It has been my experience that those I personally know who struggle with the SSM attitudes in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are those whose testimonies are not firm in the doctrine of the family. As bold a statement as this may be, I have seen it proven time and time again by what I have seen and what the Brethren have taught in General Conference for years. If we don’t hold firm to the family doctrine of the Church, we may be swayed.
We’ve been warned that we are in danger of falling away from the Church if we don’t put our faith in Jesus Christ; that we must read the Book of Mormon regularly and how vital it is to have regular, sincere prayer in order to be guided by the Holy Ghost. I have also come to learn that the people I know personally who have struggled with this debate are not following the prophets who have raised these warnings.
I sat in the temple this morning thinking about the commotion of this wicked world. The contrast of “the wicked world” and the peace of the temple was palpable. In the temple, I felt a desire to yield to my Savior, whose will was given completely to His Father.
For me, the physical body is sacred. Adam and Eve understood the purpose of the physical body. They carefully chose to further the plan our Heavenly Father prepared for us to achieve true joy. Elder Quentin L. Cook said, “Sexual immorality and impure thoughts violate the standard established by the Savior. We were warned at the beginning of this dispensation that sexual immorality would be perhaps the greatest challenge. Such conduct will, without repentance, cause a spiritual drought and loss of commitment.” 1
Elder Cook went on to describe what a “spiritual drought” looked like:
“Many who are in a spiritual drought … have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony.”
Does this sound like anyone you know?
The attitude that I see most these days is that there is a prideful view of not having accountability to anyone or anything. Ezra Taft Benson said, “The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing.” 2 There are those who believe they can only be honest and true to themselves by coming out and proudly declaring that they are homosexual or transgender. They do not seem to be doing this to please God, but are simply choosing to cave into the natural man, which we have been told is “an enemy to God.” 3
Furthermore, D. Todd Christofferson unapologetically stated,
“We think it’s possible and mandatory, incumbent upon us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, to yield no ground in the matter of love and sympathy and help and brotherhood and serving in doing all we can for anybody … And so we’re going to stand firm there because we don’t want to mislead people. There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ.” 4
My own conviction is based on what I have heard from the prophets. For years they have warned us of what is to come. They’ve warned us that the fight for righteousness will become personal. We will all be asked to choose God over all else, even our own perceived happiness. The scriptures teach us that in our pre-earth state we chose Heavenly Father’s Plan. The Plan was for us to come on earth and choose Jesus Christ all over again.
Neal A. Maxwell said, “God’s blessings, including those associated with consecration, come by unforced obedience to the laws upon which they are predicated (see D&C 130:20–21). Thus our deepest desires determine our degree of “obedience to the unenforceable.” God seeks to have us become more consecrated by giving everything. Then, when we come home to Him, He will generously give us “all that [He] hath” (D&C 84:38). 5
With all this arguing about rights and “being true to myself” and “what about the children”, I can only share with you my testimony. I have learned that living without the Holy Ghost is being untrue to my nature. I was meant to listen to Him; therefore, I must act a certain way, be accountable for my actions, and prepare to be judged by my Savior and Redeemer; all of which I freely choose to do. My life on this earth is not my own. I am eager to live according to my Heavenly Father’s best desires for me. I owe it to my ancestors and my posterity to live my life by the spirit. And as Elder Christofferson said, “As our body is the instrument of our spirit, it is vital that we care for it as best we can. We should consecrate its powers to serve and further the work of Christ.” By doing so, I believe this is the only way to receive the promise to “dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.” 6