Mormon leader condemns same-sex marriage, but urges civility — just in time for SCOTUS ruling

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Dallin Oaks Oct 14This weekend, a key Mormon leader reiterated the LDS Church’s stand against same-sex marriage—even while stressing that members must practice charity for those on the opposite side.

“We should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention,” said Dallin H. Oaks, an LDS apostle who is also a scholar of constitutional law. “Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable.”

The Saturday afternoon talk pitted same-sex marriage as one of several examples of “sinful behavior” that the apostle said characterize an ongoing contest between good and evil.

Like the Savior, his followers are sometimes confronted by sinful behavior. And today, when they hold out for right and wrong as they understand it, they are sometimes called bigots or fanatics. Many worldly values and practices pose such challenges to Latter-day Saints. Prominent among these today is the strong tide that is legalizing same-sex marriage in many states and provinces in the United States and Canada and many other countries in the world.

Despite his strong words against same-sex marriage, he also noted that the Church will not always get its way on civil issues—which was interesting timing, since his Saturday talk preceded by less than 48 hours this morning’s Supreme Court nondecision on same-sex marriage.

In a nutshell, SCOTUS has rejected appeals from five states, including Utah, that asked the Court to prevent same-sex marriage nationwide. The Court made it clear today that it will not be intervening at this time, causing clerks in Utah and elsewhere to resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

So how will Mormons react to the news?

I hope we will rise to the occasion. Elder Oaks said that some matters “may simply need to be endured if legalized by what a Book of Mormon prophet called ‘the voice of the people.’”

“When our positions do not prevail,” he went on, “we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries.”

There is much that’s good about this talk, which emphasizes the need for humility in our dealings with others. It asks us to banish “hateful communications,” cease bullying those who are different, and follow Jesus’ example in all things.

But it’s not a talk about acceptance; Elder Oaks was discussing tolerance, and that’s not at all the same. Toward the end, for example, this became clear when he touched upon the difficulty of living with non-believing family members, including spouses of other faiths (my own situation).

It was revealing how he chose to address this circumstance. He told a story of a Mormon woman who married a non-Mormon man. Her husband attended church meetings with her for twelve years, but did not join until she followed Elder Oaks’s counsel and redoubled her efforts to be loving toward him.

And then: presto, converto!

It’s ironic that a talk about how Mormons should be more civil to those who are different closes with a story about those differences being magically erased when the person who was regarded as being in error simply decided to stop being different and become Mormon instead.

All better now – not because we learned to be more respectful of difference, but because someone else conformed to our religious standards.

Do we not have stories of relationships that endure in the midst of deep difference? Or even stories where we were in the wrong, and had to change after we’d fooled ourselves into thinking our bigotry was actually righteousness?

If we don’t have those stories yet, we’re going to need them. Because if we are to take seriously the excellent counsel about living among those who feel differently than we do about politics and religion, there have to be happy endings that don’t require others to simply become like us.

And that’s true whether we’re talking about religion, sexual orientation, or anything else.

  • TomW

    I hope that Latter-day Saints on both sides of this particular divide rise to the occasion.

  • Bryan

    Looking for mountains, but I think you found a molehill…

  • Karla

    Mormons need to get their doctrine right because they say only a few people
    go to outer darkness which is not true! Bible says many go to hell/the road
    is broad that leads to destruction and many are on it. The gate is narrow
    and only a few find it! Luke 13 the whole chapter talks about how we must
    bear good fruit and that fruit is the fruit of Repentance not good works so
    people who say good works save are wrong because many non-believers
    do good works. Mormons also says that Jesus was a created being which
    is also not true! Jesus Christ is part of the Trinity and not created cause in
    Revelation Jesus says I Am coming/I Am the beginning which means He was
    there from the start! Bible says in the beginning was the Word and the Word
    was with God and the Word was God! Who is the Word? Jesus Christ is!
    Then the Word/Jesus Christ became flesh and dwealt among us! Being a
    “good person” doesn’t get us into heaven because the Bible says there are
    none good…not even one so good works won’t matter! The only thing that
    saves us is Repenting and then trusting in Jesus Christ! We all must Repent!

  • Porter

    Are there “stories where we were in the wrong, and had to change after we’d fooled ourselves into thinking our bigotry was actually righteousness?” Well, there was 125 years of institutional bigotry toward blacks by denying them priesthood and temple blessings. The church recently admitted it was wrong and disavowed racism — but of course there was no apology. Not a lot of humility there unfortunately.

  • TomW

    Karla, I assure you that Mormons are fairly aware of their doctrine with regard to the three degrees of glory and outer darkness, including the fact that none of us is qualified to render judgment as to who is going to go where. There is no question that Latter-day Saints approach this question differently than most Christian denominations, including seemingly your own. We don’t do the straight-up heaven or hell concept. We clearly also differ with regard to questions of grace and works (Latter-day Saints DO rely upon the grace of Christ along with the rest of mankind, don’t kid yourself) and the very nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We get that. At least we agree on the importance of repentance, though I suspect your personal take on grace might make a discussion of the role of repentance quite interesting…

  • TomW

    Once again the confusion between discrimination and bigotry. The church absolutely engaged in the former. I refuse to accept the general implications of accusations of the latter. Brigham Young taught from the onset that the priesthood and all its attendant blessings would eventually be conferred upon blacks as well. I accept that non-Latter-day Saints (as well as a certain percentage of questioning Latter-day Saints) won’t buy it. So be it.

  • Karla

    TomW- I do believe Mormons are very sincere and Repent/are obedient
    but when you say Jesus was a created being you seperate yourself from
    Biblical Christianity. Jesus was not created and He was there from the start. Thank you for all of the input/feedback. God bless.

  • rah


    Please dont kid yourself. Any honest reading of history shows BY and many many apostles and prophets preaching directly bigotted things in their writings and from our most sacred pulpits. The evidence is so legion and the writings and talks so easy to find that i have to suspect it is willful blindnessnon your part. If it is not and you honestly have never read the clearly bigotted statements then please be made aware that claim you made is simply not historically accurate. we need to accept that if we are to truly move beyond that weakness in our community. And please never make such an assertion to our black brothers and sisters in an attempt to address their concerns. Younwill cause more hurt and damage than you can know.

  • TomW

    Karla, there’s a difference between separating oneself from creedal Christianity and biblical Christianity. The New Testament does a credible job of defining Jesus Christ as the Son of the Father, a distinct entity. If the Father and Son were one and the same, there would be no need for the Savior to plead with His Father in prayer, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

  • TomW

    rah – I would argue that there is also a difference between ignorance and bigotry. The accusation of bigotry attempts to judge the heart of the individual whose words are held up for criticism. Nobody is claiming that there was never a cringeworthy quote from a church leader going back to the days of Brigham Young. But bigotry is generally associated with hatred toward a given group, and I don’t think that you will be able to provide any particular windfall of evidence to suggest that this was the case during the years of discriminatory practices and the ignorance which led to embarrassing speculation. And I would have zero problem saying this to the faces of my black family members in the church. Thanks for your concern!

  • Karla

    TomW-The Trinity can get confusing but when Jesus was here on
    earth He was fully man and had the fullness of God upon Him as
    it says in Colossians. The Trinity has three diffenert parts and
    now that Jesus is back in heaven He is back with the Father and
    part of the Trinity. While Jesus was on earth He was doing what
    He was supposed to do/what the Father said and He was tempted
    to sin but didn’t then died on the Cross for our sins so He had
    the human part of Him yet also had the fullness of God upon
    Him but was still subjected to earthly temptation. Now that Jesus is
    back with the Father He knows the day/hour when He returns but
    while on the earth He didn’t know but now He does because He is
    with the Father. Trinity has the three different parts but are still
    the same. It can get confusing but the Trinity is real! God bless.

  • TomW

    Karla, the Trinity doctrine as taught by the majority of creedal Christianity sounds confusing because it IS confusing! And it’s extra-biblical to boot. I don’t judge anyone for believing it, but a fair-minded Christian has to agree that one can readily use the Bible to draw an alternative conclusion which makes at least as much sense if not more. It requires post-biblical creeds to create that which the Bible does not claim.

  • Karla

    TomW-The Trinity is confusing. thanks for the feedback. What did
    God say to Moses? He said I Am! Jesus said before Abraham I Am!
    So for Jesus to use I Am that makes it very clear Jesus is part of the
    Trinity/was there from the beginning as it says in Revelation and the
    Bible says in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God so the Trinity is confusing but the main thing is that when people start to say Jesus was a created being
    is when it becomes heresy. Jesus was not a created being and was
    there from the start is the main thing people need to know and if
    they then get confused about the Trinity just explain that they are
    God the Father,Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. God bless.

  • TomW

    Karla, if you understood the LDS doctrine of the pre-existence, none of this would be problematic. I appreciate everything you do to be a disciple of Christ according to what you believe.

  • Tiani

    Bravo, Jana! That’s something that troubles me a great deal. For a church that claims to be Christ’s, we don’t seem to understand the meaning of the pure love of Christ. Just pity, tolerance, civility and righteous condemnation. We confront all those who are different violently (passive aggressive) because fundamentally, we believe that in the Celestial Kingdom those differences will not exist because we’ll all be TBMs. We’ll never reach Zion until we understand the true meaning of the pure love of Christ.

  • Karla

    TomW-John 17:11-Holy Father,protect them by the power of Your
    name…the name You gave Me so that they may be as one as we
    are one so that proves they are one! The Trinity is one with the
    three different parts/functions. God bless.

  • TomW

    Karla, if we’re going to invoke the Lord’s intercessory prayer to define the Trinity, you create a whole new problem, namely, that you and I are part of the Trinity as well. I don’t think you really want to do that.

  • Karla

    TomW-That was Jesus praying in that verse. As I said Jesus was
    not a created being but there from the start so we can just agree
    to disagree. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with
    God and the Word was God! Who is the Word? Jesus Christ is!

  • TomW

    Karla, you cited the intercessory prayer as biblical evidence for the Father and the Son being the same Being. The problem with that is that the Lord in the selfsame prayer petitions the Father than we be one in Them as They are One in each other.

    John 17:20-23 reads:

    20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

    21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

    22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

    23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

    Either Jesus intends that His disciples become part of the same divine Oneship of the Father and Son, which really expands the seating capacity of the Trinity, or this passage doesn’t mean what you purported it to mean.

    The Father and the Son are One in purpose, in mission. As we follow Christ, we too can become one in purpose and mission with the Father and the Son.

  • nobody important

    The Trinity is confusing because it’s not in the Bible. You ask three different Christians what the Trinity is, and you get five different answers 😉

  • Karla

    TomW-Jesus/God are one in purpose/part of the Trinity so yes
    He wants the body of Christ to be one in purpose and look how
    much division there is today with all the different religions that
    claim they are the right one/all the different branches of the
    Christian church. If people would have just stuck to the Bible
    and what God said there wouldn’t be all of this confusion. Do
    some more research on Mormonism because when people say
    that Jesus was created it really seperates you from the Truth.

  • Karla

    nobody important-The term Godhead is found in Acts,Romans,Colossians
    and the concept of the Trinity is all in the Bible. The main thing/point I was
    trying to make is Jesus was not a created being. God bless.

  • Doug

    Where do you get the notion that Mormons teach that Jesus is a “created being”? I am a Mormon and have never heard, seen or read such a thing from any Mormon source. But I *have* seen that from anti-LDS sources.

  • Karla

    Doug-I have had mormons in my house that have told me that
    Jesus Christ and lucifer are spirit brothers and Jesus was not deity
    so maybe there is some confusion in your faith just like in many
    Christian faiths that say there is no hell or Jesus was an angel
    and was the spirit brother of lucifer.

  • TomW

    Karla writes: “I have had mormons in my house that have told me that
    Jesus Christ and lucifer are spirit brothers and Jesus was not deity”

    Mormons don’t talk like that. Anti-Mormons, however, mischaracterize LDS teachings with language like that all the time. Attributing such remarks to Mormons in your house is a blow to your integrity in a reading audience which largely knows better despite our differences on various matters.

  • Karla

    TomW- I have no idea what you are talking about because I have
    witnessed to many,many mormons so I know what you believe so
    at this point we can just agree to disagree.Maybe the mormons you
    know don’t talk like that but I have mormons come to my house
    all the time on their bikes that I talk to and several came into my
    house and told me word for word what I said they told me so you
    are very defensive and that tells me I must have struck a nerve.
    Just a while back I was at the local library witnessing to people then
    a bunch of mormons came in to use the library public computer and
    I talked to them and they were also very cocky/defensive as well so
    that shows/tells me a lot. Thanks for all the feedback. God bless.

  • TomW

    You might as well claim that you’ve had Japanese people in your home who spoke Hungarian to you, and that I am being disingenuous for suggesting that a Japanese person would have spoken Japanese to you instead.

    I know how Mormons talk to explain their theology. Virtually every Mormon here knows this as well. Attributing common anti-LDS rhetoric to the mouths of Mormons in your living room, who don’t describe their theology in such terms, doesn’t pass the smell test and you won’t get many buyers.

  • nobody important

    The trinitarian interpretation does not come from the Bible. Sure, some aspects of the Trinity conform to scripture, but to claim that the Trinity comes from the bible is like saying that if a fruit is red, it has to be an apple!

  • nobody important

    [Comment deleted for mocking, derisive tone and lack of constructive addition to the conversation.]

  • Karla

    nobody important-What are you talking about? I know what the
    mormons believe and I know what I was told so you really need
    to read the Bible because the mormon belief system is not at all
    Biblical. God bless.

  • Richard Morgan

    Jana, you express some very noble sentiments, but the fact that you even need to ask one question brings us face to face with one of the harsh realities of human nature: “Do we not have stories of relationships that endure in the midst of deep difference?”
    Deep difference? I don’t know of any.

    The whole concept of communion (French- “comme un” = “as one”) implies the abolition of differences. Mormonism, like any religion, implies and creates the in-group/out-group dichotomy. It’s as if the tensions engendered by differences are inherent in human nature.

    This is nicely illustrated in an old Scottish joke: A Scottish Presbyterian was shipwrecked, and lived alone on a desert island for many years. When he was eventually found, his rescuers were surprised to find that had had built two churches. When asked why he needed the second church, he replied, “Because that’s the church I don’t attend. Heretics!”

    As Tiani suggests, pity, tolerance and civility are ultimately divisive. Pseudo-polite rejection. Very ugly. It becomes uglier when differences are condemned as sinful.

    Oh, and for every story that Elder Oaks can quote about a loving spouse leading their partner into the Church, I can quote a dozen where love has led to freedom from religious bigotry. Yep – it works both ways. But don’t tell Elder Oaks.

  • nobody important

    Karla- The more you claim that you know what Mormons believe, and the more you get it wrong, the less people will believe you.

  • Brian

    Many of us had ancestors who sacrificed wealth, family relationships, and possibly their lives for what they believed to be right. Nowadays people throw a fit when asked not to support same-sex marriage.

  • HarryStamper

    Oh Jana, you must be so proud reading this intellectual discourse…….

  • Robin Egerton

    You quoted, “But it’s not a talk about acceptance; Elder Oaks was discussing tolerance, and that’s not at all the same.” As if that is a bad thing. Why must those who oppose gay marriage ‘accept’ it? Why can’t people ‘accept’ that we are ‘tolerating’ it? Why not insist that those who are for gay marriage ‘accept’ that it is wrong? Tolerance and acceptance go both ways. Let’s all politely tolerate each other and get along. Thomas Jefferson said, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” (I will point out that ordinances that require those opposed to same-sex religious ceremonies provide services or face severe fines are picking pockets . . . ) Robin Egerton

  • TomW

    Karla, there’s nothing like being told what you believe by someone who doesn’t express it in your own terms, and being told that your beliefs are not at all biblical in the same discussion where the very nature of God is defined by an extra-biblical creed. Well done!

  • DougH

    It is hard to not lash out on seeing the Supreme Court stand aside and allow judges so blinded by their own cultural prejudices that they are unable to conceive of how reasonable people can disagree with them to impose a new and unnatural definition of marriage on another eleven states. But we must stay civil in our behavior. But that doesn’t mean that we should bend the neck. As with the early Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire, we should refuse to sacrifice at the altars of false gods by refusing to be parties to the new definition of marriage forced on us.

  • Richard Morgan

    DougH: ” As with the early Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire, we should refuse to sacrifice at the altars of false gods by refusing to be parties to the new definition of marriage forced on us.”
    Is that what the Church did in 1890 in defense of polygamy? You need to look at history in order to be consistent. Or does progressive revelation allow you to abandon consistency?

  • DougH

    In 1890 God chose to revoke his previous commandment involving polygamy, as was and is His right. Do you believe that those that believe SSM to be sinful should be required to recognize and take part in such marriages? To sacrifice at altars of false gods?

  • TomW

    To be consistent, one follows the living prophet. For the Saints in Wilford Woodruff’s day, that meant the end of polygamy. For the Saints in our day, it means we continue to uphold what the prophets and apostles teach with regard to the institution of marriage.

  • Larry

    Its telling that you have to blur the meaning of definition of marriage and pretend that the issues are religious in nature. Clearly they are not. How your church defines marriage is never of any relevance to how our civil laws define it.

    Your church can never be forced by operation of law to perform a marriage not recognized by its members. Just like our government should never take your church seriously when the subject is the performing of the civil rite of marriage and its legal obligations/rights attached to it.

    To claim something is being imposed upon you is an outright fiction. Your religious freedom does not guarantee those things forbidden in your faith must be banished from all public sight.

    You are not being persecuted because gay marriage exists. You are just annoyed that your prejudices don’t have the color of law anymore. To that, you deserve no sympathy.

  • Larry

    Then your church doesn’t have to perform them. Our laws are not beholden to your church’s doctrines or definitions. Your religion may not recognize a gay marriage as valid, but nobody should have to care outside of it. Religious freedom means nobody has to live according to the dictates of faith of others.

  • Karla

    No true prophet can be revered if they are a liar so how anyone can still
    call Joseph Smith a prophet boggles the mind. People seem to forget that
    Jesus said many will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven!

  • Larry

    Jacob was a liar who cheated his brother. Joshua relied on perfidy and espionage to reclaim the Holy Land. David was a philanderer and murderer.

    All prophets and revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike.

  • DougH

    Tell that to the church sued because it refused to rent out its property for a same sex marriage. Tell it to the businesses sued for refusing to provide products and services for same sex marriages. Tell it to the CEO that was pushed out of a company he helped found for supporting true marriage. Tell it to the business owners who will now be faced with the choice between radically restructuring their benefits packages or providing benefits for married couples to people they don’t believe to be actually married. Yes, a great deal is being imposed on those that are willing to stand up for their beliefs about the true nature of marriage instead of bending the knee.

  • Karla

    Larry-Bible says if someone preaches another Gospel don’t listen so
    that’s what I was talking about! Moses killed someone and the Bible
    is full of examples of people messing up and God still used them but
    when it comes to prophecy accuracy/Bible Truth/Scripture the Bible
    is clear that people who are not accurate in predictions aren’t to be
    revered. Thank you for the feedback and very good points. God bless.

  • DougH

    So you have no problem with business owners choosing not to extend any benefits for married employees to same sax couples, if they believe that those couples are not truly married?

  • DougH

    Jonah predicted the destruction of Ninevah, but God spared the city when its inhabitants repented.

  • Karla

    DougH-It was a prediction of destruction if they would not Repent
    but they did Repent so God relented is what the Bible says and
    that was not an example of prophecy.

  • DougH

    You might want to take another look at your Bible, what Jonah prophesied was “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” You can argue that any prophecy is based on the implicit understanding that repentance can void the prophecy and I’ll agree with you, but when Jonah preached he didn’t include any “if,” not as the Bible reports it. So as reported, events proved him a liar.

  • Larry

    You are full of it, DougH.

    It wasn’t a church nor was the property used solely for church functions. It was used for the general public in open commerce. Businesses do not get a right to discriminate against customers when they are open to the general public. They can no more discriminate against gays than they can hang up signs saying “White customers only”.

    You are always allowed to discriminate in your business. You just can’t advertise or make your goods/services available to the general public. Do business only within your church, private clubs, through membership or purely by word of mouth. You hold your business out to the public, you must serve the public.

    In none of your examples are business owners being discriminated against. They are examples of people who are annoyed there is no legal sanction for their bigotry. As I said, religious freedom does not mean you get to banish things your faith forbids from sight or public existence.

    Those people you use as examples chose to be uncivil, discriminatory and to restrict general commerce with their prejudices. They deserve to face the penalties of such choices.

    It bears repeating, under no uncertain terms is any church forced to perform a marriage ceremony outside of its doctrines by operation of law. Your argument depends on intentionally blurring distinct issues and slinging fictions.

    [Btw the benefits package thing is complete nonsense. There would be no change in the forms used or even how benefits are given. Only who is eligible for them.]

  • DougH

    And one I missed in my haste, tell it to the millions of voters in most of the states that have seen our votes to cement in law our understanding of the nature and purpose of marriage – the understanding that has existed throughout human history – overturned by judges incapable of understanding how we could possibly be rational and believe as we do. THAT particular insult bites deep.

  • Larry

    Is your business a church?

    One’s religious beliefs has no bearing on the validity of employee benefits. They either are entitled under the terms their employment agreement/contract and/or by function of local statute.

    Your religious beliefs do not nullify civil laws. If the company is blatantly discriminatory in its benefits, there may be action by the various civil rights agencies.

    It bears repeating, one’s religious beliefs do not entitle you to banish things your faith forbids from all sight or public view.

  • Larry

    I guess you never heard of the 14th Amendment. Equal protection under the law has no meaning for you. But it does to judges.

    EVERY discriminatory law was passed by a majority vote. It doesn’t make it valid on its face. We have civil liberties to prevent the majority from using the color of law to discriminate against minority interests and liberties.

    Your complaint is akin to how the KKK reacted to Brown v. Board of Ed. All those racist white voters enacted those laws to declare people of color inferior.Those damn judges overturned their democratically decided actions.

    Does it bother you that you are using the EXACT SAME arguments people used to justify segregation?

  • Larry

    Because you are being asked to accept civil laws.

    Your religious beliefs have no bearing on laws which affect all people and all faiths. You are living in a society where you must coexist with people who do not believe as you do, under laws which don’t have to conform to your beliefs.

    Those “ordinances requiring same sex religious ceremonies” are not applicable to churches or the practice of religious rites. Just businesses open to the general public performing services as commerce (Can you guys stop lying about this!)

  • Richard Morgan

    Tom – You say “To be consistent, one follows the living prophet. ” Meaning, of course, that what the living prophet says is actually God himself speaking.
    For once, I agree with you. What you say follows on perfectly from, “when the brethren have spoken, the thinking has been done.”
    That is consistent.
    That is exactly how a dictatorship works.Except that under most dictatorships there are fewer meeting to attend. Following the living prophet (as opposed to the dead ones) is the perfect rebuttal to any objection I could make.
    There’s only one snag for the rest of us – how do you know that your living prophet is actually the voice of God? I trust you’re not going to rehash the Argument from Burning in the Bosom.
    Because, seen form the outside, your living prophet speaks exactly like a human being. A male human being, of course. An ordinary man, working with ordinary men, struggling to shore up the crumbling structure of an out-dated phallocratic society.

    A few weeks ago I stopped to talk to a pair of missionaries – young elders (crazy Mormon oxymoron). After a few minutes, one of them put on the glassy-eyed, trance-inducing testimony stare, and started the mindless litany of “I know this… I know that… etc.”
    When he came to the part, “I know there is a living prophet…” I said, ” You mean someone who receives revelation directly from God.?”
    That snapped him out of his psychotic stare, and he said, “Yes. Exactly.”
    I continued, “So what your living prophet says is vitally important, as a direct revelation from God.”
    “Yes, indeed. I know in my heart that….”
    “So what was the last revelation?”
    Silence. They exchanged uneasy glances.

    Neither of them knew. Which indicates the importance and usefulness of a living prophet to living mormon missionaries.

    The other missionary started mumbling, “Well, you can check out the last general conference talks…;”

    One follows the living prophet without knowing what God has said through him? Kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

    (Are you sure that you’re not being paid by OW to post all these inanities? You’re not telling? I understand. Mustn’t give the game away.)

  • TomW

    Karla writes: “No true prophet can be revered if they are a liar so how anyone can still call Joseph Smith a prophet boggles the mind.”

    When it comes to integrity, I don’t know that your posts thus far about the types of things Mormons might say in your living room entitles you to a whole lot of benefit of the doubt. I doubt that any of us can claim to have a perfect record on proclaiming the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, over the entirety of our lives. If so, good for you. In the meantime, you may wish to consider the scripture which speaks of throwing stones. She who is without sin…

    Karla also writes: “People seem to forget that Jesus said many will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven!”

    Indeed, this is true. This applies to Christians of all stripes, not just those you disagree with.

    Of course, there is value at looking at the entirety of Matthew 7:21:

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

    He that DOETH the will of my Father?

    Why, would that be a WORK, Karla?

    She who is without sin…

    Not established that he was a liar…

    What is the rest of the passage?

  • Karla

    TomW-We are all sinners yes but the the Bible is clear that works don’t
    save us and only Repenting/trusting Christ does. Luke 13 the whole chapter
    talks about how we must bear good fruit and that the fruit is the fruit of
    Repentance. We must Repent! Many non-believers do good works so
    only Repenting/trusting is Christ saves! We can just agree to disagree
    but you need to do some more research on mormonism/Joseph Smith.

  • TomW

    Larry, where in the Constitution does it proclaim that people of faith are denied the right to engage in commerce in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs? Where is it written that people of faith are required to violate conscience or forfeit one’s business?

  • TomW

    Not sure if this will work:

  • TomW
  • TomW

    Richard, when the prophet is speaking as a prophet, then yes, he is speaking for God. You may claim that this is how a dictatorship works, but it also happens to be how revelation to the Lord’s anointed prophet works. There are lots of things we can compare to dictatorships, but not everything has equal value in the context of God’s dealings with man.

    When one has a testimony of the Lord’s church, then this does indeed offer all the rebuttal a person of faith requires to the objections of critics. Their testimonies may not have the slightest influence upon your opinions, but neither do your criticisms have influence upon their testimonies.

    You ask, “how do you know that your living prophet is actually the voice of God?”

    Without waiting for an answer, you respond, “I trust you’re not going to rehash the Argument from Burning in the Bosom.”

    That is certainly one way people can know for themselves that a prophet speaks for God. But another way is to consider a lifetime of experience following the counsel of prophets and apostles, and whether doing so has been a positive or negative experience. For me, it has been a very positive one. I’ve also seen what happens when I am not as faithful, and I don’t like the results.

    With regard to your encounter with young missionaries, all you really proved is that you are more experienced at debate than they are, and that you can be a bit manipulative and bullyish. Revelation comes in various ways, even to a prophet. I have no doubt he receives revelation on a DAILY basis to guide him in the daily administration of his duties and personal life. But many people view revelation as a formal declaration of God – something which in the LDS world might even find its way into the canon. Such grand revelations are far fewer in frequency, and do not define the authenticity of a living prophet.

    As for what our living prophet says is vitally important, I would turn to his most recent remarks at the General Conferences of the church, as well as those things which he may instruct the church in concert with the First Presidency and/or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Within the context of the title of this blog post, that would include his exhortation for Latter-day Saints to give their best efforts to uphold traditional marriage against efforts to redefine this holy institution.

    To say that “Neither of them knew. Which indicates the importance and usefulness of a living prophet to living mormon missionaries,” all you’ve proven is that there hasn’t been a revelation of a canonical magnitude to evoke an immediate response. When one of the missionaries responded that “you can check out the last general conference talks,” that was actually quite a legitimate response. While it would be nice to be capable of rattling off any number of things spoken by a prophet in a recent conference, the fact of the matter is that most of us don’t have that kind of recall, especially when one participates in 10 hours of conference broadcasts every 6 months.

    Would it be better if Latter-day Saints could unhesitatingly sound off with a checklist of recent counsel from the living prophet? You bet! But one’s inability to do so, especially when challenged in a manner consistent with your online persona, isn’t necessarily indicative of anything. One can remember that one felt the spirit (or didn’t, for that matter) without remembering details.

    With regard to President Monson, there are particular quotes I remember from him over the years, but not necessarily his most recent remarks just this past weekend either. Such is human existence.

  • TomW

    Needless to say, Karla, between the two of us I am not the one in need of further research regarding the LDS church and Joseph Smith!

  • Richard Morgan

    So, Tom, to be consistent you follow the living prophet, but you can’t actually remember what he said a few days ago? How do you manage that?
    ” I don’t know what the Prophet said, but I’m going to follow, er, what he said.”

  • HarryStamper

    Hi Karla…..I followed your advice and did more study on Joseph Smith. Here’s what I found….
    When asked what are the first principles of the gospel he answered:
    1st; Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
    2nd: Repentance
    Then when Joseph was asked ..what would be of most worth to my soul…..??? He answered:
    “…the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people..”

    I think Joseph Smith and Karla would get along just fine.

  • TomW

    Richard, I am so glad you care enough to ask!

    Every 6 months I watch 11.5 hours of conference sessions. (4x 2-hour general sessions, 1x 2-hour priesthood session, 1x 1.5-hour women’s meeting).

    For most human beings, this is a lot to absorb.

    In the weeks following each conference I re-read the transcripts of each talk. I go through them thoroughly and copy the excerpts I find most meaningful to a site where I archive all of my favorite conference quotes, and from there I am able to quickly review those things that are of import to me in my life. As I participate in conversations with people in the continuing months, I am often able to refer to these things to help answer a question or strengthn a testimony.

    In addition to doing this for the most recent conference, I have also gone back in time to study the words of other church leaders in past conferences going back as far as 1897. It is incredible to often see how someone’s teachings in the 1920’s are readily applicable to our life today. And sometimes it is humorous to see just how much different our lives are today, when there are comments about the advent of radio or TV which were new technology at the time. Or when they speak of a given war that is raging at the moment.

    I don’t consider this past weekend’s conference to be done just because the broadcast is over. Now is the time to go back and continue to study the teachings which were offered, from the living prophet as well as the other leaders of the church. One of my favorites was the talk from Carol McConkie. Words to live by!

  • Karla

    Harry-Thank you for the feedback and I appreciate you taking the
    time to do the research but he also predicted many things that did
    not come true. God bless.

  • Larry

    Article 1 of the Constitution.

    TomW, you lost that battle with the enactment of the Civil Rights Act. 50 YEARS AGO
    [See Katzenbach v. McClung, 1964]

    Just because you call your bigotry religious belief, it doesn’t change the nature of the act. Deliberately withholding goods/services normally available to the general public on the basis of personal prejudices. It didn’t fly when the businesses were keeping African Americans out, it doesn’t fly now.

    Its the same reason Karla can’t put up a sign in a restaurant saying “No Mormons, Jews or Muslims will be served here”.

    Engaging in business discrimination is not an act of conscience, it is an act of malice. A deliberate harm to others. Your right to free exercise of religion has always ended where you deliberately harm others. Your conscience can not be taken any more seriously under the law, in the act of discriminatory business practices, than it can to perform human sacrifice.

  • Larry

    [Not sure if this will work: ]

    Tom, I don’t have to tolerate your bigotry under the color of law. You want to act like an uncivil hateful jerk in public, you have to deal with the social (and legal) consequences of such actions.

  • HarryStamper

    Hi Karla…speaking of Joseph Smith, even if you do not accept him as a true prophet of God, he wrote the greatest testimonies of Jesus, explanations of grace and about the Godhead than anyone.

    Did you know that on the title page of the Book of Mormon it gives the purpose of the Book….”convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD,”…the capitalization is part of the Book of Mormon. What!!!! Mormons declaring Christ is God….who would have thought!

    Did you know on the title page of the Book of Mormon, there is the testimony of the 3 witness’s …their testimony ends with this sentence..”And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.” What!!!!…Mormons believe the Godhead are one……who would have thought!

    Anyone who has faith in Christ would love the Book of Mormon.

  • Karla

    Harry-You don’t need the book of mormon to be saved. Only when
    we Repent/trust in Christ are we saved! When people teach the
    polytheism doctrine that’s where you seperate yourself from
    Biblical Christianity. Thanks for the feedback! God bless.

  • TomW

    Larry, you are out of line.

    Merriam-Webster defines a bigot as “a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)”

    Clearly the word “bigot” requires a dislike or hatred of a given group. That fails to describe me. My heart is filled with love toward all men and women, including those whose lifestyles do not conform to the teachings of Christ (which, by the way, indicts every living soul including myself).

    Furthermore, what we have in this issue are conflicting rights. The First Amendment has not been repealed with regard to people’s rights of conscience. There may be individual states where people’s religious consciences have been abridged by the courts, but that does not mean that this will forever be the status quo. Just as abortion wasn’t truly settled by Roe v Wade in the public consciousness, the question of which rights are held supreme remains to be decided by the courts and the people.

    Karla may not be able to put up a sign in a restaurant saying “No Mormons, Jews or Muslims will be served here,” but the menu doesn’t have to meet Kosher, Halal, or Word of Wisdom standards either.

    You say that “Engaging in business discrimination is not an act of conscience, it is an act of malice. A deliberate harm to others.”

    How is it not an act of malice and deliberate harm to sue a wedding photographer whose convictions would make shooting a same-sex ceremony objectionable when there are countless alternative photographers to choose from? You know as well as I do that that lawsuit wasn’t based on the lack of qualified alternatives, but an insistence upon acting with malice toward someone who does not embrace the new secular view on morality. The same goes for others such as bakeries.

    I’m not saying that I would personally turn down such business at all. But I do believe that people whose consciences would be violated by such should have a right to abstain without penalty. We’re not talking about life-sustaining goods here.

  • TomW

    Larry, based on the dictionary definition of bigotry, you seem to fit the bill with your rhetoric toward people of faith much better than those you malign.

    Your dislike and hatred ooze from your posts. But perhaps you suffer from a malady where you just can’t help acting like an uncivil hateful jerk in public?

  • Larry

    TomW, feel free to be offended by my use of the term bigotry. It doesn’t change anything, nor are you showing it is an incorrect term given the situation. Just that you are thin skinned about honest assessment of discriminatory actions and personal prejudices.

    You want a group of people discriminated under color of law based on outward characteristics. That is bigotry. Just because you want to excuse it with religious dogma, doesn’t change anything.

    You have no idea what 1st Amendment rights really entail. Your religious faith does not grant you the privilege of harming others. Discriminating in open commerce is a legally recognized harm, hence the fines and lawsuits. Your religious faith never excuses compliance with laws of general application. For example, you do not have 1 first amendment right to engage in polygamy or human sacrifice no matter how deeply held your belief is.

    “they can shop elsewhere” also didn’t fly when it was used against African Americans. Why should it fly now? You are saying there should be entire markets closed off to the members of the public because religious people want to feel privileged. The laws have felt otherwise, ever since discrimination became an act penalized by civil law .

    “Separate but equal” is never the case. You are asking for avenues of commerce open to the general public to be deliberately closed to support your bigotry. Separate businesses but somehow equal in value. There is no value to the public in doing so. If business owners want to discriminate as to which customers from the general public to take, do business in selective forums.

    “You know as well as I do that that lawsuit wasn’t based on the lack of qualified alternatives, but an insistence upon acting with malice toward someone who does not embrace the new secular view on morality. ”

    It was based on a business owner acting like an uncivil malicious fool in denying goods and services normally available to the rest of the public as advertised. There is nothing malicious about asking someone to provide for a wedding, when it is their profession. It is what one expects from such businesses.

    You are not supporting acts of conscience, quit martyrbaiting. There is nothing brave about acting in an uncivil malicious manner in business. You are supporting harmful, pernicious, destructive behavior. If your faith considers such things as OK, it is worth insulting.

    So as

  • Larry

    But TomW, you ARE a bigot. All you are doing is showing you are thin skinned about it. Nothing about your posts shows otherwise. You are not refuting what I said, just being annoyed that I said it. Feel free to be offended. I am not apologizing for it.

    The first amendment never gave you a right to harm others. There is no conflicting rights here because religious freedom has never been held to excuse such actions. Your “strongly held belief” has never given people permission to violate laws of general application. For example no matter what one’s faith says on the subject, it can’t excuse polygamy, human sacrifice or slavery.

    “The can shop elsewhere”, like every other argument you used, is the same used by racists when they wanted to support segregated businesses. You are asking for entire sectors of commerce to be closed to members of the general public on the basis of personal prejudices of the business owners. How can that possibly be considered an interest the government would want to protect under color of law?

    What you are saying is there should be “separate but equal” businesses for gays to go to since people like yourself want to exclude them from your own. The same arguments racists used back in the days before the Civil Rights Act.

    Discriminating in business is not an act of conscience, it is an act of malice. It doesn’t matter what excuses you give for it. This is not a debatable point. It is clearly defined by law. Hence the lawsuits and fines. Businesses open to the public have to be open to the entire public. Business owners who want to discriminate as to whom to serve must do their business in selective venues.

    “You know as well as I do that that lawsuit wasn’t based on the lack of qualified alternatives, but an insistence upon acting with malice toward someone who does not embrace the new secular view on morality. The same goes for others such as bakeries. ”

    It was based on business owners acting in an uncivil and malicious manner in denying goods and services which would otherwise be available to the general public as part of their profession. If they are so insistent on the “immorality” of serving the entire public, then they should not keep their businesses open to the entire public.

    Yes I have a strong dislike of those who look for excuses for discrimination and seek sanction for it under color of law. I have a strong dislike of those who support malicious harmful behavior and pretend calling it religious belief makes it acceptable. Such views are unworthy of respect.

  • TomW

    Larry, I’d have to hold you in regard for your contempt to find meaning in my life. In the meantime, you misuse a word to libel those who disagree with you. You’re not alone in the misallocation of the term, nor in the venom with which you invoke it. I’m content to stand with the Lord and His anointed servants, let the barbs from the peanut gallery come what may.

  • Brian

    Wow Larry! I haven’t seen someone contradict themselves so often and so quickly as you have done.

    It’s funny. One minute you say that SSM doesn’t affect others at all, and the next moment you say that people deserve to be sued and lose their business if they don’t jump on the SSM bandwagon.

    Tom is absolutely correct. The list of examples is growing, but I’m always curious about one- the photographer who was sued for not filming a SS wedding. Imagine that the photographer complied, but because he/she felt terribly uncomfortable being there, provided an inferior product. Photography is an artistic skill after all. Should the photographer be sued if he/she cannot provide the same level of service?

  • Brian

    Karla- again you show that those quickest to criticize the LDS faith tend to be the quickest to prove their ignorance of it.

  • Richard Morgan

    Not true, Brian. Those most critical of the LDS faith are ex-Mormons. Their problem was not ignorance of the faith, but knowing too much about the Church.
    (But I agree – Karla is sounding quite silly.)

  • Karla

    Brian and Richard-I know what your faith teaches because I have
    talked to many people from your faith so I think you should do some
    more research because the Bible is clear you are wrong in what you
    teach/preach but thank you for the feedback. God bless.

  • TomW

    I would argue that the more someone knows about the faith, the deeper one’s testimony may develop. Loss of faith isn’t a function of exposure to uncomfortable information, but rather one’s spiritual response to it. The Lord is more than capable of affirming the truthfulness of the Restoration to those who do not sever their ties to the Spirit in the process of placing their own perceived understanding on a higher plane than God’s.

  • TomW

    Keep digging, Karla!

  • Larry

    No Brian, you are deliberately blurring issues which are distinct.

    1. Churches are not affected by marriage equality laws. No church can be forced to perform rites which are against its dogma. You can’t give me evidence of this happening anywhere.

    2. Religious belief is no excuse for discriminating in open commerce.
    Unless you think your church is a business, you are being deliberately obtuse on the issues or are abusing the tax laws 🙂

    For example, I can’t claim in my business that I am taking a stand on conscience under Christian Identity belief by denying service to people of color, Mormons, Catholics or Jews. My “sincerely held belief” makes it repugnant to be subservient to anyone not of the white race or “Aryan”.

    If I wanted to discriminate which customers to take, I would have to limit my business to members of my church, advertising on or word of mouth at David Irving Historical Society meetings. But I can’t open a brick and mortar store or advertise generally on websites as being open to the public. Doing so puts my business within the reach of regulations concerning discrimination and commerce.

    “Imagine that the photographer complied, but because he/she felt terribly uncomfortable being there, provided an inferior product. Photography is an artistic skill after all. Should the photographer be sued if he/she cannot provide the same level of service?”

    The plaintiffs would have a tougher time proving their case. It would never make the news. The thing about discriminating in their business is that it is inherently uncivil, with a long history of being unacceptable under the law and easy to prove in court. The defendant’s usually not even bothering to deny what they did or why.

  • DougH

    “You are full of it, DougH.”

    Interesting that you would turn to personal insult in a comments section for a post extolling civility in political discourse. Now that I’m feeling better I was planning to point out the fallacies in you statements, but looking at the tone of your other posts there’s simply no point to it.

    Actually, I’ll make one point you might want to consider. You stated, “Your religious beliefs do not nullify civil laws.” Now let’s apply that to the rest of the 1st Amendment. You are free to speak your mind – so long as you don’t violate any civil laws. You are free operate as a member of the press – so long as you don’t violate any civil laws. You are free to peaceably assemble – so long as you don’t violate any civil laws. You are free to petition the government for a redress of grievances – so long as you don’t violate any civil laws. In short, you are free to enjoy any and all of the freedoms the 1st Amendment was created to protect – so long as you don’t violate any laws that might conflict with those rights. The 1st Amendment protects us, so long as the government chooses to permit it. And this is nonsense. If the 1st Amendment means anything, it means that when laws that conflict with those rights the laws lose.

  • Pretty much no.