Proposition 8 and Sodom and Gomorrah

So, the priesthood instructor the other day in speaking in favor of proposition 8 on the California ballot (which I voted “yes” on a week or so ago by absentee ballot) said that many civilations had been brought down by homosexuality and Sodom and Gommorah were an example of that.  This is actually a bogus point which I learned from Hugh Nibley a long time ago, but which continues to be a contention of many in my church and in other Christian sects. 
Ezekiel 16 has this to say about the sin of Sodom and Gommorah:
   49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
It is fairly straight forward here.  Pride and covetousness, essentially idolatry, was the great sin of Sodom and Gommorah.  No mention of homosexuality there.  Wait a minute, you say, what about the footnote for the word “abomination” there? 
The Topical Guide there indicates we are talking about homosexuality there.  Is the TG necessarily always right?  Here are other ways the term, “abomination” has been used in the scriptures:
Deut. 7:

  25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.

  26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.
Deut. 13:

  13 Certain men, the children of aBelial, are gone out from among you, and have bwithdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

  14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
Deut. 14:
  3 ¶ Thou shalt not aeat any abominable thing.
Deut. 27:
  15 aCursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten bimage, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
Deut. 32:

  16 They aprovoked him to bjealousy with strange cgods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.

  17 They asacrificed unto devils, bnot to God; to cgods whom they knew not, to new dgods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
There are apparently many practices that are abominable to the Lord which include homosexuality as is indicated in Leviticus 18.  However, as we see in Ezekiel, the abomination that Sodom participated in was the great sin of covetousness and pride.  The late great Hugh Nibley taught:
The people had a great deal of sophistication and know-how. It was a world of unrest and insecurity, and the people were mean and short-tempered. But Abraham’s Canaan didn’t offer escape for long. The fabulous prosperity of the cities of the plain turned them into little Babylons. The record describes their ways of doing things, how they dealt with all strangers, taking away possessions by force; then the wrath of the Lord came upon them.
The Testament of Levi, speaking of Abraham, says that he found the same hostility elsewhere. There was world-wide cruelty, inhospitality, insecurity, suspicion wherever he went. The Bible tells us that the Jordan depression was a veritable paradise when Abraham first visited it, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 13:10). It was not surprising that “the men of Sodom were the wealthy men of prosperity, on account of the good and fruitful land whereon they dwelt. For every need which the world requires, they obtained therefrom. . . . But they did not trust in the shadow of their Creator, but [they trusted] in the multitude of their wealth, for wealth thrusts aside its owners from the fear of Heaven.” Rabbi Eliezer seems to be quoting the same source as Samuel the Lamanite. “The men of Sodom had no consideration for the honour of their Owner by (not) distributing food to the wayfarer and the stranger.” The same thing is described in Deuteronomy and the Book of Mormon. “They [even] fenced in all their trees on top above their fruit so that they should not be seized; [not] even by the bird of heaven.” The law of Moses forbade doing these mean things to the olives, the wheat, and other crops, but they did them. These were the crimes of Sodom and Gomorrah. At the time of Abraham, the people elected leaders “of falsehood and wickedness, who mocked justice and equity and committed evil deeds.” This isn’t something invented by a Jewish doctor of the thirteenth century. These are contemporary records that tell us that the wicked oppressed the weak and gave power to the strong. Inside the city was tyranny and the receiving of bribes. Everyday, without fail, they plundered each others’ goods. The son cursed his father in the streets, the slave his master. They put an end to the offerings and entered into conspiracy. This sounds like the Book of Mormon, though it was discovered long after the Book of Mormon. All manner of wickedness is described. But we don’t need to go into this sad story here.
It’s not surprising, the records tell, that travelers and birds alike learned to avoid the rich cities of the plain, while the poor emigrated to other parts. “If a stranger merchant passed through their territory, he was besieged by them all, big and little alike, and robbed of whatever he possessed.” As the Amarna letters show us, this was a world in which every man was for himself. What a terrible state of things. Being grossly materialistic, they rated the hardware high above the software.
A famous quotation recurs a numbers of times: “If a man was killed working on the tower, he was ignored. But if a brick fell they sat down and wept. Abraham, seeing them, cursed them in the name of his God” for doing this sort of thing: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom” (Ezekiel 16:49).
-Hugh Nibley in Approaching Zion.
In any case, it is my belief that more than homosexuality, the great crime of covetousness and pride is more of a danger to the eternal welfare of men’s souls.  In my humble opinion, we need a heck of a lot more sermons on this topic than on the topic of homosexuality.  If we come to the point in society that we are to be destroyed, I think it will likely be due to our own pride and it will be much like how the people of Nephi were destroyed.  Pride, haughtiness, turning away from God and seeking after riches and the praise of the world… not homosexuality.

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