“And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them…”(Doctrine and Covenants, 45:26).
Our hearts are failing us
It’s happening, wouldn’t you agree? We see it everywhere; the wars, the rumors, the commotion. I used to think that “hearts failing” meant only discouragement in the Last Days. But now when I think of our “hearts failing” us, I’m seeing it another way. What I’m seeing now is that with a cultural emphasis of making decisions solely based on our emotions, we may be in danger of making bad choices. Perhaps there’s more to be considered than just the way we feel about things.Continue reading →
Earlier this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed its name on amicus friend-of-the court brief in a large transgender case, citing The Family: A Proclamation to the World as a core doctrinal statement, as well as noting the unchangeable and eternal gender of men and women. Now, this week the Church joined with other religious organizations, 86 senators and representatives, legal groups and creative professionals to show support for the Colorado baker who, due to religious convictions, chose not use his professional skills to support a same-sex wedding. This case arose when Masterpiece Cakeshops’ owner, Jack Phillips, was sued after respectfully declining to decorate a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony for two men.
In a news release, ADF Legal stated that:
The Colorado Supreme Court declined to take the case after the state’s Court of Appeals affirmed a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014. That decision ordered Phillips and his employees to design custom wedding cakes that celebrate same-sex marriages if the shop designs wedding cakes for opposite-sex marriages. It also required Phillips to re-educate his staff, most of whom are his family members—essentially telling them that he was wrong to operate his business according to his faith. He must also report to the government for two years, describing all cakes that he declines to create and the reasons why. As a result of the ruling, Phillips has lost an estimated 40 percent of his business. (Link)
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a sacred duty to God to stand as witnesses for marriage and the family as ordained of God. However, some are speaking about same-sex marriage and relationships as though these are the right choice (and even a good choice) for our loved ones. When they do this, they encourage people to abandon the straight and narrow path and their covenants for the artful guise of something temporary that will not last. For some, it may be much easier to carve out a way to appear tolerant and compassionate in the eyes of the world and, by so doing, deflect the persecution and condemnation of associates and friends. However, adopting the compassion label in order to make something spiritually destructive appear benign, spares only ourselves at the expense of those in spiritual peril.
Every June, the LGBT community and its supporters engage in a month-long celebration of “Gay Pride Month”, filling social media with rainbow profile pictures, flying rainbow flags, and gay pride festivals and parades. Support for same-sex marriage and this form of serious sexual sin is visible even with some of those who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court overturned the sovereignty of over two-thirds of the States on the issue of marriage. These majority states had made it clear—by voter initiated referendums—that natural marriage (the union of one man and one woman) is what defines marriage. In short, unelected justices overturned voice of the people, making same-sex marriage legal. Like those in the Book of Mormon, we observed “that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws … which the Lord commanded … and they saw that their laws had become corrupted” (Helaman 4:22) and “this was alarming to the people of the church, and also to all those who had not been drawn away after the persuasions” (Alma 2:3).
Some members of the Church have also been “drawn away after the persuasions” of the world and support same-sex marriage. However, they may not fully recognize that their support for it inadvertently supports serious sexual sin. These relationships are (and always will be) incompatible with the doctrine and standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To this point, we may be asking ourselves, “Then why is this particular sin supported by more members of the Church and their families than any sin? Is there any other sin that is supported as this one? What is it about this one that many seem to be so comfortable with supporting and affirming, but not others?” The answer to these questions is sobering: gay marriage has become a protected class of sin.
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 →
“Shannon, I have something I need to tell you.” Terror. He was getting married. Not to me. So I thought, “Okay, what is it?” Heart beating, eyes clenched shut, preparing to sound chipper when I offered false words of congratulations. “I struggle with same-gender attraction.” My body instantly relaxed as what only can be described as sweet relief washed over me.
When my friend “came out” to me, my first reaction was all about me. I was so grateful to know why we had never been able to move from friendship to romance. He was the most handsome, clever, confident, kind man I had met. People speak in hyperbole of their knees becoming weak. but my knees literally buckled every time he spoke. After a year of intimate friendship and some wonderful adventures, I had started to believe I wasn’t attractive enough for him and fearfully fretted away the days, knowing that he was going to be snapped up by someone “prettier.” 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 posted a very approving comment about the nature of same sex relationships on a photo of gay couple on a cruise. My friend’s husband was surprised. This man on Facebook was a faithful, active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who somehow didn’t realize that he was unwittingly giving approval comments about a practice that is in direct opposition to the teachings of our Church. Why would he feel okay with doing this, while on the other hand not feel comfortable positively commenting on other types of sins being hailed on social media? My friend then said the following:
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? This is basic LDS doctrine. Do Church members realize when they “like” and leave comments of approval on Facebook, they are going along with behaviors that the Lord has clearly defined as serious sexual sin? 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? How are these good, faithful members missing this crucial point?
While we may not fully know the intent of others’ actions, we can look to our own actions in this regard. The point of sharing this story is not to cast judgment on an individual. Rather, it is to illustrate the point that we would do well to consider what we show approval of on social media, whatever it may be.
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 and in violation of God’s commandments. 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? Whom do we face when we see things contrary to Church standards and doctrine being advocated on social media?
I’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. Continue reading →
There has been a lot of talk lately from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who say they sustain the prophet and apostles but actively promote opposition to the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage and homosexual relationships and try to persuade others to dissent. Can one be true to the faith if they are doing this? Is there a such thing as “loyal opposition” in God’s kingdom?
With this particular issue, we’re not talking about minor disagreements. We’re talking about being opposed to fundamental, coredoctrines of the gospel; namely that marriage is only between a man and a woman and the law of chastity. Put these two things together and one can see how it creates an impasse; and sadly, a wall between them and the prophet.
Social Media is being inundated with some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) declaring their objection to the recent policy updates in the Church. Some have even gone as far as saying that they intend to walk away from their faith. This makes me wonder if they realize that these policy updates have come directly from The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These prophets, seers and revelators are doing exactly what they have been commissioned by the Savior to do: prophesy, see and reveal. Theirs is a unique calling; they are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, chosen and commissioned by Him. When something this collective is done on such serious issues, don’t believe for one second that they acted rashly, are misguided or decided this without careful consideration, prayer and fasting. Yet without much pause, some are already announcing their intentions to walk away from their faith, their beliefs, and their covenants — and with very public criticism of the Church via social media. In a twist, members are being asked to “mourn with those that mourn”, with perhaps the expectation or inference that we will also “murmur with those who murmur.”