To the One: Suppression and Undeviating Determination

Homosexuality Mixed Orientation Marriage

This post is a companion piece to Mondays essay, To Young Men Only: The Gay Version. I had intended to write this back in January, but it never happened. I think it is appropriate to insert it here in this series of posts as a follow-on to last Fridays post about Mormon doctrine concerning homosexuality.

I dont particularly enjoy writing about Elder Packer, by the way. Id much rather write about other things, such as how I felt last night while (finally) watching Prayers for Bobby, how the movie transported me back to my youth, and how I felt anew and afresh the pain of non-acceptance, of confusion, of self-doubt, self-hatred and condemnation. But instead, I have chosen to write about the type of teachings that were contemporary to Bobby Griffith and helped drive him to his death.

Elder Boyd K. Packer gave two very influential talks in the late 1970s that had a profound affect on Mormon men who came of age not only during that time but also in the next several decades.

The talks are directly relevant to the subject matter of this series of posts in that they shaped generations of young Mormon men who struggled with same-sex attraction. They influenced and created their attitudes. They led to the creation of many mixed-orientation marriages. They describe what the policies, beliefs and doctrine of the LDS Church were a mere 33 years ago. There are elements in the Church and in the gay Mormon community who would like to whitewash this history, to make it disappear (see, e.g., below), to claim that the doctrine of the Church regarding homosexuality has not changed. This, too, is why I believe these talks are important.

The first was entitled To Young Men Only. I wrote about it yesterday. The second talk, To the One, was given on March 5, 1978 at a 12-stake fireside at Brigham Young University, where Elder Packer was specifically asked by President Kimball to address the local problem of homosexuality and offer solutions. [1] The text of this fireside address is difficult to locate, so I have also posted it on my blog here . I have done so because I believe this speech is an important historical event. I am not claiming that the speech represents the Churchs current views on homosexuality. This is not the point. The point is that this speech shaped a generation or more of Mormon young men and shaped Mormon thought concerning homosexuality for a number of years. That is why it is important.

The background of the events leading up to the talk was described in an article by Ben Williams in QSaltLake published last December and available here. The genesis was a lecture given in the spring of 1977 at BYU, as the article explains:

In spring of 1977 Dr. Reed Payne, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University, presented anti-gay views on homosexuality in a lecture to his beginning psychology class. His comments werent well-received by some closeted gay students who were present. Soon after this lecture, BYU student Cloy Jenkins and BYU instructor Lee Williams authored a 52-page rebuttal to Dr. Paynes assertion that homosexuality was a pathological condition. The crux of these writings became a pamphlet simply called The Payne Papers, which called for a well-reasoned dialogue on the issue of homosexuals and the LDS Church.

The rebuttal was later made into a pamphlet which was mailed to all general authorities, to TV and radio stations and many BYU faculty members. Then, in the fall of 1977, Salt Lake Citys gay publication, The Open Door, began the serialization of what became known as the Payne Papers. As if that wasnt bad enough, The Advocate, the national gay magazine, announced in early 1978 that it planned to publish the papers. It was in response to this announcement, according to Williams, that President Kimball dispatched Elder Packer to BYU. (The Payne Papers are available here .)

The title of the talk To the One and the manner in which it was presented appear to have been designed to isolate and marginalize those who suffered from the disease of homosexuality. What I say in this presentation, Elder Packer began, will be serious and solemn. I will not speak to everyone. I ask the indulgence of the “ninety and nine,” while I speak to “the one.”

After commenting about how grievous his assignment is, he comes to the subject of his address: And so, now to the subject, to introduce it I must use a word. I will use it one time only. Please notice that I use it as an adjective, not as a noun; I reject it as a noun. I speak to those few, those very few, who may be subject to homosexual temptation. I repeat, I accept that word as an adjective to describe a temporary condition. I reject it as a noun naming a permanent one [emphasis added].

So, in these opening remarks, Elder Packer makes it clear that he does not believe in the concept of homosexuality (a noun), in the possibility of a man being gay or, apparently, or in the concept of sexual orientation. For him, homosexual is an adjective that describes a temporary condition that involves temptation. True to his word, he never mentions the term again in his talk, but uses words like it or this subject or sexual perversion.

Is sexual perversion wrong?

He doesnt waste much time coming to the heart of the matter:

I have had on my mind three general questions concerning this subject.

First: Is sexual perversion wrong? There appears to be a consensus in the world that it is natural, to one degree or another, for a percentage of the population. Therefore, we must accept it as all right …

The answer: It is not all right. It is wrong! It is not desirable; it is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression Do not be misled by those who whisper that it is part of your nature and therefore right for you. That is false doctrine!

Note well that Elder Packer differentiates between the existence of the homosexual condition (note that condition is his word; it is the it he refers to) and practicing such condition. If one substitutes the words same sex attraction in place of the word it in the third paragraph, Packers comments read as follows:

Same-sex attraction is not all right. Same-sex attraction is wrong! Same-sex attraction is not desirable; same-sex attraction is unnatural; same-sex attraction is abnormal; same-sex attraction is an affliction. When practiced, same-sex attraction is immoral [and] is a transgression. Do not be misled by those who whisper that same-sex attraction is part of your nature

In todays lingo, Elder Packer was distinguishing between having same-sex attractions and acting on those attractions. To merely have those attractions he labeled wrong, not desirable, unnatural, abnormal and an affliction. Of course, Elder Packer didnt believe in the concept of orientation; its not, as some have claimed, that he didnt know what that concept was; he rejected it as nonexistent.

Is this tendency impossible to change?

Packer then moves on to his second question: Is this tendency impossible to change? Is it preset at the time of birth and locked in? Do you just have to live with it? After citing the example of a faulty camera whose shutter needs to be recalibrated, he asks, Is perversion like that? The answer is a conclusive no! It is not like that. Note that Packer is not referring to acts, but a tendency.

Some so-called experts, he continues, and many of those who have yielded to the practice, teach that it is congenital and incurable and that one just has to learn to live with it I reject that conclusion out of hand. It is not unchangeable. It is not locked in. In other words, it i.e., the condition of same-sex attraction can be changed.

In the next few paragraphs, Elder Packer reveals some of what lies behind much of what he was saying, that has much more to do with his own and societys attitudes than it does with doctrine. If a condition that draws both men and women into one of the ugliest and most debased of all physical performances is set and cannot be overcome, it would be a glaring exception to all moral law, he states. Some who become tangled up in this disorder [note well the use of this word his first in the talk] become predators. They proselyte the young or the inexperienced.

Overcoming Selfishness: How it Can Be Corrected

Packer then moves on to his third question: The third question is a very logical extension of the other two: If it is wrong, and if it is not incurable, how can it be corrected? This is the longest part of his talk, which he starts off by talking about how good procreation and marriage are, then how bad perversion is.

During the rest of his address, Elder Packer uses the following words with reference to homosexuality: unnatural (2 times); confusion; deviant physical contact or interaction (2 times); disorder (3 times); perversion (11 times), and very sick.

Then, he comes to his conclusion: the root cause of this condition is selfishness which he claims is a spiritual condition requiring a spiritual cure. This is why, he says, psychotherapists have not been successful in curing the condition, i.e., because it is not a mental health issue, but a spiritual health issue.

I realize I may not be the brightest light bulb in the box, but I cannot determine where or how Elder Packer actually provided reasoning for his conclusion. Id welcome help here, but it sure seems to me he simply states that homosexuality is caused by selfishness. Period. End of story.

This was the interpretation of a father who wrote Elder Packer a well-known letter in 1999 concerning his son. David Eccles Hardy wrote:

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.

Okay. So imagine yourself as a freshman at BYU, or perhaps as a recently returned missionary, attending this fireside. Youve known for some time that you have experienced attractions to other guys that you cant really explain. Youve just been reminded that for every person like you, there are 99 normal people. Youve heard your feelings referred to as perverted, sick, confused, unnatural, deviant and to top it all off selfish.

Then comes the coup de grace: Establish a resolute conviction intoned Elder Packer, that you will resist for a lifetime, if necessary, deviate thought or deviate action. Do not respond to those feelings; suppress them You will have to grow away from your problem with undeviating – notice that word – undeviating determination [emphasis added]. Meanwhile, echoing in your mind are comments Elder Packer made earlier in the fireside: In marriage a couple can unselfishly express their love to one another. They reap, as a result, a fulfillment and a completeness and a knowledge of their identity as sons and daughters of God. The power of procreation is good – divinely good – and productive. Pervert it, and it can be bad – devilishly bad – and destructive.

THIS was the environment that existed 30 years ago, and for years afterward. Is it any wonder that LDS men had difficulty recognizing their homosexuality, that they went to great lengths to hide it, and that they married in order to cure it?

Invictus Pilgrim blogs at invictuspilgrim.blogspot.com.

136 thoughts on “To the One: Suppression and Undeviating Determination

  1. armchair-psychoanalyze him as caring more about performance than about his feelings.

    I didn’t say his feelings to his wife weren’t real. I just said he didn’t care so much about orientation — he might describe himself as “oriented to his spouse.” I tend to think all identity categories are performed, as there isn’t any essentialness behind any of them. Besides, if the phenomenon of straight men performing homosexuality (which the only context I can think of is gay-for-pay pornography) were equal to the phenomenon of gay men performing heterosexuality (which exists in every single conservative culture), then I’d be less tempted to “psychoanalyze” and point out the ways he’s performing for people other than himself.

    I believe in the concept that people “fall in love with a person, not a gender.” But given APL’s life story, in which when it has been suggested to him that he can also be with a man, and his answer has been “I want to be in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” — well, that means he doesn’t believe he’s allowed to “fall in love with a person, not a gender,” since the Gospel he’s talking about includes “eternal gender.” So, it isn’t just “love to his wife” that’s driving him, but also a kind of performance of his culture.

  2. As a case in point @100, he interpreted your question, as “to marry a woman or not to marry a woman.” He would never tell the guy, “Well, geez, if you know you can fall in love with men, then why don’t you try dating a man.” As much as he might advocate that his marriage proves that people fall in love with people and not genders (that people can “unlock their potential bisexuality with the right person”), he only lets the philosophy go one direction.

  3. Alan @101 — I was just teasing you about the armchair psychoanalysis thing. 😉

    I keep feeling like maybe I ought to just butt the hell out of this discussion (since I have no personal experience with MOMs). But I’m very much in favor of marriage. I think it’s like having kids: the rewards are more than worth the effort — if it’s what you want and you’re ready for it — but it’s also a huge responsibility that people shouldn’t be pressured into if they’re not ready (or simply don’t want to do it). Perhaps this perspective is tangential to the discussion at hand…?

  4. I don’t have any personal experience with a MoM either. :p

    A huge element of this indeed is D&C 132: 1617 (the wait-’til-your-ready, but-sooner-is-better-than-later doctrine).

  5. Well, we have already established we view homosexuality differently. Certainly, you don’t expect your view to be the only view. I act and talk according to my view and you act and talk according to your view. It would be hypocritical for me to live my life one way, but tell someone asking what I think is right to live another way.

    What would you do? Would you extol the virtues of my way of thinking, or your way of thinking? What if there is a guy who thinks he is gay, but hasn’t had much luck with men. If he is open to it, would you suggest that he might actually be bisexual, and to start trying it out with women?

    I try to live best I can. If I thought your way of thinking was better, I wouldn’t be on this path. You can’t expect me to encourage people to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. Now, he decides that he should just go with guys, I would wish him all the happiness in the world. It is his decision and I wish him the best.

    But if he asks my opinion, I am going to give my opinion and not your opinion.

  6. What if there is a guy who thinks he is gay, but hasnt had much luck with men. If he is open to it, would you suggest that he might actually be bisexual, and to start trying it out with women?

    What do you mean “if he’s open to it”? If a guy thinks he is gay, then I would not suggest he start trying it out with a woman. If a guy thinks he is bisexual, then I might suggest that. I wouldn’t just assume the guy is “possibly bisexual” just because he’s had no luck with men and is looking for advice. That would be like telling a straight man who wants a girlfriend but has had no luck, “Hey, why don’t you try dating me? You might like it.” I would never feed him the possibility that he’s just looking at the wrong gender.

    Bisexuals tend to be gender-indiscriminate. They are not “gay + my opposite gender spouse.” Your situation is a result of Mormon heterosexism, in which you discriminate based on gender to the extreme, and that affects your sexual choices rather than your own inherent sexuality. If situations like yours were due to “bisexuality,” then there’d be more people in the world who are “straight + my same-sex spouse.” Have you ever met a man who defines himself as “straight” but just happens to be married to a man? (And I’m not talking about “straight-acting” gay men.) Very likely not, because there is not huge social pressure put upon people to not be with the opposite gender.

    If I detect that the gay guy who is wondering if he can pull off bisexuality has a nagging feeling that homosexuality is sinful or holds stereotypes about gay men or believes that only women can complement men — and that’s his “secret” reason for why he wants to try it out with a woman — then I will pounce on his internalized homophobia like a cat on a mouse. Internalized homophobia is a greater source of unhappiness than singleness, IMO.

    If you have time, let me know what you think about this Tyra episode (there are 5 parts, about 45 mins altogether). It features young men who don’t like being gay, or don’t know how to be “gay” (had stereotypes/fears about gays), a gay man and a straight woman who are “happily” married, and so on.

  7. Bisexuals tend to be gender-indiscriminate. They are not gay + my opposite gender spouse.

    This is the frustrating part. According to Chanson, if you have the potential to be attracted to someone of either gender, you are bisexual. Hence, someone who has only been attracted to someone of the same sex, but then falls in love and is attracted to a single person of the opposite sex, has really been bisexual the whole time, and others who haven’t found the right one might really be bisexual.

    You have a different interpretation, which actually follows my original thinking, that gay + my opposite gender spouse” is still gay. Do I favor your vocabulary or Chanson’s when talking in general terms?

    I will pounce on his internalized homophobia like a cat on a mouse. Internalized homophobia is a greater source of unhappiness than singleness, IMO.

    The part of “only women can complement men” does a good job of describing my reasoning, though I didn’t make it a “secret” that I believed that. I don’t think it is internalized homophobia, and it hasn’t proven to be a source of unhappiness for me.

    There are people who don’t do it that way. I do know many that are motivated out of thinking they are less of a person if they aren’t in a heterosexual relationship, or that it will fix them, or they don’t like being gay, and so on. I think that is dangerous and a source of unhappiness, but believing men and women complement each other I don’t think is a source of unhappiness.

    So this is where I am getting to. We each have our own view of the world. I’m not trying to change your view of the world, but trying to figure out what to do with people who see things differently. You think my view of the world is “internalized homophobia”. Likewise, I think your way is wrong. Where does that leave people who are trying to decide for themselves? Should we both “pounce on them like a cat on a mouse” if they don’t think like we do? Do we pounce on each other at every opportunity? Do we try to silence opposing views that don’t fit in our view of the world?

    I feel pounced on by many people who identify as gay, and I don’t like it. You say you don’t, and I am imagining things, but fully admit that you will pounce given the opportunity.

  8. Hence, someone who has only been attracted to someone of the same sex, but then falls in love and is attracted to a single person of the opposite sex, has really been bisexual the whole time, and others who havent found the right one might really be bisexual.

    If I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting that every gay man is compatible with at least one woman out there — to help them manifest their “inner bisexual.”

    I think it’s more likely that a belief that only women complement men would lead a person to think this way.

    If you take anyone in a same-sex relationship who says they are happy at their word (and I think deep down, you can’t do this — I take your suggestion of my eventual “misery” @84 as evidence), then the truth, for the species taken as a whole, seems to lean toward “people complement people.”

    The belief that only women complement men sits on top of this reality, haphazardly at best. To integrate it with reality, you have to include other beliefs, such as gayness being repaired in Heaven. Forty years ago in the Church, the belief was “gayness is fully curable.”

    Do we pounce on each other at every opportunity? Do we try to silence opposing views that dont fit in our view of the world?

    Pouncing on homophobia is not the same as pouncing on a person. This goes back to “respecting a belief” versus “respecting a person.”

    If you can demonstrate that, in reality, only women complement men, then I’ll be willing to take that belief and the ensuing homophobia and heterosexism that stems from it, more seriously. For now, I’m going to call it for what it is. A belief is not impervious to critique, especially if it does damage in the world. Just because you don’t feel it’s not a “source of unhappiness” or homophobia in your life doesn’t mean it’s not a source of unhappiness and discrimination.

    Why do you think people leave the Church over this issue? Because they’re “selfish” or “idolatrous” (to use Packer-esque language)? Because they aren’t in touch with their “inner bisexual”? Could it perhaps be because the Church’s views about gender don’t have the efficacy the Church thinks they do? I find it strange how you’re unwilling to consider this, and would rather blame gay people or Satan for making “sin” seem somehow okay.

    As an aside, my understanding of sin comes from Mary 4:25-27 (yes, Mary has a gospel, but a bunch of men removed it, annoyed at Jesus’s closeness to her):

    25) Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?

    26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.

    27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.

  9. The inner bisexual stuff was my attempt to understand Chanson, not my beliefs.

    If you take anyone in a same-sex relationship who says they are happy at their word (and I think deep down, you cant do this I take your suggestion of my eventual misery @84 as evidence), then the truth, for the species taken as a whole, seems to lean toward people complement people.

    Why does complement equal happiness? By your hypothesis, single people can’t be happy since they lack a complement. I think there are a lot of same-sex couples who are truly happy, but I don’t see why that poses a problem to my belief that women are the complement of men.

    Forty years ago in the Church, the belief was gayness is fully curable.

    You and I have a very different interpretation on this.

  10. Why does complement equal happiness? By your hypothesis, single people cant be happy since they lack a complement.

    Since single people can be happy, why does the Church insist everyone get married to be happy? That’s a good question.

    The point is, when people do complement each other for the purposes of happiness, it isn’t just the male-female set up.

    It sounds like what you’re saying is that “complementing” isn’t for happiness; it’s for duty. Why don’t Mormons just arrange their children’s marriages, then, if happiness isn’t really in the picture?

  11. I didn’t say you’d necessarily unlocked your inner bisexual. I’ll explain a little more clearly what I mean. Have a look at Rob’s description of a relationship @91 (which I quoted @99). For the purpose of this discussion, I will call such a relationship a “soul-mate-type relationship” (others prefer the term “pair-bonded”).

    Not every marriage is of soul-mate type, and people vary in terms of how much they need/desire to be in a soul-mate type relationship in order to be happy. For example, many studies show that single women are happier than married women on average, and there are people who choose to live their whole adult lives with a sibling or parent or other family member or with a platonic friend. Many marriages are not of soul-mate type, and that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily unhappy (though sometimes they are profoundly unhappy if one or both partners long for a more emotionally-fulfilling relationship).

    Some would say that the definition of “gay” is to be able to form soul-mate type relationships exclusively with members of your own gender, that “straight” (by definition) is to only be able to form such relationships with people of the opposite gender, and a person who can form such relationships with members of either gender is “bisexual”. By that definition (and assuming that your description of your personal life is accurate), you would be considered bisexual. Another possibility is that your relationship with your wife is not what you think/claim it is. However, different people use different definitions, and I’d prefer not to quibble over semantics. Additionally — even though you’ve chosen to put your personal life out there as a (politically-charged) example — I don’t like to be making guesses and speculations about intimate aspects of your personal and emotional life.

    A lot of people change their minds at some point in their lives about what their orientation is. Some will look back on their lives and say “actually I was X all along, I just didn’t realize it when I was younger.” Others perhaps even change orientation during their lifetime. However, I think the current consensus is that most people don’t (and shouldn’t be expected to) change orientation.

    With that as background, my main point is the importance of avoiding the “If I can do it, then anyone can!” fallacy.

    If you feel that you are/were gay but you “unlocked your inner bisexual”, that doesn’t mean that every gay guy has an “inner bisexual” to unlock (or even wants to). Just because some people can be happy in a mixed-orientation (or other non-soul-mate-type marriage) doesn’t mean that everyone could potentially be happy in one.

    This fallacy isn’t just confined to questions about orientation and marriage. Here’s an example from my own life of someone else making the assumption that anyone can discipline a two-year-old if they do it right (with the corresponding assumption that parents with unruly two-year-olds must be too lazy/stupid/incompetent to do it right).

  12. @110 Alan:

    The point is, when people do complement each other for the purposes of happiness, it isnt just the male-female set up.

    I can agree with that, for the purpose of happiness, but happiness isn’t everything.

    It sounds like what youre saying is that complementing isnt for happiness; its for duty. Why dont Mormons just arrange their childrens marriages, then, if happiness isnt really in the picture?

    I think part of the problem is that people take what the other side is saying to the extreme. I would say complementing isn’t just for happiness, it is also for duty, as well as a great many other things. It isn’t one or the other. I get a great deal of fulfillment out of fulfilling my duty. Why do you assume because duty is part of the equation, that happiness is out of the picture?

    We see things differently. I don’t see the law of chastity as stiffling sexuality, but enhancing it. To me, the commandments are the road to happiness. I realize that wasn’t your experience, and I respect that, but realize that is the experience of other people. I think we both project our own experiences on other people.

  13. With that as background, my main point is the importance of avoiding the If I can do it, then anyone can! fallacy.

    What can I do to drive this point home more clearly? I have repeated time and time again that I never thought everyone can do what I am doing or that they should or anything like that. I have said some can, which is different than everyone should, whether they unlocked their innate bisexuality, or were some of the few that changed or what have you. I think what happened to me was a miracle, just like when Jesus healed the blind man. Because I believe Jesus healed the blind man does that mean I think everyone who is blind is unfaithful because Jesus didn’t heal them? No, it is a miracle that we can celebrate without putting others down.

    It seems that many LGBT people are so sensitive to the idea of people telling them they should be with someone of the opposite sex, that they quickly turn on their own if they step out of line and actually have a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Does my mere existence threaten you in some way? Do I have to stay in the closet for fear that someone might interpret my story as an example of what people should do?

    My idea of equality would be that all lifestyles would be acceptable, even mine and yours. That no one has to hide in the closet for fear of people who feel threatened by their existence. I hate the closet, and no one should be forced inside, even if their existence is political.

    I just want to existence and be accepted. I don’t want to hide or lie anymore. I’m sick of it. I’m not accepted in the Mormon community and I’m not accepted in the gay community.

    I just want to be me. I am Mormon and I am gay or bi or SSA or something like that.

  14. Also, regarding this advice (@100):

    In all things, I think he should pray about it. […] I think marriage is highly personal decision, to be made prayerfully.

    Two things:

    1. I agree that marriage is not something to be entered into lightly because of social pressure, however prayer is not a necessary component of a successful marriage. Atheists get married too — and, indeed, have a lower divorce rate than religious people.

    2. Your advice especially reminds me of MoHoHawaii’s teen marriage analogy:

    Finally, what if your own teen-aged son or daughter came to you and asked your advice whether they should marry their sweetheart. Would you encourage the pair of enamored 17 year olds to pray about it and ask God if they should marry? Would you pass along anecdotes of couples who married young and beat the odds? I don’t think so. You’d tell them in clear terms what the story was, with no ifs, ands or buts.

    (Needless to say, I agree with MoHoHawaii on this one, as well as with Alan’s suggestion that the guy might consider dating men.)

  15. @113 OK, but it appears that you are actively affiliated with some websites and organizations that tell young LDS gay people that they can change their orientation and/or should try to enter into mixed-orientation marriages.

  16. it appears that you are actively affiliated with some websites and organizations that tell young LDS gay people that they can change their orientation and/or should try to enter into mixed-orientation marriages.

    Do I have a choice? It’s not like there are any organizations out there without dirty laundry. Do you want me to be completely isolated? These organizations accept me, which is all I really am looking for. Perhaps if the gay community started being more accepting I wouldn’t be forced to find a place in the fringes. Towards the beginning of this conversation, I cited this quote from a recent Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation:

    Erzen (2006), Ponticelli (1999), and Wolkomir (2001) described these religiously-oriented ex-gay groups as a refuge for those who were excluded both from conservative churches and from their families, because of their same-sex sexual attractions, and from gay organizations and social networks, because of their conservative religious beliefs. (page 49)

    So maybe SOCE has some problems. I am looking for a refuge, and that is what I find with these organizations.

    There are lots of other gay Mormons in those organizations who aren’t big fans of everything they say, but are in it because they don’t know where else to turn.

  17. Do I have a choice? Its not like there are any organizations out there without dirty laundry. Do you want me to be completely isolated?

    For example, you could join an organization for bisexuals. They would completely relate to your experience of marrying a person of one gender while still feeling some attraction to people of the other gender.

  18. APL @ 112, 113:

    I think part of the problem is that people take what the other side is saying to the extreme. I would say complementing isnt just for happiness, it is also for duty, as well as a great many other things. It isnt one or the other. I get a great deal of fulfillment out of fulfilling my duty. Why do you assume because duty is part of the equation, that happiness is out of the picture?

    And why do you assume that everything I say is about your marriage? Are you suggesting that for all gay men married to women, it could be both “happy” and “dutiful?” If not, if you’re only talking about your own marriage, then I fail to see why my question is “to the extreme.”

    It seems that many LGBT people are so sensitive to the idea of people telling them they should be with someone of the opposite sex, that they quickly turn on their own if they step out of line and actually have a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Do I have to stay in the closet for fear that someone might interpret my story as an example of what people should do?

    Aren’t most people sensitive to being told who they should be with? History is littered with stories of people not wanting to marry those their families or communities think they should marry. It’s not other gay people’s fault that you don’t mind being told who you should be with.

    People are interconnected. You’ve already said that your opinion is that a man shouldn’t be with a man, and that if a gay man came to you asking for relationship advice that you would refrain from speaking about the possibility of him being with a man. So yeah, a lot of gay people find that kind of thing threatening, and since it comes from a gay man himself, even more so.

    My idea of equality would be that all lifestyles would be acceptable, even mine and yours.

    So, your idea of equality would be that “homosexual lifestyles” would be acceptable to the Church? Just so you know, “equality” isn’t just about secular spaces.

    Does my mere existence threaten you in some way?

    I’ve already told you that I don’t consider you a threat. But I consider the principles/beliefs under which you operate to be threatening, because cultures like the Church perpetuate them in society without any real evidence.

    Anytime I try to move the discussion to a questioning of your beliefs, you go spastic about me attacking your choices or your personhood or your existence. Do you not think the idea of “gayness being repaired in Heaven” is questionable or amendable?

    Some other faiths have decided that God actually doesn’t mind gay stuff since He created same-sex desire. What kind of desire do you think God created? Do you think He only created heterosexual desire, and that Satan creates same-sex temptation? I’m trying to understand what you actually believe on the subject in order to debate you for the purposes of mutual understanding, rather than “attack” you.

  19. Arent most people sensitive to being told who they should be with? History is littered with stories of people not wanting to marry those their families or communities think they should marry.

    I don’t think you understand me. Of course people should be sensitive when other people tell them who they can or cannot marry. What I am saying is that they are so sensitive, that they are jumping at shadows. I say I am married to a woman, and they think I am telling them that they should be married to a woman. They get defensive and say I shouldn’t be telling them what to do, and try to silence me and push me back into the closet. They hypocritically tell me who I should be marrying, all the while convinced that I am the one telling them who they should marry. They cry wolf when there is no wolf.

    Its not other gay peoples fault that you dont mind being told who you should be with.

    See, you totally have this backwards. I married who I wanted to be with, and are upset when gay people tell me I shouldn’t be with my wife.

    Just so you know, equality isnt just about secular spaces.

    I think church should accept everyone for who they are, but I see one of the purposes of church is for people to rally around one moral standard. Society shouldn’t expect one moral standard. If one church wants to not wear red on alternate Thursday, I should join the church and complain they are discriminating against me because I want to wear red every Thursday. However, I think they should keep their practice in their own church and not prohibit other people from wearing red. You can’t say a church shouldn’t teach any morals, or it should only teach the morals you agree with. That doesn’t make sense.

    if a gay man came to you asking for relationship advice that you would refrain from speaking about the possibility of him being with a man. So yeah, a lot of gay people find that kind of thing threatening, and since it comes from a gay man himself, even more so.

    Wait. In the scenario the guy was asking me about marrying a girl. Are you saying that by refraining from advising someone to do something that he didn’t ask my opinion on and that I wouldn’t do myself is threatening to a lot of gay people? Yeah, I call that jumping at shadows.

    Anytime I try to move the discussion to a questioning of your beliefs, you go spastic about me attacking your choices or your personhood or your existence. Do you not think the idea of gayness being repaired in Heaven is questionable or amendable?

    I think it is questionable, but you move from questioning my beliefs to attacking my motives. You accuse me of telling other people what to do just because I have a different belief than they do. I think sometimes you expect me to act against my beliefs, like telling someone to do something I don’t believe in. It is almost like the very fact that I believe differently than you do is oppressive, which just isn’t fair. I can support people in choice I don’t believe in without advising them to do it.

    Some other faiths have decided that God actually doesnt mind gay stuff since He created same-sex desire. What kind of desire do you think God created? Do you think He only created heterosexual desire, and that Satan creates same-sex temptation? Im trying to understand what you actually believe on the subject in order to debate you for the purposes of mutual understanding, rather than attack you

    I believe there is opposition in all things. I’m not sure how that opposition got there, but I think opposition is one of the central purposes to coming to earth. We need it to grow. Different people have different weaknesses. God gives us weaknesses (or allows them to happen) to humble us, so we will turn to him.

    Almost everyone is sexually tempted to do something. Lust is rampant in society, and expresses itself through pornography usage, cheating and other manifestations. Both gay and straight people have a problem with pornography and cheating. The gender doesn’t really matter. It isn’t that heterosexual is good and homosexual is bad. I think both need to be conquered so that we can learn to act and not be acted upon. I think that is the purpose. Sometimes, it seems like you think I think that all heterosexual desire is good or desirable. That isn’t the case. I am glad I am gay.

  20. It is almost like the very fact that I believe differently than you do is oppressive, which just isnt fair.

    Beliefs have consequences. They don’t just exist in your head. Beliefs are linked to motive, because we are driven to act by them. If a person believes all homosexual intimacy is sinful, but some heterosexual intimacy is holy, then that person is going to treat same-sex couples differently than opposite sex couples. You might say, “No, I treat them the same! Everyone’s a sinner.” But you are not the world. I’m talking about institutions — namely the Church and the State.

    If one church wants to not wear red on alternate Thursday, I should[n’t] join the church and complain they are discriminating against me because I want to wear red every Thursday.

    We all live in the same world. Church leaders tell Mormons to not be shy about their beliefs so that Mormons can affect others in the world. There’s no reason why non-Mormons shouldn’t be allowed to do the same to the Church. People who critique the Church aren’t doing so because they want to be part of the Church. It’s because non-Mormons share the same spaces with Mormons.

    It isnt that heterosexual is good and homosexual is bad. I think both need to be conquered so that we can learn to act and not be acted upon.

    I’ve read how the ex-gay movement considers the opposite of “gay” to be “holy” and not “straight.” Unfortunately this little wordplay does little to actually overturn heterosexism. It’s like how Mormon men say things like, “Women are our better halves.” They say this because there’s an actual difference of power between men and women in Mormon culture, and rather than focus on fixing it, they degrade themselves or talk about women’s roles as extremely special.

    I see something similar happening in your logic. According to you, we should forget about how the Church treats homosexuality and heterosexuality differently, because everyone is a sinner. Gay people should just “naturally” have to struggle in a heterosexist culture.

  21. Beliefs have consequences. They dont just exist in your head. Beliefs are linked to motive, because we are driven to act by them. If a person believes all homosexual intimacy is sinful, but some heterosexual intimacy is holy, then that person is going to treat same-sex couples differently than opposite sex couples.

    What if I believe ultimate frisbee is better than football? I fully support my friends who play football, go to there games, congratulate them and so forth, but deep down I really think ultimate frisbee is better. In my spare time I play frisbee. If people find out I play frisbee and ask me for some pointers, and I fail to encourage them to play football, is that threatening to football players?

    Am I not allowed to have my own point of view on which activities I prefer? I prefer not to have gay sex. That is my preference. It doesn’t matter why, I just do. I don’t force my beliefs on others. I congratulate my friends who get married to someone of the same sex, and put their announcements on my fridge, and in all other ways try to support them. But you are right, there are times when my belief drives me to action. I respond accordingly. You have your beliefs too, and you act accordingly.

    I think we all gravitate towards people who think like us, so in a way, any thought could be considered discriminatory, because we use it to discriminate who we gravitate towards. This mind police stuff seem oppressive in and of itself. I don’t think like you. I couldn’t if I tried.

    Let me see if I get this right. My marriage is problematic, not because of who I have sex with, but because it reflects a belief system that will invariably lead to treating people with a different belief system differently, particularly when the belief system is incorporated into an institution like the church.

    Where does tolerance come into play? When should a person be tolerant of people who disagree with them, versus challenging those who think differently? Should I work against your lifestyle, because it reflects a belief that causes you to treat me differently?

  22. For some reason, you keep assuming everything I say is about your marriage and your sex life, when I’ve said very little about your marriage and your sex life, and have focused almost exclusively on a bigger picture. Can you explain why you keep doing this?

    It seems that your position is “If you’re Mormon, these are the morals.” I was under the impression that LDS morality isn’t just for Mormons, but is understood as what is best for humankind, since your God is my God, so to speak. If it’s just for Mormons, then what’s the whole missionary endeavor about? At what point should a Mormon downplay the Third Article of Faith in order to make room for the Eleventh? When they want to attend their friends’ same-sex wedding?

    Personally, if I had friends whose marriage announcements were on my fridge, and there was no possibility that they could be wed in the church I attended, because my church considered their relationship to be an “abomination,” then I would see this as a conundrum. I perceive you as doing rhetorical acrobatics to make this (and related) conundrums supposedly nonexistent. But then I guess a “mind police officer” would notice that. =p

  23. It seems that your position is If youre Mormon, these are the morals. I was under the impression that LDS morality isnt just for Mormons, but is understood as what is best for humankind, since your God is my God, so to speak.

    Maybe this a question of a differing view for absolute versus relative morals. I do believe in a series of absolute morals, though I don’t think I have to sacrifice the 11th in favor of the 3rd. I can be a missionary without forcing people to the waters of baptism. I can preach my message, and those who like can join, while those who don’t remain just as deserving of my love and friendship.

    Aren’t you being a missionary for relative morals, preaching the evils of absolute morals? You say preaching a right and wrong means there is a wrong, which means people doing that wrong are inferior. I don’t believe that. That would negate the role of the Savior.

    I think that is something I am having a hard time getting my head around. You are being very absolute with your relative morals, even more than I am with my absolute morals. I teach, but without expectation for change. It seems you are upset if we don’t change.

    Personally, if I had friends whose marriage announcements were on my fridge, and there was no possibility that they could be wed in the church I attended, because my church considered their relationship to be an abomination,

    D&C 82:22

    You know what, I do things that are abominable according to the scriptures. I am a sinner and fall short of the glory of God. Christ did for me and my sins, so that if I believe in him and obey him I can be saved. The scriptures tell me not to judge. I don’t think I have to judge. I do what I know is right, and share what is right with others, but I don’t make it a practice to judge others. I must admit I am not perfect in that respect, which proves my need for a Savior, but I try. Even my conversation on here has demonstrated that I fall woefully short.

    Why does having an absolute moral code necessitate that I judge people? I don’t view same-sex couples as inferior. I believe many people in same-sex relationships will make it into heaven. So why not support them the best way I know how?

    Joseph Smith once said:

    “If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No, I will lift them up and in their own way too, If I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.”

    I need to lift up people in same-sex relationships “and in their own way too”. I don’t think that means I need to boycott their happy celebrations of marriage.

  24. You are being very absolute with your relative morals, even more than I am with my absolute morals.

    I think that the term “relative morals” is generally a pejorative. That is, the only context I’ve ever heard it used is when religious people are criticizing the non-religious (or the less fundamentalist). (Alan, correct me if I’m wrong on that.)

    I think many people here would instead say that one’s ethics should be based on the consequences of one’s actions. That is, you analyze the possible effects of your actions, an you use that information to decide which actions are right/good/ethical and which actions are wrong/bad/unethical.

  25. I didn’t mean to use it as a pejorative. It sounded like the concept that Alan wanted to express, and has been expressed about absolutes stiffling sexual expression. Alan talked about how I think that my morals are morals for everyone. That sounds like absolute moralism. Do you think differently? If so, what would you call it if not relative moralism. If not, why point it out?

    So I do think that I analyze the possible effects of my actions, and use that information to decide which are right and which are wrong. I just happen to incorporate praying about it in my decision making, but even praying about comes down to what makes me feel at peace. There have been a lot of comments about “you dont mind being told who you should be with.” It seems you think I base my opinions on what other people think, not what I think. I’ve said before I am this way because I feel peace this way, and I don’t feel peace the other way. When it boils down to it, that is all I care about.

    So what happens when two people look at a situation and come to different conclusions, like Alan and I have done? Does that mean we HAVE to judge each other because we didn’t come to the same conclusion? I don’t think so. I think I can come to the conclusion that the law of chastity is a good principle, without judging those who don’t agree. Christ taught principles and taught against judging. Likewise, I think that you can come to the conclusion that the law of chastity isn’t a good principle, without judging those who think it is.

    It seems Alan is saying any diversity of thought is bad because that leads people to come to a conclusion that other people don’t come to which will lead them to treat them differently. It seems the solution is to adopt his thought process, which will make it so everyone will treat everyone the same, since we all think alike. Anything else would be a conundrum.

  26. Saying that homosexual intimacy is okay is not equivalent to moral relativism. I happen to believe that there is a transpersonal morality; it just doesn’t include the idea that heterosexual marriage is a requirement for salvation or the idea that only women complement men. Those beliefs strike me as absolutist and hurtful to maintain.

    This whole thing about “not judging people” is really beside the point. From my perspective, recognizing “sin” as “sin” qualifies as “judging.” If Mormons didn’t “judge” people in same-sex relationships, then same-sex relationships would be welcome in the Church. The whole “I don’t judge you” phenomenon is just a moral absolutist’s way of coping with a pluralist world; plenty of moral absolutists simply ostracize those that don’t “choose the right” (or more appropriate, “choose their right”). The fact that some Mormons invite their gay friends over for dinner just shows how different people have learned to share the same spaces in 21st century America; it doesn’t point to any kind of “non-judgmentalness.”

    It seems you think I base my opinions on what other people think, not what I think.

    So you’re irritated that I’m not treating you like an individual? Actually, if I weren’t treating you like an individual, I wouldn’t push you to question beliefs that seem to not relate to reality. There is a phenomenon of Mormons who think same-sex attraction is “repaired” in Heaven. Mormons believe in gender dyadic marriage as the route to salvation. Are you not part of these groups?

    It seems Alan is saying any diversity of thought is bad

    Just because I didn’t say “Let’s agree to disagree” @ comment 3 or comment 45 as others have, and been done with it, and instead have chosen to engage with you further does not mean that I think a diversity of thought is bad. In fact, it proves the opposite. But because of my moral principles (rather than my relativism), I’m not just going to say, “Oh, it’s fine that the Church considers same-sex intimacy an abomination, because a diversity of thought is good.”

  27. Ive said before I am this way because I feel peace this way, and I dont feel peace the other way. When it boils down to it, that is all I care about.

    Which probably explains why you always make the topic about your marriage and your sex life.

  28. Saying that homosexual intimacy is okay is not equivalent to moral relativism. I happen to believe that there is a transpersonal morality.

    So I guess I am having problems seeing the difference between transpersonal morality and absolutist morality.

    From my perspective, recognizing sin as sin qualifies as judging.

    It still sounds like you are saying that if you have morals, you are judging others.

    There is a phenomenon of Mormons who think same-sex attraction is repaired in Heaven.

    No, I think sexuality is totally different in Heaven to the extent that the lines we draw here will be unrecognizable in Heaven. I actually don’t think sexual attraction will exist much at all.

    Just because I didnt say Lets agree to disagree @ comment 3 or comment 45 as others have, and been done with it, and instead have chosen to engage with you further does not mean that I think a diversity of thought is bad

    It seems like you are saying that having an absolute opinion on morality leads to judging. Is it not bad to judge?

  29. So I guess I am having problems seeing the difference between transpersonal morality and absolutist morality.

    The former is grounded in reality on Earth and is based on a debated sense of what Heaven or nirvana or a utopia is like. The latter requires conformity to a fiat based on beliefs of what Heaven or nirvana or a utopia is like, debate not allowed.

    I actually dont think sexual attraction will exist much at all.

    I can see why a gay man married to a woman would believe this. What does your wife think about the matter?

    It seems like you are saying that having an absolute opinion on morality leads to judging. Is it not bad to judge?

    Think of a judge in a courtroom. The judge evaluates whether the person broke the law or not. Is this a bad process, or a necessary one? I’d say it’s necessary. You can’t just let murderers roam free in society.

    The problem here isn’t the act of judging. The problem is a broken law, which leads people to judge wrongly.

  30. The problem is a broken law, which leads people to judge wrongly.

    How do you determine whether or not the law is broken? Doesn’t it just come down to a difference of opinion? I think my opinion is based on reality on Earth, which includes the reality of a Supreme Being. Like I said, I have felt peace for myself. I really can’t judge what other people have felt, because I don’t know.

    Is there any scenario where a difference of opinion on morality is a permissible? Because one way or the other, it leads to someone working under a broken law causing them to judge wrongly.

  31. A massive difference of opinion on a law generally means a law is broken — or at least inapplicable without force. There’s a reason why secular law is not static — because people aren’t.

    I don’t believe in a top-down deity who says the ways things always need to be, down to minutiae about who sleeps with whom. If anything, I think God would be more annoyed about global warming and overpopulation, two subjects Mormons don’t really concentrate on.

  32. A massive difference of opinion on a law generally means a law is broken or at least inapplicable without force.

    There is a massive difference of opinion in both camps, which by your logic means that either way the law is broken or inapplicable. I don’t think massive difference of opinion should matter to your internal moral compass. I would say other people’s opinions are generally inapplicable to how I view the world. I can listen to their reasons, but if they can’t persuade me by the force of reason, then I generally ignore them. An exception would be if I were causing someone harm, in which case the secular authorities step in. I wouldn’t classify having a difference of opinion with someone the same as causing them harm.

    I think relying on massive difference of opinion to identify whose opinion is superior leads to the oppression of minorities.

    I would also classify the source of knowledge as a difference

  33. It is true that a generation of young men suffering from same sex attraction were influenced by the church’s 1970’s concept explained at the beginning of this thread. I know of a RM that married a nice innocent Mormon girl in order to cure himself. He finally came out to her a few years into the marriage. He varied between stating that he was gay, to that he is “cured”,.. to that “he never was” gay. The emotional roller-coaster was intense for his spouse. She stayed with him because she was so devoted to her Temple marriage and doing “what is right” and didn’t want to see him turn to the gay lifestyle. She sacrificed her happiness to “save him”.

    The gay husband vowed that he never acted upon his attractions, but through the years things would leak out such as she would discover very painful journal entries that he had written that described in graphic detail his fantasies about men in his life, or about a same sex sexual encounter he had before marriage. He would defend himself by stating that they were “therapeutic” writings to help “cure” himself. At one time he confessed that he viewed homosexual pornography, but used the excuse that it was “therapeutic towards his cure”. It was devastating for the wife.

    The gay husband was unable to be close emotionally to his wife but used the excuse that she was at fault and that she was just as “broken” as himself (blaming the way she was raised etc.) Because she always was wanting to be humble and improve herself and become more Christlike, would believe all that her husband was accusing her of. He would sometimes say that if she would “just accept his gayness that everything would be fine”… essentially, he was saying that it was all on HER shoulders that the marriage relationship was nearly impossible. The husband used his wife as an emotional “whipping boy” to make himself feel more manly. He would be puffed up and happier after yelling at her and berating her to the core. (this Mormon sister was a wonderful person!) It was his way of releasing all of his own feelings of inadequacy. Other times, he will come across as mild mannered, that is, until the next time he got mad about something again in a few weeks . She walks on “eggshells” to keep the peace.

    The couple went years at a time with less and less physical intimacy until all physical touch was eliminated from their marriage. They now exist platonically together with zero love and are just roommates, but the husband still expects the wife to “appear” to others as if they are together as a couple. Strangely, the husband even demands that the wife sleep in the same bed to show togetherness in front of the children. He doesn’t even turn to say goodnight, yet alone give a hug or kiss, or even touch. (He has not kissed his wife for years.) The wife has constant insomnia and internal stress and is uncomfortable sleeping there because of the coldness and controlling nature of her spouse. She feels it is a kind of psychological torture to have to sleep in the same bed, as well as share a bedroom and bath, but she doesn’t express it because of his anger and how he uses his full control of all finances to punish her if she doesn’t keep her mouth shut and quietly act her part. The husband has controlled all finances as well as prevented the wife from working because he prefers her to cook meals and clean the house for him. He expects her to be a dutiful housewife. She is honorable and faithful to the marriage, but yet has NO fulfillment or love. She feels like a employee of the spouse and even somewhat like a prisoner. It is the saddest thing.

    The wife is deeply scarred and wounded from staying in this unfulfilling marriage for so long. She is scared to leave the marriage because of her deep belief in the Plan of Salvation. She is now middle aged and doesn’t feel hope for finding love again, as well as has no financial means. She suffers a lack of self esteem after years of psychological abuse from the gay husband. He has threatened that if she divorced him that he would work less so that she would not have much spousal support. However, he expects her to cook for and host his visiting family or attend family events and to act as if everything is perfect. He expects her to look nice for social events but doesn’t give her much money to do it. He in turn acts as if it’s a normal marriage to everyone and even to the wife. He has an important church calling. His sexual orientation is a secret to all.

    The wife in turn is questioning the validity of prayer because she confided that she prayed for so many years for help and nothing changed (she didn’t get support from her church leaders either) she has lost a measure of her testimony. She finds it very difficult to attend the temple, knowing that her marriage is so bad as well as feeling depressed (sometimes nearly suicidal) thinking she will have to spend eternity with her husband or…. that her temple marriage is not going to be valid. Her Stake President, when confided in privately, even told her that she was not living the Gospel fully because she was not having a physical relationship with her gay husband and that she needed to fix that.

    She has settled into an existence of a life of being married but not really being married but not knowing the joy of having a man love her. It’s truly a tragedy. People who are gay or lesbian should NOT marry and create mixed-orientation unions. It is wrong to do that to the straight spouse. This wife was deceived when she married this man. She has continued to be deceived and abused from the situation. Her life was basically ruined because of the SELFISH actions of this man who was himself a product of a theological philosophy that encouraged this kind of marriage. I am glad to know that the church is changing their policies about this issue and hopefully future tragedies can be avoided. Who knows how many LDS marriages are heartbreaking just like this one. They keep it private and secret except to their most trusted family members such as a sister or Mother. I just hope that these kinds of unions stop. It’s wrong.

  34. @134 Wow, that is a tragic story!

    I can’t help but notice how opposite-of-helpful the church is in her case:

    “Her Stake President, when confided in privately, even told her that she was not living the Gospel fully because she was not having a physical relationship with her gay husband and that she needed to fix that. ”

    Holy crap, I don’t think I could come up with a more horrible/hurtful thing to say to this lady if I were trying to hurt her!

    If she were to come to me for advice, I would recommend two things. First off, join the Wildflowers community to connect with other Mormon women in the same situation who can give her real help and support. (It’s apparently a private Facebook group that was recently recommended on a feminist Mormon housewives thread by a woman in a mixed-orientation marriage — I think there’s more info there on how to join them.)

    Secondly, I’d recommend that she learn a new skill and get a job. If she hasn’t had sex in years, then her kids are probably getting to be independent enough that she is probably finding herself with more free time. This free time will do her more harm than good if she expects to derive fulfillment from being a homemaker in a dysfunctional marriage. Once she shows herself that she can rely on herself, that will help her rebuild her self-esteem.

    It’s very possible that she may never find new love, as you mention, but she can absolutely be happier than where she’s at now. If she’s middle-aged, then she’s still got half her life left that’s worth living! It’s too early for her to write herself off as nothing more than a tragic, cautionary tale. She should be encouraged to get out there and find the support she needs.

  35. To Chanson, you speak wisely. I’m glad that I shared this story because I can pass on this very helpful advice as well as the information for the support group. I know that she will be very grateful for the supportive and thoughtful counsel as she feels very isolated and alone.
    In defense of church leaders, I believe that they are not equipped sometimes with a true understanding of the nature of this issue. It is just too difficult for them to counsel people effectively until more “real” instruction is given to these “volunteer” ministers who really are trying but just don’t always say the right thing. The bad thing is that devout church members look at their Bishops and Stake Presidents as being representatives of the Lord and believe that they are inspired. They probably are most of the time, but can still make mistakes in difficult areas such as counseling mixed orientation Temple marriages. It can have devastating effects on the recipients.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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