“Church Instructs Leaders on Same-Sex Marriage” – or did it just make a bad situation worse?

Once again the church releases an ‘Official Statement’ that makes the hearts sink.  My first thought when I read the latest was, ‘lets  watch and see how many members will bail’, and then over the ensuing hours the exit narratives in the social media began;

‘I’ve had enough’, 

‘I can’t do this anymore’,

‘I’m out’. 

We could trust the moral high ground proclaimed in this latest declaration if it didn’t produce more questions than it answered, if it softened more hearts than it hardened.  But my guess is, it didn’t.  For homophobic Utah this would be a feather in the cap, a high five to those who think that the price you have to pay for the Kingdom of God is a few back stripes, a good dose of woop fanny, and a severe kick in the arse to any sonovabitch who dares to tamper with and challenge what is clearly ‘RIGHT’.  For LGBT folk it’ll be an agony,  and for Mormon LGBT allies… well speaking as one, they’ll be leaving gaps on the pews wondering how much more bigoted intolerance and prejudice they can take.

The first flaw in this missive is that once gain the WHOLE, GLOBAL, WORLDWIDE church is implicated in the political machinations of Utah.   As the ultra  conservative Utah church responds to the super conservative Utah politics it sends doctrinal ripples out to the rest of the world which means that with impunity they have a habit of dropping very gauche, very noisy,  and very foreign eggs in our local nests.

The fact is, there are 20 democracies around the world that have legalized same sex marriage.  The walls of heterosexual marriage haven’t imploded in these places, and as a New Zealander I didn’t wake upon the 20th August 2013, look at my husband and wonder if I should have married a girl.    So as someone who lives in such a country let me give my assurance that its fine – it really is.  Its actually better than fine, its really rather nice and it has made our country kinder and more tolerant as a result.  So I don’t want our church experience in New Zealand to be contaminated by Utah politics fought out in a climate of nauseating conservatism.  It doesn’t fit here.  Yes, yes – I know the missive was directed at the church in the US, but its still a statement of religious position and either it is globally relevant, or it isn’t doctrine. Which leads me to wonder how it is that God is so overly concerned with Utah State politics at the expense of the numerous universal concerns that the scriptures would indicate so clearly and repeatedly concern Him?

So, I’m hopping mad that Utah church gets to create a sanctioned flashpoint of discussion within our global congregations.  Because as Mormons, when it comes to politics, we tend to only talk about approved topics, and when an official announcement is released it then becomes an approved topic.  But of all of the political issues that the Brethren could have gotten their knickers in a twist over,  why same-sex marriage?  Why not condemn the unholy alliance between public and private interests?  Why not address the problems with skyrocketing poverty and inequality?  Why not be in indignation over human rights abuses?  Or here’s a good one, why not issue a statement on the abuse and exploitations of girls and women?  I just don’t think same-sex marriage is worthy of moral outrage.  Its not exploitative, its not cruel, it doesn’t create poverty, its not a precursor for war, excessive corporatism, or exploitative economics, its not mean, its not intolerant, its not sexist, its not abusive, its not a social disease and it won’t steal your car or hold you at knife point.   Heck, it doesn’t even deny the existence of God.   Its simply the legal formalization of a monogamous relationship of choice.  And lets face it, its  going to happen anyway because  its a nonsense to assume that we can completely turn off our sexual orientation, and thus who we end up loving.

The second flaw is the theological one because it’s simply not thorough.  It is reminiscent of those racial doctrines that church leaders stood behind with certainty – until they didn’t any more.  It’s plainly a heteronormative narrative pronounced in the name of God for good measure – just like those white racist narratives that simply said,  ‘you are denied’.   The denial in this case intrudes upon the realm of love and family leaving silences around what same-sex couples are to do about their devotion to each other.    What are they to do with the children they may be parenting together?  What are they to do with memories they have created together?  What are they to do with the belonging they now enjoy in their relationship?  How are they to make sense of their experiences of God who has been generous with outpourings of spiritual feeling when they have searched for Him?  Is it really enough to say ‘God don’t like it’?  If it was a robust theology or a doctrine you would have thought God knew enough about his own doctrine to be a bit more comprehensive, enough to answer, even in part, some of these questions.

Years ago, after reading ‘Approaching Zion’ for the first time, my friend Chris, who introduced it to me suggested that the only way for the church to flourish and grow is for the headquarters to get out of Utah, or even the United States.

‘Relocate it to Mexico’, he suggested.

I’m picking its about time to do just that.  Then lets see what issues bubble up for God!

 

  • Chris Mace

    Couldn’t have put this better myself. Thank you.

  • Alison

    OUTSTANDING and right on point! So much good in here.

    Loved this:
    ” It’s plainly a heteronormative narrative pronounced in the name of God for good measure – just like those white racist narratives that simply said, ‘you are denied’.”

  • Debra

    Thank you so much. Thank you, from the bottom of my Mormon ally heart. And as someone in Utah, living in the eye of this horrifying storm, I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear that people outside are as disturbed as I am over the actions of my “leaders.”

    • wesmanlv

      ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’ – get out while you can and discover the wonderful world outside the hateful bigotry that is mormonism.

      • Holly

        YES! Please leave the church and join us out here. Its hard at first to make the decision to leave, but there are a ton of sympathetic supporters to help you on your journey. You can then be honest with yourself, your god, and the world about your feelings on not just this, but so many things!

  • mdslindsey

    Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!!! This is exactly how I have been feeling- thank you for writing this post.

    Also. this. “Which leads me to wonder how it is that God is so overly concerned with Utah State politics at the expense of the numerous universal concerns that the scriptures would indicate so clearly and repeatedly concern Him?”

    • Devin

      If God can be mindful of the plight of a sparrow, while at the same time manage to keep the universe moving and growing, I’m not sure why you’d think that politics couldn’t possibly be somehow out of his realm of expertise…?

      • Desiree Brown Casperson

        If that is the case, and he does actually care about the plight of the sparrow, why is he not doing more about the much stronger and serious problems that exist in the world?

        • Devin

          And what is more serious than making sure the eternal souls of his human kids make it back to god? I guess its a matter of priority, but I dont pretend to know the mind of god.

          What makes you think he isnt also involved in these other issues?

  • Guest

    Excellent insights!

  • shasha

    Don’t understand why everyone is all the church leaders the Bible clearly states it is what it is! Love even our family members but don’t condone ……….

    • Nat Harris

      Right, it’s really clear in the bible. In the exact same books in the bible where it also mentions that you should beat your children, and that if you find out your wife is not a virgin on her wedding day you should stone her to death on her father’s doorstep. And also to feel free to take slaves, and don’t touch pigskin. Picking out the part you want because you find gay people icky doesn’t make much sense. If the Bible is a moral book, why don’t you follow all the rest of the Bible?

      • Devin

        Remember, Christians believe that the Law of Moses is fulfilled, which mean many of the commandments found in the old testament are no longer applicable. Mormons also believe in continuing revelation, so you need to read all their cannon to make sure nothing from the New Testament has become out-dated.

        • wesmanlv

          ‘all their canon” – please cite the versus in the BofM, D&C and PofGP regarding gay people please – and I do request a posting of ALL versus in these canons.

          • Devin

            Exactly. After the NT words about it, there was nothing written on it in mormon cannon until contemporary general conferences. Remember, general conference and the ensign magazine are also part of the mormon cannon.

          • Hellmut Lotz

            General conference is full of statements that Mormon leaders find embarrassing these days. Let me remind you of the race question, for example. A lot of what used to be considered doctrine in the past, today, is supposedly an opinion of men.

            Determining Mormon doctrine is an imprecise exercise. Until somebody can demonstrate how it helps society to discriminate our fellow human beings, I will conclude that we are dealing with prejudice once more.

          • Devin

            Mormons have what is called a living, or open cannon. They receive new instruction all the time. You want to waste time calling them out on their racist past when that isn’t even a thing anymore, fine.

            The best way to determine their doctrine is to study their recent conferences and ensign articles. That, along with some knowledge of their older scripture.

    • John Gagon

      Sadly, so many LGBT folk see this love exactly for what it is. Condescension. We rather have the kind of love that is fairness and respectful understanding than constant condemnation over something that cannot be changed. You’re are right, you don’t understand.

      • Devin

        Would you rather they hate you for being gay, or love you despite it?

    • wesmanlv

      i am guilty of this same line of thinking – for me it is love the believer, hate the belief.

  • Rhonda Hair

    Same-sex marriage is worthy of moral outrage. Among other things, it contributes further to the collapse of the fundamental unit of every society, the family. You may claim that same-sex couples can be committed and raise children well, but the statistics are against it.

    Maybe in your annoyance you missed the last couple paragraphs from the LDS church’s instructions:

    “The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members…. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

    While these matters will continue to evolve, we affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree.

    As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.”

    • Bill Roberts

      Is this a position you can up with independent of your church or did you have it spoon fed to you by them until you accepted it? Because I have a hard time believing that a charitable person would say this kind of stuff unless someone trained them that way.

      • Derp

        She might just be going off the fact that it’s been the norm for… I dunno… ever. Until now.

        • Scott

          Actually it’s not “the norm” – it’s only common. But it’s not even as common as you think. Families come in all shapes and sizes. There is no “fundamental unit” and what is normal to you is not necessarily normal to everyone else. We are brainwashed by media (not “the media” – just the imagery we see around us) and churches into believing a family unit is Father+Mother+Children – all of the same colour. It’s not. There are many varied combinations. 2 men or 2 women together changes nothing. There have always been LGBT families and there always will. It’s only a question of legal recognition of equality. Anything else is bullying and sticking your nose in other people’s business.

    • Courtney Eberhard

      But what does “respect our standards of conduct while there” even mean? That is subjective. On the more liberal coasts, this may mean, “Hey, don’t have sex while in the chapel. That’s against our standards of conduct”. In my more conservative state, I know for a fact if a gay couple walked in holding hands, they’d be kicked out for showing PDA in a church. But it’s ok if my dad puts his arm around my stepmom during sacrament?

      That’s one problem…

      Another problem? WHO GIVES A RAT’S ASS WHO LOVES WHO? It does not effect you. “It contributes to further to the collapse of the fundamental unity of every society.” What about divorce? That contributes, but I know a heck of a lot of mormons who are divorced. What about atheist couples? What about couples who don’t have kids by choice? None of it should matter because at the end of the day, society will fluctuate. You can choose to go with it, and keep your morals and values of love close to you. Or you can choose to cling to something that was never permanent to begin with; a society of homophobes.

      If you are happy, if your bills are being paid, if your family laughs together, if you have clean water running in your house, if you have food on the table, if you feel loved by those around you, why is it your responsible to make sure that others can’t feel those same feelings too?

      Hop off. You may think you’ve found the ultimate religion and belief system, but the Holy Ghost only grants you forgiveness of your sins. It does not entitle you to the power of judgement.

    • John Gagon

      This stock answer sounds pretty but addresses nothing for the reality of mixed orientation divorces. The Gospel sounds great when you leave out the sheltered ignorance.

    • Devin

      Your first paragraph is factually false.

      The truth of the matter is that there is insufficient data to promote or condemn same-sex couples and their child-rearing capabilities.

      Scientifically speaking, there is no consensus, the only reason this argument has gone on so long and so heatedly is because everyone on all sides of the debate has “feels” about it, with some anecdotal personal experiences.

      Legally, there is no reason to deny marriage to same-sex couples. The only argument against it at the moment is morality and religion.

      on the reverse, there is no scientific evidence to promote same-sex couples in any way. We as society are moving forward on this with just as much faith that it will turn out okay.

      So whether you’re for or against gay marriage, stop trying to use a scientific argument. At the moment, there isn’t one for anybody.

      • Hellmut Lotz

        I cannot see how gay marriage “contributes to the collapse of the fundamental unit of society, the family.” I cannot see how Joe and Matt’s marriage is compromising my ability to raise my children nor anyone elses.

        I am afraid, however, that the family may be damaged by sectarian intolerance. Mormons need to stop imposing their religion on the rest of us. That is a threat to my family and national unity.

        To each his and her own. I respect your religion and expect you to afford the same to me. Stop imposing your religious believes on me, please.

        • Devin

          How are the mormons “imposing” their beliefs on you?

          And if they are attempting to put their view into society, how is that any more “wrong” than the gays promoting their position, or the Jews or anyone else with different opinions on the matter?

          No one’s forcing you to be a mormon, so stop talking like they are. Debate the issue and let the best argument win. Stop villianizing the opposition just because you don’t like what they have to say.

          • Desiree Brown Casperson

            If you, as a Mormon, vote for legislation to restrict marriage equality, that is exactly what you are doing: You are imposing your beliefs on everyone through the threat of force through law. Do you not see that? It isn’t about forcing people to be Mormon, it is about restricting their freedom and rights to marry the person they wish, just because you believe it is morally wrong.

          • Devin

            Apply that logic to any law. Every law is the imposition of someone’s beliefs on society. That alone is not a sufficient criticism of mormon involvement in the gay marriage debate. They have every right to let their beliefs guide their arguments as you have to let your beliefs guide your argument

          • Hellmut Lotz

            The problem with the Mormon position on gay marriage is that there is not a rational argument to prohibit gays from getting married. God said so does not count for non-believers.

            Notice, the Proposition 8 lawyers could not present any reason beyond tradition and religion in court.

          • Devin

            The problem is that you as a non – believer disagree with the mormons and their allies on this position, and thats fine. If their argument cant stand up to scrutiny, then it wont stick. They do, however, have every right to present their case.

          • Hellmut Lotz

            I agree with you, Devin, that Mormons have a right to present their case and to talk about their religion. However, Mormons have no right to legislate their religion and rely on the power of the government to impose their religion over anybody else.

            In Perry v. Schwarzenegger, later Hollingsworth v. Perry, Mormons and their allies were unable to present any secular reason that would justify the prohibition of gay marriage. The court found that none of the arguments stood up to scrutiny.

            That verdict is now valid. In the absense of secular reasons for the prohibition of gay marriage, it follows that Mormons are trying to impose their religion when they strive to prohibit gay marriage legally. That is wrong, a threat to our liberty, and it needs to end. Mormons would not like it if we did that to them.

          • Devin

            What you are arguing for is exactly what you claim mormons are doing; using the legal system to silence the opposition. How does that make you any better than them?

            Mormons who choose to participate in the gay marriage debate have every right to argue for whatever side they want. They are allowed to keep fighting until courts no longer agree to hear their case.

          • Desiree Brown Casperson

            It is not a matter of using the legal system to silence the opposition. If you do not agree with gay marriage, then don’t get married to someone of your same gender. But you don’t have the right to restrict someone else in marrying the person they love, when it has nothing to do with you and causes no harm to another person. Before the Civil Rights movement, the LDS church also strongly fought against interracial marriage. Are you aware of that? Yet now the church is just fine with that, along with allowing black people the rights and privileges of the priesthood, which did not change until well after the Civil Rights movement passed into law. I imagine it will be similar with gay marriage, though I do not know if the church leaders will ever okay it. However, other churches have not been forced in other countries with legal gay marriage to marry gay couples. They can still say no. There is a separation of church and state and using your church policies to guide your voting decisions is blurring that line somewhat. Even more so, when the churches get involved and advise their membership to vote a certain way, they should lose the privileges they get with exemption from government intervention and regulation. If they wish to remain separate, they should remain completely separate, not advise members to vote a certain way on issues.

          • Devin

            This line of thinking states “if I dont like WHY you disagree with my position, you shouldnt have the right to present it in politics”.

            A church has every right to council its membership on what they consider moral issues. So long as they remain politically neutral, they can be involved in any public debate. Its membership also have every right to let their beliefs guide their debate, just as your beliefs guide yours.

            Separation of church and state doesnt mean churches just shut up and stay I their corner. It means that that they cant dictate the terms of the political discussion. They are equal participants, neither favoured or targeted for their beliefs.

          • Desiree Brown Casperson

            I do apply that logic to every law. In my opinion, the only laws that should exist are those that deal with the restitution of people who harm others or their property. Anything beyond that is the imposition of one’s beliefs onto society at large, and restricts their rights to do as they wish without harming other people. In our country, they do have the right to vote to restrict others’ rights in actions that don’t involve harm to others, but that is precisely what I think is wrong.

          • Devin

            Fair enough. You’re arguing for a system where the only restricted acts are those which do direct harm to others? There are those who disagree with that type of system, but that may be a discussion for another day. Fortunately, we are allowed to disagree on values

          • Osowoofy

            Um, in case you haven’t noticed, I’d say the best idea IS winning, Sparky.

          • Devin

            And your point? Or are you being obnoxious just because?

        • Rhonda Hair

          Nobody, *nobody* who knows me well would call me a brainwashed sheep.

          Mormons do not impose their religion on others. We teach, yes, but every person is free to choose to accept or reject the teachings. As to the collapse of the family and later of society, pure logic demonstrates that. Two members of the same sex cannot create life between the two of them. A member of the opposite sex must be involved in some way.

          If you truly respect my religion, why would you invest time and effort in criticizing our church leaders’ reiteration of our right to set standards for members’ behavior? Further, history is on the side of what I’m saying is an eternal truth. Societies that have encouraged same-sex relationships, have collapsed, in part due to collapse of family commitment and structure. .

          Rejection of particular behavior is not intolerance. It is discernment.

          • Osowoofy

            Miss Rhonda is exemplifying how just a smidgen of intellect can be a very dangerous thing.

          • Rhonda Hair

            This is an example of why nobody on this side can be accepted by you and your side: you think we’re all ignoramus sheep, until somebody shows they don’t fit in that perfect mold, and then we’re slightly intelligent but nevertheless ignoramus sheep anyway.

            The collapse of the family is no myth. Look at the big picture; declining divorce rates mean nothing when the marriage rate is also declining, and numbers can be twisted to show anything you want, which is why it is nigh-on to impossible to convince someone by using statistics.

            In addition, the outrage expressed by the author of the blog post is misplaced: did she notice this part of the church’s statement? I didn’t until just this morning: “instructions from the First Presidency to local Church leaders in the United States.”

            Your claim of bigotry is due to your inaccurate assessment of their- and my – motivation. I do not fear, distrust, hate, or have contempt or intolerance for you as a person. I believe each person is more than their label, that each person has something to contribute and that I can learn from, and is a child of God who is eternally and incredibly loved and valued. Believing that an action or belief of yours is destructive does not mean I hate you. Nor does it mean I’ll trust you to teach my children.

            That’s not hate or intolerance. That is discernment. There are moral absolutes with inevitable results, no matter how much you use the miracles of science and power of government to delay the consequences.

          • Metatron-Enoch

            Well said!

          • Hellmut Lotz

            Divorce rates have actually been declining for more than a decade. The collapse of the family is a myth. The fact is rather that families have always been vulnerable.

            If you don’t want to impose your religion, stop legislating your believes. If my son marries a man, it’s none of your business.

      • wesmanlv

        your statements are correct – however, as a brainwashed sheep Rhonda Hair would never bother to research her position for actual facts but rather depend on the hyperbole spewed from a pulpit by uneducated, ignorant messengers of bigotry and lies.

    • Laura

      Have you noticed the decay in the institution of heterosexual marriage? Completely undermines your argument. Oh, and Christ never said one word against homosexuality. Maybe you should reread the new testament in that context. You might also recognize that John the Beloved was a gay man, who had a gay love. What do you think Paul’s problem was? He was gay, he was jealous and he turned hateful. Having gained power, he turned that into letters to control the minds of other people.

      • Metatron-Enoch

        Actually he did, as Jesus Christ (Jehovah of the Old Testament) appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18 with His angels to go down into Sodom and Gomorrah. Here Abraham pleads with the Lord to have mercy if he could find some righteous among the inhabitants. However, Genesis 19 elucidates that the men of these cities tried to “know” the angels of the Lord, meaning a desire to sodomize them. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

        Also, I like your neoplatonist interpretation of the scriptures, which is clearly dross and filled with Gnostic beliefs.

  • John Gagon

    I don’t see how same sex marriage contributes to collapse of the fundamental unit of every society, the family. Take me for instance. Married as a man to my husband, I can support the single mother I left behind better. There will be more stability in my life, my job and social supports.

    That single mother is what the church did in asking all men (regardless of the lie involved in a mixed orientation marriage) to seek celestial marriage. In the end, no matter how hard a gay man tries, people will discover his sexual orientation. They will treat him different and that pushes him to just “come out already” instead of lying to everyone. The poor wife has to put up with the ignorant questions and this splits them up despite how hard they try. She leaves him with the child, not realizing in the beginning the cruel messages, the no homo jokes in priesthood, the “bless her little heart” sentiment in relief society will be forthcoming.

    What the church has done has cursed my child who is innocent with a single mom and a broke gay dad who yearns to see her. The church encouraged the mom to keep our child away from me. So you see, the church just loves the “family”. What does it matter then how children come out when raised by a mom and dad….if the dad is gay or the mom is lesbian? What is worse? A child raised by a single mother and an absent sinner of a dad or a child raised by two loving parents? Think about that. The statistics show children benefit when there is a safety net of more than one adult able to provide, gender is much a secondary factor. The church could also benefit from reducing teenage pregnancy if it cares so much about children. Monogamous committed parents as a focus would make more sense in general. Letting gay men be gay men would also prevent this kind of disaster. The church doesn’t recommend bringing spirit children down to earth at the expenses of teen pregnancy…so why do they recommend doing so for mixed orientations? Celibacy you say? How about the church leaders walk a mile in those shoes first. I was fully tithing for 40 years and nothing happened. No change in circumstance, let alone orientation. This is a disaster. Soon, the church won’t be able to afford the air conditioning in its temples and they’ll have to close them down.

  • John Gagon

    I haven’t seen my daughter since she was a baby thanks to the church. You would think it was Islam. I’m living “Not without my daughter” with Sally Field…with the gay guy as Sally. So much for honoring the law. I have a legal right to visitation but the church encouraged her to “stay in hiding” so I can’t exercise that legal visitation. It’s worse than you can imagine. Behind closed doors, high council members call gay men “human cesspools” and make us cry. I never knew what horror lived behind closed doors of the Sunshine Family Church until I went there myself as a gay man confessing for the first time.

    • Holly

      John, this is simply horrible. I believe it because I grew up as Mormon and I know how abhorred the even idea of gayness was. I’m just curious, when did this awfulness start for you? Living away from the church and away from Utah, things “look” like they have gotten better, for example, this article. But then again, I really have no idea.
      Again, so sorry. This is completely unjust and outright illegal.

    • Val

      Did you ever see 8:The Mormon Proposition? My wife is ex-LDS and I was shocked at the way gay men have been treated by the Church and shocked by what it’s leaders say. The electro shock therapy to those men was beyond cruel. I am no fan of the LDS church as I lived through Prop 8, but luckily was married before it became law.

      I am sorry you are going through this with your daughter and I am sorry that Utah is controlled by a theocracy that is called the LDS. Mormons have been been on the decline in CA ever since Prop 8.

  • http://www.ChipBrowne.com/ Chip Browne

    Deliberately sidestepping your point about conservatism vs. liberalism…

    Re: Same-sex marriage.

    I’m not speaking for either side here…

    Getting the state to recognize your marriage is one thing. Getting God to recognize it, is quite another.

    I just don’t believe God CAN recognize as marriage the union of two of the same gender.

    • wesmanlv

      no one is asking your God for that recognition. In fact, the opinion, views or message of your god really don’t matter to me at all. However, the views of the state do matter. If I am good enough to pay equal taxes, vote, serve in the military, etc., then I am also good enough to receive equal recognition from the state. Period.

      • http://www.ChipBrowne.com/ Chip Browne

        I wish that the state did not create such a combination of advantages for those whose marriages are recognized. That creates inequity. That alone has hijacked the true meaning of marriage. I actually think we have lost the true meaning of marriage. It no longer is what it always has been.

  • Doc Bob Campbell

    this reminds me of a previous declaration from the first presidency.. http://www.mormonstudies.net/html/official/fp_letter_nelson_1947.html

    • Doc Bob Campbell

      From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it is has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel.

      Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient partiarchs till now. God’s rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous. Modern Israel has been similarly directed.

      We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this are, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.

      Faithfully yours,

      [signed]

      George Albert Smith
      J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
      David O. McKay

      The First Presidency

      • Lindsey Brooks Hicks

        This is horrifying

      • Laura

        If I could, I would send a letter to the Presidency written just like this:

        Dear Presidency,

        Have you considered for one single second that Joseph Smith, Jr. actually did, in fact, give the high priesthood to a black man before he was murdered (not martyred – murdered!), thus setting the standard for the inclusion of the black race in the priesthood, making them completely equal in the church even before the civil war (which by the way, freed the slaves to establish them as men in the eyes of the same God which supposedly inspired the constitution in the first place…)? It was power-grabbing Brigham Young who created the doctrines that followed, denying the very equality that Joseph Smith, Jr. established, and adding his own BS doctrines on all levels after that (including that Michael was Adam, the blood atonement rule, that it is justified to have whore houses and drinking establishments to create scandals so that he could control the federal agents who would come to the state, etc.). He was just another Hitler, before Hitler even existed, creating laws and rules as he went to suit his own agendas. Brigham Young was just another dictator. But, you already knew that, didn’t you? Your own faith is nonexistent as you sit in power positions to control the minds and behaviors of others. YOU KNOW that your leader is as phony as you are, established through lineage of Brigham Young. Your very agendas are being revealed day-by-day. The church is bleeding and all of it’s money-grabbing agendas are being revealed, as all inherent traits increase over time until they can no longer be hidden in the darkness. As Christ will return, your Gadianton ways will be revealed.

        • Josephsmyth

          Don’t you dare give Smith a pass here…….He was just as phony and money hungry as the rest of them. It started with, and has been based on lies ever since the beginning.

          • Laura

            I’ll give Joseph Smith a pass because I read his authorized and official biography written by Christopher Nemelka. If you can believe that Moroni gave the gold plates to Joseph to translate, then you can believe that Joseph resurrected and gave the required information that his biography be written by the man he (Joseph) gave the gold plates to, so that the sealed portion could be translated just as promised by Moroni. Bet you didn’t know that the sealed portion has been available since 2004, did you?

        • TC123

          What about all the Apostles and Prophets who sustained and/or taught Brigham’s beliefs as doctrine? Do they get a pass for teaching us that blacks were less obedient or from the seed of Cain? They taught this over the pulpit as gospel truth. To support your beliefs you must believe that they either didn’t seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost or that they THOUGHT the Holy Ghost told them these things. Either one, is a damning conclusion.

          • Laura

            Nope, I don’t give any of the leaders a pass beginning with Brigham Young on down to the present. As Moses died without passing the priesthood, the same for Joseph. The priesthood chain was broken as soon as Joseph was shot in the Liberty Jail.

          • therealjeaniebeanie

            Little of Brigham Young’s doctrine is left, as I understand it. Adam-God theory, anyone?

          • Laura

            Nope, no pass. All are equal in the sight of God. That means no one has any more prestige than another. That means that no one is elevated above another. No one should be paid to teach about God. To do so is priestcraft. To take tithing for any purpose other than to give to the poor is to steal from God. That includes building churches, temples, buying property, or investment.

        • therealjeaniebeanie

          I think you should!

        • Ember1

          So, there is evidence he also gave it to women… Do you support that too?

  • wesmanlv

    I am reminded of another era when the mormon leaders were more worried about their own little Utah and to hell with the rest of the world. Rather then condemn the use of weaponry and nuclear war they simply requested that it not be in their backyard (Utah). http://www.lds.org/ensign/1981/06/news-of-the-church?lang=eng

    • Metatron-Enoch

      It is obvious that you have not read J. Reuben Clark Jr.’s conference address from October 1946, entitled “Demand for Proper Respect of Human Life.” Here are just a few excerpts from the address: “And the worst of this atomic bomb tragedy is not that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, not only did it not shock us to read of this wholesale destruction of men, women, and children, and cripples, but that it actually drew from the nation at large a general approval of this fiendish butchery.” Another statement from the address was “Thus we in America are now deliberately searching out and developing the most savage, murderous means of exterminating peoples that Satan can plant in our minds. We do it not only shamelessly, but with a boast. God will not forgive us for this.” Do your research before spouting off baseless claims!

      So what will the Lord do in return to this nation, that constantly breaks His commandments? He will utterly destroy it, just as the Book of Mormon narrative, coupled with the pattern accounted for in ancient writings such as Solon, Ibn Khaldun, Tacitus, Suetonius, etc, has evinced. The pattern never deviates, and America is about to be overthrown with much violence and bloodshed. However, the proud state that this will never happen in America, but such were the boasts of the Romans, Greeks, Ottomans, and various empires of the past.

      I find it a bit amusing that many on here claim to be the guardians and purveyors of spiritual enlightenment, when none seem to be able to discern the signs of the times, “…blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14). A ditch is on the horizon and many cannot see it or refuse to even look.

  • Holly

    I agree with legalizing gay marriage 100%. But I have one question – if you also believe this why do you stay with the Mormon church?
    I left the church about 20 years ago, and the spiteful attitude towards gay people had no small part in my decision. And trust me, the water out here is fine.
    If you feel this way, I say leave.
    Then, go ahead and let the church preach what they will. And let the vote decide whether gay marriage will become legal in Utah. Maybe it won’t happen this year, but believe me, it will eventually happen.

    • ginafitby41maybe42

      I am so close to leaving. I’m actually skipping RS right now. I stay as a support to the closeted gay (and transgender) youth who have no choice but to sit in the pews and internalize the misguided rhetoric about them, feeling helplessly alone. I go with my rainbow pin and bearing my testimony and love of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters from the pulpit. Silently, people have come up to me thanking me, too afraid to speak up themselves. It’s been a testimony builder on many levels — a testimony of how we are connected and how love is so important. Suicide was the number one cause of death for LDS LGBT youth in Utah last year (it is number two now). As I think how DONE I am with the cruelty of some leadership, I think about the youth. (Ask me in a year…)

      btw – I’m cisgender, straight, convert (’99), married with 3 kids, resident of Utah County (since ’08).

      • Holly

        Gina – thanks for answering my question. This one always puzzles me. But I have to say what you are doing sounds very brave! Hopefully if/when you make a different decision, the fact that so many people know you are there for them will make it easier for them to someday make a similar decision.
        Just curious – what is cisgender?
        Thanks again :)

        • ginafitby41maybe42

          Thank you :)
          Cisgender is when the gender identity matches the genitalia. For example, I identify as a female and my genitalia is female.

          • therealjeaniebeanie

            As opposed to transgender. Like, cis fats and trans fats, only no one ever talks about cis fats so people aren’t as familiar with the term. It means basically “normal orientation” in biochemical terms.

      • Alicia

        I left the church 6 months ago, mostly for the differences between our stances on this very issue. I am very grateful that there are those who can stand up and show their love in this way as I could not.

      • TC123

        Something to consider: If any part of your testimony sustains the LDS leaders as directed by God then you are illegitimating those people you are trying to help.

        Like being left-handed, being gay is not a choice. However, it’s a bigger deal than being left-handed because our sexual orientation is a primary factor in determining our identity. When I realized these things I realized that the LDS Church’s stance on gays (i.e. God made you broken and doesn’t want you to be happy in this life) is extremely hurtful, I knew that passive complicity is wrong.

  • TC123

    As a person in Utah I can unequivocally say that the Utah doesn’t lead the Church. Nor is the Church influenced by Utah politics. It’s the other way around–the Church leads Utah and influences Utah politics.

    The teaching that God only sanctions unions between a man and a woman (or women depending on you time period) IS the teaching approved by Church leaders (AKA doctrine). Look at the bottom of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (note the word “World”–it applies to you too) and you will see the signatures of the First Presidency and all of the 12 Apostles. They say it’s from God.

    You really should read chapter 2 of the “Teachings of the Living Prophets Student Manual”, titled, “The Living Prophet: The President of the Church” and decide where you stand. In the past the Church would have called you into a council and possibly ex-communicated your for your post. Nowadays, you get to decide for yourself.

    It’s simple: if you do NOT believe that gay marriage is against God’s doctrine then you are basically implying one of three things: 1) the Church leaders are lying; 2) the Church leaders are misled (possibly by Utah, LOL); or 3) you are more in touch with God than the Brethren. If you believe that God is directing the LDS Church through his chosen Apostles and Prophets then step in line. If you believe that the bigotries of old men are leading the LDS Church then step away.

    Sorry if my post sounds harsh. It just seems that you’ve come to a crossroads and are trying to take both paths. Choose the one you feel is correct and follow it. If later you change your mind, then back track. You will be happier in the end. FTR: I chose #2 (leaders are misled by their bigotries) several years ago and walked away. It was the right choice!

    “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty” –PROPHET Wilford Woodruff

    • Gina Colvin

      I’m glad you’ve challenged me on this TC123 because its something I have been giving lots of thought. I don’t think that the church leaders are lying, I think, as well as being fine men, they are are, like the rest of us products of socialization and sometimes its very difficult to be or think anything other than that which we have been socialized to think. As to whether or not they are misled, I wouldn’t even go that far – I think they are cloistered, they have gathered around them like minded people, and because very little challenges them they are likely ethnocentric to varying degrees. I don’t know if I’m more in touch with God than they are, I certainly didn’t seek spiritual guidance for my post, but of one thing I’m certain, God’s presence is universal and I am no less entitled to feel his influence than they are – and feel His presence I do – often. But by their own admission, they get it wrong. By their own admission they are products of their time. By their own admission they have called things doctrines which are merely political, socially or culturally expedient. I’m just asking the questions; Why are Utah politics so wedded to the church’s theological story? Why is this such as big issue? Why are other concerns not more important? If they got it wrong then – why not now? What good did they think their statement was doing?

      In terms of my relationship with the church, I belong to a rather nice ward where I am known, wanted, welcomed, loved and respected – that’s enough for me. If they ceased caring for me then I think I would be an idiot to stick around. But right now they do – so I think I’d be an idiot leaving – cause its quite lovely – and I feel spiritually blessed and sustained by them.

      • Ember1

        As another native of Utah, I can tell you you do not know the Church here. I used to work as the attendant at the SLC Temple parking lot, and regularly dealt with out of state people in tears because the Church here is not what they know elsewhere. Elsewhere they moderate things to deal with being in a minority position. Here, because they are a major force, they are harsh and extreme. We often will speak of “Utah Mormons” as separate… many of us who have huge issues with Utah Mormons find most from elsewhere to be nice people.

        Here, they have ward politics. Here, they have enough people to play favorites. Here, they can all but completely avoid any meaningful interaction with people who are not “good members”. And many do. Many build their entire social lives around church events. And if you question, it is easy to be excluded from those circles. And once you are, you basically lose your family who is still so involved because they don’t do much if anything outside of it.

        I hear many nice stories of how it is elsewhere, stories that sound like yours. Here, not so much. There is a constant threat overhead of “what if you are not good enough”.

        • Desiree Brown Casperson

          Having been born and raised in Utah, then moving to another state, I can state that it is not always as different as it once was. There are enough people here, at least, from Utah and Idaho, that it is very much like Utah culture in certain ways. It is extremely annoying.

      • TC123

        When I think of being “misled” I consider the individual being misled as a potential source (often a primary source) of the misleading. I think of denial, justification, rationalizing, etc. as types of self-misleading.I should have made myself a bit more clear. Sorry for the confusion.

        Something worth considering: if the Apostles and Prophets (who were supposedly chosen by God to lead the Church) can’t consistently distinguish their own biases, prejudices, desires from the impressions of the Holy Ghost: can you consistently distinguish your own biases, prejudices, desires from the impressions of the Holy Ghost? If your answer is “no” then you might want to consider reevaluating all you “know” via the Holy Ghost.

        Perhaps I’m being egocentric here. Maybe the truth is not your primary goal. You know what they say, “The truth shall set you free… of your friends”.

        My solution: Do what makes yourself happy with yourself and life. That’s what matters most.

      • Rob Killian

        Becoming a Christian means that you are called to challenge your own racism, ethnocentrism, homphobism, and all of the other ‘is m’s’ you carry to your new calling to follow the Savior. The men who lead Mormonism, by holding on to their bigotry and the capitalistic views along with their misogyny, betray the falseness of their prophetic callings. By being unchanged, they give away the blackness and narrowness of their hearts. Becoming an Apostle of Jesus Christ is a life changing event that should bring all to the one true calling of Christians: reaching out in love to all the peoples of the world.

        We can justify and explain the short comings of the prophets all we want, but if they are not changed by their calling to be Apostles then they are false prophets.

    • therealjeaniebeanie

      “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” — That’s not revelation, it’s a position statement from a corporation. Literally.

      And regarding # “3) you are more in touch with God than the Brethren.” It would seem that almost anybody is more in touch with God than “the Brethren.”

      • TC123

        Revelation, proclamation, doctrine… I think worrying about verbiage here is straining out a gnat when it’s the camel we need to worry about swallowing. Would a legally married homosexual couple be excommunicated for consummating their marriage? If so, then it’s a camel that’s trying to be fed to people… and that’s a problem!!!

        FWIW: I’m not sure how one divines what is revelation, what is doctrine, what is speculation, what is opinion, etc. Every rule I had ever heard for knowing the difference has been broken by the people providing the explanation.

    • charles rivera

      You can lace it with honey but your post still has that toxic taste of General Conference condescending talks, in that monotonous sing-song, faux righteous, “I’m a priesthood holder, therefore I’m right”, “Choose the Right–or go to hell” blather.
      Woodruff and other so-called prophets have claimed that they will not lead LDS members astray? Of course they boast this, consider the source, but study the results:
      Smith, Young and Taylor: polygamy, bank fraud, and armed militia vs the US gov’t. Kimball: Miracle of Forgiveness BS and “marry before you’re ready” misguidance. Benson: pure, unadulterated and God-sanctioned racism. Hinckley: ‘I don’t know that we teach that’ and the Hoffmann affair. I say the LDS church leadership has tanked and they’re taking the sheep with them, while stealing 10% of their hard earned money to build gigantic high end malls in Jesus’ name. Amen.

    • Desiree Brown Casperson

      Your statement that the church leads Utah and its politics is problematic in and of itself. If you agree that churches should remain free of government influence and regulation, then churches should not get involved in politics and in encouraging their membership to vote certain ways on certain issues. If the prophet comes out and tells the membership to vote a certain way, and we are told to always follow the prophet, that is pretty manipulative because you either realize that the prophet does not have that authority to tell you how to vote, or you vote that way even if you do not agree with it, so that your eternal salvation is not at stake. Oh, and the statement by Woodruff? Think about it for a moment. Who is the one telling you prophets won’t ever lead the church astray? Oh, that’s right – a prophet. That is like me telling my kids, “I am always right because I am your mother. I will never make a mistake or lead you astray.” Yet I know I will make mistakes as their mother, and I admit to them. The only time the church has admitted to mistakes that the prophets have made, they have called it a “policy” when statements by the prophets during that time most clearly defined their statements as doctrine (see racist policies and refusing the priesthood to the black community for years).

      • TC123

        You and Charles seem to have overlooked where I said, “FTR: I chose #2 (leaders are misled by their bigotries) several years ago and walked away. It was the right choice!”
        I had written a long explanation as to why I included the Wilford Woodruff quote but I just lost it. I don’t have time to recreate it so I will summarize: believing the Prophets is pivotal to believing in the LDS church.

  • daveo

    And the brethren double-down on a pair of deuces. Good luck with that.

  • Kitty Lambert-Rudd

    My wife and I were the first gay couple to legally marry in New York, Yup at midnight July 24th (aka Pioneer Day) at Niagara Falls with the whole world watching. I am a Mormon…. so I can actually respond to this “The Mormon church is telling its local leaders that same-sex wedding ceremonies and receptions are prohibited in their churches.” Response; WHO GIVES A FAT RATS ASS? That lovely little cross-stitch I did while married (in the Los Angeles Temple 1974 at age 17) to a man who abused me for 6 endless years needs to be changed from FAMILIES ARE FOREVER to FAMILIES ARE FOREVER UNLESS GOD MADE YA GAY THEN YOU’RE JUST … uh… SOMETHING ELSE. I don’t need the churches approval. I need that $40 piece of paper issued by my government that guarantees me that I have the same protections in my relationship as my brothers and sister do in theirs. Protections that assure me that the home I have worked for is mine or my wife’s should one of us precede the other in death or (God Forbid!!) divorce. Actually, in NY I now have 1,326 legal protections JUST WITH A $40 PIECE OF PAPER GRANTING ME CIVIL MARRIAGE. NONE OF THOSE RIGHTS OR PROTECTIONS COULD BE GIVEN TO ME BY THE MORMON CHURCH, NOR COULD THEY BE ENFORCED BY THE CHURCH. AND, I don’t need the church to prove to me that MY Father in heaven loves me… HE has blessed me with the most amazing Eternal Mate I could ever hope for. It will be sorted out in the next life. The church has lost its way and have veered away from the most important teaching Christ brought to us; “I come now, bringing a higher law, doing away with all the old that went before it. THIS NEW COMMANDMENT that ye love one another as I have love you. BY THIS shall men know ye are MY disciples in that ye have love, one to another”. To my LGBT brothers and sister our there… HE has never left us. But we have left a church that forgot to live this principle.

  • therealjeaniebeanie

    Here’s a thoughtful (yet occasionally humorous) analysis of what God thinks about homosexuality, which I highly recommend to all commenters here: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2014/01/why-i-dont-care-if-youre-gay.html

  • CanuckinUT

    Gina – I appreciate and applaud your comments, questions, & wrestling with what many of us have considered a crisis of faith. I am glad that I live in a time (in our church history) when we CAN discuss such things without blind obedience and (most of us) need not be afraid for our church membership and/or standing. Speaking as one who welcomes change within the church, I am glad that you have cast your lot with your ward. I’m happy that your experience has been positive (as have mine.) I wish more of our experience for members in Utah and all over the world. In MY opinion, the church NEEDS more people like you, like Gina in Utah County, like Tom & Wendy in Bakersfield, CA, like my wife who is an amazing LGBT affirming therapist. In the words of one of my favorite movie quotes: “Love, actually, is all around” and it’s people like us who, hopefully, propagate love, acceptance, and understanding in our wards and around the world. Thanks!! Please keep up the good work.

  • JofusSmith

    You’re so close to cutting through the cog-dis and seeing for/admitting to yourself that the Mormon Church is a bunch of con-artist, manipulative, corporatized, stinking, steaming bullshit…just a few more instances like these and you’ll get it.

    I believe in you!

  • amos kammer

    90% of our gay friends and family’s were born and raised by the Mormon Religion. Do you not Love the children that you made they came out of you. They have your blood. You worship Joseph Smith and he screwed all those women and children. Leave us alone live your life with your religion do not make the rest of us live by what you think is right. God is watching you and we are all God’s Children.

  • Allen Wyatt
  • Rob Killian

    Great thoughts and very well written Gina. But, remember, Jesus Christ, the Savior of Mankind, is supposed to be running this church. Anything less means this is puffed up false prophetry. You lay out very well what Christ’s church would be concerned about: Poverty, Racism, inequality. The Church of Jesus Christ would be working to heal pain and suffering. It would not be adding to the suffering of the very humans the Savior calls us to love.

    The Church’s repeatedly being on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the mission of Christ makes me wonder why anyone with a heart and a commitment to the Savior would get stuck in an ‘all or nothing’ theocracy. There are a hundred other reasons why the Mormons aren’t the ‘truth’. The list of who is suffering among Mormons is much longer than just the LGBT members. There can still be a love for our people, the Mormons, and their gentle natures. But, we are speaking of being servants of the Savior here. We want to follow Him. We are called to minister to the sick and the suffering and to heal the world. The Savior’s work is not vengeful, hateful, or political.

  • Daniel Smith

    “But of all of the political issues that the Brethren could have gotten their knickers in a twist over, why same-sex marriage? Why not condemn the unholy alliance between public and private interests?”

    Although sometimes there may be church doctrines that are hard for us to understand, we must evaluate the founding principle of Christ’s Church. We believe that God speaks again to mankind through his appointed prophets and apostles. Before I converted to the Church, I thought that was the biggest load of garbage. But as I prayed and sought answers from the God I knew was there, I came to know that there are prophets once again…still giving us the hard doctrine and messages to consider. But it is out of love and direction from a loving Father in Heaven. That’s how it always has been. I believe God is speaking through the First Presidency – although I’m not claiming to understand timing or reasoning.

    So all I’m saying to anyone who wonders why the First Presidency issued this or any other statement is to pray and seek the confirmation for yourself.

  • Yup

    This is really easy for someone over 3 thousand miles away. I grew up on the east coast and I live in Salt Lake for the time being. I am sick of this whole topic along so many others. I am also sick some who blaming the worlds problems on people in Utah they have never meet. Salt Lake has a massive LGBT population, and anyone who doesn’t think like them is a bigot, a jerk, a lier, a hater, a discriminator, mocked, spit upon, and so on. Then they pound on the door of church headquarters demanding a response while the church has more important things going on like humanitarian needs in the Philippines or something. After a while the church at least gives a humble response that includes words like “we love gays even though we don’t agree on some issues.” pro gay conservative haters don’t hear anything but what they want to hear. All they hear it as is name calling because it wasn’t what they wanted to hear. BUT IF YOU READ THE FREAKEN RESPONSE YOU MIGHT GET THE MESSAGE. Then I have to hear about it on Facebook all day about how horrible I am for being mormon. Than I have to go to school at the University of Utah and I have to deal with so called “loving” pro LGBT mock me for being LDS and I never even made a comment on the issue.

    Than I have to read something else like this that’s a attack on who I am because of where I live. How am I supposed to react when you say “For homophobic Utah this would be a feather in the cap”? You don’t know me and you don’t know my stance on the issue. Frankly no one even has ever asked me. Don’t ASS-U-ME anything.

  • Allen Wyatt

    KiwiMormon articulates what she feels are two “flaws” in the Church’s recent guidance and instruction. There are problems with her flaws and with her reasoning concerning those flaws. A response to those problems is too lengthy to enter into here, so I addressed them in a post on a different blog.


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