Today, an interesting conversation ensued between a fellow classmate and I. As we talked about the class and the quiz, our conversation veered toward what area of study and career we are concentrating to work in. For myself, I am already working in the field as a Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee. Our conversation progressed; he asked me if I would be working with heterosexual couples or if I would also work with same-sex couples. This question came up because of my desire to progress to become a licensed mental health counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist. It is indeed a very interesting question that I had to think about. My honest answer is that I do not know and most likely would not have a problem working with couples – no matter their sexual orientation.
During the course of this discussion, he had asked me about my religious faith because I mentioned that despite my own personal convictions and faith, I am able to put those aside and work with people. I answered that I am LDS/Mormon and that my faith should not be a deterrent for me working with people who need help re-establishing their lives after addiction. As we talked, he asked me specifically my views about Same-Sex Marriage. I answered that there are some inherent dangers to our society that is starting to come out because of the social issue around same-sex marriage. At first, he was appalled that I mentioned the fact of pedophilia is gaining some momentum as being normalized in our society today. At first, he thought I was comparing homosexuality and same-sex marriage with pedophilia. I assured him that I was not comparing the two as being on par with one another; it is a comparison of normalizing sexual behavior and orientation in a new and redefining social acceptance. Meaning, those proponents who want pedophilia normalized are doing so based on the identity of pedophilia being accepted as another form of normal sexual behavior and normal sexual orientation.
According to a Fact Sheet published on b4uact.org’s website, we read the following:
No one chooses to be emotionally and sexually attracted to children or adolescents. The cause is unknown; in fact, the development of attraction to adults is not understood. A large number of theories involving hormonal influences, genetics, evolutionary processes, negative socialization, poor parental relationships, and childhood sexual experiences have been proposed, but most have not been tested scientifically, and none are supported by reliable evidence. In particular, there is no evidence to support the common belief that attraction to children or adolescents in adulthood is due to childhood sexual abuse (Freund & Kuban, 1993; Garland & Dougher, 1990; Hall, 1996; Li, 1990a).
The last two paragraphs provide some sustenance to the understanding of the methodology behind reforming social thinking and cultural acceptance toward the normalization of pedophilia:
Reducing or eliminating attraction to minors is often attempted through reconditioning methods such as aversion therapy and masturbatory satiation, developed in the 1930s to eliminate homosexuality. The goal is to associate attraction to minors with boredom, revulsion, fear, shame, or physical pain. Sex-drive reducing drugs may also be administered (AACAP, 1999; Abel & Harlow, 2001; Crawford, 1981; Hall, 1996; Langevin, 1983; Maletzky, 1991).
Studies of the effectiveness of reconditioning methods to change feelings of attraction suffer from serious methodological flaws, and have led to inconsistent results. The few well-constructed studies have found that they are no more effective with pedophilia or ephebophilia than with homosexuality (AMA, 1987; Freund, 1981; Hall, 1996; Langevin, 1983; McConaghy, 1999).
These very same thoughts, understanding and research mirror the exact movement toward homosexuality as being a normative sexual orientation in our society. Again, as expressed and clarified with my fellow classmate, this is not to place pedophilia on the same level of comparison to same-sex attraction and gay marriage; however, it is ironic that the very arguments employed to normalize and bring about social acceptance of homosexuality as an accepted form of sexual orientation is the very same arguments being employed by those who are seeking the same social acceptance of pedophilia.
What proved even more interesting is his stance against the normalization of pedophilia in our society and even stating that the most vocal people would be those within the Gay and Lesbian communities. He even stated that it is not normative behavior; pedophilia is proven to be a psychological anomaly that is not a normal sexual oriented behavior. As he finished, our conversation ended without further discussion because of a phone call. Despite this interruption, one thing he did mention is that for him, he merely wants the same rights to care for his partner in the same manner that I would want to care for my wife. It is not about the piece of paper, it is about the nature of respect and dignity homosexual couples are seeking that heterosexual couples have established. His perception and thoughts are sincere and very relevant. This brings us to the crux of the divisiveness of Gay Marriage and Same Sex Attraction in our society today.
First, we have to understand the social impact and influence on a more diverse population of individuals. In reality, and as I expressed to my fellow classmate, homosexuals have undergone social stigmatization and being highly ostracized by an unforgiving society: A society that held strong religious convictions on the perception of homosexuality being sinful and not in accordance with the plan and design of God. Thus, on the one hand, securing equality for many homosexuals is not seeking after “special rights”, it is being identified in society as a productive and significant member of society. Even today, some cultures that have high regard for religious beliefs and practices still view homosexuality as a sinful act deserving of capital punishment. Hence, understanding the nature and severity of persecution among those members of our society should cause us to pause and think about our own perceptions and biased feelings. In reality, we should not prevent them the same liberties that others enjoy. This is where I personally believe that many people on both sides of the table talk past one another.
Second, and more significant, how is it that my religious perspective as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints influences my own perception and understanding of the divisive topic of Gay Marriage? Yes, it is highly influenced and I am against Gay Marriage. Does that make me a homophobe and a bigot who does not have any respect for those who are within the gay and lesbian community? It does not. In a professional setting, my own religious perspectives do not come into play in a direct therapeutic relationship. Do I mention anything about religious faith and beliefs? Yes, under the umbrella of spirituality and higher power. There are concepts and principles that I do bring into the therapeutic relationship with the client that would hopefully facilitate a different way of looking at things. Furthermore, my respect for them as a fellow member of society is much more significant than my own religious convictions. In essence, I do not have to agree with a person’s particular lifestyle, however, there is the idea of respect and honoring those individuals that have different lifestyles and viewpoints. In the end, it is all stereotyping and labeling of individuals in a categorical framework.
However, because of my own religious proclivities, and what I have studied and come to believe, homosexuality is against the design and plan of our loving Heavenly Father. Here is where my faith and my convictions differ from those of the general “Christian” faiths. Where they say homosexuality is an abomination to God, my own convictions is that it is not an abomination any more than adultery or any other form of sexual desires and lusts, however, it is not within the scope and framework of our Heavenly Father’s design for His children. This concept goes back to the basic understanding that the institution of marriage is not just a matter of principle and tradition where it is of one man and one woman. The institution of marriage between one man and one woman is an eternal principle that works within the plan of salvation where each individual has an opportunity to come into mortality, to experience mortality and choose for them how they will live their lives. As parents, we are responsible for teaching and guiding them toward the eternal destiny and inheritance that all of our Heavenly Father’s children will receive.
In fact, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came out with the Family Proclamation. Here is the part that talks of a husband and wife’s eternal responsibility and obligation:
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
It is a sacred duty and honor for parents to bring children into the world. We become responsible for them. If we do not teach them, rear them up in the ways of righteousness and to hopefully make the right choices in this life, we suffer the consequences of our lackadaisical parenting and neglecting of our parental duties.
In addition to the sacred responsibilities of the duties of a husband and wife in child-rearing, the family also is an eternal principle and institution:
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
Today, unfortunately, our society has not sought out the will and desire of a loving Heavenly Father. In fact, one of the arguments against heterosexual marriage from Gay Marriage advocates have a ring of truth to it – how can homosexual marriage threaten the heterosexual marriage if heterosexual marriages are no longer held in high regard anymore? The answer to this question is a look at the normalization of all types of sexual behaviors. At one time in our country, it used to be a crime to be caught in the act of adultery. Today, adultery and infidelity occur on a daily basis. Pornography is proliferated in various forms throughout mainstream society today as a socially acceptable normative behavior. Sexualization of our young girls through sexy advertising to look good creates adverse behaviors and perceptions to our young girls who do not measure up to “social beauty expectations”.
Even the Center for Disease Control came out with a study on the harmful affect male-to-male sexual relations has on society. According to the CDC, the most prone to new AIDS/HIV cases are African-American males who engage in male to male sexual relationships. These are men who identify themselves as Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (CDC Report Fact Sheet, 2013).
Therefore, while the discussion is valid and there are those in committed relationships that are same-sex oriented, the eternal principle still remains – the ordination and sacred institution of the family is between a husband and wife who honor their covenants and rear up children in the ways of the Lord. Social acceptance may change, and with validity to show tolerance and acceptance of those who identify themselves as gay and lesbian, this does not take away from the efficacy of truth that God’s eternal plan is for the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:36) where our destination is beyond this mortal existence. We have an eternal inheritance to become like our Heavenly Father, to overcome the oppositions that we face in this life and to be seated upon the throne with Christ and the Father (Revelation 3:21).
One can accept people of all diverse cultures and perceptions, does not mean that one has to put off their own biased and religious perceptions because of mere disagreements. Hence, why the Book of Mormon calls us all to come unto Christ several times and warns us of the dangers of mortal existence. We have the ability to choose liberty and freedom afforded by the atonement of Jesus Christ, or to choose captivity by the wiles and devices of the adversary. Every one of us will have to stand before our Savior to give an account of our lives and how we conducted ourselves in our mortal existence.
In reality, homosexuality and gay marriage is only a danger to society in that it opens the gateway for other sexual oriented behaviors to become normalized. However, more significantly, gay marriage and homosexuality is a danger to the individual who will have to stand before the Savior and realize the missed blessings and inheritance they could have had in their mortal existence that which they will not have the privilege to enjoy in the eternities after this life.
- Gay Community Outraged: Pedophilia Is A Sexual Orientation Under CA Bill (atreyuknight.wordpress.com)
- Pedophilia Is A Sexual Orientation Under CA Bill (federaljack.com)
- Letter: Religion can’t define marriage rights (nj.com)
- Gay Marriage – Is It the End of Civilization As We Know It? (coalitionofpositiveenergy.com)
- The Strategic Destruction of Virtue, Morality & America: Pedophilia To Be Considered Sexual Orientation Under CA Bill (sgtreport.com)
- Gay Marriage, a conversation between the Conservative and Liberal. Do you agree? (jasapphire.wordpress.com)