The SF author Orson Scott Card posted an essay to a Mormon website about why Mormonism is incompatible with being openly homosexual.
This may come as a surprise to him, but the argument on which Mr. Card bases his entire essay actually is ethical relativity. Let us take an example. Either raping a woman is wrong because of the suffering of the victim, or it is wrong just because god happened to arbitrarily roll some dice and decree it. Mr. Card is among the type who would say the latter. "Against thee and thee only have I sinned," wrote the Psalmist David addressing god. In other words the suffering of the victim is inconsequential. This is a form of ethical relativism. If wrong is only wrong because of the preferences of a deity, then that preference is arbitrary whim because there is no standard higher than god for a god to judge itself against. If instead,
Mr. Card believes that god observes behavior and then conforms
his own laws to the evidence based on the suffering of the victims, then he is holding his decisions to an exterior standard and is therefore not god. "Arbitrary" means "held to no exterior standard."
Mr. Card thinks god's will is loving, pure, just and good. This statement can have no meaning in a theistic framework, because what standard is he using to let himself stand as judge and jury over god to say that? Is god's will the standard against which god's will is measured? Then we have said nothing about god's goodness, but only that god's will is god's will. That becomes the arbitrary definition of "good." Then it's only immutable in the sense that it immutably defines morality by its whim from moment to moment. Every time it arbitrarily changes its mind, that change becomes the new definition of morality. If it stays the same forever, so what? It is held to one
arbitrary roll of the dice, forever.
The Christian or LDS rules-based moral system cannot accomplish the objectivity which they claim they want from a moral system.
This is because it confuses mere rules with moral truths, and bases morality on a set of rules instead of the other way around. Objective moral truths do not change just because an authority changes a rule-- not even god. If Mr. Card believes they do, then he is a moral relativist, except even worse, because he extends it to a cosmic scale. Only rules are man-made or God-made. Objective morality, on the other hand, cannot be man-made or God-made, it's not made by anybody. 2 + 2 = 4 doesn't need to be decreed by royal fiat. Neither does the fact that unprovoked harm of another person is biased towards you and against them. Theism makes it impossible for moral truths to be objectively real. If there is a god, then, and only then, is morality subjective and relativistic.
However, Mr. Card is right about one thing:"Those who are not willing or able to obey the rules should honestly admit the fact and withdraw from membership. ...the LDS church, which is founded on the idea that the word of God as revealed through his prophets should determine the behavior of the Saints, is under no obligation to protect some supposed "right" of those members who would like to persuade us that neither God nor the prophets has the authority to regulate them."
I would not stop to urinate on Mr. Card's supposed god and prophets if they were on fire. This is not specifically because I disagree with them on an issue, such as homosexuality, which is just one of many problematic issues with religion. It's because of authoritarianism. Just as we can't learn to do arithmetic by always looking it up on a chart, and refusing to countenance the idea that the chart is wrong -- so too we can't practice ethical reasoning by looking it up in a so-called holy book. Therefore there is nothing so evil in the holy books as the claim that we should unquestioningly get our rules for living from them, rather than from personal reason and observation. The specific errors such as the prohibition on harmless sexual quirks would be easily repaired if it weren't for their Stalinesque attitude toward authority.
Nevertheless, I can't help but agree with Mr. Card that there are no gay Mormons by definition. To claim that his view represents a mere misunderstanding of the book of Mormon, and that the book actually does not prohibit homosexuality, is as absurd as saying that chairman Mao really was a capitalist if you read between the lines, and therefore a capitalist can legitimately claim to be a Maoist.
It's time to draw the line in the sand and step firmly across to the ethical side. The Church of Latter-Day Saints, along with other scripture-following authoritarian religions, have abandoned their responsibilities to individually observe the data of lived experience with a mind to personally weigh the costs and benefits of behaviors.