Yesterday Greg Prince wrote out some of his thoughts about the new LDS Church Exclusion Policy in the form of an exchange with a friend. One point he made seems to be getting the most pushback (in my estimation):
Yet, while science has pointed the way to biology, the LDS hierarchy has persisted in believing that homosexuality is simply behavioral. (The closest they have come to real movement is to concede that biology may be a factor, but then to say, “But that’s irrelevant, because you are still responsible for your behavior.” It’s like saying to an African-American, “You may not have chosen your skin color, but if you act on it you are a sinner.”)
With that in mind, I just ran across the blog of “Wyoming Doc”, a “grandfather of 35 grandchildren and a retired pediatrician”. In his blogpost from Jan. 4, 2015 titled “The Natural Man”, we demonstrates the mindset described by Greg Prince above perfectly. And now I feel sick reading this from someone I share a church with.
Here are some highlights:
- He says that “[the phrase] ‘That is the way I am.’ is a rationalization or excuse for unacceptable behavior and it is to a certain extent true”
- He likens homosexuality to liking (or not liking) asparagus or tennis
- He says that responding to “homosexual exposures” is similar to being a “chronic liar, the thief, the adulterer, the murderer, and any other person who is at odds with the commandments of God.”
Below is the entirety of his blogpost with my emphases added.
Background for this Blog post:
Some years ago my daughter was concerned because one of the missionaries from her mission committed suicide. He found he was attracted to persons of the same sex.
There has been a lot in the news recently about same sex marriage and gay rights. I wrote this as an answer to her question. Since that time I have made some additions and corrections. In this world we are given agency. We can keep the commandments or we can disregard them and be much like the three-year old child and say, “Me do it my own way.” There are only two ways in this world, the right way or the Lord’s way and the wrong way. Elder Neal A. Maxwell put it this way; the commandments are given to us to keep us from hurting ourselves and other people. He also said, “Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel.”
Just because we have allowed people to sin by entering into homosexual relationships does not make it right in the eyes of our creator. There are dire consequences to this behavior, which cannot be avoided in this life and in the life to come.
I sensed that the suicide of one of the elders from your mission who was having an identity problem may have troubled you and I have tried to write down some of my thoughts about this with perhaps a different sort of approach that is usually taken.
We were over in the Czech republic visiting with the mission president and his wife and the subject somehow turned to a mutual acquaintance who also happened to be a physician. He had recently been to visit the mission president and had told the sad story of how he decided that he was gay and couldn’t help it. He lost his family and membership in the church and although he had been a stake president, he failed to understand fully the plan of the Lord and the simple truths taught in the Book of Mormon. The mission president was also a bit confused and upset about the state of his friend.
There are two scriptures in the Book of Mormon that come to mind that are worthwhile examining in depth. The first is found in Mosiah and is well known and quoted often.
|v18 For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
|v19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
|v20 And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come when the knowledge of the Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
|v21 And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent.
(Book of Mormon: Mosiah 3:18-21)
I have some thoughts on the scripture a natural man is an enemy to God. The main points are that since the fall of Adam a change came over man and he will be cut off unless he putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint and yield to the enticings of the spirit. He will be estranged from God.
The combination of mortality and a spirit allow men to be able to experience and then to choose. In 2 Nephi, Lehi explains that in order to be able to choose that we must be enticed by the one or the other.
Mortal bodies are not all the same. Some are more responsive to certain stimuli than others. Examples of the differences in response to stimuli are; pain tolerance, ticklishness and hunger. There are also different tastes and different appetites. Some like asparagus and some cannot abide it. The human nervous system is made to respond to stimuli. Therefore some are pleased and enjoy tennis and some do not find it enjoyable at all. Each one is different in his response to that which is enticing.
The statement that some people make “That is the way I am.” is a rationalization or excuse for unacceptable behavior and it is to a certain extent true. The natural man or mortal man is carnal, sensual and inclined to do evil. He must learn to rely on the Lord for instruction and guidance. Those are His commandments, which will point man the way to happiness. (Man is that he might have joy). If left to his own desires without the guidance by the spirit from God, man will seek to satisfy the mortal body and its urges and desires. Thus we have all manner of transgressors of the law who yield not to the enticings of the spirit, but to their own mortal nature and desires. They become confused because they seek the answer to their problems outside the framework of the gospel and its principles. They fail to ponder and thus are as Laman and Lemuel and say, “The Lord revealeth no such things unto us.”
They then cannot understand their own natures or the nature of the atonement. They, as a consequence, become disillusioned with life and with their state. They cannot understand that without the strength given by the Lord they remain a captive or in a bondage state or in other words in the bondage of sin. Captivity seems to be a theme in the scriptures. Thus the numerous references to the captivity in Egypt and also the various times the Nephites were held captive. Without the Lord and the atonement we remain held captive and it is only the Lord that can break those bonds. It is only the Lord who can plant in us the desire never to do evil and to look upon sin with abhorrence. We are not able to do it alone.
There are many ways to sin. The scriptures tell us that we cannot tell how many ways there are. The reason for this is that man and his weaknesses are so varied. Let us here mention a few that come immediately to my mind. The following are things that all play upon the stimulation of the sensations of the mortal body and have been proscribed by the Lord; the word of wisdom (alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea), drugs, pornography, adultery, fornication, violence (including murder), masturbation, and homosexuality. We are to learn to control these feelings and to make our body responsive to the spirit who takes its strength and guidance from the Lord. For some people these may not even be a temptation, but they have other weaknesses. We all have weaknesses and are in a mortal and fallen state.
The following scripture is interesting in that it tells us first what kind of sins and transgressions there are in the world and then uses the same word enticings to relate the fact that not only can the Lord through his spirit entice us to do good, Satan can also entice us to do evil and prey on the weakness of the flesh.
|v23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
|v24 And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.
|v25 Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.
|v26 For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.
|v27 But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!
|v28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
|v29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
|v30 But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their God. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.
|v31 And wo unto the deaf that will not hear; for they shall perish.
|v32 Wo unto the blind that will not see; for they shall perish also.
|v33 Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart, for a knowledge of their iniquities shall smite them at the last day.
|v34 Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.
|v35 Wo unto the murderer who deliberately killeth, for he shall die.
|v36 Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell.
|v37 Yea, wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them.
|v38 And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.
|v39 O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.
|v40 O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
|v41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
|v42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches–yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.
|v43 But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever–yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.
(Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 9:23-43)
The Lord gives men weaknesses:
We really should understand that we came into this world mortal and we will go out mortal. The Lord has so decreed it, but we were commanded to come unto him so that our mortality could put on immortality and in addition eternal life.
|v27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
|v28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me–the fountain of all righteousness.
(Book of Mormon: Ether 12:27-28)
We often look at this scripture as an explanation of our minor imperfections and to give us a hope that the Lord will strengthen us and nothing more. It means much much more. It is an explanation of the basic doctrine set forth in Mosiah. We are imperfect (mortal) and were meant to be after the fall. We have to understand that a combination of a mortal body and an immortal spirit requires a refinement, which can only be accomplished by the Lord. We can try, but we cannot succeed without the atonement of Christ. Too often we leave this important element out of the equation.
Why do some respond to homosexual exposures and others not. The sexual desire is one of the strongest in man. Not everyone has the same level of sexual desire, just as some have larger physical frames than others. Like any appetite, it can be stimulated by reinforcement. If the repetitive reinforcement is not there then it will be dormant and diminish. We could use the same argument to explain the chronic liar, the thief, the adulterer, the murderer, and any other person who is at odds with the commandments of God. At first we are given light and truth and we have the words of the prophets. Then when we disobey. Satan commeth and taketh away the light and truth through disobedience (D&C 93). We are then left to respond to the enticings, which come over our mortal body. We can respond to the enticings of the spirit, who leads us to the Lord through the atonement, or we can respond to the enticings of the devil and respond to the mortal body and its desire for stimulation and deny the atonement. There is no middle ground in this battle. A Lamanite king who was responsible for the murders of many of his servants and perhaps many other people put it better than I can express it. “I will give up all my sins to know thee.” And the great thing was, that it happened. He did give up all his sins and he knew the Lord. We also have to give up our sins. When we teach in the church all the wonderful doctrine and the history and try to convince people to live in a certain way, if we do not teach them that without the cleansing power of the atonement we cannot overcome mortality and its attendant tendency to make us less than we would like to be, then we have failed and people like your missionary lose hope and do not see a way out of their dilemma. And thus he (Satan) binds them with his awful chains and leads them carefully down to hell.
The model, which is portrayed by the children of Israel out in the wilderness, is a type and shadow of our relationship with the Father. Jehovah came down and offered to be their God and to sustain them in a spiritual sense. As it were, they would have died in the wilderness had he not provided nourishment (Manna) and water. That many people out in the Sinai desert without food or water was a travesty. The Lord provided for them and they had to rely totally upon Him.
We are also, as it were, in a desert. The Lord provides us living water and the bread of life. We have to learn to put our total trust in Him and listen to his counsel.. The manna that he gives to us is the gospel to nourish our souls. Without that we die spiritually because we are enticed to do evil rather than good.
So my grandchildren keep the commandments and know that without them we are left to our appetites and ourselves and we will not avoid the consequences of our behavior. Also be acquainted with the scriptures. They will never lead you astray.