Friday, June 14, 2013

When the Night Cometh

Yesterday I was talking with one of the most intelligent and humble followers of Christ I know. And yet one of the most basic principles of the gospel sounded surprising to her; it was "something she hadn't thought of." It happened like this:

She said she is troubled with the acceptance of homosexuality but that she takes comfort in the fact that the Church does not allow the acting out of homosexuality. She had the impression that being gay must be some sort of mental or emotional disorder beyond one's control, so we have to allow for it.

Let's address the latter first. The LDS Church has recently officially announced (see its new stance that a self-determined gay identity (of any age apparently) is neither a disease nor a disorder,  and not sinful of itself. It follows that we are to believe homosexuality is healthy, normal, and righteous. So her impression of it being a disorder is not in line with what the Church is now saying.

Now about the acting out. If we insist that acting on homosexuality is bad, but claiming it as a permanent identity is fine, we are being dishonest. We are side-stepping the truth. If the blueprint is good, why can't we build it? If it's good for a man to study to be a doctor and earn his degree and take on the label Doctor, why can't he treat patients? The truth is, what's good in practice is good in principle, what's bad in practice is bad in principle. Once a principle is embraced, the acceptance of its practice inevitably follows by default. Indeed, nowhere in the Church do we find any definition of acting out, and as such acting out is already being accepted on one level or another. For instance, people we see as healthy who publicly claim homosexuality as a proud identity is a form of acting out. They are obviously thinking and doing all sorts of things to keep these feelings inflamed and to feel justified in them.

Worst of all, we aren't caring a whit about these people's immortal souls. If it's evil to act on homosexuality, it's evil to desire to act on it. Something that leads to something evil is evil itself. Even if a person is ill, evil is still evil. Saying there is nothing wrong with same-sex sexual attraction is encouraging gay people to "desire to do evil all the day long." And if the desires of their hearts are evil, evil will be restored to them. We shouldn't want this to happen to anyone! This is the gospel principle that had not occurred to my friend.

It's all beautifully explained in Alma 40, 41, and 42, and referred to in many other places throughout the Book of Mormon, Bible, and the other Standard Works. It is the law of restoration that states that after this life all things will "be restored to their proper order . . . evil for evil . . . good for that which is good." 

"Therefore , all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame . . . the one raised to . . . good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh . . . evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish" (Alma 41:4,5, 12).

Surely, any church of Jesus Christ should make the immortal souls of men its first priority.
-Janice Graham

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