LDS Gender

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

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Elder Nelson’s Recent Statement

When there’s not much said by the leaders of the Church on the subject of gender identity issues those who have a vested interest in this issue tend to be very aware of the few mentions there are. The most recent statement is from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaking in the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting February 2012 where he said:

Brothers and sisters, I am very grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It provides light to guide us in this world darkened by immorality, iniquity, and infidelity. It teaches us to love all of God’s children, some of whom struggle with gender issues or other conditions that may not be fully understood. We need to help and encourage them and their family members without, of course, condoning sinful behavior.

This quote clearly shows that all of God’s children are worthy of love and compassion but is very ambiguous when it comes to defining what “encouragement” and “sinful behavior” mean.

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:

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