of
“stay with us” serves as an important reminder to LGBT members of the
love and concern Church members and leaders have for LGBT Mormons.
Elder Christofferson and Elder Oaks missed two very crucial points: (1)
the value of romantic homosexual relationships, and (2) the moral
equivalence of same-sex and opposite-sex romantic relationships.
one point, Elder Christofferson states that homosexual behavior “can
never be anything but transgression.” I wonder exactly what would he
would classify as homosexual behavior, out of this list?
-Getting up early to make breakfast for your partner, even though you hate early mornings
-Staying home from work, even though there’s an important deliverable, because your partner is sick
-Having sex with your partner
-Sending your partner flowers at work
-Scrubbing the toilet, even though it’s not your favorite, because you know your partner likes things clean
-Waiting at the halfway mark with a “Go Christy” sign at her marathon
of these are homosexual behaviors, just as their equivalents are all
heterosexual behaviors. To reduce one’s romantic relationships to
genital contact is akin to equating marriage as nothing more than the
sum of sexual interactions between the spouses. This failure to grasp
the value of homosexual behavior is the most glaring flaw in Elder
Christofferson’s remarks. Romantic homosexual relationships, like
romantic heterosexual relationships, add incredible value to the lives
of the gay people who constitute them and to society generally.
addition to failing to acknowledge the value of homosexual
relationships of themselves, both Elder Oaks and Elder Christofferson
fail to acknowledge the moral equivalence of same-sex and opposite-sex
romantic relationships. Empirically, the outcomes of these relationships
are equivalent: but our scriptures additionally teach us that all are
alike unto God, male and female. There is no revealed test in the
standard works which tells us how to tell a spiritual male from a
spiritual female; instead we presumptively rely on a man-made Outward
Appearance Test that in turn depends on the external length of a
person’s genital tubercle at birth. (By the way: the clitoris and penis
are about the same length: one is just bifurcated and largely internal,
the other merged and external).
our theology really shallow enough that it draws conclusions about
spiritual attributes (sex) based on body shape (genitals), as it once
drew conclusions about spiritual attributes (pre-mortal valiance) based
on body color (black skin)? It is high time to depart from these onerous
“philosophies of anatomy, mingled with scripture” and acknowledge the
equality of all people before God.
In addition to being incapable of
dealing with the reality of intersexed persons, Elder Oaks and Elder
Christofferson’s adherence to the biological category of sex fails to
recognize that _how_ two romantic partners treat one another is far more
morally significant than the number of penises in the couple."