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Growing number of gay Christians choose celibacy

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When I am asked what I would do if I discovered that I was predominantly attracted to the same sex my quick answer is, "I'd be celibate."  What else is there?  I wouldn't enter into a relationship that I could not give myself passionately towards.  LIkewise, I wouldn't enter one that violated God's commands.  And, at least for traditional Christians, there is a long history of those who chose to be celibate so they could fully dedicate themselves to God's work.

 

Turns out that this course of action is more controversial than I thought.  LBGT folk and some Christians are uncomfortable because celibacy denies the goal of those who want LBGT to be fully who they are and fully able to engage in church life on the one hand, and it suggests that desires cannot be corrected on the other.

 

I still embrace this as the most likely course of successful action for a commited believer who is same-sex attracted.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/gay-christians-choosing-celibacy-emerge-from-the-shadows/2014/12/13/51c73aea-6ab2-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html

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It has to be such an enormously difficult thorn to live with, and to choose a celibate and lonely life is honorable. I wouldn't dare speculate what I would do. I hope I would choose that way, but I haven't been faced with such a hard thing.

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I continue to believe that much of the loosening attitudes about sex (whether gay or straight) in our society over the past four decades has been calculated to bring as many new potential partners onto the sexual market as possible (under the new morality, a man can have intercourse with seven women in a week, not have to commit to or provide for any of them--and the women involved will all think it's just evidence of how much freedom and respect men are giving them these days. Harems? HAH! As a modern male, in a very real sense, the whole world can be my harem if that's the life I choose).

Unfortunately, now that 1/3 of Americans have an STD, the demand for fresh (undiseased) meat has only intensified. It doesn't matter how progressive you are in thought and even in word--if you aren't making your body available, you are betraying The Cause. (This university sexual assault and "yes means yes" brouhaha plays right into that; because when everything's rape--sooner or later--nothing is. I mean, isn't this whole "consent" thing getting kind of ridiculous? Society already agrees, in principle, with nonconsensual redistribution of the proceeds of the labor of one's body. Why not just take the next step and allow for nonconsensual redistribution of the body itself? I'm sure our best and brightest academics will be quite able to drum up a scientific explanation as to why such compulsion actually serves some essential economic, equitable, and/or public health interest . . .)

The scorn that the architects, acolytes, and useful idiots of this movement have for the celibate is not coincidental--it's part and parcel of the whole campaign.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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It's not so terrible.  I am forced into celibacy because I am a traditional Christian who is unmarried.  It was probably not my preferred way of life when I was younger, but it doesn't bother me as much now.  Of course, others may have very different opinions.

 

And I must say that celibacy has some benefits.  I don't ever worry about getting an STD or accidentally getting a woman pregnant, or even of injuring (psychologically) a woman by casual sex before marriage.  I feel sort of like a pruned vine.  I'm very aware of something missing, but what has remained has become stronger and more resilient in some ways.

 

But I agree with the comments above.  Over the course of my lifetime I've seen a huge shift in people's attitude toward sex.  Nowadays it's almost a recreational thing that any consenting adults can do at any time, almost like finding tennis partners on Craigslist. 

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When I am asked what I would do if I discovered that I was predominantly attracted to the same sex my quick answer is, "I'd be celibate."  What else is there?  I wouldn't enter into a relationship that I could not give myself passionately towards.  LIkewise, I wouldn't enter one that violated God's commands.  And, at least for traditional Christians, there is a long history of those who chose to be celibate so they could fully dedicate themselves to God's work.

 

Turns out that this course of action is more controversial than I thought.  LBGT folk and some Christians are uncomfortable because celibacy denies the goal of those who want LBGT to be fully who they are and fully able to engage in church life on the one hand, and it suggests that desires cannot be corrected on the other.

 

I still embrace this as the most likely course of successful action for a commited believer who is same-sex attracted.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/gay-christians-choosing-celibacy-emerge-from-the-shadows/2014/12/13/51c73aea-6ab2-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html

 

Just wondering - how do you reconcile this situation with true conversion - being born again of the spirit of G-d?  Becoming a new creature born of G-d; of his way, his commandments and one with his purpose?   What does committed believer mean to you and your chosen faith?

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How do I reconcile being born again with continuing to be tempted by sin?  Jesus was perfect, and yet was tempted.  Are we not told to buffet are bodies daily...to subdue 'the flesh?'  Those who forgo physical gratification for chastity and gospel service deserve our highest respect and support.  We believe Paul chose celibacy purely so that he could serve the gospel without distraction, so it makes even more sense for one attracted to that which s/he cannot do in righteousness to embrace this form of purity.

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Just wondering - how do you reconcile this situation with true conversion - being born again of the spirit of G-d?  Becoming a new creature born of G-d; of his way, his commandments and one with his purpose?   What does committed believer mean to you and your chosen faith?

 

I think this is the thing Paul talks about in the latter half of Romans 7 and the beginning of Romans 8; which I interpret as more or less the same thing CS Lewis put this way:

 

 

[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.
Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Can I add a few thoughts of my own.

 

1) Almost anytime I see this topic, I am reminded of Laura Brotherson's Involuntary Celibacy post on her blog: http://www.strengtheningmarriage.com/involuntary-celibacy/ In many ways, the question of gays and celibacy begins to revolve around what we really believe is the role and place of our sexuality within our mortal and eternal existence. After years in a sexless marriage, I can safely say, like Eowyn, that I don't envy anyone the difficulty of needing to make this kind of choice.

 

2) The basic "tone" of the comments here seems to bemoan whatever it is about the LGBT movement that would ridicule a person's choice to be celibate. I can certainly agree with this idea. Where it becomes problematic for me is to wonder if we as LDS and conservative Christians are guilty of the opposite but same "crime" -- ridiculing someone for their choice to not be celibate. The LDS church's present stance seems to be one where homosexuals are expected to commit to a life of celibacy (unless they decide to try their hand at a mixed orientation marriage), or "leave" the faith be disfellowshipped/excommunicated. Being on either end of the spectrum seems to me to be intellectually equally intolerant.

 

A lot of this question for me is rooted in discernment -- are homosexual relationship truly sinful in God's eyes or not. At present, I cannot say that I have a testimony one way or the other, so I choose to trust that our church leadership is in tune with God's will on this. As long as we feel that our prophet and apostles are teaching God's will, then I guess we don't have much choice, on the surface.

 

3) Perhaps another aspect of this topic for me is in the "how does one treat a sinner". What "sins" are we supposed to "cast someone out" for and what sins are "tolerated" (in the sense that we allow the sinner to associate with us)? This is the kind of thing that really stood out to me in this discussion  (http://lds.net/forums/topic/54539-i-just-read-this-blog-on-ssa-learned-a-few-things/ ) highlighting a few cases where a few gay couples have figure out ways to be a partial part (if that makes sense) of our community, while "living in sin" so to speak. How do we strike that balance between "preaching boldly against sin" while tolerating or even encouraging openly unrepentant sinners to associate with us? In many ways, I feel like we are still trying to figure this out as a community.

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I have a close friend who is going through exactly this, and yes he's a member of the Church.

I also had a co-worker once, who was gay.  I told him about my friend, and he said "It's sad that he can't be who he is in order to stay in your church."

 

I reject that mentality wholeheartedly.  Who was my co-worker to judge whether or not my friend was "being who he is?"  My friend alone gets to decide that.  He is exactly who he wants to be - a man who places God's will higher than his own wants and desires.  He is a man for whom his spiritual path is more important than any other aspect of his life.

 

To say that a man with same-sex attraction isn't being himself simply because he chooses not to engage in a relationship is to suggest that our sexual appetites are what defines who we are above all.  I am married to a woman, but the fact that I'm heterosexual isn't my singular defining characteristic.  

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When I am asked what I would do if I discovered that I was predominantly attracted to the same sex my quick answer is, "I'd be celibate."  What else is there?  I wouldn't enter into a relationship that I could not give myself passionately towards.  LIkewise, I wouldn't enter one that violated God's commands.  And, at least for traditional Christians, there is a long history of those who chose to be celibate so they could fully dedicate themselves to God's work.

 

Turns out that this course of action is more controversial than I thought.  LBGT folk and some Christians are uncomfortable because celibacy denies the goal of those who want LBGT to be fully who they are and fully able to engage in church life on the one hand, and it suggests that desires cannot be corrected on the other.

 

I still embrace this as the most likely course of successful action for a commited believer who is same-sex attracted.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/gay-christians-choosing-celibacy-emerge-from-the-shadows/2014/12/13/51c73aea-6ab2-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html

were I to go down a path I knew was destructive spiritually, and still had some fear of God, distancing myself or keeping my self from dragging down/ harming another would be pretty high on my list

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I do not believe that Christ was tempted. The adversary sought to tempt him, but Christ was not tempted to commit sin.

 

Thank you for highlighting a doctrinal difference I was not aware of.  It is traditional Christian teaching that Jesus was tempted by Satan.  Apparently, official LDS teaching sources agree that the Bible seems to say this.  However, the JST disagrees, saying that it was the Spirit that led Jesus to the desert, and up to the pinnacle.  I'm not sure the implications of this are appropriate for this string, but it is an interesting difference, that probably has significant implications.

 

https://www.lds.org/manual/primary-7-new-testament/lesson-7-jesus-christ-was-tempted-by-satan?lang=eng

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The LDS understanding is similar if not identical to that of traditional Christianity: Christ was tempted of Satan. The JST merely specifies that it wasn't Satan's power that was taking Jesus from place to place, but the power of God, and that Satan was merely there as a tempter.

 

bytor's distinction is one that I have heard before among Latter-day Saints, and seems to stem from the idea that a God could not feel such base temptation from the evil one. I disagree with this opinion. Jesus was a man of flesh, just as we are, and that flesh was as subject to temptation as is ours. That Jesus refused to yield to temptation shows how perfect he was, not that he felt no temptation.

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bytor's distinction is one that I have heard before among Latter-day Saints, and seems to stem from the idea that a God could not feel such base temptation from the evil one. I disagree with this opinion. Jesus was a man of flesh, just as we are, and that flesh was as subject to temptation as is ours. That Jesus refused to yield to temptation shows how perfect he was, not that he felt no temptation.

 

I don't think it is a debate unique to LDS, either. I have seen this in several places amongst other Christians. They use the term "peccability". I suspect that, for any group that believes Christ was both human and God/divine/perfect, there is going to be some wrestling with the question of whether Christ could truly experience temptation like we experience temptation or not.

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Perhaps the distinction is what constitutes sin and does temptation fall into the category of sin. If it does, then Christ was not tempted because HE was sinless. If temptation can be a sin, which temptations are sin and which are not.....or at what point does a temptation become sin without physically doing the sin?

 

I believe that Christ recognized sin and temptation to sin but was not himself tempted to do so. Semantics perhaps.....

Edited by bytor2112

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You know what would be so cool is if we can post a thread that says, "Growing number of unmarried Christians choose celibacy..."

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Perhaps the distinction is what constitutes sin and does temptation fall into the category of sin. If it does, then Christ was not tempted because HE was sinless. If temptation can be a sin, which temptations are sin and which are not.....or at what point does a temptation become sin without physically doing the sin?

 

I believe that Christ recognized sin and temptation to sin but was not himself tempted to do so. Semantics perhaps.....

 

I think, perhaps, it might be clarified better by speaking of it in terms of desire rather than sin. We can fairly easily substantiate that being tempted is not sin. But we know that we will be judged by the desires of our hearts too. But this can get confusing. Because is not temptation, at it's basic level, desire?

 

The idea that Christ had any desire to do evil doesn't sit well with me. So I tend towards that side of the debate. However, we know that Christ was human, and in taking upon himself mortality also took upon himself hunger, pain, fatigue, and the like. As giving into some of these base needs is sin (gluttony, idleness, being lazy, lust, etc), there is certainly a level where our physical bodies desiring something, but our turning away from it never did or does constitute sin. As in, feeling tired at church, feeling hungry when fasting, having a sex drive, etc.

 

But there is a certain difference that we can apply to the understanding of what desire is. Perhaps this puts the debate squarely into the semantic realm. But those of us who have some life experience and some maturity understand this difference. There is a distinct difference between having a sex drive and actually desiring to cheat on one's spouse, for example. I have no desire to cheat on my spouse. None. And yet, my core physical drive certainly wouldn't agree with that if I gave into that basest drive.

 

Another way one might look at it. Someone we love slips to fall off a cliff. We grab them by the hand. For the sake of the argument, let's make them heavy. Do we "desire" to let go? Our arm hurts. We're slipping ourselves. Our muscles are giving in. Our body can't take the strain. Etc., etc? And yet, can we not fairly say that we have no desire to let go and see our loved one fall to their deaths? 

 

It's at this level where I believe that Christ had no desire to sin. Yes, He was mortal, and with that came mortal drive. But His feelings and intent never, ever slipped, I believe, into a state of "I sure want to sin" or the like. I even believe that when he said, "Let this cup pass from me" that it was said to teach and show his willingness to submit to the will of the father than it was an honest desire to give up on His love and sacrifice for us.

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I don't think it is a debate unique to LDS, either. I have seen this in several places amongst other Christians. They use the term "peccability". I suspect that, for any group that believes Christ was both human and God/divine/perfect, there is going to be some wrestling with the question of whether Christ could truly experience temptation like we experience temptation or not.

 

You are probably right.  Count me on the side of those who believe that Jesus was fully tempted.  The temptations might have been felt even more purely, since he was himself pure.  Think of the naïve young man who goes to Las Vegas and sees scantily dressed, pretty woman who seem to really dig him. 

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Perhaps the distinction is what constitutes sin and does temptation fall into the category of sin. If it does, then Christ was not tempted because HE was sinless. If temptation can be a sin, which temptations are sin and which are not.....or at what point does a temptation become sin without physically doing the sin?

 

I believe that Christ recognized sin and temptation to sin but was not himself tempted to do so. Semantics perhaps.....

 

I've always taught that temptation is not sin, so being tempted is not sin.  Sin is in the doing.  On the other hand, lust is not temptation.  So "thinking about it" is not temptation--it is sin.  Noticing is not, dwelling on is.  Hope my view is clear here.

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You are probably right.  Count me on the side of those who believe that Jesus was fully tempted.  The temptations might have been felt even more purely, since he was himself pure.  Think of the naïve young man who goes to Las Vegas and sees scantily dressed, pretty woman who seem to really dig him. 

 

By inference, Jesus was naïve. I don't think so.

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My intention was to compare the intensity of temptation Jesus experienced to that of a naive young man facing the same--NOT to imply that Jesus was naive.  His handling of the Pharisees, Saduccees, Teachers of the Law, Roman leaders, and even his own disciples, all suggest that Jesus was perceptive and most aware.

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