Saturday, July 14, 2012

What's Wrong With SSA?


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 and Janice Graham
Click here to read this and other SoL Voice Columns.

Philosophical Approaches to Liberty and the Same-sex Marriage Debate
By Paul Mero, President, Sutherland Institute
Read this Deseret News article here.

John Stuart Mill and Lord John Acton were contemporaries in 19th century British politics. Both men served in Parliament. Both men tended to vote similarly. But each man represented very different theories of liberty. Mill, ever the utilitarian, believed that liberty is the right to do what one desires, with certain restrictions. Acton, ever the conservative, believed that liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.

Nearly all modern arguments about personal liberty and rights reach back in time to embrace the views of Mill or Acton and their respective historical predecessors. When we hear libertarians (joined by many modern liberals) and conservatives debate today, both camps are posing theories of liberty developed in bygone eras.

Utah political culture is so divided as well. Freedom-loving people of all stripes invoke one or the other theories of liberty. Many of the current contentions between the Utah Republican Party and the Utah tea party are a result of mingling these theories. On some issues, such as economics, they lean heavily toward Mill. On other issues, such as morality, they lean heavily toward Acton. Contentions arise when activists apply these theories arbitrarily and interchangeably.

But where we are seeing these two camps increasingly come into conflict is over the issue of homosexuality. On the one hand, most Utahns understand and accept the need for individuals to "work out their own salvation" including the struggles and trials of personal human identity and the purpose of sexual behavior. We remain kind and tolerant to a very patient degree because most of us see these struggles and decisions no differently than any other with which all mortals are faced. There but for the grace of God, go I.

On the other hand, most reasonable Utahns also understand and accept that our personal decisions and struggles alone - the "right" to do whatever we desire - aren't always proper justification for public debate or rise to the level of rights. During a debate at the University of Utah several years ago on the subject of "gay rights," I expressed the point this way, "We know how you personally benefit from gaining all of the privileges you seek. What we want to know is how society benefits?" In other words, selfishness isn't a right in a free society, though it is how we often behave personally.

Clearly Utahns, by and large, have a difficult time coping with these important distinctions. We know we do because Utah culture is so extremely passive-aggressive. Compound that passive-aggressiveness with anecdotal stories of "injustices" and "indignities" experienced by struggling souls, especially anecdotes about children and youths, and pretty soon a political movement begins to seriously take shape even in Utah. So much so these days that even seriously conservative families begin to believe in the Mill theory of liberty when they are inherently and have been traditionally firmly in the Acton camp.

In these dysfunctional circumstances, facts matter little. What matters to severely passive aggressive people are the stories. The only influence that seems to matter for some Utahns is that a grieving parent in tears testifies that they know their child was "born gay." The fact that there is no replicable scientific or medical evidence that proves that point is irrelevant in the mind of that grieving parent. The fact that that testimony, if from an otherwise conservative Utahn, contradicts ideals of moral agency or religious teaching, is of little influence. As Mill and his predecessors and followers believe reason is the slave to passion and, in politics today, emotions seem to trump reason.

The American founders were students of liberty. They saw firsthand what France was experiencing simultaneously. France chose a different kind of liberty, the liberty eventually expressed by Mill. America's founders chose an integrated liberty - knowing order must precede liberty - eventually best expressed by Lord Acton that rights are inherited not organic. How Utahns will lean, especially over this issue of "gay rights," remains to be seen.

An open letter to homosexuals
by Matt Barber
Read this World Net Daily article here.

I write this not to professional homosexuals. That is to say, not to members of the well-funded, politically powerful homosexual activist lobby. They will mock and reject my words outright. They will twist and misrepresent what I say to further their own socio-political agenda. That's fine. It's to be expected. It merits little more than a yawn and an eye roll.

Instead, I write this to my fellow travelers in life - average, ordinary people, male and female, young and old - who happen to call themselves "gay." I write this out of obedience to God.

It is my hope and prayer that you will consider what I have to say and take it at face value. My intentions are pure and my motives upright. If I can plant the seed of truth in just one person, and that seed begins to sprout, then I consider this letter a success.

I pray that you are that person.

What I write may offend you. It may even infuriate you. But I hope it makes you think. Know this: Your friends have lied to you. Christians do not hate you. We love you intensely. We love you because of who you are, not because of what you do or because of who you think you are.

Still, to love someone and to lie to them is to hate them - especially when that lie inevitably leads to a tragic and hopeless end.

If you have a loved one, blindfolded and running full speed toward cliff's edge, do you not yell, stop! Would you not run after them, even tackling them if need be to prevent them from plummeting to certain death? What would we think of the person who said: "Keep running; all is well."

All is not well, and you know it. On this path, "it" decidedly does not "get better." It only gets worse. You will fall and you will die - perhaps not physical death, straight away - but certainly, an emotional and spiritual death. Homosexual activists, "progressives," Hollywood, the media, academia and popular culture are telling you to keep running.

I'm yelling, stop!

Your lifestyle - homosexuality - is always and forever, objectively and demonstrably wrong. It is never good, natural, right or praiseworthy. If you have "gay pride," you have "sin pride." Although homosexuality is not the only sexual sin, it is, indeed, sin. Scripture is unequivocal on this fact throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

But this reality is manifest beyond the pages of Scripture. Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences. So-called "homophobia" is not responsible for the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-in-five "gay" men and adolescents in major cities across America have been infected - through bad behavior - with HIV/AIDS.

Sin is responsible.

In almost every category - disease, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide - those who call themselves "gay" live and die with consequences that have nothing gay, in the true sense of the word, about them.

Is this you? Be honest.

At least be honest with yourself.

Scripture admonishes: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). This does not simply mean physical death, but something far worse: spiritual death.

Yes, hell.

I know from which I speak. I am no better than you. I, too, once lived a lifestyle of sexual sin. Not homosexual sin, but sexual sin nonetheless. As a young man I did not treat God's daughters as He intended and, instead, engaged in a lifestyle of selfish womanizing and fornication.

The wages of sin in my life was death - spiritual and emotional death. I was on your same path.

But by His grace, I was offered and accepted "the free gift of God." I, instead, was saved and given "eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Do I still struggle with sin? Of course. Every day. We all do. We are fallen. We are sinners.

Still, Christ's gift to me was forgiveness, redemption and life everlasting. My friend, that gift is available to you as well.

Snatch it up. Please.

During the Awakening 2011 - a national conference held, that year, at Liberty University - I was visiting with a young woman from the hard-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). I liked her. I loved her, in fact, in the way her heavenly Father, Christ Jesus, loves her and has enabled me to love her. I think of her and pray for her often.

In recent years, the SPLC has taken to smearing Christian organizations that defend the biblical sexual ethic as "hate groups." After visiting for a while, I asked this young woman if she really believed that we Christians hate homosexuals. To my surprise she admitted that we do not. "But the things you say are sometimes hateful," she added.

Indeed, truth is hate to those who hate truth.

The truth is that you have immeasurable value. You are a beautiful, unique, priceless human being. The very Creator of the universe, in the person of Jesus Christ, took such an interest in you that He meticulously wove you together in your mother's womb. He loves you with a love that no human can fully grasp. Still, this is true not because of your so-called "sexual orientation," but, rather, in spite of it.

You are valuable and worthy of love because God created you in His image. If you define your identity based upon sexual temptations and behaviors your Creator has called sin - an "abomination" - then you are not fulfilling the purpose for which He created you. In so doing, you have become the sum total of your sins. You are in rebellion against God and you know it.

He made you to know it.

Yes, the activists tell you to take "pride" in your "sexual orientation," but you don't feel pride. You feel ashamed, and so you try, in vain, to numb the shame with more of the very behavior that causes it. You will never fill the void you feel with drugs, alcohol or more sexual acting-out. These things only expand your emptiness.

Christ alone can fill the void.

And He will.

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Our new book Captain of My Soul may be ordered on now for 12.95, free shipping. It will be available soon on and Also find Chased by an Elephant, the Gospel Truth about Today's Stampeding Sexuality for LDS families, Wild Elephantthe Gospel Truth about Today's Stampeding Sexuality for all Christian families, and Me, Tarzan, You Jane for the youngest children written for all Christian families, also at Tidal Wave Books, BYU Bookstore, through Barnes and Noble and

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