A while back I wrote a post titled Transgendered and the Gospel
This has been a subject that I have thought much about as I have explored my beliefs systems and questioned why I believe the things that I do. I may have gotten some things wrong in that post. Much of what is commonly held within christian and LDS teachings is that God would not make a mistake and to say that God put a female spirit in a male body or male spirit in a female body is to suggest that God made a mistake.
Recently I have begun to question this belief. I am not trying to suggest that God does such things, I don’t think anyone can honestly say that they know whether or not he has or does. I have begun to think however that for us to believe such a thing does seem a bit arrogant. We state that if God were to do so, it would be a mistake and that suggests God is fallible, which we cannot accept if we are to believe that God is infallible so we have taken it into our minds and hearts to pre-suppose that such an action on God’s part could only have been done in error therefore it is not possible for it to have happened at all.
This has led to the question for me of what has the church actually said about transgenderism. The concept of transgenderism is not mentioned once in all of holy scriptures. Not even hinted at in the slightest way. I have never read in any of the standard works, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price or the Bible that such a concept had ever at any point entered into the mind of God’s prophets and modern-day prophets during D & C days that such a thing even existed. Does that mean that transgender is only a new and modern sexuality that did not exist during the time of both modern and ancient scriptures? Doubtful. That is something that I would find very hard to believed. Given the history of cultural perceptions surround LGBTQ issues I expect that it was never talked about for fear of death and other horrible treatments, but to suggest that no one in the history of the world was transgendered before modern-day times just does not seem possible.
These things are talked about because they are more accepted, well-known and coming into the mainstream. I decided to take a bit of a search on the churches website about this and the results were interesting. I got 4 hits from the LDS news room about protecting religious rights in relations to the LGBTQ community. What I got in every other category was this.
Nothing. Not a single hit on transgender. The church does not talk about it. There seems to be no policy on it. There is no mention of it in church literature. The issue seems to be essentially non-existent outside of the church news room. There is no mention or indication of church policy regarding transgender. I get the same results when I search LGBTQ on the church website. Hits on the word gay however come back with numerous results. Why then do so many people within the church talk about transgenders as if it is something that is wrong and sinful? Most would answer yes if asked if it is sinful, and when asked why would say that the answer often is because it just is or that God said so, so it must be yet I can’t find any instance where God said it is wrong. There is no mention of it in general conference, or church media regarding the right or wrongness of it.
Much has been said of not getting piercings or tattoos, or otherwise mutilating our bodies, logically a sex change would fall into this category but nothing to suggest that it is sin to do so. It seems weird to think that it would not be and yet it has never been really talked about. God has said that it is not meet that he should command in all things, which is true, we should know what is right and wrong but given all the talk about this issue and that there are LGBTQ people active within the church it is a curiosity to me as to why this is not discussed by church leadership. I have full and complete faith that our church leadership is under divine direction but it seems that God is silent on this issue. At least at this time.
God has only ever declared that we would be given a body to experience mortality with. Never at any point has he indicated in any way that those bodies would match the gender of our spirits. As is the case of inter-sex persons, there is no determinate gender. If our spiritual genders always match our biological genders would you suggest that their is such a thing as an inter-sex spirit? I have never heard of an inter-sex person identifying as both male and female or neither. If the gender of our spirits always matches the gender of our bodies then logically inter-sex spirits exist and are born with inter sex bodies right? If however only male and female spirits exist then a male, or female spirit in a inter-sex body does not match their bodies gender. If that is possible, is not it also possible that a male spirit could be put in a female body or female spirit in a male body? From what I understand the only statements made by the church outside of news media release is that those who change their physical body from one gender to another cannot have a temple recommend. As far as I understand it this does not jeopardize their status in the church as far as membership is concerned or in any other manner. It would seem to my perspective that this has more to do with irreversible damage we do to our bodies as a result of such actions. NOT the transgender-ism itself. Given that 1/1000 people statistically are transgendered we can expect their to be over 15,000 transgender people within the church. This is not a small number and as such we need to be sure we are treating them with respect.
I personally know at least 2 people who have been baptized and confirmed members of the church that are struggling with this very issue. In a recent blog post from a friend of mine our society’s weak spot spoke about her son who was born 18 years ago, is now her daughter. With permission of the Author I would like to quote a from her blog.
“I want to talk a little religion. I have come up with two possibilities for what my child is experiencing: 1. God gave her a gender that doesn’t match up with the body that she was given, or 2. God put a female soul into a male body. Neither you, nor I, nor she will know the answer to that until we meet up with God. Either way, I know that God loves my daughter. But while we’re all waiting on that answer, I plead with you to focus your energies on something that God has made clear, and that is “that ye love one another“. And if you think that you are showing love by pointing out what you consider to be a sin, then I ask that you focus on Matthew 7:12 and treat others as you would want them to treat you.”
While The Family a Proclamation to the world talks about gender as a pivotal and central to our pre-mortal, mortal and eternal destinies it is never spoken of with regard to whether or not that is in relation to our physical bodies. There are many questions we do not have the answers to. It is only through our faith in God that we can grow, progress and learn and the day will come that all these questions will be answered.
NEVER forget that transgender people are sons and daughters of God as well. They are welcome within the church and have access to all the same blessing which are predicated upon the obedience to the laws with which they are given.
And that is the gospel according to Andrew.