The debate about homosexuality and genetics will heat up again with one recent study claiming to have found evidence for genetic predisposition to homosexuality. Some previous studies making strong claims for genetic origins of homosexuality were found to be highly questionable, but this one may have a better basis. If genetic factors do influence homosexuality, is it somehow unfair to call homosexual behavior a sin?
I would suggest that many external factors outside our choice influence our lives and the temptations we face. Whether it is biology, upbringing, peers, climate, sunspot activity, astrology, fluoride in the water, or a host of external factors, we each face different temptations and challenges that we must overcome. Some are easy, some seem to take a huge toll on us. Rather than share too much about my own weaknesses, let me give an example related to the Word of Wisdom, but one that can be applied to much more personal parts of our lives. Personally, I think I might be genetically predisposed to adore coffee – the aroma of some brews drives me crazy with desire – but for the cause of Zion and my own spiritual welfare, I must not yield to that temptation. Now that may seem like a pretty trivial thing compared to sexuality (not so, according to some coffee connoisseurs), but avoiding sexuality outside of marriage is asked of all of us, and for some, that has meant never experiencing physical intimacy – and it almost always means delaying that beyond what the world considers “normal.”
Many heterosexual men and women, adhering to high standards of morality and high standards for a potential spouse, end up remaining single throughout their lives, though they wished to marry. For those who feel homosexual orientation and do not seek marriage, the standards of the Gospel still apply, and can be lived. We are each unique, and God knows and loves each of us – and will give us strength to abide by His commandments. He doesn’t change the laws He asks us to live – but can change the hearts of those willing to live them.
Regardless of its origins, it is critically important to understand that homosexuals can change: for some, the change to heterosexual life in the confines of marriage has been possible and successful; for others, the change has been one of gaining self-control and resisting temptation, though the inclinations may remain. In no way am I declaring that all homosexuals can completely change and never feel homosexual inclinations, but for many, dramatic change has been possible. See my page, “Responding to Gay Activists: Homosexuality Can Be Changed.” An excellent resource is DrThrockmorton.com, with lots of excellent material, including information about the documentary, I Do Exist. I bought a copy of that DVD and found it to be fascinating. Gay activists insist that no homosexual has ever changed, but this is simply an incredible lie. Not easy, but for those who wish to – and there are many – change is possible. And with God’s help, I firmly believe that dramatic change is possible – certainly power to resist whatever moral temptation may come our way, regardless of genes and environment. That’s good news for some.
Temptation may always be with us – I wish I could completely eliminate the lure of my own temptations that remind me of just how mortal I am, and how great the need to always be cautious and seek strength from the Lord to overcome temptation each day. As Paul put it so well, we must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (that’s from Philippians 2:12 – a verse that has been removed from many modern Bibles, it seems), and “let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest ye fall” (this oft-deleted verse is 1 Cor. 10:12).