Last week the LDS church announced it will no longer punish people for supporting gay marriage. This, despite the brethren saying that such a practice goes against church doctrine and constitutes a crime against nature. Of course, the church is suggesting that they are merely reaffirming their long held stance of allowing members to publicly oppose church doctrines.
“An LDS apostle reaffirmed recently that Mormons who support gay marriage are not in danger of losing their temple privileges or church memberships — even though the Utah-based faith opposes the practice. In an interview Friday (March 13) with KUTV in Salt Lake City, Elder D. Todd Christofferson said that individuals in the 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be in trouble only for “supporting organizations that promote opposition or positions in opposition to the church’s.” (Salt Lake Tribune, Peggy Stack)
So apparently a church member can now safely go online (or has always been able to) and while identifying as Mormon can state his or her belief in any practice that goes against any and all doctrines of the gospel, as long as they do not support an organization that feels the same way they do.
“Our approach in all of this, as (Mormon founder) Joseph Smith said, is persuasion. You can’t use the priesthood and the authority of the church to dictate. You can’t compel, you can’t coerce. It has to be persuasion, gentleness and love unfeigned, as the words in the scripture.”
Any person openly “opposing” the church’s teachings, no matter who the individual is, the church will not compel him, coerce him, nor take away his recommend or his membership.
In theory this means one can openly argue that the church should practice polygamy. He can take to the airwaves, write books, and make persuasive and intelligent arguments. He can share his feelings in church and everywhere he goes. He can blog about his love of the doctrine and openly tweet of its carnal and health benefits.
Without any retaliation or fear of discipline, one can now argue for re-instituting the ban on blacks receiving the Priesthood.
I suppose one can now argue openly in favor of abortion, murder, Jihad, pornography, slavery, fornication and stealing, all as a Mormon in good standing.
When a person shares these views on say… CNN, and the world becomes outraged, the church will stand by him or her and will tell the world that it upholds this member’s right to be in favor of such issues. We will not condemn such speech as the church recently has done in its essays on priesthood. But rather we will lovingly disagree and refer to such scoundrels with love unfeigned.
Dictionary.com actually defines apostasy as:
“a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.”
It is interesting to me that the church does not seem to want to call at least those in favor of gay marriage, “apostates,” despite their clear departure from what we have been told are the true doctrines and principles of our religion.
Is this the same generous standard being applied to those:
1) who are wanting and openly asking the church to be more transparent?
2) who openly disagree about the way the church is spending tithing?
3) who think it’s a bad idea to run the church so much like a corporation?
4) who think that the words “prophet, seer, and revelator” should not be used casually and only apply to those who have done as the scriptures teach — i.e. stood in the presence of God and who have been ordained by Him?
5) who believe that men are fallible and that even the very elect can be deceived by leaders in the church and the precepts of men?
Elder Christofferson does make one disclaimer:
“We have individual members in the church with a variety of different opinions, beliefs and positions on these issues and other issues,” Christofferson said. ” … In our view, it doesn’t really become a problem unless someone is out attacking the church and its leaders — if that’s a deliberate and persistent effort and trying to get others to follow them, trying to draw others away, trying to pull people, if you will, out of the church or away from its teachings and doctrines.”
So, in other words, “We want church members to think they are allowed to say whatever they want so that the world will think we are just so amazingly open minded, BUT the second their comments question the church’s leaders or when their arguments begin to actually persuade people, then all the gentleness and kindness and persuasion will go out the window.”
As Rock Waterman astutely reminded us recently, Denver Snuffer was right:
In LDS Mormonism there is really only one doctrine left. Everything else is subordinate and changeable. But this single demand is paramount. If you disbelieve this position, then LDS Mormonism has no place for you. The doctrine:
We follow a man whom we call a prophet.
If you disbelieve this, and think you ought to follow Christ first, and the church’s “prophet” is secondary, then you are insubordinate and a threat. Believing Christ comes first opens the possibility that Christ could tell you the “prophet” is mistaken. That is intolerable.
Even the brethren still teach that marriage is still between a man and a woman. I think this doctrine — gay marriage — is a specific exception to the rule that we cannot publicly support a doctrine or policy that the brethren oppoe.
Forgot to check box for following this post.
You nailed it, Bishop! All I could think about was how the leaders are fond of saying the Lord’s house (by which they mean the Church they have co-opted) is not a house of confusion.
Boy howdy, am I confused now! In its haste to make brownie points with the world, our leaders have just delivered a slap in the face to all those members who diligently campaigned and donated their personal treasure to help pass California’s Proposition 8, which they (and especially the Church leaders who rallied them to the cause) hoped would prevent the very accommodations toward the gay community that the leaders just lobbied the legislature to achieve.
At least I’m finally in the clear. I think.
Since I’m not in any way identified with any group or organization “trying to draw others away from the Church’s teachings and doctrines” I would think I’m safe from persecution. On the other hand I AM constantly pointing out when the leaders themselves are guilty of ignoring and disobeying the Lord’s clear commandments, so it’s possible I remain in their cross hairs since some might consider such reporting “attacking the (corporate) Church and its leaders.”
O, what to do, what to do? If there wasn’t so much rampant hypocrisy emanating from 50 East North Temple Street, I might not be experiencing such confusion right now.
As part of the late 20th century cravings for acceptance followed by the Prop 8 fiasco the church does not want to look rural or unenlightened. Draconian treatment of same sex marriage supporters risks offending middle-class America and making the church look, well, fundamentalist and redneck. From a PR standpoint that’s not acceptable.
Bishop Anon I think you misunderstand what Elder Christofferson was saying. Maybe you misinpreted his intentions. If someone supports gay marriage, online, the church will not discipline them. He doesn’t say anything about marching in parades, contributing to political campaigns, organiztions, etc. that support gay marriage. I don’t think he WANTS people to openly support gay marriage but he’s not condemning them for doing so. That’s an important difference. How can the church control or regulate what each individual member believes in his heart and why would it want to? Should we discipline everyone who watches rated R movies? Should we disciple anyone who has lusted after another woman other than their wife? These are in my opinion as bad, if not worse than supporting same sex marriage on social media. The church clearly has drawn the line on where it stands on marriage and family and I don’t think we need to feel threatened by those with different opinions, in or out of the church.
I think what he’s saying is not that it’s OK to support gay marriage “online” but that you won’t be disciplined for that. Should the church discipline people for watching R rated movies or for having immoral thoughts? Do we want the church to micro manage our own spirituality? The Savior condemned all sin – he didn’t obsess over or even single out homosexuality. All sin is damming.
James, I think you make some very valid points. I think where we may diverge is I believe the church normally cares a lot about what its members say online. Members are being disciplined/excommunicated for comments made on blogs all the time now. But the church apparently now wants to carve out an exemption. Thanks for reading though!
A blog is a larger platform that can be used to persuade others. A FB post is usually a stupid 3 sentence comment. Elder C never mentioned blogs.
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Given the Church’s past & present beliefs & behaviors, I believe the Church probably secretly supports SSM, but that they can’t come completely out of the closet yet, only little by little as we see they are doing, until they are sure most of society and their members also support it, which isn’t too far away it seems.
Remember, Joseph Smith was excommunicating people for polygamy while the Church says he himself was living it secretly.
Once most members support SSM, then I believe the Church will totally support SSM too and probably allow it in the temple, just as they completely changed their tune on & accepted so many other doctrines over the years, that they at 1st totally condemned.
I always enjoy your comments Rock! For the record, lots of us are confused too…. just like you. 🙂
I agree, this is very well written. I agree with many who oppose the follow the leader false doctrine. You need to know Christ and also understand that men who hold prophetic positions do not always speak prophetically. Joseph Smith put it this way he said:
I visited with a brother and sister from Michigan, who thought that “a prophet is always a prophet”; but I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such. (HC 5:265.)
– Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 265. TPJS, p. 278.
Not everything they say is always valid or godly. For more information on this see my blog at: http://mdb651.blogspot.com/2014/11/there-are-many-in-lds-church-who.html. Especially since the scriptures oppose homosexuality,(see Jude verses 7-11, 1 Corinthians 6: 9–10, Romans 1: 27–32, 1 Timothy 1: 9–10, etc.) our course should be clear no matter what the leaders of the LDS church do. I for one oppose it because God has declared it to be an abomination. So for me the debating is over, I know what course I am going to pursue.
If the leaders continue on in there path of acceptance of this sin, it will just outwardly show that they have lost a fullness of priesthood and are now in the dark. Brigham Young put it this way he said:
There is nothing that would so soon weaken my hope and discourage me as to see this people in full fellowship with the world, and receive no more persecution from them because they are one with them. In such an event, we might bid farewell to the Holy Priesthood with all its blessings, privileges and aids to exaltations, principalities and powers in the eternities of the Gods.
– Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 10:, p.33.
When we see the time that we can willingly strike hands and have full fellowship with those who despise the Kingdom of God, know ye then that the Priesthood of the Son of God is out of your possession.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 10:, p.274.
This loss of Priesthood has already taken place in the LDS church, it just goes to show that this has already been prophesied about and has come to pass. Wilford Woodruff said that the church could lose a fullness of priesthood he put it this way, he said:
MEANING OF “GENTILES.” Sometimes our neighbors and friends think hard of us because we call them Gentiles; but, bless your souls, we are all Gentiles. The Latter-Day Saints are all gentiles……The gospel came to us among the Gentiles. We are not Jews, and the Gentile nations have got to hear the gospel first. The whole Christian world has got to hear the gospel, and when they reject it, the law will be bound and the testimony sealed, and it will turn to the house of Israel. JD 18:112, September 12, 1875.
Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, edited by G. Homer Durham, p.116.
I thank God that the day is at hand when the Jews will be restored. I have felt to pray for them; I feel interested in their behalf, for they are of the seed of Abraham and a branch of the house of Israel, and the promises of God still remain with them. It is true they fell through unbelief, and the kingdom was taken from them and given to the Gentiles, and when it came from them, it came clothed with all its gifts, powers, and glory, Priesthood and ordinances which were necessary for the salvation of men, and to prepare them to dwell in the presence of the Gods; and when the kingdom was given to the Gentiles, they for a while brought forth the natural fruits of the kingdom. But they, like the Jews, have fallen through the same example of unbelief, and now, in the last days, the kingdom of God has to be taken from the Gentiles, and restored back to every branch and tribe of the house of Israel; and when it is restored to them, it must go back with all its gifts, and blessings, and Priesthood which it possessed when it was taken from them.
– Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 4:, p.233.
Anyway this all goes to prove that you don’t follow a church, a Prophet, Pope or any other man who claims that he can take you to God. You have to know God for yourself. Anyone who follows an organization won’t have there expectations realized in the afterlife. A fullness of Priesthood can not be obtained through any church, leader or man, you must get it from God.
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So you are alowed to openly oppose the doctrine, but you’re not allowed to oppose the leaders… Except that isn’t right, because Alan was offically excommunicated for voicing opinion on doctrine that might lead someone to not go to the temple. Supporting gay marrige actually is directly discouraging people from going to the temple. Conclusion? You only get in trouble of it is a doctrine the leaders oppose. Therefore, I’m pretty sure what I heard is that the leaders support gay marrige, not ready to change the official doctrine, but personally support it and therefore promoting it won’t be considered attacking the leaders and is therefore not apostasy.
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