Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Interesting Weekend (UPDATED!)

And the thick plottens! Elder Packer's talk has undergone some editing between being delivered and being posted online. The changes are subtle, but (I think) significant. It was very considerate of Elder Packer (and anyone else who was involved in the changes). For more information and discussion, see here.

Alma 30:44:
“...all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it ... do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”

Some anglerfishes employ an unusual mating method. When scientists first started capturing ceratioid anglerfish, they noticed that all of the specimens were females, and almost all of them had what appeared to be parasites attached to them. It turned out that these “parasites” were highly reduced male ceratioids.

At birth, male ceratioids are already equipped with extremely well developed olfactory organs that detect scents in the water. The male ceratoid lives solely to find and mate with a female. They are significantly smaller than a female angler fish, and may have trouble finding food in the deep sea. Furthermore, the growth of the alimentary canals of some males becomes stunted, preventing them from feeding. These features necessitate his quickly finding a female anglerfish to prevent death. The sensitive olfactory organs help the male to detect the pheromones that signal the proximity of a female anglerfish. When he finds a female, he bites into her skin, and releases an enzyme that digests the skin of his mouth and her body, fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level. The male then slowly atrophies, first losing his digestive organs, then his brain, heart, and eyes, and ends as nothing more than a pair of gonads, which release sperm in response to hormones in the female's bloodstream indicating egg release. Multiple males can be incorporated into a single female.

Boyd K. Packer:
“Why would our heavenly father do that to anyone?”

Why, indeed?

Billy Lucas, 15, hanged.

Seth Walsh, 13, hanged.

Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped from a bridge.

Asher Brown, 13, gunshot.

Raymond Chase, 19, hanged.

Why, indeed?

George Q. Cannon, 1897:
[A]bominable crimes are being practiced. How will these be stopped? Only by the destruction of those who practice them.

Ernest L. Wilkison, 1965:
We do not intend to admit to our campus any homosexuals.... We do not want others on this campus to be contaminated by your presence.

Boyd K. Packer, 1978:
[W]e will be able to correct this condition routinely.... the cause when found, will turn out to be a very typical form of selfishness.... It is very possible to cure it by treating selfishness.

Hartman Rector, Jr., 1983:
That’s right, brothers and sisters, I am referring to the mother of all evil, putrid, and vile sins––homosexuality. You know, Satan himself is a homosexual.

Dallin H. Oaks, 2006:
[To a hypothetical gay son or daughter:] Yes, come, but don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation.

Why, indeed?


Bryce said...

I didn't understand what he said to mean that God wouldn't let people be born with sinful tendencies (that would contradict pretty much all of scripture, after all), but that God wouldn't let people be born with tendencies they couldn't overcome. He wasn't gentle, but he also didn't break any new ground.

I also understood his comment to apply equally to homosexual urges and to all other sins, such as lust in general. Maybe I need to listen to it again. (I really just want to read it; come on, lds.org editors, it's been half a week already!)

Latter-day Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Latter-day Guy said...

It's not so much that he broke new ground, but that he back-tracked over ground where we LDS folk have made progress in the past few years.

The issue here is what exactly to we mean by "overcome"? If we mean stop having gay sex, then yeah, that's perfectly achievable. But if we mean eliminating homosexual desires and replacing them with heterosexual desires, we need to be really careful.

All this is complicated by the fact that his references to homosexuality were kind of oblique. He never came right out to say it, but the combination of words like "unnatural" with talk about voting to change morality... well, it's not exactly the enigma machine, and we don't need Alan Turing's help to pick that code apart.

This is also related to the polemical––and frankly bizarre––tendency to reject "homosexual" as a noun; saying it's only acceptable as an adjective. It's kind of like saying, "Stephen Hawking isn't a quadriplegic, he just struggles with a powerful tendency to drool on himself and not get out of his wheelchair. We love him, but we cannot accept his lifestyle choices."*

Time has shown over and over and over, that no matter what they try, most gay Mormons aren't going to become straight. And it's not as though Church leaders have never made suggestions along these lines. "Just get married." Strike. "Try BYU's Patented S&M Nightmare Porn-and-Electricity Cure." Strike (although that would be an awesome name for a band!). "How about Evergreen International?" Strike (in fact the founders of Evergreen are no longer members of the Church, which is kind of like the creator of the Atkin's Diet dying of obesity).

The line of argument also has some disturbing similarities to justifications of the priesthood ban. When black men were prevented from being ordained during Brigham Young's administration, the logic (originated by the Pratt brothers, I think) went like this: "So black men can't have the priesthood, huh? That sucks. It doesn't seem very fair. But Brother Brigham wouldn't do something unfair. They must deserve it. I bet they did bad stuff before mortality." Lather, rinse, repeat. With gay people, it's a little more like: "Homos, huh? They really don't like girls? Sucks to be them. It seems pretty unfair. But God wouldn't do something unfair. After all, he wants them to be straight. So if they don't turn straight, they must not be praying or [insert other therapy here] hard enough."

"But what about lesbians? Isn't it unfair for them too?"

"Well, yeah... (but it's also awesome!)"

[Sorry about that last part. I seem to be channeling one of my mission buddies. That guy had pretty much zero speech filtering ability, which made district meetings AMAZING!]

Hope springs eternal, but credibility does not––and I don't think we've got much left when it comes to this subject.

Finally, given what has happened in the last month with one suicide after another, a little tact and gentleness were in order, to say the least. We're having a serious problem with hemorrhaging––either from gay people hemorrhaging out of the Church, or just hemorrhaging because they've put holes in themselves.

*I can't believe I just mocked a handicapped man. I'm so going to hell.