Thursday, November 10, 2011
Alan Osmond's assertions undermine the Church
While surfing the Internet this morning, I ran across a blog post by Alan Osmond of the famous LDS Osmond family reassuring parents everywhere that, “families and friends can reach out to those with homosexual difficulties [see http://thefamily.com/?p=13483].”
And how can they reach out? First, by understanding that “homosexuality is not innate and unchangeable” and that “researchers whose studies have been used to support a biological model for homosexuality have determined that their work has been MISINTERPRETED [Osmond’s capitalization. Not mine.] What is clear is that homosexuality results from an interaction of social, biological, and psychological factors. These factors may include temperament, personality traits, sexual abuse, familial factors, and treatment by one’s peers [My italics. Not his.].”
Osmond then goes on to assert that “like most methods in psychiatry and psychotherapy, the treatment of homosexuality has evolved out of eighty years of clinical experience, demonstrating approximately the same degree of success as, for example, the psychotherapy of depression.” He then claims that “other researchers note treatment success rates that exceed 50 percent, which is similar to the success rates for treating other difficulties. “
You might be a great singer and dancer, Alan, but an expert on human sexuality you are not.
In contrast to Osmond’s assertions, the latest research supports the theory that homosexuality has genetic origins with an in utero chemical trigger. Temperament, personality traits, familial factors, and treatment by one’s peers are not causal, as Osmond claims, but are all factors impacted by innate homosexuality.
At best, reparative therapy DIMINISHES homosexual desires in men who score 3-4 on the Kinsey Scale, men who would be considered bisexual rather than homosexual. It should be noted that it does not eliminate these desires. Over time, homosexual urges tend to re-emerge. Any "benefit" is at best temporary and can be ascribed to suppression rather than actual cure.
What bothers me most about Osmond’s comments is that they continue to reinforce an out-dated stereotype that one is gay by choice and can become straight by “praying the gay away.” This false message results in a culture within the LDS Church that fosters misunderstanding at best and more typically ignorance, bigotry and hate.
The Church must come to its senses and realize that basing doctrine and policy on disproved scientific theory is damaging not only to the Church’s credibility, but to the very warp and woof of the Church fabric.
It is inevitable that as more LGBT Mormons speak out and as their families and friends who love them come to know the truth about homosexuality, the Church’s message on this and every other doctrinal issue will be called into question.
For its own good, it is time for the Church to stand up and speak out.