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Bill…I wanted to comment on the LGBT section. You mentioned that the position of the church is difficult in that it asks the LGBT community to live a life alone where they can’t reach out and have relations with those they love.
I’ve thought about this question from a different perspective, and want to suggest what I’ve concluded the LDS perspective is (which I disagree with).
Think of Agape and Eros…the Greek words for different types of love–the first being pure charity love, and the second being romantic and sexual love.
The LDS church teaches Agape almost exclusively, and Eros is pushed right off the table. So, when you suggest that the LDS Church doesn’t warrant LGBT people engaging in relationships of love–this is not accurate: they can, using AGAPE…which the LDS church teaches as the highest, most pure form of love.
There are arguments, particularly historical that have NOT been disavowed, about sexual abstinence being legitimate and even preferable…and I believe this is still LDS thought at the higher levels.
The LDS Church marginalizes Eros as non-essential at best, and not even existing at worst. Children are taught that sex is bad and we should not engage–its a sin next to murder which we “wait to share with someone we love”. What a MIXED message.
When the time comes for even heterosexual couples to engage and get married, there are few if ANY positive message about sexuality, but the few that are taught are confusing. For example, I remember hearing Elder Nelson say that “intimacy” as an expression of love, is acceptable.
Is sex an expression of love? How does Eros all the sudden become legitimized when we have been taught that Agape is the only form of love we should have? When we have been taught to suppress, control, “sing a hymn”…and everything else, to prevent such feelings from being legitimized?
There are no transitional messages…there is only silence.
During my entire life, I never heard sex being associated with love in the LDS church, but I have heard it being considered a sin next to murder…and now its an expression of love? But isn’t “charity” the only love that matters?
I am not alone in this experience. I’ve met dozens of people from LDS stock who had the same experience.
I think the problem is bigger than just this LGBT concern,..though that one is a focal point of immense pain. I am not gay so do not understand from the inside perspective. I have friends who I have seen racked with soul sobs of horrible sorrow and pain–fear of hellfire, and families torn apart as they have been disowned and disavowed as humans of value.
Dear God,…what are we doing to our fellow human beings!?
I concer with Carol Lynn Pearson that the current LDS Doctrine of polygamy is VERY harmful to marriages. The fact that there are scriptures in the D&C which describe eternal marriage in a way that appears to include polygamous relationships, has been the excuse for some people to indulge themselves with flirtations or mental daydreams of “future relationships” beyond the veil, rather than doing the harder work of being fully present in their relationship with their spouse in THIS life. I endured the knowledge of such spiritual (and eventually physical) straying by my husband for 36 years (and being reminded that I had not yet forgiven him 70 X 7 times) before I realized that both my daughters AND my sons needed to know that it was no way to treat a woman, and filed for divorce. Still, most of our children have left the church. My ex-husband was in many ways a good father and husband. It ripped my heart out of my chest to end our marriage. He was just one man, but around two dozen women were willing to engage in his “spiritual soulmate” relationships. I know his example is extreme, but I also KNOW that we are very sadly, not a total aberration among mormondom. In the letter I was asked to write to President Monson at the time of my ex-H’s Restoration of Priesthood Blessings, I pleaded that the Brethren would ask God what His will regarding polygamny is, for TODAY. I also begged that they address this issue of spiritual adultery in Priesthood and Relief Society. I am SO GRATEFUL that Sister Pearson has been courageous enough to attempt to open this bold dialog about the Elephant in the Celestial Room. Thank you from the bottom of my aching heart.