Mormon LGBT ban was ‘revealed’ to the prophet as God’s will, says Elder Nelson

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Jesus FacepalmIt wasn’t a mistake.

In fact, it was the will of the Lord, confirmed by every single apostle according to the standard protocol that the LDS Church uses for revelations to the prophet.

At least that’s what LDS apostle Russell M. Nelson indicated yesterday in a devotional at BYU-Hawaii. Confronted with the reality of same-sex marriage becoming law in the United States, the Brethren met “repeatedly in the temple” to seek the Lord’s guidance on the matter.

Here is the text of that portion of Elder Nelson’s remarks, as published in the Deseret News:

Filled with compassion for all, and especially for the children, we wrestled at length to understand the Lord’s will in this matter. . . . Ever mindful of God’s plan of salvation and of His hope for eternal life for each of His children, we considered countless permutations and combinations of possible scenarios that could arise. We met repeatedly in the temple in fasting and prayer and sought further direction and inspiration.

And then, when the Lord inspired His prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, to declare the mind of the Lord and the will of the Lord, each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation. It was our privilege as Apostles to sustain what had been revealed to President Monson. Revelation from the Lord to His servants is a sacred process. And so is your privilege of receiving personal revelation.

This is the first time I’ve seen an official from the LDS Church claiming the ban on gays to be not just another policy in the handbook — a handbook that is updated regularly and subject to change — but an actual revelation from the Lord.

When Elder Christofferson spoke about the policy in the immediate PR disaster following the leak, “revelation” was not mentioned. The policy was presented then as a solution to a logistical problem — the solution that the Brethren felt would best fulfill Christ’s mandate to “feed my sheep” (!), but not official revelation.

Now, however, the policy has been baptized in a language of prophetic revelation similar to what President Spencer W. Kimball said in 1978 when all men of African descent were offered access to the priesthood: “We have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.”

Now it seems the Lord has spoken once again. But unlike in 1978, when God’s will was to expand gospel blessings to all people, now it is to restrict them.

The Lord, apparently, thinks it is the right thing to do to bar some children from baptism based on the sexual orientation and choices of their parents.

To declare gay church members who are living in faithful and monogamous marriages to be apostates, subject to possible excommunication.

And to remind us once again to follow the prophet in all things.

“You may not always understand every declaration of a living prophet,” Elder Nelson said. “But when you know a prophet is a prophet, you can approach the Lord in humility and faith and ask for your own witness about whatever His prophet has proclaimed.”

So what does this mean for the many, many Latter-day Saints who have indeed prayed about this, fasted about this, and similarly “wrestled at length” to get the Lord’s guidance — only to receive a totally different answer than the prophet’s?

An answer that affirms Jesus’ teaching that we are to allow little children to come unto him unhindered?

An answer that reminds us that children are never responsible for the alleged sins of their parents?

And an answer that recognizes the inherent sacred worth of LGBT persons — and their marriages?

I am in that camp. I sit here heartbroken that the Church is not only standing by this regrettable policy but enshrining homophobia as God’s will.

It seems that now, by holding these views I am not just objecting to a here-today-gone-tomorrow policy in the handbook. I’m actively resisting the will of the Lord as revealed through his holy prophets.

Elder Nelson closed with dire warnings about people like me. “The somber reality is that there are ‘servants of Satan’ embedded throughout society,” the Salt Lake Tribune quotes him as saying. “So be very careful about whose counsel you follow.”

I don’t believe God is behind this policy. This does not feel like holy revelation from the same God who declared there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female — for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

By rejecting this policy, are active LDS church members like me, people who hold a calling and a temple recommend, now to be regarded as “servants of Satan”?

  • HarryStamper

    Wow…who saw that coming.

  • bothsidesnow

    I thought I had finished crying, but I’m crying once again. Utterly sad that our church isn’t welcoming to all. So sick of the “rescue” conference stories.

  • clark

    Yes. In fact, some of us have viewed your writings that way for some time now. But please, continue to kick against the pricks and advocate that this policy is not inspired and that the 15 apostles who prayed about it must have been wrong and you are right. I see no problem there. 😉

  • Earl Parsons

    I am also saddened by this.

    My question is which version of the policy was the Lord’s will: the overreaching one originally published in the handbook or the later “clarification” that limited the scope of the policy.

    I pray that we as a people will continue to follow Christ and His example, repenting when we need to.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Jana wrote: “I don’t believe God is behind this policy.”

    Then are you not ethically bound to refrain from sustaining the church leaders?

    Jana wrote: “By rejecting this policy, are active LDS church members like me, people who hold a calling and a temple recommend …..”

    To be “worthy” of a temple recommend one must sustain the LDS Church leaders. And to “sustain” them one must uphold their “revelations.”

    Since the Church is adamant that their anti-Gay policies are revelation, isn’t it an obvious conclusion that any temple recommend-holding member (who honestly answers the recommend questions) agrees with the Church’s policies regarding Gays?

    At what point do you say, “Enough!,” Jana, and separate yourself from this organization?

  • tortdog

    I don’t think that it is a fair characterization that the apostles are labeling any person who is uncomfortable with this “revealed” policy is a Servant of Satan. I think that he is considering those who work to change what society accepts as moral, with a view that same-sex marriage should be accepted.

    I do think your raise legitimate questions. I find myself still perplexed by this and it makes me wonder am I so out of touch with the character of the Son that this does not immediately ring as “gospel” to me.

  • Ben in oakland

    So GAWDamighty himself told the Mormon leaders that he didn’t want the children of gay people defiling his precious church, let alone the filthy depraved themselves! Children of serial adulterers, serial formicators, murderers, child molesters, thieves, congressmen, and everyone else of a depraved nature are welcome, as are the depraved themselves as long as they don’t make too much noise about their depravity.

    But not the children of those ickeeeeeee people who dared to stand up and declare their love and commitment in public, in front of their friends, families, and communities. That’s just too much for The Righteous to bear.

    Who said, “suffer the little children to come unto me.” No one important to modern Christianity.

  • Ben in oakland

    You’re only a True Christian is you maintain ancient prejudices under the guise of sincere religious belief. Bonus points if you can keep a straight face while proclaiming how much you love The Ickeeeees.

  • Anonymous this time

    No, it is possible to sustain while not necessarily agreeing.

    I’m far from convinced the policy in from God. In sustaining the church’s leaders, I’m promising that 1) I’ll seek to be humble enough to accept that I’m wrong about this if God tells me I am; 2) I’ll be around to help pick up the pieces if it turns out I’m right; 3) I’ll continue to pray for them and sincerely want them to do what is best; 4) I won’t attempt to undermine them.

  • Jen K.

    Thank you Jana.

    All I can believe right now is that God is no respecter of persons. I feel like I’m hanging by the tips of my fingernails.

    “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34)
    “For I am no respecter of persons.” (D&C 1:35)
    “I am no respecter of persons.” (D&C 38:16)
    “He denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:3)

  • Eric H.

    >>To be “worthy” of a temple recommend one must sustain the LDS Church leaders. And to “sustain” them one must uphold their “revelations.”

    I know many people who are FoxNews addicted conservatives (and also many hardcore HuffPo liberals, but this example currently works better from the right-wing side). They are often very patriotic, and have a respect for the office of the Presidency, and an acknowledgement that the person holding that position is important and has the right to speak as our country’s representative and to enact certain powers alloted that position. But would those people feel compelled to agree with Pres. Obama’s policies? Heck no.

    Even people who do like Obama don’t always agree with him 100% of the time… well, unless they are blind fanatics, in parallel to those who irrationally hate him.

    “Sustaining” does NOT mean blindly accepting and agreeing.

  • Kim

    Wow. Too many more “revelations” from God and there won’t be anyone perfect enough to warm the pews let alone be deemed “worthy” enough for a temple recommend. Don’t forget to leave 10% of your income on your way out though!

  • Allan West

    You sustain someone by gently helping them understand when they are wrong. Once they acknowledge they understand, you have no more need to discuss. There is value to yes men… for a leader, yes men only isolate the leader into his own head. A leader needs multiple perspectives in order to navigate.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    In the October 2014 General Conference, “Apostle” R. Nelson said:

    “Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities.”

    The prophets of the LDS Church have made clear that their anti-Gay doctrine is *revelation.* As such (and given the extensive time spent by the church’s prophets promoting it) the anti-gay doctrine is clearly a “prophetic priority.” Consequently, to sustain the “brethren” is to do one’s utmost in upholding the prophet’s anti-Gay revelation.

    Please understand that I empathize with Mormons who want to remain in the LDS Church. Leaving can be a frightening experience with real risks, including loss of family, income, etc.

    But there comes a time when one can no longer ethically maintain their affiliation with an organization that teaches evil doctrines, while pretending that their affiliation doesn’t constitute an endorsement.

  • SKJ

    I have left and am processing my experience. It feels like psychological terrorism to be called a “servant of satan”. It feels like the Church is self-destructing and God is just fine with watching these Apostles paint themselves into a right-wing corner. They will become less and less important, more and more fringe and fanatical. There was so much potential. I am mournful of this direction they chose.

  • Marion Fust Sæternes

    My name is Marion – and I approve of Janas message!

    I stand with my LGBTQ-friends.
    – Charity never faileth; that’s my religion.
    And Isaiah 58.

  • Jared

    Ms. Riess,

    Have you watched the talk? When I read, “…the Salt Lake Tribune quotes him as saying…” it seems like you are writing a tertiary source based on secondary accounts. To defend a position, integrity demands that you accurately represent the views of your opponents. I see no evidence here that you have tried to understand the implications of NOT barring children of homsexual parents from being baptized, nor President Nielson’s address given last night. The state of journalism in our nation is so sad.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    As Americans we don’t “sustain” the president of the United States. There are no “worthiness” interviews asking if we believe in Obama, sustain Obama, or think Obama is the only one authorized to perform the holy ordinances of the priesthood. There is no oath of loyalty to the President, and our country has a long tradition of vigorous and open public debates/criticism about presidential policy.

    Bringing Obama into the discussion is a pointless Red Herring.

    As for the LDS Church, sustaining *those* leaders *does* mean agreeing with their prophetic priorities. In fact, Russ Nelson (in the October 2014 General Conference) said that sustaining the prophet means doing one’s *utmost* to uphold the prophet’s prophetic priorities.

    I understand the frustration of rational Mormons who are expected to sustain right-wing anti-Gay leaders, but the solution to that problem isn’t to be dishonest about what “sustain means,” it’s to leave the LDS Church.

  • Sustain doesn’t mean “agree with all the time”. Sustain means to comfort, help, assist, encourage, succor, support.

    It is possible to believe that church leaders are fallible (our church teaches that, though few seem to believe it), forgive them for their mistakes as we want to be forgiven of ours, and still believe they are prophets.

  • Steve

    Then why are you still here?

  • Mortimer

    Why can’t we have primary information about this revelation? Despite the fact that President Monson has control over a huge media conglomerate, he has been silent.

    I am sick and tired of trying to figure out whether this is of God, when the primary source (the prophet) won’t speak it himself from the heart with a testimony sealed in the name if Jesus Christ. I am sick if trying to read sterilized cold messages from secondary and tertiary sources.

    Maybe I belong on the short bus when it comes to spirituality, but I need to connect with the spirit of the person testifying. A personal meeting seemed to change Affirmation leader’s hearts. Why don’t we get a personal testimony? Even Elder Nelson’s quotes were more procedural than topic-centered. Even if pres. Monson ends up saying, “the spirit constrains me” at least speak up! (That’s his job.) It would be irresponsible of me to expect less.

  • Drew Armstrong

    So, do we back up here and honor the “revelation” as it came out… not with the clarification of the “policy” a week later?

  • Steve

    For me, the bigger challenge is answering the question about supporting or affiliating with apostate individuals or groups. My understanding is that historically, this question was used to weed out surreptitious polygamists, but if you want to answer the question as asked, it’s going to be difficult to answer in light of the policy that gays who marry are automatically apostate, which means by extension that groups like Affirmation and Mormons Building Bridges are apostate groups for supporting them.

  • Jimminy

    I am so sick of people saying, if you don’t like it, leave. Do you have any idea how callous, how crassly self righteous and judgmental that sounds?
    If you were a real christian, instead of the hard hearted, twisted, person you have become, you would emulate the invitation to, “Come Follow Me” mourn with those that mourn, and watch over the least of these.

  • Steve

    I’ve been concerned for awhile that the church is slowly trending fundamentalist. If gay marriage eventually leads to polygamy, according to my understanding of OD1, the church would be obligated to reinstate the practice. Now, polygamy becoming legal is far from a sure thing, but the membership seems to be heading in that direction.

  • Mortimer

    Why does the church send important info out in a whisper campaign? Think about it…this announcement of huge revelation came in a CLOSED and elite meeting which was only delivered in English (in a church w over 300 languages spoken.)

  • zaur

    compliance ≠ sustain.

  • Jared, good question. When I wrote the post early this morning, I had to rely on the reporting in the Deseret News for the text of Elder Nelson’s comments. While the devotional was live streamed when it occurred last night, it was not yet available online when I searched for it this morning. It has since been made available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q91NwQRdYKM.

    The Deseret News reporting about the content of Elder Nelson’s talk is accurate, based on the video I have now been able to watch. Elder Nelson’s remarks begin at the 1 hour, 11 minute mark.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Allan West wrote: “There is value to yes men….”

    I couldn’t agree more! For the LDS Church, the value is 10% plus, isn’t it?

  • Porter

    Is this the way God gives revelation to his living prophets in these latter days? By revealing a new policy, sneaking it into a non-public policy manual, having an apostle try to explain it (without mentioning that it was revelation), modifying it significantly a week later, and then having his servants wait a few more months before telling the world “oh, by the way it was a revelation and we prayed about it”?

    Seriously that’s the process now? All I can say is that God’s method of communicating with man these days is shockingly ineffective.

  • Adrian

    Anytime the prophet and the apostles get together to determine what would best fulfill Christ’s mandate, it IS revelation. Some revelation isn’t about doctrine, it’s about best serving the people in a changing world. The revelation on missionary age has been different throughout the history of the church. Many other things change as the world changes. I haven’t seen anyone get up in arms about a cohabitating man and woman not able to be baptized until they are wed. The doctrine of eternal increase and progression has not changed. The natural truth of needing both male and female to reproduce has not changed (unless you are a sea anemone). No one is banned from attending services and receiving blessings or blessing others. I support this policy as recognizing eternal truths and helping others understand them. Jesus invites us to “Go and sin no more.” It’s not, “Keep the sin as long as you are happy and not physically hurting anyone.

  • David

    This is exactly my question? Which parts and/or which of the versions of the policy were inspired?

  • Porter

    No, because apparently God pushed the send button prematurely without thinking it through first. Or maybe it was an autocorrect problem…

  • Chris W

    This comes down to one fundamental question: is homosexual behavior wrong? God’s prophet says it is. If that is correct than these polices make perfect sense. It doesn’t matter that someone is in a committed gay relationship. If homosexual behavior is a sin then making a life time commitment to that behavior is wrong. God does welcome all to come unto Him. But coming to Him means we as imperfect humans move closer to Him and throw off our sins through the atonement of Christ. It does not mean that all we can commit whatever sin we want and expect our perfect God to come to us by condoning our sins. A loving God stands for truth no matter how politically incorrect it is. It is amazing to me to see how far the world has gone in a very short time from generally viewing homosexual behavior as a sin, to tolerating it, then supporting it, then celebrating it, then telling every one they are evil if they don’t alao celebrate homosexual behavior. Will unto those who call evil…

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    “Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities.” [Apostle Russ Nelson, October 2014 General Conference]

    Since the LDS Church says the anti-Gay doctrine is Revelation, and since they promote the doctrine/revelation aggressively, it is most certainly a prophetic “priority.”

    So, according to Russ, Mormons who fail to do their “utmost to uphold” the prophetic doctrine are not sustaining their prophet.

  • Kuildeous

    Funny that the answers to their prayers were what they already wanted. Such a convenient religion.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    I agree Steve; that is a huge problem. But look carefully at the question, as it’s not just about apostates:

    Questions: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

    As you can see, it’s not restricted to just “apostates.” In fact, its a breathtakingly broad statement about not supporting or *affiliating* with anyONE or any group that is teaching contrary doctrine to the LDS Church.

    I know individuals (all my extended family, for example) who shun ex-Mormons because they feel unworthy to enter the temple otherwise. The mandate to not associate with those who are contrary with the LDS Church is, in my opinion, one of the defining characteristics of a cult, and one of the worst policies promoted by the LDS Church.

  • Harper

    I do not believe this is coming from God. It does not reconcile with my conscience, or my personal revelation. I have often heard the “why don’t you leave then..” , said to me many times in my home and in church, but most of all “anonymously” via Internet (very brave). Want to really know why we aren’t leaving? We aren’t leaving because this is the Church of our heritage, the church that holds our culture, our people, and it is the church we chose. A better question from you and others like you may be “what can I do to comfort you?” That is taught in the church we chose.

  • Harper

    I am sorry you are hurting. I am too. Please know you are not alone, and that Christ and our Heavenly Parents are there for us. ❤️

  • Allan West

    That is a mistake. I meant to write, “there is NO value to yes men.”

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Please understand me correctly ….. I’m not saying one should leave if they don’t like it; I’m saying to leave out of respect for one’s own self worth. An honorable, ethical person’s character is sullied by association with organizations like the LDS Church; cleansing and healing can come by separation from the organization.

    Jimminy wrote: “If you were a real christian….”

    I’m not a christian.

    Jimminy wrote: “… instead of the hard hearted, twisted, person you have become….”

    And, apparently, neither are you!

  • Eric H.

    We have the ability to look back at all our leaders have previously said about homosexuality. In virtually every instance, what has been said has been shown to be wrong (e.g., masturbation leads to homosexuality, gays are choosing to be gay, if gay marriage is legalized populations of nations will drastically fall, etc.). This is a pattern of 40+ years now, and is a parallel to the erroneous things said for generations about blacks and the priesthood ban. We should hope and pray that this current rhetoric and false justification doesn’t continue for 120+ years like it did for that subject.

  • Harper

    I was taught by my father and my church to always speak up and stand up for what we think is right. This is what Jana is doing as well. She is not kicking against the pricks, perhaps she is just recognizing who the pricks are.

  • Harper

    A better, more Christlike response from us may be “what can I do to comfort you Jana?”

  • Jonathan E

    Isn’t it interesting that this comes just days after writing about how Ammon Bundy is convinced that he is following the mind and will of the Lord?

  • Wouldn’t it be great if our leaders also believed in their own fallibility?

  • Harper

    It is not, nor shall it ever be, a sin to BE. And please tell me the “sin” the children are committing?

  • Harper

    Many many times I have read in the scriptures not to judge others, yet it seems you are doing so in the name of “truth and righteousness”. All are invited to come unto Him. No “but’s.”

  • Clark, Jana doesn’t speak just for herself but for thousands upon thousands of members with the same concern. Trying to make her feel alone and isolated won’t solve the problem. If you have a testimony of this policy, please share your testimony and explain how it isn’t mean.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Alice wrote: “… our church teaches that [our leaders are fallible] though few seem to believe it….”

    The LDS Church most certainly does *not* teach that the leaders are fallible with regard to doctrine and revelation. In fact, in the Doctrine & Covenants, section, Official Declaration 1, it includes the following statement from a Conference address by Wilford Woodruff:

    “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray….”

    https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/od/1?lang=eng

  • Chris

    Follow the Prophet, follow the Prophet, He knows the way.
    Simple as that.

  • Porter

    Jana, I thought this quote from the Salt lake Tribune was particulalry telling: “Russell M. Nelson, head of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said Sunday night, “we considered countless permutations and combinations of possible scenarios that could arise.”” If so, they didn’t do a very good job because they missed the huge problem that had to be fixed a week later.

    My theory is that the Quorum is a total echo chamber. Its too bad they don’t see it and bring in some younger folks who can explain that this approach is alienating the younger generations — you know those of us who are under 60.

  • David

    I don’t think those groups are necessarily apostate (MBB at least, I don’t know Affirmation). There may be individuals in them who seek to undermine the church, but the group itself, while it seeks change in the church, aks for its members to be “LDS affirming”. Just my opinion. Btw, I am one of the people that has to ask that question in a recommend interview.

  • Eric H.

    “The prophet will never lead us astray.”

    “How do you know that?”

    “Because a prophet said it.”

    “How do you know the prophet is right?”

    “Because the prophet will never lead us astray.”

    “How do you know that?”

    “Because a prophet said it.”

    “How do you know the prophet is right?”

    “Because the prophet will never lead us astray.”

    “How do you know that?”

    “Because a prophet said it.”

    “How do you know the prophet is right?”

    “Because the prophet will never lead us astray.”

    —-

    (Taken from Michael Barker on Rational Faiths, and others.)

  • David

    If it were about the money, wouldn’t the church cave on this issue so they could get more tithing?

  • Chris

    Both. Like any leadership handbook, or text book for example, when new up to date information comes out it needs to be updated or students will not get the up to date knowledge necessary to succeed in society with their peers in said educational fields of learning. It’s like giving a medical student a text books from as little as 10 years ago. As of 10 years or over a hundred years ago the church leadership book has changed, with changes in the church, just like laws have changed over the years as places have become more populated, more crime ridden, etc. With any change throughout time from Adam to present there has been revelation given to Prophets of the Church. Sure there is a lot of stuff I and a lot of people would love to do, say, etc, but do we do it no! The reason behind that is, because we have a strong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many of us may have fallen off of the band wagon, lost our faith, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get back on.

  • Earl Parsons

    Chris,
    The two versions of the policy were released within a week of each other, not a year or 100 years. By my reading the two versions are markedly different. My question is which one was the one revealed? If both were revealed, did God change his mind in such a short time? Did we increase in light and knowledge so quickly?

  • Ben in oakland

    Gay marriage doesn’t lead to polygamy. heterosexual marriage does, everywhere and every when polygamous marriage has been practiced, with the full endorsement of the Religious Authorities, unless their was a vital, secular reason not to, like the law or money.

    Heterosexual polygamy is everywhere a heterosexual institution. The only people, or at least the ones that get paid for it, that Think that gay marriage leads to polygamy are antigay people. We’re not the ones that have proposed it, defended it, or think that it has the slightest thing to do with Marriage Equality or gay people.

    If heterosexual polygamy again becomes a thing– oh wait, it is in Asia, Africa and parts of the American west and by Christians, too!– it will be because heterosexuals have decided they want it. AGAIN. Not because Ben and Paul are married. We don’t want it.

    I doubt the membership is for it. But if they are, retead this whole piece.

  • DSC

    Funny how Jana’s answer to prayer also coincides with her previously held beliefs.

  • Nathan

    The “clarification” didn’t make the first publication of the policy wrong. Nor was the first policy communicated an “overreaching one.”

    The reason that the clarification was necessary was that well-intentioned leaders took the policy too far. Applied it in ways the Brethren never intended. When I heard anecdotes of the policy’s application, I was repeatedly noting that it was being applied beyond what the policy had stated, and was very thankful for the clarification. Its not the first time policies have to be clarified, including when the age for missionaries was reduced to 18/19.

  • James Sneak

    Mr. Jared,
    What are those implications? Please tell us how NOT barring children from being baptized will affect your ward.

  • Nathan

    I am sorry for your hearthache regarding this policy, and President Nelson’s description of its coming forward.

    Despite the comments critical of your post, and encouraging you to leave, I hope for the reverse, stay, and find ways to continue to love the Church and its leaders. And more importantly, to love its doctrine and ordinances!

    I’m not sure that I agree with you that this causes a crisis, changing what was thought to be a just a policy into a revelation (ie. doctrine). Certainly it doesn’t ease the hurt to consider that the Lord supported the policy through the revelatory process, but it is still subject to change.

  • Eugene

    I’m sorry you feel that way! I have struggled, too. I know all the GA’s want is for the salvation of all. We are all given individual trials; we must learn to overcome. That is our “cross to bear” on this earth. We must do all in our individual power to make it through our trials; and have faith God will do the rest. I am still struggling after over 50 years, but I will eventually overcome! I wish the same for all my brothers and sisters struggling with ANY trial! God bless you!

  • Loren

    Fascinating to me that in today’s world there are 1000’s of different Gods worshipped. Even among the Christian sects there must be 100’s of different Gods given the animosity and conflicting dogma between congregations. Now we have Gods and congregations that are accepting the love and marriages of gay people. Seems like the Mormon God of hate and wealth needs to pal around with the other Gods and learn some compassion…i.e. how can the United Church of Christ God say gay marriage is alright while the Mormon God says they are servants of Satan???

  • Eugene

    They are not speaking for themselves! Do you believe God is “fallible?” It has been states the revelation was sustained by all 15 members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve!!

  • Eugene

    We can receive confirmation from the Holy Ghost. Remember Him? Pray about it!

  • Loren

    Another thought…tossing the servant of Satan label around. We know God and Christ rule by love. The antithesis of love is fear. Fear is not of God. The Mormon church is full of fear, their leadership is driven by fear of what the membership will discover, by fear that the world will find out the truth about Mormonism, members are coerced by threats and fear. There is only one source of fear. To whom does the Mormon leadership really listen to, the God of love or the purveyor of fear???

  • Hoyle Kip Vinson

    It is astonishing to me that so many feel that faith is a popularity contest and the Word of God changes as our feelings change like some kind of update! When we accept faith we accept all it means or we are not really faithful. God has told us what is righteous in His eyes for thousands of years and no matter my feelings or rationalization He has not changed. Now don’t get me wrong I’m just as much as sinner as anyone else and I consider every disobedience of God to to be equally horrific in His sight so I don’t single our homosexuals over any others but don’t stand there and say your sin is ok because you just can’t imagine your God feeling that way. He does not belong to you, we belong to Him and if we follow Him we lay down our crosses and everything else and follow Him no matter what. We can say we were born this way but only in His imagine not His perfection and that doesn’t matter as we were all born sinners and that doesn’t make all sin permissible just to be resisted.

  • Eugene

    If we repent! (Remember that caveat?) That means ceasing our sin!

  • Ben in oakland

    Shall we say what this is REALLY about?

    There are only two sins– apart from those known as other people’s–that get the holy knickers of God into a thoroughly uncomfortable bunch, at least according to the best thought-of people, aka Real Chrsitians (TM).

    These are not believing that Jesus died for your sins, and being gay.

    Oh, it’s OK to be gay as long as you’re miserable, repentant, self hating, and self destructive, but not if you’re going to be one of those uppity ones. You know, the ones that don’t hide, who have the cojones to stand up and say that our lives, loves, children, family, faith, freedom and assets are every bit as important as yours. The ones so blazingly uppity, they think they have rights as citizens, taxpayers, and humans, with possibly a Chrstian adjective, that are not dependent on beliefs about sin, or unexamined prejudices.

    That’s why not only the ickees are barred, but their children. We don’t want religious heterosexuals to start…

  • Ben in oakland

    Why not the Holy Ka-Ching of power, money, and dominion?

  • Jimminy

    Eugene, I just don’t think I can believe that anymore. The brethren don’t want to aid us in our salvation as much as they want to permanently enshrine their prejudices into the fabric of mormon cult-ure. If they really thought this was the mind and will of God, they would have followed the protocol in the D&C instead of trying to bury it in the handbook.

  • Larry

    “Please understand that I empathize with Mormons who want to remain in the LDS Church. Leaving can be a frightening experience with real risks, including loss of family, income, etc.

    But there comes a time when one can no longer ethically maintain their affiliation with an organization that teaches evil doctrines, while pretending that their affiliation doesn’t constitute an endorsement.”

    That really cuts to the heart of the matter. When the church one belongs to acts in a way which goes against one’s conscience, it is far better to walk away from it.

    Choosing to continue affiliation with a church for entirely personal reasons reduces it to the same status as a ruling party in a dictatorship. One remains to aggrandize themselves, not because they care about its meaning.

    There is certainly no sane reason for gays (or anyone sympathetic to them) to remain in the LDS church. The church has let it be known that it will never treat them like human beings.

  • Ben in oakland

    John 3:16 says nothing about ceasing sin.

    But speaking of yours, you might want to read what Jesus had to say about people barring others from heaven.

  • Larry

    That only makes sense if you are in an organization which will take such criticism to heart and bother to listen to opposing views. The LDS has made it clear that such people are going to not only be ignored but vilified as going against supposedly divine revelation.

    The LDS church is not a democratic organization. It does not give its members an equal voice in matter of policy or claims of divine inspiration. In fact it actively tries to attack people who dissent from the leadership stance. So the idea of changing things from within is hopelessly quixotic.

  • Larry

    And give up all that mainstream legitimacy coming from aligning with the religious right? The anti-gay thing has brought them allies from Christian sects which used to despise the LDS.

    Up until about a decade and a half ago, the evangelical dominated social conservatives considered the LDS a heathen cult. Now they consider them part of the same fold.

  • Ben in oakland

    If it were really about sin, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    It might amaze you how far the world– at least the aBrahamic world– has come in such a short time, but then, you probably don’t know much about it. For 1900 years, it was very clearly NOT about sin, as we were mrudered, tortured, jail, executed, beaten, banished, and blamed for every possible social ill, the fall of Rome, and the predicted destruction of humanity, family, health, happiness and godliness.

    Quite a little burden that has been put on gay people, all for the sins of the heterosexual majority. It might make you think this has nothing to do with sin at all.

    It has only been the last 150 years that we have been fighting back against this vicious prejudice. It has only been the last 12 in this country that you couldn’t be imprisoned for offending the Christian God and his supporters. We are still murdered in other abrahamically inspired places.

    Sin, indeed!!!!

  • Larry

    And God happens to agree with them. How convenient. Its amazing that God hates the same people as they do. /sarcasm.

  • Ben in oakland

    They don’t want salvation for all, not with this policy. They have said as much. Even the children of gay people will be denied salvation, no matter how Hetero they may be.

    Try again.

  • Ben in oakland

    I believe the words you’Re looking for are “damage control”

  • Jimminy

    Surprisingly enough Larry, the D&C specifically speaks of Voting as a method of government eight times and common consent ten times.
    If we were actually living according to how the church was commanded according to the D&C, all policy changes would be voted on. Additionally, the distribution of funds would all be voted on as well.

  • Ben in oakland

    The baptists and extra conservative Catholics have been pretending that their affiliation, indeed, their acquiescence, doesn’t constitute an endorsement.

    It’s called loving the sinner and hating the sin. It allows any expression of overtly hostile, expression, by which I mean the lies, slanders, falsehoods, misinformation, reviling and myth making…

    As long as you finish it off with “I love you, I just hate your sin. Just like God.”

  • Ben in oakland

    As I always say, and have elsewhere in this thread…

    It is all about power, money, and dominion.

    And let us not forget the extra thrill of being god’s BFF forever!

  • Ned Ryerson

    It wasn’t that “well-intentioned leaders” took the policy too far. The policy, as written, read, in part, as follows: “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing.” Policy 16.13. That also applied to any other ordination or blessing, until and unless:
    “1. The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage. 2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.”
    That policy does not require the child to live with the gay parent. Just that they are the child of the gay co-habiting parent. This could apply to a parent that has nothing to do with the child. But yet the child is restricted from the church blessings. Clarification came only after the public…

  • Ned Ryerson

    … outcry. If it was truly inspired of God, then one would hope God and the receiving prophets would have gotten it right the first time. And one would also think that if it were from revelation, that Elder Christoferson would have noted that in his first attempted “clarification.”

  • Arlene

    Harper, you just made my day! “…just recognizing who the pricks are.” Exactly!

  • Larry

    “If we were actually living according to how the church was commanded according to the D&C, all policy changes would be voted on. Additionally, the distribution of funds would all be voted on as well.”

    But we both know that doesn’t happen. 🙂

    The finances of the LDS are more opaque than most churches in the US. Due to coercive tithing methods, many members actually feel the need to require legal counsel to break from the church (and sever their financial obligation to it).

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/04/02/with-help-of-atheists-mormons-will-resign-from-church-en-masse-this-weekend/

    https://upvoted.com/2015/11/17/attorney-mark-naugle-has-helped-2500-mormons-leave-the-lds-church-all-free-of-charge/

  • ron

    It seams like the world view Jana lives in is that if your a right wing mormon your lack of reverence for governmental authority is a problem but if your a left wing mormon your lack of reverence for priesthood authority isnt a problem.

    Jana is a very smart and well acomplished woman and I am confident that while she takes a lot of flak for bearing all, eventually she will see the inconsistancy.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Eugene wrote: “…. Holy Ghost….”

    People the world over claim revelation from the Holy Ghost, and they consistently disagree with each other.

    If anything, appeals to the Holy Ghost illustrate how utterly useless He is, as a source of reliable information.

  • Jay

    Just another bigot. There will soon be another “revelation” as the Church of Latter Day Saints becomes increasingly defined by its hatefulness and relegated to the fringes of American and European society. Just as the “revelation” about Blacks came when colleges refused to allow their sports teams to play Brigham Young University, a similar “revelations” about gays will come as more and more people will refuse to associate themselves with bigotry against gay people.

  • Ben in oaklamd

    So prophets are fallible?

    Have you reached a means of testing when they are fallible and when they are not, when they are speaking for God and when they are speaking for someone not God?

  • Ben in oaklamd

    He’s. Amazing. But not convenient.

  • One must ponderize here . . .

    If the same sound logic that’s articulated so well in the author’s article from last Friday, January 8th (see http://janariess.religionnews.com/2016/01/08/the-mormons-guide-to-hearing-from-god-ammon-bundy-edition) is applied consistently to the Elder Nelson announcement that the author has so correctly analyzed here then why would the author – or any other current Latter-day Saint for that matter – remain Mormon?

    To do so is to willing choose to live in a logical and rational incongruity in my opinion.

  • Spencer Kimball did it right, he received revelation and brought it before the church for a common consent sustaining before adding it to the scriptures.

    Announcing it was a revelation at a BYU devotional after adding it to the white-book doesn’t qualify it as a revelation, not yet.

  • Lars Larson

    The whole idea of “meeting in the upper room of the temple”…is part of the whole pretend-athon of Mormonism within pretend-athon of Xianity. To take this meeting of geriatric men seriously, is to show the depths of delusion to which we can fall.

    But that fact aside, though it is far ruder and far more reprehensible for this particular collaborative theological ruse to exclude children from the so-called “honor” of baptism because of the sexual orientation of their parents, it is barely worse, in the scheme of the vast pretend-athon to admit this…while everyone already has wordlessly and meekly accepted the idea that to be UNMARRIED leaves a member of the LDS Church, otherwise in good standing, without the opportunity and/or right here, or in the afterlife, to be considered for the full blessings of eternity promised to those who did get married. The LDS Church has pushed those poor spinsters and bachelors to the side since its beginning.

    So just stop being shocked.

  • Robert Versluis

    It is a devastating day when you finally realize the Church you loved, grew up in, served a mission in really does not want you. Oh wait, they want me, just not my “gayness”. How do you reconcile something that has no answer? You can be a Mormon, but you must be single, celibate and lonely. Or burn in Hell. So much loneliness causes so many people to end their lives. Has the choice really come to this? Unless you are gay or have a very close member of your family who is, you will NEVER understand this. I am so very sad.

  • Mariah

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this Jana. It is so strange to me that people will support this so wholeheartedly and villainize those who disagree without even considering the possibility that the leadership could be wrong. Ezra Taft Benson warned against going along with the “dangerous” civil rights movement, and explained that those who supported equality for african-americans were “traitors in the Church . . . the ignorant, the sleepy and the deceived who provide temptations and avenues of apostasy for the unwary and the unfaithful, but we have a prophet at our head and he has spoken.” To the individual who believes prophets do not occasionally preach doctrine that is actually wrong, please consider this statement and consider the fact that those brave few members who wouldn’t violate their conscience & agree that the Lord did not want black people in the church are the ones the church has now acknowledged were correct. Mourning with you & hoping this too shall pass…

  • steve

    I was referring to Clark posting on Jana’s blog.

  • Arlene

    The church has come out and said that multiple prophets were following racist dogma and just plain wrong when it came to Blacks and the priesthood. They DIDN’T know the way. Members who followed blindly participated in that racism and allowed it to continue. Simple as that.

  • Maddy

    LDS.org

    Young Women Unit Review

    “As members of the Church, we have the opportunity to sustain those the Lord has called to serve. We raise our hand to indicate that we sustain the General Authorities and officers of the Church and each of the leaders in our wards and stakes—including Young Women class presidencies. Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, obey their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them.”

  • Maddy

    We’ve been here before.

    President George Albert Smith 1949:

    “The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.”

    (If we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it)

  • Ben in oakland

    Actually, you’d think, El being God and all, and capable of attention to detail, would have thought to communicate clearly.

    To begin with.

  • Joel

    Hear, hear. She speaks for many.

  • Joel

    Leadership roulette.

  • Brandon

    Actually, the first time I read the letter I read and interpreted it the way that they clarified it later. It wasn’t until I started reading some people’s interpretation of it that I went back and reread it thinking, “I guess it could mean that. But I don’t think that’s what they intended.” When the clarification came out it did just that, clarified what they had originally tried to say.

  • ben in oakland

    No, you have another choice. You always have a choice, but that doesn’t guarantee the choice will be palatable

    find a better class of church, and a better class of Christian to hang out with. There are supposed to be several Mormon denominations which have no issue with gay people.

    Or just go commando, and find your own path to god.

  • Joel

    A very catchy but creepy song that we make the children sing. You can’t accuse the Church of not understanding indoctrination.

  • Joel

    Nelson is next in line. So, this is Cortez burning his ships.

    This mess will be around for a while.

  • DW

    I’m very disappointed by what President Nelson said. But we should bear in mind that it is not an authoritative version of what happened. It may simply be his own defensive spin on the situation, in which he simply assumes that everything the Brethren do are ipso facto “the mind and will of the Lord.” President Packer likewise ventured too far in calling the Proclamation on the Family a “revelation” and this was later retracted. Mouth of two or three witnesses. President Nelson does not have authority on his own to call it a “revelation.”

  • ‘A better question from you and others like you may be “what can I do to comfort you?”’

    I’m not quite sure what this means. This policy is flat out unscriptural and morally wrong. It’s clearly NOT of God. It’s unsettling – it SHOULD be unsettling given it’s nature.

    To me offering comfort for a moral wrong is like offering a Novocaine injection to a guy with a broken arm. The appropriate “comfort” is “fix the problem” not “remove the pain”.

    IMO, members of the Church NEED to be unsettled and discomforted by behavior like this from the Brethren. THAT’s normal and healthy from my point of view.

  • Mike

    We have two books written for our day, the BOM and D/C. One of them is the “most correct book” and we will draw nearer to God by abiding by it than any other book. What do these two books say about LGBT people and this “revelation”. Not one thing, Zero! I thought everything the leadership taught was supposed to be supported by scripture. I don’t see it. It does not pass the smell test for me.

  • OK, obvious question here doesn’t seem be getting asked: If Thomas S. Monson is the President and Prophet of the Church then why is an underling speaking for him.

    Say what you will about Joseph Smith, at least he had the chutzpah to speak for himself and let the chips fall where they will.
    (well MOST of the time anyhow)

  • DW

    On the flip side, we can ask whether President Nelson was speaking on the behalf of the Church leadership (likely not, if he didn’t make this explicit). It’s possible that he is retelling the events in a way that would differ from others’ accounts, including President Monson’s.

  • Mike, are you saying that the Bible and the Pearl of Great Price aren’t for our day too?

    A little help?

    But of course, they BOTH (Christ with the children, Christ’s condemnations of placing family over devotion of God, etc., in the case of the Bible; Article 2 of the Articles of Faith in the PoGP) ALSO condemn this new policy.

    So yes, regardless, this most definitely does NOT pass the “smell test”!

  • Point taken DW.

    I guess we need clarification on the clarification now!

    😉

  • Mike

    Fred and DW, you make good points and I agree.

  • Gerald Smith

    Jana,
    I know this is a tough one for many people, including you. I’ve often wondered why we require tithing, Word of Wisdom, etc., in order to be baptized or enter the temple. The Lord has his reasons.God loves LGBT people, of that I have no doubt. But from this revelation, I would understand that the Lord also considers some things as sinful when engaged in.
    I do not consider you a servant of Satan for disagreeing with the prophets, as long as you quietly sustain them and do not act on against such things as did certain members of Ordain Women or John Dehlin, who questioned everything about Church leadership and their sacred call. Sustain the prophets as best you can, and love your LGBT friends. God will fix all things in his own time.

  • Kevin JK

    “If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church (emphasis added), were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth.”
    (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 544.)

    Until this is sustained via Common Consent, it’s simply opinion and is subject to change. it’s a policy and NOT official doctrine.

  • Kevin JK

    On January 5th, 1982, the First Presidency issued an official statement saying that oral sex was an “unholy and impure practice” and must be avoided by LDS. It is generally believed that the original statement was prompted by women complaining to their bishops about their husbands pressuring them to provide them with oral sex. This policy statement was withdrawn nine months later and those LDS getting married today and married converts are not informed of this opinion. The current policy now has leaders refraining from asking members about their sex lives. If the Lord really felt that oral sex was an “unholy and impure practice”, don’t you think that people would and should be warned against it so as to not inadvertently violate their temple covenants by engaging in it? Obviously it is not an “unholy and impure practice” and the First Presidency, by rescinding their letter, basically admitted their mistake in trying to impose their subjective opinions on the Church.

  • Kevin JK

    “If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church (emphasis added), were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth.”
    (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 544.)

    Until this is sustained via Common Consent, it’s simply opinion which we must reject since it is contrary to existing scripture.

  • HarryStamper

    Let me offer clarity..3 things…
    1. The Church is not founded on the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants or any book, the church is founded on the authority of those 15 men. When they collectively agree, they speak and act for Christ Himself.
    2. Apostasy, not just opposition or disagreement, but Public opposition or humiliation in open defiance. Obtaining a Gay Marriage license meets this definition…open public documented opposition.
    3. Sexual Morality, the church has always said sexually relations within the bounds of legal marriage are appropriate. Gay couples could have claimed legitimate behavior or non sinful behavior due to their marriage. This policy closes any misunderstanding with this perceived loophole.
    The church’s policy speaks more to defining apostasy and immorality. The children, yes it’s consistent with long standing policy with children of polygamous marriages. Whose parents are excommunicated for apostasy.

  • 1. Have the 15 men who have led the church in the past never collectively agreed and been wrong? It seems we could find more than one instance of collective agreement that was later discarded (and therefore not the words of Christ).
    2. Obtaining a gay marriage license is the same as public opposition? What doesn’t fall under this category, then? Only private sins? How many members of the church would be excommunicated if we applied this to all public acts that defy church teachings?
    3. The church does not need to declare people in gay relationships to be apostates to make this clear. A simple statement would suffice.

    Finally, polygamous marriages are not the same as gay marriages, not under the law and especially not in the history of the church. Even if they were the same, one heartless policy does not justify another. I did not know about the policy about children of polygamous marriages and few members of the church did. I think it should also be abandoned.

  • Sassy6

    It was never brought to the forefront as being a revelation from the very beginning. Which, to me, is a bit deceiving. Members left the church. Letters have been sent stating disapproval of the policy. Others are struggling to accept the policy still! And now, 2 months later, it is now a revelation. REALLY?? Why now? It’s just damage control once again. They are trying to get control of the members by saying it is revelation. By so doing, there will be no more questioning of the policy and it will all ” go to bed.”

  • JustMe

    He wasn’t asking you that. It’s being asked of the person he replied to.

  • Kevin JK

    Was Elder Nelson referring to the original policy statement as inspired or the revision given later after all of the turmoil and confusion? Is God the author of confusion?

  • Baffled

    I’m very baffled by some things and want to clarify for understanding.

    First, I have always understood that EVERYTHING the leaders of the church do from the huge to the minuscule in regards to leading the church is done by prayer and revelation. To say that they are changing their explanation is untrue. It was always revelation, they don’t just change or modify anything on a whim. Everything they do is by revelation. They didn’t change or modify anything. Just because one didn’t know that doesn’t mean they hid it. To most strong members in the church that’s a given.

    Second, salvation is not being withheld from anybody. The teaching of the gospel and the accepting of it is a lifelong process and indeed goes on after life. These children will have every opportunity to hear and accept the gospel if they so choose to when the timing is right, even if they die before that happens. The ONLY person that denies salvation to anyone is themselves by consciously not…

  • Kevin JK

    “Russell M. Nelson, head of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said Sunday night, “we considered countless permutations and combinations of possible scenarios that could arise.”” If so, they didn’t do a very good job because they missed the huge problem that had to be fixed a week later.

    KJK – is God the author of confusion?

  • Pingback: Joseph Smith: Revelações dos Homens | Vozes Mórmons()

  • Baffled

    Again strong members of the church understand this. The leaders understand this and therefore, are not withholding anything except protecting someone from accepting something they don’t yet have the knowledge or proper understanding to accept.

    Next, why would anyone want their kids to go to church and learn a doctrine that teaches what their parents is doing is wrong? Why would you want your kids to have that confusion and carry that burden? The church is simply taking a back seat and refusing to interfere with your chosen lifestyle and refusing to be an obstacle to the raising of your child. All the while doing this knowing that that child will not be denied the opportunity to hear, learn and accept the gospel even if they die before hearing it.

    Members of the church should know these things if they have an understanding at all of how things work. I get it that non members wouldn’t get this, but I don’t get how members don’t get this.

  • Kevin JK

    You hit the nail on the head. When you bring something for a sustaining vote via Common Consent, you are standing behind the statement 100%. If you don’t, it remains policy and not doctrinally binding. The Proclamation has never been brought up for a sustaining vote. It isn’t doctrine/scripture. People can say that it is the will of the Lord, but until it’s brought for a sustaining vote, those in charge are hedging their bets. The Lord is not the author of confusion.

  • Kevin JK

    Denying the kids the gift of the Holy Ghost through their teenage years can put them at serious risk of committing terrible sins and developing dangerous habits. those two things threaten salvation.

  • Which GOD did this information come from? The Mormon GOD, you know the one from another planet? Or the Christian GOD? Yes there is plan for salvation. It is thru Jesus Christ. The reward is heaven with Jesus Christ at the helm. I could care less what Mormons think. I am offended as a Christian when Mormons give an opinion that has all the trappings of Christianity. Mormons are NOT Christian.I think about their opinions in the same way I think about all cults. They will color their beliefs to appeal to followers of Jesus. In the end they are moving to a new planet. Idea..Leave Now.

  • Dave

    In other words, you admit the ordinance of baptism really doesn’t carry cosmic significance, that it’s merely a teaching method that can potentially stand in the way of a child’s development. If, in fact, baptism and the covenant-making associated with it, introduces a new relationship with God, then how can we justify depriving anyone on the grounds of someone else’s standing? This, I don’t get how members don’t understand. I guess I really didn’t need the covenant baptism afforded me in my youth.

  • Marion Fust Sæternes

    Yes. She does speak for thousands!
    She speaks for vary many relatives of LGBTQ-people, for close friends, for allys, and for many LGBTQ-people themselves. In gospel terms that is way-way-way more than 1 out of a hundred. (Compare 99+1) Probably closer to 50% is my guess.

    And if a person does not know any LGBTQ-people, that someone has probably not been trusted with the knowledge by relatives and friends. – Which in itself is a sad depiction of our culture of shaming and fear.

  • Joel

    Baffled,

    “I have always understood that EVERYTHING the leaders of the church do from the huge to the minuscule in regards to leading the church is done by prayer and revelation.”

    So, does that mean members should effectively regard the Church as infallible while acknowledging that it’s technically not? I don’t want to put words in your mouth. But I think that’s the implication. Do I understand you correctly?

  • Joel

    (Messed up there. I intended to italicize only effectively and technically.)

  • Exiled

    It sure looks like the leaders are hiding their PR blunder behind “revelation” now. I don’t think it’ll work. There is only so much one can take until one realizes there was never any revelation involved and only man made blunders.

  • Christine in Canada

    My snarky comment:
    Apparently God is American–there was certainly no revelation to “protect” the children in Canada when same-sex marriage was legalized here in 2005. Imagine the dangers all of those children were subjected to for over a decade while enjoying the blessings of full membership!!

    My serious comment:
    Jana, don’t leave. We need your voice, your words and your thoughtful approach to Big Tent, inclusive Mormonism. Please stay with those of us trying to maintain meaningful connections to the Church.

  • To say that this policy enshrines homophobia as God’s will is crazy propoganda. While I disagree with the opinion of the author, I respected her position until she made that statement. She has shown to be nothing more than that which she is attacking and criticizing.

  • Marion Fust Sæternes

    … and I wish there was a way to correct typos. :b

  • Joseph

    The day that let my sexual desires to overcome me i will be on your side criticising this policy so amaizing that you all want to be part of the body of christ but sucumb to dangerous sins at the same time .why dont you found your own religion where you can do all you want and allow all sorts of people ? Try that and call it God’s church i challenge you all to di that so stubborn people when you have it if by then i have yielded to my sexual desires and apetites i will join in how about that?

  • Joseph

    The part of the policy that is inspired by God is this that nothing impure can inherith his kingdom, that sin is an abomination unto his eyes , that nor men should lay with another men or woman to woman, that that we can not serve to lords at the same time,that our bodys are the temple of the spirit and should remain clean from sin that the pearls can not be giving to the pigs. And all this apply to all humanmembers heterosexuals and others i can not have sex with another woman out of my marriage even if my desire is overwelming i just van not justify it thats the law and i have to abide if i want to be part of his kingdom have you guys realized. That? Is not only about you lgbt people. Get it please wake up.

  • “I have always understood that EVERYTHING the leaders of the church do from the huge to the minuscule in regards to leading the church is done by prayer and revelation.”

    Really? Then I guess the entire Church Handbook of Instruction should be canonized then shouldn’t it?

  • Joel

    Either that, or, perhaps wisely, Baffled is using a very realistic notion of typical “revelation,” that it’s more akin to inspiration.

  • Wow! It must be hard for you being so holy, righteous, and pure in the midst of all these self indulgent sinners

    Let’s see now, what does the CHI says about those who indulge in the sin of pride ….

  • Joel

    Just reread E. Nelson’s account carefully. Although he’s saying the decision was inspired, he’s NOT elevating it to more than policy.

    E. Nelson’s terms are intriguing. Although he alludes to imagery from the 1978 revelation, there’s a massive difference. In 1978, Pres. Kimball worked over months, even years, to build genuine consensus among all 15. (In fact, when we say that a revelation was necessary, it’s because a handful of holdouts required a revelation, and Kimball wanted true unanimity.) All of the 15 agreed. The saints adopted it by common consent. HERE, Nelson says that (1) they discussed, (2) Pres. Monson announced his decision and, then, (3) the other 14 “sustained” his decision.

    Rank and file members are constantly reminded that sustaining involves a duty to be loyal, to follow and to support even when you disagree.

  • The concept still applies regardless.

  • Joel

    Interestingly, E. Nelson mentioned the policy as a second example of leadership by revelation.

    His first example was the decision to lower the missionary age to 18. Is that cannon?

  • Robert Versluis

    I agree Ben, though when ALL of your family and a good deal of your friends are still Mormon, it’s not always so easy. Easy to physically do? yes. Easy to emotionally reconcile (not so much)?

  • ThomasT

    Jana,
    How about you simply admit you may be wrong, the apostles are probably right (they having the call to be prophets, after all, not you), and although you do not understand why this is God’s will, you will have faith to support the policy and sustain these leaders and you will do your best to help make the policy successful? I mean, really, are the apostles only right if they agree with you and your friends? But if they disagree with you, then they MUST be wrong? I don’t think we need to go into mental contortions like some are doing to try to find some way to claim prophetic error. Instead of a Pride Fest, maybe it is time for a Humility Fest. Instead of sadness, maybe it is time for joy that God still calls apostles and still speaks to them and that although you don’t understand the reasons, the policy (and doctrine, too) will in some way lead to greater happiness for God’s children in the long run.

  • HarryStamper

    ThomasT….well said.

  • Ben in oakland

    As a gay man of 65, out since 1971, I had to make much the same decision those 44+ years ago.

    All of my family and all of my friends were heterosexual, in a far more homophobic time than the present. My parents told me to Leave their home if I weren’t interested in trying to change myself.

    The two situations are not entirely parallel, but they are similar. Personally, I think it is a great test of love, though not an easy one. I learned that my parents were quite limited in their ability to love and to understand. But I began to see that their love stopped at me being 16, stupid, and straight. Their failures on the gay issue brought into sharp relief their failures elsewhere.

    The people who could not accept me were few, and not a part of my life any longer. Meanwhile, I had a great set of extra parents. I have a wonderful chosen family, and my husband’s family is everything my own couldn’t be.

    Difficult, painful, and rewarding.

  • Ain’t that always the problem with religion. Individuals and groups, most of the time men, saying and doing evil things while lying that they’re just following orders from some invisible and infallible deity or deities, and again lying that they therefore have no choice but to follow those orders. It’s a recurring and pervasive scam perpetrated throughout the entirety of human history by charlatans and brainwashed puppets.

  • I have a hard time with this comment and have decided to respond. While your words are stated kindly, they are also quite paternalistic. It is inappropriate to address a grown woman with the paternalistic tone you have used, even if by some chance you happen to know her or are older than her. The only time it would be appropriate is if you already had a trusted relationship and she already looked to you for advice and counsel. And if that were the case, you would certainly not be delivering such advice in the comment section of her blog. My own unsolicited advice to you is to speak to grown men and women as adults, not as if they were children or teenagers.

  • So let me get this straight . . .

    If someone with claimed authority contradicts God’s objective revelation in scripture then the person with the claimed authority is right and God’s objective revelation is wrong?

    And to state the obvious by saying…

    “This alleged ‘revelation’ by this person claiming to speak for God contradicts what God has already objectively started and recorded in scripture! Therefore, I choose God and reject this alleged ‘revelation’ as false.”

    … is “prideful”?

    How is any different than what those with claimed authority in other contexts – say, Warren Jeffs for example, do?

    Was it prideful for those who left the FLDS and then spoke out against Jeffs and his false, scripture contradicting ‘revelations’ to do?

    Personally, I think that they showed great courage integrity, and actually reaffirmed God’s authority. And that’s how I feel about what Jana has done here.

    Bravo Jana! Bravo!

  • ben in oakland

    We gay people– Jana is not– are completely used to people who don’t know us and know nothing about us, telling us all about our lives, our child hood experiences, our “lifestyles”, our choices, our parenting abilities, our sex lives, our sins, and anything else that they choose to dwell upon.

    Many will go so far as to patiently explain to us all about our relationship with god, the status of it, where we are going to spend eternity, and exactly what god happens to think of us and the list of things they don’t know about in paragraph 1.

    It is paternalistic and insulting in the extreme, but it’s what ignorant know-nothings and self-righteous a-holes DO.

  • Your faith has pretty strong words about self righteousness Clark. You might want to study them since your moral sense failed to restrain you from kicking someone while they’re down. You don’t have to agree or like, but you do have to love.

  • At what point did your sense of ethics tell you the proper response to her heartbreak was to badger her for not having gone through additional pain earlier?

  • Kevin JK

    This sounds like the 1982 First Presidency letter that said that oral sex was an unholy and impure practice. it was quickly withdrawn. If oral sex IS an unholy and impure practice, then everyone getting married ought to be told that. The Church could forbid bishops and stake presidents from specifically asking about a persons participation in such, but people need to be informed to prevent them from violating their temple covenants.

    The bottom line is that the brethren, like the rest of us, make mistakes and we should be loving toward them and praying that they’ll repent of any wrong doing sooner than later.

  • Rev. Neil

    If a man / woman is born straight, and is part of the church, then changes and becomes gay, are they partly OK , or are they out ? ( out in more ways than one)
    Where and why does the love of man stop? I understood that the love was unconditional. If the energy that was used to dam Gods people, was used to embrace them , that would be harmonious.

  • Ron McCormick

    Right on Harper! I always appreciate a bit of wit!

  • Kevin JK

    I actually agree with your point on the sin of homosexuality, but there is nothing in there about denying kids the Gift of the Holy Ghost during their crucial teenage years. That’s the real issue.

  • Ron McCormick

    1854
    Brigham Young a Prophet of God wrote, “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” It’s amazing what people see or don’t see depending on where their focus is, and especially if their job or position depends on them not seeing it. 15 men are unlikely to receive anything but their own will when asking a question of the Lord couched in bigotry, fear, racism, sexism, or homophobia. I suppose the next step will be the social marginalization of the LGBT community, requiring them to wear pink triangles, as well the Jews Stars of David, as was done in the frenzy of the Nazi party in Germany. I’m sure you would see nothing wrong with that as well as you watched the trains haul them all off to death camps. Elders of ancient Israel plead for Moses not to show them the Lord.

  • Ron McCormick

    1854
    Brigham Young a Prophet of God wrote, “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” It’s amazing what people see or don’t see depending on where their focus is, and especially if their job or position depends on them not seeing it. 15 men are unlikely to receive anything but their own will when asking a question of the Lord couched in bigotry, fear, racism, sexism, or homophobia. I suppose the next step will be the social marginalization of the LGBT community, requiring them to wear pink triangles, as well the Jews Stars of David, as was done in the frenzy of the Nazi party in Germany. I’m sure you would see nothing wrong with that as well as you watched the trains haul them all off to death camps. Elders of ancient Israel plead for Moses not to show them the Lord.

  • ben ni oakland

    Its amazing how revelation comes from god. God speaks to el propheto, then published in secret documents most members can’t see. The documents are leaked anonymously, then revealed by a very public apostate, then the revelations are hurriedly explained by an apostle (Christofferson?) in the press, then clarified by Church PR, who knew nothing about them before the leak.

    Finally, the revelations are declared by apostle Nelson to be the word of god to the general membership. Except that it was never mentioned that these were revelations direct from God during the entire process, only that they had considered multiple scenarios, because god is rarely so clear.

    The “revelations” were announced as mere “policies” when their nastiness was pointed out, because only NOW does it come out that we forgot, it was the word of GOD all along.

    God indeed works in mysterious ways– just not mysterious to gay people. But I’m not a Mormon. Or religious. Or talk to god.

  • Kevin JK

    That was AWESOME! I guess God really IS the author of confusion. if we can ignore some scriptures, we can ignore that one as well.

  • DougH

    The same man that said “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) also said “Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are.” (1 Corinthians 5:6&7) All are welcome to come into God’s Church, but they are also expected to at least attempt to meet God’s standards.

  • Just Me

    “…requiring them to wear pink triangles…” The LGBT community has already marked itself by adopting the rainbow as their symbol, and they wear it with pride. I do not think for a second that the men leading the LDS church are perfect, but when they receive revelation, I for one will listen. If God did not reveal that to them, and they are starting to lead the members of the church down the wrong path, we can rest assured that God will remove them and replace them with someone who will do His will.

  • Joel

    If they’re alive, they’re right?

  • Tommy

    If EVERYTHING the Church Leaders do is done by “revelation” then it would be safe to conclude that they will NEVER make a mistake. But we know that is not the case. The Church was previously deceitful about our history but now admits the truth. The Church previously stated that denying Black’s the priesthood was doctrine and based on scripture, but now resiles from that position.

    So Baffled, you are not correct. We do not believe in the infallibility of our “pope”.

    Church leaders make mistakes. I can live with that. But when we members make mistakes we are supposed to come clean, admit we made a mistake. Why can’t the Church leaders do what they preach?

    Why pull the “revelation” card when it is clear that the Church made a clear mistake on the policy in the first instance (as evidenced by the “clarification” within a few days, after the leaking of the original policy). Playing the revelation card is a bit like crying wolf. At some point, it is no longer…

  • Tommy

    credible

  • @DougH, the passage that you’re citing from 1 Corinthians is referring to disciplining those members who are currently engaged in sexual immorality. The verses that follow read as follows:

    “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

    For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.”
    (1 Cor 5:9-12, NKJV)

    Could you explain to us how these 8-year old children who are being refused baptism are engaged in sexual immorality?

    Thanks

  • @DougH, the passage that you’re citing from 1 Corinthians is referring to disciplining those members who are currently engaged in sexual immorality. The verses that follow read as follows:

    “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

    For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.”
    (1 Cor 5:9-12, NKJV)

    Could you explain to us how these 8-year old children who are being refused baptism are engaged in sexual immorality?

    Thanks.

  • My apologies. This reply was made under the wrong comment.

  • DougH

    It’s more than just a matter of sexual immorality, I think, that is simply the circumstances that bring this issue to the fore for Paul. More generally, there is Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 18:15-17:

    “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

    This obviously doesn’t apply to the repentant, but to the willful sinner — those that call evil good and good evil are a particular threat to the spiritual welfare of the Church.

  • DougH

    [Part Two] As for the children, I think there are two issues. One is a variation of one of the reasons why willful sinners need to be expelled — those who call evil good and good evil are a threat to the church, and children are highly likely to follow their parents’ lead. As with the descendants of Laman and Lemuel that Jacob references that isn’t their fault and God will look kindly on them come the Day of Judgment, but that doesn’t mean that the likelihood that they will hold the same false beliefs as their parents.

    The other issue is protection for the children. In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus said:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

    “‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’”

    We can’t prevent that conflict, but we can at least put it off…

  • Respectfully, your hermenuetics are absolutely horrible!

    1) Every single passage you cited was given in the context of ADULT believers not their children.

    2) If you want to exegete Matthew 10:32 and following from the perspective of the child it’s an indictment of the new policy as Christ is saying that you SHOULD obey and be devoted to God despite the consequences in their family.

    In other words, the child SHOULD have the right to be baptized regardless the wishes of their parents. Here it is in it’s full context (see next post)

    – continued-

  • Matthew 10:32-39 (NKJV)
    “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

    – continued –

  • Elder Anderson

    I have to side with Jana on this one. Personally, I’d like to see a true and valid record of what Monson said God revealed to him. The best would be a video recording. It seems to me that, if God is speaking directly through the prophets, it would be of utmost importance to keep a digital record. I mean, God is the creator of the universe! Why rely on second and third hand information about what God revealed?

    Suppose, hypothetically, somebody in the church leadership claimed that Monson had a revelation contradicting public policy–say to openly discriminate against minorities. Where do we as members draw the line? Do we ask Monson to confirm the revelation? Do we take the second hand source’s word for it? Do we just blindly trust others regardless of our own moral compass?

  • Once again:

    “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
    (Matt 10:37, NKJV)

    And if this doesn’t convince you of how unscriptural this new policy is, perhaps this will:

    “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins”
    (Articles of Faith 1:2)

    So scripture twisting and eisegesis aside, the fact remains: This new policy is not only NOT scriptural it’s an insult to Christ who said:

    “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
    (Matthew 19:14, NKJV)

    This was no revelation, it was bungled, contrived inanity from men who should know better! And it needs to be acknowledged as such and rescinded.

  • DougH

    You are right, those scriptures are aimed at adults. Which is why those children will have the right and responsibility of deciding whether to follow the Church or their parents — as adults, the rejection of God or family is put off until them. And the Church is spared the risk of children raised as members of the church by apostate parents. A win for both the Church and the children.

  • Tommy

    DougH, you are saying to spare the children deciding between their “apostate” parents and the Church, the policy makes sense and should stand.

    But on your reasoning, why not exclude children of part member families, of families where one of the parents is openly immoral, of families where the parents openly disobey the word of wisdom or any other Church rule? Should we not also spare these children from choosing between their families and the Church until they are adults?

    Help me understand why children of Same Sex marriage were singled out.

  • I’m sorry, this is just too easy:

    So, you don’t give in to your sexual appetites? You have been celibate all your life and plan to remain so for the rest of your life? You have never been married and plan on never marrying? You don’t have a family and don’t plan on having a family?

    I am not one to say what God wants homosexuals to do. I do not speak for him. What I do know is that what they are asking for are the exact same things that the church says are most important about life: marriage and family. In fact, Boyd K. Packer’s said in his last talk that sex is not central to the plan of happiness, it *is* the plan of happiness. I disagree with him, but it is strange to me for a people who emphasize these things so very much to turn around and say to gay people, “God doesn’t want you to have them…until after you die.”

    The very least we can do is acknowledge what it is we are asking them to sacrifice: the very things we are told are most important and valuable…

  • Kevin JK

    “… the rejection of God or family is put off until…” they are 10 years past the age of accountability. they will go through their teenage years WITHOUT the Gift of the Holy Ghost and will more likely commit serious sin and develop dangerous habits, both of which will hinder them from Coming Unto Christ. No active LDS parent would be willing to postpone their kids baptism for another 10 years. D&C 68:25 says it is a sin for parents to delay baptism…but it’s OK for the Brethren to delay it? Seriously?

    this policy is wrong on SO many levels.

  • Joel

    Sorry to pile on, DougH, but Tommy is right about why the purported reason doesn’t hold water.

    If that were the reason: (1) Why would the policy not still apply to the children of a (cohabitating or married) gay parent who has joint custody or lesser custody? In this respect, the policy at least made sense before the clarification, albeit ugly.

    (2) Why does it not apply to the children of parents who are excommunicated for other types of apostasy, like joining a different religion or openly advocating against the Church (e.g., Snuffer, Dehlin, Kelly)?

  • Geoff

    “Enshrining homophobia as God’s will?” Jana, you disrespect your objective readers. This is a tough situation. Don’t call it something it is not.

  • L

    Jana,
    I’m with you. I’m not sure how to, or how long I can, live with this contradiction.

  • It sounds dehumanizing.

  • Ben in oakland

    I suppose one could take it that way. I just find it annoying. I tend to think far less of people who know my life far better than I do, far less than they obviously think of themselves.

    :0)

  • If homophobia = a dislike of or an irrational prejudice against homosexuals, then I agree. “Enshrining homophobia as God’s will” is too far. I don’t think our leaders hate gays. I believe they are good men, working hard in a tough job.

    If homophobia = a fear of homosexuality, then I think “Enshrining homophobia as God’s will” is exactly what’s going on here. I think our leaders are afraid that if too many members see that gay marriage isn’t the dysfunctional mess our leaders said it would be, then we might make a few gay friends and, you know, realize homosexuality is not actually a sin worse than forcible rape.

  • Look, as a gay man in a mixed orientation marriage, I realize the leaders have a tough job. They can’t easily condone gay marriage, in part because of people like me. But right now I feel this policy is just wrong. I’ve been struggling with it since it came out. (No, the clarification didn’t do anything for me.) And now it’s being implied that I’m supporting Satan, by disagreeing with it? To use an analogy conservative Mormons will hopefully understand, that’s like telling me I support Hillary because I believe in opening the borders more.

  • DougH

    Yes, eighteen is well past the age of eight. But it is NOT well past the age at which an individual becomes a legal adult, no longer under the care of his or her parents. Remember that it isn’t just the age that is required, but that the individual has established a household independent of the same-sex parents. At that point the child is no longer bound to the parents by law or circumstance, only by the filial bonds of family.

  • DougH

    Singled out the same way that children of polygamist parents are singled out? In both cases there are active movements insisting that the Church’s teachings on family and marriage are fundamentally in error. In the case of polygamy, it’s fringe groups that broke away from the Church long ago. In the case of revisionist marriage, it’s a large part of the culture we are embedded within trying to impose its standards on us. What moves them both from the point of simply being sin to apostasy is the refusal to accept them as sin. And the belief that they won’t teach their children to believe in the same apostasy is ludicrous.

  • Mariah

    First, we have a long, complicated history with polygamy (which, by the way, seriously erodes our ability as an institution to proclaim that “one man and one woman has always been God’s law”) that makes it an entirely different question. More critically, even if you do support the policy as it applies to polygamy, as you note, polygamous parents actively encourage their children to live a polygamous lifestyle. To say that gay parents “teach” their children to be gay is positively laughable. The one other place such a policy exists is in regards to potential Muslim converts–again, an area where Muslim parents very much want and expect their children to be Muslim. Totally inapplicable to gay parents. In every possible way.

  • DougH

    For why it doesn’t apply to children that aren’t living with the same sex couples, who are the ones that will be actually raising them, providing the daily examples and teachings as the children grow up? The parents they actually live with. And it isn’t just the children in revisionist marriages that this kind of policy applies to, as I understand it the same holds for children in polygamist families. Why it doesn’t extend beyond that, I have no idea — perhaps because of the centrality of family to LDS teachings, but that’s just a guess.

  • DougH

    When it comes to polygamy, you just need to look to the Book of Mormon to find that, UNLESS God commands otherwise, monogamy is the mandate. But yes, we have a long relationship with polygamy both for and against. But while the children of revisionist marriages are unlikely to themselves “marry” someone of the same sex, can you honestly say that their parents won’t teach them that such “marriages” are not sinful but perfectly normal? I seriously doubt it. And that heretical teaching is not acceptable within the Church.

  • Joel

    That’s hanging a lot on a very small nail, the legal distinction between joint custody and primary custody–between the children spending 50% of their time in the same-sex couple’s home vs. 60% of their time.

    Again, your rationale would have made sense under the original version, which was sweeping enough to achieve the result you suggest.

  • DougH

    And that’s a borderline case, unlikely in the large majority of cases if for no other reason than that the children will need to stay with one parent while attending school. More likely would be spending the school year with one parent and the summer with the other. And even then, I don’t know what kind of percentages would have that arrangement. Do you?

  • Religion is a public nuisance and nothing more.
    We need to abandon all of this nonsense.

    Why give power to an ‘Elder’ if he has no proof of his connections to the authority which matters? God!
    Same argument crushes all religious institutions – including Catholicism and the Evangelical Lobby.

  • Joel

    Exact statistics, no. But it’s not the borderline case; it’s norm. Family law is not my specialty but I know that joint custody is the default result in most states. That’s why the clarification–although it significantly limits the number of kids caught in the policy’s net (especially with the broad grandfather clause)–is still problematic logistically.

    And notice what happens to judges who think that the religious/same-sex-marriage dynamic is legally relevant to custody determinations: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/11/12/utah-judge-scott-johansen-who-ruled-against-lesbian-couple-has-a-controversial-courtroom-past

    Intentions are black and white. Application is gray, with a devil in the details.

  • The PROPHET is INFALLIBLE. Joseph Smith, 1844:

    I testify that no man has power to reveal it but myself—things in heaven, in earth and hell; and all shut your mouths for the future.

  • DougH

    It’s the norm that children of divorced parents switch between them without even finishing the school year? You’ll need some evidence to back that up, that simply doesn’t sound right. As for application of policy, of course it’s inevitably going to have gray areas on the fringes. That would be true of any policy that actually takes the issue seriously.

  • Kevin JK

    What’s funny is that the policy doesn’t apply to kids of single gays who may bring home different guys every night (maybe more than one at a time), but it DOES apply to gays who try and settle down and be legally and fiscally responsible by getting married, even if they are both low testosterone guys who may not even be sexually active.

    If the parents are straight, but anti-Mormon crack smoking swingers who break every commandment in the book, the kids are still good to go, but if the parents are gay and live every other commandment, the kids get to go through their teen years without the protection of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. As someone else said, that doesn’t pass the smell test.

  • RC

    Food for thought:

    2 Corinthians 11:13-15
    King James Version (KJV)

    13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

    14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

  • Joel

    Yes, kids often switch houses in the middle of the school week. But that’s a minor point. Joint custody involves a flexible, theoretical division of time, responsibility and authority. And the lived application of those arrangements varies. Yet, however the actual days are counted, the legal status of joint custody is the norm.

    The Church’s second version of the policy draws a line at that joint-vs.-primary legal distinction.

    So, if “joint” is the term on the custody order, the policy won’t apply to those kids, even if they end up spending 300 days a year with the gay couple.

    The result of the clarification was a rule that stinks just as bad but now fails to serve any practical purpose. Most of those little heretics you’re concerned about will still be allowed to get baptized and subjected to the same confusion as are other children of sinful (all) parents.

  • @Doug H, you wrote, “You are right, those scriptures are aimed at adults. Which is why those children will have the right and responsibility of deciding whether to follow the Church or their parents — as adults, the rejection of God or family is put off until them.”

    RESPONSE
    Can you please show us in the text of Matt 10:32-39 where it says something to the effect of, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me – unless, of course you’re not 18-years old and legally an adult, until then just chill kids, you’re exempted!”

    Or Matthew 19:14 where it says, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven – that is unless one of their parents is gay of course!”

    Or Article where it says, ““We believe that men will be punished for their own sins – until they have a gay parent of course!”

    Again, this policy contradicts scripture and sound doctrine (not to mention common sense) again, again, and again.

  • @DougH, you wrote, “And the Church is spared the risk of children raised as members of the church by apostate parents. A win for both the Church and the children.”

    RESPONSE
    How? This logic just defies me.

    To me (and I’m not trying to straw man here, just articulate) this is saying, “It’s OK if these kids are second class citizens in their youth group as long as the good reputation of the Church isn’t sullied by having non-adult members whose parents are homosexuals or polygamists.”

    I mean, it’s OK if their parents are gossips, liars, rapists, murderers, thieves, atheists, con-men, right? And the Church will happily baptize the children of disfellowshipped, excommunicated, or resigned members, right?

    So clearly “children raised as members of the church by apostate parents” (or sinners in general) isn’t the real issue here is it?

  • @Geoff, you wrote, ““Enshrining homophobia as God’s will?” Jana, you disrespect your objective readers. This is a tough situation. Don’t call it something it is not.”

    RESPONSE
    Actually I think that she’s called it like it is. THAT is the logical conclusion of calling this a “revelation” isn’t it?

    Just like God was regularly thrown under the bus for being a racist by the Brethren and many members pre-OD 2 (I was there I remember this behavior well) now God is being thrown under the bus for being a homophobe by the Brethren and many members – and for punishing the children of gays for his homophobia.

    Again:
    Policy = This is OUR policy based on OUR interpretation and understanding.
    Revelation = This is GOD’s word and will.

  • W

    Since I often show up here to argue, but can’t find much fault with this piece, I guess I’ll just have to pick on this one thing:

    “Elder Nelson closed with dire warnings about people like me.”

    Don’t do any of the work he left unfinished in connecting the dots regarding who the servants of Satan might be.

    If he wants to label anyone specifically, let him do it himself.

  • A great recap by a Facebook friend of the recent Mormon Church policy against gays, their families, and their children:

    “I find it interesting that we now find out this was a revelation received by Monson, which was declared by Nelson, after being “clarified” by Church PR, after explained by Christofferson, after published by an apostate, after leaked by an anonymous source, after published in a document most most members can’t see. God’s work is mysterious indeed.”

  • same

    They’re doing this for the sake of preserving Gay families. If they let your child be baptized then they’ll grow up thinking that they should hate or ignore their parents maybe even be feeling guilty about it. Instead when they are at an age they understand they can choose if they want to be baptized or not. Some of you might be offended when they say the child of a gay parent has to denounce, and may think what there saying will ruin families.IT WON’T. Smoking isn’t allowed in Mormonism . If my parents are smokers and I know it’s wrong do I stop Loving them NO!!! smoking doesnt define who they are as a person !!! Same goes with sexuality.

  • same

    Homosexuality is a sin. Been a thousand years ago and always will be. That’s like saying premarital sex is ok since it’s widely accepted as the norm these days . so is homosexuality!!! Nothing has changed. It’s just had been readdressed

  • DougH

    There seems to be some conflict between your first update to scripture, and your second and third. Are we helping out the children, or not? But leaving aside the inconsistency, the policy seems to be to be the best available for both the Church and the children of these apostates. I’ve already posted my take on why and I won’t repeat it. It is truly sad that five justices the Supreme Court chose to impose their own cultural prejudices on the nation in contravention of God’s law and put us in this difficult situation, but we have to deal with it.

  • same, you wrote, “If they let your child be baptized then they’ll grow up thinking that they should hate or ignore their parents maybe even be feeling guilty about it.”

    RESPONSE
    Really? Then could you us why this DOESN’T happen in other churches where they baptize the children of gays?

    You wrote, “Smoking isn’t allowed in Mormonism. If my parents are smokers and I know it’s wrong do I stop Loving them NO!!!”

    RESPONSE
    Thank you for proving my point for me. This IS possible to continue to love your parents as a child not only IF they’re not perfect but often because they ARE imperfect. By default and by nature, child loves their parents regardless simply because they ARE their parents.

    Simply put the evidence from the period before this policy change and from other churches shows how intellectually bankrupt and wrong headed this policy is.

    Simply put, it makes NO sense at any level.

  • same wrote, “Homosexuality is a sin. Been a thousand years ago and always will be. That’s like saying premarital sex is ok since it’s widely accepted as the norm these days . so is homosexuality!!! Nothing has changed. It’s just had been readdressed”

    RESPONSE
    Thanks for reminding us. We’ll let all those 8-year old homosexuals and fornicators know that’s why the Church can’t baptize them.
    (please note dripping sarcasm)

    Now that said, could you tell us why the Church WILL baptize the children of adulterers, masturbators, porn addicts, and those who lust in their hearts (“whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mat 5:28, NKJV) but not gays or polygamists?

    Heck they’ll even baptize the children of those evil smokers you alluded to in your first post – or the children of those evil coffee drinkers!

    And then could you tell us why the Church is now punishing men for the sins of others rather than just their own…

  • DougH, “There seems to be some conflict between your first update to scripture, and your second and third.”

    RESPONSE
    Not at all. Based on the content Matthew 10:32-39 is applicable to both adults and children. The other passages that you cited weren’t. Hermenuetics 100, nothing more there Doug.

    You wrote, “It is truly sad that five justices the Supreme Court chose to impose their own cultural prejudices on the nation in contravention of God’s law and put us in this difficult situation, but we have to deal with it.”

    RESPONSE
    What does what public policy have to do with church policy? Isn’t the Church supposed to be following a higher law? We’re assured by the Brethren that public policy has no absolutely effect on revelations since they’re directly from God.

    Well, they’ve tipped their cards haven’t they – just like they did with OD-1 and OD-2.

    The implication of that, I think, is clear. That implication being …

    (continued in next post)

  • (continued from last)

    . . . thesis #39 of the 95 LDS Theses is legitimate. It says:

    “It [the LDS Church] contrives man-created “revelations” and claims that they are of divine origin. Two examples of this are Official Declarations 1 and 2 – one (OD-1) of which is essentially a policy statement in the form of a press release that addresses, “To whom it may concern” and the other (OD-2) which hints at a revelation but fails to produce it in any form within the actual declaration.”
    (see http://mormonreformationday2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-95-lds-theses/ #95LDSTheses )

    Simply put, these guys needs to stop making stuff up and then claiming that was a revelation from God.

  • ChickinParis

    Oh amen to your snarky comment dear Christine in Canada. Amen and amen.

  • Kevin JK

    I’m confused. How are gay parents “apostates” if they’ve never been members of the Church? They may be considered heretics, but to be an apostate, they have to have been part of the Church and then have left. The polygamists were once part of the church and they, as a group, left and therefore are rightly considered apostates for belonging to a group that left the Church. This doesn’t apply to many/most gay couples. It seems to me that the Church is redefining the term in order to justify this policy.

    This redefinition, along with the inconsistency of not applying it to other REAL apostates who leave the Church or other parent who are major sinners, just doesn’t pass the “smell test”. Denying kids the Gift of the Holy Ghost during their crucial teenage years when habits are formed and so many dangerous situations occur also warrants the questioning of this policy.

    I’m sorry…No Sale.

  • Ben in oakland

    Homophobia isn’t a fear of homosexuality. It’s a fear of homosexuality in oneself.

    Homobigotry is the word you want. That’s When there is one set of rules for Straight people, or at least, those who pretend to be, and an entirely different set of rules and standards for gay people.

    Or their children.

  • Mike Jensen

    I’m not at all clear on why so many folks claim to be suffering from this decision. It seems to me that if you feel in your heart that the Mormon faith is true, then you should be willing to submit yourself to God’s word as revealed by his prophets – even when that word is not easy for you. If you decide that God’s prophets are not speaking God’s word to the world as is their calling in the Mormon faith, then why do you chose to associate with that religion? Unlike other denominations, Mormonism is not a smorgasbord from which a person picks and choses favorites – you’re either fully invested (even when this causes you to struggle with uncomfortable doctrine) or you are outside of the faith. If you’ve chosen to stand outside of the faith and do not believe that the prophets speak God’s word, why remain in the church? Either accept God’s revealed word, or move on without concern because you already don’t accept or believe in revelation and the church’s proper order of…

  • Thomas Hartley

    We’re learning about the Book of Mormon in Sunday School again this year. Articles like these make me appreciate this sacred text even more.

    1 Nephi 16:2 – ” And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.”

    I sustain the Brethren and am glad they continue to guide us through revelation. It is beneficial for all to give heed to their words and invitations.

  • Thomas Hartley

    Thanks for your observations Clark. I also don’t understand how Sister Riess doesn’t see a red flag in herself when her supposed personal revelation on the matter is in direct conflict with all the church’s apostles and when it is plainly told to us the matter was given by revelation. Very sad indeed. I worry for her.

    She also doesn’t even seem to question herself if she truly understands the scriptures correctly. Namely: the 2nd article of faith and when Christ told children to come unto him, etc.

    Maybe Sister Riess is also pro-infant and pro-before-age-8 baptism since she [incorrectly] understands the scripture that Christ was beckoning children to be baptized, which we know is not even close.

  • Joel

    Mike,

    “submit yourselves to God’s word as revealed to his prophets”

    First, if every policy adopted by the Church is God’s word, then the concept of cannon and common consent become meaningless. I think members do the leaders no favor by assuming every decision is God’s word, because that only sets people up for a fall when things change.

    Second, you seem to assume that God reveals the same message to all of his living prophets. Don’t mean to insult, but that’s naïve. For example, President Hugh B. Brown believed the priesthood ban was not doctrinal, wrong, and should be changed, in the mid-60’s. But the policy didn’t change until 1978 because it took that long for 15 self-assured people following their consciences to agree. “God’s word” is not a memo to the 15.

    Third, is there no freedom of thought in the Church? Would it have been a sin for a rank-and-file member to think before 1978 exactly what an ever-increasing number of apostles were advocating behind the…

  • Eugene

    I’m sorry that some of us cannot believe the Lord when we don’t agree with Him. Our humility is the key. We do not have all the answers. If we get down on our knees, HUMBLY, with an OPEN MIND, He can let us know through the Spirit how to “react” to His Word. I cannot force you to accept my belief any more than you can force me to accept your opinion on ANY tenet. We eventually will all know whether we were right or not. FAITH IN THE LORD, JESUS CHRIST is the key! “Be thou humble and the Lord thy God will lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to they prayers.”

  • @Eugene, you wrote, “I’m sorry that some of us cannot believe the Lord when we don’t agree with Him.”

    RESPONSE
    Well when the “revelation” of the Lord contradicts the Word of the Lord given in scripture then the Lord is disagreeing with Himself isn’t He?

    You wrote, “We eventually will all know whether we were right or not. FAITH IN THE LORD, JESUS CHRIST is the key!”

    RESPONSE
    And the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16, NKJV)

    So if you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ you’ll do as He said regardless of the contrived alleged “revelations” of men say won’t you?

    As Act 17:11 (NKJV) says well, “These [Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

    Scripture COMMENDS the Bereans for NOT engaging in blind…

  • … obedience to men with alleged “revelatons” from God.

    As now shown several times on in the comments for this article – and in the article itself – this new “revelation” isn’t scriptural.

    So the question remains: Who are you going to believe God’s objective, canonized, fully correlated, long established scripture or some men with lofty sounding titles claiming to have a “revelation” that blatantly contradicts it?

  • How long will Mormons choose to follow false prophets who claim to speak for God?
    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

  • Robert French

    Boyd K. Packer did not say sex is the plan of happiness. He said: “The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness.” The use of that power, and abstinence from it outside marriage of a man and a woman, is a commandment given to all people to obtain a greater happiness in this life and the next. It applies to straight people and gay (LGBT) people. The usual response is that the difference is that a single man or woman has the hope of a marriage someday. That is sophistry and misses the point. People can choose to change the commandments, but there is no evidence that God has changed the commandment.

  • James McDeen

    I have not heard the prophet say this, nor have a heard from the First Presidency that it is a revelation to the whole church. Normally that has to happen. While I don’t doubt that Elder Nelson accurately portrays what went on in the meeting of theF.P and Quorum, I still would like to here an announcement from the presiding quorum in the church, The First Presidency. As I understand it, even Elder Nelson cannot speak for the church as a whole.

  • @Thomas Hartley, you wrote, “Thanks for your observations Clark. I also don’t understand how Sister Riess doesn’t see a red flag in herself when her supposed personal revelation on the matter is in direct conflict with all the church’s apostles and when it is plainly told to us the matter was given by revelation. Very sad indeed. I worry for her.”

    RESPONSE
    Do mean the way that we worry about those who don’t see a red flag in themselves and follow men blindly when their alleged revelations contradict scripture?

    You wrote, “She also doesn’t even seem to question herself if she truly understands the scriptures correctly. Namely: the 2nd article of faith and when Christ told children to come unto him, etc.”

    RESPONSE
    Could you explain to us what’s unclear about the plain meaning of the text? It seems to me that it’s the Brethren who don’t understand scripture correctly – If they did this “revelation” would have been rejected as a false, unscriptural impression and…

  • Joel

    In addition to McDeen’s comment, Elder Nelson’s account is telling.

    He said all the quorum members were “honored to sustain” Pres. Monson’s decision. In Mormonism, “sustain” includes support and loyalty despite disagreement. He did not say everyone agreed. Put another way, there’s something special about those documents you see with 15 signatures. This ain’t one of those cases.

  • Tommy

    Mike, it is you and not Sister Reiss who is the threat to the church. The medieval christian church became decidedly unchristian when the members did not independently study the scripture, looked to an infallible pope for all of the answers and followed without question. Luther and others like him who questioned the edicts and doctrines helped usher in a period of light and knowledge that resulted in the restoration of the gospel.

    1) It is trite doctrine that not every word spoken by an Apostle is doctrine or even the mind and will of the Lord. 2) The Church has erred in the past and has acknowledged as much. 3) The genius of the restored gospel is that each one of us has the opportunity to get an independent witness of the truthfulness of any belief, including those currently promoted by the Church. 4) The Church is a Church of order. There is a protocol for new revelation for the Church, which does not include placing a policy in a handbook and/or a speech at a university.

  • Collin

    Jana,

    Are you paid to criticize the church? Please think about it honestly. Are you paid to tear the church down? To make people lose confidence in its leaders? When have you last built up the church in a column for which you got paid? If the church is true and it is God’s organization and you are paid to destroy the church, then what does that say about you? I don’t mean to attack you, but I think you need a reality check.

  • Tommy you beat me to the punch with this: “Mike, it is you and not Sister Reiss who is the threat to the church. The medieval christian church became decidedly unchristian when the members did not independently study the scripture, looked to an infallible pope for all of the answers and followed without question.”

    Kudos and “standing O” for this brilliant analysis!

    I was actually thinking about posting this in response to Thomas Hartley’s comment that, “I also don’t understand how Sister Riess doesn’t see a red flag in herself when her supposed personal revelation on the matter is in direct conflict with all the church’s apostles and when it is plainly told to us the matter was given by revelation.”

    Apparently I missed the Memo from the Brethren that the LDS Church now has a Pope and school of Cardinals who are the only ones authorized to interpret scripture for the membership.

    I’ll keep my eye on the LDS Newroom for that press release – apparently it’s coming!…

  • Tommy

    Eugene, your assumption is that this modified policy (or maybe the original one) was from the Lord. That is the entire question being discussed here. You have assumed away the entire subject of the discussion.

  • How is seeing, thinking, and speaking clearly any form of unreality? Respectfully, I don’t think that Jana Riess is the one who needs to do a reality check here.

    As for the rest of your faulty logic I will point you to a time when the truth actually mattered to the leaders of the Church:

    “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”
    — J. Reuben Clark, “The Church Years”, p 24. Provo (UT): Brigham Young University Press, edited by D. Michael Quinn

    “I think a full, free talk is frequently of great use; we want nothing secret nor underhanded, and I for one want no association with things that cannot be talked about and will not bear investigation.”
    — John Taylor, March 2, 1879, “Journal of Discourses”, volume 20, p.264

    Perhaps the Brethren would do well to listen to their predecessors and gain wisdom. Apparently Jana Riess has.

    Good for her, eh?

  • Tommy

    Colin, you sound quite threatened. However, personal attacks are not appropriate. The subject of the discussion is not Sister Reiss’ motives nor whether she is paid. Those are , with all due respect, irrelevant to the discussion.

    If you find this discussion harmful to your worldview, just don’t read it If you do participate, then please follow Elder Oak’s advice: disagree without being disagreeable. Your unkind remarks might otherwise be interpreted (hopefully wrongly) as an arrogant and holier than thou.

  • Mike Jensen

    Tommy, I think you misunderstood my comment. Ms. Reiss is no threat to the church. No opinion expressed here is in the least bit threatening to the earthly Kingdom of God. My comment was, if you chose to stand outside of the faith and refuse to accept the proper order of the church’s governance, then why trouble your soul further by remaining a member. Some would argue with good purpose that the fall of the communist block came not through military might but by so many people voting with their feet and exiting those nations. Rather than grouse about doctrines that you can’t agree with, find a faith community that speaks to your heart. If God is there then be happy. If you don’t find Him outside the LDS church, then reexamine your position, exercise faith and humility and submit yourself to the revealed word.

  • Michael E

    This is sad and regrettable. Such cultural intolerance hardly sounds Christ-like.

  • Kevin JK

    “…Either accept God’s revealed word, or move on…”

    Sorry Mike, but not even “thus saith the Lord” revelations become official doctrine until they’ve been accepted by Common Consent. Until then, they are just policies with which we are free to disagree. I disagree with the 1 year probation penalty for couples who marry outside of the temple before being allowed to be sealed. until it’s sustained by Common Consent, any statement is simply an opinion/policy and we are free to take it or leave it.

  • Mike Jensen

    Well, if you’re free to take it or leave it, as you say, I recommend that you put the “policy” to the test – marry someone of your same sex, adopt a child and then attempt to have that child blessed/baptized. See how far that gets you. You may make yourself feel better by saying that such and such is just a “policy”, but if the church is treating the “policy” as revealed doctrine you’re not gonna have much success or find much joy in your protesting.

  • So essentially the argument is, “The USSR love it or leave it!”

    Wow that’s an argument for the LDS Church I’ve not heard before. I’m going to have to start using that one for sure!

    😉

  • Mike Jensen

    Yep, that’s the argument. Nothing new or novel in it at all. Just makes no sense to me to continually find fault in an organization that you don’t have faith in. If you believe that God’s salvation is to be found in the Mormon faith, then adhere to that faith’s teachings. If you don’t agree that God speaks to the world through His prophets, then why in the world would you hang around and beat your head against the wall? The culture of perpetual protest that we Norte Americanos live in is just so much mental masturbation. Get over it and adhere to the teachings as revealed, or find a faith community that you find joy in.

  • Tommy

    Sorry if I misunderstood your comment. However, I stand by my comments which you have ignored. I would be happy if you addressed my points to show my where I am wrong.

    It is not the case that we must agree with every position of the Church or leave. On your analysis, Hugh B. Brown, of the First Presidency, would have had to leave the Church when he disagreed with the official Church position regarding the ban on blacks holding the priesthood.

    I believe in the gospel. But I also believe that Church leaders are not infallible (neither are we instructed by our Church leaders to so believe).
    The Church leaders make mistakes: local, regional and general authorities. I can live with imperfect men trying to do their best because I too am imperfect and recognize in my long church service moments of great inspiration and moments of quiet desperation.

    To sustain does not mean to be blind. Policies are not doctrine. If
    the Church gets doctrine wrong, the Lord will eventually fix…

  • Joel

    To all of you “just accept it humbly or leave” folks,

    Do you have stewardship to be calling people to repentance or to be showing them the door? Are you at all concerned about undermining the vigilant retention efforts of the Church, these commenters’ bishops, home teachers, visiting teachers, parents, etc., who encourage them to stay until concerns hopefully fade.

    Pres. Uchtdorf says, “If you are tempted to give up: Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.” (Oct. 2013.) On this blog, Bro. Jensen tells Bro. Anson to find another faith community.

    “How great shall be your joy” for every soul that you persuaded to leave in your self-righteous desire to purge–I guess.

  • Alrighty then! I am MOST definitely going to run with this one.

    Love it!

  • Tommy

    Fred, I don’t think Mike’s position is authoritative. Some church member’s see life as black and white. Their faith is dependent on “all or nothing”. With that worldview, Mike’s position makes sense.

    But that is not my worldview and not my belief. If I had that worldview, I would have long ago left the Church. That would be sad for me and for the Church.

  • Yep, Tommy, yep. I choose to believe that there are still some reasonable people in the Church. In fact, I’m counting on it. Jana Riess is one of them.

    Personally, I’m hoping and praying for reform but ready for more disappointments if they come.

    We’ll see …

  • Lewis Draig

    In reality, it boils down to this: Do we believe intimate sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong or not? In our church our doctrines conflict with society. It always has. Prophets have never been popular. Decades ago I joined the church because it stood strong. As Mormons we will never be like everyone else. We don’t bend with every wind of societal change.

    I grieve with those inside and outside the church who battle with issues of sexual preference in their lives. I grieve for my own sins that may keep me from the eternal goals I hold dear. The issue of sexual preference is the most difficult issue I’ve seen in my decades in the church. But my concern for and compassion for those who face this difficulty and those who are sympathetic to them do not change the God given standards of morality that have existed for thousands of years. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t muster the guts to tell you I know better. I don’t.

  • @Lewis (1/13 9:08) It doesn’t “boil down” to “this”. There is so much confusion in even the clarified version of the policy. A few days ago I half joked on my blog that if my wife died, perhaps I would find another gay Mormon brother to date and if things worked out, we could hold hands and cuddle and even marry, but never have sex.

    If I did that, my kids, because they are “grandfathered in” would be allowed to get baptized, receive the Priesthood, and go on missions. The kids of our gay couple neighbors could not receive those blessings. Where’s the sense in that? Does that protect my kids? Does that protect my neighbors’ kids? Who is protected in that scenario? (Perhaps it protects the Church from lawsuits.)

    If I did marry a guy, an automatic disciplinary council for me, even if no sex for us. But the hetero adulterer is not automatically required to have a council? Or the guy who commits rape or attempted murder? Disciplinary council not optional. This policy so…

  • BWB

    How is it a surprise to anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of basic LDS doctrine, as one would assume Ms. Riess has, that SS marriage is against the laws of God? This is nothing new; this is Biblical. It goes back to the very beginning. We cannot change it regardless of societal whims and we, with our extremely limited mortal view of eternity cannot, without exposing our own arrogance, begin to pit our wisdom against God’s. He knows what’s best for everyone, including gays, whom He loves as much as anyone. The LDS Church leadership are doing what they are supposed to do. As far as minor children of gays, this too is a no-brainer. It’s a merciful policy meant to protect families. Let minors being raised in gay homes, love and honor their parents and make their religious choices later after they have grown in maturity and can understand how it’s possible to disavow a lifestyle while still loving those living it. The wisdom in this policy is obvious.

  • BWB, there is an expression writers have about people who use “obvious” as a preface to a point. It’s a tell, indicating a lie. If it was obvious, you don’t feel the need to claim it is. In fact, it is anything but.

    I’m reminded also of this from the late great Peter Gomes:
    Part of the problem is a question of interpretation. Fundamentalists and literalists, the storm troopers of the religious right, are terrified that Scripture, “wrongly interpreted,” may separate them from their values. That fear stems from their own recognition that their “values” are not derived from Scripture, as they publicly claim.

    Indeed, it is through the lens of their own prejudices and personal values that they “read” Scripture and cloak their own views in its authority. We all interpret Scripture: Make no mistake. And no one truly is a literalist, despite the pious temptation”

    He was writing about baptists, but it turns out the problem remains in all the Christian sects.

  • BWB

    Any confusion can be worked out with the help of local leadership on a case-by-case basis. And yes, there likely would be a disciplinary council for you if you joined in a SS marriage. Of course. Most likely the same for the “hetero adulterer” you mentioned, if not repentant and willing to forsake the sin. How does this not make sense to you? And minor children being raised in a gay household are being extended the mercy of not having to choose between the Church and their parents. Otherwise it’d be too confusing for an 8-YO. Think about it. The gay couple created this situation knowing the doctrine — with a marriage that can never become eternal — and the Church is trying to leave them alone to raise their children as they see fit. I applaud the Church leaders for their wisdom.

  • BWB

    It is obvious when you understand the doctrine. The LDS Church cannot embrace SS marriage w/o offending God. That is their doctrine and only God can change it. Would you rather see minor children being raised in a gay home, join a church that teaches something very different from what they are taught at home? Is that fair to the children? Would that strengthen their home life and their relationship with their parents? Wouldn’t it be better to let them make that decision after they are old enough to understand that they can love, respect, and honor their parents whom they would never be asked to forsake ….. while disavowing the lifestyle? That is what I meant by obvious.

  • DougH

    Kevin JK, you are right that when I’m speaking of apostates, I’m speaking of those that are or were members of the Church — obviously someone that has never been a member cannot be an apostate, or even a heretic. Not that I think that’s an issue, since I cannot imagine why a gay couple that have never been members of the Church would want their children to become members.

  • DougH

    Elder Nelson didn’t “speak for the Church as a whole,” he simply said that this policy is inspired of God, formed with His guidance. There is no need to place it before the Church for ratification, because it isn’t a change of doctrine but rather how that doctrine will play out in the Church’s policies. Before the policy announcement was made, we stood by God’s instituted marriage as conjugal, exclusive, and permanent, and all sex outside of such marriages as sinful. After the announcement was made, we stood by God’s instituted marriage as conjugal, exclusive, and permanent, and all sex outside of such marriages as sinful. The Church’s central doctrine on sex and marriage is the same as it was.

  • BWB, If you need to make an argument, it isn’t obvious. And I find it interesting that even though you lambaste “our own arrogance, [to] begin to pit our wisdom against God” you have no problem arguing at great length, the wisdom of the policies in question. Is God’s wisdom and perspective so ineffable as to defy human attempts to understand, or is it such that it can be grasped by minds, such as yours, and explained so as to be “obvious?”

    And if we’re talking just like, unrestricted wish list, I’d like to see the entire LDS community have a big come to Jesus moment about their relationship to civil society and full, mindful inclusion of LGBT and dissenting but faithful Mormons. I’d like it if the church hierarchy didn’t take a nice whack at public but only public dissent. I’d like the community as a whole to get out of the defensive crouch they’ve been in since Prop 8.

    And if a child of an apostate wishes to join, yes, let them. Nothing is fair about their…

  • TOMMY

    The problem that you refuse to answer the observation that the “sparing the children” rationale reasonably applies to every instance where the parents do not live fully in accordance with gospel principles. In each case there is an inherent challenge to the child potentially being pulled in two directions. Since the policy only applies to gay parents who get married (and not to any other circumstances) , it appears that the policy was really intended to punish gay married parents but punishing their children.

  • Kevin JK

    “Rather than grouse about doctrines that you can’t agree with, find a faith community that speaks to your heart. If God is there then be happy. If you don’t find Him outside the LDS church, then reexamine your position, exercise faith and humility and submit yourself to the revealed word.”

    Sorry Mike, but since this POLICY hasn’t been sustained by Common Consent, it is neither doctrine nor “the revealed word”. Your problem is that you want to want to play fast and loose with what IS the revealed word…sticking to scripture and only accepting things contradicting them once they also become scripture. You remind me of Obama who doesn’t care about the Constitution. He just issues executive orders and has all of his Congress-bypassing czar goons issue policies bypassing the approved manner of making law. The scriptures are OUR Constitution and this policy is no more than an executive order. We’re discussing whether it fits OUR constitution. The evidence says it doesn’t.

  • Mike Jensen

    My position isn’t repent or leave – I’ve been trying to say, why make yourself crazy continuing association with a religion with which you have such a fundamental disagreement? This isn’t a doctrine that the church will ever change. Accepting same sex marriage as being a righteous union would run counter to the very foundation of the Mormon teaching of the Plan of Salvation and celestial exaltation. So, the only rational options are to adhere to the revealed word, even if that’s uncomfortable, or act on your decision to reject prophetic instruction and find a community that you can be happy in. How can you find happiness in perpetual protest? It’s pointless. I don’t call anyone to repent. Each of us should search our own hearts. If you find that your heart tells you that salvation is found in Mormonism, then submit yourself to its teachings.

  • Kevin JK

    So, does the policy only apply to kids whose gay parents had been or still are LDS members? Can a gay couple with a kid who gets befriended by LDS classmates be allowed to join the Church if the parents approve? The parents aren’t apostates never having been LDS.

    I think the term “apostate” was redefined (does it depend on what the meaning of the word “is” is?) in order to classify gay parents in the same manner as polygamists thereby warranting the same treatment. Such redefinition is to be condemned. It’s like the feminists saying that if a woman regrets having sex the next day, she was raped. Or saying that a guy stealing a kiss committed sexual assault. I thought that words mean something and if we can having them mean anything we want ala Alice in Wonderland, then they mean nothing.

  • Kevin JK

    Sorry, but since this policy violates scripture (not suffering the children to come unto Christ and also violating D&C 68:25 telling parents to baptize their kids at 8.) it is indeed in need of ratification via Common Consent. Parents are condemned for not allowing kids to be baptized, but it’s OK for the Brethren to do it?

    Obama can’t circumvent the Constitution via executive order and the Brethren can’t circumvent the scriptures by issuing policies hidden away in manuals locked up in the bishop’s office.

  • HarryStamper

    Wow 263 comments…is that a record…Jana…congratulations
    I’m persuaded, Jesus said…”suffer the little children to come unto me…”…it’s been repeated in this blog about 45 times…..let it be so….change the policy….
    Also….tax the rich….so children can have pre-school, healthcare, college education and an Xbox. But do it for the children.
    Initiate all laws to stop global warming….I mean our children need a planet for the future. Suffer it to be so….But do it for the children.
    Stop all wars….or at least no war against any country with children….I mean what would Jesus do…disarm now, ballistic missiles are anti children…….no war….do it for the children.
    Most importantly…death penalty for anyone who even thinks about hurting a little child or advocates any policy against children……Matthew 18:6 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the…

  • Kelvin Jetersen

    I am so done with this church. Good riddance. This is not God’s church at all. The feelings and impressions are too strong. I feel sick that I have deluded myself for so long thinking the church would come to Christ and love all.

  • Wayne Dequer

    There are two responsibilities of members of the LDS in dealing with current LDS policies on same-sex marriage: 1) an increase in compassion, sensitively and love outreach toward those who this policy impacts, AND 2) patient support for those who we believe have been called of God to serve as prophets, seers and revelators. I continue to have some concerns about at least the wording of the new policies, but I have faith in the basic goodness of those involved in the decisions and about the process which has now been confirmed by President Nelson. Those outside of the LDS faith are free to draw whatever conclusions they will. Within the faith all have the right and duty to seek inspiration/revelation through the Holy Ghost for themselves. The fruits of the Spirit are meekness, peace, longsuffering, and faith (see Galatians 5) rather than fear and anger. Those who continue to work through their real concerns should continue in our fellowship and love and remain in our prayers.

  • Tommy

    Wayne, your comments are well considered and compassionate. Thank you.

    I would suggest that sustaining our leaders does not always mean that we agree with them or that we refrain from advocating for a change.

    It took courage for Hugh B Brown to advocate change on what we know now was a wrong headed policy on the ban on blacks in the Priesthood. Hugh B. Brown did not hate the Church. On the contrary, he loved the Church and strove to make it better.

    The change to the block program on Sunday did not result from a revelation in Salt Lake City. It arose from frustrated members and leaders in California who saw the separate meetings throughout the Sunday as a waste of travelling time and fuel. When that frustration was communicated to the First Presidency, a process began with resulted in a major seismic change in Church policy.

    Surely, this policy about the treatment of gay members and children in gay homes is as at least important and relevant as time and fuel.

  • Paul

    Didn’t Joseph Smith say some revelations are from God and Some from the devil in regards to one of his revelations that didn’t go the way he said? Why is Joseph fallible but today’s prophets not? Don’t even get me started on Brigham Young, Adam God, the journal of discourses and what he said about Polygamy being a requirement for the Celestial kingdom.

  • BWB, tell me, which children are being protected in my two scenarios? Are my children who are grandfathered in protected or are my neighbors kids protected? If it’s mine, what about my neighbors? Do they not need protection? If it’s my neighbors’ kids, do my kids not need this so called protection? If both sets of kids are being protected, how is that so given the disparity in treatment?

  • Dennis

    You sound like a “common judge in Israel”. Your opinion may be correct that members such as I who disagree with the “policy” will be purged from the Church. If that is true then it is a sad day for all of the membership, not a day to celebrate the “cleanliness of the church.” I believe the Church is a hospital for sinners and not a sanctuary for Saints. I trust and hope that you will enjoy your place in a clean, unadulterated membership of Saints who agree with everything the Prophet utters. Though the Prophet says that he is not perfect, I now know that you and others believer that he is.

  • Joel

    Beautiful.

  • Joel

    That is well said, too, Tommy. If common consent and freedom of conscience are to have real meaning, respectful disagreement must be an option.

    And I agree, it’s not coincidental that the clarification came after a week of both worldwide press and genuine, pained outcry from the pews. It brings to mind that, prior to 1978, it wasn’t merely leaders like Pres. Brown working on the inside; it was also confident but respectful voices on the outside like Sterling McMurrin. (Acknowledged: He probably would have been excommunicated if he hadn’t had friends in high places, including Pres. McKay himself.)

    In the meantime, while we work through disagreement, we all owe each other a duty of kind fellowship. And that goes both ways, conservative toward liberal and vice versa. More intellectual humility might help us all.

    In that spirit, my apologies for any snideness in comments above.

  • troubled

    I think we will not see the negative impact this has on children for 10 years, but do believe it a mistake. Here is a hope and a forecast; we will see this gradually softened over the next 15 years and then abandoned, but without the original fanfare. Eventually this will be at the discretion of a local bishop in consultation with the family in question. Too optimistic?

  • @Joel, I don’t think you have anything to apologize for. Your comments were intelligence, articulate, clear eyed, and to the point.

    Any “snideness” was no worse than what Christ gave the Pharisees – which in my mind is an appropriate comparison given some of the blind, unthinking, man exalting, self righteous religiousity many of the comments have reflected here. So if you were in error with today’s Pharisees then so was Jesus Christ His back in His day.

    My only feedback is: Keep up the good work!

  • BOOM! Right there! Nailed it Paul!

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Wayne Dequer wrote: “The fruits of the Spirit are meekness, peace, longsuffering, and faith….”

    Reading through the comments here, it seems to me that the “fruits of the Spirit” are lots of confusion. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen so much confusion and disagreement as when I’m in the presence of a group of Mormon apologists trying to make sense of, interpret, re-word, or ignore the latest sayings from their prophets (living or dead). It seems an incredibly vain and preposterous assertion, in the midst of so much confusion and disagreement, to assert that you are all are getting your information from the same deity.

    Doesn’t it make more sense to simply make the obvious explanation — namely, you are all just thinking as ordinary people, and there’s no deity involved? If you could just make that leap then you might be able to sort through the discussion without all the baggage of thinking you’re led by actual “prophets, seers, and revelators.”

  • Virginia

    When I saw this line in the article: “And to remind us once again to follow the prophet in all things.” I was reminded of this scripture:

    “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2Corinthians 11:14-15

    If you are listening to a “prophet” of the Mormon church instead of what Jesus taught, then you are following a deceiving spirit.

  • Joel

    You’re very kind, Fred.

  • Well, someone had to cut through all the baloney, point to the White Elephant in the room and say it. I’m glad you did Debbie.

    Thank you.

  • E. Jota

    There you go again, David. Everyone should listen to David. God talks to David, and tells him that He does not talk to Mormons. That’s the only way David could know.

  • Ben in oakland

    It is so interesting to read all of the comments posted here. Let’s call them pro-gay and antigay. I’ve commented a lot already, but I’ll make one more.

    The antigays say, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” When it comes to gay people and conservative religion, there is always, ALWAYS, one set of rules for heterosexuals, or at least those that appear to be, and a completely different set for gay people, the uppity ones, the ones who won’t be cowed by “God said it, etc.” there in lies the real issue.

    The pro gays point out the inconsistencies in how doctrine gets delivered IN JUST THIS ONE CASE. As always. How it doesn’t comport with compassion, love, or real concern for the children not getting their religious desserts. IN THIS CASE.

    So let me boil it down. Its not about gods word, and never has been. It’s about a very ancient, vicious and durable prejudice, no matter what you may actually think it’s about.

  • Wayne Dequer

    Tommy,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I do Not minimize the importance of this topic.

    Within the LDS faith we are taught to reach conclusions by study And prayer. Study can certainly include lively and extended discussion (see Genesis 18:23-33), but ultimately we are to seek inspiration from God and do our best follow His council. Humility and patience are needed. Often we will come to understand some of God’s reasons and occasionally we will not.

    In its recent comments about the actions of Ammon Bundy the Church supplied a link to an article by Elder Oaks on potential pitfalls in members following our own inclinations at https://www.lds.org/ensign/1994/10/our-strengths-can-become-our-downfall?lang=eng . It is worth reviewing since it has bearing on this discussion just as it does on on the Bundy situation. There is a problem for members if we try to get others to follow our council rather than God’s council through the united voice of His prophets.

  • Kevin JK

    “There is a problem for members if we try to get others to follow our council rather than God’s council through the united voice of His prophets.”

    It only become’s God’s council when sustained via Common Consent. until then, it’s just an opinion.

  • HarryStamper

    Kevin…you have mentioned common consent 20+ times…your are simply wrong. Administrative affairs of the Church, especially callings, are handled in accordance with the law of common consent. Revelations given of God through his prophets, however, are not subject to an approving or sustaining vote of the people in order to establish their validity. God is not limited to the vote of the people. Revelation is revelation. When the Lord speaks, he has spoken. His word is to be accepted and obeyed if men expect to receive salvation. To reject the word of the Lord is to reject the Lord himself to that extent.

    Probably 99% of revelation to the brethren is recorded but not published.

    If it makes you feel better….you have the opportunity to sustain by common consent every general authority 5 times a year…..your ward conference, two Stake conferences, and general conference twice a year. Of course, these men write the handbook and policies under discussion.

  • Wayne Dequer

    Debbie Snowcroft,

    Thanks for sharing your opinion about my comments. Here are a few additional observations:
    1. Actually I find Galatians 5, on the gifts of the Spirit, to be quite clear and I am somewhat surprised you find it to be confusing.
    2. Non-members are welcome to deny the reality of prophets, seers and revelators. However, it is a firm tenet of faith for Mormons (see Ephesians 4 and Articles of Faith).
    3. While the basic Gospel is quite direct, humans, their interactions, and history are wonderfully complex. We should Not expect prophets to be infallible or inerrant. When we deal with LDS history candidly with it human complexities some accuse us of inconsistency.
    4. Some certainly find the Gospel to be “preposterous” (see Act 26 especially verse 24, Romans 1 especially verse 16, 1 Nephi 2:11 and 1 Nephi 8:25-28). You are welcome to your opinion although I disagree. 😉

    I certainly wish you well in all of your positive endeavors.

  • Since we seem to be into the postmortem diagnosis and analysis of the above discussion I would like to offer this for consideration. It’s from a Latter-day Saint expert in Human Behavior studies:

    “I often observe that mainstream LDS Church members along the Wasatch Front have a difficult time confronting any form of disagreement, even when they are clearly uncomfortable or unhappy with what’s being discussed or decided. It’s as if they were conflating all forms of disagreement or conflict with contention. This would be consistent with an overly simplistic reading of 3 Nephi 11:29:

    For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

    -continued-

  • (continued from last post)

    If all conflict is viewed as the functional equivalent of having the “spirit of contention,” what options are left to a person who disagrees, or sees things differently, or who has goals and interests different from the rest of the community? How can one raise objections or question and challenge others, or raise unpleasant topics, if doing so is tantamount to being in league with Beelzebub? If one’s view of all conflict is that it must be avoided so as to avoid contention, then there is no direct, healthy, constructive strategy available for resolving conflicts and disagreements.”
    (Michael J. Stevens, “Passive-aggression among the Latter-day Saints”; Sunstone Magazine, April 2013; https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/passive-aggression-among-the-latter-day-saints/ )

  • I would offer this excerpt from the same Michael J. Stevens article:

    “One final change to our culture that should be given serious consideration at the institutional level is the creation of formal mechanisms and safe spaces for questioning and dissent. Ideally, instead of just protecting dissenters within our culture, we should welcome them as essential agents for producing health-inducing cultural antibodies. Creating a safe space for dissent and debate within the LDS Church will likely do more than anything else to produce a vigorous immune system that can help address the challenges facing us.”
    (Ibid)

  • Tommy

    HarryStamper

    Your statements may very well be correct, but they are not entirely helpful to this discussion. If we all knew that this policy (in either the amended or original form) was truly inspired, it would be easier to accept.( God does indeed move in mysterious ways).

    But what you fail to address is that Church leaders often mix opinion with revealed truth, and occasionally they state as doctrine something that is later disavowed. Surely you area aware of many statements by former prophets and apostles from the Church now distances itself, but which at the time they were represented as being the “mind and will” of the Lord.

    So what gives us the comfort that they got it right this time? A lecture about secret unpublished revelation begs the question.

    The key is knowing when they have received revelations and when they acting on their personal opinions, biases and cultural perspective. And that, HarryStamper, is the real issue in this discussion.

  • The power of procreation is a euphemism for sex. And I am not arguing that God has changed his commandment. I repeat that I do not speak for him and cannot say what he wants homosexuals to do.

    I do, once again, say that the very least we can do is recognize what it is homosexuals are being asked to give up. Heterosexual marriage is not an option for them. They are being asked to give up sex for their entire life. They are being asked to give up the possibility of marriage. They are being asked to give up the possibility of having children or adopting them.

    Not only are these sacrifices not required of heterosexuals, they are the very things that the church teaches are most important in life. If we cannot admit to that, then we are not ready to even have a conversation about the issue and should probably remain silent.

  • Kevin JK

    Let me give you a few quotes to consider –

    “With respect to the people feeling that whatever the brethren say is gospel, this tends to undermine the proposition of freedom of speech and thought. As members of the Church we are bound to sustain and support the brethren in the positions they occupy so long as their conduct entitles them to that. But we also have only to defend those doctrines of the Church contained in the four standard works: the Bible, The BoM, the D&C, and the PoGP. Anything beyond that by anyone is his or her own opinions and not scripture.”
    (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965])

    “The ‘lay’ members of the Church are under obligation to accept the teachings of the authorities, unless they can discover in them some conflict with the revelations and commandments the Lord has given. There are times when the leading brethren have expressed their own opinions on various subjects.”
    (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel…

  • Kevin JK

    “It is most appropriate here to quote President Joseph Fielding Smith in his classic statement: “If I ever say anything contrary to the scriptures, the scriptures prevail.”
    (Mark E. Petersen, Adam: Who Is He? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 15.), (Church News, August 23, 1975)

    “I am afraid, however, that this is not as generally accepted or followed to-day as it ought to be. Some of the brethren have been willing to submit to the inference that what they have said was pronounced under the influence of the inspiration of the Lord and that it therefore is the will of the Lord. I do not doubt that the brethren have often spoken under inspiration and given new emphasis– perhaps even a new explanation or interpretation–of Church doctrine, but that does not become binding upon the Church unless and until it is submitted to the scrutiny of the rest of the brethren and later to the vote of the people.”
    (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965])

  • Kevin JK

    “STANDARD WORKS JUDGE TEACHINGS OF ALL MEN. It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teaching of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.
    You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.
    If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it.”
    (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 203.)

  • Kevin JK

    “If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church (emphasis added), were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth.”
    (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 544.)

  • Kevin JK

    …and lastly…

    “In no sense can the Church be called autocratic. No one, from the President down, can dictate to the Church. All must be done in harmony with gospel principles, and by common consent. Even new revelations from the Lord are presented to the people for acceptance as part of the doctrine of the Church.”
    (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 281.)

    The bottom line Harry, is that without Common Consent, NOTHING is official doctrine. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Even revelations have to be approved via Common Consent to be made official/binding. I remember D&C 137 & 138 being added. This new POLICY has far less credibility than them so there is NO WAY that it can be considered official with Common Consent endorsement. BTW policies come and go. Remember the 18 mo. mission term for Elders back in the 80s? It was quickly dumped after it failed miserably and baptisms nosedived. Not everything coming out of SLC is inspired. Sorry.

  • HarryStamper

    Kevin…I’m honored and impressed..5 full responses of quotes…okay okay..I give up…Tommy asked a valid question….” The key is knowing when they have received revelations and when they acting on their personal opinions,…” One grand key is when the brethren act as one, Jesus prayed for the twelve to be one, He also said…..If you’re not one…you’re not mine…..In section 107 the decisions of the 1st Presidency and the 12 must be unanimous to be valid…
    In this particular example, President Nelson said the decision was unanimous with full support. I for one would say that closes the book…the brethren gave us the mind, will of the Lord on the subject and acted as His voice. I’m comfortable with that. Let’s all move on and let Jana write another article.

  • Tommy

    Not so quick, HarryStamper.

    Unless you cannot read English or unless you view the words in the quotes provided by Kevin JK as false, your conclusion that we must accept this policy without further discussion is illogical and WRONG.

    I don’t really care that all 15 of the agreed to the policy. It does not make it right. It does not mean they were inspired. It just must means that they agreed. That may be there opinion. Church leaders have been wrong before and will be wrong again. There are not perfect.

    I do not believe this ill-conceived policy is inspired or correct. It is just wrong and appears to be mean spirited.

    Sorry, HarryStamper, but your arguments ignore clear Church doctrine and common sense.

  • Actually, surveys show that people are *more* favorable to the church when they hear members argue against its policies and teachings. That sounds backwards to many members, but it makes sense if you realize what it is that many people don’t like about Mormons: they think we are a cult. When they see that there are Mormons who openly disagree with church leaders, their negative opinion is weakened. It is actually the people who say “Follow the prophet, no matter what” who hurt the image of the church, because it makes us sound like a cult. You can argue that Jana and others like her are helping the church, not tearing it down. Some people say she should leave the church. The fact that she has not is a strong testimony that it has value to her, a testimony that is far more convincing than the words of people who say the prophet is always right.

  • HarryStamper

    Tommy…You could not have said it better…thank you for your comments.

  • It is quite likely that a majority of the people in the world actually support most of the sarcastic proposals you make. The majority of people in Utah? No. The majority of people in the United States? Yes, actually. Most Americans would support most of your proposals. And around the world, where American centrists are considered to be right-wing conservatives? Most of your proposals would definitely be welcomed (and have been).

  • HarryStamper

    thank you…especially the millstone….it’s clearly church doctrine and common sense.

  • Pingback: Don’t Answer Pain With Doctrine | See Infra()

  • Eugene

    We all have our agency; I can’t force you to follow “false prophets” any more than you can prevent me from following him for whom I have received confirmation is a TRUE PROPHET!

  • Eugene

    Sorry, they are barring themselves. If the Church is “wrong,” it will all be sorted out in the end. Do what is right; let the consequence follow!

  • Eugene

    Conditions in the world and people change. God does not! To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven!

  • Doug

    This policy does NOT stop children coming unto Christ. It stops them being a baptised LDS member, there is a huge difference. The people that seem to have an issue over this, in one breath say the LDS church isn’t Christ’s church, and in the next breath say that the church is stopping kids coming to Christ. You can’t have it both ways.

    The reality is though, this policy treats children of homosexuals the same way many other children are already treated, without uproar. If one parent of a kid (even a non-custodial parent) doesn’t approve, they can’t be baptised. But the church doesn’t stop them attending, it doesn’t stop them participating, and within limits they can even be given callings and assignments. They are not stopped from coming to Christ, they are only stopped from being baptised. Then as adults they can make their own decisions. And should they die before baptism, they are still not held back, that’s why we have temples.

  • Kevin JK

    The problem with your example is that when parents forbid baptism, the Church is recognizing parental authority and the responsibility falls on the parents. The policy has the CHURCH forbidding baptism. D&C 68:25 commands that kids be baptized at 8. The Church is ignoring scripture. Sure, the kid won’t be held accountable…the Church will. The Church is simply ignoring the scriptures to further its harassment of gays, just like it ignored scripture by supporting Prop. 8.

  • Arlene

    Eugene, are you saying that there is a “time and a season” for our prophets to be racist and wrong? If not, I clearly don’t understand the meaning of your post. Care to clarify?

  • Arlene

    No kidding. Perhaps the song needs to be changed to state “he knows the way, except when he doesn’t.”

  • Kevin JK

    All quorums leaders have to be in agreement before any policy is instituted. If there isn’t agreement, nothing happens. This means that the 12 and FP agreed to implement this policy. Not everyone may have been happy with it, but figured that it could have been worse so they agreed to it. Kinda like when my wife wants to redecorate. i’ll agree to somethings to avoid having something much worse happen.

    The agreement does NOT mean that it was revelation, only that it can be instituted by the Church. Since it hasn’t been sustained by Common Consent, it isn’t official doctrine and therefore can be opposed. The 12 may have felt prompted to agree to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the Lord’s will. The Lord allowed 116 pages of the BoM to be sent out to others. Sometimes the Lord will give us the green light to do stupid things, but that doesn’t mean that the stupid thing is God’s will.

  • “Conditions in the world and people change. God does not! To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven!”

    This statement is lazy and deficient relative to the historical record.

    The social expression of sin may change but the underlying sin is still the same. Which is why the central theme of the Book of Ecclesiastes that was cited from is “there is nothing new under the sun”.

    To excuse bigotry and injustice under the guise of, “Oh well! Things are different now!” rather than holding bigots and the unjust to scriptural absolutes regardless the age I find troubling.

    If the Brethren are truly God’s servants they will jealously uphold His standards regardless the age rather than be beholden to it. These men are clearly not God’s servants – they’re just making stuff up on the fly and then doubling down and entrenching when challenged on it.

  • Well said Allen! Spot on!

  • Craig Phelps

    Well sister Riess, I think its time for you to consider leaving the Church as you are so at odds with its doctrines and teachings. You could not possible hold a temple recommend, as you cannot faithfully sustain its leaders.
    I really do not understand the controversy of this particular revelation. I cannot personally think of a scenario whereby a child of a homosexual union would find his or herself contemplating joining our church, even if the parents were to agree, which does not seem ever to be possible. What kind of family life would that child endure? No, it is only reasonable to require the child to wait until their majority.
    Jesus loved the sinner, but hates the sin. The scriptures are clear on this point (both old and new testaments), Homosexuality is a sin, and adopting a form of marriage does not make it less so. What you and others on the pro-gay marriage side of the argument are advocating is not merely compromise, but complete surrender and…

  • Craig Phelps

    …(continued) complete surrender and capitulation of our principals, our doctrines, and our teachings. God does not change, people may change, but He is everlasting, as is his Word.

  • @Chris Phelps, you wrote, “I really do not understand the controversy of this particular revelation.”

    RESPONSE
    Seriously? You have NO problem with the Brethren coming up with new policies that are in direct contradiction with scripture and then two months later (and after a massive outcry from both the membership and public in general) claim that it was a divine revelation from God as a blatant form of damage control?

    To review again:
    Policy = This is OUR policy based on OUR interpretation and understanding.
    Revelation = This is GOD’s word and will.

    Why is this hard?

    You wrote, “I cannot personally think of a scenario whereby a child of a homosexual union would find his or herself contemplating joining our church, even if the parents were to agree, which does not seem ever to be possible.”

    RESPONSE
    Yet, this is done in other churches that are opposed to homosexuality all the time. So clearly it’s not only possible, it’s practical, proven, and time tested…

  • You wrote, “What kind of family life would that child endure?”

    RESPONSE
    Other than the odd, bizarre strawman scenario that you seem to have contrived in your mind, I would suggest that they would endure the typical family setting where one or both of the parents are gay. That is to, a pretty boring, normal one.

    You wrote, “No, it is only reasonable to require the child to wait until their majority.”

    RESPONSE
    Not only is it NOT “only reasonable”, it’s unscriptural.

  • You wrote, “Jesus loved the sinner, but hates the sin. The scriptures are clear on this point (both old and new testaments), Homosexuality is a sin, and adopting a form of marriage does not make it less so.”

    RESPONSE
    Q: How many practicing homosexual children were baptized before the policy change?

    I dare say that it was somewhere between zero and none.

    Q: How many practicing homosexual children will this new policy keep from getting baptized?

    Again, I dare say that it’s between zero and none.

    Mr. Phelps why are we punishing the CHILDREN of homosexuals for their parent’s sin in violation of the Second Article of Faith?

  • You wrote, “What you and others on the pro-gay marriage side of the argument are advocating is not merely compromise, but complete surrender and complete surrender and capitulation of our principals, our doctrines, and our teachings.”

    RESPONSE
    Nonsense! This policy did NOTHING to strengthen or in any way affect the LDS Church’s existing principals, our doctrines, and teachings in regard to homosexuality. Therefore, rescinding it would do NOTHING to weaken them. Your argument is a logical fallacy.

    To demonstrate just how fallacious please consider this: How is baptizing the children of homosexuals, “pro gay marriage” or, for that matter, even “pro gay”. Is baptizing the children of adulterers “pro adultery”? Or baptizing the children of swindlers “pro fraud”? Etc., etc., etc.

    The logic from otherwise intelligent, clear thinking Latter-day Saints on this issue just baffles me!

  • You wrote, “God does not change, people may change, but He is everlasting, as is his Word.”

    RESPONSE
    I couldn’t agree more! And God incarnate said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 19:14, NKJV) In fact, it was so important to Him that we have that that He wrote it down and recorded for the ages as standard and a benchmark.

    It isn’t God who’s in error or who has changed here Mr. Phelps, it’s a bunch of well meaning but misguided old, white, out of touch white dudes who REALLY need to get out and join us in the real world sometime – oh, and not to mention, who ALSO need to stop making stuff up and claiming that was from God.

    And let’s be clear here (even it is means being overly didactic): If it contradicts scripture then it’s NOT from God is it?

  • Wayne Dequer

    Tommy,

    There has certainly been some good discussion on this topic. I agree with some of it.
    1) The restoration continues and the church is the best we can do with current light, knowledge and conditions. I do Not believe in prophetic infallibility and/or perfection, but I do believe their statements should be considered respectfully and seriously. I have certainly seen what appear to me to be errors, especially by individual leaders, and expect to see some more in the the future. I have developed patience with matters that concern and/or upset me. I have considerable faith that official, united statements of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are at least acceptable to the Lord, because of the inspired process described by President Nelson and followed. I regularly seek and receive divine confirmation which comes sooner or later in my experience (I’m approaching 50 years of experience in that process).

    — hopefully continued below 😉

  • Wayne Dequer

    hopefully continued

    2) Humbly seeking answers and/or understanding about questions and concerns is healthy, although we will certainly not always fully understand the reasons for actions inspired of the Lord (see Proverbs 3:5 and Isaiah 55:9). We members should remember that we only have a duty and a right to receive inspiration/revelation of a confirming nature about gospel truths and within our own callings and responsibility (see also https://www.lds.org/ensign/1994/10/our-strengths-can-become-our-downfall?lang=eng which also applies to those claiming scriptural justification and inspiration in the current armed occupation in Oregon).

    3) I find it interesting to note that Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve has a loving and supportive family relationship with his brother, Tom, who is gay and who is in a long term gay relationship (see http://www.sltrib.com/blogs/1407735-155/christofferson-lds-family-gay-group-mormon ). He was involved in this decision.

  • HarryStamper

    Wayne….as always…well said…very thoughtful.

  • Joel

    Wayne,

    “We members should remember that we only have a duty and a right to receive inspiration/revelation of a confirming nature about gospel truths and within our own callings and responsibility”

    Interesting statement. I may be reading more into it that you intend. Would you mind if I press for clarification.

    (1) Does the spirit only confirm? Does it ever say “No”? (2) Only “gospel truths” and “our own callings and responsibility” could be a very narrow list or an inclusive one depending on what you mean by those terms. What do you mean?

  • Wayne Dequer

    hopefully concluding

    4) These apostles, prophets, seers and revelators are good men serving in challenging callings from God to received inspiration/revelation for the entire church and indeed the world. Members have promised to “sustain” them and we have the opportunity to renew that promise multiple times a year in ward, stake and general conferences. Sustaining does Not mean to blindly follow, but it does mean to support (see http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/sustain ). If we feel we cannot sustain we have the responsibility to at least discuss those feeling with our local leaders and seek to resolve them eventually.

    Thank you for reading my opinions!

  • Wayne Dequer

    Joel,

    Unfortunately to format of this site will Not allow me to directly respond to your excellent questions. Perhaps the link I provide to the 1994 talk by Elder Oaks and/or my 4th point which came after your response will somewhat clarify. If not, start a new strand and I will try to reply more fully for whatever it will be worth.

  • Joel

    WHY WOULD THEY EVEN WANT TO JOIN?

    Whether the kids want to (or if the gay parents want it) is up to them. Whether they’re welcome will be on us at judgment day. Hospitality and fellowship are important virtues in the scriptures.

    The policy causes me pain partly because it clashes with what’s beautiful about the Church’s mission: I wept when Pres. Uchdtorf said: “Perhaps you might think that you are not needed, that you are overlooked or unwanted, that you are nobody. I am sincerely sorry if anyone feels this way. Certainly you are not overlooked or unwanted by your Heavenly Father. He loves you. And I tell you with certainty that you are needed by your Church.” (April 2013) “No one is, or ever could be, excluded from the circle of God’s love or the extended arms of His Church.”

    ISSUE: I feel “Godly sorrow” to be associated with this, a feeling I’ve been taught to trust. Deeming it “revelation” brings a disheartening sense of permanency. Seems to etch…

  • Joel

    Wayne,

    “We members should remember that we only have a duty and a right to receive inspiration/revelation of a confirming nature about gospel truths and within our own callings and responsibility”

    (1) Does the spirit only say “yes”? What of the stupor of thought, the gut-wrenching you feel upon hearing a child has been tortured, Godly sorrow…?

    (2) Only “gospel truths” and “our own callings and responsibility” could be a narrow list, or a broad one, depending on what you mean. Are (a) standing by what the spirit tells you is right and (b) deciding whether and how to sustain included in that personal responsibility?

    I understand loyalty, benefit of the doubt, patience, humility, etc. All virtues that can become vices when taken to extreme degrees. In the end, does being a saint in the kingdom require one to be a sycophantic “yes man.” How could it? The prophets who were killed in the OT and BOM were not the priests.

    Isn’t that crux of the problem here?

  • Wayne Dequer

    Joel,

    Thanks for raising your thoughtful questions and concerns. Thanks for carefully considering the comments I have already provided. Earth-life is Not a stroll in a placid park, but a time of intense and often difficult learning by experience as we interact with each other.

    1) Indeed, the Holy Ghost does Not always say “Yes.” Answer can also be “No,” “Wait,” etc. I am presuming most members already have a God given testimony of basic gospel truths (If Not we are to seek a spiritually witness line by line and precept upon precept — see Alma 32). Once we have a basic spiritual testimony all is not done. What do we do when changes &/or challenges come? We are to seek confirmation through the Holy Ghost so we can sustain individuals and decisions based on our own spiritual witness rather than relying on borrowed light. We will Not always feel that confirmation immediately.

    — continued

  • Wayne Dequer

    continuing —

    When we find words and/or actions concern or upset us, it is usually harder to receive inspiration and/or a spiritual witness. Is our concern &/or upset due to our own misunderstanding and/or errors or the errors of others? We go through a process in patient humility of study, pondering and prayer. For me I have come to recognize my concerns are often mole hills of wording, misunderstanding and style rather than seemingly insurmountable mountains. I have certainly followed my own advice and counseled extensively with local leaders when vexed. I’ve been actively engaged in this process for almost 50 years, and for me adequately resolution his always come. Thus, I have considerable confidence and trust in the process. You write of hearing a child has been tortured. Those are serious charges that bear investigation and careful consideration.

    –continued below

  • Wayne Dequer

    continuing —

    2) My calling and responsibilities obviously include church callings and assignments. My responsibilities also involve my interactions with by immediate and extended family, my interactions with neighbors and friends, my professional responsibilities and interactions, my interactions on internet and with those I meet by the wayside. In all these areas I seek spiritual guidance.

    As an example: I’ve studied, pondered and prayed about those I inevitably see by the wayside who are homeless, hungry and need assistance. What will I do? I carry Subway Sandwich gift card to effective provide food when needed and rarely hesitate at all about given them away. I have committed to be willing to reach out and help when I sense needs, and especially if I feel the promptings of the Spirit, so my time and resources might help. It is part of who I have decided to be as a simple disciple of the Savior.

    –continuing below

  • Wayne Dequer

    — the previous parts ended up above. continuing —

    My callings and responsibility do Not extend to telling most folk what to do!

    3) I have never been a simple “yes-man.” When I have served as a leader I tend to consider selecting those faithful members who will grow into their callings And speak their mind. 68 years of life has taught me about my own limitation and fallibility. I recognize the need for diverse viewpoints as long as we are all committed to seeking the will of the God above all else. In reaching decisions things usually work best if the leader talks less and listens more. Elder Packer taught that in the councils of the Church there is “inspiration among us.” I have found when leading by listening I hear ideas from the faithful members of council and the Spirit. When the Spirit touches my heart, I try to encourage refinement of inspired suggestions. Then we become one by following the spiritual light we all desire to find.

    — continued below

  • Wayne Dequer

    concluding —

    This is how the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve carefully lead the Church and consensus may come quickly or quite slowly. There is considerable wisdom and significant safety in following this process in the councils of the Church.

    4) You have raised the topic of virtues sometimes becoming vices. I have found a chart at http://woodyoubelieveit.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-virtue-continuum.html to help me focus on this seeming paradox and need for balance in a productive manner.

    Thanks again for your questions that have encouraged me to elaborate. Perhaps my simple opinions will be of help to someone.

  • KHH

    “You could not possible hold a temple recommend, as you cannot faithfully sustain its leaders.”

    Excuse me, but who are you to judge? What gives you the right to proclaim that Jana, or anyone else, can or cannot hold a temple recommend? Keep your judgements to looking inward and discovering your own personal relationship with God, and where you need to improve; everyone else can do the same for themselves. You don’t know anyone else’s heart and desires. Back off!

  • HarryStamper

    Kevin…in your five page response, you quote Joseph Fielding Smith a lot, reading an old Ensign tonight….I thought this quote by President Smith in line….
    “Now, brethren, I think there is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord” (Ensign, July 1972, p. 88).

  • Kevin JK

    He obviously thought that he, as the prophet, can be wrong since he said that if he ever said anything that violated scripture, that we are to hold to scripture and disregard his words. We know that the prophets have been wrong…They were wrong when they said that oral sex was an unholy and impure practice…when they shortened the mission term for Elders to 18 months…when they supported Prop. 8 due it being contrary to scripture… etc…We know that they misinterpret scripture. 1 Thes. 5:22 says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” and EVERY prophet has interpreted that scripture as refraining from acts that appear to be evil. The Greek word translated as “appearance” actually means “occurrence” or “manifestation” or “appearance” (as in Obama’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmell). It does NOT mean how something “seems to others”. If the prophets can be wrong on all of the above, I’m sure JFS can be wrong in his statement. We know that we do NOT believe in…

  • Peter

    Servant of the devil, actively resisting will of God . . . .Jana . . .yep you are right. But it’s worse than that. You are openly challenging the prophet like the anti-Christs of the B of M. I realise you are past feeling, but as someone that once likely had a testimony, this should haunt you.

  • Thank you proving LDS Thesis #1 so nicely for us via such a superb demonstration of the exact problem that’s addressing Peter:

    1. LDS President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church” (“Remember the Mission of the Church”, Ensign, May 1982, p.4) but today’s LDS Church is quick to label and denounce internal and external critics as “enemies out to destroy” even when they’re simply speaking the truth, seeking to gain understanding, and/or trying to make the church a better place.
    (see https://mormonreformationday2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-95-lds-theses/)

    I mean, really, how can one argue with “logic” and “reason” like that?

  • Benjamin

    Sadly this is yet another watershed moment that reveals just how far the LDS Church has fallen away from the pure teachings of Christ and authentic love. How many more gay or lesbian LDS youth have to die being sacrificed on the altar of LDS dogma? It just gets worse and worse. It makes one wonder whether Elder Nelson struggles with dementia himself. It’s incredibly sad how religion can be so terribly divisive.

  • Benjamin

    So typical of one who is brainwashed by a cult.

  • See what I mean Peter? So if you to continue to be accused of being in a cult then keep it up mate!

    As one Mormon Critic said: “Mormon Church if you don’t want to be called a cult then don’t act like one.”

    He’s right IMO!

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  • Joel

    Wayne, thank you for the thoughtful response. I’ve been thinking about it.

    1) I agree with EVERYthing. It seems, however, that you’re contemplating only the scenario in which the leaders are right, and we’re catching up. I realize you’re NOT saying that they never make material errors. You’re remaining silent on that, the proverbial elephant in the room. And I’ll respect that.

    2) I admire you’re discipleship. Here again, I agree with you as far as you go. Although, I think personal responsibility also includes how I participate in the church. And as you’ve mentioned, the spirit doesn’t always say yes, and the Lord does not require us to be “yes men.”

    3) I appreciate the leadership model at the local level that you describe. You sound like a cool bishop. It’s unfortunate that that intellectual humility ends at the ward level. (See, Lynn Robins, “Which Way Do You Face?” (Oct. 2014).)

    Thank you again. You’re a good person.

  • Wayne Dequer

    Joel,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. The leadership model I described is what I have been taught within the church at the local level and in leadership training by the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and other General Officers. We can find it taught in detail at lds.org. I believe they do their best to follow it. Not all quorums, wards, etc. function in this manner, but they do otherwise in spite of specific training. I’ve seen bishops do otherwise and some latter grew into their callings. Humility needs to be developed. I think I’d do better, if I were again called. The church is one of those laboratories in which we are to learn.

    Today, I taught Sunday School. I recommend you review 1 Nephi 8-11; 12:16-18; 15. Living the gospel is a community process in which we need to interact to rub of some of the prickly corners in our attitudes. I do Not minimize your concerns which are important, and I do wish you well in all your positive endeavors.

  • Tommy

    Dear Wayne

    Your words are soothing and well reasoned …as far as they go. But you, like he institutional church, just ignore the point that Joel makes. The Church, including the 15, can be wrong. This is not just a theoretical possibility. This is our history. It has happened. On multiple occasions . To simply sweep this truth under the rug harms testimonies.

    And each time the Church takes a position on doctrine or policy, it fails to acknowledge the possibility that it might be wrong again. We members can become a bit cynical. We must, like Nephi, independently determine truth by going to the source of all truth. And when we do, we might just get a different answer. Perhaps we can hold our collective noses in order to support a wrong decision and sometimes we cannot. Therein lies the rub.

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  • Madeleine Mulanix

    The church is not homophobic just because they object to gay marriage. Everyone is welcomed, even gay people, as long as they live the gospel and don’t practice homosexuality, or in otherwords, are celebate. That is my understanding.

  • Madeleine Mulanix

    What is unscriptural about it? It is clear in the scriptures that homosexuality is wrong. That does not mean that we should not love them or should shun them in any way.

  • @Madeleine Mulanix you wrote, “What is unscriptural about it? It is clear in the scriptures that homosexuality is wrong.”

    RESPONSE
    I’m not disputing that Madeleine. I’m disputing the policy against the CHILDREN of homosexuals it is a direct violation of the following scriptures:

    “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins.”
    — Article of Faith 2

    “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
    — Matthew 19:4 (KJV)

    Again, why should the CHILDREN of homosexuals be punished for the sins of their homosexual parents. And why are the Brethren forbidding them to come to Christ?

    This policy is blatantly unscriptural.

    (BTW, if you had read through all the comments this clarification was made several times)

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  • Howarthe

    But my “stumbling blocks” are the cruel policies of Zion.

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  • Carlos Washington Mercado

    You know, girl.