The Smooth Doctrine of Sin

SinI’ve been pondering on the “smooth” doctrine of sin advocated by those who believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) needs to soften their position on how homosexual behavior is viewed i.e. accept it now that gay marriage is considered a legal type of marriage. The underlying argument is that withholding the blessings of the gospel to those in a legal same-sex relationship and their posterity (albeit temporarily) is hurtful and can’t possibly be in accordance with God’s will. After all, some suggest, God is love and to insist upon holding fast to a doctrine that causes people pain can’t be right, and in their minds, certainly not Christlike.

The idea behind this kind of thinking is the hope that someday (when they believe that leaders will “eventually progress and receive more light”), the Church will change the doctrine of what constitutes a marriage to include any two people, regardless of gender. The problem with this argument is that the doctrine of marriage is fixed and immovable.

The plan of salvation centers on progressing the family as God has ordained. So fixed is the doctrine of the family that it is witnessed at the coming together, physically, by two of opposite gender. The fact of the matter is that only through the physical union of a man and a woman can the conception of a child take place. There is no other way. The Family Proclamation teaches the doctrine that children are entitled to be reared by both a father and a mother. That birthright is inherent at conception. The only way this legitimate entitlement is snatched from a child is through mortal means such as sin or death of one or both parents.

The structure of the family is based on a divine pattern that operates throughout eternity. The natural family has no beginning or end. Mormon doctrine teaches us that, as spirits, we were part of a family before we came to earth, and were presided over by our Heavenly Parents. We believe that our spirits are the literal offspring of God. Fabricated attempts to create a family that will extend beyond mortality are simply not plausible through the lens and laws of eternity. As members of the Church, we are obligated by covenant to understand and live this pattern and teach it to others. It is only through this divine pattern that God is able to exalt His children. Advocating any system to the contrary is not of Him.

The erroneous idea that doctrine can be changed (and has changed) is based on a misunderstanding (or purposeful distortion) of the differences between doctrines and policies. The Church has never changed God’s established doctrines by which the plan of salvation operates. Those who advocate otherwise (often with reasonable sounding arguments backed up with personal interpretations of LDS history) are simply wrong.

This past week while reading the Book of Mormon, I was struck with the account of Nehor, the Anti-Christ. He was preaching the easy doctrine that all would receive eternal life simply because we are God’s children. He advocated, “that all mankind should be saved at the last day, … for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life” (Alma 1:4).

As you might imagine, this was a very popular doctrine. So much so that they were willing to pay Nehor in order to uphold his advocacy.

On the other hand, God’s prophet, Alma, was boldly preaching the mandatory requirements by which the blessings of God are claimed. At the top of that list was repentance. Repentance requires us to stop doing things that are offensive (sinful) to God because such choices and their consequences keep us from returning to His presence. I’m certain that the reason Nehor’s version of the gospel was so appealing and swayed many was that it removed the law and allowed the people to not feel guilt for choosing to do those things contrary to the commandments. The problem with this “plan” is that in removing the law (Jesus Christ) they dismiss the need for and power of the Atonement.

In his October 2011 General Conference address, The Divine Gift of Repentance, Elder D. Todd Christofferson explains it this way:

“On the surface such philosophies seem appealing because they give us license to indulge any appetite or desire without concern for consequences. By using the teachings of Nehor… we can rationalize and justify anything. When prophets come crying repentance, it “throws cold water on the party.” But in reality the prophetic call should be received with joy.

Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. Suffering for sin does not by itself change anything for the better. Only repentance leads to the sunlit uplands of a better life. And, of course, only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation.

Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration.”

Oh that those who fight against the inspired direction from the Lord’s Prophets and Apostles on matters pertaining to exaltation would instead choose to trust God and recognize their teachings as love. Having a vision of eternity is critical if we are to understand the motives and direction we receive from living prophets of God. Mortality is so brief. Whatever trials we experience in this life (as Joseph Smith testified), will be for our good and give us experience. That experience is intended to bring us to Christ as we apply the power of the Atonement to understand, endure and eventually overcome.

Final thoughts:

  • You can’t change the doctrine of the family without changing the plan; Satan tried.
  • Prophets must teach repentance because it is the highest expression (Atonement) of God’s love — the gate to eternal life.
  • It would go completely against God’s plan for His Prophets to condone anything contrary to His ultimate work and glory to exalt His children.
  • Nothing that results from sin is eternal except the consequences (damnation) if we don’t repent.

I am so grateful for my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. Without Him, God’s plan for eternal families, yours, and mine would not be possible. For me, there could be no heaven without my family. Apparently, our Father in Heaven feels the same about us.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ( John 3:16)


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Kathryn Skaggs

Kathryn Skaggs

Mormon Women Stand, Founder. Kathryn's online work includes blogging at 'A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman' sharing personal thoughts about Mormonism, traditional marriage, family and some current events. She is a pioneer in using social media to "noise abroad" the gospel of Jesus Christ. She particularly enjoys gathering like-minded members to join her in standing for truth and righteousness. Kathryn has been married to her eternal companion, Bob, for 38 years and together they have raised five children. Currently, they are enjoying their 13 grandchildren.
Kathryn Skaggs

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