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July 3, 2012, #61
What's Wrong With SSA?
There is a movement now within the LDS Church to push the notion that SSA (same-sex sexual attraction) is a virtuous and noble identity that can be legitimately claimed by faithful members of the Church, that is, as long as it isn’t acted on. Is there anything wrong with this thinking? Yes, lots. For one thing, when we say claiming an unalterable SSA identity is perfectly fine but must never be acted on, it is like saying ballet dancers are praiseworthy but actual ballet dancing is evil, which is crazy-making nonsense. Logically, something cannot be virtuous in theory but wicked in practice.
The scriptures are a great help here. We learn in Moroni 7 that it matters what things entice us. That which is of God always invites and entices us to do good, to love God, and to serve Him. On the other hand, whatsoever thing persuades us toward doing evil is most definitely of the devil. In other words, if a behavior is not of God, then anything that entices one toward that behavior is not of God.
SSA, or same-sex sexual attraction, is not just a neutral label as some may unthinkingly conclude. SSA is about self-maintained sexual feelings and thoughts which entice a person to act in certain ways. As uncomfortable as it may be, we must confront what SSA invites and persuades one to do and to assess whether that behavior is of God.
What behaviors does SSA entice people to do? Honest people cannot deny that same-sex sexual attractions entice a person to perform sexually stimulating acts with persons of the same sex, acts that perversely imitate male-female mating, abuse one’s body, and mock the sacred power of procreation.
We all know from the scriptures and countless prophetic pronouncements that God unequivocally condemns such unnatural acts both from a moral and a spiritual standpoint. Not only that, we know such behavior inordinately spreads deadly diseases, causes specific cancers and chronic health disorders, and is associated with drug abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse in percentages off the charts. For one or more of these reasons, there doesn’t seem to be any doubt among most LDS Church members that homosexual behavior is wrong and therefore not of God.
Here we must point out that how these attractions come to be is a moot point in a discussion about right and wrong. The causes of homosexuality and the morality of it are two separate issues. Even if it were possible that an accountable person could not help doing something wrong, the act itself would still be wrong.
How wrong are these attractions? How destructive? How damaging to the soul? It’s important to note that same-sex sexual attractions, meaning those temptations which entice to do that which is not of God, are somewhat different from other types of temptations. Say you are tempted to drink alcoholic drinks, which is prohibited by LDS Church standards. You don’t get the actual feelings alcohol gives you just by looking at or talking about alcohol; you have to actually drink it. But sex is a very different story. With sex, you can get pleasure (arousal) out of just the enticement itself, as in fantasizing. That’s why things like written and visual pornography, internet chat rooms, phone sex, and sexting are so prevalent.
The infamous Planned Parenthood exploits this fact. It teaches: “Sexual pleasure is the feeling we get when we’re sexually aroused . . . Sexual fantasy is an important part of sexual pleasure.” Obviously out-of-bounds sexual lusts need not be acted upon body-to-body in order to give physical gratification, that is, sinful pleasure. What’s wrong with SSA? Not only does it entice to do evil, it is evil of itself. And like all evil, it can and should be rooted out and repented of.
The naming and dignifying of SSA in Mormon culture is more than a nod to the world’s current love affair with a very ancient vice. Giving place for this self-proclaimed identity within the Church only encourages sin. If we care about the welfare of souls we should uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ as it concerns the soul (sin, repentance, divine redemption) as it applies to all of us, those with SSA included. We are selling our own souls and losing the precious souls of young people all over the Church by advocating for and accommodating so-called SSA rather than bravely facing what it really is and compassionately offering hope and help for preventing, rooting out, and overcoming this sin, as all others, through knowledge of good and evil and the Atonement of Christ.
–Stephen & Janice Graham
Copyright 2012 by Standard of Liberty Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.