Monday, November 9, 2015

Brain Games and Gay Questions: On the Children of Gay Parents

The above rectangle represents a set of facts. The facts are given on their own, without any prejudice. 

An example of such facts could be changes in policies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Recently, such a change occurred regarding children in households run by gay couples. 

Different people have reacted to the change in very different ways. Some people see the change as a clear act of hatred and spite. Others view the change as an act of love and compassion. Both sides are looking at the same objective facts. Why do they see them so differently? 

What people see is not necessarily a choice. Rather, it may stem from a large set of choices and influences which have accumulated over the course of their lives, which has produced a worldview by which they interpret the facts presented to them. 

People may see their interpretation as being crystal clear and might be annoyed when others disagree - even accusing the others of being disingenuous. 

But remember the grey square, above. Look at the following image from the TV show Brain Games:

The grey shape above the horizon looks darker than the grey shape below the horizon. But they are actually the same color, and we only perceive them differently because of the larger view, which prejudices our interpretation of the facts. We might think that the bottom shape is clearly lighter, and we might even falsely classify what we see as being an objective fact. But it is not.

If we make a slight adjustment to the context in which we are viewing the shapes, we can then see the colors for what they are... the same shade of grey. 

From an LDS perspective, this example could illustrate the different between seeing the world with the influence of the Holy Ghost and seeing the world without the influence of the Holy Ghost. 

It's important to remember that the way we view the colors is not a conscious choice. Even after having it explained logically, we can't make ourselves see the color accurately. 

In one environment, we can see it correctly, and in another environment, we cannot see it correctly. 

This brings me to the issue of the children of gay parents. 

It's easy to say that any child can see the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plainly. But only God knows how the environment in which someone exists influences their interpretation of the teachings. 

We cannot control all the factors which influence our worldview. I believe for children this is particularly true. And, the issue of family is particularly central to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Therefore, the influence of gay parents on a child's worldview, combined with today's cultural climate, may fundamentally impact how the child is able to view gospel teachings. Teaching the gospel is not just about memorizing data, but is much more about shaping the context by which one views the teachings.