05 December 2011

...But do keep dreaming.

"There is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband, a wife, and posterity. Further, men are that they might have joy. In the eternal perspective, same-gender activity will only bring sorrow and grief and the loss of eternal opportunities." - Elder Oaks

The otherwise righteous who must wait until after death to find out if they're set up for a fullness of joy: the childless, all never-married people, people who married outside of the temple, people who married in the temple but whose spouses have not been true to the covenants made.

On one hand, that's a lot of people who have to trust that "it'll all work out somehow". On the other hand, that's some pretty good company. Not that I think homo single folks in the church actually are asked the same as hetero single folks in the church. That's probably another post for another time, but the short version is implied in the quote above: "same-gender activity" quite clearly does not refer exclusively to sexual activity, promiscuity, or lifetime partnership.

Options for gay people (or "those who experience primarily or exclusively same-sex attraction") in the Church, according to Oaks:
  1. marry someone of the opposite sex if you have your behavior under control and same-sex attractions in the background and find someone of the opposite sex to whom you're attracted enough to raise a family with him or her,
  2. stay single your whole life, never dating or experiencing even romantic, non-sexual intimacy, and hope to be married after this life in order to experience "fullness of joy",
  3. choose "sorrow and grief and the loss of eternal opportunities" by having any kind of romantic partnership with another member of the same sex.

This does not jibe, as I see it, with insistence on the part of some that the LDS Church is warming up to committed same-sex partnership at least as a "for time only" (as opposed to "for time and all eternity") option. Honestly, while not everyone is quite so explicitly proscriptive as Oaks, I know of no member of the quorum of the twelve, nor any seventy, making statements otherwise. Some members may be, but I just don't see any acceptance of even non-sexual same-sex dating anywhere in any statements, official, informal, or otherwise, from any of the church's leadership at any level above an occasional stake presidency.

I don't want to go so far as to say, to those who believe the church is on the brink of a 1978-style declaration, that you're fooling yourselves, but...I think there's a lot of wishful thinking among segments of the church's membership in this regard.


Scott N said...

The church'll change eventually. It'll pretty much have to, unless it wants to become irrelevant in a society that has put homophobia behind it.

But it's not going to happen for several years. It was 20 years behind society at large on the race issue, and it still hasn't even come close to catching up as far as gender equality goes.

It'll be a minimum of 20-30 years after marriage equality has become a non-issue before the church makes any concessions on the homosexuality issue.

El Genio said...

Amongst all the confusing excuses for prop 8 and similar political activity, some people have ended up focusing on only one aspect of the law of the chastity. "Well the church only wants people to have sex inside of a legal marriage."

Well yes, that's true. But it's also true that they don't want marriage to be available to gay people. And even in cases where it is available legally, they aren't condoning what is taking place.

Did you know that the law of chastity as explained in the endowment used to be gender neutral? Of course, they changed that in the 90s. IMO the church is digging in its heels and painting itself into a corner. It doesn't mean they can't change, but it means I don't see any signs of change in the near future.

Trev said...

It's not necessarily "dreaming." I just read the the book David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (a phenomenal book; highly recommended if you have any interest of any kind in the Church), and the chapter on "Blacks, the Priesthood, and Civil Rights" had some interesting stuff.

Harold B. Lee vowed (this is documented in the book) that blacks would never have the Priesthood while he was alive. The men at the top level of the hierarchy during McKay's presidency were very set in what we now recognize as racist views* (with the notable exception of counselor Hugh B. Brown) while the younger guys coming in were more quiet on the issue. Well, Harold B. Lee died in '73 and the Revelation came just a few years later. Kimball himself (at least according to this book, so during McKay's presidency) was not anxious for the blacks to get the Priesthood.

It doesn't need to be *that* long, necessarily. You just need the right combination of circumstances. That said, it could indeed be 20 or 30 years before change happens. We'll see. It's fun to speculate :), and I don't think either extreme view of quick- or long-term change is entirely untenable.

*One thing this chapter does very well in my opinion is put the Church's position in the context of the times. The Church's position on race can be considered "behind the times," but it was by no means "fringe." Similarly, for all us invested in gay rights, their fairness and importance obvious to us, but the Church's position is not "fringe" among a substantial portion of the population. That's changing fast, though, and we'll see what happens.

The Impossible K said...

I agree - there are no signs of change and honestly, I don't see it happening even 20 or 30 years from now either. Comparing this issue to blacks getting the priesthood is a logical fallacy- the only thing these issues have in common is their controversial nature.

Oh, and the list of "otherwise righteous" who have to wait for a fulness of joy - that includes everyone (alive, that is). Even the "Peter Priesthoods" with perfect mormon wives (ha) have to trust that it'll all work out... we're all relying on faith here, because there is no concrete resolution until we pass through to the other side. For all I know, you could be closer to that "fulness of joy" than I am - ok, perhaps not in terms of the whole marriage thing if you're going to use that as your basis - but spiritually, mentally, emotionally... who are we to judge? Marriage is only one aspect that leads to a fulness of joy, and it's irritating how people around Idaho/Utah especially seem to forget and make that the ONLY focus.

Chedner said...

One could perhaps argue that there were such strict beliefs about race/lineage/where-we-are-now-because-of-what-we-did-pre-life before things changed about giving the priesthood to black people.

And I'm not sure but I think it was the allowing of the priesthood to black people that knocked those doctrines off of the shelf primarily instead of the other way around.

(Not that I'm expecting anything soon re the gay.)

Original Mohomie said...

I agree that such a change is not beyond the realm of imagination. I do believe it would be without precedent. I think the general idea of a drastic change has precedent in the issue of priesthood for all worthy males, but I think this specific kind of change is uniquely central to the core gospel message and unusually painted into a corner. But I don't mean to say it could never happen. I believe it could. But I think there is extremely little solid evidence of such change already happening. The only momentum I see is among a growing but small group of passionate but marginalized members of the church who are not general leadership.

jimf said...

"There is no fullness of joy in the next life without. . . posteriors.
Further, men are that they might have joy."
- Elder Wild Oats