We are facing one of the most complex challenges of our generation: How do we stay firm and grounded in the doctrine and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while simultaneously loving family members who are living lifestyles that include serious sexual sin? How do we lead with love and compassion while being loyal to the commandments, warning against sin and not condoning actions? How do we teach children and youth who are finding it increasingly difficult to discern sin and sinful behavior when their peers and the media say it is acceptable and in fact, very good? And, using Elder Holland’s words, “How do we distinguish between the sin and the sinner?” These concerns and questions are in the hearts and minds of many members of the Church right now. They are ones that prophets and apostles have answered time and again, but are so often misunderstood that they are in need of frequent repetition. Continue reading
In a powerful and inspiring event at the United Nations, Jean Bingham, General Relief Society President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined in a panel titled “Finding a New Home: The Role of Faith-based Organizations in Refugee Assistance and Resettlement.” This subject could not have been more important for this newly called General Relief Society Presidency, considering the plight of the world’s 23 million refugees and also noting that her first counselor, Sharon Eubank, is the Director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the church. Continue reading
As we head into General Conference weekend, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will publicly sustain prophets and apostles. We’ll hear the names of each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve apostles read. We’ll then have the sacred opportunity to both publicly raise our hand to show a sign of support and privately sustain them in our hearts. It’s one of my favorite moments of General Conference.
These words were highlighted in a recent fireside for Relief Society women in which Sister Elaine Dalton, former General President of the Young Women for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke. In the fireside, she issued another call for a return to virtue, just as she has done for over 11 years:
“There has never been a time like this,” she said. “I’ve never seen the opposition be greater, but I’ve never seen the opportunities be greater, and as my husband and I sit up here looking out at you, there is so much hope because you really are the change-the-world generation. You’re the ones who will change the world.
“You are the ones who have been spoken of by prophets, seers and revelators all through the scriptures. You’re the ones who have been prophesied about. You are the ones who will lead the world and who will lead the women of the world because you are ‘different in happy ways,’” she said, referencing a quote by former LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball.
Sister Dalton told of a trip last month to New York City, where she and her husband found themselves driving through the city during the Women’s March.
“We were in a cab, and as I watched those women marching and yelling, and should I say, behaving anything but ladylike and using language that was very unbefitting of daughters of God,” Sister Dalton said. “As I watched all of that take place, my heart just sunk and I thought to myself, ‘What would happen if all those women were marching and calling to the world for a return to virtue?’”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined with other major religions in filing a brief on the transgender case Glouchester County School Board vs. G.G. and Dierdre Grimm (full text may be found here). The major religions joining the Church in filing this brief include:
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
National Association of Evangelicals
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Christian Legal Society
Summary of the Argument
- Interpreting “sex” to mean gender identity would generate conflicts with religious persons and institutions across a range of fronts. Major religious traditions—including those represented by amici—share the belief that a person’s identity as male or female is created by God and immutable. That belief is contradicted by the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)
- Our core beliefs and practical experience hold that gender is a given, consisting of attributes intrinsically connected with one’s birth sex—not an individual choice. We and other major religions agree that human beings are the creation of God; that He created them male and female; that to be male or female is an immutable characteristic; and that this characteristic carries certain attributes and responsibilities.
One thing is perfectly clear: sacred writings and official statements from several major religions—including those of amici—demonstrate remarkable unanimity on the origin and purpose of gender as immutable and divinely ordained.
Sister Oscarson’s talk in the General Women’s meeting, “Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion” sparked a lot of dialogue within the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The entire talk was full of powerful council, warnings and doctrine; yet the quote that seemed to garner the most amount of attention was this one:
Sister Oscarson is exactly right. I agree with her that motherhood is of utmost importance, despite the fact that I experience infertility. Yet, sadly, there are some who murmur whenever leaders proclaim the importance of the doctrine of motherhood and eternal marriage because they feel it causes too much pain, injustice and “otherness” for those who are single, divorced, widowed, or experience infertility or same-sex attraction. While I can deeply empathize and mourn with those that mourn as they suffer through the grief of infertility, I’m unable to murmur with those that murmur against our Church leaders for teaching Christ’s doctrine of motherhood and the family. Here are two reasons why:
First, I truly understand what it is like to not have the “ideal” in the Church because I have never been able to have children. I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been painful to be childless in these contexts (it has). However, I’ve discovered a better, more empowering way forward (more on that later). Second (and possibly ironic to some), I have a deep testimony of the doctrine of motherhood, the doctrine of the family and how the Atonement can heal and take away the pain in our hearts. The Atonement really works and the Savior’s power to heal is incredible. Continue reading
According to a recent article in the Deseret News, Tad Walch writes that “The LDS Church is developing a website to help Mormons understand society’s retreat from religion and provide practical help for talking with friends about the importance of religious freedom.” Though still under construction, the website will be a much-needed resource for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The page will include real-time examples, videos, and articles on issues facing people of religious belief. According to Michael Frandson, the head of the religious freedom working group in the Church Public Affairs Department, this site will provide “tools for our members to know how to negotiate the challenges that we increasingly face as we try to live our lives as people of faith in a public setting.” Continue reading
“Pop icon Katy Perry once said, ‘I don’t need a dude to have children. We are living in the future. I’m not anti-men. I love men. But there is an option if someone doesn’t present himself.’ . . . I’m going to spend the next little while addressing this statement, and say, ‘Katy, if you have a daughter, she will need a man as a father-figure.”
That was BYU-Idaho professor Dr. Timothy Rarick’s opening message to a packed audience of UN diplomats and international guests in his recent presentation on the impact of fathers at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Using research, anecdotal stories, and multi-media, Dr. Rarick made a compelling case as to why daughters need fathers, and fathers need daughters.
The Mormon Women Stand community is made up of LDS women from around the world with varying ages, backgrounds, locations, and professions who believe that women have a powerful opportunity to be a force for good both in the Church and online. This endeavor was established to invite all LDS women to stand together in a positive online community. It is a safe haven and gathering place for women to join in doctrinally sound and uplifting gospel conversations in an atmosphere of loyalty to those whom the Lord has authorized to lead His church.
It has been such an incredibly rewarding few years and I’m amazed at all of the powerful content the bloggers and community members have created. Together with our 40,000 + members (and growing!), we’ve created a gathering place for LDS women to link arms and stand together for prophets, apostles, the Savior, doctrine, family and faith. We knew from the outset that women needed a place to be able to talk about their love for the doctrines of the gospel without fear of persecution. We knew how important it would be to ensure that women of faith never feel alone as they stand for all that we hold sacred—despite it being unpopular with the world. So, when we hit an audience reach of 1.2 million on Facebook for two consecutive weeks last summer, we realized that this space is being filled with women eager to stand with the prophet on doctrinal issues and The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Continue reading
Not long ago, a friend of mine shared with me an experience her husband had on Facebook. He was casually scrolling through the news feed when he saw that one of his LDS friends had “liked” and posted a very supportive comment about same sex marriage on a photo of gay couple on a cruise. My friend’s husband was surprised. This man on Facebook was a faithful, strong and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who somehow didn’t realize that giving supportive comments and liking the photo were actually encouraging a practice that is in direct opposition to the teachings of our Church. He then said the following:
If this good, faithful man doesn’t understand why this is troubling, how many other good members of the Church also do not understand? How many others do this, in spite of the fact that the Brethren have clarified this issue to the point that no one can misunderstand the Church’s position? Do Church members realize when they “like” and leave comments of approval on Facebook, they are condoning behaviors that the Lord has clearly defined as wrong and sinful? What kind of a message are they sending to others? To their children? To the youth they teach? Or to those they lead in the Church? By doing this, they are telling the world (through social media) that they don’t support or agree with the prophet or basic LDS doctrine. How are these good, faithful members missing this crucial point?
Many reading this may have had the same thoughts, being disappointed, concerned or surprised when they see LDS friends and family sharing and commenting positively on things in opposition to God’s commandments and doctrine. Others reading this will be angry and immediately cast this man as being judgmental and intolerant. Yet knowing what we know about LDS doctrine and standards, why would some still choose to support practices that have been so clearly defined as right and wrong? Where do we stand when we see things contrary to Church standards and doctrine being advocated on social media?