Study it out

"I cannot, however wish you happiness in living a homosexual life because in my heart I know that it will only bring you discord with your family, and sadness in the eternities."

"Homosexual relationships are dead-end. What would this man do for you, or these men, should you suddenly fall victim to a dread disease, an incurable disease? Suppose your body shriveled; suppose you could no longer satisfy or get satisfaction sexually; suppose you could no longer be 'used.' How long would the alleged friendship or friendly ties last?"

"The homosexual life tends to be a furtive, shifty, concealed life. This abnormal involvement with a person of one's own sex can be only barren and desolate, having for its purpose only temporary physical satisfaction."

"Homosexual practices are enslaving. These practices are somewhat like the use of drugs, alcoholism, or other vicious habits which eventually take over control of the person and make him slave and put fetters on his wrists and rings in his nose and chains on his feet. No man is free when manacled by such fetters."

"A homosexual can change himself."

"The thing that hurts me the most is that I know that Karen is devastated by your actions and your desires."

"If you choose to continue on this path, you will forgo your birthright."

"Acting on gay tendencies is still condemned by God just like being an alcoholic or sleeping around with other women. That will not change."

"I beg you, please don't let yourself believe that you do not have a choice in the matter of your sexual orientation."

"But that complete life will never be yours unless you want it bad enough to change. You simply can't get it with another man. You might find some kind of shot lived happiness, but it can't last. You know it can't."

"[One of my friends] was addicted to pornography and masturbation at young age and was never able to overcome it. I believe that this was one of the many reasons he deemed himself as a homosexual."

"I have a testimony that what the prophets have taught about marriage are true and that they are fundamental principles of the gospel and eternal principles; they will not, they cannot change."

"I am glad that you have been completely honest in your feelings and views, but I know that there is a way to stop it all. To truly rely on the Lord for your aid."

"The end result is only sorrow, regret and shame and a distancing yourself from all that you truly love and want."

"It is not against the Church you are at odds with, but with your own eternal salvation and your own relationship with God."

"You know where [Karen] stood on the matter and it wasn't because she was deceived, but because her heart was pure."

These are all statements made either by church leaders or by family members to me in regards to the issue of homosexuality.  I will not rebut each one individually.  I merely list them all here to give a full representation of things that people say in regards to a matter that, in my opinion, they have not fully studied out in their own minds.

"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right." Doctrine & Covenants 9:8 
Many of the assertions made above, about doctrine, have been superseded by more recent official statements of the Church or have been contradicted by scientific evidence.  Some are statements of personal knowledge about a particular point of doctrine.  I do not wish to contradict any such personal convictions, nor do I even wish to contradict any statements of doctrine.  All I wish to accomplish with this post is to encourage people--those who have made the above statements, or anything similar to it--who have not already done so to study out the matter more thoroughly.  For example, one claim made includes the phrase "I know in my heart".  I ask, do you really know in your heart or are you just repeating the same thing that you have been taught by your church?

There are also a couple statements claiming to know the thoughts of another person--namely my late wife, Karen. "Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart." (Doctrine & Covenants 6:16)  You may be able to repeat what someone else has said in the past.  You may be able to make an educated guess about what another person would think about something.  You may know what that person said and how they felt the last time you saw them.  But you can't say that you know how they feel, especially when you have not seen them for a long time, or when they have passed away and you don't know where they have been and what they have been doing/learning since then.

I do not know much about law, but I do know one term that I am told is used in law, which is "due diligence."  I believe that before making any bold claims, such as the ones listed above, one should put in  his due diligence in deciding for himself whether the statement he is making is true and what he truly believes.  Study the scriptures, study the current official statements made by the Church.  Study science.  Above all, do not make claims about what another person's life can and cannot be.  Many claims above state that homosexual relationships cannot end in happiness.  I am aware of several homosexual relationships that have been going on for several years (one as long as 50 years) and both members of the couple are very happy with the relationship--each entirely satisfied with the other.  One claim has to do with my own relationship with God.  No one else can know where I stand with God, or how healthy my relationship with Him is.  Some may be able to guess or conjecture, and such a guess may be educated and even accurate.  However, I do not believe that anyone can know what my relationship with my God is.

If you have made statements such as the ones above and you have not studied the matter out in your mind, I urge you to do so.  Ponder the matter sincerely.  Contemplate it.  Pray about it.  Listen to the Holy Spirit for an answer.  If you have done all of these things and still feel the same way as any of the comments above, then I can respect your position and I will concede at that time that you may be justified in holding that opinion.  However, if you have not done so, then I will disregard your opinion, since I view it as merely your own opinion, not based on any research or study.

Many members of the Church, and many other Christians, believe what they are told without question--particularly in the matter of homosexuality.  In many cases, this is fine since the thing being taught is true.  However, during General Conference this weekend, President Monson encouraged members to gain not only a testimony of the gospel, but of every aspect of the gospel.  If this is a matter which you have not personally contemplated before, then do so now.  Ask yourself what you believe, why you believe it, and whether it makes sense in light of the scientific and theological knowledge available to you.  If you believe that something is scriptural, but are unaware of where it can be found in scripture, then find it in scripture, pay attention the context of where it is found, and understand the teaching based on its context in the scripture.

It is difficult for heterosexual people to understand this matter and why it is such a big deal.  If you find yourself wondering why it is a hot topic, or why people keep talking about it, try to imagine yourself being asked by your church to marry someone of the same sex.  Would you be able to do so, even though you have never felt attracted to someone of the same sex, simply because your church asks you to do so?  Contemplate matters such as this while you are doing your studying.  Try to look at it from every angle possible.

In conclusion, I would like to share one statement from a family member which I found to be rather insightful, very balanced, and informed.  This is a very fair answer, and I encourage thinking along these lines.  After all, the Savior himself taught "ye shall know them by their fruits."

"We will have to see where this leads you. If this is a good thing. Good things will come from it. The fruits of this action will tell it all."