An article in the Daily Universe this Friday covered your Thursday lecture (03/25/04) in which you “gave evidence of biological roots of homosexuality.” Though the evidence you showed may be completely accurate, your lecture, at least as it was covered in The Daily Universe, contributed nothing wholesome or useful to the student body or to humanity. And it may have been damaging.
You named various statistics, based on biological and environmental conditions, that correlate highly with homosexual behavior. You concluded that “homosexuality is not a lifestyle we [choose]. To paraphrase, you say, “correlations exist between homosexuality and left-handedness, and between homosexuality and going through puberty at a younger age, therefore, because one cannot help being left-handed or going through puberty at a younger age, one cannot help being homosexual.” Your logic is flawed.
We agree that biology certainly plays a role in the temptations felt by those who deal with homosexuality, just as biology plays a role in most of the temptations we feel as mortals. Because of biological differences, one person may be more tempted by sexual sin, while others may be more inclined to aggression or problems with the Word of Wisdom, etc. Are so-called homosexuals excused to act on their homosexual tendencies simply because their biological orientation made them more susceptible to those temptations? If so, will their biological orientation shield them from the whirlwind of despondency and suffering that accompanies grievous sin? You didn’t mention that scientific evidence also shows biological trends among people who commit murder, rape, and incest. Since biology plays a role in their moral crimes, should we pardon them and protect their rights to behave immorally in the name of greater “tolerance” and “civility”?
Your opinions of homosexuality are in no way compassionate to “our Latter-day Saint brothers and sisters” that struggle with this very serious sin. You taught your class that homosexuality is not a chosen lifestyle. With the scientific evidence you used to show the influences biology has on homosexual tendencies, you falsely concluded that those tendencies force people into homosexual practices! Accepting this logic, one would have to conclude that homosexuality is as inherent as gender or race: we must let Irish people abuse their children because everyone knows how Irish people have tempers!
Like the rest of the world today, you seek to turn this destructive and debilitating behavior into a matter of identity. However, homosexuality is a behavior, not a determinate of one’s true identity! Understand the difference between identity and behavior: people who practice homosexuality are still children of God, not “homosexuals” or “gays” or “lesbians.” They are humans that struggle with a serious sin, a sin so serious that it cuts their life expectancy by 8-20 years, hugely increases their tendency towards violence in their relationships, magnifies their likelihood of suicide, and skyrockets their chances of contracting cancer, AIDS, and other serious STDs
It’s our duty as Christians to powerfully fight against homosexuality. In doing so, we are not being discriminatory or hateful. The world today speaks of “gays” and “gay rights” and says nothing of the horrible physical, spiritual and psychological maladies caused by the deadly behavior. When we stop giving in to the deception that homosexuality is a healthy, alternative lifestyle that “doesn’t harm anybody” and take it for what it is, a lethal perversion of sex, we can truly start being compassionate to our gay brothers and sisters. We can help them end their self-destructive behavior. Of course, this should always be done with love and kindness just as we would help a loved one overcome any other serious sin.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, in “Weightier Matters”, spoke of abortion and the incorrect stance many Saints have taken on the matter. The principles he taught apply perfectly to the issues surrounding homosexuality: If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious sins. I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law due to this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices. Should we decriminalize or lighten the legal consequences of child abuse? of cruelty to animals? of pollution? of fraud? of fathers who choose to abandon their families for greater freedom or convenience? “Similarly, some reach the pro-choice position by saying we should not legislate morality. Those who take this position should realize that the law of crimes legislates nothing but morality. Should we repeal all laws with a moral basis so that our government will not punish any choices some persons consider immoral? Such an action would wipe out virtually all of the laws against crimes.”
You expressed wanting to help those with homosexual tendencies among us. We completely agree. We just worry that your style focuses too much on accepting the behavior of homosexuality instead of embracing those who struggle with the sin while hating the sin. Our worry comes from seeing the author of the article, Brittney McLaws, introduce your lecture as discounting the “popular LDS beliefs” on homosexuality. She should have said that your lecture may have gone against “canonized LDS doctrine” not “popular LDS beliefs”. Further, the student quoted at the end of the article, Tim Fife, said we should “look at this more closely instead of rejecting homosexuals.” This implies that Latter-day Saints are taught to reject so-called homosexuals and that your Thursday lecture was the first time anyone had advocated tolerance. The truth is that Latter-day Saints should continue to reject homosexuality while loving and accepting those who practice it.
Jared B. Iverson
Richard K. Miller
Las Vegas, NV