Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
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græy
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Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by græy » Fri Mar 04, 2022 4:25 pm

DW and I had an interesting conversation with a couple of friends about a week ago. They brought up a specific youth in our ward who identifies as non-binary. They have chosen a new name and pronouns and asked to be addressed that way by the ward.

The wife of the couple we were talking to expressed concern about how we are supposed to show support to her without condoning what they are doing. She referenced an interview with Tom Christofferson (D. Todd's gay brother) where he told the interviewer that he was just holing on to hope that one day a revelation would come that showed him his place in the church and on the covenant path... or something along those lines.

At that point, the wife got a bit emotional and suggested that they shouldn't have hope. It can't change. Because if it does, then church leaders have had it wrong the whole time, and then what else falls apart after that.

I very briefly agreed with her that things fall apart quickly after that, but then focused on the idea of hope. LGBT people have to have hope of possible change, or there is nothing here for them. If they're doomed to a life of misery and/or terrestrial kingdom-ness no matter what they do, why should they stay? I prefaced a few ideas I've read from Blaire Ostler as being non-doctrinal but examples of revelation they could possibly hope for, that would allow them space within the church/doctrine framework.

I also mentioned Blacks having hope that one day the priesthood/temple ban would be lifted, and suggested that is was not wrong for them to hope for the change that did in fact come in 1978.

At that point the husband spoke up that Blacks and LGBT people are "completely different". God has periodically had priesthood bans throughout history - Levites were the only tribe with priesthood, Gospel taught and given to Jews first then Gentiles, etc. In every case those were "bans" instituted by God for reasons he never explained, and were later ended by God without explanation. Just like our modern day ban on Blacks and priesthood.

I started arguing back a bit that the Black's priesthood ban went well beyond just the priesthood, but he kept going about how the gospel has ALWAYS taught that LGTB relationships were wrong, and that would never change, so hope was futile.

I responded that if they had no hope, they would all leave. If we value them in church, or in his case, if you really believe they need the church to progress through ordinances and exaltation, then how do you justify essentially kicking them out?

The conversation circled there for a bit before eventually dying out and moving to another topic. As is my curse, I have replayed the conversation a dozen times in my head since then.

1) How do I better respond to the argument that God has throughout history periodically banned groups of people from the priesthood? - This is essentially true, and is the crux of the apologetics on this issue. The church disavows the reasons/theories for the ban, but not the ban itself. But can you really separate the two? Excluding a race for no reason other than race is by definition, racist. To say only God knows why is to call God racist. I'm sure my friend would reject that idea, but I don't really know where the conversation could go from there.

2) Section 38.6.23, to me, says leaders are supposed to dissuade LGBT people from social transition (I have not and won't try to dissuade anyone, that is between them and their therapist), but that it is okay to use chosen names and pronouns. This couple refuses to use chosen pronouns and interprets the section to mean its okay to use chosen names, but birth-gender pronouns should be the only ones allowed. I reached out to the SP for clarification on the handbook language. He responded by saying he'd like to talk on the phone about it. I think he's nervous to have any response in writing. :/

Thoughts?
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Hagoth
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by Hagoth » Fri Mar 04, 2022 5:33 pm

I don't see how there can ever be a safe place for LGBT members as long as everybody is hanging that damn proclamation on their walls bowing down to it five times a day. The church would have to recall the proclamation and humbly declare that it was a mistake and they take it all back. How is that ever going to happen? I can see the church grudgingly giving these sidelined members more leeway because of social pressure but I have a really, really hard time imagining them ever being accepted as anything but second-class Mormons. Maybe in some alternate reality my transgender daughter's conservative scout/priesthood leaders would welcome her back into the ward on equal terms with other peoples' kids, but I can't picture that in this reality. They show that kind of love and acceptance and honestly answer the temple recommend questions. There is a fundamental incompatibility. Mrs. Hagoth refuses to even tell any ward members about our daughter's transition because she can't bear the thought of the ugliness of the ensuing gossip.

My response to the apologetic about God giving and withholding priesthood from various groups of people is that it never had anything in the least to do with God. It was all human elitism. Anyone who holds that point of view should probably take a few minutes to read what church leaders have actually said about "the seed of Cain."

My response to the requirement of leaders to dissuade people from being who they are would be to try to dissuade those leaders from being biggoted a-holes. But that's just me.
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wtfluff
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by wtfluff » Fri Mar 04, 2022 6:46 pm

græy wrote:
Fri Mar 04, 2022 4:25 pm
...
I started arguing back a bit that the Black's priesthood ban went well beyond just the priesthood, but he kept going about how the gospel has ALWAYS taught that LGTB relationships were wrong, and that would never change, so hope was futile.
...
I'm not so sure about your other (more important) questions Graey-bispo, but my reply to the above statement would be:

"Can you give me a reference where Jesus taught that LGBT relationships were wrong?"
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dogbite
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by dogbite » Fri Mar 04, 2022 7:18 pm

There doesn't seem to be a doctrinal path of rebuttal. And i don't see the point of that attempt.it leads into divine command theory nonsense.

I would stick with remarks about how it's so needlessly exclusionary. It doesn't strike me as Christlike. Their suffering is needless.

Leave the doctrine to them, just point out the hateful aspects in somewhat polite terms.

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alas
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by alas » Sat Mar 05, 2022 9:00 am

dogbite wrote:
Fri Mar 04, 2022 7:18 pm
There doesn't seem to be a doctrinal path of rebuttal. And i don't see the point of that attempt.it leads into divine command theory nonsense.

I would stick with remarks about how it's so needlessly exclusionary. It doesn't strike me as Christlike. Their suffering is needless.

Leave the doctrine to them, just point out the hateful aspects in somewhat polite terms.
This. You can not find a good doctrinal argument, because it isn’t based on doctrine. It is based in fear and hatred, and invented “reasons”. Find a quote in the Bible that actually stands up to inspection historically and linguistically. Nope. Most of them turn out to be misunderstandings and translation errors. Instead of “don’t lie with a man as you do with a woman” it is don’t lie with a BOY as you would with a woman.” Yup, the difference the Bible worried about there was age and consent. Maybe not all the scriptures against homosexuality are mistaken translations, but many of them are. All of them misunderstand the context of the culture.the culture was one where a man having children was supper important. So much so that a wife whose husband died married his brother to give her first husband “seed”. And Tamar had to fool her father in law by dressing as a temple priestess (not a prostitute, that is another bad misunderstanding of their pagan culture) and getting pregnant by him. When he was angry with her for getting pregnant, thinking she committed adultery, she showed him the gift he supposedly left for the fertility goddess. So, the prohibition against homosexuality may very well be more about not giving your wife the sperm. Same as the prohibition against spilling your “seed” on the ground. Having children was terribly important in their culture, so anything that reduced the chances was frowned upon.

Anyway, the badly understood scripture is not something you can explain to someone who wants to hold onto their misunderstandings.

Same with all of their reasons. You can’t argue with the beliefs when they want to hold onto them. You can’t fight their misunderstandings when they want to hold onto them.

But it is interesting to explore how they feel and bring up the things you did. You gave them something to think about.

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moksha
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by moksha » Sat Mar 05, 2022 10:26 pm

Sometimes it is good to pull back the curtains and let a little light in the room. It is terrible for a faith tradition to be driven by the hatred of a handful of men. Their ideas cause a world of hurt for those who do not fit the mold that these hateful men have deemed as acceptable.

The solution? Realize that what they say lacks both Christ's love and any godly inspiration. Do not let them impose upon your innate sense of goodness and love for Humankind. Be better than that.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Hagoth
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by Hagoth » Sun Mar 06, 2022 7:18 am

Here's a scriptural partial response.

One day, back in 2015, my bishop asked my how I was doing and I said, "Not too good. I'm very disappointed with this new policy against the children of gay people."

He shared some of his feelings and added, "Besides, it only affects about one percent of the kids in the church."

I said, "Didn't Jesus say something about leaving the ninety-nine and going after the one?"

Long, thoughtful silence.
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deacon blues
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by deacon blues » Mon Mar 07, 2022 9:00 am

That was a great response, Hagoth. I rarely get in doctrinal discussions with TBM's, except my wife. As I've been studying ancient history I've come to the conclusion that in many instances regressing to ancient bronze/iron age laws is harmful. Those people had a very ignorant culture compared to ours. To prove it, just read all the 600+ laws in Exodus/Leviticus. Even the ten commandments reflect this, particularly the one about graven images. Why doesn't the Church apply that commandment consistently?
I think it's neat that you feel comfortable talking to your bishop. I don't hardly know mine and when they periodically call me to set up an interview I just tell them no thanks. I'll play a musical number for Christmas, and attend once every month or two with my wife, but that's all I feel comfortable with.
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fetchface
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by fetchface » Mon Mar 07, 2022 10:18 am

These gotcha conversations rarely work but if I were to attempt one on this subject it'd go like this:

Step 1: Ask the person if they believe that slavery was God's will. They will hopefully say no.

Step 2: Bring up Brigham Young's two 1852 speeches to the Utah legislature where he unambiguously states that slavery was God's will and urged them to legalize slavery (which they did).

Step 3: Point out that this person already believes that prophets can make major errors about God's will.

Step 4: Cross your fingers and hope that the person doesn't go into slavery apologetic mode to resolve the cognitive dissonance.
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alas
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by alas » Mon Mar 07, 2022 11:11 am

fetchface wrote:
Mon Mar 07, 2022 10:18 am
These gotcha conversations rarely work but if I were to attempt one on this subject it'd go like this:

Step 1: Ask the person if they believe that slavery was God's will. They will hopefully say no.

Step 2: Bring up Brigham Young's two 1852 speeches to the Utah legislature where he unambiguously states that slavery was God's will and urged them to legalize slavery (which they did).

Step 3: Point out that this person already believes that prophets can make major errors about God's will.

Step 4: Cross your fingers and hope that the person doesn't go into slavery apologetic mode to resolve the cognitive dissonance.
The trouble with these kind of conversations with many people is that they are more likely to retrench when slapped with cognitive dissonance than they are to think it through and change their beliefs. You have to know that the person is honest enough with themselves to actually think about it, and unfortunately in my experience and statistically, most people are not. They just want the quickest easiest way out of cognitive dissonance. So they make their old beliefs stronger to defend against these terrible new thoughts. Sad.

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græy
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by græy » Mon Mar 07, 2022 3:39 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Mar 04, 2022 5:33 pm
I don't see how there can ever be a safe place for LGBT members as long as everybody is hanging that damn proclamation on their walls bowing down to it five times a day.
The proclamation also came up. That was where I quoted Blaire Ostler. The proclamation does not ever claim that gender is eternal. It does say that it is part of your eternal destiny. Not that that helps LGBT people feel comfortable, or even welcome in LDS theology. But it did ruffle their feathers a bit. :)
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lostinmiddlemormonism
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by lostinmiddlemormonism » Mon Mar 07, 2022 3:55 pm

There are 18 year old BOYS running around identifying as "Elders." I personally think they are full of $h!t, nor do I condone what they are doing...but I can be respectful and refer to them by the title that they prefer. If I can do that to support these kids then YOU can certainly refer to other kids by their chosen pronouns!

-lost

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græy
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by græy » Mon Mar 07, 2022 4:00 pm

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I'm not really looking to argue with this couple any more than we already did. I'd probably still classify the whole exchange as a discussion more than an argument. When we left the topic of LGBT and religion, the rest of the night was light and fun.

I think my bigger hang-up that emerged from this conversation stems from the fact that the Race & Priesthood essay was the catalyst for my faith crisis and deconstruction. Reading the line
Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.
it hit me like a bag of bricks. I had been taught in seminary, by family members, and in church media that black people had been denied the priesthood because they were less valiant before coming to Earth. I do feel that I personally rejected that idea, along with the global flood and the tower of babel, but I knew that it was taught. If prophets had taught that, then what else could they be wrong about? From there I went through the other essays, on to mormon think, exmormon reddit, the CES letter, and eventually to NOM! :shock:

I went on to read Bushman's RSR, Mormon Enigma, This is My Doctrine by C. Harrell, Dan Vogel's the making of a prophet, and could never put the pieces back together. Despite all of that, I didn't have a response to "God has periodically restricted the priesthood", because if the priesthood is a thing at all, then he has restricted it. First to Levites only, then to only Jews, then to Mormons, then to white Mormons, then back to all Mormons - and of course ALWAYS only the men.

My shelf collapsed long ago, I describe myself to be a non-believing agnostic. This shouldn't bother me. But it does.

Suppose God is real and for whatever reason decided to restrict the priesthood only to whites, without any further explanation that seems to make God racist. Does that assumption change if we take into account prior restrictions (Levites or Jews only)? Levites were obviously not another race, but still a segregated group.

Or is this all just another example of the Trickster God making faith difficult for people who truly consider themselves equitable and impartial?

Given all the times that Trickster God shows his face through Mormon theology, I get the impression that he never really wants anyone with half a brain to believe in anything he's ever done or said. And isn't using our brains to progress the purpose of being here?

/rant

TL;DR; Trickster God - I hate that guy.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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græy
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by græy » Mon Mar 07, 2022 4:00 pm

lostinmiddlemormonism wrote:
Mon Mar 07, 2022 3:55 pm
There are 18 year old BOYS running around identifying as "Elders." I personally think they are full of $h!t, nor do I condone what they are doing...but I can be respectful and refer to them by the title that they prefer. If I can do that to support these kids then YOU can certainly refer to other kids by their chosen pronouns!

-lost
LOL. Great point!
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Red Ryder
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Mar 07, 2022 4:30 pm

I love the rant.

Once you see Trickster God for who it is, you can’t go back. I consider myself an apathetic agnostic. I just don’t know and I just don’t care (anymore).

Life is too short to argue with anyone including ourselves.

Sigh….

Love the updates and posts. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
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Angel
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by Angel » Mon Mar 07, 2022 5:43 pm

græy wrote:
Fri Mar 04, 2022 4:25 pm
DW and I had an interesting conversation with a couple of friends about a week ago. They brought up a specific youth in our ward who identifies as non-binary. They have chosen a new name and pronouns and asked to be addressed that way by the ward.

The wife of the couple we were talking to expressed concern about how we are supposed to show support to her without condoning what they are doing. She referenced an interview with Tom Christofferson (D. Todd's gay brother) where he told the interviewer that he was just holing on to hope that one day a revelation would come that showed him his place in the church and on the covenant path... or something along those lines.

At that point, the wife got a bit emotional and suggested that they shouldn't have hope. It can't change. Because if it does, then church leaders have had it wrong the whole time, and then what else falls apart after that.

I very briefly agreed with her that things fall apart quickly after that, but then focused on the idea of hope. LGBT people have to have hope of possible change, or there is nothing here for them. If they're doomed to a life of misery and/or terrestrial kingdom-ness no matter what they do, why should they stay? I prefaced a few ideas I've read from Blaire Ostler as being non-doctrinal but examples of revelation they could possibly hope for, that would allow them space within the church/doctrine framework.

I also mentioned Blacks having hope that one day the priesthood/temple ban would be lifted, and suggested that is was not wrong for them to hope for the change that did in fact come in 1978.

At that point the husband spoke up that Blacks and LGBT people are "completely different". God has periodically had priesthood bans throughout history - Levites were the only tribe with priesthood, Gospel taught and given to Jews first then Gentiles, etc. In every case those were "bans" instituted by God for reasons he never explained, and were later ended by God without explanation. Just like our modern day ban on Blacks and priesthood.

I started arguing back a bit that the Black's priesthood ban went well beyond just the priesthood, but he kept going about how the gospel has ALWAYS taught that LGTB relationships were wrong, and that would never change, so hope was futile.

I responded that if they had no hope, they would all leave. If we value them in church, or in his case, if you really believe they need the church to progress through ordinances and exaltation, then how do you justify essentially kicking them out?

The conversation circled there for a bit before eventually dying out and moving to another topic. As is my curse, I have replayed the conversation a dozen times in my head since then.

1) How do I better respond to the argument that God has throughout history periodically banned groups of people from the priesthood? - This is essentially true, and is the crux of the apologetics on this issue. The church disavows the reasons/theories for the ban, but not the ban itself. But can you really separate the two? Excluding a race for no reason other than race is by definition, racist. To say only God knows why is to call God racist. I'm sure my friend would reject that idea, but I don't really know where the conversation could go from there.

2) Section 38.6.23, to me, says leaders are supposed to dissuade LGBT people from social transition (I have not and won't try to dissuade anyone, that is between them and their therapist), but that it is okay to use chosen names and pronouns. This couple refuses to use chosen pronouns and interprets the section to mean its okay to use chosen names, but birth-gender pronouns should be the only ones allowed. I reached out to the SP for clarification on the handbook language. He responded by saying he'd like to talk on the phone about it. I think he's nervous to have any response in writing. :/

Thoughts?
I think you should spend less time worrying about the parents, and more time worrying about that poor kid. Those kids get suicidal, especially when there is no support at home.

For every person attending addiction recovery - know their humiliated silent partner needs waaay more attention and help than the addict.

For every divorce - whoever ends up with the kids needs waaay more support.

It has been my experience the church protects, cuddles, and gives attention to the loud, manipulative, controlling personality...

The quiet hurting ones, they are the ones that need professional help right now. Research resources that are not lds in your area for them I hope?
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Angel
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by Angel » Mon Mar 07, 2022 5:47 pm

Please show support by calling this kid by the name and pronouns they request.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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græy
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by græy » Mon Mar 07, 2022 10:38 pm

Angel wrote:
Mon Mar 07, 2022 5:43 pm
I think you should spend less time worrying about the parents, and more time worrying about that poor kid. Those kids get suicidal, especially when there is no support at home.
This particular child is in a very rough spot and we have been giving them a disproportionately large amount of focus to help them feel welcome, included, and not judged or condemned. Their mother is extremely accepting. I think for most kids going this, it would be about as ideal a situation as they could have, assuming they have to be in the church at all.

Unfortunately, in this particular case, there are a lot of physical and mental challenges on top the LGBT complexities. They are and will continue to be in non-lds therapy, paid for by the church (that is our only option on this case).
Angel wrote:
Mon Mar 07, 2022 5:47 pm
Please show support by calling this kid by the name and pronouns they request.
I absolutely do. I thought I made that clear. I'm fighting to get the rest of the ward council to do the same
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

Cnsl1
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by Cnsl1 » Mon Mar 07, 2022 11:52 pm

græy wrote:
Mon Mar 07, 2022 3:39 pm
Hagoth wrote:
Fri Mar 04, 2022 5:33 pm
I don't see how there can ever be a safe place for LGBT members as long as everybody is hanging that damn proclamation on their walls bowing down to it five times a day.
The proclamation also came up. That was where I quoted Blaire Ostler. The proclamation does not ever claim that gender is eternal. It does say that it is part of your eternal destiny. Not that that helps LGBT people feel comfortable, or even welcome in LDS theology. But it did ruffle their feathers a bit. :)
I disagree, Bishop G. I think most people reading the Family Proc would say that the intent of the authors is that gender is binary, essential, and eternal. And, while it was never officially canonized, most Mormons would consider it scripture, or if not scripture, certainty doctrinal.

"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." It goes on to say that sons and daughters were spirits in the premortal world and accepted a plan to get bodies and progress toward perfection and eternal life. It seems pretty clear that the plan is one for mommies and daddies with their specific roles that can be adjusted a bit due to death or disability, and that only hetero marriages are ordained by God,
only mommy and daddy sex is ordained, and every other kind of sex is sinful.

While I completely agree this is short sighted, bigoted homophobic drivel, I can't disagree with your friends who asserted, for lack of a nice way to express it, that there's really no place in the Mormon God's greatest heaven for any gender other than male/female, and for any sexuality other than hetero, and for any sexual behavior other than married hetero. Where is the hope for people not in the traditional and majority sexual box?

Fortunately, there are kind people in the church to provide that hope, that love, and that acceptance, despite the family proc crock. Fortunately, for whatever reason, some of the old white men who lead the church are slowly figuring out that gay isn't a choice, and that kids of gay parents are no more likely to be gay than anyone else. Fortunately, there are many in the church who follow the counsel of Jesus to love everyone and judge no one.

Unfortunately, the family proc still hangs in most of the Mormon homes, reminding us all that no matter what we say now, no matter how much we tell them we love and accept them, there's no... let's call it CLEAR hope, that anyone except married males & females get to inherit God's kingdom.

If there's hope somewhere else in scripture or proclamations, I haven't seen it.

I would love to be proven wrong.

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Hagoth
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Re: Priesthood Bans & LGBT Support

Post by Hagoth » Tue Mar 08, 2022 8:29 am

Cnsl1 wrote:
Mon Mar 07, 2022 11:52 pm
I disagree, Bishop G. I think most people reading the Family Proc would say that the intent of the authors is that gender is binary, essential, and eternal. And, while it was never officially canonized, most Mormons would consider it scripture, or if not scripture, certainty doctrinal.
I can't remember where, but I heard an LDS transgender woman talking about how the Proclamation had given her and her friends hope. She read it as saying her female gender is eternal and that, despite her current physical disruption, she will continue to be female in the eternities. She was crushed when an apostle (I can't remember which, but I'm going to say Bednar) gave a talk that made it clear that is NOT the case, that she will have to suck it up and go back to being a dude for the rest of eternity.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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