My thoughts on President Packer

Meet President Packer, He is about to speak at general conference and ignite a firestorm because of his remarks, this fate could have been avoided had he had, a sassy gay friend.

I have had about 30 people ask me my feelings on President Packer’s talk this conference and I feel that I am finally able and ready to write about them. I have held off because, let’s face it, work is insane. When President Packer first began to speak and a friend asked me if I tensed in anticipation once the Family: Proclamation to the world was brought up I had an odd reaction. For some reason I had the odd hope that this time it would be different. That if anyone was to say something along the lines of the next progressive step in Church policy it would be Packer because only then would people fully believe. I opened myself up to hope and as we all know, that hope was stabbed like Julius Caesar. My frustration caused me to leave the room and vent on Facebook as many of you have noticed. I did go back and listen to the whole thing during the next speaker’s talk.

After that initial outburst I calmed down a bit. It took a call with my mom who told me that perhaps I should take a look at myself and fix my attitude if I had to walk out of conference and after that cry I have been relatively calm and unaffected by his words. My roommate was more upset by this than I was. I know feel wounded slightly and it will take some time before I can honestly evaluate any of his statements, good thing I’ve got 6 months.

The conclusion that I have made is that President Packer can’t fathom me and my existence. Here I stand an out and proud homosexual who goes on dates with guys while trying my best to do my home teaching each week while balancing my work and my calling. Here I stand with many of you, good, wholesome homosexuals who are not sexual deviants but Children of a loving Heavenly Father. That’s why, if I could have 15 minutes with President Packer I would simply tell him my story and then introduce myself as his new sassy gay friend because I recognize that he too is a Child of God and my brother. As his friend I would spend 3 minutes to share with him selected clips from this episode of Glee which aired at just the right moment. I would show him how the zeal with which he feels he is defending the truth is doing more harm than good and is like trying to give steak to those who might only be able to handle a little milk for the moment.

So President Packer I want you to know that here I stand. I am not your enemy, I am not railing against the Church, I am someone who tries his best to walk in faith and keep my religion while all about me all I know are losing theirs. President Packer, while this clip has Kurt proclaiming his pain over the problem of pain and God I want you to know that I, I just want to hold your hand. I hope and pray that you are given the strength needed to accomplish what the lord has in store for you.

  • Quinn22t

    David, Thank you. I think this is the most seasoned, and rational, but yet honest and effective response to the Packer talk I have ready yet.

  • Chris

    Thanks David, Great Insight! I have been frustrated with all the hate shown towards the church and Boyd (even though I am not a member any more) because hate cannot fix hate. Thanks for loving so big and following the Savior.

    • Neggleston

      Personally it’s not hate, it’s hurt and shock. his words were not carefully chosen and the sermon seemed more like a chastisement then counsel.

      • Chris

        Hey old friend, I agree with you. I disagree with what he said and his approach, but some people I know well are making personal attacks against him. I was simply thanking David for his outlook. We can be mad, we can be hurt, we can disagree, but when we attack back, that is when I believe we lose.

        PS, I miss the days where we would have amazing late night chats at the office with your dogs. Hope life is amazing!

  • CentralParkWesterner

    You write: “I just want to hold your hand. I hope and pray that you are given the strength needed to accomplish what the lord has in store for you.”

    DB: This could be construed as tinged with condescension. How difficult it is to discern intent, let alone judging a man’s heart, from words on a screen. MLK

    • http://blog.davidbbaker.com David B Baker

      As I reread that I see what you mean. but that was not my intent. It was a wish and hope for his health and safety for as long as he is needed of the Lord.

  • Nielsplougmann

    Sorry David I understand your pain …

    My reaction to …. ehhhh Brother Packers speech: I finally got the strength to actually send
    my letters of resignation to The Church Office building in SLC and my stake president and bishop. I can no longer for one second sustain the GAs or even worse bare the thought of “forever families” – dreading having to look at that old Utahn, bitter hate mongering Fossil – forever …No Way brother …

  • Sarah

    I love your thoughts! Thank you for this. Maybe you should write a letter to the church/Packer along these lines. I wish you had called me, but maybe your mom was better at calming you, because I was a mess. I still have yet to listen to the rest of that talk and session.

  • Emily Pearson

    Hi, Sweetheart! Remember me? Thank you, AGAIN, for you contribution to our film – 8: The Mormon Proposition.

    Your blog was recommended to me as a great one for a project I am working on for a digital publishing company – gathering the best of blogs written on the topic Homosexuality and the Mormon Church. If you are at all interested in being included, and for more information, please email me at emily.pearson@gmail.com

    We are moving forward with this ASAP.

    Thanks & Much Love.
    Emily

  • Kimerly

    “The last of human freedoms is the ability to choose ones attitude.” Victor Frankl
    Sometimes we have to choose and choose and choose, to stay in a peaceful place. I’m grateful, David, for your choice to write this blog, to be brave and honest, to share. I’ve referred many to your site. Peaceful Thursday!

  • Dr. Lilinquist

    David, I can appreciate your circumstances and personal viewpoints/beliefs, but I feel compelled to point a few things out.
    On your mormon.org profile, you said, “Sadly there are not many definitive answers to questions about Homosexuality in the Church, instead many are met with the answer of “We don’t know”.”
    Well, I don’t know about you, but President Packer’s talk (along with many others like it, both from the GA’s of our time as well as the Biblical Prophets and leaders) seems pretty definitive to me. It sounds to me like we certainly know.
    In the October 2008 Ensign, the Visiting Teaching Message for that month was entitled, “Gender is and Essential Characteristic of Eternal Identity and Purpose.”
    In this article, President David A. Bednar stated, “For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complimentary.”
    Julie B. Beck said, “Female roles did not begin on earth, and they do not end here.” (Though she didn’t make mention of it, I think we can assume the same is true of Male roles as well)
    These are people who have been called of God to lead and direct members of the Church. We have seen, over and over again, that the positions of such leaders are unyielding and firm. We read that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” I have read several of your posts, and I can certainly see where you’re coming from. But the fact remains that homosexuality is not of God.
    Of course, as you yourself have pointed out, that doesn’t mean he loves you any less, or that you are any less his child. But sometimes we need to accept that no matter how strong our own opinions may be, the fact of the matter is that God knows best, and that in the end it is His will alone, unchanging and firm as it is, that matters.
    In the May 1989 issue of the Ensign, President Ezra Taft Benson wrote a compelling talk on pride, entitled simply, “Beware of Pride.” In this talk, he says,

    “The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us. Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of “my will and not thine be done.” As Paul said, they “seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” (Philip. 2:21.) Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled. (See Alma 38:12; 3 Ne. 12:30.) The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. (See Hel. 12:6.) They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works. Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.”

    From reading your many posts on the subject, I can’t help but think that you are “[pitting your] perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge.” You don’t seem interested in “changing [your] opinions to agree with God’s.”
    I fear that it is pride that sits at the center of many, if not all, of the struggles and challenges you describe in your posts. I encourage you to continue your studies of the Gospel, as well as continuing in earnest prayer to our Heavenly Father. I pray for you and others in your position, and it is my hope that one day you will be able to find the definitive and resolute answers that you are looking for. If nothing else, I hope I have at least done for you what your blog has done for me: given you something to consider, ponder, and study and pray about.

    • http://blog.davidbbaker.com David B Baker

      Dr. Lilinquist,

      First off, thank you for commenting on this and reading through my blog to
      find this post to specifically comment on. If you have read through the rest
      of my blog the reasoning behind my mormon.org profile might have been made
      clear and if you have, but if the strings weren’t strung together well
      enough to make my reasoning clear I apologize for assuming you had not. I
      will give each statement a number as to facilitate ease and further
      discussion.

      1. GENDER: I do not dispute that Elder Bednar and Sister Beck made the point
      that male and female spirits are distinct, but rather that their words have
      any bearing on homosexuality or our understanding of its eternal nature.
      Gender is something completely separate from sexuality. Gender does not
      determine who we are attracted to and which gender we are attracted to, it
      is an individual characteristic not a shared experience.

      2. CHANGE: You state that “We have seen, over and over again, that the
      positions of such leaders are unyielding and firm.” But I completely
      disagree with that and I have evidence to back me up. 1st off let me ask you
      a question, Do you believe that the leaders of this Church receive
      continuing revelation? 2nd, Do you believe that these leaders can receive
      revelation to institute change in both Church policy, and doctrine? If those
      answers are different take a moment to ask yourself why? Hasn’t change come
      forth from the leadership all the time? At one point polygamy was seen as
      the ONLY way to be exalted but that changed through revelation despite all
      contemporary views. At one point the priesthood was reserved to a specific
      class of people, the Levities, but through a series of revelations over a
      long period of time the Priesthood was opened up to all worthy men. At one
      point it was perfectly acceptable to marry your sister, cousin and
      half-sister but that changed and at one point pork was unclean and now it is
      served at most US ward outings. Things change, policy changes, doctrine
      changes, and more accurately our understanding of the gospel grows with each
      change.

      3. NOT OF GOD: You state that it is a “fact” that “homosexuality is not of
      God” and I take issue with that proclamation of fact, largely because it is
      not backed up by anything. Yes you pointed out above that Elder Bednar and
      Sister Beck mentioned Gender but even if my above rebuttal wasn’t in place
      that would hold no standing on the factual basis of homosexuality being not
      of God. According to the Church Handbook of Instructions the Church’s views
      on homosexuality are established not by continuing revelation nor by
      prophecy but rather are “based on sacred scripture”. The Church is basing
      its entire understanding of homosexuality on a text it admits is flawed in
      one of the first articles of faith. For a Church that has received
      revelation on how many earings should be in a woman’s ear isn’t it odd that
      there has been no revelation on homosexuality which easily affects more
      people? I say this not as a criticism to the Church and the leaders but
      rather to point out that I believe that the 9th article of faith still
      readily applies and that God has much yet to reveal unto us. We do not know,
      in fact, that homosexuality is not of God.

      4. PRIDE: Thank you for putting that Benson talk on here, I looked at the talk
      and realized that one of my favorite C.S Lewis quotes is in the section
      immediately following the one your quoted. “Pride gets no pleasure out of
      having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is
      the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.
      Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” I feel that this
      quote perfectly encapsulates the concept of both President Benson and your
      own point. Beware of pride. As I feel that I am not trying to compete with
      others or feel that I am superior to others because I feel I have studied
      in-depth homosexuality and the church I think that your analysis of me is
      off. I try every week to build bridges between those in the church who
      reject any and all notion of open dialogue on homosexuality to gays who
      completely reject the church and all its teachings. I do it not because I
      seek to be better than others or because I wish to kick against the pricks
      but rather because after using the God-given faculty of my mind to study I
      feel that I can do good by sharing that.

      Again, thank you for your comments and I hope that my tone didn’t come off
      as angry at all as I know it can sometimes appear to be so. I wrote this in
      complete calmness and hope that it will give you more to study, ponder and
      consider.

      ~David

      • Dr. Lilinquist

        First off I’d like to thank you for posting your reaction. I was a little worried that perhaps you wouldn’t. And I’m all too aware that it can be incredibly difficult to portray a certain tone, or to discern someone else’s tone, over the internet. But I think you definitely came across as calm and collected, which I appreciate.
        I also appreciated the points you made. But in reading your response I think I may have come across in a way I had not intended in my original post. I probably could have been a little clearer.
        My intent was centered around ‘action,’ but I feel like I came across as being against the ‘idea.’ I recognize and support that there is nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality as far as feelings and attractions are concerned. The issue arises when these feelings are acted upon. Acting upon these feelings go against the Law of Chastity, just as much as acting upon feelings of attraction to the opposite gender does. Ultimately my hope for you and others like you is that you recognize this and show an ability to exercise restraint, just as everyone should.
        I stated that “homosexuality is not of God” in reference to the fact that the entire point of marriage is to provide physical bodies for more of God’s children and to raise them in the ways of the Gospel. As stated by Elder Holland in the October 2007 issue of the
        Liahona magazine:

        “At the heart of [the Plan of Salvation] is the begetting of children, one of the crucial reasons Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden (see 2 Nephi 2:19–25; Moses 5:10–12). They were commanded to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Moses 2:28), and they chose to keep that commandment. We are to follow them in marrying and providing physical bodies for Heavenly Father’s spirit children. Obviously, a same-gender relationship is inconsistent with this plan.”

        Obviously, it can be difficult to exercise restraint potentially for a lifetime, as may be necessary. But as in all other things, we must have faith and endure to the end. While the Church is guided by revelation, and revelation can certainly bring about change, it remains that we cannot act on what we believe may come to pass through revelation down the road. We have to do the best with what we are given, and trust that it will all work out in the end. As you have stated previously, God wants all of His children to be happy. But we may have to wait for the next life to realize the full potential of our happiness. As further stated by Elder Holland,

        “For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all. Perhaps no offer of marriage is forthcoming. Perhaps even after marriage there is an inability to have children. Or perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender. Whatever the reason, God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are clean and faithful.”

        I suppose the main point I’m trying to stress is this: There are some things that haven’t been revealed in fullness. But we have to obey the commandments of God, as they are currently given, if we wish to be found able and worthy to enjoy Eternal Life and Happiness in the next life. All of us must live the Law of Chastity, regardless of our position, and even if it means that we remain single for the duration of our earthly lives. But if we will do that, we can trust that our loving Heavenly Father will make everything right in the eternal world to come.
        I am currently working hard to prepare for a work-related trip that will cover several third-world countries. As a result, I will be without internet access for at least several months. But I look forward to reading more about your thoughts and the things you have been up to when I return. Until then, I wish you only the best. You’re doing good things; keep it up.

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