I'm no stranger to the ongoing debate about same-gender attraction and what causes it? The fact is, that there is a minority who claim that they are simply "born that way". I'm not here to debate that position, anymore than I can prove to some that I know the Church is true. Faith is like that.
The greater concern is the belief that being gay is genetic and therefore change is not possible. Advocates of gay marriage with the help of the mainstream media have perpetuated this myth to the point that the general public is beginning to accept this as fact! Even more disturbing -- so are many of our younger members in the Church. And that's where I feel the need to raise my hand, so to speak.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made this bold statement in a landmark interview on homosexuality with the LDS Public Affairs Department:
"Homosexual feelings are controllable. Perhaps there is an inclination or susceptibility to such feelings that is a reality for some and not a reality for others. But out of such susceptibilities come feelings, and feelings are controllable. If we cater to the feelings, they increase the power of the temptation. If we yield to the temptation, we have committed sinful behavior. That pattern is the same for a person that covets someone else’s property and has a strong temptation to steal. It’s the same for a person that develops a taste for alcohol. It’s the same for a person that is born with a ‘short fuse,’ as we would say of a susceptibility to anger. If they let that susceptibility remain uncontrolled, it becomes a feeling of anger, and a feeling of anger can yield to behavior that is sinful and illegal.I appreciate how Elder Oaks puts this whole dilemma into perspective. He goes on to explain:
We’re not talking about a unique challenge here. We’re talking about a common condition of mortality. We don’t understand exactly the ‘why,’ or the extent to which there are inclinations or susceptibilities and so on. But what we do know is that feelings can be controlled and behavior can be controlled. The line of sin is between the feelings and the behavior. The line of prudence is between the susceptibility and the feelings. We need to lay hold on the feelings and try to control them to keep us from getting into a circumstance that leads to sinful behavior."
"We do not accept the fact that conditions that prevent people from attaining their eternal destiny were born into them without any ability to control. That is contrary to the Plan of Salvation, and it is contrary to the justice and mercy of God. It’s contrary to the whole teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which expresses the truth that by or through the power and mercy of Jesus Christ we will have the strength to do all things. That includes resisting temptation. That includes dealing with things that we’re born with, including disfigurements, or mental or physical incapacities. None of these stand in the way of our attaining our eternal destiny. The same may be said of a susceptibility or inclination to one behavior or another which if yielded to would prevent us from achieving our eternal destiny."And there you have it. If we as members of the LDS Church understand that God's Plan is that the ultimate destiny of every one of His children is to return back to His presence, clean -- then how can we possibly accept a belief that He would have sent them into this world with no option but to fail?
Bottom line, it makes no sense at all! And try as they may, even scientist can't explain the homosexual phenomenon. Although once again, proponents for same-sex marriage would have you believe otherwise. So lets get to the real facts....
Reprinted in full with permission from UFI:
No scientist or researcher has ever proven that homosexuality is genetic, immutable or unchangeable. In fact many of the so-called gay gene studies, such as the Bailey/Pillard “twin studies,” prove the exact opposite – homosexual behavior is not genetic. Homosexual advocates and the media have pushed the “there is a gay gene” myth for over a decade and a large share of the public has bought into this misinformation.
Even the American Psychological Association (APA) now acknowledges that there is not a gay gene. In their “Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality,” they state the following:
“There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles….”
It is necessary for homosexual advocates to equate homosexual behavior to an immutable and unchangeable trait (like race or sex) in order to claim the “gay rights” movement is a Civil Rights issue. But can those who deal with homosexual tendencies and behavior change? Yes, thousands of former-homosexuals are testimony to the fact that change is possible. Gay advocates and psychological associations are particularly eager and aggressive in their efforts to discredit reparative/reorientation therapy groups who work to aid individuals who wish to escape homosexual behavior and lifestyle.
The success of the gay movement seems to hinge upon their ability to convince the public that change is impossible. That National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) has an informative white paper explaining the success and challenges of reorientation therapy. See it here. Again, homosexual behavior is neither immutable nor unchangeable and thus not a Civil Rights issue. Some famous African American Civil rights figures have made that point as well:
“The comparison with slavery is a stretch in that some slave masters were gay, in that gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution and in that they did not require the Voting Rights Act to have the right to vote.” (Rev. Jesse Jackson, address at Harvard Law School)
The recent refusal of the Obama administration to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) included a perpetuation of the myth that homosexual behavior is immutable and unchangeable when the Justice Department’s claimed that “sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny” in the courts – a classification reserved for cases involving discrimination on the basis of such things as race or sex.
This particular myth is pretty deeply entrenched and requires each one of us to become educated on the topic and not allow the misinformation and misconceptions to continue. Spread the word.
For a list of studies related to this topic, go to UFI’s Guide to Family Issues: Sexual Orientation (pg. 26-28)
On a personal note: Let me just add, that I understand that change is not possible in every circumstance. I have great compassion for those who struggle with same-gender attraction. I also acknowledge that at this time we don't know everything. I am always ready to learn more so as to develop a greater understanding and compassion for those who deal with homosexuality. However, I am deeply grateful to understand this issue through an eternal perspective.
Elder Jeffrey Holland published an article entitled "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction". He said:
"In doing so, recognize that marriage is not an all-purpose solution. Same-gender attractions run deep, and trying to force a heterosexual relationship is not likely to change them. We are all thrilled when some who struggle with these feelings are able to marry, raise children, and achieve family happiness. But other attempts have resulted in broken hearts and broken homes."
LDS Newsroom: Same Gender Attraction - Full interview with Dallin Oaks
Identical Twin Brothers: One Gay - One Straight - A Dialogue About Same-Sex Marriage
The Truth About Gay Marriage, Equal Rights - And Your Children!
Obama's Power Grab on Marriage