Like many other religious traditions today, Mormonism is wrestling with questions raised by homosexuality. And while both LDS rhetoric and many members’ affirmation of homosexuals as beloved children of God to embrace as fellow citizens in the household of faith are moving forward in many ways, these developments have been fed primarily by the inroads being made through political and pastoral discourse. Very little attention has yet been paid to theological questions raised by these relationships. Can Mormon theology accommodate homosexual relationships into its larger views of the cosmos, God, and divine sociality?
In a groundbreaking article in the Winter 2011 issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Taylor Petrey outlines several key areas in which Mormon thought might be able to be understood as capable of affirming homosexual relationships in the eternities in the same way it does heterosexual couples. Petrey finds possible room for important conversation in three main discussion areas: (1) LDS views of how we each are said to be literal spirit “children” of Heavenly Parents, re-examining the assumption that spirit conception and birth processes are analogous to that of humans; (2) the various ways Mormons now or in the past have practiced “sealing” as a way of building families, including creating many types of kinship relationships that do not involve bloodlines or the possibility of the relationships involving biological reproduction; and (3) the claims, ingrained most recently by “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” that gender is eternal.
In laying out many important questions in these areas, Petrey provides a great service to the Mormon tradition. It is now up to us to actually have these vital discussions–which is what this podcast attempts to do and encourage. In this episode, Petrey and Dialogue editor Kristine Haglund join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in introducing the article’s key questions and then engaging them and LDS theological possibilities in vigorous ways. It’s a high level discussion very much worth listening in on and then having with those in one’s circle of acquaintances. And also here in the comments section, of course!
NEWS FLASH! 1 June 2012. Taylor’s article just won this year’s Best of 2011 Award in the category of Articles and Essays from Dialogue. Congrats, Taylor!
Taylor G. Petrey, “Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 44, no 4 (Winter 2011): 106-141.
Letter to the Editor by Joseph M. Spencer in the following issue:
Selected blog discussions of the article: