Monday, October 4, 2010

The Never Ending Debate.

Okay people, I wasn't gonna touch this one with a 10 foot pole.. but I figured I could do it respectfully and perhaps get a good discussion going.

As many of you know, the LDS general conference was held this past weekend. No, I did not watch it nor did I listen to it.. but I understand there was a talk given by Boyd K. Packer about same sex attraction. 
(The official text has not been posted yet, so this is the closest thing I could find, It may be a little biased but that's not the point...)

As many of you ALSO know, I am a huge supporter of the gay community and everything gay. This talk caused quite a stir seeing as I have seen postings about it all over facebook and such. 
The Human Rights Campaign released a "rebuttle," so to speak, to Packer's words.

Now, nobody freak out just yet. I haven't said anything disrespectful have I? No. 

I have many LDS friends as well as many LGBTQ+ friends.. ALL of whom I ADORE. 
This talk does trouble me, I will admit. Many gay teen suicides have occurred in the past few months as a result of hatred and anti-gay bullying. I also believe that my brother should be allowed the same rights as you and I.
I am a firm believer that people are born gay, but NO we are not going to argue that.. because we could argue and argue until we are all blue in the face. Nobody's opinion is going to change either way. 

However, there is a quote in the HRC report that is a bit hard for me to swallow“When a faith leader tells gay people that they are a mistake because God would never have made them that way and they don’t deserve love, it sends a very powerful message that violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable. It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT or may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify. His words were not only inaccurate, they were also dangerous.”

Woah Woah Woah, Packer never told the LGBT community they are a MISTAKE. 
The LDS church was stating their views and opinions, just like you and I have the beautiful right to do. I also don't think that Packer was trying to tell people that they should discriminate against the LGBT community, he was simply stating that it can be overcome. (Note: I do not agree with that statement, but I respect that he has his own views.) 

The point I'm trying to make here, is that everybody needs to stop acting so victimized. 
ALL people, including LDS, should think for themselves and really question what they believe.. and if you do your research and really find what is best for YOU, then GREAT! You deserve respect.
But on the other hand, the LGBT community has GOT to stop clawing at the LDS church and singling them out. MANY other religions teach the same thing, and who gets the grief? The mormons. 

This teeth gnashing argument between the LGBT community and the LDS church has got to stop. 
As much as I hate that the LDS church tries to convince gay youth that they can be "fixed," they still have their deeply held beliefs that I, and everyone else, should respect. 
Let's just quit blowing things out of proportion here. BOTH sides. 

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts, even if you hate what I had to say go ahead and tell me! 
Just keep things respectful, people.


  1. Dearest Jenna,

    Thank you for bringing this topic to the attention of your blog followers. I too will attempt to be respectful not only to the thoughts of others, but also to the words you have already laid out.

    Firstly, let me point out a good piece of his talk. Packer said at the end that "Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course". Good for them. If it were the other way around, people would be mocking the Mormon church for being so flip-floppy and finicky. So it is great that they are sticking to their beliefs of what is true and moral in their eyes. However, the timing of such remarks was ill planned.

    In the wake of several local gay teen suicides, (the vast majority of them being LDS or former LDS members), it was not a tasteful time, at least in my opinion, to bring up a subject like this and thrust the knife in even further than it already was. Even following several rallies and events over the past few months (I know that you were at quite a few of them) that were the gay communities sincere attempt to reach out to the LDS church and ask for some sort of recognition and harmony, Packard had to make these comments now?! Saying you will NEVER accept anything so "impure and unnatural" after obvious efforts by the other side have been made is simply foolish on his part, as well as provocative.

    As far as the quote about Packard saying gay people were "mistakes", that is a loaded phrase. He did not use those words, however he did not make a smart word choice when he said: "Some suppose they were 'pre-set' and can't overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?" Clearly, he was trying to say that these false beliefs about homosexuality are misleading and can make one think that they can't be "fixed", when - in fact - they can. However, the phrasing could also be interpreted as - since you, as a gay individual, feel like you were preset to be attracted to the opposite sex, and since God would never do this to an individual "...after all, he is our Father...", you must be a mistake. The logic can swing either way, and so this is where they are getting their slander from...

    I don't want to discuss whether "gayness" can be fixed, if it is inborn, or even if it is morally correct, because - like you said - we can argue it until we are blue in the face (even though I know we are basically on the same side of this given issue...). But the phrasing that Packard used to describe homosexuality would make it very hard for a gay LDS member to listen to without feeling like they were a slimy, evil person. Calling somebody impure and unnatural for desiring something "which is not worthy of any member of the church" is a terrible way to save lives that are on the brink with a razor blade.

    Normally, the Mormon Church is seen as proselytizing via their message of love. This speech goes directly against that. No, it didn't directly say "be mean to fags and lesbos", but it justified it. By pointing out the "wickedness" in certain individuals lives, he rationalized (in many LDS minds across the nation) crude behavior towards lesbians and gays. He said nothing about "we need to love these people and give them the help they require", all he said were words of intolerance and distaste. For this reason, it was quite a revolting talk to those people who were looking for some sort of effort on the LDS Church's part to bridge the gap.

    Do both sides overreact? Of course. But, I believe that in this instance, it is justified on the part of the gay community.

    These are just my thoughts after watching the speech and reading your blog. I hope they inspire light to grow within you and multiply until you eventually poop rainbows...seriously though, I hope this wasn't a waste of 10 minutes of typing...

  2. Now, I am very hesitant also to post this, and i wasn't going to say anything but... here goes..

    @Jenna: I really appreciate and respect what you have said. I think that it IS going to be a never-ending conflict that will only continue to get worse until both parties realize, that no matter what people have their right to believe whatever they want. The LDS church has their rights and beliefs, and the gay community surely has their rights and beliefs. I think that your family and parents have done exactly as they should with your brother. It is so important to love, and i really admire and respect your parents, Josh, and you.

    I am not looking to argue. I am just making sure you see the whole picture of Elder Packers talk. What i feel like you are missing is the whole last half. The part that talks about coming back and that Jesus Christ knows all things and that it is possible for recovery. Gay LDS teens that, as you said, "are on the brink of a razor blade" have the same relationship with their Heavenly Father as any other person. They are not different in His eyes, or ours. This talk was not meant to put gay members under an intense stress and depression, but meant to bring them peace and hope. If their membership and testimony are strong in the church, they would see this talk as something to help and recover. The will understand. IF they are a member in the church, they should and most likely believe the same way the LDS members believe and that is that homosexuality is not a punishment, not an illness, and not a life-long deal. It is a temptation that you can overcome. I know this may come off as harsh but: I know that you and many others may believe otherwise, BUT are you LDS? No. Do LDS people have a freedom of religion? Yes. Do our doctrine and principles HAVE to have everyone's approval? No. This is how the LDS church works, it does not reject gay people, but does in-fact have recovery programs for those who are willing to believe it will help. YOU dont have to believe these things, but gay members, (if they have full-faith and testimony in our church) will.

    ELDER OAKS: This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach.

    Check this website for official standings on gay marriage:

  3. I've been avoiding this discussion on facebook as it ends up just being a flame war, but everyone here seems..rational.

    I didn't watch conference, I've only read articles from newspapers and heard this all second hand.

    I don't have much to contribute. But I will say that I don't think Hate was the message of this.
    Going along with Lindsay...IF you are a member of the LDS faith and believe it, then being gay is a sin. Just like being addicted to pornography.
    People ARE born with various factors that will incline them to things. Alcoholics, drug abusers, sex addicts. There are parts of the brain that people are born with that makes it more difficult to 'overcome' alcoholism, etc, etc.

    There are also undeniable studies that homosexuals have differences in their brains that can 'explain' gayness.

    Personally, I think its the same thing.

    I am NOT trying to attack anyone here. I am just saying that, from a perspective of a LDS person, it is another 'trial' to overcome.

    To be honest, my personal position on this is....I have no idea. I'm really confused guys. These past few days I have seen a lot of hate directed at the Church, Ive seen a lot of stories on gay teens commiting suicide....
    All of it is just a lot of pain that I wish we could avoid.

    Personally...I think that gay marriages should be legal, and people should be allowed to do what makes them happy. I know the LDS faith doesn't agree with that, and ultimately, I trust my religion. SOme people call it blind or stupid to just follow...but that's faith to me.

    I hope this didn't sound...harsh or attacking....I just needed to get it out in a safer environment than facebook or whatever, and I really hope I haven't upset anyone.

  4. Lindsay.. I couldn't agree more with what you said. You said it perfectly.

    The only thing I would add is: people make CHOICES. That is what life is all about. Making choices. If someone decides to take his or her own life, that is his or her own CHOICE. Nobody should point fingers. It is no one's fault. When someone says something that bothers you, you CHOOSE to be offended. Life is too short to be offended by things. I find it funny that everyone is always pointing fingers at the LDS church. What about other religions? Aren't more than just us against same sex attraction? You know, everyone always complains that not many LDS members are accepting of gays. Not many people in general are accepting of the LDS church either but we aren't complaining about it.

    If you do not want to be LDS, that is fine, but don't complain about the beliefs.

    No offense to anyone; I love you all!
    That's just my take on things.

  5. Thank you to all of you for posting. :) I'm glad we can all chat about this in a respectful way and listen to all sides.

    @Arthur- you KNOW I am behind the gays 100%. But I just think that when they take offense to every little thing they are just taking 10 steps back instead of moving forward. The timing was bad, I agree.. but I think the whole issue is being made WAY bigger than it needs to be.

    @Lindsay- I really appreciate your insight. and I'm glad you posted your thoughts. The whole point of this is for everyone's opinion to be heard so that perhaps everyone can just understand each other a little bit better. It's not about agreeing with each other, it's about UNDERSTANDING each other.

    @Dart- Thank you as well for your thoughts. I am glad you felt better posting on here than on facebook, it can be a crazy debate on there.. which never gets anywhere. Everyone just fights. I think your quote about "I trust my religion, some call it blind but I call it faith," is quite interesting. I have never thought about it that way before. So thank you for that.

    @ Amy- girl you nailed it when you said "Not many people in general are accepting of the LDS church either but we aren't complaining about it." I really liked that insight.

    I also think though, that there may be a little bit of a difference in the situation.. here's where I stick up for the gay community... The LGBT community isn't trying to take away rights of LDS members. Not to say that LDS members themselves are doing that to the LGBT, but the prop 8 funding and such is something I do not agree with. But I guess when you look at it the other way, the LDS church is just funding their beliefs. So I guess I'm just sort of playing devil's advocate. I love everyone, and I thank you all for your posts.

  6. Hey Miss Jenna B. I didn't know you had a blog! Fun, I will have to add you to my list.

    I'm not going to join in on this conversation with my feelings. I try to remain open minded in all things, and form my opinions privately. Mainly because like you said, we can argue till we're blue in the face and no one's opinions are going to change. I'm just not much for heated discussions.

    What I will say, is I gained a lot of respect for you. It's funny, we're cousin's but I don't know much about you. I guess that's what happens when there's a 7 year age difference. I respect the fact that you are willing to see both sides of the issue, and that you so tactfully ran a discussion on your blog that didn't include hurt feelings, or arguing. Kudo's.

    xo Caity

  7. No Comment on all of the above. I am just to tired to discuss it again, but I want you to know how proud I am of you and your opinions.
    You are a great example to all!
    Love ya lots,

  8. Hi Jenna!

    I wanted to tell you that I think the greatest outcome of this somewhat upsetting situation is that it allows those on both sides of this issue to open up an honest and direct dialogue concerning the comments made by Mr. Packer. It is so important to understand how comments such as these affect those who are so personally involved in the continued struggle to voice the absolute core belief that we all deserve the basic equal rights that we have been blessed and born with. This is an issue that must be discussed between all of those who are involved, and any situation that opens the channels of conversation allowing for further discussion and understanding is one that I will always support. Your love, understanding and support has always meant the world to your brother, and so in turn it means the world to me. We love you, and as always cannot express how much your continued love and support towards the recognition of our love and equality means to both of us. xoxo - Gossip Girl...aka T ;-)

  9. Every person needs to stop allowing other people to validate them! Religion,Government,your fellow man... No one defines you,YOU DEFINE YOU!

  10. @Lindsay:

    Please know that I do not mean any disrespect towards your church or beliefs because it is true that I don't agree with a lot of them. There are several parts to the LDS church that I have problems with - not just about issues regarding homosexuality. I believe firmly in free speech, up to the point where it becomes damaging to other individuals. People can say what they want, when they want, and that is the beauty of our country. Some people may say "well, people should just not get offended so easily" - but that is a hard thing to do when it seems like all of your family, friends, and even leaders of your church stand against you for being you. I am not foolish enough to believe that this was meant to be a message of hate, but it has been received that way by countless members of the gay community as well as its supporters. It wasn't the message that was bad - go ahead and believe what you will - it was the timing that was chosen. In light of all of the suicides that occurred, I simply wanted to make the point that the words were said in a poor manner and at a bad time. The church has done a great job in many endeavors it has taken on - don't get me wrong. But it has done a rather sucky job at reaching out to its own members struggling with the "sin" of homosexuality.


    Many of us don't know exactly how to take this whole scenario. I don't personally have any problems with what the church is saying - other's beliefs are their own business - but I do have an issue with how it affects my gay and lesbian friends. Whenever people are forced into a depression so deep it causes them to take their own life, whether its cause was rational or not, it should be other's job to pull them away from that edge - not push more people towards it. I respect you for having that faith in your beliefs and church to stand up for them and I just wanted to say that this is a very "fine-lined" situation that is difficult to analyze by all who attempt to...


    I too believe that this whole situation has been blown out of proportion, but nobody ever got anywhere by sitting around and doing nothing about the hardships they face. So it has been over-exaggerated and over-discussed. What now? Are both sides going to move forward towards a positive outcome? Will all of this discussion lead to more understanding? I sure hope so - for both sides sake.

    Also, I agree with your point on the LDS attempting to take away the rights of the LGBT community. I found a quote I think you may find interesting – it is from the LDS Journal of Discourses: “‎"Here, then, is where the line must be drawn. Anything that persons profess to do under the name of religion, which interferes with the rights of others is wrong, and the secular law may step in and protect the citizens and restrain or punish those people who attempt to do this under the plea of religion."--Journal of Discourses 25:221

    @All who are still reading:
    The official transcription of the conference was released, and I thought it was interesting that they changed several passages from what was actually said. Perhaps it was to be less “controversial” or less offensive, I am not sure. But the changes do reflect some very significant changes in meaning, and you should check them out for yourself:

  11. Jenna, we went to high school together and I don't know you very well, but I ran into your blog from reading Rachel Shaw's and started reading your posts. :) I hope you don't mind my commenting-

    I respect your opinions and respect you for tactfully addressing this issue.
    I am a faithful LDS member and I sustain the preisthood leaders of the LDS church. I agree and stand behind President Packer. But- I just wanted you to know that I also respect your opinions, and your LOVE for EVERYONE! You are a fine example of a very loving person. I think that if we all could have a little more love in our hearts, the world would be a better place. People (including members of the LDS church and all other religions and organizations and communites) can be cruel. If we could see eachother the way our Heavenly Father sees us, I think we would treat people the way we would like to be treated, we would give of our love and feel loved in return and ultimately have a better self esteem and sense of self worth. The world needs more LOVE, and less hate and judgement.
    Thanks for being you, Jenna. I think you are great. :)

  12. Diana- I could not agree with you more. YOU DEFINE YOU. I never thought about it this way until I read your comment, thank you for shedding a new light on an oh-so over debated topic.


    Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it.
    I also thank you for your compliments :) That really made my day. I agree with you 100% that many different types of people can be cruel, that is including members of BOTH the LGBT community and the LDS church.. as well as many other religions or affiliations. But what matters is that we look at individual people and find the beauty in them, and not let a group define an individual.
    It all comes down to love and respect. In ALL things in life. It's all about what type of person you are and how you treat others.

    Thank you again Alex :)