Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Moho's and "ites" in the Church

I think we show our level of devotion to the gospel by how we take the council of our leaders. For some time now I've really had an issue with the self proclaimed title of "moho" and the way its used by some people to describe themselves and others who struggle with same gender attraction.

I also bristle when I hear people within the Church talk about "coming out."

And it really bothers me after the Brethren have warned over and over in interviews, pamphlets and articles about using the term gay to describe ourselves as people.

I think that the more we accept the worlds way of handling and describing our struggles the more we open ourselves up to Satan to attack us.

Elder Oaks taught: "I think it's important for you to understand that homosexuality, which you've spoken of, is not a noun that describes a condition. It's an adjective that describes feelings or behavior. I encourage you, as you struggle with these

In short the world would have it become the God we worship and base all our decisions on.

While I think many of us are trying to be faithful, I think that we also fall into this trap from time-to-time.

The Book of Mormon warns of "ites" but it seems like there has been a development, a subculture so to speak within the Church of LDS men who struggle who like to define themselves into this community.

Do we refer to other members of the Church who struggle with other problems with other names?

Part of it may be that we don't feel like we fit in and so we are trying to create a community for oursleves where we belong. I think this is very dangerous because with community's come cultures of their own. In the Kingdom of God there are no "ites."

Don't get me wrong. There I think the most important part of trying to be faithful is accepting a challenge as real. I do think that we do need to be honest with those people who do care about us if we feel its something that they can understand and help provide support to us as we strive to stay the course. But I don't see it as a "rite of passage" or a "declaration of independence and of who I really am." When you come
out of something it means to leave something. So if someone is choosing to be faithful, what are they really coming out of?

I also think sometimes, at least I know this is the case in my life that I may pray for something that I want to know or understand that is already pretty clearly explained but that I just don't like the answer so I keep praying hoping to get another answer that I can agree with. I'm not praying in faith. Its more like I have a deck of cards and I'm going to keep drawing a new card until I get the card I want.

If we allow Satan to win us, in a war that we already know he will lose in the end, and if we allow him to use our struggles to help us choose our path and what we are going to do, how we are going to refer to ourselves and what our relationship with the Lord will be, then we have already failed.

I don't want to sound preachy, but we know what is wrong and we know what is right. The Bretheran have been pretty clear about this. Its up to us to choose. No amount of debate or discussion will change basic gospel principles. Yes we need to love and accept and be tolerant. But we also need to have faith and realize that we may never know all the answers in this life. But if we are faithful and follow the
commandments we will one day be blessed with more happiness then we can ever imagine.


Potentate said...

I had to comment. Had to. The editor in me wouldn't let it be any other way.

"I am gay."

"I am brown."

"I am tipsy."

These are all adjectives, not nouns, used to describe states of being. Were they nouns, they would be preceded by an article such as 'a,' 'an,' or 'the'.

Why don't you like the term coming out?

And finally, the point of there not being 'ites' isn't that we ignore all our differentiating characteristics--it's that we identify more with being children of God than we do with the things that separate us (sexual preferences, baseball teams, professions, whatever).

I'm all for unity, but it doesn't come by ignoring differences.

Crow's View said...

I work in the news media and I will take the council of an apostle over that of an editor any day.

Forester said...

It's so frustrating at times, "struggling with", "dealing with" or "having" same gender attraction. Whatever you want to call it or label it, it sucks. It's confusing, unfair, and even frightening at times. By staying close to the teachings of the church, or more specifically, the teachings of Christ through His apostles, I know I can at least have hope.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

I work in the news media and I will take the council of an apostle over that of an editor any day.

What does that have to do with anything? That doesn't even make sense. I don't understand how
those two phrases are related at all.

I just don't think that identifying as gay is in any way at odds with identifying at the same time as a child of God.

Also, I have a fundamental problem with anyone, apostle or otherwise, trying to make pronouncements in order to change the way our language actually works. "Homosexuality" because of its derivational suffix is fundamentally a noun. Regardless of what anyone says, it is a noun. The words "gay" and "homosexual" because of their lack of suffixes can function as either nouns of adjectives. Adjectives naturally become to be used as nouns in many cases. This is a linguistic fact. That the church is trying to proscribe how we speak English seems to be absolutely ludicrous and pointless to me. Its like telling me that (room temperature) water is not wet because if it were then the gospel wouldn't be true anymore. To hold to an abstract belief that requires one to ignore the reality of the actual world and of science is indescribably silly.

Also, let me point out that the church has distanced itself from the teaching that "homosexuality" isn't a real thing that people are born with, but a feeling to be "overcome". They now admit that it is (at least partially) biologically determined and that some people are fundamentally gay - for this life at least. This is contrary to the previous doctrine that no one was really gay, but that they were simply struggling with a temptation and that like all temptations, anyone could overcome it and fix it, etc.

The reason so many feel a need to come out is because for a long time they were pretending to be someone they never were - a straight person. They feel the need to be honest to themselves and others.

As any reputable therapist will tell you, the coming out process is a necessary part of being able to live an emotionally healthy existence. It enables us to move beyond that one issue and get on with our lives. If we are continually having to hide a fundamental part of who we are, most of the time we will be consumed by that one thing to the detriment of everything else.

Crow's View said...

You made a statement in one of your previous blogs:

....This is just another reason why it seems to ME that the church leaders have, dare I say, strayed from what I THINK the gospel is truly about.....

It sort of reminds me of another brother we have who also disagreed with our Father. This same brother later spend 40 days trying to tempt his other brother to disobey the Father. This same brother was successful in getting 1/3 of the house of Heaven to follow him. The only difference is that this brother also had a perfect knowledge of what was true and false.

I think that Satan is a great deceiver. He is able to mask sin under civil rights. I think he even is able to use Gods greatest gift of agency to promote it and Christ's own words not to judge as a means to protect it. I think he is able to use some of our smartest men to then stand up and fight for the rights to condone it and accept it and villianize anyone who would stand against it.

Before you jump and say I'm calling you Satan I will remind you that Satan acted with full knowledge. You are reacting with limited knowledge and your opinion. Satan can never be forgive for his rebellion because he knew exactly what he was doing. That's the real difference. There is a major difference between being self taught and self certified.

Church leaders are called. They work under the authority of the Priesthood.

There are those in the Church who are called by God and others who when they disagree with the Church call themselves above the prophets and apostles using the authority given to themselves by their own opinions.

-L- said...


Major points for an interesting post on an important topic. I've often wondered about the best way to approach the language and identity issue. Lots of people have blogged on it before including myself, Scot, and Master Fob.

I wouldn't score you quite as many points for diplomacy. :-) And, really, I understand that your conviction comes from standing for what is right firmly and unequivocally, but there is always a risk that you might have misunderstood something along the way.

I agree with your general sentiment here--that people have violated the spirit of Church counsel not to identify with gay affirming groups, entertain temptation, or become excessively preoccupied with this one aspect of life. At the same time, I think language and intent can be nuanced. I think Oaks' was, and I think some of the blogs are.

Just thought I'd come by to comment on your latest since I've picked up my posting pace. Thanks for your e-mail.