Issues Behind President Packer's Talk

First, if you are not aware of the flood of criticism directed towards President Packer and his remarks from General Conference just over a week ago, do a quick Google search :) As a long standing member of the Church I want to address and discuss the hailstorm of activity and criticism that has descended. I will strive to do so respectfully and request the same of anyone that responds to this post.

The initial thing I want to address is President Packer's calling homosexuality wrong. That in my mind is where the criticism is really coming from - that he openly called it immoral and wrong. The other issue of course is that he mentioned change, which also causes a lot of tempers to flare because the gay community does not feel it is something that can be changed. The issue I have with the outrage towards President Packer calling homosexuality wrong stems from the whole Catch-22 I discussed in my previous blog post. The gay community undermines their whole platform when they demand that people "accept" what they are doing as right and believe as they do. How is it fair that someone can have the belief that homosexuality isn't wrong and want their belief in that to be accepted, when my belief that it is wrong isn't accepted. It is the problem with moral relativity. We live in the age of moral relativity - meaning that society states there is no moral foundation - no set principles that can be applied to everyone. Morality is what YOU make it because we live in a subjective world. However, if you argue against moral relativity you are seen as closed minded. But wait a minute - didn't the whole premise of moral relativity just say that every one could believe as they saw fit in regards to morals?

Saying that something in wrong is not HATEFUL. Tell me how a disagreement of opinions is hateful? If you disagree and act in a way that shows hate then of course you are being hateful, but simply disagreeing is not hateful. This is the second issues where the gay community cried foul. The statement was that President Packer's remarks would increase the possibility of suicides among gay members of the Church. I don't see this as being any different than any other stance the Church takes on moral issues. I don't see them being the cause of others suicides. In the other areas of morality the Church does say things like abortion, pre-marital sex, pornography, etc. are all morally wrong.

It might be said though, that in saying it is wrong, that members of the Church that identify as gay, feel as if they are being ostracized for something that they feel they have no control over. But this is where another issues arises. The Church takes a firm stand that we as human beings have choice - that we have the ability to act and not be acted upon. Which means any feelings or desires can and must be controlled by self-control. People have the desire for physical intimacy but church doctrine instructs that it is only to be had within the bonds of marriage. What does that require? Self control. I may desire it, want, and feel like it is good, but I can still choose to wait. I have the choice. The same applies to same-sex attraction. I may be attracted to those of the same gender - but I can choose what I do with that. I can choose to live a life according to the principles of the gospel. I have access to the Atonement, which makes all things possible to bear.

Thus, the Church's position, and what President Packer was simply reiterating was the ability EVERYONE has to choose what one will do with the temptations, feelings and desires one has. The Church extends love and support to those of the gay community, but has the right to say homosexuality is wrong.

This brings me to my last issue - The Church will never change its position on homosexuality and gay marriage. Why? Because as has been said it undermines the very doctrine of the family. Perhaps this needs to be explained in a bigger picture though. Church doctrine establishes that the purpose of this life is to come to earth and work out our salvation and exaltation. This means learning and growing through temptation and sin. But if we are faithful, through the Atonement of Christ we have the opportunity to become as God is. Meaning exaltation is to become as God and do what He does. Doctrine establishes that this means to have our own worlds, spirit children and family. This requires a MAN and a WOMAN to be married to procreate and populate their worlds. I'm afraid to say that homosexuality does not allow that to be possible. There can be no procreation between those of the same gender. Thus, homosexuality completely undermines the doctrine the Church has on the family with not only earthly but eternal significance. That is why the Church will not change its position on homosexuality.

Lastly, I just wish to reiterate that disagreement does not equal hate. I do not hate anyone regardless of what they believe and live. I may disagree with how they live their life, but they most likely disagree with how I live mine. Isn't this "free" land about being able to believe what we each individually see fit? I raised my hand during General Conference to sustain all of the leaders of the Church and with that sustaining I was giving the indication that they have my 100% support. I support what President Packer said and would hope that those who disagree can do so in a respectful manner just as the Church has shown its disagreement in a respectful manner.
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