Monday, February 28, 2011

Gay Gays: A New Generation

We recently spoke to a pleasant young man who told us, “But I like being gay. It's fun! Even if it were possible to change, I wouldn’t want to."

What we are seeing is a generation growing up believing the gay hoax— that homosexuality is as normal and safe as heterosexuality. And as distasteful as it may sound to some of us, homosexuality in thought and deed is highly acceptable to many and actually desirable to a growing number.

Is finding out that gayness is enjoyable really a surprise in a sexually permissive culture that now treats homosexuality as a perfectly fine alternative? We see it in government, in entertainment, in news, in schoolbooks, classrooms, clubs, groups, and programs, in churches, and in everyday conversations and associations. Pro-gay organizations, gay youth groups, gay parades, gay pornography, chat rooms, and other internet forums encourage gayness. Young people who show the slightest interest are welcomed into these groups with open arms and quite easily recruited.

Yes, gay is in. It’s well into being one of the major fashions of the day. And fashions spread. In fact, we have it on the best authority that there are now young people who are admitting that they would not have feelings of same-sex sexual attraction if not for the suggestive, happy-go-lucky, gay-affirming culture they have grown up in. The hapless born-gay argument with its "why would anybody choose to be gay?" cry may no longer apply to the majority of gays in an environment that affirms gayness as hip and cool.

No, there is no gay gene, nor is any predisposition to gayness proven. But what about other environmental factors besides those mentioned above? What about sexual abuse? Overbearing mother? Emotionally absent or abusive father? Peer abuse? Unlucky with the opposite sex? These sad circumstances and many more can cause a young person to self-determine as gay. But times have changed.

All of us, including parents, ecclesiastical leaders, community and government leaders, teachers, scientists, and therapists, need to wake up to the state of our culture today, that homosexuality in the rising generation is now coming about solely through our benighted, bored, addictive, misguided, oversexed, licentious, extremely technological environment alone. In other words, mainstream society is training our young people in the carefree joys of homosexualism. After all, sins of all kinds have their pleasures. For a time.

Impure? Unholy?

We’ve heard from some that same-sex sexual attraction is only sinful when acted upon. Let’s think this through in a slightly different way.

Every active Mormon adult knows that light-mindedness is an impure and unholy practice and that we are to avoid all other such practices. From this we know that thoughts alone are practices.

Now, if certain ways of thinking, as in being light-minded, can be unacceptable practices, where would that put homosexual lust, that is, thinking sexually about a person of one’s own sex? Given that Mormons still believe homosexual behavior is sinful, isn’t thinking about homosexual behavior unacceptable, or impure and unholy, too? And here let's not be naive. We can safely assume that a person who confesses to what we now call same-sex attractedness or who adopts the gay label thinks about gay sex. Aren’t we to avoid such an impure and unholy practice?

If something is sinful when acted upon with our physical bodies, it is also sinful in the form of thoughts. In this light, same-sex sexual attraction, just like adulterous attraction, falls into the category of impure and unholy.

What we should be caring about most as Christian latter-day saints is the state of our souls and spiritual progress. If a person insists on the SSA or gay identity without resistance, we must assume the worst problem is within the soul, that it has embraced that which is impure and unholy.

The soul is where all sin proceeds from. It's also where the Lord comes in, where repentance can work, and where the mighty change of heart, the greatest miracle of all, can happen.

Pretending the above is not so only hinders truth , hurts people, and inhibits everyone's spiritual growth. Don't be fooled by the alternative sexual identity hoax.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

School Thy Feelings, O My Brother

Somewhere along the societal road to enduring, pitying, and then embracing homosexuality, the idea that gay people have no control over their sexual feelings has emerged as universal and incontestable. There are basic problems with this sweeping generalization. At the outset it presumes gay people are not responsible human beings, but more like babies or robots or slaves. Then the question arises, wherever these feelings originated, isn’t there a point when every individual does begin to call up, nurture, and increase, that is, choose them? And this truth is overlooked: Pretending people do not choose what they think, feel, and do fuels a victim mentality, shifts responsibility, and hinders change, health, and personal progress.

Viktor Frankl in his famous book, Man's Search for Meaning, shared in a dramatic way the discovery that he had the freedom to choose and direct his thoughts and feelings even while seized, separated from his family, imprisoned, and grossly abused in a Nazi concentration camp. All of us have this power, even those who have been traumatized and abused. In the face of abuse we must not argue for weakness or illness. Weak and ill people can and should become strong and well. Conscious choices, such as the decision to face the problem and get help if necessary can set a person free.

But we mostly think of healthy people when we think of gayness these days. If this is so, gays are just like everybody else in that they can reason and choose what to do with their feelings, minds, and bodies. Sexual feelings are no exception. These feelings, like all others, can be indulged in a number of ways. Or they can be ignored, distracted, or redirected. If this principle were not true, we would live in a state of anarchy, as if we all remained toddlers in the terrible twos.

People in all stages of maturing make judgments and put breaks on their feelings continually. We decide what to entertain in our minds and what to reject. Thinkers through the ages from Plato to Thoreau have expounded on the importance of choosing to fill our minds with good and right thoughts which connect to corresponding feelings and conduct. They warn that children must be taught proper attitudes and feelings.

As Frankl pointed out, each of us is endowed with free will, beginning with our innermost thoughts and feelings. We believe this personal agency is a gift from God essential to our progress. It includes the freedom to choose our sexual thoughts and feelings. Our church has a hymn called "School Thy Feelings," interestingly designated as for a Men's Choir. This implies that feelings of all kinds can be taught, learned, chosen, guided, controlled, and changed for the better.

Yes, contrary to popular opinion, gays have control over their feelings. They have control over their thoughts. They have control over their conduct. And they are accountable for all of it, just like everybody else.

School thy feelings, O my brother;
Train thy warm, impulsive soul.
Do not its emotions smother,
But let wisdom's voice control.

#336 LDS Hymnbook