If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, forget em', cause, man, they're gone. –Jack Handey
Question #91221 posted on 05/04/2018 10:06 p.m.

Dear Alta and the 100 Hour Board,

This is a follow-up to Board Question #91210.

I read through the Stack Exchange post you linked to and it led me to a number of different questions. The last author links the verse to intersex, transgender, and homosexual individuals and says, "However, Jesus had a different view point. He did not condemn these gender variant people as sinful."

This led me to wonder about the position of transgender and intersex, people in the Church. What are the doctrines for people who experience gender dysphoria? Is it different from the doctrines for intersex people? Does this verse mean we as a Church and as a church culture should be more accepting than we actually are? Is this the Savior's ancient Jewish way of acknowledging a difference between gender and sex? The Church does say we shouldn't conflate gender dysphoria and sexual orientation, but other than that I can't find a lot except for some "Here is a statement about gender. What does this imply about gender dysphoria?" statements.

No rush. I've just been pondering this lately and I wonder if we are being more restrictive than the Lord would have us be. But I'm obviously not the Prophet nor am I at BYU to ask religion professors.

- Person Who Ponders Without Pause


Dear Ponderer,

First of all, I want to say that I'm not an expert in transgender or intersex issues, and I apologize in advance if anything I say is incorrect or inadvertently offensive. That would never be my intention, and I sincerely hope nothing I say here comes off that way.

I also want to clarify that being intersex and experiencing gender dysphoria are not one and the same, although they are often conflated in conversations about one or the other. Intersex refers to the physical sex of a person, while gender dysphoria is about the psychological experience of gender. 

Like you point out in your question, there's not much hard and fast doctrine pinned down for those with gender dysphoria. As far as I know, the Church hasn't said too much about intersex people, either. One difference between the experience of trans members and the experience of intersex members, though, is that while transgender members who have received gender confirmation surgery cannot hold a temple recommend, intersex members who have gender confirmation surgery CAN hold a temple recommend (as mentioned by Van Goff in Board Question #89130). 

I honestly don't know enough about ancient Jewish ways of thinking about gender and sex to say if Christ was acknowledging the difference between them in that verse or not, sorry. Also, some random stack exchange is not necessarily doctrinal, and I don't feel qualified to speculate on what Christ really meant in that scripture, especially considering that the Church hasn't released anything specific. 

That said, though, yes, I DEFINITELY think that as a culture, and as individuals, we should be more accepting than we currently are. We're on this earth to learn to become like God, and God is love. We do not say, "God is toleration, with a healthy dose of explaining why you're still wrong." We simply say that He is love, and I think if we're going to become like Him, we've got to become a lot better at loving people, regardless of if they're different from us or not, or if we understand or even agree with all their choices completely or not. If every time we say, "I love you," we follow it up with, "But here's why I think you're wrong," it sounds like the most important message is that we think that person is wrong, not that we love them. I'm not saying we have to agree with every decision other people make, or that we can never express your own thoughts, just that explaining to people why we think they're wrong shouldn't become the dominant message.