Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Some Common Errors

We learn a lot from some of the negative emails we receive. Aside from the highly emotional appeals, threats, and insults, we also see some serious wrong-headedness, mostly appearing to come from the rising generation. The following errors are some of what we have gleaned from the comments of some well-meaning but unthinking members of the Church.

Some rely on  Church leaders to make sure everything is as it should be. They don't realize that Church leaders are human and make mistakes, always have and always will. Our leaders are having their earthly test like everyone else and need our prayers that they will resist the world, stay humble, and follow the Spirit. People who put their reliance on human beings are the same people who lose their faith in God when they find a Church leader making a mistake. We shouldn't live on borrowed light no matter what. It's the three members of the Godhead we should put our faith in.

Some think if somebody's an active member of the Church, he is resisting sin. As such, they have come to think that "out," gay LDS, because they are LDS (served missions, hold callings, go to the temple, etc.) are of course essentially fighting against their temptations like the rest of us have to fight against ours. But this may not be so at all. Indeed, why should they resist SGA if they have been taught there is nothing wrong with it? Indeed, is there any proof that their feelings are unwanted? Are they repentant in any way? Are they getting help? Or have they given in? Are they seeking accommodation for their embraced alternative sexual identity as we see in the recent BYU video? Yes, we should all be resisting sin, but for some reason, some outspoken people with SGA don't feel this necessity.

Some think the problem of same-sex attraction is the same as problems with opposite-sex attraction. It's true that sexual feelings are just sexual feelings and can take any number of wrong directions. It's also true that all kinds of sins lead us away from God and need to be forsaken. But there is a great difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality that is being overlooked. Homosexuality is never right, while heterosexuality is very right under the right conditions.Therefore, we mustn't accept same-sex attraction as natural or right under any circumstances, but educate, help ,and encourage people to resist and conquer it.

Some fail to make an essential distinction. This is the distinction between a person struggling against unwanted sexual tendencies who wants to get help, get well, and develop normal healthy sexuality, and a person who has embraced today's take on homosexuality as their identity and therefore has no desire to give up their homosexual thought patterns or school their feelings. They don't make the distinction between a person who is repentant and one who is holding on to their sin. The former type of person is necessarily quite private about his problem and seeks help from a few trusted sources. The latter may be rebellious (in more ways than this one), argumentative, defensive, demanding. He may seek to change others' timeless and deeply-held beliefs in order to feel justified in his choices and may be very clever, patient, manipulative, and deceptive in his methods.

Some think homosexuality is no big deal. (After all, people with SGA aren't thinking about sex ALL the time.) This is a sorry excuse for sin. Just because we aren't thinking bad thoughts all the time, they should be excused? No, we should acknowledge and confess our sinfulness and turn back to the Lord every time. If we rationalize pettiness, vindictiveness, selfishness, or lust, those bad qualities proliferate and we don't learn, grow, or increase in spirituality. No unclean thing can dwell in God's presence. Sounds like a pretty big deal to us.

Some are mistaking religion for social work. They think church is for spreading "love," for making everybody feel good, for giving comfort mostly through human relationships. This may happen in a church setting, but it is not religion, or more specifically Christianity, and it is not reliable. Christ is about the purest form of love, about giving us the chance to give up our Selves, to change from the inside out, to do the right things for the right reasons, to become holy, like him, to fit us for the presence of God. Religion is certainly not morally neutral, nor is it nonjudgmental when it comes to sin. Christ cannot save us in our sins, only from them.

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