Saturday, September 25, 2010

Professorial Enlightenment...


Thanks to Justin's informative post and Kengo's link, I was able to download and listen to the entire presentation and subsequent Q&A session of Prof. William Bradshaw's lecture on "The Evidence for A Biological Origin of Homosexuality". Typically, I have not been that interested in why I am the way I am. I have already gone through that battle and have come to the conclusion earlier than later that I have always been this way. It is the acceptance of that that has become more real to me of late (thus my recent posts of confirming once and for all my feelings about the eternal nature of this).

That said, having a BYU microbiology scholar, past-mission president and member of a stake presidency speak at BYU out in the open and not in the shadows of some hidden or secret covert operation, on such a subject as to the origin of homosexuality, was indeed entertaining at least, and intriguing at best. So, I had some time this morning and I listened to the whole thing.

My first reactions were that I had heard of and read several of the evidences quoted, including the handedness research, the finger-length study, the older brother study, and the twin study. In the end, it was nice to understand but still didn't wow me or make me feel like standing up and screaming from the rooftops: "Hey, world, I was born this way so get over it!"

Indeed, the thoughts were kind of just the opposite. They were okay... so in some cases I fit this research data and in other cases I don't. So some apply and some do not... what does that mean? Trying to tie the causes to biological mechanisms is a scientific approach, and thus, leading me to conclude that it is a mortal condition. And if it is just "biological" or "mortal" then it won't necessarily be "immortal". But then, again, spirits are spiritual matter, and there is spiritual biology in that matter, and our intelligences were never created, etc... so...

My thoughts went beyond mortal to the immortal - both pre-existent and post-mortal. If it is just biological, then good, I am not needing to feel any guilt for having a self-assurance that I did not "CHOOSE" to be this way... I just am! This self-evidence does not negate my agency or the role agency has in the Plan.

I appreciated that he shot down the "nurture" argument, as to the fallacy that because I didn't play catch with my dad nearly enough in my early childhood, preferring to play house with the neighbor girl down the street, was reason enough to make me gay!

So, I was sort of ho-hum about the lecture until the end, and the following Q&A session with Prof. Bradshaw opened up and became more intimate, sharing his personal feelings and beliefs about the subject and how it all fits into the Plan. It was his compassion and deep and sincere love for me, as a gay brother, that I felt come through and hit me more powerfully than any scientific statistic or evidence. It was his desire to learn, to not be afraid to question, to recognize so much that we don't know and to seek more knowledge and understanding, both in a scientific sense, but more so in a brotherhood and Gospel sense. It was in the latter that I felt he made the most impact - that I am not a second-class citizen, a reject, a defective being, that I am not sick, and need to be made well or whole, that I am not broken or "damaged goods" (as I have definitely felt over these decades). I am fine and I should be loved for the person that I am, that we are, and that there is no guilt associated with "why" I am the way I am - it isn't anyone's fault, and therefore, there isn't or shouldn't be any blame... and that support each other and strengthening each other and understanding better each other is more important and the biggest lesson he's learned.

It was impressive that this scientist, taking a scientific approach, came away with a far different conclusion than many of his BYU peers and that he testified to his conclusions leading him directly to his witness of the "truth" of these things.

I liked it when he said that talking to gay brothers and sisters, the confirmation that they have almost exclusively felt that they have "always been this way" should be scientific evidence enough! AMEN.

I wasn't there. Eyewitnesses in this community can say more than I. But, like me, you can listen to it at mormonstories.org. If I knew how to link, I would, but it is story no. 191. Even if you aren't interested in the biological reasoning, I would ask you to skim to the end and listen to his concluding remarks and the questions and answers. Powerful stuff, considering the current political environment and the explosive nature of the issue at large being discussed at BYU of all places. I, too, find this significant. I hope it is the beginning of a new leaf turned for the church and BYU to come out of the shadow of gloom and despair, and to face the issue in a more straight-forward and honest manner. I know if they would, it would help others like me living in the shadows and hiding from the long arm of cultural and religious retribution, to speak out and be heard and give face and voice.




So now I'm left wondering... if this self-awareness is eternal in nature, what's the point? What is the eternal purpose for me being me? Where does the Atonement fit in or does it? Where does my marriage fit in? If I will always be me, even with the hope of a perfected "me", how will it all work? Those are questions I'm afraid biological evidence cannot answer.

Thus, it's back to faith...

4 comments:

this blog author said...
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this blog author said...

I also attended Brother Bradshaw's speech. I wrote about my experiences here, if you would like to read it: http://zenmormon.blogspot.com/2010/09/reflections-on-biology-being-gay-being.html

Ned said...

Thanks for this post, Beck! I guess I need to give a listen.

Beck said...

TBA: Your blog post was inspirational. Thank you for reporting on your first-hand experience at Bro. Bradshaw's lecture and to recount your dialog exchange afterward. What an inspired and sensitive man! I can't help but think what changes for good would occur if your SP or MP would have that same attitude and insight.

I sincerely wish that I had been in attendance and heard those words, but reading them from you was just great. I hope this bodes well for the future.

NED: I promise it is worth your time! But, please stay to the end of the QandA. If not, then go toward the end and pick it up there.