PUBLIC AFFAIRS: If we were to look back at someone who had a ‘short fuse,’ and we were to look at their parents who might have had a short fuse, some might identify a genetic influence in that.
ELDER OAKS: No, 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.
ME: “Dealing with the things we are born with” is very different from “controlling” the things we were born with. If I was born unable to walk, I could not control that. Nothing I could do, no matter how faithful I was would change the fact that I could not walk naturally like everyone else. I could, however, choose to deal with it through the use of other, less conventional, less acceptable methods of getting around to make up for the fact that I cannot walk, such as using a wheelchair.
But not even that is a fair example. One that would be more accurate is the following: Say I was born much like a dolphin. I physically cannot walk (just like the previous example), but more than that, I was born to swim. It is a core characteristic that determines that my life will be lived in the water no matter how badly I wish to live on the land. Yet I am being asked to control my urges to want to be in the water, and to do the best I can to live on land.
Dealing with it would be another thing. The way I might choose to deal with it is to live in the water despite the fact that I come from a society that lives on land. Of course I can choose how to deal with it... but my choices are limited. It’s as if I am a starving child with one apple in front of me labeled “poison”. I can choose to not take the apple, and die slowly from starvation. Or I can choose to eat it, enjoy the taste and texture and die quickly. It isn’t as if there is a healthy apple next to the poison one- not for me.
I cannot have the type of companionship people seek for in this life with a woman. It isn’t possible for me. It is the healthy apple that is presented to most people, but that is absent in my situation. But more than that, I am fully able, and fully equipped to desire and have that type of companionship with another man. The “poison” apple. So rather than my other choice of waiting to die of starvation, I am choosing that apple. And guess what? It turns out that label was just that- a label. This apple was’t poison after all. It has enabled me not only to live, but to live happy and satisfied.
The problem with Elder Oaks’ argument mostly rests on the notion that being gay is a condition that prevents me “from attaining [my] eternal destiny.” I don’t believe that. I don’t believe anyone but God knows what my eternal destiny is. Elder Oaks can’t assume that my eternal destiny is the same as his. What if I am not destined to walk like him? What if I am created to swim or to fly? This is what Elder Oaks bases his whole argument on and I don’t see how it is a sufficiently strong foundation to validate the conclusions he presents.
It is not meet that man should be alone and the church-endorsed celibacy isn't just a call to restrain from sex. It is a call to deny yourself companionship. The church presents one choice for me- the choice to be alone the rest of my life. Adam had that choice too after Eve partook of the fruit didn't he? But he decided to eat that which was forbidden him in order that he could stay with Eve. If my choice is between being alone without love, and the poison apple- pass the apple over here please.