Homosexuality: A Condition or a Feeling?

In 1995, Dallin Oaks of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke on the subject of same-gender attraction.  He explained why he thinks it's important to refer to homosexuality as a "feeling" and not a "condition".

Oaks wrote:
... the words homosexual, lesbian, and gay are adjectives to describe particular thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. We should refrain from using these words as nouns to identify particular conditions or specific persons.
Why is this important to Mr. Oaks? Because
Our religious doctrine dictates this usage. It is wrong to use these words to denote a condition, because this implies that a person is consigned by birth to a circumstance in which he or she has no choice in respect to the critically important matter of sexual behavior.
If it were a condition, wouldn't homosexuality be more regularly manifest, for example, among twin siblings?  This New York Times article points out that a study of homosexuality among brothers did find that it is more prevalent among "The genetically most similar brothers..."  However, the authors of the study being reviewed by the Times "say other factors like social conditioning may be important."

This is what Orson Scott Card, who has many friends in the entertainment industry who are gay, seems to referring to when he talks about genetics versus environment:
Science has barely scratched the surface of the question of how much of our behavior has a genetic source and how much is environmental... Even in the clearest cases of genetic causation (schizophrenia, for instance), the percentages are significant but not even close to being absolute. That is, there are many who "should" be schizophrenic and yet they are not; and even among those who have schizophrenic episodes, there are degrees of predisposition. So if we discover, eventually, that homosexuality has a genetic indicator, this does not mean that all who have the indicator are equally pushed in that direction -- or even that anyone who has the desire is necessarily forced to engage in homosexual acts. The predisposition toward various behaviors does not mean that a person no longer has volition. Desire is not identical to action.
The New York Times article quoted above seems to corroborate Mr. Card's view. Besides, opines Card:
The argument by [some] that homosexual tendencies are genetically ingrained in some individuals is almost...irrelevant. We are all genetically predisposed toward some sin or another; [yet] we are all expected to control those genetic predispositions when it is possible. ...we can only help others overcome those "genetic predispositions" by teaching them that we expect them to meet a higher standard of behavior than the one their own body teaches them.
In an article entitled, I'm Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, Doug Mainwaring explains how he was able to control and channel his homosexual feelings in order to bring greater good into his life. He recalled that
During college and throughout my twenties, I had many close friends who were handsome, athletic, and intelligent, with terrific personalities. I longed to have an intimate relationship with any and all of them. However, I enjoyed something far greater, something which surpassed carnality in every way: philia (the love between true friends)—a love unappreciated by so many because eros is promoted in its stead.
He came to realize that
Philia [brotherly] love between men is far better, far stronger, and far more fulfilling than erotic love can ever be. But society now promotes the lowest form of love between men while sabotaging the higher forms. Gay culture continues to promote the sexualization of all (viewing one’s self and other males primarily as sexual beings), while proving itself nearly bankrupt when it comes to fostering any other aspect of male/male relationships.
Mainwaring then explains what happened when his marriage fell apart.
Unfortunately, a few years later my marriage ended—a pain known too easily by too many. At this point, the divorce allowed me to explore my homosexuality for the first time in my life.
At first, I felt liberated. I dated some great guys, and was in a couple of long-term relationships. [But o]ver several years, intellectual honesty led me to some unexpected conclusions: (1) Creating a family with another man is not completely equal to creating a family with a woman, and (2) denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.
How are things going for this man now? Actually, quite good, because he got back together with his family.
It took some doing, but after ten years of divorce, we began to pull our family back together. We have been under one roof for over two years now. Our kids are happier and better off in so many ways. My ex-wife, our kids, and I recently celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together and agreed these were the best holidays ever.
Why is there such a conflict of opinions over homosexuality? Because both sides of the debate are somewhat wrong and somewhat right.
Sexuality is fluid for many, and much more complex than many want to acknowledge. Gay and straight activists alike pretend this isn’t true in order to fortify their positions. If they fail to maintain that mirage, fundraising for their organizations might dry up...
What did Mainwaring gain from all of this? An understanding of his competing feelings, including which ones made him feel better.
Here’s a very sad fact of life that never gets portrayed on Glee or Modern Family: I find that men I know who have left their wives as they’ve come out of the closet often lead diminished, and in some cases nearly bankrupt, lives—socially, familially, emotionally, and intellectually. They adjust their entire view of the world and their role within it in order to accommodate what has become the dominant aspect of their lives: their homosexuality. In doing so, they trade rich lives for one-dimensional lives. Yet this is what our post-modern world has taught us to do. I went along with it for a long while, but slowly turned back when I witnessed my life shrinking and not growing.
So what's the answer? Is homosexuality a condition (perhaps in other words an "orientation")?  For some, that may be true. In the eternal scheme of things, though, I think it's best to recognize one's homosexuality as a set of (very likely strong) feelings rather than a condition that cannot be changed.

Because some people have proven that they have changed those feelings.

Comments

  1. I am confident that some people are born homosexual. I am confident that God understands this and accepts them.

    ReplyDelete

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