Elder Oaks Tackles a Hard Hitting Question


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This is an issue that has plagued my ward for years now.  I really appreciate that he taught that Church leaders and teachers have the responsibility to teach the truths of the gospel.  One cannot effectively teach the truth if in one breath they teach the family proclamation, and in the next they refer to someone using eternally/biologically inaccurate pronouns; in doing so, they sacrifice the truth and tear down their own witness.

I appreciate the entirety of his answer, but that part struck me as an excellent way to lead out.

I appreciate the way he noted the parable.  I think what may be lost on many is that in the parable, while the accusers are turned away from their judgement, the woman is also instructed to turn away from her sins.  When members use pronouns, or engage in 'affirming' behaviors, they are supporting the falsehood or sin.  This would be contextually similar to Christ referring to the woman's partner in the sin, as if he were her husband; doing so would entirely unravel the Savior's instruction.

I appreciate the girl being so bold as to ask, and Elder Oaks being willing to answer.

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The young lady’s letter was insightful.

Many adults in the church are being taught (brainwashed) in schools or their places of work and are bringing their ‘understanding’ back to the classrooms of the church.

I anticipate that we will continue to receive insightful direction from the general authorities in upcoming conferences.

It will take brave local leadership to maintain the integrity of the church.

I’m doing what I can to point out when falsehood bleeds into our classrooms.  

And as parents we do a fair amount of correcting false doctrine that is taught to our children in Sunday School and young men / women activities.

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Up until the mid 1900s many of the truths we believed in were also reinforced by society. As a result there wasn't a whole lot of need to spend time teaching the "obvious". But then slowly at first and now like a raging torrent society is/has moved further and further away from traditional Christian values. We no longer have the luxury of assuming that our youth will just pick up these values along the way. We can't even assume they will pick them up at church because of wolves in sheep's clothing. It must be taught in the home, from very early on, and completely undiluted. A lot of people think COVID was fulfillment of the foreseen need of increased gospel teaching in the home. I think that was just a trial run. Something far more deadly is infecting society now and will continue to get worse.

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This young lady's question is a question I have been pondering actually for over a month now. At times, I feel I am waiting for our leaders to come out more directly than they have (e.g. the Family Proclamation canonized), and then at times I think they have been very clear but we have members of the Church who still think and believe -- if not canon -- then they teach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture so carefully crafted. The easiest example, "God told us to love," while ignoring that the first great commandment is to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, which means we do exactly that we teach his truth, his way, and his light.

Having family members on both side who are experiencing homosexuality and gender dysphoria it would be nice to see more direct speech. Calling out the wolves so to speak, and yet I openly admit I don't see the way God sees the wheat amongst the tares (who is tare and who is not but God does). I understand, he doesn't want to root up a wheat who appears to be a tare right now.

I believe @laronius hits the nail on the head with proactive parenting; however, I'm not a big fan of calling "Come Follow Me" -- new. This was the Church's teaching this whole time. Teaching of our children was and has always been on the parents. This to me is more evidence that we, collectively, weren't following what the Lord had already taught...now he needed to be more plain rather than us following the teachings and the Spirit.

I have never expected the Church to teach my children. I have always seen it as Church supported -- FAMILY centered. It has never been the other way to me.

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I am a huge fan of Pres Oaks.  But I have a problem with this as a response to the question posed by "Amy."

Using the case of the woman taken in adultery as the answer to the young lady's question makes no sense.

Quote

Neither do I condemn thee.  Go and sin no more.

That is not the answer this young lady can give to the girl who thinks she is a boy asking this young lady to dance with her.  

Can you imagine the response?  The woman taken in adultery seemed to be penitent.  This girl pretending to be a boy was not penitent, but actively continuing in sin.  So, to hear "go and sin no more" would be cause for her to call Amy a transphobe.

No.  This is not the solution.

Yes, we need to apply the two great commandments.  But he gave no path or description of how to do that.

Quote

Labelling is universally limiting because it divides and restricts the way people think about themselves and each other.  No identifier should displace, replace, or take priority over these three labels:

  • Child of God
  • Child of the Covenant
  • Disciple of Jesus Christ

 Any identifier that is not compatible with these three basic designations will ultimately let you down.  Other labels will disappoint you in time.

 -- Pres Nelson

This still doesn't say anything about trans or homosexuality.  Why?  Because the Church's position has always been that regardless of what we think or how we feel about sexuality, as long as we control our behavior within the bounds the Lord has set, your feelings and thoughts are of lesser magnitude.

We well know the policy on homosexuality.  An individual with SSA can be a member in good standing so long as they do not act on those impulses.  But today, the LGBT movement has shifted.  It wasn't just someone who has SSA expressing that they are gay.  It is now where cisgendered individuals are being brainwashed into believing they have desires that they never would have had without coercion.

Studies showed that a great majority of those identifying as non-cisgendered, are only saying they are "non-binary" due to social pressure.  They say they are non-binary or even bi-sexual, but they still "prefer" the opposite biological sex in romantic relationships.  

So, the explosion of statistical trans individuals appears to be engineered.  While it is a relief that the number of "real" LGBT individuals is not exploding at the rate we're told, it is disturbing that so many are brainwashed into making such a public declaration that is not what they really believe.

Edited by Carborendum
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21 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

We well know the policy on homosexuality.  An individual with SSA can be a member in good standing so long as they do not act on those impulses.

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Do you think the corollary to the above verse applies to those with SSA?

 

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9 minutes ago, mikbone said:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Do you think the corollary to the above verse applies to those with SSA?

 

It absolutely applies to them. But lets be fair. If we applied the letter of the law here, every single man would be excommunicated for adultery. Gay or straight. 
 

Not being funny. Male sexual nature is very attracted to the visual. 

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8 minutes ago, LDSGator said:

It absolutely applies to them. But lets be fair. If we applied the letter of the law here, every single man would be excommunicated for adultery. Gay or straight. 
 

Not being funny. Male sexual nature is very attracted to the visual. 

Yup.

It’s important to separate policy from eternal doctrine. 

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3 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I have never expected the Church to teach my children. I have always seen it as Church supported -- FAMILY centered. It has never been the other way to me.

One of my biggest concerns surrounding this whole issue is what feels like the absence of the 'Church Supported' part.  If my kids are going to Church and learning by example to believe that living and acting and speaking in ways that are contrary to God's truth are okay, then I think the other ways the Church provides support become less valuable when weighed together.  If the support received is not one of a firm and unwavering doctrinal foundation that is taught and reinforced, then everything else is just social or financial for some.

3 hours ago, Carborendum said:

The woman taken in adultery seemed to be penitent.  This girl pretending to be a boy was not penitent, but actively continuing in sin. . .

I agree.  His answer came across so clear, yet also very much in a 'he who hath ears to hear' kind of way.  I actually don't think the parable was meant for Amy, I think it was more for the small number of members who would be inclined to ridicule and treat the gender dysphoric individual with cruelty.  In the same vein of thought, the members who are supporting inappropriate behaviors through word or deed are also unrepentant about their support for it.  So your analysis applies to them as well.

Ultimately, I am happy to welcome individuals who are struggling with their identity and/or attractions.  And there is plenty of room for members who are not quite there in terms of testimony on those issues.  What concerns me the most is when leaders participate and nothing seems to be done about it at any level, or at least, not without a great effort from the members seeking refuge from this unexpected onslaught.

I never would have imagined that Church could stop being a refuge from the world.  Perhaps this further elevates the importance of temple worship.  At least for now, in the temple these issues can still be escaped, given the barriers to entry there.  Then again, when I think of people changing their speech in the ways they have been, the question comes to mind, "Do you strive to be honest in all that you do?" And I am left wondering how this social contagion can be ignored to allow individual application in that context.

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3 hours ago, LDSGator said:

It absolutely applies to them. But lets be fair. If we applied the letter of the law here, every single man would be excommunicated for adultery. Gay or straight. 
 

Not being funny. Male sexual nature is very attracted to the visual. 

I think the operative phrase is, "...already in his heart." Excommunication is for what we do in the flesh. While there is no sin in temptation, there is sin appearing, hence the warning and advocacy of good thought habits.

When youth are uncomfortable in a social situation involving pressure to participate in promoting gender confusion of any kind, they can determine to a) love God and not participate and b) treat the offenders with love on God's terms. That probably requires a proactive, "inoculatory" conversation initiated by the parents.

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13 hours ago, person0 said:

This is an issue that has plagued my ward for years now.  I really appreciate that he taught that Church leaders and teachers have the responsibility to teach the truths of the gospel.  One cannot effectively teach the truth if in one breath they teach the family proclamation, and in the next they refer to someone using eternally/biologically inaccurate pronouns; in doing so, they sacrifice the truth and tear down their own witness.

I appreciate the entirety of his answer, but that part struck me as an excellent way to lead out.

I appreciate the way he noted the parable.  I think what may be lost on many is that in the parable, while the accusers are turned away from their judgement, the woman is also instructed to turn away from her sins.  When members use pronouns, or engage in 'affirming' behaviors, they are supporting the falsehood or sin.  This would be contextually similar to Christ referring to the woman's partner in the sin, as if he were her husband; doing so would entirely unravel the Savior's instruction.

I appreciate the girl being so bold as to ask, and Elder Oaks being willing to answer.

I found this helpful:

“If a member decides to change his or her preferred name or pronouns of address, the name preference may be noted in the preferred name field on the membership record. The person may be addressed by the preferred name in the ward” (“Transgender Individuals,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 38.6.21).

Interesting that it says "may", recognizing priesthood leader discretion concerning the record and members' rights concerning the language they choose to adopt.

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think the operative phrase is, "...already in his heart." Excommunication is for what we do in the flesh. While there is no sin in temptation, there is sin appearing, hence the warning and advocacy of good thought habits.

When youth are uncomfortable in a social situation involving pressure to participate in promoting gender confusion of any kind, they can determine to a) love God and not participate and b) treat the offenders with love on God's terms. That probably requires a proactive, "inoculatory" conversation initiated by the parents.

All great points. 

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Just to be clear, while I do think men are more visual creatures, I 100% agree that men should guard their thoughts against lust. Just saying we (heterosexual men) are easily attracted to beautiful women isn’t me saying lust is appropriate.
 

Sorry if I wasn’t clear.  

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42 minutes ago, LDSGator said:

Just to be clear, while I do think men are more visual creatures, I 100% agree that men should guard their thoughts against lust. Just saying we (heterosexual men) are easily attracted to beautiful women isn’t me saying lust is appropriate.
 

Sorry if I wasn’t clear.  

Oh we are clear.

Perv

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My stance on pronouns is this:

I have such a history of head trauma that I'm lucky to even remember names when I meet people the first time. 

Pronouns represent double the information I have to try and recall, making it more likely I'm going to botch something. 

If you're patient with me, I'll try to be patient with you. 

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5 hours ago, person0 said:

One of my biggest concerns surrounding this whole issue is what feels like the absence of the 'Church Supported' part.  If my kids are going to Church and learning by example to believe that living and acting and speaking in ways that are contrary to God's truth are okay, then I think the other ways the Church provides support become less valuable when weighed together.  If the support received is not one of a firm and unwavering doctrinal foundation that is taught and reinforced, then everything else is just social or financial for some.

I understand completely; however, I think it really depends on the ward and the bishop. I know of a ward in Utah, with a lot of BYU professors that is very LGBTQ activist. My ward is very Church supported when it comes to this doctrine with a few members who (I'm being as kind as possible) are misguided. They have inverted the two great commandments.

In light of this, I would all the more say Family centered gospel teaching is more important now than any other time since the beginning of the restoration. I have a brother-in-law who is gay. We love him. We open our arms to him; however, he also knows very well where we stand. We have never shied our kids from him - no way. We have taught and been very clear (at least I thought my wife and I were "VERY" clear until my oldest son one day a few years back said, "I had no clue he was gay" -- Doh! Needless to say, it shows how an eight year old, a ten year old, and a 14 year truly listen to their parents -- lol) with regards to the Savior's teachings.

But once he knew and understood his love for his uncle never changed, because it is what has been taught. His love for the Savior and his way, his truth, and light also didn't change just because he has an uncle who is gay. If the Church ward is not supportive it can be very hard because we are now coming to the time where because something is "culturally accepted" now it will occur culturally rather than a proclivity. I have seen this in mine own family also.

Let me provide an experience with a high school friend. In high school she had moral standards. Virgin all the way through high school and first year of college (not a member of the Church but her best friends were). Once her member friends went to different schools and missions, after my other friends mission she went to see this friend and the change was drastic. Not only was she sleeping around she had multiple encounters with same-sex (which she was against) intimacy. My friend, who was the closest to her asked her what changed? Her response, "It's just what you do in college." We are now seeing this among members of the Church where the doctrine of Christ is not supported in the wards -- the laughs of the adversary in the background.

As such, we need to be more vigilant and proactive in our teachings and more aware (as far as we can) as to what they are learning. I could go on with regards to this ward in Provo, but it would lead to too much privacy being revealed.

Edited by Anddenex
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19 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

I think it really depends on the ward and the bishop.

And what Stake leaders are willing to do about it, if anything.  But yeah, I agree, I just happen to be in one of those areas, unfortunately.  We do our best to teach our kids as well.  We had a very tough battle for a while because one of our children was being led astray and down a destructive path.  She is doing well right now, but she has a long life ahead of her.

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2 hours ago, person0 said:

With a plethora of variations of these for sale, how much more plain and clear could it get?
image.png.640ce4cf4d3b80caead8e46e84235bc2.png

How'd you get this picture from my personal wardrobe? 🧐

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3 hours ago, Anddenex said:

 I know of a ward in Utah, with a lot of BYU professors that is very LGBTQ activist... I could go on with regards to this ward in Provo, but it would lead to too much privacy being revealed.

Is this the one where the primary president was organizing a BLM themed primary parade through the neighborhood? Fortunately the stake put a stop to it. My friend's brother is in that ward.

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16 hours ago, LDSGator said:

It absolutely applies to them. But lets be fair. If we applied the letter of the law here, every single man would be excommunicated for adultery. Gay or straight. 
 

Not being funny. Male sexual nature is very attracted to the visual. 

I agree when we take it in the most direct manner and interpretation (And that is normally the one I use...I provide the following only to show that though we probably should take the more conservative interpretation for ourselves, perhaps we should not be as harsh on others if ever in a leadership position and someone has difficulties)...

Though there IS another interpretation of the scripture that makes it a little easier.

When using the word lust, it is the idea that if they had the opportunity to do so, they WOULD do so.  That they actually DESIRE it strongly to the point that they WISH they had such.

It is the same type of terminology that lust has been utilized in the past for other items.  A more understandable idea is the LUST for riches.  When one lusts for riches it isn't just looking at wealth and saying..gosh darn..that looks nice.  It is actually wishing you had it and if you had the opportunity, you wouldn't turn it away, you would actually take and keep those riches. 

It is where you have already determined in your heart that if you had the opportunity to do something or gain something, you would do something or gain it.  You just have not had the opportunity as of yet (if ever). 

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9 hours ago, laronius said:

Is this the one where the primary president was organizing a BLM themed primary parade through the neighborhood? Fortunately the stake put a stop to it. My friend's brother is in that ward.

Might be, I don't remember hearing about this although it wouldn't surprise me if it is the same ward.

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So, your mileage may vary, but here's just my thoughts:

I've been actively seeking out folks who tinker with their pronouns, so I could see for myself what I thought about them and their pronouns.  I've found maybe a dozen over the years, been able to speak with a handful, and gotten to know maybe one or two.  What I've discovered, is that the 2nd great commandment pretty much settles matters.  If you can respect someone's basic humanity, and find ways to show them that respect, they'll return the favor.   In my discussions with these folks, I don't think I've used their preferred pronouns a single time.  I just focus on using their names and restructuring my sentences so I don't need a pronoun. 

I totally get that some folks would consider using a trans person's preferred pronoun to be lying, and therefore they won't do it.  And I've met umpteen million people who consider using the pronoun to be a virtuous thing, and go out of their way to accept and advance the agenda.  Both sides of the issue require passing a judgment.  So far, I'm making it through life just plain old choosing not to pass judgment one way or the other.  People have always been able to change their names, and if a Fred wants to be called Shelia, then whatever.  Pronoun usage communicates a judgment on the rightness or wrongness of the thing, and Imma just hold on to my choice to decline to pass that judgment.   

I think Elder Oaks has my back here, but again, your mileage may vary.

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48 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

So, your mileage may vary, but here's just my thoughts:

I've been actively seeking out folks who tinker with their pronouns, so I could see for myself what I thought about them and their pronouns.  I've found maybe a dozen over the years, been able to speak with a handful, and gotten to know maybe one or two.  What I've discovered, is that the 2nd great commandment pretty much settles matters.  If you can respect someone's basic humanity, and find ways to show them that respect, they'll return the favor.   In my discussions with these folks, I don't think I've used their preferred pronouns a single time.  I just focus on using their names and restructuring my sentences so I don't need a pronoun. 

I totally get that some folks would consider using a trans person's preferred pronoun to be lying, and therefore they won't do it.  And I've met umpteen million people who consider using the pronoun to be a virtuous thing, and go out of their way to accept and advance the agenda.  Both sides of the issue require passing a judgment.  So far, I'm making it through life just plain old choosing not to pass judgment one way or the other.  People have always been able to change their names, and if a Fred wants to be called Shelia, then whatever.  Pronoun usage communicates a judgment on the rightness or wrongness of the thing, and Imma just hold on to my choice to decline to pass that judgment.   

I think Elder Oaks has my back here, but again, your mileage may vary.

All great points. 
 

In my experience (especially offline in social settings) people will mostly treat you how you treat them. If you make stupid and rude comments about their beliefs or lifestyle, they’ll probably do the same to yours. If you treat them with common courtesy, they’ll treat you the same to. Works most of the time. 

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3 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

I just focus on using their names and restructuring my sentences so I don't need a pronoun. 

I advocate for this methodology as both kind and honest.

3 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

I totally get that some folks would consider using a trans person's preferred pronoun to be lying, and therefore they won't do it.

I don't really think it is debatable.  Using a pronoun that is not eternally/biologically accurate is deceitful at best.  Outside of being completely oblivious, any excuse to knowingly use them is to participate in deceiving our fellow man.  Not only is one affirming a false and self-destructive decision of the individual, they are actively participating in both deceiving those around them who may be oblivious into believing the gender identity is real, as well as setting a bad example to others who may know the truth by participating in social pressure to also engage in the deceptive behavior and acceptance of the false identity as reality.  Unfortunately, there is no middle ground option here.

As to Elder Oaks having your back, I would encourage you to consider his perspective on this specific topic:

Quote

That is also why the Lord has required His restored Church to oppose social and legal pressures to retreat from His doctrine of marriage between a man and a woman, to oppose changes that homogenize the differences between men and women or confuse or alter gender. (Link) (emphasis mine)

I believe it is very clear that changing one's language in ways that confuse or alter gender would fall into that category.  The laxity of members in acknowledging this will further contribute to it being enabled to spread more rapidly.  We must "Stand for Truth", albeit with love and as much kindness as possible within the confines of the absolute truth of the Restored Gospel.

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