Pondering the Complexities of Transgender Issues

A very intelligent and kind friend of mine shared with me her journey that began with her birth as a boy and ultimately led to sex-reassignment surgery. Her story is amazing but reasonable and sincere. It compels me to recognize that clear-cut models of life and human gender don’t capture the wide diversity that can occur in mortality. What might make sense for the vast majority may not do justice to the complex situations that some may be in. As a result, I feel a renewed need to be more cautious and to withhold judgment in cases that transcend my experience or ability to relate.

In discussing and defending the Church, I frequently make reference to the fallible nature of all humans. Only God and Christ are perfect – here in mortality, all else is open to question and “complexity.” Those who demand perfection, absolute valor, or even consistent good behavior from any human will invariably be disappointed (my wife being the sole mortal exception I know of). Even revelations and scriptures that pass through mortal hands will be subject to apparent error, apparent contradictions, or other complexities. The pervasive puzzles and contradictions of mortal behavior extend to the biological side of mortality as well.

My friend suggests that just as height, weight, skin color, athleticism, and other physical characteristics span wide a wide spectrum, so can characteristics often associated with gender and gender identity. I accept the LDS Proclamation on the Family and its statement on gender: “Each [human] is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” I believe that is true. However, when it comes to the specific expression or manifestation of gender in this mortal realm, there may be some gray areas or puzzling contradictions and complexities that require me to step back and recognize I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps the best I can do is to focus on my duty and be charitable toward others, even when I cannot possibly understand or relate to their complex journey.

Similar thoughts extend to the area of homosexuality. I’ve been reading Born That Way? by Erin Eldridge, an LDS woman who describes her almost superhuman effort over many years to transcend her same-sex attraction and comply with her understanding of how she should live here in mortality. While her story challenges the idea that change in behavior is impossible, it does show that it can be painfully hard, and that simple “cures” and solutions others may offer may not be helpful. Patience, unconditional love, acceptance, and charity are needed to stand by those who do wish to change (and shame on those who condemn them for trying!). I think the same principle should apply to those who wish to make changes that we disapprove of, such as sex-reassignment surgery. Patience, love, and kindness are the most we can do. Perhaps there are matters of behavior or belief that a person’s Church leaders may need to deal with, but for the rest of us, withholding judgment (and freely offering love and kindness) may be the best we can do.

I offer my typical disclaimer that these are easy things to say. Having true charity when we cannot understand another person can be difficult – indeed, charity, actually comes to us as a divine miracle and is one of the least natural human behaviors. But charity is the kind of change in human behavior that I think we all can endorse and hopefully strive for, with God’s help.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

63 thoughts on “Pondering the Complexities of Transgender Issues

  1. I am a 37 year old Christian transwoman who has searched the Scriptures and been in prayer about who I am in Christ since first hearing the gospel at age 18. It's way too complicated to so easily encapsulate into a small comment, but I think you hit the nail on the head about charity. Most of the other believers in Christ and religious people who reached out to me are those who practiced true charity. And in doing so I sensed their true love for Christ, and for me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Great post Jeff, you never cease to amaze me with your insight.

    It is unfortunate, however, that people need to remind us that one of the first and foremost Christlike qualities that we should want to emulate is charity. Especially in situations where we disagree with other people.

  3. You are the one other person I know of who is clear on what the Proclamation DOES say and DOES NOT say on the gender matter, or who at least picked up on it on their own. I believe our spirits are eternally only male or only female but that in mortality a few of us will have situations where our bodies at birth don't accurately express what our spirit is. There are many different ways in which this can happen.

    The vast majority of humankind seems to have been lucky enough to have a perfect spirit/body gender match and may never understand what it's like for somebody who doesn't.


  4. Jeff, of course we always need to be charitable–treating others with kindness and empathy–but what does the practical implementation of a "more charitable" attitude look like on the larger scale?

    I'm sure you know that the Church does not allow people who have had a sex change operation to go to the temple. Would you modify that policy, and how? Should the Church start making judgment calls on whether or not people have changed genders for a good reason or not?

    I'm not trying to be difficult; I actually agree and recognize that there are good people living in a gender-grey area that we need to help. My question is, what excatly do we do for them, beyond being understanding?

    And, Lori, good luck in your search for happiness. I'll pray for you tonight to find the peace and answers you seek.

  5. Huston,

    Part of the answer comes from the Church recognizing that there is, quite often, perhaps not always, a medical basis to gender identity disorder. I think they have come to realize this somewhat over the years. They may even realize it fully now, but each case is still handled on an individual basis as it should be, and not in a public way.

    I believe that when the phenomenon first came to the attention of general authorities that it was seen as somebody taking sexual sin to the extreme, being ungrateful for the body that God has given them, trying to find some sneaky way to have gay sex, etc. But over time they began to learn about things such as chromosomal abnormalities, intersexed conditions and more, and that there were people who have these conditions who are still sincerely trying to live all the commandments.

    Usually a person with XX DNA is a girl and a person with XY is a boy, and even that is not always the case; a baby was born in England recently who looks and acts like a girl, has girl parts, with ovaries and uterus and everything but her DNA was shown to be XY. But if a person has XXY or XXXY chromosomes or some other such situation who is it that determines what the gender of the spirit in that person's body is? To me it's sort of up for grabs, and possibly largely dependent on what gender that person feels like they are.

    You can say, "Well, whatever the person's genitalia is when they are born that determines what their spirit's gender is," and, by and large, that IS the case. But if you look into scientific evidence enough you will find many grey areas to that. So you can then say, "Well, I guess it's not the genitalia that determines gender but the DNA." But if you start looking at all the examples of people who have been born into this world you find that even the DNA issue is not so clear cut. Then what do you do? If you have a person who was born with outward male genitalia but has strongly identified as a female since birth (when Satan is unable to tempt them) is the answer to tell them that their burden is to live as a boy whether they like it or not? That is basically the situation I am in now. It seems to me that the "orthodox" course of action is to stick it out and try the best I can to live as a male even if I'm not very good at it, even if I don't want to despite trying my hardest to, and even if I simply get worse at it over time.

    The partial solution for now is to not think that everyone who is suffering from GID is doing so because of some sin they committed.


  6. You have a great heart. My question and statement is that, yes, we should love those people who do struggle with these tribulations and help the better themselves with it… but leaders tell them not to act on such thoughts and for someone to go through the gender change would that be considered ' acting on the thought?' If that is the case how should you feel that they are not trying and not taking the words of the leaders to heart… Like you said, you dont know the answers and i dont either so all in all love conquers all.


  7. Nicole, well said. Those are exactly the type of complexities in human biology and gender identity that should give us pause. We have to recognize that there are difficult gray areas or situations where our normal rules might not apply.

    I am not trying to tell Church leaders how to make decisions. That is not my role and I will leave it to them, recognizing, of course, that decisions may be made by one individual or at one time that might be made differently by others or in a future era. Just as I wish to be generous with those who struggle with gender issues, I also wish to be generous with mortals struggling with the unsought burden of Church leadership who seek inspiration from God in making difficult decisions that I may or may not agree with within my heart. I wish them the best in their difficult work, and if advances in scientific and medical knowledge help them grapple with some challenging issues, so be it.

  8. Implicit in my response is the recognition that injustice is possible. In fact, it is highly probable in this mortal life. Thus, good people may be misunderstood or harshly judged. I don't have a fix for that. It's mortality. Likewise, people trying to be sympathetic can also fail to properly help people who are making poor decisions, rebelling against God, or even standing as threats to others. There is a need for a judge in Israel, and he can't be all "hey, everything is cool."

  9. Jeff, well said on everything in your last two comments. As far as the last remark goes, and going off the fact that I can't post all my extensive thoughts here, I've tried to subtly hint that we can't just be like, "So, you feel like you want to get a sex change? Then, by all means, go ahead!!" That's why every case is handled on an individual basis.

  10. We know from the church that the lord has given us the wonderfull bodies – We are not alter them. In the church we are told not to have piercing or tatoos. I would say a person who does go through with the such operation has been far from the spirit to help them and has lived a life in more sin than good. The lord will help these people with faith and prayer. I would see it as the adversary controlling this persons life.

  11. Thank you for your post Jeff, and for your comments Nicole. I have been perplexed over the issue of gender identification for a number of years and couldn't possibly imagine why someone would want to have a sex change operation. The notion that someone's spirit gender could be inherently different than the expressed gender of their mortal body has never entered my mind as a possibility. The things spoken of hear definitely give me reason to pause and ponder all the many differences that can happen in these bodies we have while on the earth.

  12. Thanks for recommending Born That Way? I saw that in a bookstore yesterday, and I was hesitant to pick it up not knowing what stand it took. I think I will go back and get it!

  13. We know from the church that the lord has given us the wonderfull bodies – We are not alter them. In the church we are told not to have piercing or tatoos.

    Unfortunately, this comment displays none of the good sense of Jeff's original post. We alter our "wonderful" bodies all the time. We diet or work out. We remove tonsils and appendices. We cosmetically modify cleft palates. We insert artificial joints and synthetic arteries. We perform breast augmentation, nose jobs, and face lifts. (These latter strike me as mostly frivolous, but the Church has never treated them as sinful).

    It may be that gender alterations are medically necessary in some or all cases; broad assertions about the person undergoing the procedure being "sinful" are unhelpful. Jeff's approach of witholding judgment and focusing on charity is the right way to think about the issue.

  14. It seems rather straight forward to me (even in the church's teachings).

    Gender is about mental identity. It is about the soul, if you will speak about that. So, even if you believe in eternal gender, this should not preclude anyone from possibly supporting the plights of those who seek sex reassignment surgery. Because in fact, it's not like they are denying eternal gender.

    Rather, they are recognizing and accepting that gender and recognizing as well that their bodies, as a result of a fallen world, may not be perfect.

    I guess this misunderstanding would begin to alleviate if more people recognized the difference between "gender" and "sex"

  15. Jeff, thanks for a deeply thoughtful presentation of this issue. I wonder if gender attraction shares some similarities to gender identity, having some physical components.

    I admire your compassion extending to those who serve as church leaders. Keeping up with developing understanding of these issues, striving to keep judgement in pace with God's word and inspiration, dealing in love with real people, is not easy.

    My daughter came out earlier this year as gay, so these issues have assumed a much more personal urgency, as it has put a huge wedge between her and the church, and I hope for ways of reconciliation between them.


  16. When you understand and believe the doctrines of the restored Gospel you won't be striving for anything other than a man/woman marital relationship (meaning a person with a male spirit pairing up with a person with a female spirit). If you find yourself struggling with homosexuality or transsexuality or whatever you will do what it takes to deal with it properly, even if it means waiting until the next life. It may not always take that long though.

  17. Hope this doesn't change the subject too much. I think I will be in the clear.

    One thing my mere mortal mind can't understand is why would the Lord allow someone to be born and have feelings towards one of the same sex. Doesn't this affect their agency in a way? If they aren't attracted towards the opposite sex than it is far less likely that they will ever marry one of the opposite sex and have kids. Then doesn't this preclude them having children and a spouse to be sealed to? What happens to that 3rd degree of glory then? I know they can be sealed later on after death but why? Does the Lord allow it as a test or challenge? (Cop out answer, sometimes)Or does he just let nature take its course.

    I believe many gay people genuinely have feelings towards only those of the same sex. I find this to be unfair. But I guess I will always defer to the Lord's wisdom.

  18. "I believe many gay people genuinely have feelings towards only those of the same sex."

    This may be an issue some struggle with (apparently) but the problem is in seeing it as some set in stone thing. When a person is convinced that they are incontrovertibly gay then they are unlikely to ever change. When they see it is a struggle that can come to an end (even though it may take a long time) it'll make things easier.


    Actually, I'll leave with this thought from noted LDS psychologist, Carlfred Broderick:

    I think that I am as knowledgeable about the condition we call homosexuality as any heterosexual in the Church. My life has brought me into close association with many fine people whom, fortunately, I had the privilege of knowing well before I knew of their sexual orientation. My professional activities have led me to be a student of the research on this condition. As a priesthood leader and as a therapist I have worked with many people over the years as they have struggled with difficulties they face in resolving the tensions between the homosexual lifestyle and the gospel path. No one knows what determines that one individual will be drawn toward members of his own sex and another to the opposite sex. There is beginning to be some evidence that there may be a biochemical factor. Perhaps certain life experiences make the opposite sex seem more dangerous and less attractive to some than to others. Whatever the origins, I have never met a homosexual who remembered choosing to be so oriented. Each experiences it as an unbidden affliction.

    Given that premise, it has nevertheless been my observation that those who act on those unbidden feelings lose the Spirit and before they know it are pulled step by step into a world at complete odds with the Kingdom. Those who earnestly seek to conform to the Plan are provided small miracle after small miracle until they are able to experience every blessing of the gospel. I have yet to find an exception to this rule. This puts me at odds with both those who treat men and women with homosexual feelings as though they were voluntary perverts and also with those who insist that there can be no genuine reconciliation between such persons and the highest standards of the Kingdom.

  19. Good Morning All,

    I can not pretend to understand what it means to be homosexual as I am not. As such I have no concept of the world from that point of view. I can tell you though, that a former roommate of mine was a lesbian. She would often bring her lover to our home, and it was very much an eye opening experience for me. Here's what I learned.

    People who are homosexual are no different than those of us who are heterosexual. They have the same wants and desires as you and I. My roommate was a very kind and giving person. She lived as Christlike of an existence as any other person I've met. Her parents, being of a fairly conservative protestant faith, condemned her as being destined to hell because of her lesbian actions. That's gotten me thinking over the years as to what God would want us to do.

    It seems to me, that none of can truly say whether God will accept the transgendered or the homosexual into his kingdom. We do know that he loves them, because they are his children, just as you and I are. If God allows someone to be born with homosexual leanings…the DNA makes them prone to attraction to the same sex…then it seems that God must have a plan that we neither know, nor understand. Our job as Christians is to love the sinner, we don't have to love the sin. God will work out the details of what happens to the homosexual or the transgendered.

    Its far to easy to take the absolute position, espoused by an anonymous blogger from yesterday, that God gave us these wonderful bodies, and acting on homosexual tendencies is the adversary acting on us. Our respective churches may teach that, but it doesn't mean they are right. We as Christians need to take a higher road, and show compassion, empathy, and support; not condemnation to Hell. We are called upon to love our neighbours, even the homosexual or the transgendered. When pondering this complex issue, it seems prudent, at least to me it does, for us to do what God calls upon us to do, and let him work out the details. As for my friend, and former roommate, I believe she will be taken care of, even if she is attracted to someone of the same sex, and even if she has acted upon those feelings because I believe in a merciful God who will take all of a person's life into consideration, not just a snapshot portion of it.


    Catholic Defender

  20. This may be slightly off topic, but the comments about how compelling GID desires can be made me think of some of the more dangerous addictions that surround us. A crack, heroin or porn addict wrestles with desires which may never go away. A member of our ward in Pittsburgh once admitted without hesitation that he could still pick up a cigarette and smoke it, 40 years after quitting, but that he does not because he has a testimony of the WoW.

    NOTE: I am NOT trying to say those who suffer with GID have made a bad decision to cause it. In fact, I'd lean the other way: I would submit that many who suffer from addictions that are "their own fault" made a choice, a long time ago, without any clue how terrible the consequences would be. I suspect most would erase that fatal choice in an instant if it were possible.

    In that sense I think we would do well to extend Jeff's advice to all who suffer from desires which run counter to the gospel.

  21. Ryan, I think you are trying to understand and for that you get credit. What this post is about is the fact that some people are born into this life with bodies that are not strictly male or female, even if their outward appearance is male or female. Even then there are cases where a person's outward appearance has male and female characteristics. One example of this is when somebody who appears to be a male starts growing breasts due to having an XXY karyotype. There are also things that could occur with the genitalia such as a person having ovotestes. There are many more examples but I don't need to get into them all here.

    This is not the same as a boy getting into pornography when he's 11 or somebody taking crack at 20 and having to deal with the fallout for the rest of their lives. If someone has an XXY DNA karyotype that is their body basically saying it is half male and half female. What kind of spirit goes into a half male and half female body? A male spirit or a female spirit? Many XXY people identify as male but maybe about 20% of them feel as though they have a female spirit. Until they find out they are XXY they can't figure out why they feel like a female and experience lots of guilt and shame over something that occurred through no fault of their own. When they do find out they are XXY then things make sense to them. If someone has a female spirit in an XXY body is the solution to tell them to live with the pain and angst until they die? Is the solution to tell them to try to get married to someone with a female spirit in a female body? Does that make everything better?

    I do understand that this stuff is hard to wrap your head around if you haven't dealt with transgendered issues much before.


  22. Nicole,

    I'm actually aware of many strange things that can happen when chromosomes go wrong (including all the ones you mentioned), and as I tried to say, I'm not trying to tie GID back to drugs, etc. at all. In fact, it wasn't even supposed to be a comment about GID so much as one triggered by it (hence the worry about off-topic).

    It just struck me that it really doesn't matter how someone became the way they are if they struggle against nearly impossible forces to change (or even endure) their current situation.

    So, whether it's GID, infertility, some addiction, being a single parent with several small children, battling disease or injury, loss of a loved one, not being able to find a spouse, stuck in gang life, or whatever, the answer is the same: they've got a real battle on their hands and need support and love to get through it (and most of us are in no position to understand, let alone judge).

    Back on topic, I'd never considered the implications of spirit vs. body gender mismatches before, and I don't think there is a clean answer to that issue, other than what C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity (paraphrasing big time here):

    "Many of us will be shocked, upon arriving at the other side of the veil, at who will and will not be saved. The deviant sinner we thought we knew, stripped of his mortal handicaps, may very well outshine the externally pious but sin-cankered soul we sat next to in church each Sunday. Only God can judge, for He alone knows both our heart and the unique baggage we are forced to carry though mortality."

  23. Thanks for the clarification. I guess I was kind of addressing you and kind of addressing a prior commenter (with the timestamp of "11:47 AM, July 30, 2009") who seemed like they hadn't read everything here that might've helped them understand this issue better.

    I've also been meaning to gratefully respond to Andrew who said, "Because in fact, it's not like they are denying eternal gender."

    That is true. Most people with GID in the Church are seeking gender clarification, not gender neutralization, at least the ones who understand the Gospel best.


  24. Wow, a friend of mine sent me the link and I was the second one to comment. I just came back to an intriguing discussion (and someone sincerely caring for my well being).

    My own blog has documented my own journey through transition (at least the last year of it). It's at http://lorisrevival.blogspot.com if anyone cares to see some of the ups and downs of this, as well as the way I believe God sees me.

    I'm not Mormon, but i believe that I have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. I believe that I am forgiven, and I believe that God allowed this to happen to me for his purpose and glory, something I'll truly not understand while in this mortal body.

    I haven't written about the following Scripture at length yet, but John 9, when the man born blind was brought before Jesus and he was asked, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

    "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

    From my earliest memories, I always felt this sense of incongruency between my mind and body. I've prayed what felt like seventy times seven that God would remove this cup from me. But it wasn't until I honestly bowed before him and said, "nevertheless, not my will but yours be done," and decided to live authentically as Lori that my relationship with Christ actually INCREASED. My desire and hunger to see the works of God manifest on this earth has grown, and I have more of a heart for people including those who are LGB and T especially than ever before.

    To start fighting Scripture against Scripture in hopes of being divisive would prove unfruitful. This is simply the best way I can explain my perspective of why I am the way that I am.

    Fearfully, and wonderfully made.

    Thank (most) of you all for having such a tempered discussion about charity. It's refreshing.

  25. "Those who earnestly seek to conform to the Plan are provided small miracle after small miracle until they are able to experience every blessing of the gospel. I have yet to find an exception to this rule."

    Carlfred Broderick needs to get out more. I could put him in touch with five people right now who are most definitely exceptions to this 'rule'. All five felt more worthless the more they strived to conform with the teachings of the church on homosexuality. At least one became suicidal.

    As for transgender, when so-called truth does not match reality, you have to question that truth and test it. Trans men cannot hold the priesthood. Transgender men and women who have SRS cannot get a temple recommend. The reason for this is that the temple ordinances are gender-specific and the church clearly does not accept their gender identity but only their assigned gender at birth. (Where that leaves intersexed folk I do not know.)

    There were many reasons, most of them doctrinal, that I stopped attending church. But it was this exact issue that finally made me decide that this move was permanent. People with GID present a conundrum the church cannot solve, and does not handle with compassion and honesty.

    The emphasis on gender, gender roles and division between gender in the church make it easy to categorise people and put them in little boxes. But it isn't real. People aren't like that. People are born not like that.

    It is not enough to say that every difference from the LDS doctrinal norm is a trial to be borne. It is not enough to offer paternalistic 'love' for the 'afflicted' that continues to dictate what they must do – what unhappiness and pain and confusion they must suffer – in order to be deemed worthy.

    This is reality. People's brains don't always match their bodies. We can't JUST love them. We also have to BELIEVE them, ACCEPT that what they tell us, no matter how foreign it might be to our own experience, is TRUE. And accept that difference is not wrong. It just is.

    I am so pleased, Jeff, that you have determined to 'be more cautious and to withhold judgment in cases that transcend my experience or ability to relate' but you still go on to make it sound as if church leaders can (and have the right to) deal with these matters in accordance with the limited doctrine and harsh church policy that exists on transgender.

  26. Thank you, Jeff for posting this blog. While I am not transgendered, I am friends with many that are. Since the day that I first learned about this situation, my heart went out to anyone having to deal with this life crisis. I have seen the pain and anguish that the transgendered go through; how it rips their lives up. For one second, I don't believe that this is anything that is "chosen." It just is. I have come to learn that being their true identity is something that they have to do, b/c if they don't, they can no longer deal with the suffering and many wind up taking their own lives. I am Christian and believe that there is significant reason behind this; although I don't quite understand it (why anyone should have to go through this). There are so many loving, amazingly kind, intelligent people out there with GID. It bothers me that there are people out there that are so unkind and cruel to them, bestowing their judgment on them, when they haven't walked a mile in their shoes. They deserve to be treated with love, kindness, and just being treated like a human being. Don't we all?

  27. "All five felt more worthless the more they strived to conform with the teachings of the church on homosexuality."

    There is nothing saying that anybody has to have any type of sexual relationship. You can have somebody who's 18 or 21 or 31 or whatever who thinks, "Well, I'm struggling with homosexuality now and it hasn't gone away yet and I have to have a relationship with someone so that forces me into a homosexual relationship." Actually, no it doesn't. I have heard straight guys say, "It's taking me too long to get married and I have to do something about this sex drive I have so I can't wait until marriage anymore to have sex." Actually, yes they can wait. There is nothing forcing you into any kind of sexual relationship. It's not just about homosexuality. It's about keeping the commandments. There will be numerous ways you can be tempted away from a good, temple marriage. A struggle with homosexuality is only one of them. If you accept the doctrine of eternal marriage you'll do what it takes to achieve it no matter how long and hard the path. If you don't accept it then what are you complaining about? If you do accept it but think it should include homosexual relationships then your answer is to start your own church, which you have the freedom to do. I am an example of somebody who is far from perfect but who has a testimony of the Gospel and doesn't let other mortal's shortcomings take away her activity in the Church and who has chosen not to have sexual relations until her issues get worked out (yes, the opportunity to have sex has arisen once or twice in my life), so it can be done. I am living proof of it. I do fully understand though that what your five friends are going through must be very difficult, so this is not castigating them, it is offering them hope.

    "The reason for this is that the temple ordinances are gender-specific and the church clearly does not accept their gender identity but only their assigned gender at birth."

    That's not true, actually. That is your overly generalized take on the matter that you use as an excuse to lead you away from activity in the Church.

    "(Where that leaves intersexed folk I do not know.)"

    From what I know the Church is understanding and handling the intersexed situation better as time goes on.

    chosha, I wish I had time to answer all your assertions. I've discussed these matters before elsewhere with others until their concerns have been resolved and the same thing can happen for you. The one thing I will say here is that I know enough about the matter to know that transsexuals are receiving better treatment overall as time goes on. I hope you can participate in the slow but steady renaissance. Or you can just be mad and angry about it.

    And thanks for your comment, Reagan. I believe I have seen you over on the Pink Essence site. Good to have non-trans people like you and Jeff advocating for us; it'll help in the long run, although I wouldn't blame Jeff if he's not exactly trying to make this his life's crusade.

  28. Is it true that those that seek to undergo a sex change cannot hold the Priesthood or have temple ordinances performed? Rather than be seen a a punishment, could it be a recognition that ordinances are gender based and without the knowledge of gender in the case of someone with GID, that those ordinances will have to wait for a further clarification of said gender in the next life?

  29. Vis-a-vis chosa's comment here are a few concerns with her experiences with those who are gay.

    Experience doesn't necessarily equal truth whether its the anecdotes of the the psychologist or yourself. We should and ought to strive to understand people, but there is no impetus for someone to believe ME when I testify of the truth of the gospel anymore that I must believe in the authenticity of gay or lesbian or transgendered person. The reasons people believe the way they do (just as with religion) can be caused by cultural and belief factors that are misguided and wrong.

    That doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to at least understand and appreciate their reasoning. This is the love I think we are talking about. It's accepting the plausibility of their premises that is the loving part regardless of whether we accept the truthfulness of them. We "love them" yes, we should visit them, befriend them, treat them as equals–this is love, not accepting your version of truth as truth. By this logic, I should be offended and hurt by all those that don't believe in my Mormon experiences.

  30. "Is it true that those that seek to undergo a sex change cannot hold the Priesthood or have temple ordinances performed?"

    I think that is generally the case but I'm not sure it has been the case in every specific instance.

    "Rather than be seen as a punishment, could it be a recognition that ordinances are gender based and without the knowledge of gender in the case of someone with GID, that those ordinances will have to wait for a further clarification of said gender in the next life?"

    Yes, I think it could be something like that. I know of how a number of different cases have been handled and I can't get into all the particulars here but I don't believe that the Church is just giving a kneejerk, blanket condemnation to every transsexual. Sometimes it's more like, "Let's just do the best we can for now and save the rest for later." We know anyways that the Millennium will be a time of working out a lot of kinks that occurred in mortality.


  31. pjbrownie said: " The reasons people believe the way they do (just as with religion) can be caused by cultural and belief factors that are misguided and wrong."

    I agree, I'm glad you pointed out the part of viewing religion can be misguided and wrong as well. It seems like there are things the "church" eventually realize aren't based on gospel at all but on keeping cultural expectations the status quo. I think that's why Christ said in Luke 6:42, "How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

    Choosing to let God be judge and not our own hearts should be at the forefront of charity.

  32. Well said, Jeff.

    A good friend of mine revealed his homosexuality to friends and family two years ago. While I struggled with my friend's decision to live as a homosexual, I realized that my duty was to love him and withhold judgment.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

  33. "While I struggled with my friend's decision to live as a homosexual, I realized that my duty was to love him and withhold judgment."

    That is true and good thing for you to do as his friend. That doesn't change the fact, however, that homosexual relationships cannot be made eternal in the celestial kingdom. Just like with the smoking thing that used to be talked about more in the Church and which fortunately we don't see much of anymore. You can have a friend who smokes and you don't have to condemn them or ostracize them but it doesn't change that their behavior is bad for them.


  34. There is a distinct difference between homosexuality and gender identity.

    Whilst I can just about buy the argument (without necessarily accepting it) proposed that DMA materials can affect the way in which a human being relates more as a man or a woman in terms of gender, the relational argument is totally thrown out Biblically in terms of homosexuality.

    In Genesis 19 there are explicit events in Sodom and Gomorrah, where the angel visitors to Lot were requested by a mob outside the house who wanted to 'know' them. Biblically where this is mentioned it is usually in a sexual sense when a husband and wife are summarised to bear their offspring. In the term here in Gen 19, there is no way that the men (old and young) had any such intentions of bearing children and indeed had the visitors biologically been 'men' and not angels, this would have been impossible. This account is a vivid description of perversity at it's worst.

    Another example that comes to mind is found in Leviticus 20:13
    13If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    It may seem hard to swallow, but Biblically this is an abomination to God. We may not need to apply the same capital punishment in today's society, but the sin is still an abomination to God. God does not change and the God's final punishment will not be changed either.

    Don't like some of the OT language, fast forward to the NT …
    Homosexuals. [Gr. arsenokoitai.] A term appearing once in the RSV (1 Cor 6:9), where the KJV reads “abusers of themselves with mankind.” The Greek term denotes male homosexuals, pederasts, or sodomites.

    The list of sins found in vs. 9, 10 includes most of the common sins of the flesh (see Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:3–7). If a man persists in cherishing any of these evil habits, he will be excluded from the kingdom of God. He who lives a life of slavery to the sins of the flesh not only forfeits his own chance of a share in the glorious inheritance of the saints but passes on to his offspring a legacy of weakness, both physical and spiritual.

    At the end of the day homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and not a necessity for life. Just as gluttony is a choice about eating food, homosexuality is a choice for a same-sex partner. Choose to sin or choose not to sin – that is the question!

  35. That last comment about the use of the Greek aresenokoitai merits much discussion, but not here. This thread seems to almost get hijacked by the insistence on talking about homosexuality vs. gender identity. The explanation the last commenter provided was very limited in scope and understanding of the that Greek term (and you might as well talk about "malakoi" also. For a more in depth explanation, see: http://fogarty.org/tim/gay_issues/word_arsenokoitai.html

    And yes, I studied Koine Greek for two years, though I'll gladly leave the term "scholar" to others.