So here is the case for thinking that when the crowd outside of Lot’s house asks to know Lot’s guests (Genesis 19:5) that what it means is just, like, know and not, you know, like, know.
(a) Note in 19:2 that the angels volunteer to spend the night in the street when Lot offers them his home. Now, if all of the males are homosexuals bent on rape, it is hard to fathom why the angels would offer to sleep in the street. A more likely explanation is that Lot is a newcomer to Sodom (cf. 19:9), and the angels are afraid that if they are secreted off to Lotâ€™s home after a nighttime arrival in the city, they may be mistaken for spies. (Which isnâ€™t unreasonable, since Sodom has recently been at war (cf. Genesis 14).) Sleeping in the street is an effort to show to the community that they are no threat.
(b) â€œKnowâ€? in 19:5 is usually interpreted as a euphemism. However, it occurs almost 1000 times in the OT and only about a dozen of those are sexual references, and only specifically marital sex. When the OT mentions homosexual acts, it never uses this verb. It is at least plausible that the crowd wants to verify that the angels are not spies, that is, get to know them.
(c) The text tells us that all the men of the city, young and old, went to this house. It seems more likely that they are all interested in determining if these men are spies than they are all interested in raping them.
(d) Surely wanting to check the credentials of foreigners doesnâ€™t merit the destruction of the city! What, then, is the sin for which Sodom was destroyed? It is not for this act. This scene with the angels is not the sin for which Sodom was destroyed but rather it is the scene in which Lot was rescued from the destruction. Judgment was already passed on the city before this incident.
(e) Aside from being appalled at the act, one wonders why Lot ever would have thought that two female virgins would satiate a crowd intent on homosexual gang rape. A much more compelling reading of Lotâ€™s offer of his daughters (and one that makes sense of 2 Peter 2:7â€”which refers to Lot as righteous) is that he is offering them as a token to the city to guarantee the character of the men (i.e., angels) in his home. He isnâ€™t offering them up to be raped (do you honestly think that God would have sent angels to spare a man who would do this from destruction?!?), but rather as a sort of hostage for the night.
(f) Also note that in 19:6, Lot refers to the crowd as â€˜brothers.â€™ This makes no sense if he thinks they are interested in raping angels.
(g) What, then, of the reference to â€˜wickednessâ€™ in 19:7? First note that â€˜wickedâ€™ is a little too strong; next note that it is a gross breach of Lotâ€™s offer of hospitality to submit his guests to a middle of the night grilling at the hands of the local militia. Note that in 19:9 the issue becomes Lotâ€™s standing in the communityâ€”brother or sojourner (i.e., visitor)? The crowdâ€™s anger is due to Lotâ€™s expectation that they should trust a foreigner.
(h) Since we know that all of the men of Sodom was in the crowd, the traditional homosexual-rape interpretation requires us to read 19:12 as the angels asking if Lot wants any of the would-be rapists saved from the destruction of the city. That makes no sense. While the behavior of the crowd was rude and questioning of Lotâ€™s judgment, it obviously wasnâ€™t the crime for which Sodom was destroyed, else the angels would not ask if Lot wanted any of the crowd saved.
(i) 2 Peter 2:9 casts the moral of this story as not a condemnation of homosexuality but rather an example of God saving the righteous. Hence, the focus is on the angels saving Lot, not on what they were saved from.
(j) If Sodom were destroyed for the crowdâ€™s desire to â€˜knowâ€™ the angels, then why were the women of the city destroyed? And why was Gomorrah destroyed? Why were the men of Sodom destroyed if they never actually committed the sin? Why would God send angels to entrap people in sin (i.e., by sleeping in the street)?
(k) Genesis 19:29 makes clear the purpose of the story; it shouldnâ€™t be titled ‘The Destruction of Sodom’ but rather ‘The Rescue of Lot.’
(l) Note that while the English word â€˜sodomiteâ€™ derives from this story, the Hebrew word for sodomite connotes nothing more than a resident of Sodom. Where Sodomite appears in the KJV (i.e., Deut 23:17), it translates a word that does not specifically connote homosexual but rather something like a male temple prostitute.
(m) While there are many other biblical references to the sin of Sodom, homosexuality is never specified as the sin. In Genesis 18:20-21, no specific sin is mentioned. There are two passages that specify the sins of Sodom: Jude 7 (which speaks of sexual sin described as â€˜going after strange fleshâ€™, which is the worst possible way to describe homosexual sex since the Greek word translated as strange is the instantly recognizable heteras, with the connotation of â€˜otherâ€™ or â€˜foreign.â€™) and Ezekiel 16:44-58 which mentions neglecting the poor as the sin of Sodom along with abominations (which means, in Hebrew, wrong religious practices and has nothing to do with sexual activity). Note especially Ezekiel 16:53, where we would have to believe that there was more homosexual activity (than the 100% found in Sodom!) in Jerusalem at this time if we follow the traditional interpretation.
(n) No biblical storyâ€”nor the Jewish traditionâ€”ever ties homosexual activity to Sodom. The only link is one word (â€˜knowâ€™) assumed to be a euphemism for sexual activity. As Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
I’m posting this separately from my Sunday School lesson because it won’t be part of my Sunday School lesson; while I think it more likely to be an accurate reading of the text than the traditional interpretation, it is too far outside the mainstream of LDS thought to dump on a Sunday School class. Also note that this is NOT an effort to suggest that homosexual activity is not a sin–I believe that it is–but simply that it is not the main sin of Sodom.