Mormonism LIVE!: 041: Solving the LDS Church Homosexuality Issue

Mormonism LIVE!: 041: Solving the LDS Church Homosexuality Issue Elder Holland recently explained ““I and many of my Brethren have spent more time and shed more tears on this subject than we could ever adequately convey to you this morning, or any morning. We have spent hours discussing what the doctrine of the Church can and cannot provide the individuals and families struggling over this difficult issue. So, it is with scar tissue of our own that we are trying to avoid — and hope all will try to avoid — language, symbols and situations that are more divisive than unifying at the very time we want to show love for all of God’s children.” In spite of being Prophets, Seers, and Revelators; He seemingly also is acknowledging that Jesus isn’t coming into the room and they are trying to figure it out without him. So Radio Free Mormon and Bill Reel decide to be of assistance and offer solutions to the problem they are struggling to get an answer for. So on this episode, we will give these 15 men the theological and historical and doctrinal space to resolve this issue once and for all.



Mormonism LIVE: 035: Will The Real Apostle Please Stand Up !

In this week’s episode of Mormonism Live, we will investigate the integrity of the not only the President of the Church but also the integrity of the Quorum of the 12. Once one grasps the systemic issue within LDS Leadership, One’s trust in them becomes anything other guaranteed.

RESOURCES: 45:35 – 46:38 Time Stamp 4:47 – 5:46 Time Stamp

In his memoirs, An Abundant Life, Elder Hugh B. Brown explained “the Apostolic Charge” that every apostle is apparently given upon admittance to the Q12. It reads as follows: “Always be willing to subjugate his own thoughts and accept the majority opinion not only to vote for it but to act as though it were his own original opinion after it has been approved by the majority of the council of the twelve and the First Presidency.”


Mormon Discussion: 331: Kelsey Part 2

In episode 2 my beautiful friend Kelsey tells us her story.  How she was loved and supported by an incredible family and but inside Mormonism we still have to look a certain way and fit a certain mold.  Kelsey tells us how she knew she was lesbian very early but always shoved it down in order to please those around her as well as fit into her Mormon faith system.  She too married a man and and made a go of it trying so hard to do this Mormon thing.  In the end it didn’t work nor was it ever going to.


Mormon Discussion: 330: Mekael Part 1

Today we sit down with my dear friend Mekael.  This episode is part 1 of a 3 part series.  Mekael helps us see into her life where from the time she is a child she seeks to fit in, to make her family proud and to make her faith system proud of her.  But she was destined not to fit.  Discovering she was a lesbian trapped in a religious system that simply could not sit comfortably with who she was at her core.  She tells us of her childhood and her struggle to fit in and how she in an effort to make those around her proud and to fit in she tried so hard to do this Mormon thing.  She married a man and for almost 20 years she tried to make that work.  Her emotional well being took hits along the way and eventually it became too much.  After consider taking her life, she made the decision to lean into who she was at her core.  Her marriage dissolved and we leave off at the end of episode 1 recognizing that we all deserve to have a safe space to be who we are and to be valued and seen and honored for our story.


Mormon Discussion: 318: Crystal Scott – Genetics of Sex and Gender

At the 2018 Sandy Utah Sunstone Symposium I sat in a session about the genetics of Sex and Gender.  The presenter was Crystal Scott,  a is a embryologist.   Crystal got her start at the University of Virginia.  She works in the industry creating high-value babies and teaching genetics at Boise State University.    Today we spend time diving into these complexities and how understanding that Sex and Gender are not understood in Binary ways requires us to hold space for the possibility that Truth may not be congruent with our Theology and Doctrine.  If we find that to be true should we impose our Theology and Doctrine anyway or are we required to make space for additional truth.  Especially if said false Theology and Doctrine hurts and harms others.  Can you listen today with a soft heart.  Can you hold space for those who are different.  Can make room to be wrong.  All that and more on today’s episode of Mormon Discussion.

Her Sunstone Powerpoint Presentation – CLICK HERE


Sex, Gender and Genetics

Sexual… dimorphism??

Genetic components of Sex and Gender:
This is an exhaustive compliation by the World Health Organization

Genetics, Sexual Orientation and Behavioral genetics:

The Transgender Brain, Jan 1, 2016

More bran imaging for cis-v-transgender brains

No longer considered a mental health issue:

Brain connections and cis –v- trans:

Homsexual Men with differences between homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual brains:

Homsexual Men with differences between homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual brains:

About finger length:

differences in identical twins with opposing sexuality:


282: Elder Oaks, Common Consent, And Un-Canonized Doctrine

Elder Oaks gave a talk this past week that raises for me several questions. Here are the things he seemed to have said and my questions that follow. Remember it is Elder Oaks himself who stated that “Questions are honored” and so I hope you will do just that by taking them seriously. Also, Elder Ballard said gone are the days when we bear testimony or say don’t worry about it as a way to avoid serious concerns. So I am hopeful you will either address my questions or if you are unable, that you will see that they are forwarded up the ecclesiastical ladder until someone is willing to honor my questions. I also hope you will sense that if these questions can not be addressed that it is possible there is something illogical about the teaching being imposed. I am open to having misunderstood Elder Oaks and I am open to gospel answers that are backed by scriptural principles and doctrine.

He seems to have taught
1.) It is our doctrine that a man married to a woman legally and lawfully is the only appropriate marriage in the gospel
– How do we reconcile that concept with the fact that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff were all illegally and unlawfully wedded to their wives?

2.) That for thousands of years marriage has been between a man and a woman.
– How can we take seriously such a definition when the Church itself broke the traditional definition of marriage but instructing people to enter polygamy and going so far as to impose that only by disobeying the world and its laws and entering polygamy may one achieve salvation.

3.) Elder Oaks seemed to impose that Gender being eternal is doctrine.
– How do we explain Intersex people with both sets of genitalia, How do we explain androgen sensitivity syndrome which has a human with the DNA of a man (XY chromosomes) while at the same time the fetus inability to process androgen appropriately has the person presenting physically as a female and in some cases even able to give birth?, How do we explain transgender? Was an intersex person both male and female in the premortal life? will they have both genitalia in the post-mortal life? will a xy chromosome man who presents as a female be a man or a woman in the hereafter?

4.) Elder Oaks seemed to impose the Proclamation as Doctrine to which a latter-day saints faithfulness will be gauged.
– There seems to be a process to put forth the mind and will of God in a way that Latter Day Saints are bound to it and for us to see the ideas as doctrine. That is to put forth the teaching for a vote of common consent before the membership and then to canonize it. A Latter Day Saint can not be held to every statement a leader makes nor can a person have any teaching imposed on him as a litmus test of faith without that teaching being presented for common consent. For example Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual ” Not only are Church officers sustained by common consent, but this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints”. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” has never be presented for common consent nor has it been canonized. Any unique teaching in it not corroborated by canonized scripture accepted by Common consent can not be used as a litmus test to decide faithfulness. Notice the Church itself only a few years ago did not like this kind of imposition and even altered a leaders words to prevent it.

In October 2010 general conference President Packer stated the following

” Fifteen years ago, with the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it.”

The published version now says:

“Fifteen years ago, with the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.”

Also consider ““All that we teach in this Church ought to be couched in the scriptures. It ought to be found in the scriptures. We ought to choose our texts from the scriptures. If we want to measure truth, we should measure it by the four standard works, regardless of who writes it. If it is not in the standard works, we may well assume that it is speculation, man’s own personal opinion; and if it contradicts what is in the scriptures, it is not true. This is the standard by which we measure all truth” (“Using the Scriptures in Our Church Assignments,” Improvement Era, Jan. 1969, 13).”

Also consider “In the Church, canon refers to the authoritative collection of sacred books of scripture, known as the standard works, formally adopted and accepted by the Church and considered binding upon members in matters of faith and doctrine.”

5.) Elder Oaks seemed to impose that a marriage vows must be honored with complete fidelity.
– Can we address how that plays out in Joseph’s relationship with Emma. He lied to her about polygamy, he had relationships with women without telling Emma, and some of these relationships were sexual. How do we contrast Joseph behavior with the imposition that one’s marriage should be honored with complete fidelity? If we are going to hold people accountable should we not be willing to discuss the prophet Joseph’s behavior? (Even the LDS.ORG essay says “Emma likely did not know about all of Joseph’s sealings.” – is that fidelity to Emma?)

6.) Elder Oaks seemed to impose that the Church seeks to protect the sanctity of marriage by upholding the traditional definition and that we are at odds with a world that seeks to change the traditional definition.
– In light of our early practice of polygamy where the world was trying to uphold the traditional definition of marriage and it was us as a faith that was seeking to amend and alter that definition is such an argument rooted in hypocrisy?

7.) Elder Oaks seemed to impose that the doctrine is that marriage is for “multiplying and replenishing the earth”.
– How do we contrast that with the Church teaching in the LDS.ORG essay “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” that “Sealings for time and eternity included commitments and relationships during this life, generally including the possibility of sexual relations.”? Which means some marriages were likely not intended to be sexual hence Joseph wasn’t marrying for the doctrine to multiply and replenish the earth with some of his wives. So how do we reconcile that?

Am I bound to what a single leader teaches if it is not in the standard works? Am I bound to see the proclamation as a guide or is it now an un-canonized doctrine that was never put forth for common consent?


Walk a Mile In Our Shoes: 002: LGBTQA Plus

Today The Walker Family join in a round-table discussion over LGBT issues and their personal journeys in this arena.   Today you get to take some time to “walk a mile in their shoes” and see how this incredible family dealt with growth, change, and understanding.  They are vulnerable.  They are honest.  And they lay their lives on the table for you and I to gain insight and perspective not only into their faith transition but also into our own.


253: Carol Lynn Pearson – Haunting Hearts & Heaven


Today we sit down with with Author, Feminist, and LGBT ally Carol Lynn Pearson.  We discuss her book “The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy” along with several other issues including LGBT inclusiveness and the development of her own faith.  Carol Lynn has been a long time ally and friend of those who feel marginalized by their faith.

You can purchase her book by clicking here


239: Richard Ostler – Ministry of Love


Today I sit down with Richard Ostler.  Just released as the Bishop of a Young Single Adult Ward, Richard sits down with us to share what it means to be inclusive and to love without limits.  He recently was featured in Jana Riess’ column titled “What one bishop offers Mormons who don’t ‘know’ the church is true”.  Richard unabashedly is a LGBT ally and an advocate for better understanding those with doubts.  We talk of his hope for the future of Mormonism and what we can each do in the meantime to nudge ourselves to where we need to get to.

This episode goes public on November 5th –  1 year after the “policy” leak.


POST: Reasons Why The Church Won’t / Will Change on Homosexuality


I will try to be brief and allow this article to be a quick read.  I will lay out first the reasons the Church Won’t change on its Theology and Doctrine and will followup with Why it Will and allow you the reader to make up your own mind.  At the end, if you care what my feelings are, I will share my perspective.


1.) Our entire theology hinges on heterosexual sealed people making it to the Celestial Kingdom.  It does not take much thinking to see that many of the points and parts would need to be unraveled to accommodate LGBT individuals within our belief system.

2.) In some ways we have painted ourselves even more into a corner than we did on Blacks and Priesthood and their lack of participation in the temple.  If we were to change not only does our theology change, but also many of our leaders will go down in history being bigoted folks who perpetuated false theories.  There would one day be another Gospel Topics Essay that disavows all these men’s statements and in some ways these teachings are more pervasive than the ones we spewed on people of color of African descent.

3.) As a consequence of #1 & #2 the top leaders will have to adjust to members relinquishing a large amount of trust they have in them.  While our history shows that prophets have taught and perpetuated false doctrine and that all 15 men united generation after generation were wrong about what is truth and what is false doctrine, the average member hasn’t yet caught on.  To reverse on the LGBT issue would be so deep and expansive in terms of our coming face to face with the limitations of leadership, that a large scale adjustment of what it means to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and to be trusted to discern the mind and will of God would occur in a monumental wave.  To some extent this happened with the 78′ revelation but without the internet it was so much more limited and so few really understood the complexity of how proliferated our teachings were on when and even if such a change could happen.  With the internet and Facebook….. a change on Homosexuality and how we include LGBT members would completely rock the “Good Ship Zion” and large scale adjustments would be the consequence.

4.) God appears in the room and tells them not to make a change.



1.) The ‘Missionary Surge’ was ineffective in terms of converts and what that may say about our future in terms of convert growth.  I have to believe the Church is surprised that so few additional converts came out of the Missionary Surge.  The increased amount of convert baptisms statistically is negligible.  In spite of Elder Holland’s Predictions on what he or the Church expected missionary force to grow to, a simple look at statistics shows that this increased force could only be short lived before a return to only slightly higher numbers than before the age change.  That diminishing has already begun and will continue over the next 18 months.  One has to wonder knowing society is in general less interested in institutional Churches along with organized religion and hence less interested in Mormonism, if once the numbers go back down we will see convert baptisms take a really hard hit.    Without converts the Church must look to growth within its ranks.

2.) Loss of Males – Recent research was published that shows we went from a Church of 52% of members in Utah in 1990 being female to 59% of members in Utah being female in 2008.  Think about that.  It may very well be 60%/40% at this point.  What does that mean.  It means that at a minimum 1/3 of all LDS women in Utah must choose to either remain single, marry a nonmember, or move out of the state in hopes there is a better chance elsewhere.  Ok… so what?  It is the next logical step to come to the realization that when members of the Church remain single or marry nonmembers their general commitment and activity within the Church drops off.  Our theology doesn’t really include single members (Find single members in the Family Proclamation for example).  And when members marry non-members the activity rate is much lower and those individuals often are exposed to various ways of seeing the world and began to adopt a less black and white view of how everything works.  Also the loss of males diminishes the work force within Mormonism.  Males are needed to hold the Priesthood and administer God’s kingdom.  Without sisters having Priesthood offices, the work force in Utah is slowly diminishing.  We could go back to polygamy to solve this but I am highly skeptical the Church would ever want to touch that with a ten foot pole.

3.) Public Perception.  Consider 10 years from now…. 25 years from now…..  50 years from now.  What will the general perception of the public be of a faith that discriminates those of the LGBT community?  Don’t think it will be that great?  Ask yourself “Had we never changed our Doctrine and Theology to include Black members in the Priesthood and Saving ordinances of the Temple, what would be the public perception of our church?”  How many potential converts who would have been interested otherwise and now would simply turn their back to our faith seeing us as racist bigots?  I can just about assure you that had we not changed, the number of convert baptisms in the here and now would be minimal and have little effect at adding to the life blood of the Church.  This issue with time, can be assumed to have the same effect.

4.) Science – It is becoming more and more overwhelming that being gay is biological.   That one neither chooses to be gay nor does any life experience after birth make them gay.  They are born Gay and it can not be changed.  We also are coming to grips with the the concept that being gay is not just attraction but rather this identity proliferates through their entire being.  There is no way to untangle this from who they are at their core.

5.) No way to absolve ourselves from this issue.  If the Church wanted to absolve itself from dealing with a certain group internally it could simply bar that subset of our culture.  It appears in some ways they tried to do this with the recent policy change on children of gay couples.  This works if the trait you are trying to keep out is one gained after birth.  For instance we could ban Muslims from baptism and hence there would be no members who have Muslim characteristics or background.  The issue here though is being gay is biological.  Even if the Church could rid itself of all gays with the snap of the fingers, the very next generation of LDS youth will find find that 6 to 8% of them are LGBT.  It is a continual issue that will forever be in our face until we adjust.  And if we don’t we must plan on the results of our treatment of them to be in our face as well.  Also when one has a gay child or a gay sibling or a gay friend, many of those folks are having their mind changed about the issue in drastic ways and hence adding to those who become disaffected or leave all together.

6.) We are becoming a Global Church.  While I predict our growth rate will turn into a loss rate if this issue continues without a dramatic shift, at present we are becoming or have become a global church.  Whether we continue to grow or began to incur a rate of loss, this much is true.  Members more and more every day are interacting with the world at large.  Due to employment in a world economy, the internet and social media, and interaction with the growing segment of those who are disaffected or who have left, orthodox members are coming face to face with with the reality that their history is messy, that leaders have made serious mistakes, that people are marginalized and even hurt by the Church, and that those who dissent are making good points within the arguments.  The more members see a freedom of thought and that critics both in and out of the Church are making valid arguments something naturally occurs. The rate of Orthodox members becoming open to varied ideas of thought and even more importantly, began to think for themselves trusting their inner authority rather than placing complete trust in authorities outside themselves, will continue to increase.  People who dissent faithfully will grow and those who all together leave will grow.

7.) As a followup to #6 – Who converting who?  –  Ask yourself, are members who support the Church’s stance on Gays thinking it is from God more often converting to LGBT allies or are LGBT allies in the Church being more often converted to Supporters of the Church position?  I think this is a tilting landslide in one direction.  If convert baptisms decrease radically and membership is changing their mind in almost entirely one direction one only need sit with that to recognize the consequences.

8.) Sisters leading out – As we discussed in #2 there is a trending of losing more males than females to inactivity or completely leaving the Church.  It begs the question, why are males leaving the Church in greater numbers?  In a patriarchal society males are more often taught to think for themselves and to rely on themselves.  They are likely more confident in their conclusions because the society teaches them they preside and make the final call.  The trouble is we have begun as a culture to give our sisters more independence and more leadership.  One must ask if having Sister Missionaries in Leadership and training roles, and having Women General Authorities more at the forefront, along with having Women more involved in councils at every level of the Church; if this will also lead to our sisters placing more trust in their own understanding rather than trusting Church authorities.  It feels like this will be one of the consequences of the shift we are making.

9.) financial.  My guess is tithing is down and costs are up.  I still think they Church is in great shape financially as they have begun shifting their reliance on tithing to reliance on commercial ventures in even greater ways than in the past.  the Loss of Tithing likely isn’t hurting them.  But if the Church holds this position it will begin taking deep losses in membership, we are already seeing some of this.  This leaves them short on manpower to manage the assets they have.  This leaves temples and ward buildings with less people using them and less people to man them.  This is an issue and will be a frustration and a struggle going forward.

10.) Humanitarian Efforts – As the Church encourages its members to reach out more and more as it is doing with the recent refugee issues something is likely to occur.  When members are reaching out to the marginalized in one section of society they are more likely to develop empathy for others in society who are marginalized.  Once we begin to put ourselves in the shoes of another who is different than us we may began to put ourselves in others shoes who are different who knees are feeble and whose hands hang down.

11.) God shows up in the room and tells them to make a change.





Personally I waffle back and forth.  At times I think The leadership has chosen this as the hill to die on.  And frankly if they do I expect a large scale loss of membership over the next 30-40 years to the point that we go from 15 million members (5 million active) to 5 million members (around 1 million active).  They can do that and that can work if that is what they desire.  At other times I am left to think it is inevitable that they change and they will see this and do so.

Frankly I am certain of the fact that there are members of the top 15 who currently would and do support a deep shift in how we handle this issue.  Their private conversations tell as much.  I even suspect the Leadership as a whole wants to move in that direction but needs the membership to see the change as having come from them and not from pressure from dissenters within and without.  Before the internet this would be possible.  They could work towards a stretch of silence before unveiling new revelation…. but with the internet here and social media what it is, I am doubtful they can ever attain that kind of peace before the change.  I also believe if they want to shift they want to do so slowly over several decades…. but I also think the internet and dissent within and without is mounting much faster than they expected.  They are coming to grips I suspect that this is not going away and the longer they wait the more difficult it will be to keep the orthodox membership from losing trust when they do make the change.  Personally most days I think they have to change, they don’t have a choice and I also think think they are beginning to see that the sooner they do it, the better it will be in the long run.

Thanks to a Good friend (you know who you are) in helping me work through these ideas in my head!



199: Are There Homosexuals in Heaven


Today I wrestle with the recent commentary of Elder Bednar on Homosexuality. I am sorry if I am too harsh or if my criticisms are unfair. I welcome anyone in Church authority to sit down with me and others and work through the data and questions that are out there that no one in leadership is addressing. These are begging to be asked. The Church’s answers and commentary are insufficient on this issue and it feels that the real questions begging to be asked are being ignored or changed.


196: The Biology of Homosexuality


Today I sit down with Daniel Parkinson MD to discuss the biology of Homosexuality.  Daniel is a psychiatrist and is well informed on the biological research on homosexuality.  Today we talk about what happens during the development of the fetus that leads to atypical results.  We also visit the outward biological signs that show us that being gay is not a choice and almost assuredly is decided by the time the birth of the child occurs.  I am hopeful this will be an episode that you as listeners will feel comfortable sharing with your parents, friends, siblings, and church leaders.

Please download the Family Acceptance Project booklet that we written specifically for LDS members. They require an email for one follow-up survey, and that is the only time they will contact you.



190: Further Light And Knowledge


Many see no hope.  Many feel we have theologically painted ourselves into a corner.  Many see no way to press on.  Today I show we are not that lost to the hope of redemption.  We are not beyond the reach of the reach of the Grace of God.  Today I show how it can still happen.  This episode explores the possible ways in which we can make room in our Doctrine and our Theology for LGBT individuals.  Today I show how we can hang on…….. What perhaps lays ahead…….  perhaps…. just perhaps…. further light and knowledge!!!


161: D Michael Quinn: Special Witness


Today I sit down with Mormon Historian, D. Michael Quinn.  We talk about his excommunication, his still powerful belief in the Mormonism and the Restoration.  He explains his literal belief in Gold Plates, an angel Moroni, and in Joseph Smith as a actual prophet.  We also hit on Revelatory Walking Sticks, Magic in the Mormon World, his blessing from Spencer W. Kimball that he would someday be an Apostle, and various other interesting stops along the way.  This is a can’t Miss episode.