Conversion and Allies

Rogers In Elder Oaks fall 2017 he gave a little ground but took some ground on LGBTQ identity in the LDS church (via reaffirming the Proclamation on the Family).  Whereas a couple of years ago, just before the November 2015 handbook leak, the church had taken the stance that gay marriage was akin to abortion and alcohol consumption, this talk paired it with heterosexual cohabitation.

While this gave a little ground on the stigma front, Elder Oaks also said that members who are “converted” (a term that has been used in the last few conferences as a state beyond simple membership and testimony) would believe in the proclamation.  To me, the converted person has their own relationship with God through which they may seek answers.  Oaks himself spoke on this a few years back, clarifying that personal revelation and priesthood authority have separate but equalish roles (in that same session a member of the Seventy had talked on a similar vein but with priesthood lines of communication being preeminent.)

I just see a danger that this could become a tier system of faithfulness.  Some people will appear “converted” because they have never questioned the Proclamation on the Family.  I struggled with the Proclamation when it was first published in 1995, and through a personal revelation came to believe that “gender is essential” to our individual experience in the great plan of happiness (as the prophet Alma described the plan to his son that was guilty of fornication).

I still believe this, but don’t believe an attendant addage one often hears, that “God doesn’t make mistakes” i.e. put a spirit of one gender into an incompatible body.  God puts us in bodies with mood disorders, learning disorders and addictions, as well as the variety of physical vagaries or bodies of ambiguous sexual identity.  Not only the body, but aspects of the mind either physical or socio cultural could be incompatible with our spiritual gender.

Agency is central to the plan of happiness, but what we do with what we have been given in life cannot be judged outwardly.  And neither can one’s testimony or conversion to the gospel.

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