07 December 2010

ARG: Elder Oaks & Elder Wickman on SGA - Part 6

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: You’re saying the Church doesn’t necessarily have a position on ‘nurture or nature’

ELDER OAKS: That’s where our doctrine comes into play. The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.

ELDER WICKMAN: Whether it is nature or nurture really begs the important question, and a preoccupation with nature or nurture can, it seems to me, lead someone astray from the principles that Elder Oaks has been describing here. Why somebody has a same-gender attraction… who can say? But what matters is the fact that we know we can control how we behave, and it is behavior which is important.


ME: First, it would be more accurate to say that the Church no longer has a position. Church Leaders and Church Handbooks of Instruction and several texts and talks written and given by prophets of the past were clear that homosexuality was caused. Due to the irrefutable claims by hundreds of studies that have been conducted since then, however, the Church can no longer say that it is caused by one thing or another. I think this is an important thing to remember. To remember that science and secular knowledge can and does inform church decisions and that the church's stance on homosexuality has indeed changed drastically over the last couple decades. Many members seem to think that scientific discussion and intellectual arguments don't matter in the church. This is not true. While the gospel will never change, the culture in which the gospel is practiced will, and does. So that fact that stance on homosexuality has changed (even within our lifetime) should indicate that this issue is not a part of the unchanging, true doctrine of Christ. It is not an eternal truth like repentance.

Also, I disagree with Wickman that we shouldn't look into what we can find about nature vs. nurture simply because it is too difficult to say at the present. If every person in the history of the world simply refused to look into something because they didn't understand, we'd still be living like cavemen. Nature vs. Nurture wouldn't be relevant at all if the Church didn't claim that God isn't the author of such "confusion." The stance that homosexuality is innately evil starts to fall apart once the possibility that it is in-born comes into play. Therefore, the Church is very smart in claiming a "no stance" policy on the question. That way they aren't attacked by the solid conclusions made by professional studies across the world, but they also don't have to admit that God has made some of his children this way.

Furthermore, I think that this whole question is irrelevant except in the case where someone or some institution is claiming that the reason why it is evil, as they say, is because God doesn't make people who are born as homosexuals. If if it is upon this that their whole argument rests, then yes, it becomes important to prove that it is not learned, but inborn. Since science has been good at proving that, the Church has had to shift the reasoning why homosexuality is evil so that this argument wouldn't fall apart. The new basis for their reasoning, in my opinion, has lots of holes. In fact, I'm not sure where the support for this idea comes from.

Lastly, I STRONGLY disagree with Wickman that "what matters is the fact that we know we can control how we behave." No one is questioning this fact. Of course we control our behavior (except in some few cases). What matters, I would argue, is if living as a gay person, pursuing a relationship with another person of the same sex, is indeed evil. Why should anyone not act on innate feelings if it isn't wrong? Let me explain. It isn't wrong for heterosexuals to pursue the opposite sex, so they don't need to control that behavior. They only need to control behavior when it comes to immoral activities. They don't need to refrain from kissing, holding hands with, or being close to a person of the opposite sex. And once they marry, they don't need to refrain from sexual relations either. Can they control it? YES. Do they need to? NO. So, can gay people control their behavior? YES. Do they need to? And if so, why? On what grounds?


Boris said...

Seriously, aren't you grasping a straws? What, really, is the point of your argument? Did you not know Elder Oaks, when he was President of BYU, was even more hostile to "queer" students than his predecessor (Ernest Wilkinson)? I mean, who really cares about the points of your argument so long as you ignore the blood on the hands of Dallin Oaks as perhaps the most homophobic President of BYU to this day?

Boris said...

Sorry, but I just ran across something that proves my point even more tha I coud ever have done. It is a transcript of Dallin Oaks speech at BYU-Idaho (once known as Ricks College) on 13 Oct 2009. Read it and weep, unless of course you accept his (very perverse, in my opinion) logic. Here is the URL: http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/article/oaks-religious-freedom.

Gay Mormon said...

@Boris- I don't think that it matters how wrong a person thinks Elder Oaks is. I think what does matter is that so many people use this interview as a basis for how to deal with their gay loved ones. So, rather than ignoring it, I feel obligated to help people see things in a new light concerning the words that have been said.

I am not trying to justify Elder Oaks or Wickman in certain things they say. I am also not trying to tear them down and call them evil. I believe they are called of God. I also believe they are men with prejudices and biases and limited perspectives on life just like all people. Just because I feel they might be wrong on this issue doesn't mean I don't think they say inspired things at times.

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