Book Review: A Dean Byrd on Mormons and Homosexuality
By William C Duncan
Bill Duncan is an attorney with the Marriage Law Foundation who specializes in definition of marriage legal cases.
So much of conventional wisdom on the subjects of same-sex attraction and “sexual orientation” derives from anecdotal evidence carefully packaged for use in the entertainment media and/or for use in political and legal causes. Joined to this is a growing body of rationalization theology meant to show that sacred texts and teaching don’t mean what they say when they affirm that sexual relations are licit only in the context of marriage between a husband and wife.
Into this milieu comes a very helpful contribution in the form of a new volume in the interesting apologetics series Mormons and Homosexuality: Setting the Record Straight” by Dr. Dean Byrd, an accomplished academic and clinical psychologist.
Dr. Byrd’s book, Mormons and Homosexuality, clearly explores what scientific literature has to say (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) about the origins of same-sex attraction. It describes the history of activists’ successful attempts to force the American Psychiatric Association to accede to their demands that same-sex attraction be treated as an entirely positive variant of human sexuality. The book also provides some context for understanding contemporary public policy debates about marriage, adoption and parenting. Finally, there is a helpful review of the teaching and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relevant to same-sex attraction.
Dr. Byrd’s book is meticulously documented (the main section contains eighty-two pages with 204 footnotes).The picture that emerges is of (in Dr. Byrd’s phrase) “politics masquerading as science.”
As he notes, support for laws promoted by homosexual activists seems to increase if people believe that homosexual attraction is a fixed status that is inborn and immutable. Thus, the California Supreme Court recently ruled that an individual’s “sexual orientation” is just like race and deserving of special legal protection. This led the court to conclude that marriage must be redefined to include same-sex couples because to do otherwise would be sexual orientation discrimination.
Dr. Byrd marshals the evidence to show that a belief in the innate and immutable thesis is not supported by research and is, in fact, sometimes contradicted by science. It is nevertheless publicly promoted (sometimes quite mendaciously) because of its political potential. In fact, the book quotes a prominent scientist candidly admitting this fact.
The burden of proof should be on those who want to overturn millennia of human experience, scriptural authority and inspired teaching. Mormons and Homosexuality makes abundantly clear the fact that this burden has not been met.
(Millennial Press 2008) 114 pages