LDS Church once thought stances on polygamy, blacks would not change

(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here) It is possible to believe that out, sexually active, married gays and lesbians will one day be accepted as faithful, temple-worthy members in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m not blasting the church for its current stance, although I’d be pleased if all committed, monogamous relationships were recognized equally. In fact, history supports the idea that church leaders may reverse their stances on gay marriage, and other issues.

Growing up I recall hearing from older members that the church would never buckle to the ways of the world and change its stance that denied preferred church status on blacks, such as the priesthood and temple recommends. Ironically, the very tone of these assurances — resignation rather than defiance — was an indicator that a change was on the way. Seriously, can anyone imagine the LDS Church having any respect — or significant membership — today if the ban on blacks had not ended 32 years ago?

Today, I often hear the battle over gay marriage discussed — in church meetings, etc. — in combative terms, a sort of “in-the-world-but-not-of-the-world” scenario. I imagine that 125-plus years ago, polygamy was defended by Mormons in such a manner. Within a generation, it became clear, culturally, politically and economically, that polygamy had to end. By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, those who couldn’t abandon it — including apostles — were being excommunicated. Conversely, for most of the 20th century, defense of the ban on blacks was defended vigorously.

In the public record, and easily accessible, is a personal letter, under LDS Church stationary, written to then-Michigan Gov. George W. Romney (Mitt’s dad) by the late LDS Apostle Delbert L. Stapley. In it, the apostle Stapley gently chastises Romney for his support of the Civil Rights bill. This is a document from a different era, and my intention is not to apply 2012 principles to Stapley. It is to point out that if an apostle wrote this letter today and it became public, he or she would certainly be released by church leaders. Here are a few excerpts from the letter:

• “When I reflect upon the Prophet’s statements and remember what happened to three of our nation’s presidents who were very active in the Negro cause, I am sobered by their demise. They went contrary to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith …”

• “I fully agree that the Negro is entitled to considerations, also stated above, but not full social benefits nor inter-marriage privileges with the Whites, nor should Whites be forced to accept them into restricted White areas. …”

• “Now don’t think I am against the Negro people, because I have several in my employ. …”

• Also, in the letter, Stapley recounts the fate of a friend in Arizona who not only urged Stapley to change the church’s position on blacks, but lobbied for civil rights. Stapley writes, “… I explained to him that the Lord had placed the curse upon the Negro, which denied him the priesthood; therefore, it was the Lord’s responsibility–not man’s– to change His decision. This friend of mine met a very tragic end by drowning. He was a most enthusiastic advocate of the colored cause and went about promoting for them all the privileges, social opportunities, and participation enjoyed by the Whites.”

To Romney’s credit, he ignored the letter, with its racist sentiments, (here) and increased his support for the civil rights bill. It’s interesting that Stapley notes, as examples, deaths — by three presidents and his friend — as a consequence of supporting equal rights for blacks. That’s a head-scratcher to me. The drowning death is interesting; Mormon lore declares that Satan has control over the water. As a missionary, I was told that was the reason we could not swim on our times off from proselyting.

That letter was written 48 years ago today. Despite its racism, it does reflect the evolution of church thought on the issue. Stapley perhaps recognizes that the doctrine will end, as he writes, “The position of the Church cannot change until the Lord changes it Himself.”

In any event, Stapley’s letter, however objectionable, is light years in difference from the avowedly ugly, racist talk delivered at BYU in 1954 by another apostle, the late Mark E. Peterson. In that speech, Peterson opined that the highest degree a black person could attain in the Celestial Kingdom was as a servant; and that’s one of his more tolerant opinions.

The point here is not to bash the LDS Church, or use these retrograde opinions — uttered in a different era — to attack my faith. Most religions have these types of outrages and embarrassments tucked away amidst a mostly virtuous past. What might be gleaned from these examples is the possibility that widespread LDS church opposition to gay marriage may seem, a generation or two from now, as odd and distasteful as the long ago opinions of Stapley and Peterson on civil rights do.

For those readers who might argue that it was the Lord that dictated the LDS Church’s positions — pro and con — on polygamy and equal rights for blacks, I argue that they allow themselves to dwell on the possibility that the Lord may also intervene on behalf of gay marriage as well.

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65 Responses to LDS Church once thought stances on polygamy, blacks would not change

  1. Nicole says:

    Big difference between redefining marriage and setting criteria for who holds the priesthoood. Traditional marriage is part of a broad culture norm, the the requirements for holding the priesthood is Mormon specific. (Oh, and women still do not have the priesthood, Doug. I thought I’d point that out.) If you’re looking for the church allow gay marriage, you might as well expect that we’ll soon be having women bishops. It’s not gonna happen. And every state that has had the matter put on the ballot has come down in favor of traditional marriage.

    • Mike says:

      It seems as though you’ve missed the whole point of his post. The doctrines previously held by the Mormon church were defended as eternal, fundamental, and unchangeable, from polygamy to blacks and the priesthood. I think the following quote of Brigham Young from the Journal of Discourses is instructive:

      “We are told that if we would give up polygamy–which we know to be a doctrine revealed from heaven and it is God and the world for it–but suppose this Church should give up this holy order of marriage, then would the devil, and all who are in league with him against the cause of God, rejoice that they had prevailed upon the Saints to refuse to obey one of the revelations and commandments of God to them.” Later in the sermon President Young asked, “Will the Latter-day Saints do this? No” (JOD 11:239).

      • efialtis says:

        Ah, see… Brigham was right, in part…

        “but suppose this Church should give up this holy order of marriage, then would the devil, and all who are in league with him against the cause of God, rejoice that they had prevailed upon the Saints to refuse to obey one of the revelations and commandments of God to them.”

        Now that the Church no longer practices Polygamy, people declare, “see, the church is false!” , “they change their doctrine to suit what is expedient” , and much more…

        He was wrong, however, in that While the LDS no longer Practice polygamy, polygamy is still a valid doctrine of the Church…
        If the Government ever decides to reverse their illegal law (violating the 1st Amendment) against the RELIGIOUS practice of Plural Marriage, the Church would then be free to, once again, engage in Polygamy.

        • Fresont says:

          Decent argument, except for the fact that even in countries where polygamy is not illegal today the church still teaches against it and excommunicates anyone who begins practicing it.

          • efialtis says:

            The Church cannot have one law for some members and one law for others. The “law is the law” applies here.

          • Jack says:

            In countries where it is illegal to do otherwise, the Church allows members to receive a civil marriage license first and then subsequently go through the temple without a waiting period. How is it that they can have “the law is the law” and be unable to apply it to all their members in this way?

  2. D. Michael Martindale says:

    Nicole, what you mean by “traditional marriage” is not traditional marriage at all. It’s a made-up concept to service the debate on gay marriage today. “Traditional” marriage has taken all sorts of forms throughout the millennia.

    And besides, what makes you think something is sacrosact just because it’s traditional? It was traditional to treat women as the property of their husbands for most of human history, and to withhold the vote from them until modern times, and yet that tradition was relegated to the scrapheap once humanity became enlightened enough to see the wrongness of it.

    Racism and slavery have been long, time-honored traditions throughout human history, yet most of the modern world has become enlightened enough to reject both those institutions for the most part, with any residual remnants of them soundly condemned.

    So what difference does it make if marriage has traditionally involved a man and a woman (which is patently untrue, even within Mormon history)? That doesn’t stop enlightened generations from recognizing that’s something that should be changed for the good of everyone (since I have yet to hear a REAL reason why gay marriage harms anyone or anything).

    The only reason the traditional marriage argument works for you is because you have an agenda that apparently blinds you to how empty it is.

    P.S. Won’t you be surprised when there are female bishops in the future! It could happen. Just takes one revelation. It’s not like there isn’t precedent for having women officiate in the priesthood, in church history or in modern temples.

    • Martin says:

      Very well stated. Thank you!

    • lasvegasRichard says:

      ‘just takes one revelation ‘… there hasn’t been even 1 revelation in the correct sense since Joseph Smith. This is true with polygamy and blacks and the priesthood. Not one president has ever uttered the words “thus saith the Lord”. All there is is manmade inspiration.

  3. Kim C. Goldsmith says:

    BRAVO, Michael! I have always said that of all churches, ours could be the one to reverse their decision on this issue. We have a living Prophet who recieves word for the times, and as you point out, there is precident for change in our not-so-distant past. Let’s hope you’re right, and let’s hope I see it in my lifetime!

  4. Kim C. Goldsmith says:

    What I meant was BRAVO *Doug*, but to Michael as well. Doug, I am so pleased to see this “daring” article in print. You deserve a lot of credit for bringing up this important issue, when we obviously all know you will take a lot of lip for it. Good for you for doing what you believe is right despite what the opposition will say.

  5. Elder OldDog says:

    Having had no personal revelation on the issue, I remain curious as to the influence on the GAs in charge at the time of the financial impact continuing the respective practices would have had on the Church.

    But there is certainly a lot of evidence that the Lord knows the value of a dollar.

    Thus I can risk a conclusion: Until a trending down of the yearly income is seen as being tied to the Lord’s current view of homosexuality, there will be no need to seek further revelation on the issue.

    Same goes for the female of the species being given the priesthood; isn’t it enough that you get to have babies for Eternity? Think about it! Where would we priesthood holders be without a few good wives?

  6. Res Ipsa says:

    As a follow up to Mike’s comment, Brigham Young also taught the following:
    “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.”- JoD: vol.10:110 (March 8, 1863)
    Of course, since 1978 the LDS church has sanctioned marriages of black Mormons to white Mormons.
    Brigham Young also made the following, widely published [at the time] prophecy:
    “Utah will never be admitted to the Union if the church has to abandon polygamy. I heard the revelation on polygamy, and I believed it with all my heart, and I know it is from God – I know that he revealed it from heaven; I know that it is true, and understand the bearings of it and why it is. “Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy?” If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted.” – JoD 11:269 (Aug 19, 1866)
    This prophecy was not fulfilled. The church disavowed the practice of polygamy in 1890 and Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896. You may verify both of the above quotes on BYU’s own website, which published the Journal of Discourses in its entirety.
    I could literally post hundreds of quotes (verifiable in church’s own sources) where prophecies have gone unfulfilled and doctrines have changed after society is enlightened.
    Many thanks to Doug for eloquently making this point in his article. What is often thought to be “unchanging” LDS doctrine in one generation changes in the subsequent generations. Its time for the church to seriously start thinking about softening its tone on the gay marriage debate. The Church is on the wrong side of history once again.

    • LindaSDF says:

      Brigham Young was not talking about inter-racial marriage, it was illegal back then. Blacks had no control over their lives, not even their own bodies. Many slave owners, and those with black servants, would use them as sex slaves as well. Brigham Young was telling the WHITE MAN who held the priesthood, that if he did such things, HE was worthy of death on the spot.

      • D. Michael Martindale says:

        Are you saying interracial married couples do not mix their blood? Brigham Young said what he said, and didn’t qualify it as applying only to sex slaves.

  7. Palo Alto says:

    Growing up in the Church in the 50′s and 60′s I was ALWAYS told that the day would come when blacks would hold the priesthood. None of my
    associates expected less and were only thrilled when the revelation came. I agree; we have a “living prophet” for a reason.

    • Jim W says:

      That was my experience as well. I didn’t grow up hearing it would never happen, just that “it isn’t time yet, but we pray for the day that it does.”

      I do recall at least one person who stopped coming to church after the 1978 declaration, but most of the people I remembered from that time were thrilled.

      As to this topic: I could perhaps see the day when the church relaxes on accepting civil marriages, but I do not expect the stance to change on temple sealings.

  8. Bob Becker says:

    Where the LDS Church, and its adherents, stand on the question of gay marriage is entirely and exclusively the business of the LDS Church and its adherents, just as the Catholic Church’s stand on divorce is entirely and exclusively the business of the Catholic Church and its adherents. It only becomes my business [as a citizen] when the LDS Church attempts to enforce its faith-based definition of marriage on those who are not members of the faith, just as it would become my business [as a citizen] if the Catholic Church tried to repeal all state laws permitting divorce.

    • efialtis says:

      Bob,
      “It only becomes my business [as a citizen] when the LDS Church attempts to enforce its faith-based definition of marriage on those who are not members of the faith”

      The word “Marriage”, itself, is a “faith-based” word, coming from the 12th or 13th century French for “religious union between man and woman”.
      If you want to remove the issues with mixing STATE (secular) with CHURCH (religious), you must call the SECULAR thing what it is, “domestic partnership” or “civil union”. That is the LEGAL and SECULAR side of “Marriage”.
      Once that separation of Church and State happens, then we can work on getting everyone “equal protection under the law”.
      And we can leave religion out of it.

      We can let religions practice their religion, unrestricted, as we are protected in the 1st Amendment AND if 2 guys wanna shack up in a domestic partnership, well, legally that would work just fine.

      • D. Michael Martindale says:

        Yeah, well, we don’t do that yet, so as long as the state involves itself in the institution of marriage, it has the obligation to allow it equally among all citizens.

  9. Nayajja says:

    The premise and title of this article are not factual. From a personal stance, I grew up in Utah in the Church, and for as long as I remember, I was told that the prohibition on blacks having the priesthood would stand until the Lord changed it.

    You quoted one individual, who was not speaking authoritatively for the Church. Your title reads more into one letter than it should.

    For example a 1949 Statement by the First Presidency said “…Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.”

    That is consistent with what I always heard when I was growing up.

  10. Erick says:

    Nayajja

    As far as I am aware, there was some institutional rhetoric suggesting that blacks would eventually receive the priesthood. However, as per the Brigham Young quotes and Stapley, it is clear that the idea wasn’t widely known or accepted. As for polygamy, I don’t believe there was any real talk that it would end, at least not until it did. Quite to the contrary in fact, this was Celestial Marriage.

    • D. Michael Martindale says:

      Brigham Young said Blacks would not get the priesthood until Abel’s posterity could get it, and since Abel presumably was killed before he had posterity, the presumption was that it wouldn’t happen until at least the Millennium.

      So giving the Blacks the priesthood before the Second Coming of Christ was a pretty iffy expectation.

  11. efialtis says:

    “It is neither outlandish or radical to believe that out, sexually active, married gays and lesbians will never be accepted as faithful, temple-worthy members in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    Yes, it is. The Bible is very clear about the role of marriage and fornication. I have 3 or 4 pages on the topic, if you would like them…

    “I’m not blasting the church for its current stance, although I’d be pleased if all committed, monogamous relationships were recognized equally.”

    Recognized by the Law should happen, recognized by the Church, won’t happen.

    “In fact, history supports the idea that church leaders may reverse their stances on gay marriage, and other issues.”

    On some issues, this is true. On others, it is not. Homosexuality is one of those “no fly zones”…

    “Today, I often hear the battle over gay marriage discussed — in church meetings, etc. — in combative terms, a sort of “in-the-world-but-not-of-the-world” scenario. I imagine that 125-plus years ago, polygamy was defended by Mormons in such a manner.”

    The difference here is, Poygamy, while NOT practiced by the Church, IS still Doctrine of the Church. The illegal laws (those that infringe on the LDS Church’s (among others) rights to freely practice their religion, specifically, the marriage rites of that religion) may change as the Gay Rights movement moves forward, and that would open the way for the LDS to practice polygamy once again.
    This is a whole different thing than to change the fundamental principals against fornication…

    “therefore, it was the Lord’s responsibility–not man’s– to change His decision.”

    This is true of all such doctrine. And it is how things eventually changed.

    “As a missionary, I was told that was the reason we could not swim on our times off from proselyting.”

    I was also told this, but wrote it off as “mormon lore”, like much of the stuff you find on the internet…

    “and that’s one of his more tolerant opinions.”

    While there were those within the Church that may have been racist, the LDS People, by and large, were not racist. Utah was a free state, not a slave state. The bulk of the members were not racist, and many Blacks had joined the Church, knowing the stand regarding the Priesthood…

    “What might be gleaned from these examples is the possibility that widespread LDS church opposition to gay marriage may seem, a generation or two from now, as odd and distasteful as the long ago opinions of Stapley and Peterson on civil rights do.”

    Sorry, it cannot happen.
    However, we need to clarify here:
    Marriage is a religious rite. The whole battle with Prop.8 was over a word, “marriage”… the definition of said word. The LDS Church did release a statement that said, in effect, that they would support “equal rights under the law” for those wishing a “domestic partnership” or “civil union” (those being the LEGAL aspects of a religious marriage), so long as that “domestic partnership” was not called “marriage”.

    The reasoning is simple.
    Marriage, as it is now, is controlled by the Government. If we let the Government define marriage, there is nothing stopping the Government from forcing religions to perform “gay marriages” even if that goes agains fundamental beliefs of the Church in question.
    They would exert the same pressure (economic, legal, etc), that they did to change the Church’s stand on practicing Polygamy.

    “dwell on the possibility that the Lord may also intervene on behalf of gay marriage as well.”

    The lord already has, and I will post what I have if you like, or you can email me (I had to provide my email to post this) or just request it (I imagine you have an email at “standard.net” that is found, somewhere, on the greater website?) and I’ll get it to you…

  12. JD says:

    This issue is one of the most important of our time. If gay persons are born gay and are not to marry the opposite sex, then the healthiest choice for them spiritually and temporally would be to be married to a partner of the same sex. I like what is happening with the church in the Oakland stake regarding reaching out to gay members of the church. I pray for more revelation on this topic. As of now, it is very difficult to be a member of the church and to be attracted to the same sex.

  13. Rex Whitmer says:

    My friend, I have had members of the Church confess to me that they had a desire for extra marital sex with certain women who were not their wives and I know of women in the Church with the same compulsion. Most resist and get past it, some fell and either left the Church or repented and were reinstated. On the same token I recall as a young man with two children and seemingly so deep in debt I thought I would never get out being tempted to imitate a robber who was then plaguing the city I lived in. I didn’t give in and eventually worked my out of my perdicament. I have had friends in the Church who have confessed to me trouble with attraction towards their own sex whom with help and counseling were ever to take control of their lives and either live out their lives single or whom married and found satisfaction with the person of the opposite sex, and great joy in their children. A portion of the reason we are given life here on earth is to learn to control the animal impulses that Satan tries to tag as being unconquerable. I have known men and women with much greater burdens than this to bear whom have adapted and lived normal or near normal lives. The ban against homosexual behavior goes back a long time before The Church was organized and will, I believe continue. It was always known that the ban against blacks holding the priesthood would end. I have stood in church and warned members whom used this to salve their prejudism that this was so and that they would be judged acordingly. All men and all women are children of God and it makes no difference their color or ancestry. In a lesser sense I would warn members against anti-homosexual feelings. They too are children of God and this is their burden to carry as yours might be to be learning disabled or physically disabled.

    What Homosexual persons do is of their own doing and I am not their judge, but homosexuals cannot and should not expect to bring society down because of their weaknesses. Our society, thanks to immoral people stands on the brink of dissolusion. We were created by an almighty creator and from the first were given rules to live by. Those rules have changed from time to time, but not morally. It is still wrong to rob or kill or to harm another in any way. Persons whom commit crimes against homosexuals have done a greater sin than the homosexual whom has given into his passions. These people will most likely be more condemned than their victims.

    • Brett says:

      You wrote: “A portion of the reason we are given life here on earth is to learn to control the animal impulses that Satan tries to tag as being unconquerable.”

      Why are the impulses of a heterosexual male to partner with a female considered God-given and righteous (within certain bounds) but the impulses of a homosexual male to partner with a male considered to be from Satan and “conquerable”?

      “It was always known that the ban against blacks holding the priesthood would end.”

      This is true but NOT until the millenium. Church doctrine (as stated by apostles/seers/prophets in general conference addresses) was that blacks would not receive the priesthood nor their saving temple ordinances until the work had been done for all the white people who ever lived. And as stated above, interracial marriage was punishable by death on the spot and would “always be so”. Apostles taught that blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence and therefore deserving of this “punishment”.

    • lasvegasRichard says:

      You describe this as a weakness and a choice that one can overcome with some type of self control. You have never met a gay person ever, have you?

      • miiohau says:

        I think what he mean was having sex with a member of the same sex, not just having feeling for the same sex. The first is completely controllable, the second is only as controllable as feelings for the opposite sex is for heterosexual or bisexuals.

  14. Motherduck says:

    “…but homosexuals cannot and should not expect to bring society down because of their weaknesses. Our society, thanks to immoral people stands on the brink of dissolusion.”

    I find this statement as hateful and repulsive as anything Mark Peterson or Brigham Young ever said. “Bring society down?” Goodness Mr. Whitmer, you need to expand your circle of friends. Robert Wright’s book, “The Evolution of God” is a well thought out treatise on how religion is constantly changing for the good–I don’t see dissolusion in our future but expansion and inclusion. Fortunately, my children and grandchildren are much more open-minded and will leave behind a more loving accepting world.

  15. Jeremy P says:

    Before I get started, I want to say that while I disagree with this article I appreciate the friendly manner in which he approached the issue and the author’s desire not to offend the church.

    However, I simply cannot agree with this article. Same sex marriage is a very different issue between polygamy and ordination to the Priesthood. Many members of the Church during Brigham Young’s time used to talk about the day that polygamy would be taken away from the Church. Similarly, many of the presidents of the Church throughout history talked about the day when the Priesthood would be given to the African people. David O McKay used to say that the ban on the Priesthood was a “matter of policy and not doctrine” and that when the time was right the policy would be changed.

    Same sex marriage is not just a matter of policy-it conflicts with the most important and deep doctrines of the Church. In the Church, we believe that a man and woman can be sealed together in their marriage so that they can continue to be married in heaven. This also means that the couple will be able to have spirit children (we don’t know the details on how that works, although some have tried to speculate). The ability to have spirit children is an essential part of becoming more like our Heavenly Father. On Earth, men can try to redefine marriage but no matter how they try to define it they will never be able to make it so two women or two men can have a spirit child together in Heaven. Because of this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is even more at odds with the concept of same sex marriage than other Christian demoninations. Some people believe that our support for proposition 8 was motivated by a hatred for homosexuals, but that’s just not true. We simply had the desire to maintain the traditional definition of marriage so that it would be more likely for our brothers and sisters to be sealed and receive exaltation.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that all Mormons are against every gay rights proposition. While I don’t agree with the practice of homosexuality or the redefinition of marriage, I personally support legislation that protects gays from abuse and allows them to protect themselves. Partnership agreements would be a good way for gays and lesbians to be able to protect each other if one’s partner in events like hosiptalization, death, etc. Laws should be enacted to protect gays from unfair treatment in situations like renting an apartment, receiving service at restaurants, signing contracts, etc.

    • Open Minded says:

      Thankfully, in many places, there are already laws that prevent discrimination based on sexuality, in the area of service provision, education etc.

      Revelation could consist of anything and we, whilst able to speculate, should not wish to restrict the freedoms and possibilities that future revelation could provide to others who are not as fortunate as ourselves, such as straight people at present.

      It would be a good thing if the church led society on more issues, rather than the other way around – such as how racial inclusion lagged somewhat behind contemporary feelings.

  16. Geoff Madison says:

    When it is culturally expedient to the advancement of the LDS organization, “god” – the heavenly father over this particular planet – will indeed offer a new revelation about gay marriage and acceptability. There is nothing more flexible than Mormon scripture or doctrine. Great organization on the outside, but rotten to the core theologically

    • efialtis says:

      Hmmm…

      First off, the Doctrine regarding the Priesthood is very simple. The Priesthood is Given by God to those HE deems worthy to hold it.
      That hasn’t changed. What did change was a restriction on a specific group of people who were not, for whatever reason, allowed to hold the priesthood. We have several justifications written by both Mormons and Anti-Mormons, but the fact is, the basic, underling doctrine has not changed.
      In 1949 the Church made its first Public announcement denying the Priesthood to blacks.
      In 1963 the Church tried to make it clear that it had nothing to do with “civil rights”.
      In 1969 the Church confirmed, again, the denial of the Priesthood.
      The Church, at this time, did suffer a lot of persecution.
      Most of the persecution had died down by the mid 1970s.
      And the revelation came to remove the restrictions on the Priesthood in 1978.
      The change did not alter the Doctrine of the Priesthood.
      The change did not come as a matter of “cultural expediency”.

      The same holds true for Marriage. The Doctrine regarding marriage is that Men and Women get married. If that is Monogamy or Polygamy does not alter that Doctrine. As well, the Doctrine of the Church regarding Polygamy is still valid, the ONLY change is that we do not, currently, practice Polygamy on the earth. There is also the Commandment to Obey our earthly Rulers and Laws, which are currently geared to prevent Polygamy, a RELIGIOUS practice, in violation of the 1st Amendment.
      Again, the basic doctrine regarding marriage, is unchanged.
      The change came to prevent the demise of the Church at the hands of a Government violating the Constitution. What good would the Church do if it were forced to shut down?
      In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord told Joseph Smith that the Church was here to stay and that it would never again be removed from the Earth.
      The Doctrine of Polygamy remains in the Church, the practice does not.

      “There is nothing more flexible than Mormon scripture or doctrine.”

      As shown, this is false.

  17. Ben H. says:

    This is what I have learned about marriage when I took Sociology in college.

    In history, polygamy where a man can have more than one wife is actually more common than monogamy. Although it is not very common today. The majority of modern societies practice monogamy.

    But it is very rare in society throughout all of history to allow people of the same gender to marry because this relationship does not produce children. Throughout history and throughout the history of society, marriage control has been about the ability to propagate the human species and not about love and sex.

    Polygamy only works in societies where the ratio of men to women allows it. In today’s society, where war has not wiped out a large and significant percentage of our males, polygamy does not work very well. The FLDS church is doing a good job a showing us why polygamy will not work today.

    The change on the priesthood was needed or the church would not be growing in Africa and South America the way that it is today. It became obvious in the 1970s that the church could not permanently rely on missionaries to provide leadership in the church outside of the United States. It would take up too much of the missionaries time, and they would not be able to efficiently proselytize. In addition, people need priesthood leaders that understand their culture. Therefore, how could the church grow in Africa if Africans could not hold the priesthood? In 1978, it was obvious that a change was needed.

    To say that the church will one day change their view on same-sex marriage because they have changed on polygamy and priesthood is admitting that one does not understand the basics of church focus and society. As long as the church has a focus on family and children, there will never be the acceptance of a sexual relationship that does not produce children. It would be too great a contradiction.

    We know that when a man marries a woman of child-bearing age, there is a 90% chance, if they choose to have children, that at least one child will be produced without medical intervention and that child will be the genetic child of both partners in the marriage. When a woman marries a woman or a man marries a man, there is a 100% chance that a third party is needed (either a sperm donor or a surrogate mother) to produce a child and that child will only be the genetic child of one of the partners in the marriage. Until this changes, there is a 100% chance that the LDS church will not change their view on same-gender marriage.

  18. EssEm says:

    Not a Mormon but have studied LDS theology. And “gay”, and happily so, but not part of the “LGBT” herd.

    My two cents.

    If a current or future prophet could ever get a change from Heavenly Father in the condemnation of homosexuals, that’d be great. But don’t therefore create gay marriage. Find some other format for male or female couples who want to be bonded.

    Why?

    Gay marriage is part of a larger feminist project to make gender irrelevant, especially masculine gender, because gender difference, sexual dimorphism –while essential to nature and to the structure of human societies– enshrines necessarily different and unequal roles for men and women. Feminism, once you get past the nice PR part, is about female power, driven by envy and hatred of men and masculine power. Many gay men fall into this flow because of their own unfortunate alienation from the tribe of males. A long story.

    I also reject gay marriage’s making the gender of partners irrelevant because it then becomes practically and politically impossible to resist making the number of partners irrelevant. I am against polygamy. It is alien to the West and divisive. And it would only serve the normalization of Islam here, something which no homosexual person should welcome.

    And last. And paradoxically. What would be the internal and theological meaning of marriage for the LDS church if it consciously sealed couples who could never have children? (Unless it practically mandated gay adoption.) The whole point of the LDS prioritizing of marriage is the part that earthly procreation necessarily plays in the drama of eternal progression, is it not? (And why polygamy –absent pressure from the US govt– would continue to make theological sense for Mormons.)

    But I digress. Enuff.

    PS. Calling an opinion “hateful” or “offensive” or “bigoted” etc. is just rhetorical emoting. It is not an argument.

  19. EssEm says:

    One more cent.

    Forcing two men or two women into a structure that is archetypally designed for opposite sexes is a kind of straight drag, an imitation of something not meant for them. A samesex couple has a dynamic with some overlap with opposite sex couples, but with crucial and valuable differences. I think that samesex couples deserve, yes, deserve a separate status and structure that honors the specificity of their connection.

    I wish to be no man’s “husband” or to have him be mine.

    • eh says:

      “Gay marriage is part of a larger feminist project to make gender irrelevant”
      LOL. I stopped taking you seriously right here.

  20. Brett says:

    Nicole,

    It’s a bit easier when you couch it in terms of holding the priesthood. But, let’s remember that blacks also were not permitted to be sealed in the temple. Nor could those ordinances be performed for them posthumously.

    So let’s take your first sentence and re-frame it in that way: “Big difference between redefining marriage and setting criteria for who may be sealed to their spouse and children for all eternity.”

    Hmmm… maybe there isn’t such a big difference?

    The church is losing members by the droves. This issue is one of the reasons. Eventually the prophet will be compelled to seek a revelation and then we will learn that God truly is no respecter of persons and gay marriages/sealings will be permitted.

    • Fred says:

      Losing members by the droves? Where did you get your facts. The church is growing stronger than ever. No, gay marriages will ever happen in the church. It is completely contrary the teachings of Christ and his church.

  21. Richard says:

    My youth in the church was in the early 70′s and it was widely taught that one day the blacks would be given the priesthood. It was widely known and widely accepted. Concerning homosexuals being accepted into full fellowship and priesthood rights, I have likewise heard talks where general authorities were wise enough to say “who knows?”

  22. Lindquist says:

    I figure just like the Mormons realized in 1978 that black americans are a source of income they will also accept the dollars the gays who choose to join their church will give. I don’t believe there are many black americans who are members of the mormon church and I don’t many gays would join. What is the mormon view of black, gay, catholic, democrats?

  23. Steve says:

    I grew up LDS too and know that there is a lot of folklore out there and members posting comments that they recall hearing that one day blacks would have the priesthood and temple blessings and that the “curse wasn’t doctrine but I have not seen a single scripture or quote from a G.A. saying this. On the flip side I’ve read numerous quotes form LDS Prophets saying that this curse would last until the millenium. Are these guys Prophets or not? You can’t claim and believe that they are your Prophets and then pick and choose which statements were of God and which weren’t. It amazes me how much these Prophets are thrown under the bus. And for those of you claiming that the curse (Dark skin) is folklore or just policy, you might want to read your LDS scriptures (Book of Abraham 1:21-27, 2 Nephi 5:21

  24. Pingback: 24 January 2012 | MormonVoices

  25. PolishandProud says:

    Whether the issue is gays, blacks and the “priesthood”, polygamy or any other social issue the LDS position really has nothing to do with “revelation” or “prophecy”. LDS Corp makes decisions based on what is politically and finacially expedient. The “revelation” concerning polygamy came only because of the desire for statehood and pressure from the federal government. The priesthood and blacks came when the church was being criticized in every corner including the threat of the boys scouts dissassociating themselves from the church and other colleges refusing to play BYU! The church is a political institution and it would not serve their purposes to have a mormon candidate for national office be burdened with these unpopular and immoral practices. When it becomes expedient to do so the president of LDS Corp will change the policy towards gay marriage.

  26. Joe says:

    Dude, you say “The point here is not to bash the LDS Church…” but I’m not so sure.
    Sadly, too many people misrepresent the Church of Jesus Christ in order to push different agendas. All should understand that quoting, misquoting, paraphrasing etc one or a few leaders out of context doesn’t mean “LDS Church once thought…” Hopefully someone has already pointed out that the scriptures have always discouraged homosexuality. And scriptures taught that polygamy was not ideal, and temporary (I will grant on that one that many thought it was permanent in spite of what the Book of Mormon teaches).
    But the Church also taught that restrictions on priesthood were temporary. Eternal procreative marriage is central to God’s Plan, and, while gays should be loved and treated with respect and kindness, there is no reason for those who have no increase to be eternally married. They can already love each other, be monogamous, have rights and benefits etc. But, as Judge Vaughn pointed out, marriage isn’t about those things. It’s about “social meaning.” Stable heterosexual relationships are crucial for humanity, and for eternity.

    I won’t have time to check back on the misquotes, out of context quotes etc, that activists will post in reply to this (as they have promised to “go after your Church every day”…”drive them into the ground”, “destroy the Utah brand” etc : ) just sayin what’s goin down with this..) but there is a lot of information on anti-LDS claims of racism on FAIR lds, Black lds etc.

    Early LDS leaders made it clear that:
    1 They did not know why Brigham Young restricted Priesthood (Joseph Smith gave Priesthood to Blacks) 2 It was a temporary thing.
    3 They prayed for it to be given to all, but, as they didn’t understand, they didn’t feel at liberty to change it back to how Joseph Smith had it without direction.

    Here are just a few quotes on what the LDS Church REALLY “thought.”
    These are from official Church statements before the words presented above (judge for yourself if Doug is trying to represent Stapley ms to hopefully paint this as the Church’s position when it was not:

    “From the beginning of this dispensation… (leaders) taught …(Blacks) not YET to receive the priesthood, for reasons…God…has not made fully known to man.” (caps mine)

    “We feel nothing but love…the rich talents, endowments, and the earnest strivings of our Negro brothers and sisters. We are eager to share with men of all races the blessings of the Gospel.”

    “We join…throughout the world…pray that all of the blessings…may…become available…Meanwhile we must strive harder to… love one another. In developing that love and concern for one another, while awaiting revelations yet to come…”

    The First Presidency

    “… not entitled to the priesthood at the PRESENT time. …”The day will come…possess all the blessings which we now have.”
    First Presidency 1949

    No church or other organization is more insistent than THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, that the Negroes should receive all the rights and privileges that can possibly be given to any other in the true sense of equality as declared in the Declaration of Independence. They should be equal to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” They should be equal in the matter of education. They should not be barred from obtaining knowledge and becoming proficient in any field of science, art or mechanical occupation. They should be free to choose any kind of employment, to go into business in any field they may choose and to make their lives as happy as it is possible without interference from white men, labor unions or from any other source. In their defense of these privileges the members of the Church will stand.
    “[Jesus Christ] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female;…and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:33).
    “Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God.” (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 17:35)
    “Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.” (The Book of Mormon; Alma 26:37)
    Church Civil Rights statement
    “We repudiate efforts to deny to any person his or her inalienable dignity and rights on the abhorrent and tragic theory of the superiority of one race or color over another.” (Church Global Media Guide)

    “We do wish that there would be no racial prejudice…. Racial prejudice is of the devil…. There is no place for it in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

  27. James says:

    I am gay and still go to church and a few others do as well. Most leave the church because they feel judged by members even if they are not sexually active or they cannot cope with trying to change for years and to no avail. I wish that I would have known as a teenager that this would’nt change and that I would have not listened to others who told me to try to change. People cannot tell that I am gay and I don’t tell most people, but I have seen a lot of prejudice and judgements towards gay members. It would be helpful if members were more empathetic and educated on this issue. What I have felt from the spirit is often very different than what I have heard from many members. I would say some of the same things that people are saying here to other gay members and use the same comparisons, but they ring less true over time and experience. Being gay is about a lot more than sex.

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  29. efialtis says:

    Thank you, Joe, you filled in some blanks for me.

    Excellent comment!

  30. Jo Jo says:

    Since God knows past, present and future, HE is the one who decides through revelation on ANY issue. Speculating is nonsense. When we are worthy and have passed on, we will have the opportunity to ask about things pertaining to this earthly life. I know God loves all men. Even evil ones. The blacks receiving the priesthood was through revelation. God gives revelation to our prophet. Period. Having a testimony and faith to be led by the prophet who indeed DOES talk with God is how we adjust to changes. Not because the world changes or gets more liberal. It’s GOD’S world. Any changes to precepts come from Him.

  31. FeralFemme says:

    Mitt Romney has no business even running for president. Why? Because Mittens belongs to a religion that molly-coddles abusive polygamists, like Warren Jeffs, and raises tens of millions of dollars to crush gay marriage. O ye hypocrites! Mormon communities are overrun with “lost boys” who are expelled from fundamentalist Mormon sects so older polygamists can marry “child brides”. How much time and money have Romney and his millionaire Mormon pals spent to cleanup polygamy in their own backyard? ZERO. Watch the doc film “Banking On Heaven” (available at most libraries) and you’ll never vote for a Mormon.

    • Fred says:

      When people are ignorant I usually don’t intervene and explain to them why they are idiots but in this case I was compelled to reply. To say that Romney and Mormons “coddle” polygamists like Warren Jeffs is like saying the world is square (in case you didn’t know FeralFemme, it’s not). Warren Jeffs and other polygamists who take advantage of women are not protected or endorsed by the church and obviously go against the teachings of the LDS church. You are quite misinformed and should be embarrassed for you uneducated and gullible comment.

  32. Steve says:

    The Lord may, as you suggest, intervene on behalf of gay marriage. Who am I to direct him otherwise. But the polygamy and black priesthood examples give very little track record for such a change in position, since both were always subject to change at a future date. Generations of church leaders have mentioned that the Lord would decide when blacks would receive the priesthood, implying that it was an action that was looked forward to. Polygamy was always a doctrinal caveat to the Book of Mormon general doctrine that marriages are to be monogamous, unless the Lord imposes an exception. I see no similar doctrine or hint of doctrine that provide hope for a change of policy on gay mariage.

    What is more, large portions of church doctrine would need to be nullified and reversed related to eternal marriage, eternal gender identity, etc. The Proclamation on the Family, adopted by the first presidency and quorum of the twelve, would need to be nullified. The temple sealing of eternal family units with eternal increase would be obviated.

    For these reasons, I see no reason why the prospect of the Church embracing gay marriage is any more likely than the church embracing the virtues of pornography, recreational drug use, abortions of convenience, free-love and spouse swapping.

    The Lord will decide as he may, but I think your article suggests an unreasonable hope based on incongruent examples.

    • Anon says:

      It will have to, simply due to the times. The reason the church changed its views on blacks was due to the fact the IRS threatened to revoke the church’s tax exempt status if it didn’t. (See Bob Jones Vs. United States, Majority opinion “Government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education . . . [which] substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on [the University's] exercise of their religious beliefs.” ). Or the fact the church reversed its stance on polygamy only to gain statehood. Given a choice between some theocratic stance or being on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes, the choice will shift views rather then go bankrupt.

  33. Alana says:

    Love it Doug!

  34. StuGranger says:

    Let`s hope “the stance” changes on discussing white genocide:

    Africa for the Africans,Asia for the Asians,white countries for EVERYBODY!

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white

  35. efialtis says:

    Since I had a minute, I decided to post what the Scriptures have to say about Homosexuality.

    PART 1 — “Christianity and Homosexuality”

    Jesus the Christ was a Jew. Jesus fulfilled Jewish Law, or the Law of Moses. That is, if you are a Christian, you believe Jesus fulfilled the law, and therefore, is the Christ/Mesiah.
    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matt. 5:17) Jewish Law States, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Levit. 18:22) and “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Levit. 20:13). Because Jesus followed the Jewish Law (he had not yet fulfilled it), he said, “…For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man…” (Matt. 15:10-20)

    In the Greek Language version of the Holy Scriptures, (the original language of most of the New Testament), the word for “fornication” is “pornia” which means “any form of illicit sexual behavior”, it is a very broad term.

    Since Jewish Law teaches that Homosexuality is a sin, punishable by death, it falls squarely into the definition of “illicit”. Jesus, therefore, was not speaking ONLY of Homosexuality, but ALSO of Homosexuality.

    Paul, one of the Chosen Apostles of Jesus, wrote in the Epistle to the Romans, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools … Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves … For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. … God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death …” (Romans 1:21-32)

    Paul mentions “lusts of their own hearts”, “dishonour their own bodies between themselves”, “vile affections”, “men working that which is unseemly”, “fornication”, and “without natural affection”. Paul does not stop at “fornication” or “pornia”, but he makes a specific list, the most clear of which is, “for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another”.

    Paul also mentions the prohibition in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God … Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” (1 Cor 6:9-10, 13)

    Paul specifically calls out fornicators: “be not … fornicators”. (Interesting note: “effeminate” comes from the Greek “malakos”, which means “something soft” (example: “malako psomi” or “soft bread”), but it has an alternative meaning as a metaphor to refer to a boy kept for homosexual relationships. In modern Greek there is a slang word, “malaka”, which is a derogatory term for someone who masturbates. “Malaka” comes from the root, “malako” as mentioned previously. So, in this case, “effeminate” has a specific “homosexual” meaning, as well as “pedofilia”, both of which fall under the category of “pornia”, which is forbidden.)

    Paul continues, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” (1 Cor. 7:2-4)

    Paul gives us a key to avoiding “pornia”, and that is to have a WIFE (for Men) or a HUSBAND (for Women). Why? Because as mentioned, “pornia” is forbidden, and homosexuality is included in “pornia”.

    Paul continues again, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Cor 11:3, 9, 11)

    Paul makes the point that the proper order of things is: God, Lord, Man, Woman; and that the Man cannot be without the Woman nor the Woman without the Man. Any other way is wrong: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14)

    In the First Epislte of Paul to Timothy, he writes, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;” (1 Tim. 1:9-10)

    Paul warns us that the “Law” isn’t for the righteous, but for the unrighteous; and he lists several items that constitute unrighteousness, namely: “them that defile themselves with mankind”. This phrase is derived from 2 Greek words, “pornia” and “arsenokoites”… we have discussed “pornia”, but not “arsenokoites”. “Arsenokoites” means “homosexual”. So he is declaring, quite clearly, that the “illicit sexual behavior of homosexuality” is “unrighteous”.

    In the Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy, he references back to his Epistle to the Romans, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5)

    Paul tells us about the “last days” when “men shall be … without natural affection” and tells us “from such turn away”. He also mentions “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”, would that not be people who demand the right to pursue “illicit sexual desires”, like homosexuality?

    Peter writes, in his Second Epistle, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government…” (2 Pet. 2:9-10)

    He calls out those who “walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness” as those “unjust” who are “reserve[d] … unto the day of judgement”.

    Jude helps clear up the question on what the problem with Sodom and Gomorrah was. In his Epistle he writes, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” (Jude 1:7-8)

    Jude describes the issues with Sodom as “fornication” or “pornia”, “going after strange flesh”, and “filthy dreamers” who “defile the flesh”. He is quite clear as to the meaning and intent of these admonitions.

    According to the Scriptures, Homosexuality is a sin; God said so (in the Old Testament), Jesus said so (in the New Testament), the Prophets have said so from the beginning.

    You don’t have to believe the Mormons, but if you call yourself Christian, then you would believe all I have quoted, as it is from the Holy Scripture; the Bible. Something the Mormons hold in common with other Christians.

    Maybe you aren’t convinced, maybe you might argue that a Prophet speaks for God, not Jesus…or that Paul was an Apostle, not a Prophet…?

    Jesus said, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:49-50)

    Jesus said He gave us what the Father gave Him.

    Further, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21)

    Then Jesus sent the Apostles to us, with His message.

    “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:” (Matt. 23:24)

    He calls the Apostles “prophets”. Which makes sense, if God gives the Word to Jesus, who then gives it to the Apostles…that would mean the Apostles are receiving the word of God.

    “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:” (Acts 1:2)

    We are told that Jesus left, only after he gave the Holy Spirit and Commandments to the Apostles, “whom He had chosen”.

    “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Cor. 12:28)

    Paul describes the hierarchy of the Church of Christ.

    “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,” (2 Tim. 1:1)

    Paul also gives us the authority by which he teaches, “by the will of God” and “promise of … Christ Jesus”.

    If it comes from God, Jesus, or the Apostles and Prophets, it is the Word of God.

    Now, some of you may find it interesting, some may not, but the LDS Church has their own books of Scripture, in conjunction with the Holy Bible, they are called “The Book of Mormon”, and “The Doctrine and Covenants”. In these books we can read the very same admonitions against Homosexuality, and the same plea to “Follow Jesus”.

    To begin with, we will look at the words of Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, “O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal. O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.” (2 Nephi 9:39-40)

    Nephi tells us that “the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness”. He also begs us to follow “the Holy One of Israel”.

    “The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!” (2 Nephi 13:9)

    Nephi quotes from his Holy Scripture, which is the equivalent of the Old Testament in the Bible. He quotes, “Wo unto their souls” because “their sin … [is] even as Sodom”.

    “And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.” (2 Nephi 31:9, 18)

    Nephi admonishes us to Follow Jesus.

    “O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.” (Jacob 6:11)

    Jacob, Nephi’s brother, gives us the same advice.

    We also have the Doctrine and Covenants. This is a book of “modern scripture” as it contains many of the revelations that Joseph Smith received when the LDS Church was founded. “For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.” (D&C 132:22)

    Joseph Smith, in “modern times” also tells us to follow the Christ.

    Nephi (another Nephi) quotes Jesus, “And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.” (3 Nephi 11:32, 35-36)

    God gives the Commandments, and the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all bear record of each-other.

    “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38)

    Joseph Smith tells us the very same thing we find in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon.

  36. Steve says:

    I’m curious if members of the Mormon church who are making comments on this page really believe their scriptures (2 Nephi 5:21, Abraham 1:21-24,27). Do you really believe that people(Cains decendants who are of African decent and the Lamanites who are, according to Pres Kimball, Central and South Americans, American Indians, and the Island Pacific) who have dark skin have such due to a curse from God? The Book of Mormon clearly states that dark skin is a curse as a result of
    wickedness. Does this not make the God you worship a racist? Just curious as to your thoughts on this.

  37. gil m says:

    Only brainwashed LDS faithful believe that God gave a 1890 revelation abrogating polygamy and then later a 1978 revelation granting blacks the priesthood. If the GAs want to put out this kind of policy, then do it, but don’t try to blame God for it. The plain truth is that the LDS church published both the 1890 manifesto cancelling polygamy and the 1978 purported revelation granting the negro the priesthood as a matter of political expediency for the survival of the church. If the time ever comes that the survival of the church depends on whether so called ”gays” are allowed to marry in the church, believe me, the GAs will publish another so called ”revelation” blaming God for doing it and the faithful brain washed LDS faithful will swallow it hook, line, and sinker!

  38. Open Minded says:

    I’m not sure that Christ ever spoke out about gay marriage, based on the bible’s record.

    As others point out, the teachings of the church can, and do change, so the church of the future will not be the same as the church of yesterday or today.

  39. Anon says:

    I think the church needs to be silent for a moment and reflect. I mean honestly, for ages, the church advocated polygamy and then has the gall to decry gay marriage. I mean, let’s face it, the church’s “Moral Standing” is kinda weak, pro polygamy, against black rights, and now against gay rights. This is not the 1800s. As is typical with religions, their morals are stuck in the era of their founding. Put simply, a group that advocated polygamy for the longest time has zero standing to offer a moral view on gay marriage.

  40. Pauline Fife says:

    I’m Mormon, and I have another take on this issue:

    I don’t believe that the push to normalize gay marriage i.e., promote the gay lifestyle as acceptable by forcing the law of the land to regard same sex “marriage” equal to heterosexual unions as anything but an attempt to attack Christianity itself, particulary the patriarchal family, the institution which stands in the way of state control of individuals.

    It is therefore of the greatest importance that the LDS Church and all other churches who uphold the family stand between Christian/Biblical teaching and this anti-family agenda: The forcing of the concept of gay “marriage” (as a religious institution) on all of us and our children, regardless of our beliefs.

    If gay “marriage” were really about loving relationships between same sex couples recognized by the state, civil unions would have put an end to the issue, legally and practically. But no, that isn’t the case. We must now change the Bible itself, or twist and torture Biblical truths into something completely non-existent: “No, God did NOT have a problem with homosexuality, you just think you read that in scripture because you’ve been taught by homo-phobic ministers and neanderthal parents! You need sensitivity training and re-educating. Here, you bad person…take this new Bible with the references to same sex acting out conveniently removed. We will cleanse you, we (think Orwell’s 1984 Big Brother) will cleanse you!”

    In such a world, expressing clarity of thought is Hate Speech. I reject this pressure, and I reject all attempts to denounce this fact as “hateful” or “anti-gay”, when it is in fact the radical pro-gay agenda folks who actually HATE heterosexual, especially Christian, faithful, monogamous two-parent families who thrive independent of state control.

  41. Pingback: Looking Forward to Mormon Change | Religious Reason

  42. Pingback: Polygamy, Priesthood, and Prop 8 – a FAQ | Religious Reason

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