Asking those I agree with to be honest

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I’ll be up-front about my politics here: They’re conservative, libertarian, anti-foreign intervention, and pro-civil rights. I have mixed feelings about California’s Proposition 8; I probably would vote “no” on it if I still lived in California.

Considering my views, it only makes sense that I’ve read and enjoyed Andrew Sullivan’s blog for many years.

But at issue is not my politics, it’s Mr. Sullivan’s over-the-top claim in his October 31st blog post:

Yes On 8 has been bankrolled to the tune $20 million from the LDS church. And their main theme has been the ancient blood libel against gay people (and Jews): that we’re out to “recruit” or abuse others’ children.

Disagreement with another’s political views is one thing; outright dishonesty is quite another.

Believe what you want, Mr. Sullivan, about what’s really in Mormons’ hearts as they go to the polls on November 4th. But no pro-Prop 8 campaign advertising has even come close to using “blood libel against gay people” and fears of gay “recruiting” or abuse of children — let alone made it the “main theme” of the campaign.

Andrew Sullivan is employing the same sort of stereotyping of Mormons that he complains Mormons are doing about practicing homosexuals. And, as someone who usually enjoys his writing, I find it beneath contempt.

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About Mike Parker

Mike Parker has been involved in LDS apologetics since the mid-1980s, and on the Internet since 1997. He joined the team of FairMormon volunteers in 2002, and has been involved in the creation of the FairMormon wiki (http://en.fairmormon.org) and running the annual FairMormon conference. He is the recipient of FairMormon’s 2006 John Taylor Defender of the Faith Award. He resides with his gorgeous wife and two wonderful children in Utah's Dixie region.

41 thoughts on “Asking those I agree with to be honest

  1. Christian Berger

    I love the Atlantic writers in general, and am an avid reader of Jim Fallows. I recently discovered the Fair blog and have enjoyed.

    However, I’m concerned that this opinion stands in direct opposition to the prophet’s teaching. As a Californian, wouldn’t you feel it your responsibility to vote for Prop 8?

  2. Mike Parker Post author

    It’s somewhat of a side issue, and has been argued much more eloquently and at length elsewhere in the bloggernacle.

    The short answer is that I believe I have an obligation to carefully and prayerfully examine the directives of the leaders of the Church. If I come to the conclusion that I have been asked to do something that conflicts with the principles I believe in, then I am not bound to do it. But as a faithful member of the Church I will not speak out against her.

    I believe the Church has every right to support Proposition 8, and to ask members to participate in helping it pass. I will not argue against that right nor disparage the Church I have covenanted to sustain.

    I brought the point up in my original post in order to point out that I like and frequently agree with Andrew Sullivan, but his partisanship has blinded his intellectual honesty in this case.

  3. Ellis

    These discussion of Prop 8 confuse me a great deal. Why has this become such a hot button issue. A few election cycles ago a “marriage amendment” was on the ballot in my state. There were no statements from the church about it. No one was asked to vote for it or contribute money to campaigning against it. It was treated like any other political issue. Life was peaceful. The amendment was passed by a 2 to 1 margin. So what’s so different about California? Why all the drama?

  4. Mike Parker Post author

    Another interesting question that has been debated extensively elsewhere.

    I think perhaps some of the following played into the Church’s decision:

    • The tendency of California to be a bellwether for legal issues. Where California goes, other states soon follow.
    • The large number of Latter-day Saints in California (approaching 1 million, I believe)
    • The recent defeat of the federal constitutional marriage amendment.
  5. Nate W.

    I’m not sure that’s what Sullivan meant, Mike. I think he was referencing the youtube video at the top of the post–which accuses gays of recruiting. While it’s a poorly constructed sentence, I don’t think he’s saying that the LDS Church is promoting the idea of recruiting, but that the Yes on 8 campaign is, as illustrated by the video.

  6. Mike Parker Post author

    Nate,

    Even if we give Sullivan the benefit of the doubt about recruiting, how does he justify the “blood libel” and child-abuse claims?

    And I failed to mention his snide comment about LDS pro-8 activist and African American Marvin Perkins. Sullivan demands a level of courtesy and respect that he’s not willing to give.

  7. Nate W.

    Honestly, I make it a general rule not to attempt to defend Sullivan–he’s prone to hysteria. I don’t say that as a gay stereotype–any faithful reader of the Dish knows that Sully is a lot better at reacting to a story than critically analyzing it. I was only saying that a fair reading suggests that he’s attacking the Yes on 8 campaign rather than Church membership.

    As far as the claims you bring up at 6:11, I think he’s using a non-representative argument as a talking point. However, I think to the extent that we identify a group of people as people who are going to abuse and molest children, blood libel seems like an apt metaphor. While there are obvious differences, the charge that gays are paedophiles has the same purpose and effect as the charge that Jews engaged in ritual sacrifice of children. Recruiting is a much milder charge, but the difference is one of degree, not of type. In sum, claims of recruiting and abuse are libels that must be rejected, but I don’t think they are in widespread use in the Yes on 8 campaign.

    Finally, I agree that Sully is being disrespectful. The blurb about Mr. Perkins feeds into one of Sullivan’s narratives that I find repulsive: the idea that African-Americans are more homophobic than other groups (this is likely the meaning of “you don’t say.”). See here for an example of what I mean. Sullivan’t view here is not really defensible, and he should be called on the carpet for it. However, to the extent that Mr. Perkins’ quote is accurately reproduced from the TNR article that Sully links to, his statement should be rejected and publicly mocked:

    This tension was especially pronounced when less-polished speakers–like, say, Marvin Perkins, a forty-ish African American introduced as a “community leader”–took the microphone at the rally. “They’re trying to compare this to the black struggle for civil rights and to interracial marriage,” Perkins told the crowd. “And it’s like, there were no civil unions for black and white couples, so, you know, you don’t have a leg to stand on.” If such reasoning caused some puzzlement–was he saying that civil unions would be sufficient for mixed-race couples?–Perkins had another argument for the crowd to consider. “I was talking to a gay friend of mine, and I said, ‘What’s the story? Come on. You have civil unions. Why are you pushing this?’ And they said, ‘Marvin, it’s simply recruiting. We love to recruit.'” It struck me as a testament to Marvin’s magnetism that he was able to elicit such candor from his close gay friends about the recruiting conspiracy.

  8. Greg Smith

    The whole “blood libel” claim also tries to associate the LDS with anti-Semitism of the worst sort which is
    (a) inflammatory and;
    (b) ridiculous, since the LDS canon (Book of Mormon) has more explicit denunciations of anti-Jewish sentiment than the canon of any other religion of which I’m aware.

  9. Juliann

    Here is a You Tube video by Marvin Perkins containing what his CNN interview omitted…and it highlights the disrespectful questioning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nJ98e3DJFQ&feature=related. It is pathetic that journalists are trying to use the tried and true tactic of pitting the black community against Mormons when there is a strong coalition between the two communities. When this is unsuccessful they turn on the “homophobic” black community as well. (The CNN interviewer asked him if he was homophobic). It will be interesting to see how this plays out and who trumps…the gay rights coalition or the black community.

  10. Nate W.

    Greg:

    While blood libel may have anti-Semitic roots, it has been used against many disfavored groups–including early Christians, the Chinese, communists, and even Mormons. It’s a very versatile slur. This particular iteration is different in detail, but it follows the same pattern.

    Like I said above, this isn’t an attack I’ve heard from Yes on 8 all that much, so I think Sullivan is wrong to charge Yes on 8 with blood libel. But if a charge that all gays molest children is made, that claim should be rejected and the declarant shamed. We don’t tolerate people saying that Jews eat babies in polite society. We shouldn’t tolerate similar libels against gays.

  11. Mike Parker Post author

    Nate,

    I agree wholeheartedly that charges that all (or even most) gays are “recruiting” or molesting young children is false and should not ne tolerated.

    But you’re missing the point: Sullivan claimed that such charges have been the “main theme” (his words!) of the Mormon-led Yes On 8 campaign. This is demonstrably untrue.

  12. Nate W.

    Mike:

    Read carefully. You and I are in agreement.

    In sum, claims of recruiting and abuse are libels that must be rejected, but I don’t think they are in widespread use in the Yes on 8 campaign.

    Like I said above, this isn’t an attack I’ve heard from Yes on 8 all that much, so I think Sullivan is wrong to charge Yes on 8 with blood libel.

  13. Gail F. Bartholomew

    I apologize for posting this here. This is for the discussion: “I will not quit my post until properly relieved.” I need to follow up somewhere and this is the only discussion line that seems to still be accepting posts.

    Teddy,
    1st Thank you for making my point so well, if you so strongly associate the sexual orientation of homosexuality with a sinner it only illustrates my point of the bigotry that is throughout the church towards homosexuals.
    2nd Please help me understand your thinking here. Was I not heterosexual until I had sexual relations? Was I then a unisexual until I acted upon my orientation? What should we call someone’s sexual orientation when they are as attracted to the same sex as most of the population is attracted to the opposite sex?
    3rd God does not expect everyone to live a celibate life, he expects us all to live abstinent lives until we are married. There is a huge difference in the level of difficulty in these two different paths.
    4th I disagree with the statement “There are many married couples who have lost their sexual attraction for each other but still remain happily married.” Sexual attraction is far more than physical. As a young single man I would give a lot just to have time to sit and talk with some one of the opposite sex. As a young married man at BYU a bishop spoke and said the only aphrodisiac is talking and listening. Just because at 80 years old a man has a physical preference to young thin blonds does no way mean he has no attraction to his spouse. I submit that if they are still happily married it is likely because they still have attraction. Even if that attraction is not completely physical I do believe it is sexual in nature, because I could not form a bond like that with a man. Could you? Not that there is not a bond between two people that have lived together, had children together, and may not share sexual orientation, but it is not the same and can never be the same.
    5th You stated “If there are religions or groups that want to solemnize same sex couples amongst their membership it has little affect upon us and we do not interfere. Let them do what they want.” But we are not letting them do what they want we want to make what they are doing illegal. We are not letting them worship how, where, or what they may.
    6th Great quote from Elder Oaks, but please give me one other example of a religious practice that we disagree with that we have sought to make illegal.

  14. Theodore Brandley

    Gail,

    1st Thank you for making my point so well, if you so strongly associate the sexual orientation of homosexuality with a sinner it only illustrates my point of the bigotry that is throughout the church towards homosexuals.

    My previous points and the quotes of the Brethren that I cited made it very clear that the Church is strongly against the sin of homosexual behavior but we are still to love the sinner. The homosexual agenda has been very successful in branding as bigots and homophobes those who believe that homosexual behavior is sin. You might say that we are highly bigoted against sin but we endeavor to not be bigoted against the sinner.

    2nd Please help me understand your thinking here. Was I not heterosexual until I had sexual relations? Was I then a unisexual until I acted upon my orientation? What should we call someone’s sexual orientation when they are as attracted to the same sex as most of the population is attracted to the opposite sex?

    Here again the homosexual agenda has been very successful in attaching labels to everyone and putting them in boxes. You wouldn’t label as an adulterer a person who was tempted with adultery but resisted the temptation. I do not subscribe to their theory that if one experiences a homosexual temptation it defines that person’s “sexual orientation.” I am personally aware of several acquaintances who were tempted into homosexual experiences in their youth yet turned completely away from it, married the opposite sex, raised families, and completely lost the temptation for homosexual behavior.

    Homosexual behavior is a highly addictive sin. The temptation towards homosexual behavior is not a sin. If, however, one relishes the thoughts and acts out homosexual fantasies in their mind this can be a sin even as the Lord said about adultery, “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Pornography is also a highly addictive sin and it mostly happens in the mind.

    3rd God does not expect everyone to live a celibate life, he expects us all to live abstinent lives until we are married. There is a huge difference in the level of difficulty in these two different paths.

    What I said was, “God expects everyone to live a celibate (Encarta: abstaining from sex) life unless they are married to someone of the opposite sex” so I think that is the same thing as living “abstinent lives until we are married.”

    4th. Sexual attraction is far more than physical… Even if that attraction is not completely physical I do believe it is sexual in nature, because I could not form a bond like that with a man. Could you?

    I agree that sexual attraction can be far more than physical. On the other hand deep loving relationships between members of the same sex can, and should be, completely asexual (Encarta: without sexual desire or activity). Since I was a young man I have been blessed with several such male companionships. It’s called brotherly love. “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

    The homosexual agenda, as well as much of modern society, has done a great job of equating “love” and “lust.” This is a deception. To love one another is a commandment. To lust after another who is not your opposite-sex spouse is a sin.

    5th But we are not letting them do what they want we want to make what they are doing illegal

    The religion of the Gadianton robbers and the Mafia is to steal and murder for profit. Does this mean we should make stealing and murder legal so that we are not accused of being bigoted against the Mafia? Same-sex marriage has been illegal forever. The homosexual agenda are the ones who are trying to force their definition of marriage upon the rest of us.

    6th Great quote from Elder Oaks, but please give me one other example of a religious practice that we disagree with that we have sought to make illegal.

    See 5th above.

    -Teddy

  15. Theodore Brandley

    Gail,

    The Church was equally opposed to the “Equal Rights Amendment” for basically the same reasons. Church leaders described it a moral issue and President Kimball said that it “would strike at the family, humankind’s basic institution.”

    -Teddy

  16. Gail F. Bartholomew

    Teddy,

    Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.

    I want to make sure I am absolutely sure I under stand what you are saying you believe.

    Are you truly saying that there is no such thing as sexual orientation? Are you really saying that everyone is the same sexually and any variation is just a matter of temptation the same as temptation to have premarital sex or to look at pornography?

    Are you really trying to compare the practices of the Mafia with a religion?

  17. Theodore Brandley

    Gail,

    Are you really trying to compare the practices of the Mafia with a religion?

    The Mafia is one of the religions of Satan.

    Gail
    Are you truly saying that there is no such thing as sexual orientation?

    “Sexual orientation” is a term that was invented to normalize same-sex attraction. Same-sex attraction is the temptation to commit the serious sin of homosexual behavior. Homosexual behavior has been noted as a serious sin since the dispensation of Abraham.

    Genesis 19:4-7:
    “But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.”

    Josephus, Flavius, Antiquities of the Jews Chapter 11:
    “Now when the Sodomites saw the young men to be of beautiful countenances, and this to an extraordinary degree, and that they took up their lodgings with Lot, they resolved themselves to enjoy these beautiful boys… But God was much displeased at their impudent behavior, so that he both smote those men with blindness, and condemned the Sodomites to universal destruction.”

    The seriousness of homosexual behavior was confirmed in the dispensation of Moses.

    Leviticus 18:22:
    “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

    It was re-confirmed in the New Testament.

    1 Corinthians 6:9:
    “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [Greek: catamite – boy kept for homosexual relations with a man], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [Greek: arsenokoites – one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual].”

    1 Timothy 1:9-10:
    “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind [Greek: arsenokoites – one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual], for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”

    Homosexual behavior has been confirmed as a serious sin by the prophets of our day.

    Spencer W. Kimball:
    “The leaders of the Church continually cry out against that which is intolerable in the sight of the Lord: against pollution of mind and body and our surroundings; against vulgarity, stealing, lying, cheating, false pride, blasphemy, and drunkenness; against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abortion; and all other abuses of the sacred power to create; against murder and all that is like unto it; against all manner of degradation and sin.” (The Lord Expects Righteousness,” Ensign, Nov 1982, 4)

    “Homosexuality is an ugly sin, but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved with it, it must be brought into the open.”(The Foundations of Righteousness,” Ensign, Nov 1977, 4)

    The seriousness of the sin of homosexual behavior was reconfirmed by two members of the Quorum of the Twelve as recently as yesterday in a meeting in Atlanta.

    Gail:
    Are you really saying that everyone is the same sexually and any variation is just a matter of temptation the same as temptation to have premarital sex or to look at pornography?

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen 1:27).

    God designed sexual attraction to bring a man and a woman together to form the foundation of a family. The natural extended family is the only organization that exists in the eternal world. Without families there is no eternal world. The bond between a man and a woman is therefore the foundation of all eternity. That is why sex is so sacred and why God has placed strict bounds around its use.

    The temptation to have premarital sex may delay marriage but hopefully still eventually lead to the marriage of a man and a woman. It is therefore not as serious as pornography, which can lead away from the formation of a natural family. Pornography is not as serious as homosexual attraction which will almost inevitably prevent the formation of an eternal family. Homosexual behavior has serious eternal consequences and that is why it is such an egregious sin.

    -Teddy

  18. Gail F. Bartholomew

    Teddy,
    Thank you for your response.
    So if you are saying that the Mafia is the religion of Satan and you are using it as an example in this context that you are saying that churches such as the Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist, all but the Orthodox Jews, and even some Catholic churches are also the religion of Satan?
    I am not saying that having a behavioral standard is bigoted. Your belief that sexual orientation is invented to justify something is exactly why even good Mormons who are homosexual, and have never sexually sinned, but still never experience heterosexual feelings only homosexual feelings are afraid their fellow ward members will shun them if they find out who they are. This is the bigotry I have been referring to.
    According to Elder Wickmen in the Wickmen Oaks interview gender orientation is a core characteristic. Elder Ballard in 1990 said these are feelings people can have their whole life.
    If you are saying Sodom and Gomorra are an example of homosexuality I disagree. I think gang rape is much different than homosexual consensual sex.
    Also, your example from Leviticus we have already covered. The word abomination is used in Leviticus for ceremonial observances such as not eating pork that we do not follow today. Check it.
    You give two examples from Paul’s writings. This is a man who the brethren disregard almost everything he has to say about sexuality. Paul claims you can serve God better as a single person, and the only reason for marriage is if you can not control your sexual feelings. He also claims homosexuality is a punishment for not enough faith in Christ. These are all rejected by the brethren.
    I do agree that President Kimball called homosexual behavior a sin. He did not however reject the fact that it is real. Did you also know he claimed that masturbation causes homosexuality? Maybe I am the only imperfect person on this blog but having experienced masturbation with no onset of homosexuality I am thinking President Kimball may be mistaken on this count.

  19. Theodore Brandley

    Gail,

    <blockquote…you are saying that churches such as the Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist, all but the Orthodox Jews, and even some Catholic churches are also the religion of Satan?

    No.

    Your belief that sexual orientation is invented to justify something…is the bigotry I have been referring to.

    I said that the ‘term’ “sexual orientation” was invented to normalize same-sex attraction. I then defined same-sex attraction as the temptation to commit the serious sin of homosexual behavior. I have repeatedly stated in this discussion that the temptation to commit homosexual behavior is not a sin, but the behavior is. However, the homosexual agenda brands any suggestion of sin as bigotry, and fails to see their own bigotry in doing so.

    Elder Ballard in 1990 said these are feelings people can have their whole life.

    There is no question that we are all born with certain weaknesses and susceptibilities to various sins. Some to one some to another, and they can stay with us all our lives. Resisting them is called enduring to the end.

    If you are saying Sodom and Gomorra are an example of homosexuality I disagree. I think gang rape is much different than homosexual consensual sex.

    The term “sodomite” is subsequently used 5 times in the Old Testament and in no case does it refer to a gang of rapists, ie:

    Deut 23:17
    “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.”

    Other references confirm that the sin of Sodom was not gang rape.

    Isaiah 3:9
    “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.”

    Jude 1:7
    “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

    The word abomination is used in Leviticus for ceremonial observances such as not eating pork that we do not follow today. Check it.

    That is true, but the word abomination is also used in the scriptures for serous sexual sins:

    Ezek 22:11
    “And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife;”

    Jacob 2:28
    “For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.”

    Alma 39:3-5
    “…and [thou] did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel…Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?”

    You give two examples from Paul’s writings. This is a man who the brethren disregard almost everything he has to say about sexuality

    The Brethren may disagree with some things that Paul said on sexuality that are not confirmed elsewhere in the scriptures, but homosexual behavior is not one of them.

    I do agree that President Kimball called homosexual behavior a sin…Did you also know he claimed that masturbation causes homosexuality?

    President Kimball said, “Sometimes masturbation is the introduction to the more serious sin of exhibitionism and the gross sin of homosexuality.” (Spencer W. Kimball, President Kimball Speaks Out, p.10)

    “Sometimes” masturbation can lead to homosexuality. When two like-minded individuals masturbate together it is a small step for them to masturbate each other.

    Homosexual behavior is a serious and highly addictive sin.

    -Teddy

  20. Cowboy

    “Sometimes” masturbation can lead to homosexuality. When two like-minded individuals masturbate together it is a small step for them to masturbate each other.”

    Sorry to re-interrupt here, I just wish you could see me laughing at this one, I almost peed my pants. Isn’t that prophetic counsel, something as simple as two people masturbating “together”, can lead to homosexuality. What started out as a simple tickle fight among friends, quickly turns into something pernicious. Wise counsel, note to everybody, whenever possible please avoid group masturbation sessions – it may seem harmless, but you’ll turn gay (as though group encounters aren’t evidence of that in the first place).

  21. Theodore Brandley

    Hi Cowboy,

    I don’t share your hilarity over this statement as I find the issue sad and serious. But I understand from our previous discussions that these textural encounters are mostly of interest to you from a point of logic, like a game of logic Scrabble. This is not a criticism, just an observation. However, even from a logical point of view, your finding the statement humorous must come from your assumption that if two people of the same sex are masturbating together they must therefore already be homosexual. I disagree. I am aware of young men involved in “group masturbation,” as you put it, who went on to normal family life with never any homosexual desires. I am also aware of others who then adopted a homosexual lifestyle.

    -Theodore

  22. Cowboy

    Theodore –

    I try as best as possible to employ logic and reason and experience in the positions I take, but my comments have rarely been what I would characterize as a game. As for the group masturbation comments, I agree that circumstances are sad when they occur. Though I would argue that when “two like-minded individuals masturbate together”, it should be a pretty good clue that they conducting themselves in a homosexual manner, I won’t say to what degree – but obviously at some level. I would further argue that contemporary thinking suggests something like 95% of all males masturbate at one time during their life/youth, so slippery slope reasoning that it leads to homosexual tendencies are unfounded given that only somewhere between 8-11% of males become homosexually active.

  23. Theodore Brandley

    Cowboy,

    I do not disagree with your statistics, and agree that most males who masturbate will not become homosexuals. My statement that it “can” lead to homosexual behavior comes from knowledge of incidents where it has happened, as I’m sure is the case with President Kimball, rather than from “slippery slope reasoning.”

    -Theodore

  24. Mike Parker Post author

    This is a chicken-and-egg question. Does mutual masturbation cause homosexuality, or does it occur among homosexuals?

    I would posit that it is, almost without exception, the latter. There is no drive among heterosexual males to be sexually expressive in each other’s presence. Quite the opposite, in fact; there is a great deal of revulsion to the idea.

    Elder Kimball, for all his greatness, was simply wrong on this matter.

  25. Theodore Brandley

    Mike,

    For obvious reasons I am unable to get into specifics of examples contrary to your reasoning but suffice it to say I respectfully disagree.

    -Theodore

  26. Cowboy

    Theodore –

    Mike is absolutely right on this one. You seem to be intimating that given a position of trust that either you or a person who has confided in you holds, you are aware of a (few?) circumstance(s) where someone who participated in masturbation with someone of their own sex, did not become a “raving” homosexual. The “therefore” your are implying is that when two males express themselves sexually in one anothers presence, that is not an inherently homosexual act. You are making two false assumptions here:

    1) that two males expressing themselves sexually only becomes homosexuality when direct physical contact is involved. While I would suppose that an argument could be made for cases with mulitple men and women, your position is merely a technicality – and one with no immediate authority to appeal to on either side. So, I suppose in fairness “agree to disagree” will have to suffice, though the “A vs. D” score right now is 2:1, and I would suspect the imbalance to continue in Mike’s favor.

    more importantly

    2) You are positing with Elder Kimball that masturbation can lead to homosexuality. This is beginning to delve into the contemporary debate regarding the origin of homosexuality (inherent or learned), and as I have stated before that the jury is still out on the definitive judgement here. You agreed that the stats I listed seemed correct, and if so they show that no correlation can be drawn between self gratification (I am trying to keep this clean) and homosexuality. Again, contemporary thinking suggests that an individuals sexuality, while expressed in a physical manner, is defined more psychologically. What’s the point – Mike said it, President Kimball was just wrong.

  27. Theodore Brandley

    Cowboy,

    I would further argue that contemporary thinking suggests something like 95% of all males masturbate at one time during their life/youth, so slippery slope reasoning that it leads to homosexual tendencies are unfounded given that only somewhere between 8-11% of males become homosexually active.

    You agreed that the stats I listed seemed correct, and if so they show that no correlation can be drawn between self gratification (I am trying to keep this clean) and homosexuality.

    There are some flaws in your reasoning above. First, President Kimball did not say that masturbation would always lead to homosexual behavior, he said that “sometimes it is the introduction” to it. Second, “one time during their life/youth” is not going to lead anyone anywhere. Not having the exact statistics, let’s assume that 50% of males at some time during their life have a regular habit of masturbation. Let us also assume that 20% of the male population may have a latent weakness for homosexual behavior. This brings us to a correlation of 10% of males becoming homosexually active by introduction through masturbation. It is highly unlikely that any male ever became homosexually active without first having a habit of masturbation. President Kimball was right.

    Now lets look at it from perspective of sin (you may ignore my above question.) Everyone has different levels of weaknesses for different sins. Sins come about through temptation. One could have a latent weakness for a particular sin but never know it until the temptation was presented. A habit of masturbation heightens the temptation and expands the opportunities for temptation. One scenario for example: Many male youth have innate tendencies for competition amongst their peers. It is so common it is referred to as a pissing contest. “I can pee farther than you can.” Then there is, “mine is bigger than yours.” For those who masturbate another one is, “I can come quicker than you can.” Now they are into a masturbation contest brought about by a male macho competition, rather than a homosexual desire. However, for those young men who have a latent weakness for homosexuality it arouses the temptation for homosexual behavior, and all sin is addictive. President Kimball was right.

    -Theodore

  28. Mike Parker Post author

    Theodore,

    I don’t know where you get your data, but you’re simply wrong on so many fronts.

    First, your assumption that “50% of males at some time during their life have a regular habit of masturbation” is way too low, and your assumption that “20% of the male population may have a latent weakness for homosexual behavior” is way too high.

    Secondly, this notion of heterosexual males getting together in groups and having a “masturbation contest brought about by a male macho competition” is nothing more than an urban legend — a story created a long time ago when people believed that homosexuality was a learned behavior.

  29. Theodore Brandley

    Mike,

    The statistics I suggested were interpolated from the statistics provided by Cowboy. Are you suggesting that almost every male who masturbated once in their life also had a regular habit of it, or that almost everyone who may have a homosexual tendency becomes a practicing homosexual?

    It’s not an urban legend, Mike, it is a fact.

    -Theodore

  30. Cowboy

    “Do you agree that homosexual behavior is a sin?”

    Yes. Contrary to what others have said I think the Bible has been fairly clear on this issue. The Church has made it’s position on the matter clear also. On the personal side, like Mike said – I hold a great deal of revulsion to the concept.

    This notwithstanding, if it is determined that genetics do play a substantial role in determining sexual orientation, I think we will have to rethink our position on this matter. Sin, particularly within the framework of LDS theology, must be based on choice and the exercise of choice in opposition to God’s will. The debate here returns then to, which is the sin the orientation or the expression. If we are to maintain the integrity of Prophetic wisdom and scriptural authority then we would have to maintain the current Church position/council, ie homosexuals who remain celibate get a pass. But, we ought to at least appreciate the complexity of the question you asked, enough to understand that simple anwers are insufficient.

  31. Cowboy

    “let’s assume that 50% of males at some time during their life have a regular habit of masturbation.”

    Unfortunately, this means that we will also need to assume that you severly underestimate the male species.

    Your reasoning here already assumes that the individual posseses homosexual tendencies, therefore the act of self gratification just becomes the means of expression. But your reasoning does nothing to suggest that masturbation leads to, or is the cause of an otherwise straight person, becoming homosexual. Using your “pissing contest” example, would the kid participating in the highly unusual contest be aroused while changing clothes in the male locker room? What about this same highly competitive youth participating on the wrestling team, could he be aroused while on the mat? Should wrestling or changing clothes in the locker room then be blamed for fostering homosexuality? If you are trying to make a case that masturbation is a sin and should be avoided, then I won’t necessarily argue. I do reject fundementally the argument though, that it is the cause. My response the complexities of latent homosexual tendencies was provided in the prior comment regarding your question “is homosexuality a sin?”.

  32. Cowboy

    “It’s not an urban legend, Mike, it is a fact.”

    Theodore –

    If it is a fact then proving it should not be much of a problem. The ball is in your court.

  33. Theodore Brandley

    Cowboy,

    If it is a fact then proving it should not be much of a problem. The ball is in your court.

    Personal knowledge. If in my small circle of knowledge I am aware of it we may be assured they are not isolated incidents.

    I do reject fundementally the argument though, that it is the cause. My response the complexities of latent homosexual tendencies was provided in the prior comment regarding your question “is homosexuality a sin?”

    Neither I nor President Kimball are saying that masturbation is the “cause” of homosexuality. If you have gotten that impression then neither he nor I have expressed ourselves properly. What you refer to “latent homosexual tendencies” is the same as what I referred to as “latent weakness for a particular sin.” I agree that the these tendencies or weakness are very complex and not understood and are different in different people. They may well be genetic. These tendencies or weaknesses in and of themselves are not sins. There are times, however, when circumstances arouse temptation to entice us to succumb to the various weakness we may have and this is where they becomes a sins. Masturbation is one of the circumstances that may entice someone with a latent tendency towards homosexuality to commit homosexual acts. Masturbation is not the cause of homosexual behavior but it can be one of the catalysts that brings it out. Yes, masturbation is also a sin. This is the way Satan works. One small sin, if not repented of, can lead to other more serious sins.

    -Theodore

  34. Mike Parker Post author

    Theodore,

    You are drawing general conclusions based on anecdotal evidence. Just because you are aware of a limited number of incidents involving group masturbation among heterosexual males does not mean that this is indicative of behavior in the larger world.

    I also think you’re very naïve about rates of regular (private) masturbation among males in general. There’s an old joke: “A survey revealed 95% of men masturbate regularly, and the other 5% are lying.”

  35. Cowboy

    Mike-

    I thought the joke was “A survey revealed 95% of men masturbate regularly, and the other 5% are gay.”

    Theodore-

    I’m just not able to wrap my mind around your reasoning here. In order for this to work, private self gratification would have to lead to peer self gratification among heterosexuals. This would have to lead to the expression of latent homosexual self gratification, and then to peer gratification. Despite a slight margin of error, do you really think there is enough social pressure for heterosexual males to engage in this type of behavior to make this a realistic concern? Even if so, in order for you or Pres. Kimball to have a point here, you would need to demonstrate how private masturbation leads to peer masturbation.

  36. Gail F. Bartholomew

    The masturbation logic is a bit dizzying for me.

    I only want to make one last comment about Sodom and Gomorra. Teddy, I agree that the assuming that the sin of Sodom and Gomorra is homosexual sex has been around for a long time. I still stand by that the text only talks about the sin of gang rape. Also, remember at the time a Sodomite was only a resident of Sodom. Our meaning of Sodomite or Sodomy comes from the cultural assumption of the sin of Sodom. I do not believe that just because people have been making an erroneous assumption for a long time is no reason to continue that assumption. We will need to disagree on this point as well as many others in this long interchange.

    Given this one last comment in our debate, I think I am getting to the point that Cowboy spoke of where I just keep repeating my arguments. I have enjoyed this interchange and look forward to others and I am ready to just agree to disagree.

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