Saturday, April 20, 2013


Matt here.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the weakness inherent in using "God wouldn't . . . " as justification; it seems there's rather little that God wouldn't. Today I want to explore a thing that Ditto brought up in a post of his own: Would God send some percentage of his children to Earth pre-damned? He says no. I say no too! It seems we've found a thing that God actually wouldn't, unless I'm seriously misunderstanding things, do. The conclusions we draw from that base are wildly different, though, and of course I think mine make more sense, so rather than unload in the poor man's comment section, I wrote a post.

Ditto starts out with a lovely scripture, Moses 1:39. I'm not convinced that the LDS cannon as a whole is inspired (large swaths of the D&C come to mind), but this particular scripture has worked its way into my personal theology. "This is my work and my glory," God says, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." I love that. A vision of eternity where God is on our side, where what's best for uswhat helps us become eternally aliveis what he's all about. Love it. So when Ditto concludes that God "does nothing to keep us from progressing to eternal life," I agree with that. God's whole point is to bring as many of us up to his level as possible. We've found a thing God would not do. (Unless it were necessary to damn one to bring up more than one? After all, the scripture talks about the immortality and eternal life of man as a group, not of each individual man . . . But that's a thought for another day.)

Soon after that, though, Ditto's argument makes a few assumptions that I don't think are reasonable. He says "The Lord created every one of us. He created every aspect of our very being. And thus he created me and all his LGBT children with homosexual 'tendencies.'" Coming at this from a Mormon perspective (because let's face it, somewhere not so deep inside that's what I still mostly am), that doesn't hold water. Mormonism says clearly that God did not create our spirits, or "intelligences"; those have always existed (Abraham 3:18). They will always exist. If homosexuality is part of one's spirit, as many people (but not the Church) believe, then it's not something God makes, and if you claim that God made you gay, then you can't be referring to your spirit.

Given the uncreated nature of the spirit, we would need to refine Ditto's statement to something like this: "The Lord created our bodies. He created every aspect of our bodies. And thus he created me and all his LGBT children with homosexual 'tendencies.'"

That is a bit more solid, but it still needs clarification. Science in general holds that homosexuality is the result of a combination of environment and genetic factors. (The Church has no opinion on that.) I think twin studies are the most interesting and bluntly informative onesthe high correlation between gay twins shows that there's certainly some genetic component, but the fact that the incidence is far below 100 percent shows that there are other factors involved too. If we accept science's working conclusion, it's entirely possible for God to create a body with the genetic portions of same-sex attraction without actually creating a 'gay body.' The body doesn't become gay until after the environmental factors jump in there, which are the result of human agency, not God. Or, I suppose you could blame those on God too, but if you do that, why not blame everything on God?

Now, an omniscient God like the God of Mormonism would know that the body would eventually become gay, but providing the circumstances in which a thing can happen and making a thing happen aren't the same. The fact that people are gay is not proof that God created them that way.

Ditto continues: "Heavenly Father creates perfection. He did not accidentally create me gay or forget to turn on my 'I like girls' switch. No, he created me perfectly the way he intended, one of his male children who will one day love another perfectly created male child of his." There are more problems here. First, God does not create perfection. The purpose of life (according to Mormons) is to become perfect, a task which wouldn't be necessary were we created that way. Utter ignorance is perfect? Cleft palates? Deafness? No. God doesn't create perfection. However, he also doesn't create people who are unperfectable.

Second, I don't think anyone in Mormondom is saying that homosexuality is an accident, or due to divine forgetfulness. Those things are impossible with an omniscient God.

Third, it doesn't follow that just because God created us or allowed us to become attracted to our own sex he intended us to love (in the sexytimes sense) another man or another person, and every single person should know that. Why? Take the argument apart. "Because X is the way things are, X is the way God wants it to be."

Yes, that's rightit's the same argument used by the South for keeping slavery and by the Christians for keeping gays from marrying each other and by men for keeping women from voting. Or working. Or owning property.

This is a logically bankrupt argument that always fails, and it is not worthy of us.

Moving on. "Because he created me [gay] and wants nothing more than for me to be happy and obtain salvation and eternal life, how could he then tell me, 'if you choose [sexytimes], you will not be able to obtain eternal life.'" Does the Church say God says "if you choose [sexytimes], you will not be able to obtain eternal life"?

No, the Church doesn't say that, and if you know of a place where it does, please share. It does say some pretty harsh things, but it doesn't say sexual sin disqualifies you from eternal life. To quote the missionary I asked on, "Repentance is available to all. That shouldn't be taken cavalierly; repentance is never easy and can take years of consistent effort before forgiveness is given. But sexual sins, as far as I am aware, if repented of fully, will not keep one out of the celestial kingdom." We also have Mosiah 26:30, which plainly says "As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me," and also the whole lovely chapter of Alma 42, which talks about how justice is balanced with mercy. Mormon doctrine is pretty clear about everything except murder itself--not its next door neighborbeing repentable, if you choose to repent of it.

So when Ditto continues to say "No, Heavenly Father would not do anything of the sort," I agree insofar as he means God would not do anything that would impede his work and his glory. However, I'm not convinced that making or allowing people to be gay and commanding them not to have gay sexytimes would be an impediment. I see no reason why God might not do exactly that, especially since, as Mormons believe,  the laws of right and wrong are not malleable. If gay sex is inherently wrong and gettin' it on is inherently an impediment to God's work, how could he not command us to avoid it?

Good to review: Bill Bradshaw on nature/nurture and Bill Bradshaw on Mormon Stories
Funny, but crude, webcomic. (This one I linked to isn't particularly crude, though, and I relate.)


  1. I did not quite follow all of Ditto's logic nor am I following all of your logic. Perhaps that is because I am still on some heavy meds from my surgery. :)

    Here is a link to post I wrote last year. I don't think God intentionally made me gay. I think a combination of factors resulted in me being born gay.

    I wrote the above post before I came across the studies that looked at the potential role of embryonic fluid, birth order, and fertility/number of pregnancies for the mother. For what it's worth, I was the fifth child but the eighth pregnancy.

  2. So by stating that god created us perfect, I essentially mean to say that his design is perfect. Yes, deafness and all the other endless things that can be wrong with our bodies and minds is not perfect. But all that comes as a result of the fall. Adam and Eve were perfect. Originally the human was made perfect and without flaw. Had Adam and Eve been able to have children without the fall, their children would had been just as perfect. So, no today we are not perfect, physically, mentally, characteristically. But that does not take from the fact that Gods work is perfect.

    I hope that makes a little more sense.