BYU and The Evidence For A Biological Origin For Homosexuality

I am a cultural Mormon and will be until the day I die. My early experiences in life were in Utah and shaped by the ever-present and powerful Mormon church; I saw the world through Mormon-colored glasses. My family roots are in Utah, my extended family is Mormon, when necessary I can speak in a certain Utah-Mormon vernacular, I was a Mormon missionary for two years, I’m a graduate of Mormon seminary, I attended Mormon Institute classes when I was in college, I’ve been to the Temple, I’ve been to weddings in the Temple, I was a home teacher, I went to youth service projects, I dated Mormon girls, I held callings and taught Sunday School. Mormonism is in my blood and it always will be. But the Mormon Church was also the single thing that shaped me, that limited me and frightened me and I often wonder, if I could change one thing about myself, would I change not being born into a Mormon tradition? I don’t know, because it wasn’t always bad, there was lots of good.

I am also a gay Mormon. After the Proposition 8 fiasco I did have my name officially removed from the Mormon Church because, quite frankly, the Mormon Church doesn’t deserve me or my talents. Yet even with my name off the books I am still Mormon and always will be.

The battle raging in the Mormon Church about homosexuality fascinates me. I’m appalled that an organization treats its own (gay) members so poorly; I’m appalled that an organization that claims to be pro-family spent millions of dollars to cause political harm to innocent children of gay and lesbian parents. I’m surprised that an organization whose unofficial motto used to be “mind your own business” (I’m not making that up) now wants to enforce their version of religion and make it everyones business. I was inactive in the Mormon Church for many years and left it alone, until the Mormon Church asserted itself prominently into my life and the lives of complete strangers.

But something amazing has come out of BYU, the Mormon Church’s private university. A professor from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Professor Bill Bradshaw, a former mission president and former member of the stake presidency gave a lecture called “The Evidence For A Biological Origin For Homosexuality.” You can listen to it on the Mormon Stories website. (I’ve been a reader and a podcast subscriber to Mormon Stories for many years. I highly recommend it.)

Listen to it to hear what a real scientist has to say about homosexuality then read this “apology” given by General Authority Marlin K. Jensen, a delusional, self-important man about a subject he does not understand. The hard work of scientific inquiry, of gathering facts and testing data, of being able to replicate those conclusions and being able to explain the results has resulted in more transcendence and beauty than the assertions of religious officials has ever done. Marlin K. Jensen lives in a world of feelings. Feelings are not tools of cognition. Mormons need to understand this, and they need to understand that their church has been wrong about a host of issues: Slavery (Brigham Young brought slaves to Utah in 1847 and instituted slavery in Utah in 1852), origins of Africans (black skin is not a curse), origins of Native Americans (DNA evidence proves Native Americans are of Asian decent, not Jewish). The leaders of the Church were wrong about the rights of women, the Civil Rights movement and they are wrong about homosexuality.

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  • Park B. Romney
    October 13, 2010

    I appreciated this post very much, Seth. It was very informative. Quite an irony too, as I’m sure you will appreciate.

    • J Seth Anderson
      October 13, 2010

      Thank you Park! I appreciate it. I was very surprised (in a good way) to see this research come out of BYU.

  • Holden Caulfield
    November 14, 2010

    “I am also a gay Mormon. After the Proposition 8 fiasco I did have my name officially removed from the Mormon Church because, quite frankly, the Mormon Church doesn’t deserve me or my talents.”

    Good for you, Seth. I am the lds father of a gay son. I have not had my name removed from the records, but I have removed my heart from the church, having been baptized at 17 (forty years ago).
    The church doesn’t deserve you. Some day they may understand how pathetic their “love” for gays is.

    • J Seth Anderson
      November 14, 2010

      I agree. The Church (I think mainly Packer) has taught that “the gays” were some outside force that were an enemy and a threat to Mormons. This is not true. Gay people are your children, your uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters. They are good people who deserve love and respect. Every parent would be so lucky to have a gay child.
      It sounds like you are a loving parent who supports your son. That is invaluable and so necessary. How sad that the Church would make you choose between your son and your religion.
      You’ve done the right thing. It is so important for you to tell your story and talk about the issue.
      I really think that every Mormon family has a gay relative. Packer is so wrong and has caused so much unnecessary harm and pain.
      It’s people like you who will make the difference.

  • tropical animal
    November 28, 2014

    “Without knowledge the people perish.” Mormons, in general, are loving caring people, but without knowledge based on research, their misguided sense of righteousnous is destructive. Mormons need to dust off that seer stone and hat and get some up-to-date information. But unfortunately, the seer-stone reality, originated by Joseph Smith, does not hold up in the light of science and has been proven to be false. For example, the face-in-the-hat technique of translating and finding hidden treasures and a long list of ideas, one after another, have
    been proven false–egyptology, evolution, the rights of women, the rights of African-Americans, the diversity of sexuality, the unnatural view of sexuality. Though obsessed with missionary work, Mormons unwittingly drive away a large percentage of the population who do not fit their one-sexual pattern -for-all. In some ways this applies to everyone, not just the gay population. To tell it like it is, all Mormons, especially teenagers, are sent on a big guilt trip by the church-induced conflict between masturbation and self-worth as taught by the church,
    Of course, indiscriminate and irresponsible sex brings problems, unhappiness and disease. But you can still be and experience the sexual being you naturally are, and with scientific information
    and guidance, still live the good, happy, healthy life.

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