LDS Gender

For those seeking understanding of gender identity issues from an LDS perspective

Exaltation available to all

Transgendered people go far back into history. Most likely they have been here since the days of Adam and Eve. They are found among all races and in all cultures. Being transgender is part of the human condition.

Does the Bible speak of transgendered folk? Of course not. The word is a modern, twentieth century term. Many transgendered people have been diagnosed with a medical condition known as Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID) which is as old as mankind. This condition has only recently been described and understood. It is when a person’s perceived gender differs from the gender of their physical body. It is a birth defect of currently unknown origin. Effective treatment of GID, including all necessary surgeries is also of recent development. This being so, learning of gender variant people throughout history is difficult.

It should come as no surprise that the Holy Scriptures say nothing concerning those who are transgender. The Bible contains no references, at least nothing obvious. Upon close inspection however, there is mention of a group of gender variant people known as eunuchs.

According to the LDS Bible Dictionary a eunuch is “a class of emasculated men attached to the courts of eastern rulers. They were employed to watch over the harems, and also were often given positions as trusted officials. These were males who would not or could not procreate.” Most definitions point out that they were castrated. Many, but by no means all. All eunuchs, however, were, for whatever reason, no longer clearly male or female.

Eunuchs were commonly found as servants of royalty and often held positions of high trust. This was especially true for the ancient kingdoms of the Middle East. Potiphar in Genesis is called saris, the Hebrew word for eunuch.

Gender variant individuals do not fit easily into the conventional gender binary of male/female. Josephus commented on some eunuchs saying, “it is evident that their soul has become effeminate, they have transfused that effeminacy to their body also.” These eunuchs were probably transsexuals. Jesus Christ himself spoke specifically of eunuchs in Matthew 19:11-12 where he divided them into three types:

But he said unto them, all men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb; and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men; and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

The first group is, in today’s terminology, born this way. This clearly would include transgendered people with intersexed conditions and transsexuals. Transsexuals suffer from GID, which is slowly being recognized as an intersexed condition. These people were born with a birth defect.

Some people believe that transsexuals are included in the second group, men who were made eunuchs of men in that they made themselves eunuchs. Maybe so, but this group should include slaves who were forcibly castrated upon captivity. Castration of slaves was a common practice found in many ancient societies. Most likely many Jews were castrated during their various captivities. Isaiah prophesied they would be carried away to Babylon and be eunuchs in the palace of the king (Isa. 39:5-7).

The last group would be those who either castrated themselves or lived a life of celibacy for religious reasons.

It is important to remember that transgendered people are included with eunuchs, a sub-set, if you will. What the Bible says about eunuchs is therefore also true about transgendered individuals.

While acknowledging that transgendered people exist, Christ sheds no doctrinal light on them. It is clear however that he spoke about them in a non-judgmental manner. To learn their place in the kingdom of heaven other verses must be examined. Isaiah provides doctrinal light:

Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, the Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. (Isa. 34:3-5.)

Entrance into the kingdom of heaven is open to all of God’s children who keep His commandments and obey His law, including making and keeping temple covenants. All transgendered folk are included among the covenant people and are not excluded from receiving all that the Father has, including exaltation, solely on the basis of being gender variant while in mortality. This is a wonderful promise.

Exaltation is based upon the actions done while in this life and not upon a birth condition over which a person has no control. People so afflicted are worthy in all respects provided they keep the commandments. They are not punished because of their defects. The defects are also not a sign of sin. This is illustrated in John 9:1-3:

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Baptism is the gate to the Celestial Kingdom through which all must pass. It is the first ordinance of the gospel and must be performed by God’s anointed servants. The book of Acts contains an informative story concerning an Ethiopian eunuch whom the Holy Spirit impressed Philip to speak with. The eunuch asks Philip for the interpretation of verses found in Isaiah 53 and to whom it refers. Here the prophet Isaiah prophesizes of Christ’s trial.

Philip then proceeds to preach Christ to the eunuch who listens and is converted. Upon coming to a pool of water, the eunuch wishes to be baptized and Philip baptizes him.

And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man?
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus.
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. (Act. 8:34-39.)

This records the first known baptism of the infant Church following Christ’s mortal ministry. It is interesting to note that the convert was both a gentile, a person of color and gender variant. Race and gender role have no bearing. Clearly, baptism into the kingdom is open to all of God’s children who believe and take upon them the name of Christ.

Our Father in Heaven is more interested in the state of a person’s soul than their physical body. Rather than physical appearance, it is who a person is on the inside. He accepts all who accept his son Jesus Christ.

All gender variant people, including non-op and post-op transsexuals are loved by their Father in Heaven. They have a place in his kingdom. It is important that they make and keep temple covenants. If they do so, they will inherit all that the Father has, even life eternal.

Thank you to “Amber Arise” for allowing us to post this here. It has been edited slightly for spelling and punctuation for presentation on this website while maintaining the integrity of Amber’s personal post.

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  1. Pingback: Resources for Matthew 19:11 - 12

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