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It is really interesting to watch this vis a vis the way the interaction is going in our Church and in the public image of the larger society.

A lot of lessons here.

Christians outside of the Catholic and LDS Church seem to base their doctrine upon what they believe God is speaking through God's Spirit, and especially through the God's Word in the Bible. So they will try to understand what the Bible has to speak to us "today." I believe it is inevitable that as society continues to progress from the harsh and sometimes barbaric world of the Bible, Christians will more and more find a kinder and more gentle god, and a more progressive view of women's rights and homosexuality.

For groups like Catholics and Mormons, which adapt to developments in society in a top-down manner, change is more difficult. Perhaps "difficult" is not the correct word. But I am reminded of something I read years ago by Armand L. Mauss in "Neither Black nor White" relating to the treatment of blacks in the church:

"It is clear from the reflections of President Kimball and other participants in the revelational process that they all shared a profound spiritual experience, one which swept away life-long contrary predispositions. This experience was apparently a necessity if the priesthood ban ever were to be dropped, if for no other reason than that all earlier attempts to resolve the problem at the policy level had bogged down in controversy among the brethren. Only a full-fledged revelation defined as such by the president himself would neutralize that controversy and bring the required unanimity among the First Presidency and the Twelve. Moreover, for years nearly all the General Authorities who had spoken publicly on the priesthood ban had been clear in stating that it could be changed only by direct and explicit revelation."

Somehow, I believe that the opposition to homosexuality is so intrenched in policy and practice, and the LDS church has been so public and vocal in its position, that like the blacks and the priesthood issue, any significant change in direction regarding gays and lesbians will require a major proclamation with some talk of divine revelation.

The same would certainly be true of extending priesthood to women. And that seems a long way off, if such were ever to come about. Yet there is little reason to restrict ordination and church governance to men only.

So, in terms of churches splitting apart, I can only see individual people leaving the LDS faith over the issue of gays or women's position in the church. A major split seems inconceivable.

On the topic of "denomination" and "church," I really like what Rev. Roberts said near the end of the post:

"So, if I were to decide at some point to leave the PCUSA, I would still have [name of valued liberal Presbyterian] in my church. Just like I have millions of Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics, Pentecostals, and Independents in “my church.” My church, after all, isn’t mine. It’s the church of Jesus Christ, in which all who confess him as Lord and Savior are members."

I agree completely.

I think someone else has mentioned how female issues in the Church and increased acceptance of homosexuality beyond the current stance may be mutually incompatible.

For instance, in defining Mother in Heaven, it is possible we will end up with a cosmos that has no place for homosexuality. The more we attempt to define male and female roles, the more likely it is that homosexuals will get the short end of the theological stick.

The problem is that homosexuality strives to blur or eradicate the distinctions between genders, whereas forging a new identity for women in the LDS Church will probably involved emphasizing or celebrating such distinctions. In that sense, the two agendas are probably ultimately incompatible.

I look forward to the day when gender is no longer sacred. Only then will the transgendered, intersexed, gays and yes, women have full opportunity in the gospel.

Seth, I honestly don't see how homosexuality strives to blur the distinctions between genders. What on earth do you mean by that?

Actually, it may not be accurate to say that it "tries" to do that. But it's probably fair to say it does end up doing that, given the current state of things.

I agree with Stephen M (Ethesis). I do not think we will see a schism or large numbers break off from the LDS Church on account of its position on homosexuality or women and the priesthood.

I think the active Church membership will continue to have less gay-friendly attitudes than other Churchs (the Pew study showed only Jehovah Witnesses had a more negative view of homosexuality--even Muslims had a less negative view). I think that is because our membership is largely self-selecting. This is not a comfortable Church for those who are committed to equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, just as it was not a comfortable Church before 1978 for those committed to equality of the races.

Before 1978, we lost to inactivity a fair number of members who could not accept the Church's position of race/lineage, and we lost to potential conversion a fair number of people who chose not even to listen to missionaries on account of the Church's position.

Today, the same is occurring with respect to the Church's position on homosexuality. Thus, those members who tend to favor gay rights may well choose to disaffiliate at greater rates than those who do not, and potential converts who tend to favor gay rights will likely not listen to missionaries. In this way, the Church will likely continue to consist of individuals who are quite comfortable with the Church's teachings on the matter, and there will be no "schism."

Again, this is not a comment on whether the Church's position is right or wrong, but rather a comment on whether institutionally the Church risks schism. I think the same is true with respect to the Church's position on women and the priesthood.

Again, there are people who think that the law of Chastity was not invented by *men*.

I don't see the gay issue as a "rights" issue. The Church is not demonizing gays, but seeks to help them. And if someone points to the California Prop 8 (or 22, for that matter), I ask is giving cocaine to an addict "helping" him/her?

I realize my position is not PC or very popular for that matter. But then I'm not in a popularity contest. Comparing the gay issue to the 1978 revelation blurs things more than clarifies.

I think Velska is correct. SSM is not a civil-rights issue. Those who have given in to the claim that SSM is a civil-rights issue have essentially surrendered by accepting civil-rights as a trump-card.

Next point. Those who tout political correctness in the debates about homosexuality have seemed to successfully stifled debate about some of the still-accepted causes and psychology of homosexuality. It was political correctness that caused a minority within the APA to revise APA's view on homosexuality and some of its causes. The majority of members of APA did not support that shift at the time. Talk to APA old-timers and they will confirm this. Many of the APA old-timers did not go along with the shift, and still hold the politically incorrect views.

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