Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Using the "Priesthood" to Cast Out Homosexuality?

Breitbart reported today that a non-LDS church (thank-you Serendipity) in Connecticut posted a video to YouTube showing an attempt to cast homosexuality out of a 16 (or possibly 18) year old male. Does this seem odd to anyone else?

Now, I admit upfront that I do not understand the underpinnings to homosexuality. I don't think anyone "knows" for certain whether homosexuality is something you are born with or that it can be "acquired" somehow through societal elements, nor do I think it matters in this case. The issue here, in my opinion, is how Christ would have us use His priesthood.

Attempting to cast out homosexuality by means of the priesthood seems akin to using the priesthood to root out sin from an individual instead of helping that individual acheive the required change of heart. If Christ wanted it this way, why did He continually exhort His followers to "Go and sin no more"? He could have just cast out the evil adultery spirits from the woman, or cast out the evil hardened heart of the Pharisees.

Removing sin and/or faults from our lives is not as easy as calling the Elders of the Church and having them lay hands upon us. Repentance is a gift! Although difficult, and sometimes long, the repentance process refines us and makes us better. Without repentance, we would never be able to correctly channel the Atonement into our lives, whithout which, exaltation would be impossible.

In a situation like the one reported in Breitbart, to what extent can the Lord's priesthood bless the lives of others? Is the priesthood supposed to be used to tie the hands of the adversary? If not, then what is the point of dedicating a home by the power of the priesthood?


Serendipity said...

So it wasn't an LDS church doing this... thank goodness! It does seem odd. Now I'm not all that educated (yet) in the ways of the church, but I keep hearing that the priesthood is used to persuade gently, not to forcibly change.

Nate said...

There were many things that were off the mark in this video. First is the fact that a video was made and posted by the church, held back from the media by them.

Could you imagine? Taking a video in order to administer in front of an audience... ridiculous. If anything, that was an attempt to preform a "miracle" in order to increase church membership and get $$$.

The head of that church has also been quoted as calling himself a prophet.

Your questions are interesting...I've never thought of the priesthood as being able to tie the hands of the adversary, rather, I see it as being able to enforce the ties that are supposed to be there in the first place. Satan has been given certain dominion and certain bounds as part of God's plan. The PH cannot be used to alter this balance, otherwise it could frustrate the plan.

Nothing calls in the spirit like the true use of the PH. That is how it can be used in the repentance process. I can't remember a time where I've felt the spirit and had the desire to sin.

Jeremy said...

Serendipity, I guess I should have been more clear in my explanation. I have edited the post now and given you the credit.

As for your thoughts, you are correct. D&C 120 clearly supports your opinion.

Jeremy said...

You're right, Nate, that video was pretty crazy. Hopefully no one of our faith would be that reckless to record and post something that may be considered sacred.

While on my mission I learned a powerful lesson about the priesthood. I was a zone leader and my companion and I decided that we should cast out Satan from the city of Ambato, Ecuador. Now, this didn't seem odd since we (unfortunately?) had used our priesthood in a similar manner on individuals with success.

We called our mission President for approval and, I imagine, he about fell out of his chair when we told him our plans. He explained that it is righteous living of the individual, or the city as a whole, that would have the effect of "casting out Satan." It was never the intent of the priesthood to be used as a weapon to tie the hands of the adversary. Instead, as we live according to the light we have, Satan is quite limited in his influence over us.

Dave C. said...

Sounds like priestcraft to me.

I like your reply on how the righteousness of the people casts out Satan, just as the righteousness of people during the Millennium will cast out (bind) Satan, not the priesthood.

We should never forget that the priesthood is only effective if used in accordance with God's will. If God does not will something, we cannot use the priesthood to circumvent His will.

IMO, using a priesthood blessing to "cure" homosexuality is a bit like using a blessing to "cure" a heterosexual man of his out-of-control lust for attractive women. It probably ain't going to happen. The change of heart against vices starts with the individual and will likey take much personal prayer, fasting, and personal effort to curb desires and passions.

Serendipity said...

Thanks for the credit, though I really didn't mean to point out any mistakes.

... any way. Isn't it also true that God's power to help us (aka priesthood) and Satan's power to hurt us (aka sin) are all controlled by the individual that it effects? Satan can't tempt me to smoke if I don't let him, and if I'm so inclined, a sincere prayer to the Lord for help will keep me from it. Likewise a request for healing won't be answered if the individual doesn't have the faith to make it happen (some instances where the answer is "no" or "not now" are excepted from this, but then that answer will be made clear). The priesthood is only as good as the individual using it and the person accepting its blessings.

Jeremy said...

DaveC, good catch there with the priestcraft analysis. Nephi explains that "priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world" (2Ne 26:29).

By attempting to cast sin out of an individual, aren't you subverting the Atonement? Aren't you setting yourself up as a light to the world, instead of Christ and the healing effects of His sacrifice?

Thanks for the comment.

j4k said...

There is a difference between homosexual actions and homosexual temptation.
I bet this man was trying to leave behind a homosexual past or was ferociously fighting to keep from entering into one.
THere are many latter-day saints and other people of faith who are hounded with this temptation for years. They strive to reconcile God's word with this desire. Many turn to priesthood blessings, but more often then not the condition remains.

It remains, not because they are engaged in some heinous sin, but because they are enduring some buffeting trial.

While God does remove it for some, for many it remains a thorn in the flesh, to spend their life fighting.

Bookslinger said...

In his question/answer session on SSA and SSM with the church Public Affairs department, Elder Oaks stated that homosexuality was a temporary mortal condition and people would be healed or cured (I forget his exact words) of it in the spirit world or in the resurrection. In other words, there won't be any SSA in any of the kingdoms of glory, not that homosexuals won't be admitted, but that they will no long be homosexual.

From that I would deduce that if the Lord can "cure" it later, then his priesthood power could also "cure" it in the here-and-now. At least theoretically speaking.

I like j4k's take. God removes problems from some people, but other people, for whatever reason, He allows to be tried.