PUBLIC AFFAIRS: If somebody has a very powerful heterosexual drive, there is the opportunity for marriage. If a young man thinks he’s gay, what we’re really saying to him is that there is simply no other way to go but to be celibate for the rest of his life if he doesn’t feel any attraction to women?
ELDER OAKS: That is exactly the same thing we say to the many members who don’t have the opportunity to marry. We expect celibacy of any person that is not married.
ELDER WICKMAN: We live in a society which is so saturated with sexuality that it perhaps is more troublesome now, because of that fact, for a person to look beyond their gender orientation to other aspects of who they are. I think I would say to your son or anyone that was so afflicted to strive to expand your horizons beyond simply gender orientation. Find fulfillment in the many other facets of your character and your personality and your nature that extend beyond that. There’s no denial that one’s gender orientation is certainly a core characteristic of any person, but it’s not the only one.
What’s more, merely having inclinations does not disqualify one for any aspect of Church participation or membership, except possibly marriage as has already been talked about. But even that, in the fullness of life as we understand it through the doctrines of the restored gospel, eventually can become possible.
In this life, such things as service in the Church, including missionary service, all of this is available to anyone who is true to covenants and commandments.
ME: The church is definitely not asking the same thing of gay members as they are single members. If you are a single, heterosexual member, the church bends over backwards to encourage and facilitate dating and marriage. They organize singles wards, singles activities, singles firesides. Dating is encouraged and even commanded (by some bishops). People are excited for you when you are dating and when you find someone you want to spend your life with. As a heterosexual, single adult, you always have the hope of finding “the one” and the support of the church.
Now, lets consider a single gay member. You are commanded to break all ties with gay friends and dissolve any relationships you may have with other gay people. You are not only not encouraged to date, but told that you can’t. Your situation is “put away” so that others don’t have to be made uncomfortable by your attractions. You are expected to accept and understand that you will live a celibate life- even if you did meet the person of your dreams. There is no hope given to you for marriage to a person you love. In fact, the church actively fights against your ability to marry the person you love. Basically, you are asked to wait until death to find real love. You live life waiting for it to end.
Elder Wickman is right. “Gender orientation is a core characteristic of any person.” As such, you cannot simply ask someone to ignore it in favor of other “core characteristics” any more than you can ask a tree to ignore sun in favor of earth and water or ignore water in favor of earth and sun. Saying it is core means that it is fundamental to our existence. By extinguishing something that is core to us, we extinguish life. Our vital organs are core. We cannot shut down our heart or lungs or brain without shutting down our life.
Finally, if you are going to tach that attractions or “inclinations” as Elder Wickman calls them, do not disqualify you for any aspect of church service, please practice that. Why is it that many of my friends have had to go through extreme difficulties in trying to serve a mission? They have never acted on their inclinations. Yet they need special interviews, special approvals, etc. They must put their life on hold while the church comes to a decision on whether they can go. One friend is now on week 11 in waiting for an answer. Every week he is sure it will be the week he will receive his call. Every week he is disappointed. This is one of many examples where there is a discrepancy between what you teach and what you do.