Earlier this week, the website Mormon Leaks released a document created by the Mormon Church in 1981 addressing the perilous evil that we all commonly know as “homosexuality.” The intent of the booklet was to serve as a guide for church leadership with their local congregations to, you know, fix the “gay problem” within their flocks. After all, it is “of grave concern.” Apparently.
Although the document was created 36 years ago, the church has adjusted its position on homosexuality. Sort of.
According to their website, the Mormon Church recognizes that some individuals feel same-sex attraction or even (*gasp*) identify as homosexual. Having the feelings isn’t a sin itself, but acting on those feelings is haram.
Sexual relations are reserved for a man and woman who are married and promise complete loyalty to each other. Sexual relations between a man and woman who are not married, or between people of the same sex, violate one of our Father in Heaven’s most important laws and get in the way of our eternal progress.
Unexpectedly, the booklet itself proves itself wrong pretty easily.
For one, we have observed homosexuality occurring in 1500 species of animals. If it is a learned behavior, then these animals must be attending homosexuality night class while scientists aren’t looking.
Secondly, while we’ve known for some time that homosexuality can be hereditary to some extent, for the first time a group of scientists observed a link between homosexuality and two specific genes . To do this, they compared the genes of 1077 homosexual men with 1231 heterosexual men and found that a gene on chromosome 13 and a gene on chromosome 14 may be a factor in deciding if an individual is homosexual or not. The gene on chromosome 13 is active in the area of the brain that contains the hypothalamus. Other research has noted that the gene is active in male mice fetuses just a few days prior to birth. The gene on chromosome 14 (called TSHR) is mainly active in the thyroid, but also in the brain. The gene itself helps control thyroid function. An article in New Scientist said:
The fact that TSHR seems to be involved in sexual orientation fits with evidence that thyroid function seems to be linked to sexuality. For instance, TSHR function is disrupted in a genetic condition called Grave’s disease, which causes the thyroid gland to become over-active, accelerating metabolism and leading to weight-loss. Grave’s disease is more common in gay than straight men, and some research suggests that gay men tend to be thinner – which might possibly be a result of thyroid overdrive.
But at least the church wants to offer help:
“When you consider involving non-LDS professionals, you should be careful to make sure they understand and support gospel principles relating to homosexual behavior.”
This is extremely problematic and upsetting, as you’re literally denying who the person is and how they identify because you are afraid that your god will be angery at you, despite creating you in the first place, despite creating homosexuality in the first place, and despite that “all-knowing” thing where he knew in advance that you would be homosexual. So your god is either incapable of preventing you from being homosexual, meaning he’s not omnipotent, or doesn’t know that you’re going to be homosexual, meaning he’s not all-knowing. Either way, it stands to reason that the god you’re worshiping is selfish, childish, and unworthy of any level of respect.
The church even has the audacity to have a “Mormon and Gay” page on their website. In a video, they claim to want to make LGBTQ people “accepted” and that they “love” them. This is the typical “love the sinner, hate the sin” argument that many Christians will espouse, putatively to help them sleep better at night by hiding their bigotry behind their religion.
The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that the overwhelming majority of adults masturbate.
… And that’s totally okay. Masturbation is normal, healthy, and in most cases, safe.
The central argument against masturbation comes from a strange preoccupation the religious right has with what people do to find enjoyment. This extends to failing to teach children comprehensive sex education which is absolutely, unequivocally, 100% known to increase unwanted pregnancy rates. It’s no wonder that so many are uncomfortable with the topic of sex itself – religion has taught us to be ashamed of having sexual desires.
So will masturbation make you homosexual?
Probably not. There’s no credible evidence or research that would suggest this, unless you choose to trust a religion whose founder created the religion on-the-fly while reading it out of a hat after an angel led him to buried golden plates.
You were born homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, asexual, pansexual, demisexual, or maybe something else. Don’t let a church tell you how you should feel or what you should identify as.
Either way, it’s no business of mine, a church’s, or anyone other than your partner’s.