14 July 2013

Denigrate The Body to Elevate The Spirit

I've come up with an idea. It originated with the ideas and beliefs of Joseph Smith regarding spiritual embodiment, but I've started to expound on it, and put it into a context that's not only applicable to me but to anyone who is gay, or an ally. Instead of denigrating the things of the body in order to elevate the things of the spirit, Joseph Smith always argued that it was the successful incorporation of both, that culminated a fullness of joy.

That's the theory. As a gay Mormon, one who obviously believes that there is room in the Church, and it's doctrine for gay members to be completely equal and have all of the same privileges and rights as their heterosexual brothers and sisters, I use this theory in that context.

Most people know that the Church's official doctrine and counsel for gay members of the Church is to be celibate. Simply being gay, (or Same-Gender Attracted, as the Church prefers to say) is not a sin. But acting upon the feelings, is. If you remain celibate and not give in to the "sin" of homosexuality, you will blessed, and will be resurrected in the last day.

My argument, is that the Church can fully embrace LGBT members... letting them be married (including temple marriage), and raise a family, and participate fully in the Church, just as their heterosexual counterparts do.

Devout Mormon's who are straight more often than not, will get married in an LDS temple, to achieve a celestial marriage... meaning that there is no "til death do us part", but that your marriage will continue into the eternities. It is considered an essential ordinance (similar to a Catholic Sacrament) in our journey to become like God. For LGBT Mormons, most cannot honestly enter into a heterosexual marriage, therefore they do not receive those ordinances in the Gospel.

Single heterosexual members of the Church will always have hope that tomorrow they will meet the man/woman of their dreams and they'll get married, and be able to express those physical feelings of love for their spouse. While they are still unmarried and dating, you can still hold hands and kiss... cuddle etc. but you cannot have sex. That principle applies to all single, unmarried Mormons, regardless of sexual orientation. But the straight members still have hope. If you decide to stay single and celibate, for whatever reason, you aren't "punished", there's no official Church doctrine that penalizes you. But in Mormon culture it's considered a little odd, because you have the access to the ordinance, but you don't use it. Marriage is everything in this Church... and the slightest hiccup in the process to Celestial Glory draws stares. And it's not always pretty.

Gay members? None of that. If you are committed to living celibacy, you do not have the hope of meeting your soul mate, because you have to deny yourself from looking and feeling. You cannot hold hands. You cannot kiss. You cannot have any sort of an emotional relationship. You are completely alone. And as a result, you do not receive all of the ordinances in the temple. And God forbid, if you do engage in the things of the body with someone of the same sex, you will have committed a mortal sin... one that's said to be next to murder. And that while you can "repent" of your sins, you will have on your membership records, an annotation... that says that you have engaged in homosexual behavior, and that annotation can only be erased by the First Presidency of the Church, and such action is rare. (Oh, and heterosexuals who participate in pre-marital sex, have no such annotation is permanently connected to their records.)

So I'm arguing, that you cannot say that some people are permitted to engage in the things of the body and that some are forbidden. You cannot say that the group who is permitted will be exulted, while saying that the group of people who is forbidden, will be exulted (assuming that they did indeed refrain from engaging). You cannot say that because the group who is forbidden, but engaged anyway, will be punished, and that the group who is permitted, but didn't, will be exulted, but less than those who did. It's not only a double standard, but I believe that it violates human compassion. And I believe that LDS Doctrine will one day permit the LGBT community to be fully active in the Church... despite it's current claim that it cannot.

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