Friday, October 29, 2010

Family is Pretty Sweet

So, I have a pretty cool family.  Yes, my mom and dad and siblings and in-laws are really cool.  But this time I'm talking about a cousin of mine.  I chatted with one of my cousins on facebook yesterday.  This is a cousin from my dad's side, which I don't know as well.  We'd visit his family in Salt Lake every once in awhile.  But since becoming an adult I haven't seen him in years.  As such, we were never very close. 

But yesterday we had a regular chat--how're you doing, how's life and work--you know the bit.  You've had those conversations with acquaintances and relatives you don't know that well.  And I appreciate that.  But he went the extra mile.  He invited Aaron and I over to play Killer Bunnies.  He said that they still needed to meet Aaron. 

Do you know how that makes me feel?  So good!  I feel validated, loved and equal.  I can't thank him enough.  My nuclear family is awesome but I'm finding that my extended family is equally awesome.

If you have gay relatives or friends please ask them about their partners/boyfriends/girlfriends/etc.  Do and ask the same things that you would if they had a heterosexual relationship.  It'll make their day or maybe even more!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Straight Ally's Thoughts

So, I'd like to take a moment to introduce a friend of mine.   Brad Carmack and I used to be in the same student ward at BYU.  It wasn't until recently that I knew that he was an ally for equality.  I've read many of his blog posts and was surprised to see his points of view.  It's not often you read a straight man's empathetic views on homosexuality, especially if he's an upstanding LDS fellow.  I thought I would share his thoughts on here and repost it.

Thank you.



Title: Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective

1)      President Packer’s general conference talk
2)      The recent rash of suicides by gay teens across the country, accompanying “It Gets Better Project,” and current suffering of my homosexually oriented brothers and sisters
3)      My coauthor, from whom I have received much help and inspiration, wants it out sooner than later
These are the reasons why I am releasing my book now.  I preferred to wait until Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective was groomed and edited further; however, it is not my book alone.  Heavenly Father helped me write it, and I believe He would have me release it rather than keep it on my hard drive while I spend months making minor improvements.  This book is destined to relieve some of the suffering of my homosexual brothers and sisters, though I don’t yet know by how much.  Stuart Matis, shortly before committing suicide on the steps of an LDS chapel on February 25, 2000 in Los Altos, California, wrote to his family: “Perhaps my death ... might become the catalyst for much good. I'm sure that you will now be strengthened in your resolve to teach the members and the leaders regarding the true nature of homosexuality. My life was actually killed many years ago. Your actions might help to save many young people's lives." 

So here it is- my 165-page magnum opus to date, in raw .docx and .pdf form (google doc
Non gmail users, in .pdf only:  I invite your feedback as I’m still in the later editing stage.  Summary of the book below.

My promise to the open-minded reader is that you will be touched, you will learn things you had never considered, and your views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality in the LDS church will likely change voluntarily. 

-Bradley Carmack

Summary: The book has two parts: 1) homosexuality (chapters 1-3) and 2) same-sex marriage (chapters 4-7). 

In chapter 1, I argue that church members should have great compassion for homosexually oriented members of the church because of the personal difficulties they experience as a result of their orientation and how the Mormon community typically responds to that orientation.  I quote a number of studies and give voice to the experiences of many LDS homosexually oriented people. 

In chapter 2, I explore causation, detailing both the religious voice and the scientific consensus.  Elder Oaks noted how appropriate this type of an inquiry is: "The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on."  I detail 60 statements by church leaders on what causes homosexuality.  On the scientific side, I discuss 32 separate subjects to juxtapose two opposing hypotheses for the causation of homosexual orientation: 1) biological factors such as genes and pre-natal hormones, and 2) factors such as infection, molestation, and choice.  Some examples of the evidence addressed: homosexual men have, on average, measurably and significantly different ratios of the second to fourth digit of their hands than their heterosexual counterparts.  The anterior commissure of their brains is gender shifted away from the heterosexual male norm and toward the heterosexual female norm.  Their limb:trunk ratio is similarly gender-shifted, as is their performance on visio-spatial tasks, third interstitial nucleus (a region of the brain thought to be directive of male-type sexual behavior) size and density, left:right brain hemisphere ratio, brain response to sex pheromones, cochlear sound production, thalamic response to female faces, verbal abilities, physical aggressiveness, expressiveness, and childhood gender conformity to name just a few. 

In chapter 3 I examine how changeable sexual orientation is by considering relevant church doctrines and looking at the empirical evidence on both sides.

In chapter 4 I show why homosexuals can reproduce, contrary to popular belief, and note that they are no different from inherently infertile heterosexual couples as to their reproductive capacity. 

In chapter 5 I argue why, assuming for a moment that homosexual behavior is not sinful, it makes a lot of moral sense to support LDS same-sex marriage.  For instance, I show how important family is to mortal experience and point out that celibacy does not provide a family experience, while same-sex marriage does.  

Chapter 6 contains rebuttals to common anti- same-sex marriage arguments, many of which are deeply flawed.

Chapter 7 applies Elder Oaks's recent speech on the Constitution.  Many church members have said that Judge Walker should not have heard the Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Prop 8) case, but instead should have let the voice of the people of California decide the matter.  I show why this view is antithetical to our constitutional system of governance. 

In closing, I explain my motivations for writing and make invitations to the reader. 


Brad Carmack is in his last year of the JD/MPA program at BYU. He majored in Biology, performed clerk assignments for Justice Joel Horton of the Idaho Supreme Court, and is currently a teacher’s assistant for Human Resources Law and Bioethics. Brad also regularly participates in USGA [Understanding Same Gender Attraction], an unsponsored BYU student talk group.