No One, in Good Faith, Can Even Hold the Positions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints About Chastity and Traditional Marriage, Let Alone Defend Them
By Ken K. Gourdin
At Mormon Dialogue and Discussion, certain posters have expressed criticism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its expression of support for an benefit that is designed to raise funds for causes and initiatives intended to promote the welfare of LGBTQIA-Yada-yada-yada youths. (I’m sure I left some initials out of that acronym, alas!) Detractors see expressions of support by the Church of Jesus Christ as hypocritical because of the Church’s support of only traditional marriage and its teaching that sex outside of marriage is wrong. I responded:
This thread is proof positive that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints simply cannot win: According to its detractors/skeptics/disaffected on this issue/these issues, either (a) it must accept the LGBTQIA-Yada-yada-yada agenda wholesale; or (b) people will forever suspect its motives. According to such individuals, there is no middle ground: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must repudiate its teachings on traditional marriage and on the law of chastity. Period. It’s that simple.
The thread’s originator then accused the Church of Jesus Christ of “singling out” gays and lesbians for “mistreatment.” I responded:
Your post contains two instances of a priori assumption in the first sentence alone. Perhaps it’s just me, but I hesitate to conclude that anyone who is trying, wittingly or not, to stack the deck so high against his rhetorical opponents is interested in dialoguing in good faith on the issue(s) under discussion.
Continuing to assert, a priori and sans evidence (or at least, without offering any evidence to support the assertion), that the Church of Jesus Christ has “mistreated” gays and lesbians, the thread’s originator then wrote, “Seriously? You think an institution with a track record can make one statement and everyone should just ignore all their actions and history of the past? Who does that in real life?”
It’s not as though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been inconsistent on these issues, even if you don’t like its teachings. It’s not as though the Church of Jesus Christ ever has taught (in essence), “It’s OK to hate both the sinner and the sin” before teaching (in essence), “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” It’s not as though the Church of Jesus Christ ever has said, “The Church was for gay marriage … before it was against it,” or, “The Church was against opposite-sex marriage … before it was for it,” or “The Church was for sex outside of marriage … before it was against it.”
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints drawing a clear line between man’s law and God’s law by teaching that even if gay marriage is legal according to the laws of the land, God’s laws are that (1) sex outside of marriage is wrong; (2) only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God; and (3) any member of the Church of Jesus Christ who enters into a gay marriage is apostate. You’re free to disagree with one of those propositions or with all of them, but either the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by God or it is not. As I said earlier, there is no middle ground.
Continuing to assert that the Church of Jesus Christ “mistreats” gays and lesbians based solely on his own ipse dixit, the thread’s originator wrote, “Its [sic] so clearly mistreatment that I’m going to start with that as the baseline for a discussion. …” Whereupon I informed him, “OK. I will not be responding to you further.”
It’s one thing to argue, after granting opposing arguments a hearing, that one is using flawed logic and/or that he’s arguing in bad faith. It’s another thing entirely to argue, without considering opposing arguments, that one exhibits bad faith merely for holding a certain position, as if to say, “No one possibly could even hold the position you hold in good faith, let alone be able to defend it.”
Under such circumstances, how is rational discussion or reasoned debate even possible?
It isn’t, so I bowed out of the thread.