Question: If same-sex attraction is something that occurs naturally, why can't God and the Church accept it by allowing sealings of LGBT couples?

FairMormon Answers Wiki Table of Contents

Question: If same-sex attraction is something that occurs naturally, why can't God and the Church accept it by allowing sealings of LGBT couples?

The Question/Criticism

Some have brought up the sensitive question of why gay marriage and other LGBT relationships can't be accepted by God and the Church if the characteristic is innate. Some struggle to find a purpose in the command to not engage in homosexual behavior. Some secularist critics and even members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who support same-sex marriage co-opt this issue as a means of openly and directly challenging the Church's opposition to same-sex relationships and marriages. This article examines that sensitive question/criticism.

It must be understood that some people are very sincere when asking these questions and that the questions deserve to be treated as such when sincerity is sensed. Others simply want to emotionally manipulate people into faith crisis over this issue. Great discernment is needed to know whether one is the former or latter in any given situation.

It is important to understand that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not oppose same-sex marriage because it wishes to discriminate against LGBTQAIP+-identifying individuals. On the contrary, the Church values their service and hopes that they will find meaningful service within the Church organization. Additionally, the Church espouses a particularly detailed set of doctrines—believed to have come through divine revelation—that outline the purpose of our pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal life that make accepting LGBT sealings within the Church virtually impossible without surrendering core doctrinal values and propositions. The first part of this article will detail some philosophical objections to this criticism and then outline the aforementioned doctrinal propositions that Latter-day Saints would be reticent to relinquish.

The Problem of Ontology

The philosophical study of ontology studies issues such as cause, being, and the self. What is the self? What is identity? Philosophers have debated these issues for a long, long time. The next section (or three subsections) will detail important claims in mainstream LGBT thought regarding ontology and the problems associated with those claims.

An Assumption of Body Theory of Identity

The study of identity and what it is made up of is within the realm of ontology. Philosophers have several theories and defenses for their theories that make up identity. The two main theories are the body theory and the memory theory (good introduction may be found here).

The memory theory suggests that identity is made up of many memories, linked in a chain, back into the past. You remember being a six-year-old kid, kicking the soccer ball with your father in the back yard and getting married at 25. It has its problems though. Can you remember when you were born? Or the first four to five years of your life? What about the many memories that you remember for the short time but forget in the long term? Are you losing part of your identity as you forget things?

Then there’s the body theory. It’s simple enough: your body is what makes you, you. You own it and control it and you generally keep the same appearance throughout your life. The body theory also has its problems. You are growing taller, fatter, becoming balder, your facial skin sags. If its constantly changing, can we really consider your body as your identity? In the case of sexuality, we know that it is fluid and can change with age. LGBT people subconsciously or consciously assume the body theory of identity: my body produces these desires and thus these desires are part of my identity. But if their sexuality is fluid (or, at least, can be) then is it really part of their true identity? Do we owe moral obligations to someone whose "identity" can change?

Feelings are not Being

Latter-day Saint family therapist Ty Mansfield PhD. pointed out something important in regard to feelings not forming identity:

“Being gay” is not a scientific idea, but rather a cultural and philosophical one, addressing the subjective and largely existential phenomenon of identity. From a social constructionist/constructivist perspective, our sense of identity is something we negotiate with our environment. Environment can include biological environment, but our biology is still environment. From an LDS perspective, the essential spiritual person within us exists independent of our mortal biology, so our biology, our body is something that we relate to and negotiate our identity with, rather than something that inherently or essentially defines us. Also, while there has likely been homoerotic attraction, desire, behavior, and even relationships, among humans as long as there have been humans, the narratives through which sexuality is understood and incorporated into one’s sense of self and identity is subjective and culturally influenced. The “gay” person or personality didn’t exist prior to the mid-20th century.

In an LDS context, people often express concern about words that are used—whether they be “same-sex attraction,” which some feel denies the realities of the gay experience, or “gay,” “lesbian,” or “LGBT,” which some feels speaks more to specific lifestyle choices. What’s important to understand, however, is that identity isn’t just about the words we use but the paradigms and worldviews and perceptions of or beliefs about the “self” and “self-hood” through which we interpret and integrate our various experiences into a sense of personal identity, sexual or otherwise. And identity is highly fluid and subject to modification with change in personal values or socio-cultural context. The terms “gay,” “lesbian,” and “bisexual” aren’t uniformly understood or experienced in the same way by everyone who may use or adopt those terms, so it’s the way those terms or labels are incorporated into self-hood that accounts for identity. One person might identify as “gay” simply as shorthand for the mouthful “son or daughter of God who happens to experience romantic, sexual or other desire for persons of the same sex for causes unknown and for the short duration of mortality,” while another person experiences themselves as “gay” as a sort of eternal identity and state of being.

An important philosophical thread in the overall experience of identity, is the experience of “selfhood”—what it means to have a self, and what it means to “be true to” that self. The question of what it means to be “true to ourselves” is a philosophical rather than a scientific one. In her book Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self, award-winning science and medical writer Rita Carter explores the plurality of “selves” who live in each one of us and how each of those varied and sometimes conflicting senses of self inform various aspects of our identity(ies). This sense seems to be universal. In the movie The Incredibles, there’s a scene in which IncrediBoy says to Mr. Incredible, “You always, always say, ‘Be true to yourself,’ but you never say which part of yourself to be true to!”[1]

Thus, there is big difference between feelings and the meaning or labels that we assign to feelings. Thank goodness that feelings are not being. Couldn't we imagine a time where someone would want to change feelings that they didn't feel described their identity such as impulses for pornography, drugs, or violence? This does not mean that the author is comparing sexual orientation to bad impulses, this is simply to point out that feelings do not inherently control identity. We assign identity to feelings.

These points demonstrate that we all have to seek out something else to determine identity that is enduring, real, and meaningful. Some of us (including Latter-day Saints) turn to God for that identity.[2] Others may subconsciously or consciously create some form of a platonic entity to ground our morality and identity i.e. "Love binds the universe. Love is my religion." But the basic point still stands—our feelings may be used to form identity, but that identity--the identity based in our feelings that we are having now--isn't enduring; and we must turn to the unseen world and the knowledge that flows from it to form abiding and real identity.

The Problem of Morality

Now we turn from ontology to axiology.

LGBT folks assume a moral naturalist position—whether consciously or subconsciously-- when they speak about discrimination: if it’s produced in nature (“I’m born this way”) then it must be good and anyone who disagrees with that is guilty of prejudicial discrimination. However, it doesn't take long to realize that this has its flaws. There are many things within our society that we consider as natural (people are born that way), yet we still consider certain things abnormal or wrong even though people are born that way. This highlights a problem that the author believes LGBT advocates are guilty of known as the "is-ought fallacy" aka the fact-value distinction. Just because something is found in nature, doesn’t mean that we should act on that desire or what we find in nature. This criticism was deployed by David Hume against Thomas Aquinas’ natural law theory of morality. So what resolves this problem? Some people like Sam Harris believe that the fact-value distinction doesn’t exist and that values are a certain kind of fact. Of course, that kind of begs the question. Just what kind of fact are they? And how are those facts discerned? Some philosophers that are consequentialists would argue that the consequence of our actions is what should be considered as the ultimate determinate of what morality should be. Unstated in their theories is that one needs to have a reason for the consequence itself. Sure, there may be consequences of actions that can be considered to produce happiness or virtuous character. But why do those consequences matter? We’re so focused on the consequences and don’t realize that there needs to be a purpose for wanting to produce those consequences.

Many philosophers recognize that you need a supreme, third-party arbitrator as the ultimate grounds for a morality that can be considered real. The best way that the author can describe this is to imagine a water bottle. Water assumes the shape of the bottle when poured into it. We can consider the water to be our moral values as humans. Consequentialists and virtually all other moral philosophers who assume atheism are pouring water straight onto the ground with no way to have the morality take shape and have a purpose. They’re thinking about morality and what should be considered morality while circularly arguing that morality exists. This has been the main criticism of modern philosophers such as Bernard Williams who has been considered a virtue ethicist but a moral nihilist – probably by dint of him being an atheist. So how do we make sure the water doesn’t just fall to the ground? We have a bottle. But where did the bottle come from? It had to be formed. Who formed it? A manufacturer. We can consider God the manufacturer of the bottle. So, to make a long point short, one needs a manufacturer to have a bottle. You need to have a meta creator to have a metaethical worldview that might be considered real. You need the creator, the creation, and those that use

Without a compelling solution to these issues (and an answer as to how someone can prove that they are ontologically gay), there is no grounding for the claim that abstention from performing same-sex sealings in temples (aka "not accepting LGBT people"; "not being inclusive") is prejudiced discrimination. There may be legitimate discrimination against LGBT folks such as denial of housing, food, money, or violence enacted against them--which the Church (and FairMormon) condemns unequivocally. But abstention for religious matters including an understanding of anthopology, cosmology, hamartiology, and soteriology that is believed to come from revelation cannot be included in this case without grounds for it.

How Latter-day Saints Resolve These Issues

To understand the Latter-day Saint position and to see its validity, one must look through a Latter-day Saint lens. Latter-day Saints resolve the issue of identity by positing the existence of a spirit that is combined with our body to form a soul (D&C 88:15). This soul is in a constant state of flux in that we are constantly learning new truths that we perceive as superior and jettisoning those we see as inferiors. All particle of intelligence we gain in this life will rise with us in the resurrection (D&C 130:8). The existence of the spirit that is with our soul is what makes up our essential ontology. It is eternally existent (Abraham 3:18). We come to earth to gain a body because it helps us become like God.

To resolve the issue of having a manufacturer, we posit the existence of God as the arbiter of morality. Latter-day Saints affirm the existence of a sovereign God who is corporeal (meaning "has a body") and anthropomorphic (meaning "human"). He reveals knowledge about himself--occasionally by making physical appearances (Joseph Smith-History 1:17) and sending angels (Joseph Smith-History 1:30-33)-- but most of the time, he provides revelation through the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:5). It may be argued that, with things such as the global problem of skepticism, that we should turn to the unseen (but still material) world for truly abiding knowledge of who we are, why we're here, where we come from, and where we're going. Revelation from God may be the only thing that can establish true identity.[3]Everything within our theology as far as morality goes is grounded in his being and the being of other Gods that have existed before him—as a father, creator, purifier of souls, and ultimately a sharer of that divine telos with his children. His work and his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39), he is a Father and has his Wife (The Family: A Proclamation to the World), and thus the crowning ordinance of our earth life is sealing ourselves with our spouses as gods ourselves, having eternal increase, worlds without end (D&C 132:18-20).

Since our morality is grounded in God's essential being and because his essential being is limited to the things listed, there are few moral imperatives within Mormonism. This could probably be stated as love God with all your heart might mind and strength, keep your body (and thus soul) pure and clean, remain separate from the world in demeanor and moral uprightness, multiply and replenish the earth, and seek God (through reason and revelation through Christ and the prophets) and become like him by bringing yourself and your family to make covenants with him.

We'll discuss further the harmartiological, soteriological, anthropological, and cosmological theological tenets of our faith now that make acceptance of LGBT sealings in our temples a virtual impossibility without reducing the theology to nil.

The doctrine of eternal marriage between man and woman is not based on scientifically observed phenomena from a fallen world, but an ideal that was experienced in the pre-existence, at creation, and what the ideal will be post-resurrection/exaltation. This ideal has come through revelation.

As Latter-day Saints, we believe that our most important identity is that of sons and daughters of God. Our identity is not threatened by science because it comes--in a sense--from the unseen world through revelation from God to prophets. But, now the question is "What do we believe God has revealed to us about other important aspects of our identity?[4]

Many people fail to recognize that the doctrine of eternal marriage between men and women is not based on scientifically observed phenomena from a fallen world, but on an ideal that was experienced in the pre-existence, at creation, and what the ideal will be post-resurrection/exaltation. This ideal we believe to have come through revelation by God to prophets and recorded in the scriptures of the Church which are meant to govern the Church and shape its thought (D&C 42:53–60).

Doctrine from the Pre-existence

In the pre-existence, our Heavenly Parents created us (exactly how we're not sure and don't have an official doctrine on the point)—male and female— from spirit matter (sometimes referred to as "intelligence" Abraham 3:21).

Doctrine from Creation

We know from repeated statements in scripture that all people—male and female— were created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26; Mosiah 7:27, Ether 3:15, Doctrine and Covenants 20:18, Moses 1:6; 2:26, 6:9, Abraham 4:26). Some have stated that since the translation is rendered as "God" that this suggests some gender neutrality in the scriptures. This is implausible.

Michael Coogan:

The traditional translation is "in the image of God he created them." This does not entirely make sense, since the last line speaks of "male and female," and God in the Bible is not androgynous but male. An alternative is to understand elohim in the second line in its plural sense: humans are male and female in the image of the gods—because the gods are male and female, humans are as well. Which male and female deities are the model? Although the entire pantheon is a possibility, the divine couple, Yahweh and his goddess consort, are more likely.[5]

Thus, "God", our creator, may be more properly referred to as "Gods" (Abraham 4:1). These Gods, according to Dr. Coogan, are a male and female deity. This male and female deity would then be the creator of our spirits since "God" is the father of our spirits (Num. 16:22;27:16; Mal. 2:10; Matt. 6:9; Eph. 4:6; Heb. 12:9). Thus we learn something about what the ideal will be post-resurrection/exaltation.

These Gods created the mortal tabernacles Adam and Eve—a male and female— and provided spirits to inhabit their bodies. God commanded Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth. The reasons are obvious as to why a male and female would be commanded to do such: they're the only ones who can procreate without the need of additional technological and/or vicarious/proxy assistance.

Doctrine from The Fall

We learn that, after the fall, that thorns, thistles, and noxious weeds would torment man. We learn that nature would become chaotic in some ways and divert from the creational ideal. Thus nature has an order to it, but not complete order. These revelations that we have received about creation remind us what the ideal was during the pre-existence, at creation, and what the ideal will be post-resurrection/exaltation.

During this time of the fall, we have no evidence that God creates any of our bodies. Our biological parents, living in this fallen world, create(d) our bodies. Those bodies are subject to the affects of the Fall. We only have evidence that God created our spirits and the bodies of Adam and Eve. This is simply one of the effects of the fall that we have to overcome. Everyone has them. Christ asks us to take up our cross (Matthew 10:28; 16:24; Luke 9:23; 14:27) and overcome the natural man (Mosiah 3:19). Will one presume that someone is created with Downe's syndrome, autism, depression, anxiety, etc.? Such would make God evil, and as a scriptural truism, God is not evil. Those who identify as LGBT will need to wrestle more sincerely with the problem of evil and theodicy.[6]

God has commanded that same-sex behavior not occur several times throughout the scriptures (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 19:1-11; Matthew 19:5; Isaiah 3:9; Moses 5:51-53; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Romans 1: 26-27; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Jude 1:7; 2 Nephi 13:9; The Family Proclamation Paragraph 4)[7]

This standard is also proclaimed in the revealed temple ceremony to Joseph Smith and sustained today under the direction of the current Church President. Those who have made temple covenants (and especially received their endowments) will understand the explicit commandments associated with them.

Doctrine from Resurrection

We know that at resurrection, our bodies will be perfected and stripped of the effects of the Fall (Alma 11:43-45).

Doctrine from Exaltation

We learn that upon resurrection, we will be judged. When we are judged, and if we obtain the celestial kingdom, we will become Gods and go on to have everlasting increase. This is only done with husband and wife—male and female—sealed in holy temples of the Lord (D&C 132:18-20). All of us are meant to become creators--having eternal increase, worlds without end, just like our Heavenly Father and Mother and Adam and Eve. Men and women are the only ones known to be able to create life in our theology with proper authorization and according to their essential spiritual ontology. To accept LGBT sealings in temples rewrites our theology in that--if accepted in temples, it means that LGBT souls were present before the creation of the earth. It would also mean that they will be present after the second coming. This would mean that the creation narratives that we have as part of the canonical works of the Church is false given that God's nature was not expressed in its fulness at creation. This would mean that the atonement of Jesus Christ, which gives us the ability to become like God by becoming pure and bringing our sinful desires into alignment with God's morality (which, in our theology, is based in God's nature of being a father, creator, maximally powerful, maximally knowledgeable, and maximally pure being) is pointless since the most fundamental part of his being is now being rewritten to include LGBT marriage. It would mean that prophets have been wrong about the essential identity of God's children for nearly 3000 years. Rest assured, it would be a big, big change, and a hard one to reconcile for any faithful, orthodox Latter-day Saint.

Thus we see that the doctrine of eternal marriage between men and women cannot truly be harmed by those that identify as LGBTQAIP+. Our doctrine is based upon what we believe God has revealed about the ideals manifested at pre-existence, creation, and what will be manifested once we are resurrected and exalted. We see that the disagreement is not based upon what is observed. All of us can observe the existence of these people. Where we (in this case members of the Church and secularists and/or progressive members) disagree is about where one's epistemic assumptions should lie i.e. where to turn to for knowledge about morality and/or ideals to categorize nature with.

The Argument from Personal Revelation

There are often claims from members of the Church who identify as LGBTQAIP+ and other members of the Church who support same-sex marriage that they have received personal revelation that the Church is wrong about this issue and that it will eventually accept LGBT sealings, relationships, and so on in the future. Since this is a topic that involves the ontological makeup of the entire human family as well as their eternal destiny, this type of revelation does not lie within the stewardship of those that identify as transgender or those that support transgenderism, but with the prophet of God (D&C 28:2-4; 42:53-58; 112:20). Thus, it is likely that these individuals have been deceived by false Spirits (D&C 50:1-2) and their testimonies should be disregarded. If someone were to receive a revelation like this, it would be given to them for their own comfort and instruction. They would also be placed under strict commandment to not disseminate their revelation until it accords with the revelation of the prophets, God's authorized priesthood channels (Alma 12:9). Some argue against this using the example of Cornelius who received revelation that he would receive baptism before Peter received the revelation to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10). Yet there are two problems:

  1. The Savior had already given the command to the apostles to go to all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature and baptize them (Mark 16:15-16; Mormon 9:22-24[8]). Thus, this wasn't necessarily a question of what was going to happen but of when. This was not a revelation about essential missiological outlook, it was a revelation of when to execute it. Thus the example is not analogous to this situation.
  2. Even if we were to assume that a revelation to Cornelius signaled the future change of the Church in ancient times, that is certainly not how the Lord has wished to distribute revelation in modern times as seen in the three first scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants cited at the top of this section.

Argument from Fallibility

Some argue that the prophets are simply wrong on this issue and have presented a few examples to bolster their case.

Additional Light

Some argue, based on the Latter-day Saint belief in continuing revelation and an open canon of scripture, that there may yet be additional light added to this question because of questions that need to be answered regarding LGBT issues. Usually, disagreement over this issue stem from one side's insistence on deducing conclusions based on propositions already established in Scripture (which the author adheres to) and the other's insistence that there needs to be additional revelation on this issue. Questioners ask things like the following:

  • What is an LGBT person's place in the Plan of Salvation? Some argue that the place of LGBT people needs to be established in the Plan of Salvation. Usually this question is attached to a desire to see LGBT relationships and identity persist beyond the grave and into the eternities. Though our essential ontology is already established in scripture as 1) children of God and thus 2) God's in embryo. Women and men are meant to be exalted together so that they can have eternal increase (D&C 132:19-20). An LGBT persons place in the plan of salvation is the same as those born with any other less than ideal circumstance, to take up their cross and follow the Savior towards their own exaltation. Our essential ontological identity is promised to be brought to the fore in glory at the resurrection. This brings up another important question that is asked.
  • Does same-sex attraction persist beyond this life? It is often asked if same-sex attraction will persist beyond this life. The only evidence that might be used to support it would come from the scriptures. Since we have no evidence that celestial beings experience same-sex attraction, it is unlikely that same-sex attraction persists beyond this life. Prophets have stated many times that it won't. If it were to persist passed the resurrection and into the next life, it would be theologically unavoidable to then assume that being essentially and ontologically LGBT is a reality and existed before this life. That would fundamentally rewrite the Plan of Salvation. Thus the question is already answered for us.

Simple Fallibility

Latter-day Saints do not believe in the doctrine of infallibility. Prophets are considered mortals that can make mistakes at times. Some advocates of the LGBT position have argued that the prophets are simply wrong on this issue (usually for reasons discussed above). The problems with the position are outlined above. The position is the result of revelation that has come to prophets over three thousand years beginning perhaps with the authorship of the J source of the Pentateuch circa 1000 BC or the authoring of the Latter-day Saint Book of Moses. If the prophets have gotten our essential ontology wrong for that amount of time, it's difficult to imagine how we can trust them. This wouldn't be just because of how long of time, but also because of how easily deducible it is from the scriptures what our eternal identity and purpose is and the fundamental rewriting of that purpose. It makes God deceptive.

The Argument from Priesthood Restriction

As an additional means of justifying opposition to the Church's position on same sex marriage, some point to the pre-1978 restrictions on people of African descent from holding the Church's priesthood or officiating in temple ordinances, including the Church's disavowed explanations for the restrictions. If the Church was wrong about their explanations for that, could it be wrong about this issue? This has been examined in another article on the FairMormon wiki.

Conclusion

Many LGBT members of The Church of Jesus Christ do not need to hear the points listed in this article. Many understand these points clearly but may simply need someone to love and empathize with their struggle. Members of the Church are placed under covenant at baptism to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort (Mosiah 18:8-9) and should be open to helping these good men and women when they need it most.

Alternatively, there may be some that begin to debate against the Church's position out of sincere frustration and sadness or simple spite. First, those who wish to help these individuals will need to dig deep and find out why these individuals are debating against the Church's position. Some may still need to simply have someone love them and empathize with them. Others may be past that and be debating, as mentioned, out of simple spite and emotional manipulation. In these instances, members of the Church should follow the other part of their baptismal covenant as outlined in Mosiah 18:8-9 and "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in[.]"

As a final word which we wish to emphasize:

FairMormon joins The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in unequivocally condemning the discrimination of any of God's children based upon gender (or gender identity), race, sexual identity and/or orientation, and/or religious affiliation..

Notes

  1. Ty Mansfield, "'Mormons can be gay, they just can’t do gay': Deconstructing Sexuality and Identity from an LDS Perspective" FairMormon Conference, 2014. <https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2014/mormons-can-gay-just-cant-gay> Accessed October 17, 2019
  2. (Moroni 10:7).
  3. For a potential example of a metaethical world view that works with Latter-day Saint theology, see Blake T. Ostler, "Ep27- The Relation of Moral Obligation and God in LDS Thought (Pt 1) - The Problems of Theism & The Love of God Ch3" Exploring Mormon Thought. October 16, 2017. <http://www.exploringmormonthought.com/2017/10/ep27-relation-of-moral-obligation-and.html>. Accessed November 11, 2019; Blake T. Ostler, "EP28-The Relation of Moral Obligation and God in LDS Thought (PT 2) - The Problems of Theism & The Love of God Ch. 3" Exploring Mormon Thought. October 22, 2017. <http://www.exploringmormonthought.com/2017/10/ep28-relation-of-moral-obligation-and.html>. Accessed November 11, 2019; Levi Checketts, "Thomas Aquinas Meets Joseph Smith: Toward a Mormon Ethics of Natural Law" Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought 51-1 (Spring 2018).
  4. A similar treatment of biblical scripture was done in Justin M. Starr, "Biblical Condemnations of Homosexuality," FairMormon Papers (December 2012). This article refutes arguments from LGBT advocates that wanted to eliminate the scriptural bases for argumentation against gay marriage.
  5. Michael Coogan, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says (New York City, NY: Grand Central, 2010), 175.
  6. See David L. Paulsen, "Joseph Smith and the Problem of Evil" BYU Speeches, September 21, 1999
  7. For a more full-bodied discussion of the exegetical nuance associated with these passages, see Victor Paul Furnish and Mark Allan Powell, "Homosexuality" in Harper Collins Bible Dictionary ed. Mark Allan Powell (New York: Harper Collins, 1989), 388. The most explicit condemnations come in Leviticus and Romans 1:26-27 where Paul (yes, written by Paul himself as the vast majority of biblical scholars agree that he wrote it) condemns the act, most likely with Leviticus in mind as "an example of the perversions that follow when humankind refuses to give glory and thanks to the one sovereign God." For commentary on the passages in Leviticus, see Baruch J. Schwartz' commentary on Leviticus 18:22 in The Jewish Study Bible eds. Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 251-2.
  8. Be sure to see our article on the longer ending of Mark.