A friend of mine on Facebook just posted a link to a Human Rights Campaign page. I was curious what the argument was about, seeing the word Mormon in it. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints myself, it caught my eye and I wondered what was going on.
The article stated that recently, many homosexual teenagers have committed suicide due to terrible bullying at schools due to their sexual preferences. I find that very sad that anyone would bully someone so much to the point of them feeling so trapped that suicide is the only way out. I don't care if you are atheist, Catholic, LDS, whatever, no one should be harassing other students that way. I feel bad for the families and friends of those teenagers who took their own lives, and I feel bad that that teenager felt like they had no one and no where to turn to in their time of need.
However, the article then went on to say that it was wrong for Elder Boyd K. Packer to openly say in his talk just this last week in General Conference that homosexual conduct is morally wrong, "impure and unnatural," and "against God's law and nature." The article says that this only encourages intolerance and all of the bullying that has been occurring. Personally, I feel that this person perhaps misunderstood the intent and meaning behind the talk that Elder Packer gave.
First off, this person makes it sound like President Packer choose this time specifically to give this talk, as if he heard about the suicides and decided to talk about how their sexual orientation is morally wrong. But the talk was given during General Conference, a gathering of the saints at which they can listen to the words of God through the prophets and apostles, which is set at a certain time every year. Consequently, the conference happened to land at about the same time these suicides happened. Furthermore, there have been many talks given at previous General Conferences about same-sex marriage, homosexual behavior, etc. being morally wrong in the eyes of God. President Packer, along with all of the apostles, prophets, and leaders of the church, are always inspired in what they should talk about during General Conference. It is what the Lord wanted His people to hear.
Second, I disagree that this talk influences people to harass those who are homosexual, and if anyone takes it to mean that, and acts upon it in that way, then the sin is on them. President Packer's talk was merely conveying that 1. Homosexual behavior does not agree with God's laws. 2. Although some suppose that this is the way they were born and cannot overcome what they feel, it is not so. God loves each and every one of us. We are His sons and daughters. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone if it is contrary to His law? 3. Paul promised in the scriptures that we will not be tempted above that which we are able. Those who do struggle with this have the potential to overcome it, if they truly desire to do so, and will come to the Lord for help. (I fully believe this to be true). 4. These feelings are not only against God's law, but against the law of nature. It is impossible to set a law against nature. "What good would voting a law against gravity do?"
If you look very carefully, President Packer's talk is not intended to bully or harass homosexuals or encourage such. It is merely stating a spiritual fact, and actually giving a message of hope for those who are like this that they are able to change. Now I know that some would argue that this is intolerance, and why should they change? First, I do not believe that my views and beliefs are intolerance. If this is the choice someone is to make, then that is their decision. I will not go out with a sign rallying others to do away with all homosexuals, or go to classes to bully someone who is. I will not shun my friend if they confide in me of their feelings, although I will have to tell them that I disagree, and let them know that I am here to help them out of it, if God's will is what they desire to follow. But the reason they should "change" is so they are not acting contrary to God's law and will. His will cannot be altered or changed by mankind. It is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Therefore, with what I have said, I believe that I am tolerating their decisions, although I do not agree with them. Tolerance does not mean agreeing or changing my views and beliefs, and with my tolerance, I expect those who are homosexuals and supporters of them to tolerate my views as well.
Near the end of the article, it asks for people to please sign their name to an open letter addressed to the leaders of the LDS church and post it to Facebook so that everyone may know that "these views are scientifically wrong and misguided." Well, here's some news for you. I am not a person of science. I am a person of faith. I follow God's laws and commandments before I follow anything that mankind has "proven." I find it interesting that people try so hard to defy Him, boasting in our technology, as if we know everything. Although mankind has come a long way scientifically, I know that there is so much more that we do not understand and cannot comprehend simply because we are mortal. God knows everything, and all things. I would much rather put my faith and trust in someone like that more than millions of people who have worked throughout the ages to uncover mysteries that God knew all along.
As for the letter addressed to Elder Packer, I have pasted it here:
Dear Elder Packer,
I'm appalled that you chose this moment to deliver a sermon saying same-sex attraction is unnatural and same-sex unions are immoral. You have risked further alienating LGBT youth and potentially contributing to suicides of even more vulnerable young people. You've told them that their very identities are "impure and unnatural" and you've incited the violence and bullying that often drives them to suicide by repeating lies disproven by both science and the experience of millions of Americans who know their LGBT neighbors and care about them.
I hope you will cease putting young people in real peril and acknowledge the scientific truth: sexual orientation cannot be changed, nor should it be.
1. As I stated earlier, Elder Packer did not choose this time. General Conference is always conducted at this time of year. Also, if you choose to argue that he could have chosen another topic, you are correct, but God specifically impresses upon the minds of those speaking what they should say and speak about.
2. If Elder Packer has risked more teens committing suicide due to what he has spoken (which are God's words, by the way [D&C 1:38]) then they have completely missed the critical spiritual information and message of the plain and simple truths he has stated. God does not mince words or sugar coat things. It is what it is.
3. Naturally, a girl's very identity is to be attracted to a boy, and a boy's very identity is to be attracted to a girl. They are to be united in marriage (which marriage, by the way, is not something set by law only, but is a holy union- but that's a different argument I won't go into right now) and have children so all of God's spirit children may have a chance to come to this earth. Producing babies can only be accomplished by a man and a woman.
4. Again, inciting the bullying is not what Elder Packer intends, nor is it what he says for people to do. If people do that, they are acting on their own accord.
5. Stated earlier: I am a person of faith, not science. I don't care what mankind has "proven."
6. Just because I don't agree with someone doesn't mean I don't care about them. I can like chocolate ice cream while my friend likes vanilla, but that doesn't mean we hate each other.
Perhaps we don't understand each other's views, but I won't hate her because her beliefs are different from mine. Nor will I encourage her desire for vanilla if I do not agree with it.
7. The real peril here is that so many people do not understand God's will or know about Him. In order for people to know, they must be told the truth. The real peril is in lack of spiritual knowledge.
8. The last statement in here is very contradicting. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what they mean or are saying (which is possible) but isn't saying that "sexual orientation cannot be changed nor should it be" is like saying (according to the dictionary) "your natural preference in sexual partners cannot be changed nor should it be?" Wouldn't natural selection mean men and women, women and men? And if that's right, then isn't that just what Elder Packer and so many others have been talking about? Just saying...
In conclusion, I just don't think that this is something that people should really be targeting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for. Saying that stating our beliefs in what God has told us is true may cause people to commit suicide is ridiculous. People bullying and harassing those who are homosexual because they don't agree with them may cause people to commit suicide is a reasonable thing to say. But ultimately, even if these people get loads of people to sign this letter and send it to the LDS church leaders, it really doesn't matter. They aren't going to stop the laws that God is set on, and they won't stop Him from commanding His apostles and prophets to tell us that this is impure and unnatural, can be overcome, and against His law. So you may wonder why I took all this time to write this thing up. It is simply because I want to show that I stand faithfully beside the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and beside my God. I know that He lives and loves all of us. I know that He has blessed us all with strengths that will assist us and weaknesses that will define and shape us into better people if we allow them to. I know that the words of the prophet Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, and the apostles are words straight from God our Father to us, His children. I stand this day forever beside Him, determined to follow Him until the end of my days.