BYU’s Homophobic Drama and Advice to LDS Tolerance Advocates

I’ve been reluctantly following the conversation about a student op-ed published in BYU’s Daily Universe that condemned homosexual lifestyles, particularly the moral appropriateness of gay couples adopting children. The op-ed was uninteresting and stupid, not necessarily because of its position on the issue but because of the illogical idiocy the author that used to support it. The Daily Universe took down the letter shortly after it was published online, not because of its position but because so many people were offended by the inflammatory language the author used, most notably when he compared homosexuals to “prostitutes” and “serial killers.”

But since I can’t seem to get away from e-mails, Tweets, and Facebook posts still talking about it (long after the op-ed’s been taken down, and presumably so that they can take advantage of the poor op-ed author’s idiocy and get some attention of their own), I thought I’d write up my brief opinions on the issue of homophobia and tolerance in Utah and in Mormon culture. For those who are upset about what the author wrote, I do not believe your time is best spent attacking and belittling him, even if it is easy and satisfying and even if he is still publicly supporting both his bigotry and his poor taste in television shows. Remember that he is just an ignorant student who is only regurgitating the homophobic lines he’s likely been indoctrinated with since childhood.

If you are disturbed by views like those expressed in the op-ed, you must understand that people like the author are not the problem. They are simply a manifestation of an unfortunately larger problem and attacking them directly might give you a brief feeling of triumphant satisfaction but it will not permanently solve anything, and guys like this are not deserving of this much attention.

The large majority of educated young Mormons have never taken to the false myth that homosexuality is a “choice.” Most of them recognize how hard it would be to be a homosexual in a Mormon culture that so actively promotes marriage and relationships but believes homosexuals should remain either celibate or somehow adapt to an (for them) unnatural lifestyle, and whether they admit or not, they likely recognize how unfair that seems. I have no idea what the solution is, but LDS homosexuals and their friends should find comfort in their growing acceptance by the Church’s younger generation and should remember that the solution is not likely to come by opposing the Church or its teachings, or by clinging onto a sense of persecution, or by attacking every bigoted person who ignorantly demonizes them.

To LDS homosexuals and those promoting tolerance in Utah and in Mormon culture: figure out what the solution actually is and do not sacrifice your heritage or religion to accomplish it.

Three Kingdoms of Heaven in Early Christianity

According to tradition, Papias (c. A.D. 70 – 155) was bishop of Hierapolis, a city not far from Laodicea in Asia Minor; a disciple of John the Evangelist (who was either John the Apostle, or a disciple of John the Apostle); and a contemporary of Justin Martyr and Polycarp.  During his life, he wrote five exegetical volumes on the sayings of Jesus, which unfortunately are lost today except for a few small fragments quoted by other early Christian writers.

Eusebius provides us one quote in which Papias details the doctrine of three kingdoms of heaven, more subtley illustrated by Paul in his epistles:

As the presbyters say, then those who are deemed worthy of an abode in heaven shall go there, others shah enjoy the delights of Paradise, and others shall possess the splendour of the city; for everywhere the Saviour will be seen, according as they shall be worthy who see Him. But that there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce an hundredfold, and that of those who produce sixty-fold, and that of those who produce thirty-fold; for the first will be taken up into the heavens, the second class will dwell in Paradise, and the last will inhabit the city; and that on this account the Lord said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions:” for all things belong to God, who supplies all with a suitable dwelling-place, even as His word says, that a share is given to all by the Father, according as each one is or shall be worthy. And this is the couch in which they shall recline who feast, being invited to the wedding. The presbyters, the disciples of the apostles, say that this is the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved, and that they advance through steps of this nature; and that, moreover, they ascend through the Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father; and that in due time the Son will yield up His work to the Father, even as it is said by the apostle, “For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” For in the times of the kingdom the just man who is on the earth shall forget to die. “But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”

Watermelon Festival

We had a booth at the Louisiana Watermelon Festival. We were in an awful location, but we managed to talk to some people and give away some materials.

It was extremely hot. Mid-90’s all day, but counting the humidity it felt like mid 100’s. I got pretty sunburnt too — I’m not in the picture, but I was sitting in the chair on the far left, and most of the day the sun was half-shining on me and I didn’t realize it. So my left right arm and cheek were sunburnt but my other side was okay. I looked like Two-Face off of The Dark Knight, if Harvey Dent had just been stuck in the sun instead of having his face burnt off.

Doesn’t our booth look good though?

President Hinckley Dies

President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away today at the age of 97. President Hinckley has been an Apostle of Jesus Christ since 1961, and in 1995 was ordained the 15th President of the Church. He was the oldest President in the Church’s history.

Gordon B. Hinckley, the personification of humility, is now ministering with Gods and angels, and congratulations on his victory over death.

“In this Church, you serve where you are called to serve. … I hope that all of you will remember that … you heard me bear my witness that this is God’s holy work.” – President Gordon B. Hinckley