Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Carol Lynn Pearson Is Wrong: Gay And Lesbian Mormons Are Not "Heroes" Just Because They're Gay

The Salt Lake Tribune is pushing another pro-gay book by Carol Lynn Pearson, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pearson has just published her fourth — and possibly final — book on the topic, "The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon". The book will not be available in stores, so you'll have to order it through her website. She permits people to read the first three chapters for free.

Pearson's premise is that gay Mormons should view their sexuality as an essential and valued gift rather than as a defect. Her book has already received a number of favorable reviews; one gay Mormon wrote "Wow -- to take the hero's perspective on this subject -- brilliant, and true! I found myself thinking back on my own steps, venturing out, facing my fears, killing some of them. Thanks for giving me this great lens to look through." Another quote attributable to an unnamed LDS leader; "...I like that you acknowledge that there are several paths that gay people in the Church may choose to follow -- and that each is deserving of respect".

Obviously, it's not a bad thing if gay Mormons are given a boost of self-esteem, considering that 95 percent of humanity is straight. But there is only one path that a gay Mormon can follow that will permit the person to retain membership in the Church -- CELIBACY. Church doctrine continues to require celibacy from all those who are not married, and Church doctrine continues to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. God may have created both Adam & Eve and Adam & Steve, but He only authorized Adam & Eve to be fruitful and multiply.

A gay person who is a celibate Mormon deserves credit for being willing to defer satisfaction of one of our most powerful fleshly appetites for the sake of future exaltation in the celestial kingdom. But that alone doesn't make the gay person a hero. Do we consider people with Asperger's Syndrome or manic-depressive syndrome or any other emotional disability to be heroes just because of their disability? Of course not. What makes them heroes is how they triumph over their disabilities -- as well as their other actions in life.

And while homosexuality alone is not evil, it is clearly a disability. I don't need a bunch of peer-reviewed scientific studies to figure this out. Since ninety-five percent of humanity directs their lust towards the opposite sex, this means the five percent who are gay direct their lust towards the same sex. This implies that gays have some emotional wiring crossed upstairs, no different than wiring up a light switch backwards so that it turns the light on when you flick it down rather than flicking it up. Perhaps closely-supervised reparation therapy could unlock the key to resolve the issue; too bad the state of California decided to play God and foreclose this option back in October 2012. LDS resources for gay Mormons are discussed HERE; two leading organizations offering LDS-themed reparative therapy include Evergreen International and North Star.

We do gay people just as much of a disservice by sugar-coating the issue as we do if we bash them for being gay. We owe gay people the truth -- even if that truth is sometimes unpleasant. I strongly suspect that a gay Mormon who can endure to the end during this life will end up ahead of most of us in the next world -- perhaps at the same level as someone who served as a General Authority in this life.

30 comments:

ScottH said...

Thank you so much for publishing this insightful piece. I can't believe that no one has used the "Adam and Steve" line before. I have to admit, that I "suffer" from same sex attraction. Until today, I thought that the only path to exaltation was monogamous gay sex. Now I realize that celibacy is a much better path, and that I should celibate regularly.

My only question is regarding celibacy... my understanding is that celibacy is defined as "fellatio performed in concert simultaneously with multiple parties". Do I have that right? If not, can you correct it? If so, is there a minimum/maximum that I should be aware of?

Porter said...

Its people like you, and opinions like this, that make me want to have nothing to do with the Mormon Church.

Anonymous said...

Scott - I'm glad to see that you get it. Yes, celibacy can be a difficult path, but it is the only path to true exaltation... unless you are straight, or can become straight. The realization of that blessing depends upon your worthiness.

Regarding the minimum or maximum number of people it takes to celibate, one should take into consideration issues of room capacity, hygiene and noise.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Porter. This post just goes to show how ignorant many in the LDS church still are regarding sexuality.

Brian said...

I'm going to have to disagree with ScottH and Anonymous (the 1st one). To suggest that celibacy means engaging in a sex act instead of refraining from a sex act, is absolutely preposterous.

Celibacy is like fasting, only in reverse. With fasting, you eat most of the time and only stop eating occasionally. With celibacy, you refrain from sex most of the time and only indulge occasionally. The period of indulgences should be market with certain ceremonies to denote their sacredness. The more devoted the ceremony, the more sacred the incelibate indulgence. I implore all gay people to thus practice celibacy.

ScottH said...

Brian, thanks for the clarification. Would the practice I discuss above be suitable for a cermonial indulgence in between period of celibacy?

Brian said...

ScottH - yes, that ceremony would be acceptable, provided that the participants are clothed in the robes of the holy celibacy and greet each other with the key signs and tokens of the true order of celibacy.

Nick said...

By your same logic, the fact that 99.999% of the world is not LDS means that being LDS is a disability, a flaw. Or that since the majority of the world's population are not Caucasian, having white skin is a disability. But being different than the majority is not sin, nor is is genetic corruption.

It is clear that you have absolutely no understanding of the experiences of LGBT mormons, or how little the LDS offers in the way of dealing with these issues. They have NO answers for LGBT mormons, they have almost no resources for parents with LGBT children and leave them to suffer in silence as well.

What Carol-Lynn offers is hope. And yes, triumphing over struggle is what defines a hero, but just because a gay person doesn't overcome their struggle in the way that you deem appropriate doesn't mean that they don't overcome, and that they aren't heroes.

For some, the mere fact that they have not yet taken their lives is a miracle.

If, as you seem to infer, you are such a devout LDS member, then stop adding insult to injury, stop throwing another rock on the backs of those struggle to keep their feet. Rather, why don't you mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort?

What Sister Pearson does is spend her life walking beside those that members like you have chosen to exile and shun, simply because you are uncomfortable with the issue. She wraps her arms around struggling LGBT people, rather than criticizing. She is one of the most wonderful human beings I have ever met because she centers her interactions with others on one basic rule: love others as yourself. And long after this post and your name have faded into cyberspace, her name will be remembered by thousands who found peace and healing through her work.

Meagan said...

I agree with Nick.
And the decision to excommunicate any member for any reason is not a decision that you have any say in. It is a decision that is made by the members' ecclesiastical leaders after much prayer and fasting. And things go wrong sometimes.
"LDS are not "perfect" just because they're LDS."
I am an active Mormon who is a lesbian. I am dating a wonderful woman and we go to church together, our bishop having no problem with our relationship. We obey the same rules that a heterosexual unmarried couple would have to.

I just have so many problems with so much of what you have written that my head feels ready to explode. You are completely ignorant and unempathetic as to what it is to be LGBT and LDS.

All you are unveiling in this blog post is your desire to "set people straight" and discredit a woman who is saving the lives of many gay and lesbian children of God. She is comforting those who stand in need of comfort while you kick them to the ground.

AdamW said...

Jack Mormon, if you have done any honest research of the side effects of reparative/conversion therapy (and there are only negative side effects, let that be clear), you would never even suggest it be used, even in a "controlled" or "supervised" environment.
I find it interesting, and somewhat contradictory, that you presume to tell other people how they should be living their life while you yourself describe yourself as a "Jack Mormon - which means I believe it, but don't practice all of it" (words taken directly from your profile). So please forgive me if I don't take your words to heart, seeing how not even you seem to live the standards of the LDS faith, yet you seem to know exactly how we all should conduct ourselves according to it.

Buddy said...

"two leading organizations offering LDS-themed reparative therapy include Evergreen International and North Star."

Didn't you get the memo? No mas reparative therapy at those groups:

"We're not a therapy organizion, we are a ministry organization" - Dave Pruden, President-Evergreen International, on Radio West, 11/27/12

Steven Frei, President of Northstar, "does not believe reparative therapy is necessary or effective in changing one’s sexual orientation" - SL Trib, 10/30/12

Aaron Sebright said...

As both an openly gay man and an active member of the LDS church, this article really hurts. You just told me that what I consider a sacred part of my nature, "is clearly a disability". http://www.apa.org/topics/sexuality/orientation.aspx . It is not a disability, and that needs to be made clear. And no person, gay or straight, "directs their lust" at a member of any sex. Love is so much more than sex, as any person in a committed relationship can tell you. And in all honesty, accepting that I am gay has enormously increased my capacity for love, acceptance and respect. I know what it feels like to be discriminated against, and I would never want someone else to feel that way.

Kurt Peterson said...

Vile--very vile. It makes me ill that you see a homosexual as a disabled individual. It's an extremely bigoted opinion. No different than considering a black man inferior to a white man because of the color of their skin. Oh wait--Mormons used to believe that too.

And you wonder why Gay men and women leave the church in droves.

Brittni said...

Your article would hold a little ground if you were a member of a stagnant-doctrine church, unfortunately you are not. The Church is ever changing it's doctrines, thoughts, beliefs, and practices. Whoever married you must have their wires crossed in their mind, just saying.

Jack Mormon said...

Meagan -- if you and your partner are obeying the same rules as a heterosexual couple, I fail to see what problems you have with this post.

By the way, isn't it a bit melodramatic to claim that Carol Lynn Pearson is "saving" lives? Firefighters, police officers, and doctors save lives. Intellectuals never save lives.

Jack Mormon said...

Kurt -- If you're so concerned about bigotry, why do you bring race into this discussion? Race and sexual orientation are two completely different factors.

Black men were denied the Priesthood until 1978 solely because of their ancestry, without regard to their behavior. Practicing gays can be denied Church membership because of their behavior.

Jack Mormon said...

Cathe -- I deleted your comment because it added nothing of value to the discussion. It wasn't even humorous.

At least some of the earlier commenters used humor to express their disagreement.

Jack Mormon said...

Buddy -- perhaps you ought to re-visit Evergreen's About Us Page, where they clearly state "Evergreen attests that individuals can overcome homosexual behavior and can diminish same-sex attraction, and is committed to assisting individuals who wish to do so." Sounds "reparative" to me.

But "reparative" doesn't necessarily just mean getting rid of SSA. In the case of Josh Weed, he's happily married to a woman despite SSA. This means reparative therapy can also including effectively managing SSA.

My real issue here is that the California State Legislature decided to outlaw all reparative therapy to minors without regard to its merits. There's a difference between regulating it, which is appropriate, vs. forbidding it, which is totalitarian.

Ben said...

Could it not be both a disability and a blessing? From my understanding, most disabilities are viewed by those who have them as blessings. Just a thought, not sure what others think.

Buddy said...

Weed, however, wasted no time condemning those who would use his story as a tool of fear and manipulation against gay people.
Look Jack - Josh Weed wants to tell you something!

"To people who share my story in such a dreadful way, I say, ‘Please stop!’ " Weed told conference attendees. "And if you ever hear my story being used against you, feel free to say to that person, ‘I heard the words out of Josh Weed’s own mouth not to use his story to pressure others.’ Doing so is the opposite of unconditional love."

SL Trib

KUATO said...

I'm amazed that the level of ignorance implied by a blog post like this: not only, apparently, is the average Mormon still unable to think of gay folks as having same feelings to love and cherish their partners, but this Mormon cannot at all appreciate that God has created some of his children this way, all through time, with these unchangeable aspects into mortal life where we are to find and bond ourselves to our loved ones. To believe that God would deliberately place some children into mortality with the intention that all the bonds they can create must be destroyed in the afterlife is to believe in a cruel, pathological God.

No, the Plan of Happiness is for all of God's children and I look forward to that further light and knowledge.

Jack Mormon said...

Ben -- I agree with your assessment. It is a disability that, if handled properly, can become a blessing, the magnitude of which will not be fully experienced until the next life. This makes it a test of faith.

Jack Mormon said...

KUATO: I suggest your understanding of the plan of salvation and exaltation nay be deficient. Bonds knitted between humans in this life will not be destroyed in the next life.

However, marriage is still defined as between just one man and one woman. Thus gay marriage is clearly contrary to the will of God. This is not like the Priesthood ban against blacks; there was always a scriptural promise that it would be lifted someday.

No such scriptural promise is given regarding homosexuality, so far as I know. I don't completely rule it out, of course, but I think it most unlikely that the President of the Church will ever get a revelation authorizing gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

I am a gay man. I am NOT defective. I am loved unconditionally by the eternal God of Heaven and Earth. I am a radiant, creative, loving spirit being of light. I will own my voice and I will be my contribution--no matter what other's may think or say. Peace, love and light to all.
--Greg D.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some portion of your post and some I do not. First off, I do not believe that my experiencing Same Gender Attraction makes me defective nor does it make me a hero. Rather I see myself as having these feelings, and I do not have to remain celibate in this life. Through my work in North Star (one of the groups you have mentioned), I have come to accept myself and the feelings that I experience because I do see them as both a blessing and a trial in my life. Having to experience and figure out life with these feelings has made it possible for me to understand so many other kinds of people around me and help them.

I believe that by accepting myself and recognize that I have this attraction/this desire that I can begin to find ways to turn them over to Christ and develop positive , very non-sexual relationships with the same-sex that will ultimately appease my sexual desires as I do not focus on the sexual. To often in the world today, do we focus on the sexual and let that take over every aspect of our lives, especially those of us who experience SGA. However, as I have sought to develop friendships and ultimately rely on Christ, I have begun to experience feelings for the opposite-sex. I believe that this is something Heavenly Father gave to me to use to learn and grow and ultimately help others. This is not something I chose or developed but rather it is something that I am meant to experience from the day I was born, and I am finding ways to accept myself, be happy now and in preparation for the eternities, and live exactly as Heavenly Father would have me live.

KUATO said...

Jack Mormon,

No, in many states, and soon many more states, marriage is defined as an agreement between two people.

And yes, I agree with you. All the bonds we make are to continue through our lives.

That's why I agree with Joseph Smith:

"Use a little Craftiness & seal all you can & when you get to heaven tell your father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven."

Joseph was for sealing up everyone to everyone, as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

Well,

People with Asperger's Syndrome are not defective individuals, they're not that bad to know either. In fact, such people do pretty much everything. Part of how I know this is because I am someone with Asperger's Syndrome, yeah, sure I view the world and comprehend things differently. It also sounds like Jack has some insight when he writes this considering that plenty of people like me have a problem of being more than "just a good friend" as a matter of expression. However, at the same time, I have figured out, through my comprehension on how to serve well as a clerk, as a bishopric member, and as a temple patron in the church.

People with Asperger's Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and the other conditions aren't defective in any sense, they just work and strive to find their own achievements, and comprehend the world in a vastly different manner.

While marriage is something pretty defunct to some individuals due to the defunct comprehension of living with AS, there's plenty of reason to still be hopeful about life and the relationships I do have with my parents, as well as some of the compassion I have found myself able to have for other similarly conditioned individuals in my family, thanks to being AS. Anyways, thanks for starting a good discussion Jack, and for everyone else, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.

-Ed Morris

Anonymous said...

Hey, straight boys all getting up into how gay boys need to be celibate - in solidarity, stop fucking your wives, permanently.
idiots.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks - hate to break this to you, but we are ALL defective. Whether we're straight, gay, or otherwise we all have defects that are built into us. Some are common to all (like basic pride), but many are specific to individuals or groups. God "made" us that way that way so we would need to be humble, to rely on Him for salvation, not our own merits. Remember Ether 12: 27? "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." My weakness is whatever things seem to makes it hard for me personally to obey the commandments of God. Whatever those things are, they're actually my blessings, in that they compel me to humble myself before God and to have faith in Him that somehow, at some point, my weaknesses will turn out to be my strengths, gospel-wise.


Maryann Taylor said...

Having trials in our lives does not make us "heroes". Having trials in our lives and continuing to live the teachings of the Prophets does not make us "heroes." The "hero" is Jesus Christ who makes it possible for us to endure trials and to continue to keep his commandments in the midst of our trials. It should also be noted that those with same sex attraction are not the only ones who carry the burden of living a completely celibate life. This is a burden that every single, unmarried member of the church carries as well.