3.15.2009

Parallel Yet Perpendicular

I was reading Scott's post from January and a few thoughts came to mind. (I write this assuming that you've read that piece because, if you haven't, you need to!)

First of all, it's important to remember the difference between doctrine and policy in the Church, something Scott has gone to great lengths to distinguish on Dichotomy. Perhaps the foremost example of policy correction MoHos can look to is Priesthood amongst the black membership of the Church.

As a little "thought experiment", I tried to put my feet into the shoes of a black member of the Church in the 1950's and 60's. What thoughts might I think?
  • I appear to be a second-class citizen of God's Kingdom, seeing as I don't have the Priesthood power of that Kingdom.
  • What will be my place in the next life? If I can't have the Priesthood, what other blessings will I miss out on?
  • Will I be black for eternity? [This question came from Scott's thought, Will there be lefties in Heaven? Are we changed to resemble God in every single aspect?]

To the first thought, we can look to Official Declaration 2, which extended the Priesthood to all worthy males of the Church. This also solves the second conundrum: there will indeed be equality amongst God's children in the next life. The only divisions among Heaven's inhabitants will be based upon the things we do/think/choose with our agency. The blessings of the Gospel are available in full to people of all race and color.

To the third question, we should remember that our Resurrected bodies will be ours for Eternity. There are currently, of course, flaws that apply only to mortality, such as sickness, deformities, etc., that will be corrected at the Resurrection. The rest of our features, we must assume, are eternal. (Or am I missing a piece of doctrine here? I'm not a bona fide Gospel scholar, so I'm completely open to correction!) After all, we sing the words of Hymn No. 284, which read, in part, "There is no end to race."

If there really "is no end to race", as this hymn written by William W. Phelps (an LDS man with no fewer than 15 hymns to his name) and published by the Church asserts, then we must assume that race is not a flaw but rather a neutral characteristic, since it is not changed to match God's race as it has been depicted in portraits commissioned and approved by prophets, seers, and revelators.

These principles all surely apply to homosexuality, no? If there is no end to race, why would there be an end to sexual orientation? Most (probably all) gay people would attest that their orientation is a neutral (if not outright positive) trait. Therefore, the three thoughts and corresponding answers above would also apply to MoHos.

3 comments:

D. said...

Wow. Very interesting point of view! Thank you for sharing!

Scott said...

Thanks for the insightful post. I'm not sure that it necessarily follows that what applies to race also applies to sexual orientation, but the hymn that you quote from does (assuming it can be considered a reliable source) provide some interesting insight into the diversity that we can expect in the hereafter.

I found your "thought experiment" even more interesting, though... Especially with a few changes to "liken it unto myself" (well, not myself, necessarily, since I'm married, but to MoHos in general):

* I appear to be a second-class citizen of God's Kingdom, seeing as I don't have the orientation/attractions that would allow me to enter into the New and Everlasting Covenant of marriage

* What will be my place in the next life? If I can't marry, what other blessings will I miss out on?

* Will I be gay for eternity?

You've already addressed the last question, of course, and the church tries to address the first two with assurances that we will be given opportunities after death (after we've been made straight, presumably)--the same assurances that black people were given before the priesthood ban was lifted.

(Incidentally, doesn't the idea that we'll get a chance to marry later on conflict with the principle that physical ordinances need to take place here on earth, thereby necessitating temples and proxy work? If it's true that we can be married after we die, why can't people be baptized later as well?)

To me, the "answers" we've been given to all three of these questions are unsatisfactory. I pray that one day God will see fit to reveal more truth to His servants the prophets (and that they will see fit to listen)

Anyway, again, thanks for your thoughts!

Frank Lee Scarlet said...

Thanks, Scott, for articulating so well what I attempted to say--although race and sexual orientation are not interchangeable, there might well be similarities when it comes to second-class citizenship/membership in the Church, opportunity for blessings on the Other Side, and the eternal vs. mortal nature of physical characteristics.
The point about proxy vs. future marriage is also very intriguing...I have not considered that before. Another thing to think about.
Thanks for the feedback!