David Eccles Hardy – Letter to Elder Boyd K. Packer on Mormon Homosexuals

Question:

Do you think Bruce Hafens, treating different, and less than with shunning, or high voltage electro shock Mormon aversion therapy would have best solved the following situation?


Dear Elder Packer:

Although we have met briefly before, it is through the context of my family that you would be able to place me.  I am the younger brother of Ralph W. Hardy, Jr. and Clare Hardy Johnson, and the son of Ralph W. Hardy, Sr. and Maren Eccles Hardy.  I most recently served as bishop of the Salt Lake University 29th Ward, Salt Lake University 5th Stake.  My wife, Carlie, is the granddaughter of the late Elder Franklin D. Richards, and the great-granddaughter of President Heber J. Grant.  I provide the context of our families and heritage for no purpose other than establishing the solid upbringing in the Gospel and the Church that my wife and I have both had. If you know the devotion to the Church of my brother Ralph and my late sister Clare, you know mine.

I write this letter out of the realization that to maintain my own personal integrity, I need to inform you of the personal heartache and damage you have to some degree been responsible for visiting upon my immediate family as the author of To the One.  Although originally delivered by you as an address in 1978, the pamphlet To The One remains to this day the Church’s most current and definitive written statement by a General Authority on the issue of homosexuality.  It is available to the general Church membership and the public, and my wife and I have been referred to it numerous times as we have come to grips with this issue over the past few years.  As one who has always been mindful of my Temple covenants, an unwavering believer, and a follower of my Priesthood leaders, this is not an easy letter to write. For me it represents an anguished “Crossing of the Rubicon.”  I hope you will take the time to read it, for in it I have invested my very soul.

Early on a Saturday morning six weeks ago, I watched as our car pulled away with my wife driving our eldest son to a new city, a new community, and a new school to complete his senior year of high school.  Ever since that morning, I have grown progressively angrier that to protect our son’s life and sense of self worth, we are compelled to send him away from our home and family. You see, this community of “Saints” we live in is so steeped in ignorance, fear, loathing, judgment and qualified “love” towards our son and those who like him face the challenge of homosexuality, he twice arrived at the point where he was devoid of hope and felt he had no alternative but to take his own life.  Fortunately, he did not succeed.  My son is not manic-depressive, nor was he ever before suicidal.  He simply understands too well the Gospel and believed what his Seminary teachers and Priesthood leaders taught him about homosexuality, based upon the doctrine set forth in To The One.

My wife and I are the parents of six children – two daughters and four sons – ranging in age from twenty-three to eight.  Our oldest son at age thirteen had the courage to come to us with his growing fear that he had no attraction whatsoever to girls – the thought in fact disgusted him – but that he was very attracted to those of his same sex.  That he would come to us without fear or shame, confide in us, and seek our counsel attests to the strong relationship my wife and I have both always had with our son. (This is ironic in light of the “parental causation” theories routinely hauled-out by the  Church’s LDS Social Services counselors and Evergreen as the primary cause of homosexuality.)

This son was always spiritually mature for his age.  He is the finest young man I have ever known – giving, loving, supportive, honest, reliable.  Most definitely unselfish.  A leader among his peers in his school and primary classes and in his Priesthood quorums.  Since he was old enough to talk and walk, we were very much aware of certain differences that concerned us.  He carried himself differently, walking and running.  When we could get him to pick up a ball, he threw it differently.  He spoke differently.  He was not in the least interested in sports (in spite of countless practices and Saturdays we spent supporting him in sporting events that utterly disinterested him).  He loved dolls and playing house.  He loved music, literature, drama and poetry. He made friends easily with girls, but very rarely with boys.  Carlie and I listened with hope to LDS counselors and leaders who dismissed or downplayed all of this as merely a “phase.”  We believed in and relied on them.

The years passed, but the “phase” didn’t – this in spite of our doing everything recommended to us by LDS counselors, Priesthood leaders and, of course, the teachings of the General Authorities such as you (scarce as they are is on this subject).  While we were assured by LDS counselors that this was little more than a correctable Pavlovian response and that “nothing could be easier to cure,” and took hope in your confident statement in To The One: “When we understand fundamental moral law  better than we do, we will be able to correct this condition routinely. . . ,” matters went from bad to worse.  One evening in 1997, while I was out of town and my wife was being assured by our well-meaning Stake President at his office that “if we just keep it quiet – the same as if someone in your family had committed adultery [our son had done nothing]- it will all be just fine, trust me . . . ,” our son slit his wrists in his room at home.  Earlier in the day, it had been the ” Sodom and Gomorrah” lesson in Seminary.

As bishop of a student Ward at the University of Utah working with homosexual returned missionaries, I came to the painful realization that the “reparative therapy” practiced by LDS Social Services and organizations such as Evergreen (whose board of directors I then served on) was not merely ineffective, it was terribly damaging.  In every instance I found that this “therapy” accomplished little more than driving these earnest brothers and sisters, desperate to believe that they would “change,” deeper into self-loathing and despondency.

Their failure to “change” as promised them by you and other Priesthood leaders – a failure ultimately arrived at by each and every one of these young men and women who were honest with his or her situation – left only three realistic alternatives: (1) practice deceit as long as possible to remain in good standing with Church and family, (2) give up completely, abandon Church and family, and turn to the only community that will accept you – the gay community, or (3) commit suicide.

By your own admission, it is obvious that neither you nor the Church as a whole has yet arrived at “a better understanding of the fundamental moral law,” because your understanding of it is leading and guiding the Church in this matter, and this “condition” is anything but “routinely corrected.” In To The One you make the summary statement that “some forms of these treatments [reparative therapy] are of substantial help in about 25 percent of the cases” without offering any authority for this statistic.  Where did this amazing (though still disheartening) statistic come from?  Undoubtedly it came from the experts at LDS Social Services.  Unfortunately, however, LDS Social Services must not follow-up on their patients over any extended period of time. My experience as bishop of a student Ward, the father of a homosexual son, and a friend and confidant to the many LDS homosexuals I have since become acquainted with, would indicate to me that in some few cases, the terrible guilt associated with reparative therapy and the strong desire to remain in good standing with the Church and one’s family has brought about an ability to repress one’s homosexual desires – for a season. Usually just long enough to get married and ruin a family.  Perhaps this is the 25% you spoke of.  The current publication for ecclesiastical leaders Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems seems to recognize the realistic lack of curability in its statement:

“Marriage should not viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems.  The lives of others should not be damaged by entering a marriage where such concerns exist.  Encouraging members to cultivate heterosexual feelings as a way to resolve homosexual problems generally leads them to frustration and discouragement.”

However, the Church’s confusion and struggle to make sense of this issue, and its tendency to downplay the lack of any real answers with a summary “and they all lived happily ever after” is apparent in the publication’s utterly conflicting closing sentence:

“In some cases, heterosexual feelings emerge leading to happy, eternal marriage relationships.”

Which is a Bishop or Stake President to do?  Discourage cultivation of heterosexual feelings and marriage, or lend encouragement to and sign the Temple marriage recommend for the “cured” homosexual that is entering a happy, eternal marriage relationship?  While I know from experience that much is left to the discretion and inspiration of the ecclesiastical leader, I also know that they are to look to an official publication specifically directed to them such as this for direction and guidance and give it much weight.  But what is the counsel being given in this publication?  Isn’t it a bit confusing?

At the crux of the issue of homosexuality and the Church are the three great interrelated beliefs: (1) there is an element of choice involved in becoming and remaining homosexual, (2) it can be cured, and (3) our children and youth can be recruited or enticed into homosexuality.  Every time we have sought out help for our son and family on this issue from Priesthood leaders or General Authorities we have been summarily referred to the experts at LDS Social Services. Because the lives and well-being of so many trusting individuals and family members are at stake here, it would seem that much stock is put in the expertise of LDS Social Services in this matter.  Isn’t it fairly obvious, though, that the “experts” you rely on at LDS Social Services to professionally corroborate and support the doctrine and policy of the Church would support whatever position you have mandated to be the only correct one?  Such is the level of respect for and faith in the office you hold.  In all honesty, to disagree with a member of the Twelve on a matter of doctrine is tantamount to heresy.  I’m sure you are aware that the American Psychiatric Association has denounced “reparative therapy” for treating homosexuals as both ineffective and damaging.  I find it ironic that when a fundamentalist religious group shuns sound medical intervention as a doctrine we find it appalling and backwards – yet when that same sound medical advice denounces the practice of “reparative therapy” we call it “worldly” false doctrine.  I guess it all depends on just whose ox is being gored.

In To The One you preach that homosexuality is not innate, but is a curable condition. Your fundamental proof: God wouldn’t make a mistake like this. By preaching this, you set the impossible goal of “cure” as the standard to which my son must hold himself responsible, as must his family and all other Church members.  Until he chooses to do what he must to be “cured,” he hasn’t done enough.  He will never have done enough.  He will always come up failing in the most fundamental aspect of his entire existence as a child of his Heavenly Father.  He is a pervert, an aberration, and an abomination.  There is nothing left in this life or the next.  How would you deal with this if you were him? Homosexuality is not a “condition” that can be “cured.”   My proof: I have yet to meet even one venerable grandfather with a fine posterity (or anyone else for that matter) who says he was once homosexual but was long ago cured – and my experience as a father observing my son from birth.

Perhaps the most hurtful aspect of To The One is your revelation that the fundamental reason why my son has not been “cured” is because of his selfishness.  When I inform other people that this is actually what you preach in To The One, they are incredulous (members included).  They respond “Obviously you have misread or misconstrued what Elder Packer said.”  You are well aware that this is precisely what is said.  As one who knows my son and his heart better than you, your doctrine that my son’s selfishness is at the core of his ability or inability to be cured of his homosexuality is offensive in the extreme, and evidences the lack of any meaningful inquiry into this issue beyond the application of pure dogma.  In saying this it is not my intent to offend you.  It is, simply, incredible that you could hit upon anything quite so insensitive and ignorant of the facts.  Indeed, my son is the most unselfish and Christ-like person I know.  This holds true for most of the LDS homosexuals I know well.  They have to be to keep trying.

Your doctrine of “choice” and “curability” is also at the core of why the Church and its members in reality view my son and those like him as latter-day lepers. If homosexuality (1) is not inborn, (2) has an element of choice, and (3) can be cured – then it must be able to be taught or suggested.  Others must also be susceptible to being enticed or recruited. Our children are capable of being infected by these people and not becoming mothers and fathers.  It is, therefore, a frontal assault on the family. The “hate the sin but love the sinner” platitude cannot disguise the fact that in reality the members of the Church are taught to loathe and fear our son and those like him.  This qualified and synthetic “love” is nothing more than the few alms hurriedly and begrudgingly parted with to salve the Christian conscience, while never once entertaining the idea of actually descending into the leper pit.  We would never expose our children to this for it might infect them.  If sexual orientation is a matter of choice, when exactly did you choose to be heterosexual?  When and how often did you reaffirm your choice to stay that way?  Why aren’t my other children, who idolize their brother, even the slightest bit interested in adopting a homosexual “lifestyle” or in homosexual experimentation?  Why would anyone choose to be an abomination and an outcast?  It defies reason.

Last week a dear friend (formerly a bishop) reassured us that he still loved our son “even if he has made a choice to be this way.”  My son did not choose to be this way.  This type of “love” born of duty and pity for his abominable choice acts like a slow but virulent cancer on our son’s  self-esteem.   It is for this reason we have found it necessary to send our son away from the community of the “Saints.”

As the Church “progresses” on this issue, what we are hearing more and more from Priesthood leaders today is the idea that our son is acceptable so long as he practices life-long chastity.  That is, of course, actually called celibacy, and while it’s a convenient idea to advance, in practice it is virtually impossible to live.  The distinction between chastity and celibacy seems always to be overlooked by Church leaders.  You may recall that in his somewhat recent newspaper interview in California, President Hinkley compared the plight of homosexuals to that of the single sisters in the Church.  To paraphrase, he said that the Church doesn’t ask homosexuals to do anything it doesn’t also ask of its other single adult members – to live chaste lives. But this simply isn’t true.  As a former bishop I have firsthand experience.  We openly love and support our single brothers and sisters.  We give them important callings – especially with out youth and children.  We urge them to date, to flirt, to get crushes, to fall in love, to marry.  We sponsor Ward and Stake activities and dances to get them together to accomplish this.  We ask them to be chaste – until they find someone to share their life and intimacy with.  We go out of our way to give them something of immeasurable value in the struggle to keep the law of chastity – hope – hope that no matter how difficult this emotional and physical loneliness is, it is temporary.  For those with the least control over their situation, our single sisters, we give special encouragement and hope that they will find love, emotional intimacy and fulfillment in this life – and if not, certainly in the next.

We do not knowingly give homosexuals important callings – especially not with our youth or children who would be at risk of being infected and recruited. We forbid them ever to flirt, to date, to get crushes, to fall in love, to have a legally-recognized monogamous relationship.  The image of a Tri-Stake Gay and Lesbian Gold-and-Green Ball is amusing.  We ask them to be chaste – forever. No hope at all.  The question of sexual intimacy aside – can you imagine having being denied the ability to become attracted to, flirt with, get a crush on, hold hands with, steal a kiss from, or fall in love with you wife?  With all trace of romantic love and emotional intimacy denied you, with what would you fill the void to hold at bay a life of loneliness, emptiness, and despair?

We do have at least one historic example to look to.  The Catholic Church has attempted to enforce celibacy on its clergy throughout the ages with success at some level (although we will never know what level).  With what did they replace the emotional void?  They had the love and adulation of the church membership, and authority and power.   They were, in fact, the Bishops, Stake Presidents, and General Authorities.  They were held next to deity – and their record is less than stellar.  Imagine the celibacy success rate of a group defined by a loathsome and abominable “condition.”

Imagine also, for a moment, if you were to stand up in front of the freshman class at BYU and announce that everyone present was being given a special calling to live a celibate life from then on.  How many do you think would really be able to do it?  How many empty and guilty lives and suicides would result?  The Church has never taught the principle of celibacy.  As a parent, I don’t have the slightest idea how to begin teaching it.  There are no manuals, no courses, no “For the Strength of Celibate Youth” cards to carry.  There are no Priesthood, Relief Society, Sunday School, or Primary lessons on celibacy. On the other hand, following the teachings of the Church, we have raised our children in a home filled with open love, intimacy, loyalty and commitment between a couple.  Our children know Carlie and I adore each other, and they want and need the same thing in their lives.

I never thought I would say this, but as a father given the choice between (a) my son’s suicide, (b) his complete abandonment of the Church and embracing of the extreme gay culture with its emotionally debilitating and physically dangerous practice of anonymous casual sex, or (c) living in a committed, monogamous relationship for the rest of his life practicing the Gospel virtues of love, commitment, and fidelity we have taught in our home, I would have to pick the latter.  The Church, however, is now doing all in its power to prevent that.  Presumably, it has a better alternative – one that works on something other than a dogmatic and theoretical level.

Then again, perhaps my son is simply a casualty of war – acceptable “collateral damage” in an eternal plan and struggle in which by the luck of the draw he has no relevance or place.  The Gospel has always been easy to have faith in and follow because it made real sense and worked in our lives. This would make no sense.  And the current doctrine, as set forth in To The One is not working for our family.  I can’t tell you how strange and difficult this is.  It’s like we woke up one morning on a different planet. In our greatest time of need as a family, the Church has failed us and abandoned us – and through the convenient but hurtful doctrine of parental causation, complicity and guilt it directly promotes (evidence the article in September’s Ensign), it kicks us while we are down!  I know this is only one of many issues that the Brethren deal with, and certainly not at the top of their list, but for us it has become our universe. We live in this issue twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and must raise our children through it by our best lights.   And there are many more like us in the Church.  Parents like us are ultimately forced to make a hopeless decision: abandon our homosexual children, or turn from the Church.   “Not so,” you say. You would never know unless you walked in our shoes.

My brother, Ralph, asked me at one point “What would you have the General Authorities do about this issue?”

I wish that someone in authority would have the compassion and the courage simply to own up publicly to the fact that this is a difficult issue about which we just don’t have many answers.

I wish someone in authority would publicly urge the members to withhold their judgment and condemnation, accept those like my son into their midst, and have true compassion and love for those who through no choice of their own will deal with the issue of homosexuality all of their lives.

I wish someone in authority would publicly assure the members that by withholding their judgment and condemnation and showing acceptance and real love, they won’t get leprosy, nor will their children be at risk – that the divine concept of Family will not be compromised or weakened, but that real families with real issues will in fact be strengthened.

I wish that someone in authority would recognize that To The One was an effort twenty years ago by a very good man to address a difficult issue in the context of the time in which it was written, and pull it from circulation.

Elder Packer, I have never been one to question, demand, or  “kick against the pricks.”  I am a follower, a believer, an obeyer.  But I can no longer wait patiently while the Brethren try to figure this issue out at the cost of my son’s life, and the lives of others like him.

Respectfully,

David Eccles Hardy

Answer:

I don’t understand the wording of the question, but I think at least part of it is whether I think shock therapy would resolve the situation detailed above, and of course my answer is “no”. Although I have little knowledge of shock therapy, my understanding is that it doesn’t work. That is, it may cure a person from certain behaviors, but it also may cure them of having a functional brain.

I’ll also respond to the letter, although in doing so I should state that I am taking it at face value since I do not know the author, nor whether the text of the letter I received is completely accurate. I have not read (or ever heard of) the referenced document “To the One”. I also don’t pretend to have any sort of extensive experience with homosexuality. I’ve read some things, I have a mission companion who came out after his mission, and I have a friend whose husband of 20 or so years and the father of their children came out several years ago which resulted in their divorce, and that’s about it.

Also, I’m not going to go into a lengthy speech trying to convince anyone that I’m not a homophobe and that I’m a really compassionate guy. I’ll just say that if everything written above is accurate and true, then it’s a sad story. As for myself, I have no particular aversion to gay people, and I don’t think they’re going to hell.

Now, to respond, there are a few minor things I take issue with in the letter, none of which invalidate the points he is making:

1. The claim that the American Psychiatric Association is a provider of “sound medical advice”. From what I can tell, it’s an organization that has its ideas grounded less in science than their own particular ideology, which they try to back up through selective science. That said, I’m not saying I’m a proponent of reparative therapy. It may indeed be ineffective and damaging. Just because I’m against the APA doesn’t mean I’m in favor of whatever they are against.

2. The author states “Homosexuality is not a ‘condition’ that can be ‘cured.’  My proof: I have yet to meet even one venerable grandfather with a fine posterity (or anyone else for that matter) who says he was once homosexual but was long ago cured…” The author may be 100% correct, but this still seems like a rather bold statement to make based on purely anecdotal evidence. It also seems like a rather illogical conclusion to draw from his experience, since it would seem that anyone who is a grandfather today and having grown up in society as it was, would be extremely hesitant to admit to having had homosexual tendencies. That is, there could be many people with the experience of having had homosexual urges 60 years ago who have been “cured”, but what are the chances the author would have run into them, and that they would confide this matter to him?

Other than that, I tend to agree with the author’s viewpoint. It may be a good thing for someone in authority to issue statements such as those suggested by the author. It may be good to pull the pamphlet “To the One” from circulation. It would certainly be good for members to withhold judgment and condemnation. Most of all, I agree that it is a difficult issue, and I think we don’t have many answers. At least I certainly don’t. Perhaps I’ll comment more on this topic later, but I have to run off to something and don’t want to leave it unpublished…feel free to ask more specific questions of me if you’ve got them.

Comments

  1. Do you have any information as to what selective science the APA overlooks? Seems to me that they embrace a concept known as the scientific method, that is peer reviewed research that can be replicated. Its a benchmark widely accepted. The following organizations also endorse the APA's view. If your right, and they are wrong… and you can Prove it… You could easily become a very wealthy person. I'd go for it, if your that sure of yourself.

    The following organizations oppose portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation and mental health and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.

    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Association of School Administrators
    American Counseling Association
    American Federation of Teachers
    American Psychological Association
    American School Counselor Association
    American School Health Association
    Interfaith Alliance Foundation
    National Association of School Psychologists
    National Association of Secondary School Principals
    National Association of SocialWorkers
    National Education Association
    School SocialWork Association of America

    • Some time around late 1979 I recall an article in the LA Times describing the findings of a study comparing three treatment modalities applied to homosexual men who had a desire to become heterosexual. The treatments consisted of (1) electro-shock treatment, (2) talk therapy and (3) no treatment. The outcome was that *regardless* of the type of treatment, approximately 1/3 of the subjects experienced change, approx. 1/3 switched back and forth between orientations and the last 1/3 experienced no change. I'm sure there are more recent studies showing similar results. Interestingly, any recent reparative treatment which boasts 25% 'cure' rate is not even meeting the 1/3 level of the study applying no treatment at all – in other words, the reparative treatment seems to have made things worse for some people.
      One thing is very clear: by the time an individual recognizes that they have same-sex attractions, that fact about themselves is more or less immutable. Isn't it time we put an end to the suffering caused by self-doubt and self-loathing brought about by social and religious prejudice and digma?

      • .. oops , I mean dogma!!

  2. Josh,

    Perhaps your post should begin with Response: instead of Answer: Since you provide no answer or even suggestion as to how the church should deal with homosexuals.

    I will give you my answer: Stop treating them like second class members. Let them practice in monogomous relationships. Make up a new temple ceremony for eternal gay marriage. Start having gay and lesbian singles wards. Thats the simple answer. Kinda like letting those less valiant spirit children hold the priesthood. Instead of waiting for society to force the mormon church to do the right thing they could lead the way on just one civil rights issue. Monson could pretend to be a prophet and actually recieve some revelation for the first time since 1978 and the church could lead the way in the ethical treatment of homosexuals.

    I believe that David Eccles Hardy summed up the churches answer to this solution when he said:

    "…perhaps my son is simply a casualty of war – acceptable “collateral damage” in an eternal plan and struggle in which by the luck of the draw he has no relevance or place."

    They will do nothing until membership begins to drop over this issue and then the revelation will come. Until then Gay and lesbians will continue to be acceptable collateral damage.

  3. Josh ignore the first part of my post. I thought you were providing an answer to David's letter. I now realize your answer was in regards to the question proceeding the letter.

    • wow , this beat my info. on my website .. pls visit us @ mormanseekers.com

  4. MQ-2

    I have just one thing to say about your response and observations.. and that is "WOW!!!"
    Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

    • Equality not Bigotry – "Do you have any information as to what selective science the APA overlooks?" No, I'm no expert on this stuff, and don't have the time to do the research.

      I also am not familiar with that list of organizations, but if you're trying to convince me of anything by appealing to the APA and the NEA, then you're making your task harder than it needs to be. The NEA talks a nice talk, but their actions seem specifically designed to make our kids dumb and turn the US into a third-world dictatorship.

      As for peer-review, again, I don't see how appealing to that helps add credibility to your argument. If you've been following the ClimateGate scandal lately, then you know we've seen the virtual destruction of any credibility the peer-review process ever had. Everything that has ever come from the peer-review process has now been called into question. Evidently large groups of scientists and doctors can be corrupted.

      MQ_2 – "Let them practice in monogamous relationships. Make up a new temple ceremony for eternal gay marriage. Start having gay and lesbian singles wards." But why stop there? Why not allow members to practice polygamy again? Why not create a new temple ceremony where any number of men and women can be married to each other? Why not have wards for adulterers? If the only qualification for creating new ordinances and wards is that it be for consenting adults who have hurt feelings, why not?

      Your point of view only makes sense if you take as given that the LDS Church is false, and that there is no direct communication between President Monson and God. If someone assumes that's the case, then why would anyone care how the LDS Church treats gay people? That would be like me caring what the stance of Scientology is on homosexuality. If someone believes the LDS Church is true and President Monson does directly communicate with God, then why would they try to get the Church to change its doctrine?

      I don't think that's what David is trying to do with his letter. I don't think he's saying the doctrine is wrong, but rather that the Church's handling of the issue leaves something to be desired. I think that's fine for him to share his experience and suggestions (although privately, rather than publicly), and I would guess the leaders of the church would take seriously his input and I wouldn't be surprised if they're working on figuring out better ways to handle the issue of homosexuality amongst church members without betraying the doctrines of the church. But establishing gay wards or having gay temple ceremonies would be a major doctrinal change, perhaps equivalent to saying that adultery is no longer a sin.

      In the case of the priesthood and blacks, there was no doctrine to change. There was a policy that started over 100 years ago (nobody seems to know exactly when or how), and it took until 1978 for it to be changed. It did not change due to external or internal pressure. If that were true, then why didn't the church change the policy in the 60's, when the pressure was stronger than it was in 1978? And why did President David O. McKay express interest in changing the policy decades earlier, when many other Christian denominations had similar policies in place and there was no external pressure? Again, if you take as your premise that the LDS Church is false, then there seems to be no explanation other than external pressure. But if you accept that the LDS Church may be true, then a host of other possible explanations present themselves.

      • You are comparing a monogamous homosexual relationship to that of alduterers? Apparently, you still don’t get it….try re reading the letter bud.

  5. Not being a Mormon or a Christian, can i just ask: what do you think is wrong with being a homosexual?

  6. Hi Sean.

    As a member of the Church I would have to say that in being a mormon one has to reject homosexuality, as to be homosexual is a choice that the individual makes. One is not born homosexual.

    I would however have to say that personally I reject that notion. The only choice an individual has is whether to be a practicing homosexual or remain celebate. Whilst the church embraces those who have homosexual tendencies, the members in general do not. They may appear to be friendly on a Sunday whilst at church, but would not in general socialise with them outside of church.

    There are many LDS men who suffer mental problems because of the fear that they will be discovered and to be discovered would entail or could entail the loss of membership, friends and sometimes family.

    Before a convert is baptised he/she has to have an interview and Q4 asks if U have ever had a homosexual relationship. To answer yes or indicate that are homosexual would mean that you would need to have an indepth interview with the Mission President.

    You may have noticed that I have consistently used the term homosexual and not the generally accepted terminology "Gay". That is because the church refuses to accept that term. They use the terms SSA [Same sex attraction] or SGS [same gender attraction]

    There are those who are General Authorities that are homophobic whist pretending not to be. One even likened them to dogs who have sex for pleasure and not procreation.

  7. I am deeply touched by the letter written by David Hardy. What's missing are the words of his son. In order to fully understand the situation or deal with it in its entirety one would need to hear the words of his son. It is obvious that David is a loving father and has handled the situation to the best of his ability and it has shaken him to the very core as it would shake me.

    Homosexuality may be the single hardest inclination to avoid, but let us remember that it is unnatural in the eyes of God. A man may not engage in homosexual activities and still feel the spirit of God. If Homosexuality was to be accepted on the earth a man would be able to birth children with another Man, it is not so and can never be so.

    With that said please understand that I feel greatly for those who have been given this lot in life; their's is a most troubling and depressing path. As one who has been stricken by the debilitating effects of addiction let me offer these words: You will never be "cured," such a thing does not exist you can only come to accept who you are and move forward from that position. Unless a man or woman understands this, they will be met with dissappointment and discouragement their entire lives.

    People throughout all generations have been plagued by various sins, but that never has, nor ever will grant them the right to commit suicide. One who attempts such an act has within themselves given up on fighting. Let us assume (as we cannot know) this to be the case for David Hardy's son. No matter how hard David Hardy tries to help his son, he cannot. His son is the one stricken with a debilitating addiction and unless he himsef can accept it, he will never have the strength to fight for his life.

    If you attempt suicide you are entertaining the idea that you are not loved by God and you are hopelessly engaged in sin with no light at the end of the tunnel. There is always a way out through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but again the mportant thing to remember is that there is no "cure." Christ does not take away your desires, He lightens the burden on your shoulders. You can never approach sin by saying that you need the desires taken away, it may never be so with strong addictions.

    In the end, Daivid's entire argument comes down to one asking himself, "Is homosexuality ordained of God or not?" If it is not, then his son needs to fight for doing the right thing his entire life and he (David) has no power over his son's future. Many good parents have to take a step back and watch as their children live for themselves, this is no different. Even the most valiant and exceptional followers of Jesus Christ struggle with addiction and fall victim to its terrible grasps. No matter what has befallen a child of God he is still God's child and will always be treated as such.

    There is a time of reckoning and no man can say how a homosexual (such as David's son) will be judged, but David cannot will his son into a rationalized state of immunity. David's son will be judged, and if he is as David says, "Indeed, my son is the most unselfish and Christ-like person I know." He will be judged well.

  8. "As for peer-review, again, I don’t see how appealing to that helps add credibility to your argument. If you’ve been following the ClimateGate scandal lately, then you know we’ve seen the virtual destruction of any credibility the peer-review process ever had. Everything that has ever come from the peer-review process has now been called into question. Evidently large groups of scientists and doctors can be corrupted."

    That's simply a wrong. Climategate was more smoke than fire, and had nothing to do with peer review, it was simply colleagues discussing a paper. That said, their research is a drop in the bucket, easily dismissed, without causing a dent in the various and independent research that has shown that the climate is warming at an accelerated pace.

    The Koch brothers funded a researcher who intended to review and correct what he believed where erroneous temperature calculations and even the result was the same (http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2011/1021/Climate-study-funded-in-part-by-conservative-group-confirms-global-warming)

    Unless we intend to rely upon revelation for all our decision, peer-review will remain an excellent gate-keeping function, although like any human endeavor it will never be perfect.

    Your curt dismissal of large groups of scientists and doctors, based on a news story which you don't seem to know much about, is troubling.

  9. I think everything you say on this topic, and everything else on this site can be well summed up by your own words: "I’m no expert on this stuff, and don’t have the time to do the research." In other words, "I don't know what I'm talking about, but that won't stop me from dedicating an entire blog to bloviating on subjects I know little to nothing about."

  10. I'm not a Mormon, just a Christian layman. I too think sexual orientation is set and unchangeable. That is not to say God couldn't cure it if he chose to, because "with God all things are possible." I don't think sexual orientation in and of itself is sinful; however, it's what we do with it that could make it sinful. I'm saying that all Christians are, however, responsible and accountable for our sexual behavior. I believe the Bible specifically condemns some sexual practices, and as concerns homosexuals, the practice of Sodomy, i.e. anal intercourse between men. (As for other practices between homosexual men, I have no clue or revelation as to their morality). In Young's Literal Translation (Bible) of Greek to English the translation comes through as "Sodomites" and "Sodomy." I see this practice as being sinful, and believe there are many homosexuals who do not practice this. P.S. Please don't rake me over the coals and condemn me to the lowest hell if you disagree with me. I have tried to be firm but kind; please return the favor.

    • In other words, if you are attracted to men instead of women, then you have to remain celebate for life? I don’t think that’s a very fair judgement. If it was the other way around, could you have remained celebate your entire life?

  11. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. — Proverbs 30:17

    He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. — Exodus 21:17

    Sounds like naughty children are in the same category! Wo unto the Sodomy of men (what about lesbians?) and rebellious children!

  12. The Mormon Church send people into exile if they were gay..Joseph Smith Jr's own family tree has homosexual's..Joseph Fielding Smith the Mormon Patriarch who was the leader from 1942-46 had to resign and moved to Hawaii becomes of his gay illness..He was considered a great leader until they noticed he liked the same-sex then became a outcast….The Mormons still try and forget that leader..

  13. Let me start by stating that I believe Homosexuality is a sin and a rebellion against the statutes of God. However, there are many sins, and I believe that everybody since at least once a day, regardless of how 'good' they might claim to be (with obvious exception of Jesus).

    That said, the Bible talks about sin (basic harmateology) as wrong thoughts that are left unchecked and make their way to wrong deeds. Despite your theological worldview (with some exceptions, such as Satanism), homosexuality is wrong. Even darwinists believe that it contributes against the propagation of the species.

    I have had some experience with homosexuality, and have found time and time again that it is a life choice, no better or no worse of a choice than any other. The only difference lies in which way we choose to follow. I have had some friends who were homosexual whom I've prayed about often, and had some experiences with it.

    I cannot deny that the Bible calls it a sin, but it is not my job to judge others – I am only to tell them that what they're doing is a sin, but not condemn or let it affect my relation to them in any way. I care about the homosexuals, but I detest what they do and the choice they have made – Love the sinner, hate the sin.

  14. As an RC (though a somewhat dissident one), I wish someone would share this heart-rending letter with the Pope and bishops of the RC Church! I have gays in my family; I know for a fact in growing up with these people that the condition is inborn, and not a lifestyle choice. I hope that both the LDS Church and the RC Church can learn to find creative and charitable solutions for those who are homosexual. Of course God does not “make mistakes”, as one writer above phrased it, but He often allows differences in nature. For what reason? Read the musings of GM Hopkins, the poet, on differences (himself a priest who– I believe– had homosexual leanings): “Glory be to God for Dappled Things” (from *Pied Beauty*)! As for the passage about Sodom and Gomorrah, some scholars believe that this story is more about the lack of hospitality towards guests (to put it mildly), than about homosexuality per se, as the story also includes bringing women out for rape.

    BTW, I am on this Mormon site to do research, in case you’re wondering. I find some of your beliefs intriguing, and I praise the courage of the person above (Mr. Hardy) who originally wrote this letter. I myself am heterosexual, though single; I pray for all of us single and homosexuals out there, who often can find no easy place in either of our respective churches. Thank you!

  15. I just found this discussion – thank you all so much for your comments and thoughts.

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