Article updating the arguments against same sex marriage
In the 19 century, homosexuality was generally viewed by society, including the medical profession, as a mental disorder or a sexual deviancy.
By the 1900s, most states criminalized homosexual behavior by enacting sodomy laws, which drove homosexuals deeper into the closet.
The church’s stance in this period, however, remained unchanged, with Spencer W. They spoke about homosexuality with disdain and disgust, which reflected the sentiment of their generation.
They saw society’s softening towards homosexuality, including decriminalization, as evidence of society’s deterioration. Because it had been hidden and rarely spoken of in the past, but was now becoming more open and accepted, these church leaders saw it as a rapidly spreading contagion that was infecting society and even the church and was thus a dangerous threat to marriage and family. However, in demonizing homosexuality, they also demonized homosexuals, which caused untold despair and self-loathing among young LDS gay people trying to come to terms with their homosexual feelings in that era. Kimball’s popular book, , first published in 1969, devoted an entire chapter to homosexuality, entitled “Crime Against Nature.” As one LDS historian explained, “[This chapter] is the earliest and most comprehensive treatment on homosexuality by an apostle, and the foundation from which Mormon thought, policy and political action on homosexuality grew for the past 45 years.” Kimball described homosexuality and homosexuals using terms such as, “ugly,” “repugnant,” “ever-deepening degeneracy,” “evil,” “pervert,” deviant,” and “weaklings.” He taught that it was a spiritual disease that could be “cured,” and to those who felt otherwise, he responded: “How can you say the door cannot be opened until your knuckles are bloody, till your head is bruised, till your muscles are sore?
The purpose of this article is to examine the LDS church’s position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage from a doctrinal, moral and empirical perspective. It is hoped that through such an examination the thoughtful reader may: (1) gain a better understanding of the church’s justifications for this position even as it faces mounting criticism and membership loss; (2) gain a more empathetic understanding of what it means to be LGBT in our church; and (3) sincerely and humbly consider our current state of knowledge about what we as a church believe to be God’s will for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
More importantly perhaps, I have gotten to know hundreds of LGBT people on a very personal level.
I have observed their lives and struggles, and I feel like I have come to know and understand the unique challenges they and their families face as Mormons.
, on the history behind the priesthood and temple ban on people of African descent. This article, and the long-forgotten history it brought to light, had an incalculable effect on events leading to President Kimball’s 1978 revelation that overturned the ban.
While I feel inadequate comparing my effort to Lester Bush’s work, his article was a guiding light to me as I set out to write a “Lester Bush” article for LGBT members of the church.