By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Kevin Kloosterman, a former Mormon bishop, said he “came out” last year – just not in the way that many people associate with coming out.
“I came out and basically made a personal apology to (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) folks for really not understanding their issues, not really taking the time to understand their lives and really not doing my homework,” Kloosterman said in an interview with CNN.
Though not speaking on behalf of the church, the then-bishop stood in front of a crowd of gay and straight Mormons at a November conference on gay and lesbian issues in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered.
Donning a suit and tie, Kloosterman was visibly shaken, struggling to find the right words as tears welled up in his eyes.
“I’m sorry – deeply, deeply sorry,” Kloosterman told the group in a speech that was captured on video. “The only thing I can say to those of you who have been so patient, and have gone through so much, is for you to watch and look for any small changes with your loved ones, with your wards (Mormon congregations), with your leaders. And encourage them in this repentance process.”
Kloosterman’s apology was just one example of what many Mormons and church watchers see as a recent shift in the Mormon community’s posture toward gays and lesbians, including by the official church itself.
Though the church’s doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed, and the church remains opposed to same-sex marriage, many say the church is subtly but unmistakably growing friendlier toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including voicing support for some gay rights.
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Students at the church-owned Brigham Young University recently posted an “It Gets Better” video about the gay and lesbian community there, while a gay Mormon in San Francisco was selected last year for a church leadership position.
A new conference series on gay and lesbian Mormons – the same one Kloosterman addressed last year – is seeing an uptick in popularity.
Church spokesman Michael Purdy would not comment on whether church members are changing their stance toward gay and lesbian issues but said in an e-mail message: “In the Church, we strive to follow Jesus Christ who showed immense love and compassion towards all of God’s children.”
Purdy wrote, “If members are becoming more loving and Christ-like toward others then this can only be a positive development.”
‘It is definitely getting better’
The Brigham Young students who taped the pro-gay video this month were contributing to a popular video series meant to inspire hope in young people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality identity.
The video featured students telling stories of being gay at Brigham Young, sharing tales of heartache, loss and even suicide.
“It kind of is a very different world to be gay and Mormon because it feels like neither community accepts you completely,” said Bridey Jensen, a fifth-year senior and acting president of Understanding Same Gender Attraction, the group that posted the video.
Explain it to me: What’s Mormonism?
“We put out the message for youth that are going through this, and we want them to know that we were them a few years ago, and it gets better and there is a place for you,” she said.
Though chastity is a requirement at Brigham Young, gay and lesbian students say they are under more scrutiny. The school’s honor code says that “homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates” the code.
But Jensen said reaction to the video, which has been viewed almost 400,000 times on YouTube, has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
Carri Jenkins, an assistant to Brigham Young's president, told CNN that the production of the video is not a violation of the honor code and that the students will not be punished.
The honor code, Jenkins said, is “based on conduct, not on feeling and if same-gender attraction is only stated, that is not an honor code issue.”
Jensen said that while gay and lesbian Mormons face a tough road, she sees a shift toward greater acceptance. It is definitely getting better within the church, she said. “They are not so quick to judge. They understand that they don’t understand everything. I am glad I can be a little part of it.”
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Some scholars of Mormonism, such as Columbia University’s Richard Bushman, said they see the very existence of such a gay rights group at Brigham Young as a step toward greater acceptance of gays and lesbians.
“The last 10 years have been a huge sea change in terms of willingness to accept homosexuals,” Bushman said. “Gay kids are still going to have a tough time in the church, but this level of acceptance and acknowledgment – that is really that last decade I would say.”
Most gay Mormons point to 2008’s push for Proposition 8 in California, which banned same-sex marriage in the state but has faced legal challenge in the courts, as a low point in the relationship between the church and gay and lesbian community.
Mormons make up 2% of California’s population, but they contributed half of the $40 million war chest used to defend Proposition 8, according to a Time magazine report.
The church’s Proposition 8 activism angered many gay rights groups around the country, with some labeling the church “bigoted,” “homophobic” and “anti-gay.”
But church officials pushed back against the perception that the Proposition 8 backlash has provoked a Mormon softening on gay and lesbian issues.
“Many positive relationships have come from the Church’s experience in supporting traditional marriage in California,” Purdy, the church spokesman, said in an e-mail exchange with CNN.
Purdy draws a distinction between being against same-sex marriage and against equality for gays and lesbians.
He reiterated that the church was “strongly on the record as supporting traditional marriage,” but he said its stance should never be used as justification for violence or unkindness.
“The Church’s doctrine has not changed but we certainly believe you can be Christ-like, loving and civil, while advocating a strongly held moral position such as supporting traditional marriage,” Purdy wrote in an e-mail message.
“We do not believe that strong support of traditional marriage is anti-gay,” he wrote. “We love and cherish our brothers and sisters who experience same gender attraction. They are children of God.”
Church doctrine says that sex outside marriage is a sin and can lead to excommunication. Since gay people cannot be married in the church, any sex for them would be premarital and, therefore, sinful.
“The distinction between feelings or inclinations on the one hand, and behavior on the other hand, is very clear,” the church’s website says. “It’s no sin to have inclinations that if yielded to would produce behavior that would be a transgression. The sin is in yielding to temptation. Temptation is not unique. Even the Savior was tempted.”
Openly gay and a church leader
Mitch Mayne seems to relish his role as a lightning rod.
Mayne, an openly gay Mormon who blogs about homosexuality and the church, received the calling – a term Mormons use for being invited into a church position – in August.
Mayne is now executive secretary in a San Francisco ward of the church.
“I view myself as gay and being completely whole as being gay,” Mayne said.
Many observers of Mormonism say Mayne’s calling marked a unique moment in church history. Purdy said that Mayne’s appointment is “not unique,” but it’s hard to find precedent for an outspokenly gay executive secretary.
Mayne said he sees his job as building bridges with the gay community in San Francisco and showing them “there are pockets in the Mormon Church where you can be yourself.”
The biggest obstacle toward building those bridges is the threat of excommunication, said Mayne, who told CNN that in some wards just being gay can lead to expulsion from the church.
According to church doctrine, a formal disciplinary council can be called at the request of church leader.
While the leaders of the church mandate councils called for murder, incest or apostasy, it has a long list of reasons to call a disciplinary council.
According to the church’s website, the list of reasons includes “abortion, transsexual operation, attempted murder, rape, forcible sexual abuse, intentionally inflicting serious physical injuries on others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations. …”
Some wards are observing that guidance while others aren’t, Mayne said.
“Here in the Bay Area ... we are no longer seeking out LGBT members of the church and excommunicating them,” Mayne said. “Our role is to bring people closer to the Savior, so if we are routinely excommunicating people, then we are really not doing our job.”
Mayne said he believes the challenge is to convince church leaders that they don’t ever have to excommunicate gay members.
And he said the Proposition 8 campaign was the “least Christ-like thing we have ever done as a church.”
“Not only did we alienate gays and lesbians, but we alienated their parents, their friends, those who support them – the ripple effect went way beyond the gay community, and I don’t think we were prepared for such a negative fallout,” Mayne said. “I think the church deserved the black eye they received.”
He added, “As a result of that really horrible time, I think we are entering a really good time to be a gay Mormon. It is getting better.”
‘Mormonism doesn’t simply wash off’
When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks, the City Council of Salt Lake City listens. At least the council seemed to in 2009 when it voted on an ordinance to make it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgendered residents in housing and employment.
"The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage,” church spokesman Michael Otterson told the council.
Shortly after the church’s expression, the City Council approved the measure unanimously.
Many gay rights activists said they saw the move as an olive branch after the Proposition 8 debate.
“The tone and the culture is evolving, and the way the LGBT people are being treated is changing. I don’t think the church’s policy has caught up to that change in culture,” said Ross Murray, director of religion, faith and values at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “The Mormon church hasn’t gotten nearly as politically involved as they had since 2009.”
Though Murray sees the church lobbying for anti-discrimination laws as a positive step, he said the church’s shift is more about style than substance.
“It is going to take a lot of intentional effort to actually prove they are different,” Murray said. “That burden, because of the really public nature of their support of Prop 8, falls harder on the Mormon church than others.”
Joanna Brooks, a popular Mormon blogger and president of Mormon Stories, a nonprofit group that facilitates conversations on Mormon issues, echoes Murray’s sentiments.
She said she sees the church’s stance as challenging gay Mormons to choose between the religion they most likely grew up with and their desire for romantic companionship.
“Mormonism doesn’t simply wash off,” she said, adding that the church can’t make it that “either you are gay or you are Mormon, or either you support gay rights or you support the church.”
I do not waste time by talking to them. Simply.
For those who look at the work that Mormon individuals and families are doing to be more affirming, loving, and welcoming to our gay friends and family please be careful of your cynicism that this is just a ploy to elect Mitt Romney. Much of this work has been going on for many years. Please don't sabotage the work we are doing to create safe spaces in Mormonism for our friends and family. Please don't sabotage those of us Mormons who believe Human and Civil rights are the foundations of a healthy society. Please do not fall into the trap of generating hate for hate and brushing all Mormons with a broad brush. Things do change. All religions change over time. Hopefully for the better. The highest governing body of the Mormon church has not sent out a letter to congregations in Maryland and Washington as they did in California. It's a start.
much too late-gays and the rest of the world will always look at Mormons as crazy cultists worshipping some false god
Visit LDS .org to get the full scoop!
Ridiculous article. The smoke and mirrors won't work. Mitt's our man. Romney 2012! Obama is a complete and utter failure of a President!
you think this article was about the presidential election?
You already know thus considerably in the case of this subject, produced me in my opinion imagine it from so many varied angles. Its like men and women are not involved unless it is one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. At all times deal with it up!
Mitt Romney would don a black leather gimp suit with a ball in his mouth and be any Billionaires peg boy if he thought it would secure him the Presidency. It's obvious with all of his flip-flopping he believes the ends justify the means.
"...many say the church is subtly ... voicing support for some gay rights."
That's mighty white of them. I would imagine soon they'll be in favor of the coloreds marrying whites and allowing women to vote.
I hope that all Gay & Lesbians don't fall for the oldest trick in the book ! I'm not saying that Mormons aren't starting to come around , But you need to ask yourselves if this is because Romney who is a Mormon and is running for the top job in America .He's already showed that he can't be trusted and will say and do anything to win ! Just wondering if they are having a change of heart why not let them prove it ! As the Pubs Icon Reagan use to say Trust but verified !! Over time only ! It's hard to see this church has changed that QUICKLY !!!
The Mormon Church is not changing it's doctrinal views. It will never be accepting of ho mos exual behavior because it is outlined as a sin in the Bible. If some Mormons choose to think differently it's their choice. Just as the Catholic Church prohibits contraception yet many Catholics use it, not all Mormons follow all the doctrine outlined by the Church.
holly: how is something that is not a choice be a sin? are certain eye color sinful? left handedness?
Yes, left-handedness is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.
"A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left."
– Ecclesiastes 10:2
"The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted."
– Psalm 118 vv15,16
You have a choice not to act on your wicked left-handedness and live a godly life!
I'm not sure if God condemns certain eye colours – but it wouldn't surprise me.
The Bible is such a gargantuan collection of contradictions that you can use it to prove just about any point you want to make.
holly: are you going to answer the question, or like the other pious co-ck-roaches run scatter for cover when the light of reason conflicts with your dogma?
As far as doctine is concerned, keep it in your church. This is about equal rights
"It will never be accepting of ho mos exual behavior because it is outlined as a sin in the Bible."
No it's not. Nowhere in the bible does your god condemn the saved loving gay partnership as we know and understand it today. It's why there are now gay churches, gay clergy and thousands of pastors, rabbis, bishops and others that have stated being gay is not a sin. What your bible does condemn is male prostitution, idolatry and bad hospitality.Part of reading comprehension 101 is that you put the scriptures into historical context, that is something you are NOT doing. It's funny but there are far more verses that condemn adultery, and yes divorce is considered adultery but yet churches aren't denying them their civil rights.
"The Mormon Church is not changing it's doctrinal views. It will never be accepting of ho mos exual behavior because it is outlined as a sin in the Bible. If some Mormons choose to think differently it's their choice. Just as the Catholic Church prohibits contraception yet many Catholics use it, not all Mormons follow all the doctrine outlined by the Church."
By the way Holly – the seventh command of "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is a major one in the bible and there are more verses on that yet the church doesn't stop it from happening and it doesn't block their civil rights on this MAJOR sin! We've even had Presidents that were adulterers! LMAO! What a bunch of hypocrites.
@ Sam Stone...it is not in the thoughts, feelings, or declarations of ones preferences that is necessarily sinful, but the act of intimacy outside of a heter se xual marriage.
@YeahRight...Adultery is a grievous sin. The Mormon church takes action, including excommunication, against those who commit these types of sins. Mormons are taught that adultery is next to murder in seriousness.
"Adultery is a grievous sin. The Mormon church takes action, including excommunication, against those who commit these types of sins. Mormons are taught that adultery is next to murder in seriousness"
The point you are MISSING is that you don't go around denying them their basic civil right now do you? That's why people like you when it comes to gays are such hypocrites.
ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:
"Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.
o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:
“ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice. "
"Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8
See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”
Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.
And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.
Then there is this:
From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex, gene-related, se-xual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.
Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.
Reality – found this:
"What causes H.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.i.t.y/H.e.t.e.r.o.s.e.x.uality/B.i.s.e.x.uality?
No one knows what causes h.e.t.e.r.o.s.e.x.uality, h.o.m.o.s.e.x.uality, or b.i.s.e.x.uality. H.o.m.o.s.e.x.uality was once thought to be the result of troubled family dynamics or faulty psychological development. Those assumptions are now understood to have been based on misinformation and prejudice. Currently there is a renewed interest in searching for biological etiologies for h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.i.t.y. However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.i.t.y. Similarly, no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for h.o.m.o.s.e.x.uality has been identified, including histories of childhood s.e.x.u.a.l abuse. S.e.x.u.a.l. abuse does not appear to be more prevalent in children who grow up to identify as g.a.y, l.e.s.b.i.a.n., or b.i.s.e.x.u.a.l, than in children who identify as h.e.t.e.r.o.s.e.x.ual."
hmmmm looks as if we really don't know. And that is from the American Psychiatric Association.
Marriage equality...coming soon to a state near you.
let us hope.
Let us accept nothing less
I often read much about the scientific evidence that there is no choice. That you are born with whatever orientation.
But no one ever cites any research or provides websites ......
Look! I was born this way. If I wasn't I would tell you so. I have nothing to hide from nobody. If I chose to be gay, I would simply tell you I chose to be gay. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GAY!!! Why is that so freakin' hard to believe? Haven't you always been straight? Well, I've always been gay.
Live and let live. It's none of your business. That's the beauty of America...freedom
There is no such thing as gay. Gay is a word stolen by ho mo se xuals to try to make their sinful lifestyle more appealing. You were not born a thief it is learned in life. You weren't born a qu-eer it was learned in life.
That's interesting, perv alert. I've known several. As far back as I can remember (two from kindergarten) were "different". How young do you think this behavior is "learned"?
All sinners go the extra mile to justify their own personal sin. Sin is learned behavior. I do not know where you justification came from, but I know it does not work, to explain away perversion.
Hey pervert, did you get your knowledge from that ancient piece of infallible literature?
per alert is a troll. do not feed the trolls
We have posted the citations to dozens and dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers docu.menting the biological multivariate nature of se.xual orientation. Additionally, we have invited the ho.mophobic fundiots to refute that science. The best that they have come up with is "those scientidts are gay so they are wrong".
Additionally, over the past decades, we have asked these folks tens of thousands of times, to post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research showing that gays chhoose to be gay. And after these tens of thousands of requests, sadly, not a single solitary fundiot has ever posted a single solitary citation. Not one. Ever.
I love this statement about it.
“Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation
through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional
organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the
American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the
American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School
Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together
representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the
position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something
that needs to or can be “cured.”"
they're all flipfloppers
There has been no official letter sent by the church to congregations in Maryland and Washington to mobilize congregations to ban marriage equality unlike in California. Some see that as progress in and of itself. If there was, then this would have been big news. Any efforts to attack marriage equality in Maryland are efforts of INDIVIDUALS and individuals only. It is also extremely important to remember that there are also Mormons who support Marriage Equality in Washington and Maryland and throughout the world as a civil and human right and are fighting to protect those rights. Many of them have had this position even before Prop 8. Although initially few in number prior to Prop 8, Mormons who support Human and Civil rights for LGBTQs are growing in number. Here is the website of Mormons who support Marriage Equality: http://mormonsformarriage.com/ which was set up prior to PROP 8 and long before Mitt Romney becoming the GOP nominee. There are also a number of FB groups as well.
The issue isn't about individual Mormons. You may very well be right in saying that many members of the Mormon church support gay rights. The issue is that the Mormon church discounts every other religion on the planet by teaching that it is the only true church. Of course other religions make similar claims to varying degrees, but Mormons go further by saying that you absolutely cannot get into heaven unless you are Mormon, and that the President of the church regularly speaks with, and takes instructions on the direction of the church directly from God. How can the church not realize that it is going to get blasted by critics for changing its stance (once again) on a controversial issue. It's ridiculous to have us, meaning the general non-mormon public, believe that an eternal God, who is without beginning or end, changes His mind from time to time on current events.
While I appreciate what you have written, until your church changes it's policy, nothing will change. And what happens when your church dumps tons of money into the Hate campaigns, and then lies about it again?
It's a start. Keep up the good work and continue to spread the word.
melikeydrinky Mormons are not the first ones who have stated that there is one true relilgion. Jesus showed that when he was here on earth and denounced the religious leaders of his day. Remember now the road is NARROW, and CRAMPED to goes off to life and FEW are the ones finding it.
The Mormon church will never be accepting of the gay lifestyle because it goes against the very core doctrine of marriage as taught in the Bible. Mormons are taught to have compassion for those who struggle with same-gender attraction. However it is very much a "love the sinner, hate the sin" relationship.
"Mormons are taught to have compassion for those who struggle with same-gender attraction. "
The experts have proven that being gay is not a choice, gays don't struggle with their "attractions" straight people like you do. Nowhere in your bible does it condemn a gay person as sinful as we know and understand it TODAY. The problem with your argument is that your bible states very clearly you are all sinners and because of that it does not give you the right to block gays civil rights. If you are going to use that as the reason then we need to remove straights civil rights too.
Mormons do not adhere to the core principles of marriage as outlined in the Bible.
While fleshly polygamy is technically outlawed in the mainstream church, men are still allowed to have as many "spiritual wives" as they can handle, while women are allowed only 1 husband.
I don't believe "spirit wives" are in either the OT or the NT.
What in the world gives you the right to ha.te another person's actions that don't affect you?!? "Love the sinner; ha.te the sin," is such idiocy.. You don't need to love people you disagree with, and you certainly don't need to hate someone's actions just because of a philosophical viewpoint.. Should I "love christians but hate their prayers?".
G.a.y people don't care if certain religions love them or hate them or their actions; g.a.ys just want the same rights as everybody else.. You don't like brunettes; don't date a brunette.. You don't like short people; don't date short people.. You don't like same s.e.x relationships; don't have a same s.e.x relationship.. You don't like two people of the same s.e.x getting married; don't marry someone of the same s.e.x.. It's pretty fvcking simple, and you can keep your love and hate to yourself–just give your acceptance of the same frickin' rights as you already have..
Holly, could you post for us the words Jesus said condemning committed, loving, monogamous, same se.x couples. Not the words from the OT. Not the words from Paul. Just the "red" words.
You also posted the old "love the sinner, hate the sin" line. Can you provide the book, chapter, and verse, from your bible that says this?
Jesus taught "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh" Mark 10:6-8
This is what Mormons teach, the doctrines of Christ. Any other relationship is not accepted or condoned by the Church, including intimate relations outside of marriage or same-gender relations.
This does not mean Mormons shun gays. They are taught to "Love one another" as Jesus taught. Loving someone does not mean accepting their actions.
Holly: There is a world of difference between accepting someone's orientation (no, NOT a choice) and granting them equal rights.
“Jesus taught "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh" Mark 10:6-8”
The problem arises in that the men who wrote the bible did not have the understanding of gays like we do today, they only saw the world through straight eyes. The world homosexual hadn’t even be created yet! What was condemned about certain sexual interactions in the bible has nothing to do with the loving long-term partnerships we know today. The bible was never written to define sexual orientation as we have come to know it because it didn’t exist back then. The bible has also been proven not to be an historical book but a religious one, which is why we have separation of church and state. The bible also claims everyone is a sinner so you have no ground to stand on by denying gays their civil rights based on your narrow and judgmental view point of sin.
oops not world but word
The word homosexual hadn’t even be created yet
"From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh""
Our understanding of sexual orientation as we know it today did not exist 50 years ago, much less in biblical times. Only in 1973 did the American medical, psychiatric and legal professions begin to recognize that homosexuality is an orientation and not a choice, illness or crime.
Sexuality is seldom discussed in the Bible. The Bible view of the role of women as property, the absolute importance placed on having children to continue the family, the customs and demands related to marriage and inheritance and an obvious demonstration of male dominance and control can be seen vividly described in Genesis chapter 38.
In the Bible, all women were property that belonged to their father or husband. Women were members of the covenant people of God only because of their relationship to their father, brother or husband. Women could not carry circumcision, the "sign of the covenant," in their bodies. The Old Testament does not include a belief in "heaven" or a future time of reward and continued life. The only way a man could live on after his death was through his children ("seed"). No man was allowed to remain unmarried. Old Testament Hebrew does not have a word for bachelor.
Marriage in the Bible was not based on romantic love but on a legal contract usually entered by parents on behalf of their children. The average age for marriage in the time of Jesus was 14 for girls and 16 for boys. Average life expectancy was only 25 years. The Greek word for romantic love, EROS, is never used in the New Testament, though it was the most common word for love in the Greek speaking world.
To read bits and pieces of biblical material into present day culture is to misrepresent the Bible and to distort its message of God's love in Christ for all people in today's world.
I'm so sick of this self-righteous banter "love the sinner, hate the sin". Ever think "don't hate the mormon, just hate the religion'? It works both ways.
@ George...same-gender attraction/acts are discussed many times in the Bible (Old and New Testament), and just in case you don't believe me I'll list them for you.....Genesis 18:20, 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17, Isaiah 3:9, Exekiel 16:50, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10, 2 Timothy 3:3, 2 Peter 2:10, Jude 1:7
holly: why won't you answer my question? does it conflict with your oh-so-pious bigotry? come on, try not to be like our resident closet queen rainy.....
If you think Christians are going to stand aside quietly as the degradation of society continues and morality becomes relative, you're mistaken. Mormon doctrine along with Catholic doctrine, Baptist doctrine, etc. is taken from the Bible which prohibits intimate expression except between a man and woman who are married. God's laws don't change just because a society is changing it's views.
It seems god's law does change with changing societies.. When blood/animal sacrifice was all the rage, god was into it.. When it went out of vogue, god changed his "covenant" to be among those who REMEMBERED one particular sacrifice.. No more stoning children who disobey or our neighbors who work on the Sabbath..
If you really want to insist that god's laws don't change, then I'd expect their to be a lot more little children stoned by their parents and all the businesses shut down on Sunday because their employees kept getting killed according to god's unchanging laws.
holly: and you feel that gays are the reason for this "degradaton of society" is due to gays?
seems to me that society degrades when the supposed moral standards are not relevant.
why do you seek to fit iron age morality into 21st century man?
in any case, feel as you want.
gays should be able to get married. to do otherwise is to deny them these rights because you think they are immoral.
do you deny drunkards their civil rights? how about adulterers?
as far as how many churches agree with you, well, they are all beholdin to the same iron age instruction manual.
tell me this., do you feel the same about right and wrong as your grandparents? do you think they did about their grandparents? that is 4 generations. imagine the change over 100 generations.
you do not have a right to speak for god. nor do i. nor did the writers of the bible.
morality does change, no matter how much you want to stick your head in the dirt and deny it.
tell me, can we own slaves? if so, there is a 15 year old chocolate colored girl i would like to go all tom jefferson on,
do you stone adulterers?
do you kill your kids for talking back?
people's civil rights are not dependent on religious dogma
Holly: You are not advocating for morality. You are advocating for cultural stagnation under the guise of morality.
holly: which one is the CORRECT doctrine? after all, there is only one TRUE word of god, isn't there? who speaks for god?
the mormons? the catholics? the baptist? the lutherans? the orthodox? the methodists, the amish, the mennonites, the presbyterians, etc, etc, etc? seriously, we need to know which is the TRUE word of god, so we can follow it.
@ George...same-gender attraction/acts are discussed many times in the Bible (Old and New Testament), and just in case you don't believe me I'll list them for you.....Genesis 18:20, 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17, Isaiah 3:9, Exekiel 16:50, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10, 2 Timothy 3:3, 2 Peter 2:10, Jude 1:7
Genesis 18:20 – Sodom and Gamorrah sin was bad hospitality it is spelled out in Eziekiel which states it was about greed and not helping the needy. It had nothing to do with the loving gay partnerships we know today. Wow the only reason you’re twisting those scriptures is to justify your personal prejudice.
Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 – These scriptures don’t apply to day it’s part of the Holy Code for Je</b.ws. If you are going to cherry pick like that then you must stone your children to death if they talk back to you, a woman must marry her rapist. DUH!
Deuteronomy 23:17 – This is about prostitution and has NOTHING to do with gays as we know and understand it today!
Isaiah 3:9 – Has to do with greed and the sin of Sodom which was not helping the needy through hospitality. It has NOTHING to do with gays as we know and understand it TODAY!
Romans 1:27 – This has to do with worshipping a pagan god or did you just skip over 1:23 to just cherry pick a part of it out in your condemnation. It has NOTHING to do with what we know and understand about gays today – they don’t worship “birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” using sex.
Corinthians 6:9, 1 – the original greek version of this had to do with male prostitution and not homosexuality. It’s was prejudice scribes that added the translations later especially since the word homosexuality hadn’t been invented yet.
Timothy 1:10, 2 – Has absolutely NOTHING to do with gays as we know and understand it today.
Timothy 3:3 – This has NOTHING to do with gays, it’s about greed and love of money. LOL!
Peter 2:10 – This has NOTHING to do with gays
Jude 1:7 – This is about adultery and prostitution, It has NOTHING to do with gays as we know and understand it TODAY! Even if you want to try and twist it to justify your prejudice you’ll notice just like in Pauls perspective of homosexuality they view it as a punishment which still proves it has nothing to do with what we know about the loving long-term gay partnerships we have today.
Mormons' evil and disgraceful active OPPRESSION of gay people and their huge $$$ donations to hate groups trying to roll back gay civil rights from California to Maine are unforgiveable. Mormons are a hate group as far as I'm concerned.
I wholeheartedly agree!
All Christian religions who believe the Bible to be the word of God will not and cannot condone the practicing of a gay lifestyle because if goes against the teachings of Jesus and the prophets in the Bible. This behavior is discussed from the very beginning in the Bible and it is condemned by the Lord every single time.
“All Christian religions who believe the Bible to be the word of God will not and cannot condone the practicing of a gay lifestyle because if goes against the teachings of Jesus and the prophets in the Bible.”
No it doesn’t what the Bible condemns is male prostitution, idolatry and bad hospitality. Nowhere in your bible does it condemn the saved loving respectful partnership of a gay couple as we know and understand it today. Only prejudice and bigoted people read the scriptures like you do because you refuse to believe the truth of the hundreds of thousands of experts today.
Holly: Why do you continue to call it a lifestyle? Is it easier to discriminate that way?
Holly how does the gay lifestyle go against the teachings of Jesus and the prophets?
@ Holly – In your bible your god commands that his followers – like you – go out and kill gay folks. Are you doing this? If not, why not?
In your bible, your god commands that young unengaged virgins who are ra.ped, must marry their attackers, and never divorce. Why are you fundiots not trying to pass this into our laws?
In your bible, your god commands that women who are not virgins on their wedding night must be stoned to death – yet men get a free pass. Why are you fundiots not trying to pass this into our laws?
Finally – Does not our Apostle Paul tell women to sit down and shut up? Does he not state that women are not to teach or lecture men, especially in matters of faith? And yet, here you are, lecturing men in matters of faith. Why don't you be a good little girl and go make us men a sammich!
Holly – there are so many other things condemned in the bible (divorce, stealing, lying, etc.) that are mentioned numerous times. At best, you have the "man shall not lie with man as woman" mentioned once.
Why aren't the religious groups pouring money into stopping people from them. For example, why aren't they casting out the "money changers"? We have direct biblical evidence that christ didn't like them, so where's the uproar over banks and wall street? In my opinion, they are doing much more damage to our society than the idea of two loving people commiting to each other.
Another example, my in-laws voted for Prop 8 in CA to, in their words, "save traditional marriage". But, not only were they divorced when they met and married, they also divoreced each other, then remarried each other.
For those who requested it:
This is what Mormons teach, the doctrines of Christ. Any other relationship is not accepted or condoned by the Church.
Holly, you don't know your place as a woman. Not very Christ like... where is my beer by the way????
Liars and drunkards and thieves will have their place. Repent and turn to Christ while it is yet daytime. God bless
"Jesus taught "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh" Mark 10:6-8"
This was posted twice there are response to this in the above comments.
@Holly well, if we're going to follow the teachings of the bible, we need to take slaves. We need to kill people who work on Sundays. This selective morality BS is sickening to anyone with a sane brain. Oh, I'm sure Mormons love shrimp... what abomination!
Holly...nobody gives a sh!t whether Christians condone same gender relationships. It's none of your business. We have this thing in America called separation of church and state so you can't impose your religion on me. Seriously. It's well precedented. Look it up.
Evidently there is no such thing as a "true christian" because they all make falsely dichotomous statements like Holly's.. By the time you tabulate all the things a "true christian" wouldn't do–according to various christians out there–there's nobody left to be a christian.. How silly!
YeahRight – you need to pick up your Bible and read it. You are wrong.
"YeahRight – you need to pick up your Bible and read it. You are wrong."
I have read it many times. I have also been quoting the Bishops and pastors that have shown that being gay as we know it today is NOT a sin, why because part of reading comprehension 101 is putting it into historical context. DUH! . LOL!
they've always been friendly with gays, they're just more open about it, in the past it was always just in public restrooms and such....... heee heee mormonism is dumb
In reference to a comment stating that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all share the same god, Keith said: “Frank, Your definition of what is considered a "fact" is questionable at best.”
Enlighten me then Keith, or anyone else. How do you explain how so many of the same characters (Abraham, Noah, Adam & Eve, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, David, Solomon, Jonah, and so on and so on), and their strikingly similar stories, are in the tanakh, the bible, and the quran if the god they refer to is not the same god?
they all 3 very specifically say they worship the same god in the talmud, bible and koran, the god of abraham, hence they are called the abrahamic religions..........
religion is fine but man a little education goes a loooooooooooong way!
I know that, but Keith and many other Christians refuse to believe it. I was looking for one of those Christians to tell me how they reconcile the similarities. Most of those who refuse to believe are simply ignorant because they have never looked outside their own religious texts, but I would like to hear from one who has, and is still in denial.
Prayer changes things .
not as much as education
Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!*!
Prayer don't change things. Prayer changes people. People change things.
What a great idea combine prayer with education. God bless
"Prayer don't change things. Prayer changes people. People change things."
No people can change themselves, no prayer needed.
The evolution of religion continues. It must in order to stay relevant. According to Pew Research the majority of Americans now accept Evolution is true, and have watered down their creationist fairytale to be yet another story not to be taken literally.
It is fun to watch religious morality bend to cultural norms of a society starting to rely on reason instead of superstition. Religious morality is totally dependant on each individual's subjective interpretation of their god through scripture, prayer and other experiences. There is no objectivity.
The only path to any sort of objective morality is reason, since only the rules of logic are universal.
Thank you Reason! There is absolutely no doubt that religion is subject to evolutionary processes (it is a natural phenomenon) like everything else in reality. All systems either evolve or die (species, cultures, languages, technology,etc, ad infinitum). Christianity is itself a hybrid of Essene messianism and pagan, savior god mythology.
wrong – what the Bible says never changes........what men think and do changes. and the churches will go along with most anything to keep the money rolling in.
"what the Bible says never changes"
i have a theory that it is because it is ink on paper.
so, to check out that theory, i looked at an old accounting book from 25 years ago.
that hasn't changed either
praise the T account
Really?: Culture changes and morality changes. We are not beholdin' to the supposed morality of a middle eastern, iron age agrarian society
Soooo for those that believe that their deity is 'perfect' in every way, how do you sneak around the fact that this would mean that your deity would be the perfect g-ay? Just asking.
Why did you stick a dash in gay?
Secondly, what the hell are you asking? Your question doesn't make any sense.
I thing he is trying to emphasise the word gay. But your right it makes no sense. He is simply being hatefull to those who of faith.
i got no problem with faith. i got a problem with people denying others civil rights, and a particular problem with blowhards issuing empty proxy threats
.......and german closet queens
An interesting and funny question. Perfection is only an ideal. Some people think an ideal, because it can be imagined, must exist simply because it can be imagined to exist.
But, of course, such an assumption is ridiculous. There is nothing resembling perfection beyond the sameness of sub-atomic particles and the like. And that sort of "perfect" sameness has no moral values that can be ascribed to it.
As to anything supernatural, it's all imaginary. There is nothing in the physical world, not even our primitive emotions, that show any sign of influence to or from any supernatural source.
But I laughed at the question. A perfect being is perfect in which way(s) and to what (perfect) extent?
Is the "perfect" superbeing "perfect" at being every sort of being? What silly questions. No such beings exist as described.
Is this a relection of all atheist? Are all atheist so disrespectful of those who choose to believe in God? Should I aspire to be like you and those like you! Why would I. Your comments and those of other atheist reflects poorly on the whole group. You claim to be happy for not being blind and not following aimlessly but your obsessions with those of faith reflect something far from true happiness. Should we not both have the right to choose, would you have the freedoms and rights, of all, stripped away? Is it not enough to have the same right to choose?
There are those atheist that it has nothing to do with faith or God but to do with civil rights of all. Is this reflective in your posts? Does it not go far beyond civil rights? I am a person of faith and there are many like me who do not wish to restrict the rights of anyone. Now to change the definition of marriage, a bible instatution by the way, as something other than a union of a man and women, breaks the sacredness of marriage. I do however feel that rights to anything given to a married couple should be given to all unions. That being said, gays wanting those rights is fair but to redefine marriage is to force their lifestyle on those of faith and on an instatution established by God.
mema, all I can say is it appears you have a major and serious hang-up over the definition of the word "marriage" and how it has been used in your religion.
Marriages are defined, regulated, and made "official" by civil laws. This is to ensure that all civil legal ramifications are equally purposed amongst all citizens not according to their religion, but according to the laws, which must be equal towards all.
Perhaps if we changed the wording in the laws to "civil unions" and take away any mention of the word "marriage" since you seem to think it only qualifies as a "marriage" according to your religion.
Yet other religions also have marriages.
Why aren't you complaining about Hare Krishna marriages? They are married and are not members of your religion.
They might even have it okay for gays to be married in their religion.
So you see your religion does not define the word marriage. It is only a word that basically means a long-term relationship with someone. You can be "wedded" to an idea, "married" to an idea. It just means you don't want to easily part with it.
As to the "form over function" arguments, our DNA is not so "perfect" or "transcendent" that all people are born with clearly one set of se.xual organs. Many people are born with more than one organ. Is that your god being a pervert or is it an indication that your ideas of function are based on primitive ignorance concerning the medical and biological realities?
Much of s.exual desire is genetically derived and influenced by the hormones and brain chemicals a person has as determined by their DNA, their growth and development (environment) and the individual distortions and growth patterns that develop at every step along the way from conception to birth to beyond.
To state that LGBT is a "choice" freely made is to go against a mountain of scientifically proven facts to the contrary.
If there is so little of "choice" in whatever your s.exual orientation, then the answer to this problem is to step back and re-evaluate your premise that clearly does not match reality.
Marriage is just a long-term (intended) relationship between two people. In many cultures it does not matter if they love one another. It is a cultural thing. Marriage does not require one of each "se.x" unless an extended family is also part of the intended goals for that particular marriage.
And how does allowing these differently oriented people to have long-term marriages hurt you? They don't.
You just can't let them have equal rights because you have a real problem letting people you don't approve of have the same rights as you. Admit it. You're a bigot. A hom.o-phobic religious nut who's been told by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh that gays are out to destroy your way of life by having their own way of life that seems "gross" or "perverted" despite all evidence to the contrary.
"Holy"-ness is only in your own head. If it were true "holy"ness, everyone would see it and agree with you. They don't.
Do you recognize marriages made under a different god than yours? Not in your religion, but the law recognizes other religions even if your religion doesn't.
It's a matter of civil law, not religious law. That's why your definition doesn't mean squat.
mema: why do you continue to refer to it as a "lifestyle"? do you feel that s-e-x-u-a-l orientation a choice? if so, at which age did you make yours?
also, regarding the rights issue, i have always been a proponent of taking licensing marriage out of the hands of government altogether. domestic partner unions for both straight and gay couples. churches can still discriminate in any way they feel is in keeping with their faith. the government issued licenses are what would convey the legal rights. church blessings would be entirely ceremony.....holding NO LEGAL STANDING. that way, the government does not discriminate and the churches can keep their definition. that being said, some will eventually choose to include gays in those non-legal marriage ceremonies. it is an inevitable evolution of spirituality in this nation
also, mema, marriage was around before the bible.
prolixian: great post
Just because the bible talks about marriage, doesn’t mean it invented it. People were getting married long before the old testament came along. So because it’s in your bible, you think christianity owns the term and therefor are against gays to be considered “married”. Now that you know marriage wasn’t created by your god, are you in favor of equal rights to all, or will you do what most christians do and stick your fingers in your ears while chanting “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you…”
Frank: I am guessing mema is going to go with door #2
Marriage is between two people and is considered a form of long-term legal / contractual relationship, often including shared or common property rights and such things.
Men and women? You can't hardly define either of those in this context without showing how ridiculous and arbitrary such legal definitions can be, and how easily they can be shown to be essentially meaningless in legal terms.
It also keeps the door open for s.ex discrimination by differentiating between two indefinite and arbitrary definitions where one is treated differently than the other.
Yet there are differences between people that should be reflected in the law at some point.
The only problem is that these differences have less to do with the s.ex organs one was born with and more with the whole physiological situation of each individual.
It is easier to make many wrong assumptions about a person or people in general, than it is to evaluate each person as an individual.
If we changed laws to reflect the realities of human existence, things would be very different but they would make more sense and likely work a lot better.
Whoever is using my screen name off and on on this thread, stop. Use your own. Uuggh.
"Whoever is using my screen name off and on on this thread, stop. Use your own. Uuggh."
Oh Please you use multiple handles on here HeavenSent aka .....
My question does make sense. All too often on here, people that believe their deity is 'everything' use that deity to discriminate against people that they have an issue with. If your god is everything then it is good/evil/straight/gay and everything in between. If you have an issue, then at least be bold and say that you do, don't hide behind some figment and feel that this justifies your hate. If two consenting adults want to get married then by all means let them do so. Let them experience the joy and sadness that comes with it. Let them have all the rights and privileges that come with it. Not extra rights, or different rights, but the same rights that everyone else has. Is this so simple as to be confusing?
Oh, I put the dash in gay because cnn sometimes has problems with certain words, unless they got that fixed, its been awhile since Ive been on here.
what makes you think G ay is a Perfect feature?
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.