Excommunication is just not worth it


I can’t think of anything that would be worth jeopardizing my standing in the LDS church, which I consider to be the kingdom of God on the earth. I value my membership too much. It means the world to me and provides me with benefits and blessings that I can receive in no other way. I don’t care how much I disagree with someone about some course of action, I would not risk it.

But then, I’m not Andrew Callahan. In case you aren’t aware of Flatlander’s actions, he is the man behind the anti-proposition 8 website, Signing for Something. I know that this is probably a waste of space and that I am just giving undue attention to Andrew, but I want to make a point. Apostasy is just never a good idea, no matter how passionately you feel about your cause.

I suspect it is too late for Andrew to change his course. He has made it abundantly clear that he wants to get excommunicated and he wants his case to draw public attention. Besides having the website created, he has made a couple of YouTube videos that explain his position and leave the church no choice really other than to grant him his desire. Does he realize what he is giving up?

Joining the ranks of the apostates

I know I am opening myself up to rude comments from the ex-Mormons and others who feel that Andrew is courageous for opposing the church on this issue. But I feel the desire to speak out on this as being something that is not worth giving up your membership in the church. Although I can’t verify his claim, like Andrew, I have served in Bishoprics and on a High Council.

If Andrew served for any length of time on the High Council, he would have been a participant in a disciplinary council where a former priesthood holder desired to re-obtain his membership in the church. I wish every member of the church could witness such a proceeding. Then again, I wish that disciplinary councils where church membership is removed never had to be held.

Maybe Andrew never witnessed such an event. If he had, he surely would not be pursuing the course of action that he has been involved in for the past few months. It would help if he could hear the brother who desires to return explain how he was deceived and how miserable he felt for kicking against the pricks, telling of the loss of so many blessings because of stubborn behavior.

Evidence of deception

In Andrew’s letter to a General Authority he stated that, “…in the not too distant future gay marriage will be the law of the land, and that sometime after that, the Church will offer the hand of full fellowship to practicing homosexuals.” I can’t believe that a man who has served in local leadership positions in the church could ever make such a statement about homosexual activity.

I’m sorry Andrew, but you just don’t get it. For someone to be a practicing homosexual means that what they are doing is contrary to the law of chastity. I know this is obvious but to make such a statement as you have is just plain ludicrous. The church will never change the law of chastity. There is no way that a practicing homosexual can be a member in full fellowship.

If you believe that will ever happen then you are very deceived in your thinking. What evidence can you provide that the church has ever indicated that the law of chastity will no longer be a requirement? Wait…are you using the argument that once gay marriage is legal then there is no breaking of the law of chastity involved because they are married? Surely you don’t believe that.

Laws of the land – laws of the Lord

Andrew makes the point that many have brought up in discussing this issue. He states that the church was wrong in denying the priesthood to blacks for so long and defines it as bigotry. He then claims that opposing marriage for homosexuals falls into the same category. I disagree. I still do not yet fully understand why we denied the priesthood to blacks but this issue is different.

The laws of the land have nothing to do with the laws of the Lord. I have written extensively about legislating morality and the importance of government but I can’t believe that the church is ever going to budge in any way toward the direction that Andrew is suggesting. The laws of the Lord do not change based on the way a few judges decide to overrule the voice of the people.

I realize that in the early days of the church there were apostles who gave up their membership because they felt so strongly about not giving up plural marriage. Some have reasoned that this issue is going to be similar to that. They claim that the church is going to come under pressure to change because we teach that homosexual relations are contrary to the law of the Lord.

The law of chastity is eternal

There are some who have struggled with the idea of plural marriage and the law of chastity being compatible. The Lord explained it clearly in section 132, specifically in verse 61. I know some do not accept it, but I have no problem with the idea of plural marriage being a holy and pure institution when it is authorized and commanded of God. But this essay is not about that subject.

My point is that the law of chastity is eternal. It will not change. It cannot change and the Lord cannot change it or he would cease to be God. The church will never change the law of chastity. This law states that sexual relations are only authorized between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully married. Civil marriage recognizing same-sex partners is not the same.

So just to state the obvious, those participating in same-sex marriage cannot be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Obeying the law of chastity is a requirement for membership in this church. Same-sex marriage does not qualify as marriage in the eyes of the Lord. In fact, he specifically commands that homosexual relations are a sin and an abomination.

Fighting against the Lord

Those who are opposed to gay marriage are called bigots, intolerant and many worse things. You can call us all kinds of names but in effect, you are fighting against the Lord and His ways. Marriage is between a man and a woman in the eyes of God and cannot be defined in any other way. It never has been and it never will be. Any other arrangement is simply not a marriage.

This essay addresses those who are in support of Andrew’s activities in opposing the position of the church in support of proposition 8. You may argue that this is a political issue and that the church has no right to be involved in politics, but I am going to turn the tables and use one of your favorite phrases. This is a moral issue and you know deep down in your heart that it is.

If you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are in favor of gay marriage then you are opposed to the work of the Lord. You are fighting against the Lord and his plan for the happiness of his children. The purpose of marriage between a man and a woman is to produce children and to provide them with a stable and secure environment in this world.

Summary and conclusion

This is a volatile issue. Emotions run high when people write about this subject. You may feel that I am totally wrong in the things I have written and I expect many of you will tell me so. It happens every time I write about it. I appreciate those who write with intelligent arguments and points of view. It is unfortunate that essays on this subject bring out the emotionally immature.

You are welcome to comment and disagree. I respect your opinion. I trust you will expect mine and refrain from personal attacks. I think what I have stated is in line with the teachings of the LDS Church. In particular, I doubt that I have gone out on a limb by stating that those who are part of a same-sex marriage can never be members of this church, unless they fully repent.

So is it worth it to be excommunicated over the issue? I guess if you place no value on your membership than you may think so. If you do not believe in the divinity of this church or in the inspiration of the leaders then you will probably have no problem. But if you have any thought that just maybe there might be some truth in this church, then please, please be very careful.

57 Responses

  1. Tim, nice rant but:The church will never change the law of chastity. There is no way that a practicing homosexual can be a member in full fellowship. If you believe that will ever happen then you are very deceived in your thinking.Something similar was said about blacks holding the priesthood and btw ever is a long, long time.The laws of the land have nothing to do with the laws of the Lord.Yes and no, the law of the land certainly affected plural marriage.My point is that the law of chastity is eternal. It will not change.So the law of chastity is more eternal than eternal plural marriage?

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  2. Hi Howard – thanks for stopping by. 1) In the essay I addressed why I feel that this issue is different from blacks and the priesthood. 2) The law of plural marriage did not change – the practice was suspended. 3) In the essay I also addressed that plural marriage and the law of chastity are compatible.

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  3. Tim,I agree that the price tag for excommunication is infinitely too high. Does this mean I cannot be an independent thinker on some issues? Well, I am an independent thinker, period. But, I have NO desire to create situations that would embarrass or impede the progress of the Church. (Besides, I like to believe that most of my independent thinking is consistent with Church principles. One can read my blog for evidence).As a Midwesterner, I do not understand California’s Proposition 8 enough to know how I would vote on it. I have NOT studied it. But, it seems to me that Latter-days Saints are free to engage in political activities in a wide variety of directions — pro or con. We are NOT free (as members in good standing), however, to be public combatants and denouncers of the Church. Clearly, one can be a political activist without involving the Church, when necessary — OK, well, maybe not in the case of Mitt Romney. (I am threatening to write his name on my November ballot).As for polygamy being “suspended,” maybe that is theoretically correct, but if so, it is a VERY DEEP suspension. Official Declaration-1 says, “We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice… .” The word “polygamy” or related concepts almost never occurs in modern and official teaching manuals. It seems like I almost never hear the concept in Church on Sundays. When I do, it is all negative. (Of course, the Fundamentalist-LDS practice of plural marriage has been in the news recently, which is completely distinct and different from our mainstream Church).My opinion: Polygamy has served its purpose, and now that purpose is gone. I suppose Jesus while physically standing on the Mount of Olives could lift the “suspension,” but that is about what it would take — a miracle.Tim, correct me where you think I am wrong. (I can take it).Anyway, I love your blog. I never find myself wondering, “What does Tim really think?”

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  4. Tim,People of the same sex can marry in California and Massachusetts.Sexual activity between a married couple does not violate the Law of Chastity, at least as I have been taught it. There is not one Law of Chastity for heterosexuals and another for homosexuals; it is just the Law of Chastity.What part of “legally and lawfully wedded” don’t you understand?

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  5. I just wanted to let you know that there are many of us out here who read your blog and enjoy it. I agree with you and hope you will continue to be a sound voice in this confused world. It doesn’t take much for people to buy into the nature man and the voices of the world. These feelings, thought, and voices will be an enemy of God until they starts to yield to the Holy Ghost and put of the nature man through the atonement of Christ and become as a child, submissive, meek, humble…(Mosiah 3:19). We all have thoughts and feeling and sometime they rage within us, but if we diligently seek the inner communication of the Holy Ghost, repentant, and seek to follow Christ, we will start to hear a sweeter voice and we start to put away the foolishness of the world. We yearn more for this companionship and less of our own ideas. We become teachable. Keep the light burning bright!

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  6. Micah,Interesting observation, but the church’s position goes well beyond that.The Family: A Proclamation to the WorldWe, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

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  7. Thanks S.Faux and “I Know” for your visits and supporting comments. I have written extensively about my feelings on plural marriage in other essays and comments on those essays, but to summarize, S.Faux is right, it would take an act of God to bring back plural marriage from a very deep suspension, perhaps only if the Savior himself were here in person during the Millennium declaring it to be so. I do not anticipate that I will participate in plural marriage in mortality.Mikah has demonstrated for me what I first expressed in a dialog with Tom Bestor in a previous essay on this subject. In those comments I suggested that if proposition 8 passes, the day will come when the LDS Church will be sued for not allowing same-sex couples to marry in the LDS Temples. I still feel that way.Micah stated that sexual activity between same-sex couples does not violate the law of chastity. In my essay I was fairly emphatic that such an argument would never fly in the church. The Lord has been clear on this matter. It needs to be frankly and plainly stated: “Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline.”I hope and pray that in our dialogs about this subject that we will be clear that there is a great distinction between same sex attraction and homosexual behavior. I have expressed in other essays that the one may be something that one is born with while the other is a sin. The law of chastity is clear in that sexual activity between two individuals of the same sex, married or not, is not in keeping with the Lord’s commandments.There is no way that a logical individual can use that argument. Just because the State of California currently recognizes same-sex marriage does not make it right in the eyes of the Lord or the Church. Yes, sexual activity between same-sex couples is breaking the law of chastity, is a sin and will result in church disciplinary action if you are a member of the LDS Church.I think the law of chastity is very plainly understood by the majority of the faithful members of the LDS Church. No, there is not one standard for heterosexual couples and one for homosexual couples. Can the Lord be any more emphatic? I can’t believe that anyone could try to make this argument in an effort to justify sin. Sin is sin, even if it is legal in the law of the land. The law of the Lord does not change.

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  8. It is abhorrent that the church would excommunicate someone for simply voicing a POLITICAL opinion. What is next, excommunicating anyone who is a registered Democrat?The church may be right about how God sees a marriage, but isn’t it also true that only temple marriages are ordained by God – civil marriages are just legal? If that is the case, why try and dictate the LEGALITY of it. God’s word and the legal system are two very different matters. I believe in letting others believe what they may, and not imposing my beliefs on others. I do not intend on turning the United States into a theocracy revolving around my personal beliefs.I don’t believe that any doctrine that promotes bigotry and hatred is inspired by God any more than the Salem witch hunts were.Forget excommunication – I am sending in a resignation letter to the LDS church today.

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  9. I am one that agrees with your ideas, Tim. Thanks for speaking out. One thing that I don’t understand about members of the church who support gay marriage: what about the principle of exaltation and eternal increase? Isn’t that the end goal of this mortal life? It seems to me that allowing gays to marry effectively reduces their chances for exaltation to zero. Only a man and a woman together can make it to the highest level of the celestial kingdom and have eternal increase. The way I see things, by supporting gay marriage on this earth we are actually limiting the potential eternal progress of our brothers and sisters. How is that showing love to them?

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  10. I always wonder about anonymous comments – why the individual did not feel strongly enough about what they had to say to identify themselves. In this case, I suspect the individual writing is not really a baptized member of the LDS church. I’ve seen this sort of commenting going all all over the Bloggernacle when essays like this are posted.The shock expressed by this anonymous writer about the idea of a church requiring its members to conform to certain rules is very naive. Mr. Callahan has the same option that Mr. Anonymous has – to submit a letter of resignation. However, he has made it clear that he wants the media attention that an excommunication will bring. Of course the church will not comment on his actions, but he will do plenty of that himself to make it a media circus when it happens.So, to anonymous I say that neither you nor I know the full extent of Mr. Callahan’s opposition to the direction of his priesthood leaders. This has gone way beyond a political issue. He is openly defying the church to excommunicate him by his actions. That is called apostasy in my book – not simply voicing a political opinion. As I have made clear in the essay, this is NOT just a political issue, and you know that deep down in your heart.

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  11. First of all, I want to state that I’m posting anonymously because I don’t have a registered ID with Blogger, not because I’m gutless.I don’t doubt your sincerity Tim, but I find some of your arguments simplistic, and others just wrong. For example, you have recently reiterated a fear that if Prop. 8 fails, the Church will be sued to force homosexual marriages in the temples. You seem not to recognize the distinction between civil marriage laws and federal-level 1st Amendment rights of freedom of religion which so far have protected the Church from any such lawsuits by persons not eligible by Church standards for temple marriage; that wouldn’t change if Prop. 8 fails. The government simply does not tell religions how to administer their ordinances. It can’t.In support of your claims, you also seem to have cribbed from a document that’s been going around the Internet called “Six Consequences the Coalition Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails”. This document is full of distortions and falsehoods, so much so that a prominent active LDS attorney and part-time BYU Law School professor has written a rebuttal to it in which he debunks some of the myths that Prop. 8 supporters have been spreading, some of which I’ve heard in my own ward and which, with all due respect, you have repeated.Here’s a quote from his introduction: “Most of the arguments contained in “Six Consequences” are either untrue or misleading. The following commentary addresses those arguments and explains how they are based on misinterpretations of law and fact. My intent is to be of service in helping our Church avoid charges of using falsehoods to gain a political victory. I do not believe these so‐called“consequences” have originated at or been approved by Church headquarters; rather, I suspect they are the result of overzealous volunteers who have misinterpreted California law and the legal cases on which the supposed consequences depend [Tim?]. Relying on deceptivearguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church.”Here’s the link to read the document in full:http://www.affirmation.org/pdf/2008_09_18_thurston.pdf

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  12. I’m the “anonymous” who just posted the link above. Just to clarify, I’m not the same “anonymous” that Tim thinks is not even a member of the Church. I am, and have served in as many leadership positions as Tim has.

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  13. I’m as simplistic as they get. So have fun with this one. To me it is quite simple, those who know the Book of Mormon is true and believe that God has restored his church on the earth and has given us prophets and apostles to guide us in these last days (and I might add these very things we are discussing were prophesied and warned against) won’t have a problem with supporting the church in their position. And they would never, ever talk about given up their membership. Just my simple opinion.

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  14. test

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  15. Tim,I appreciate your approach to all the topics that you write about. They are well balanced and I always feel your compassion when your share thoughts on matters that could be considered difficult and controversial. That being said…..Anonymous I would suggest you come down from your perch on the spacious building and get back on the path.Anon, just because a BYU attorney/professor writes something it does not mean he is correct. The fact is that a New Jersey Methodist church just lost its tax exempt status for not allowing a gay wedding ceremony to be performed in the garden portion of its property. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/nyregion/18grove.html . Anon, wake up! This is about semantics and mainstreaming the gay lifestyle and if you think that it will stop here you are just being silly.From what I can tell the jury is still out in Canada but the government is looking to pass laws that will protect churches from scrutiny if they refuse SSM. Why would they need to do that Anon?The issues with SSM being taught in our schools is a non issue because there is so much garbage being fed to our children that piling one more worldly secular topic to the pile of trash that is taught is of little consequence.“My intent is to be of service in helping our Church avoid charges of using falsehoods to gain a political victory. I do not believe these so‐called“consequences” have originated at or been approved by Church headquarters; rather, I suspect they are the result of overzealous volunteers who have misinterpreted California law and the legal cases on which the supposed consequences depend [Tim?]. Relying on deceptivearguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church.””Anon, allow me to share my purpose. It is to follow the prophet and the brethren. The church’s view has been outlined in the “Proclamation on the Family” and it is quite clear, and quite concise. No one and I mean no one should be surprised about the direction of the brethren. All of us have our agency and those that feel that they cannot support the brethren are of course welcome to do so. Those that kick and vocally oppose the brethren and are surprised that they are subject to church discipline are just plain naïve or ignorant. This has always been the case and will continue to be that way I have not doubt. Maybe you should walk this weekend and help your neighbors understand what the brethren are trying to convey so there is no misconception.

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  16. JohnB said, “One thing that I don’t understand about members of the church who support gay marriage: what about the principle of exaltation and eternal increase? Isn’t that the end goal of this mortal life? It seems to me that allowing gays to marry effectively reduces their chances for exaltation to zero.” Perhaps allowing those who discover they are gay to choose for themselves is more in keeping with the principle of free agency.“The way I see things, by supporting gay marriage on this earth we are actually limiting the potential eternal progress of our brothers and sisters. How is that showing love to them?”Actually, supporting Prop 8 is imposing your religion’s world view on the rest of society. Do all Californians believe in salvation by heterosexual fecundity?

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  17. Update: Andrew reports on his blog that he has received the letter from his Stake President inviting him to attend the disciplinary council being held on his behalf this Friday evening at 6:30pm in Kearney NE. The charge is apostasy.Anonymous #2: I had only briefly seen that document on the six consequences if Proposition 8 fails. I appreciate the link to the rebuttal offered by Morris Thurston. Good points worth considering. I am still convinced that there will someday be some sort of legal challenge to the church on this issue. The conflict between civil rights and First Amendment freedoms on this issue is inevitable.IK NOW: I’m with you. It seems like such a simple straightforward issue in my mind. You either follow the prophet or you don’t. To me it is a moral issue and I want to be counted on the Lord’s side when the vote is taken.Quentin: Amen! Thanks for your visit and your comments.Steven B: Thanks for stopping by again. Your write: “Actually, supporting Prop 8 is imposing your religion’s world view on the rest of society.” And I agree with you. Yes, I feel that we are attempting to legislate our view of morality on the rest of our California citizens. That’s OK, because they will have the opportunity to vote on it.

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  18. Quenton, It is one thing to follow the prophet, it is another thing to mislead others. That is what the “6 Consequences” document does, and is the reason Thurston gives for remarking on the falsehoods and misleading deceptions.Regarding the New Jersey pavilion case, the Methodist Church did not lose it’s “tax exempt status,” nor was there a “gay wedding” nor was the case the result of legal same-sex marriage, which has not been realized in New Jersey. Read the NYT article carefully. It was the boardwalk pavilion that lost its tax exemption, not the Methodist Church. Mr Thurston is correct in his response. For those unwilling to read Thurston’s remarks I’ll quote from the document:This false “consequence” is based on the misrepresentation of a case in New Jersey involving an association affiliated with the Methodist Church. In considering that case, it is important to remember that New Jersey does not permit gay marriage, so that case had nothing to do with Proposition 8.What was the New Jersey case about? The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA), a Methodist organization, had taken advantage of a New Jersey law granting a state property tax exemption for a pavilion in the seaside town of Ocean Grove that was dedicated for public use. Note that the case did not involve income tax exemptions and note that the purpose for giving the exemption in the first place was to reward organizations for opening their buildings and facilities for public use.The property in question was a boardwalk pavilion open to the public. “Bands play there. Children skateboard through it. Tourists enjoy the shade. It’s even been used for debates and Civil War re‐enactments.”3 It was also available to be reserved for marriage ceremonies by people of any faith. Nevertheless, the OGCMA wanted to prohibit a gay commitment ceremony (not a marriage ceremony) from being held in the pavilion. The New Jersey real estate commission ruled that if OGCMA intended to claim a property tax exemption for a building open to the public, they could not discriminate. Seen in this light, it was a sensible ruling. Implicit in the ruling is that the group could discriminate if they ceased to claim a property tax exemption for a public facility. It is important to note that this ruling pertained only to the pavilion, which constituted a mere one percent of the property the OGCMA owned. The total amount of additional tax assessed was $200. The OGCMA continues to receive a property tax exemption for the remaining 99% of its property.This case has nothing at all to do with any Mormon, Catholic or any other church’s chapel or sanctuary that is used for religious purposes. It has nothing to do with any church’s income tax exemption. To my knowledge, the Mormon Church has never sought to take advantage of a property tax exemption similar to the New Jersey exemption and likely never would.The California Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage cannot have any federal tax consequences, and the Court so noted explicitly in its decision. The Supreme Court also noted that its ruling would not require any priest, rabbi or minister to perform gay marriages, which should be self‐evident because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion.

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  19. Tim said, “I feel that we are attempting to legislate our view of morality on the rest of our California citizens. That’s OK, because they will have the opportunity to vote on it.”Because marriage is partly a contract between the couple and society, it is important that the community accept and support extending marriage to same-sex couples. So, in some respects this vote is important.Gay activists have stated that if Prop 8 passes it will set marriage equality back at least 10 years. Indeed, it may be that society is not ready to accept and support legal marriage for its gay and lesbian citizens. And if society will not support same-sex couples and their families, legal marriages will be functionally nothing more than civil unions.

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  20. And here’s the link to the two-minute video news story on Andrew’s local news in Hastings NE. This is so sad.

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  21. Steven B: Thanks for your visits and your contributions. Although we obviously don’t agree on this issue, your comments are welcome as they are intelligent and thoughtful.

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  22. Stephen,The clarifacation is fine and Bro. Thurston is a fine capable attorney, this I know because he has worked for me before but I digress. Again this was a property owned by the Methodist Church and they disagreed what was happening on property that they owned. It may have only been a small portion of the property but precedent has been set.I would say the camel has its nose in the tent but that is just me. Thank you for the clarification of that California law. I still believe it is naive to not believe that we are headed down a road where activists start demanding these rights as well.Feel free to enlighten us on how the Catholic Charities adoption issue has been corrected. By the way it looks like we in California could soon be celebrating Harvey Milk Gay Day in our public schools. How appropriate seeing as how we have mastered the three R’s so well in the state we may as ramp up the gay studies curriculum. Like I said Steven adding gay marriage in school is of little consequence because it is already part of the agenda.Steven, feel free to comment on Micah’s earlier statement. He seems to have an enlightend understanding of things and who knows maybe I am the naive one but he seems to think he knows where things are going, or at least where he wants them to go.By the way I made reference to the spacious building and I stand by it. There are more and more members of the church that “read by the lamp of their own conceit” (thanks for that reference Tim).

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  23. Quentin, sorry for misspelling your screen name. You are absolutely correct that this is about “semantics and mainstreaming the gay lifestyle.”One reason that both sides of the issue are fighting so hard on Proposition 8 is that legally extending marriage to same-sex couples will do more to mainstream gay and lesbian lives than, perhaps, anything. That is what is so frightening to so many.And much of that fear is really rooted in bigotry and age-old fears about homosexuals. And I think much of society is now realizing that those fears were unwarranted. Gays and lesbians are living open and honest lives in society and the world isn’t ending.Most of the talking points for supporters of Prop 8 are really just concerns about the normalization of homosexuality in society. They are concerns about the clash of gay rights with the desire of many religions to discriminate against gays or at least be able to teach that homosexuality is sinful.And the thinking seems to be that if Prop 8 can be passed that it will stop the progression of gay rights, and the resulting “train wreck” with religious liberty, as some have phrased it. But passage of Prop 8 will only slow down marriage equality nationwide, and somewhat slow the normalization of homosexuality. Meanwhile, gays and lesbians will continue to request, even demand, to be treated equally under the law. and anti-discrimination legislation will continue to be established on the state and federal levels, granting greater protections to gays, lesbians and the transgendered.So I think that the enormous amounts of money being poured into the campaign, the church membership resignations and yes, even the excommunications are, sadly, not going to really make that much of a difference in the end.

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  24. My biggest problem with Andrew, and I have told him so, is that he is lying openly and admittedly in his efforts. He lied in the letter he sent out; he lied in the way he presented himself as a “Mormon Priest in good standing”; he lies in many conversations about his background and motivation. I do not agree with his views, but I disagree even more strongly with his tactics. They are reprehensible, imo, and not the product of a genuinely concerned and honest opposition. If you are bound and determined to get excommunicated, this is a textbook case of how to do so. Ray

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  25. Tim – this is a well-organized and constructed essay effectively summing up the Church’s position on the issue. While a bit lengthy, you obviously strive to address all the significant factors in this case.As I travel the blogosphere, I am astonished at the number of active LDS who are opposing the Church’s position and Proposition 8. One would think that active LDS in good standing would be among the front ranks of the Church’s supporters.Ironically, I’ve been inactive for 40 years, yet I support the Church’s position on this issue.It’s obvious that Satan does indeed have the power to deceive “even the very elect”. Satan is a master illusionist who can present black as white, or darkness as light. One can only take comfort in knowing what Satan’s final destiny will be.Nevertheless, no Latter-day Saint who strives to be in tune with the Spirit can take joy in Callahan’s impending excommunication. It will be just, but it won’t be joyous.

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  26. The parallels between the priesthood proclamation and gay marriage are specious. Practicing a homosexual lifestyle is a sin and always has been. That’s not just the modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints talking. That’s the word of God.On the other hand, being black is not a sin, and never has been. Granted, in some interpretations skin color is associated with unworthiness or some punishment from God–As Tim said, I still do not fully understand why we denied the priesthood to blacks, but skin color is not a sin.I agree with IK NOW and others: it is simple. Either the Gospel is true or it isn’t. You have the agency to choose for yourself, but the Gospel is not going to change doctrine for you. You may choose one path or the other; you cannot choose the consequence you face. I am reminded of the hymn “Who’s on the Lord’s side, Who?” There is no grey area in the Gospel, so far as I am aware. There is the Lord’s way, and everything else. Period.And @Deseret Dawg, very well and succinctly put. I too have questioned the number of self-proclaimed active members of the LDS Church who are actively and rabidly opposing the Church’s position on this matter. As you say, Satan has the power to deceive “even the very elect.” We have been repeatedly cautioned that in the latter-days that there would be many in the Church who would be led away or would fall away.

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  27. Some observations on this discussion. I don't feel that same-sex couples should have the right to be legally recognized as being "married". Still, nobody can force you to vote for Prop.8 so fire away if you wish. Neither do I think same-sex couples should have the right to adopt children, but who's asking me, right?I have the same idea about the law of chastity and it doesn't seem likely to me that it will change anytime soon, given that the first commandment to Adam & Eve was to multiply.I further have a problem with mainstreaming and "normalizing" homosexuality. While it's certainly a phenomenon that occurs throughout all mammals that have been closely enough studied, I don't know how wise it is to promote its acceptability. Anyhow, exclusive homosexuality is not so common; many animals who exhibit homosexual behavior still reproduce normally, so they're more like bisexual. Likewise, many such humans are "converted" later in life, when they already have children, which makes their exclusivity and "they can't help it" argument suspect in my view.One thing that bothers me in this "normalization" is that homosexuals recruit. I know about many young men or women finding their "true" identity through being seduced by an older person of this persuasion. The evidence is anecdotal, though, and it would be interesting to do a systematic study on the issue. It would be impossible to conduct, because the activist community would do everything they can to stop it, and they have been proven to be very powerful.As for A. Callahan and his public apostasy, I think he forced the hand of his stake president when he started publicly arguing with Church leadership. No organization is very tolerant of that kind of arguing. He states he has been called previously to such and such positions of trust in the Church. This underlines his misunderstanding of the nature of such callings – they are not given on the basis of personal righteousness (although some basic requirements naturally exist); and the other thing it underlines is "has been". William Law was a counselor in First Presidency and turned violently against the Church. Is that the company he wants to be in?Maybe in all this I'm an intolerant bigot? I've been called worse.

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  28. I'm the "anonymous" who posted the link to Mr. Thurston's rebuttal to the "6 Consequences."Iguana Montana, you're a lawyer. You are supposed to know how to deal with gray areas, historical inconsistencies, and contradictory, incomplete records and evidence. The history of the Church AND its doctrine is jam-packed with all of these, on this issue and many others.I'm incredulous that you would say there are no gray areas in the gospel, as we now understand it. Some things are black & white, sure, but by no means all. How will conflicting sealings be sorted out in the next life? Do animals have eternal souls? What are the three kingdoms of glory really like? How does the Atonement work? Did the Savior use evolution to create the Earth? Aren't those pretty gray? There are lots more. Even Pres. Hinckley said he simply didn't know how to explain the issue of homosexuality. "I don't know," he said. Publicly. If everything were so black & white, we wouldn't have canonized in the Articles of Faith our belief that God will "yet reveal many great and important things" pertaining to His kingdom. The comparison between Prop. 8 and the issue of priesthood for men of all races is not based on whether one or the other is or isn't "sinful." It's an illustration that a long-standing, passionately defended "doctrinal truth" can be completely reversed, literally overnight, by revelation, if the Saints are prepared to receive it. Given the current state of homophobia in the Church, I don't know if we're ready for any more light & knowledge on this subject, but I think it's going to take some new revelation and increased understanding of the issue of homosexuality to resolve the escalating tensions the Church will face, internally as well as externally, over this issue. I hope that happens soon. The Church's history on this issue is one of tremendous damage to so many of God's children and I can't believe He or the Savior are happy with that. I think the members of the Church have the right to speak up on any issue even if they disagree with the Church's stance; remember we all fought for free agency before we came here and the prophets themselves have preached against black & white blind obedience. Remember also that the start of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles was the result of an angel appearing not to Peter, the president of the church, but to a faithful Gentile whom Peter would have considered ineligible for gospel blessings. It was only after that revelation to someone "outside official channels" that Peter was finally convinced that he should approve the change, which revolutionized the whole church (Acts 10). I have no idea what more God or the Savior would have us know about the issue of homosexuality, but I do know we have a lot yet to learn, and in light of Peter's experience I'm not prepared to rule out the possibility that new light & knowledge may come as a result of the prayers and activities of Church members as well as the prophet.Please notice that I have said nothing about whether or not I support Prop. 8. So you cannot assume that you know whether I am "following the Prophet" on this issue. I simply want to respectfully present evidence that I believe contradicts your view.

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  29. In this dispensation we need to look no future than the prophet to whom the Lord said that he will reveal his will to. This was established after Hiram Page started receiving revelation from a stone or rock, deceiving many faithful members. He gave some apostles and some prophets for the perfecting of the saints…. Keep in mind that Peter was an apostle. There are many views that are represented among the brethren. They come together and are free to present those views, but after discussion, and prayer they are united and of one voice. Either these brethren are called of God and are the voice of God or they are not. D$C 1:38 The issue isn’t where they stand on the issue. The issue is where do we stand. We are either supportive or not. We either believe they are inspired or not. I think the line is very clearly drawn.

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  30. Whether “these brethren are called of God and are the voice of God or not” as a general principle is not the issue here either. It is a non sequitur to say that because they are called of God therefore everything they say is God’s word. The prophets and apostles themselves, all the way back to Joseph Smith, have said that is NOT how things work. They have been emphatic that it is the responsibility of each member of the Church to gain for themselves a testimony of whether any particular statement by any of these brethren is inspired and correct or not.In this case, we have a letter urging support for a particular political vote. The Church has done this in the past, with the ERA, in opposition to the MX missile (on “moral grounds” – huh?), on liquor laws in Utah, and so forth. Members were then and are now free not only to seek for themselves the Spirit’s confirmation of whether this “advice” is good, but they are urged to do so in fulfillment of their duty to exercise informed free agency. If someone does that and supports Prop. 8, I have no problem. If someone does that and in good faith believes they can’t support Prop. 8, I have no problem with that either. Each person will be accountable for their choices in this as in all other things.But please, let’s not be simplistic sheep. The old fallacy about “when the prophet speaks the thinking has been done” was immediately rebutted by Pres. George Albert Smith himself way back in 1947. Apparently a lot of Church members haven’t yet gotten the memo.

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  31. I love being simple it really frustrates the learned. Anyway, When the brethren have spoken collectively (Proclamation on the Family) which is revelation from our Heavenly Father for his children concerning the roles of family members and we receive a witness of the spirit, it is all so very simple. Then we can so easy apply these wonderful truths and principles to our every day thinking and views.It is only pride that prevents one from truly knowing whether these brethren are right or not. Maybe some ought to spend there time getting a testimony of these eternal truths instead of fighting the brethren. If the proclamation on the family is not inspired and the brethren are not receiving revelation for us in these last day then make a stand. As the with the book of Mormon we can know for ourselves. This reminds me of my mission days of some of the discussion I’ve had with anti-Mormons. There is absolutely nothing I could say to convince them. They have to desire to know and to put their will aside. They (Anti’s) would line up all their supposed reasons why it couldn’t be true. From their vintage point they were right, but some how it is still true. So it is with this. I always believe that Christ will have a righteous people awaiting for Him when he returns. The church is constantly purifying itself. Those who love the world more than Christ will eventually find themselves out side of Christ church either through disciplinary councils or on their own accord. We have been promised safety in following the brethren. Changing gears a little. My father in-law is gay or I should say has had gay relationships and is no longer a member of the church. He still struggles with it and is trying to deal with it the best he knows how. He and my mother in-law are still married though they don’t live together. Nor have they for the last 15 years. I understand this struggle, I’m very much aware of this issue. He lives in an apartment with 2 other gays. One of them was also a member of the church. My father in-law use to be the bishop and although he is struggling with this issue he is firmly against gay marriage or anything like it. He knows the importance of eternal families. Knowledge of this truth is KEY. Although he has made mistakes in the past and is unable to live with his wife (his decision), he hopes someday that Our loving Heavenly Father will make it right. He still attends church, and is probably the best genealogist that I’ve seen. He has over 80,000 names he has collected. As a family we all deal with this issue. I know of a brother in my ward who is heterosexual. He has never been married. He attends church also and hopes and pray that Our loving Heavenly Father will make it right.There are so many things in this world that we don’t understand, but if we trust in a loving Heavenly Father He will make it right.This I Know.

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  32. My understanding is well beyond blind obedience. Obedience is the simple law. The true test is the ability to follow. Are our Stake Presidents and Bishops capable of poor judgement (I know I was)? Are the brethren at times as well? They are men who are called of God but they are at the end of the day men who are fallible. I may not always agree with the current program, like the decision, or want the assignment but I do it because I have covenanted to do so. I have made a solemn oath before God. I take that fairly seriously. Our ability to follow those we might not particularly agree with or even like (how could he be the Bishop?) is a test I fear many of us will get a failing grade on at judgement.Take a look at Abraham 3:25-26 for some enlightenment. 25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; 26 And they who akeep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

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  33. Ik now, I understand you perfectly. And I’ll leave it at that.

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  34. Velska; I have the same idea about the law of chastity and it doesn't seem likely to me that it will change anytime soon, given that the first commandment to Adam & Eve was to multiply.Are you implying that the law of chastity covers everyone and has existed unchanged since Adam & Eve? If so please explain Abraham’s concubines.Homosexuals recruit. It is irresponsible to make such a statement offering only; The evidence is anecdotal, though.

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  35. I think its important to understand the core reasons the Church is involved in this issue. There have only been a few times in history when the Church has jumped into the political fray, and this is one of them. I think you’ll clearly see what the concern is in this statement from the Church in an article entitled “The Divine Institution of Marriage”The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.I’m sure its difficult for non-LDS to understand this concern, but for members of the Church, we believe we have living Prophets who guide the Church and its doctrines. When 15 Prophets take a stand on an issue, it is not something for LDS members to take lightly. We cannot see the end from the beginning, but it may well be that these initiatives set in motion a process that will indeed infringe on the practice and governance of our religion. Perhaps our Prophets have forseen this? If we truly believe in their divine calling, should we not support them even if we currently don’t have a full understanding? Isn’t this what faith is all about? Remember, they laughed at Noah before the flood came…Regards,NealP.S. I am a homosexual member of the Church in good standing, and I oppose the Gay Marriage initiative.

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  36. “… if proposition 8 passes, the day will come when the LDS Church will be sued for not allowing same-sex couples to marry in the LDS Temples.”Then I guess that would be a perfect opportunity for the Church to take a stand before the general public and explain why we will never seal same-sex couples in our temples.Should we lose the lawsuit, it would become very interesting as to what the Church would do then. Would we say, sorry, but we’re not going to obey wicked laws such as this one, and we will go our merry way and do what we want. How are you going to force us to do what you want in our own temples?Do you think the government will threaten the Church with financial ruin, as it did when polygamy was outlawed?

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  37. @anonymous:I'm incredulous that you would say there are no gray areas in the gospel, as we now understand it. Some things are black & white, sure, but by no means all…. Aren't those pretty gray? There are lots more. Even Pres. Hinckley said he simply didn't know how to explain the issue of homosexuality. "I don't know," he said. Publicly. If everything were so black & white, we wouldn't have canonized in the Articles of Faith our belief that God will "yet reveal many great and important things" pertaining to His kingdom. To God there is no grey area; in His kingdom, there is no grea area–while we may see grey areas, to Him, it is black and white. I’m pretty willing to put my faith in His knowledge of things, in His omniscience. Yes, I believe that He will yet reveal more truth to us…but that will clear up OUR grey areas.The comparison between Prop. 8 and the issue of priesthood for men of all races is not based on whether one or the other is or isn’t “sinful.” It’s an illustration that a long-standing, passionately defended “doctrinal truth” can be completely reversed, literally overnight, by revelation, if the Saints are prepared to receive it.Ah, but see again–this is the point. “Black skin” was a doctrinal truth, but a punishment or marking. “Homosexuality” is a sin, and God does not look upon sin with the least degree of acceptance. There IS a difference here whether you choose to accept it or not. And just because the world clamors that something ought not be a sin, doesn’t make it so. The Prophet does not work by following the polls.I think the members of the Church have the right to speak up on any issue even if they disagree with the Church's stance; remember we all fought for free agency before we came here and the prophets themselves have preached against black & white blind obedience.I never said a church member had no right to speak on the issue; granted, I questioned the so-called good members who are so vituperative about the Brethren’s stance. You have every right to speak up; you have every right to choose your path. However, I will say it again: you cannot choose your consequence. If you are in a position of authority in the Church and actively preach against the Brethren, that is your right to do so. But there is a consequence to that. And, please. I’m not talking about blind obedience. Do you assume that anyone that follows the Church’s stance on something is ‘blindly following’? “Unquestioning” does not mean “blind.”There is a difference. This idea that “unquestioning=blind”–this is an idea that Satan puts in our hearts. He makes us us think that obeying the prophets, obeying the commandments, obeying the Lord–that by doing this we are not thinking for ourselves, that we are foolish and stupid. One of the Lord’s ordained apostles explained this better than I can:“Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God…. Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.” [Boyd K. Packer, “Agency and Control,” Ensign, May 1983 at 66.]A willingness to be obedient is not a matter of worldly intellect or blindness.It is a matter of attitude.I have no idea what more God or the Savior would have us know about the issue of homosexuality, but I do know we have a lot yet to learnNeither do I; what we have now is the instruction from the Lord that acts of homosexuality are sinful. Until that is changed by the Lord through His Prophet, the man ordained to be His mouthpiece for the Earth, that’s what we have. I'm not prepared to rule out the possibility that new light & knowledge may come as a result of the prayers and activities of Church members as well as the prophet.Granted, but it must come from the Prophet; regardless of what you and I believe about the subject, it is not our–or anyone else’s–stewardship to preach otherwise to the world. It is the Prophet’s stewardship. Until the time that He decrees through His Prophet that the act is no longer a sin, we’re stuck with what we have.Please notice that I have said nothing about whether or not I support Prop. 8. So you cannot assume that you know whether I am “following the Prophet” on this issue. I simply want to respectfully present evidence that I believe contradicts your view. I have not assumed that you support or do not support Prop. 8. I might question the “respectfully” part. And the part about evidence. But we can agree to disagree.

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  38. Iguana Montana:Of course “to God there is no grey area.” But I wasn’t talking about God’s, only about OUR grey areas, of which there are many in the gospel as we now understand it. One of the main purposes of this mortal life is for us to learn how to make correct judgments when we encounter those areas.With respect, and I mean that sincerely, I believe you are wrong when you say “homosexuality is a sin” and I believe the Church disagrees with you as well. Homosexual orientation itself is not a sin. If you claim that it is, then you are also claiming that God has created many of his children in an inherently sinful condition which more and more scientific evidence is telling us cannot be changed. I can’t believe any member of the Church would honestly espouse that.I agree with you that we are free to choose our actions but not the consequences. Nor do I assume that anyone that follows the Church’s stance on something is “blindly following.” I look at each person’s statements case by case. As to Prop. 8, I see many good people who have clearly thought long and deeply about the issue and have made informed judgments on both sides. I respect them for that. I have also seen statements from some people which suggest they are indeed blindly following counsel without question or thought. If you happen to agree with that counsel and their conclusion, that’s certainly your right, and it is theirs to make such decisions as they wish also. My point is simply that the Church counsels against such a method and encourages us to think for ourselves, whatever the conclusions.You quoted Boyd Packer to say that what seems “blind obedience” to some is actually the result of greater understanding than critics would think, that the idea that “unquestioning = blind” is a Satanic idea, and that by obeying the Lord and the prophets we are “foolish and stupid.”I think you’ve set up some straw men here. I have not advocated any of that. I have only echoed what Brigham Young said: “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken the influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” One can, indeed should, have a humble and obedient attitude without sacrificing his or her ability or responsibility to think critically, examine evidence, seek inspiration and confirmation for him or herself that Church leaders are correct.You have stated that what we have for now is instruction that acts of homosexuality are sinful and until the prophet receives new revelation, that will be the rule. Agreed. I have nowhere said the prophet is influenced by polls, etc. But remember, virtually all revelation comes as an answer to a question or a problem. The Church’s stance on homosexuality is a question and a problem of increasing visibility and importance. It is following the same trajectory that has led to new revelation in the past. Unless/until that happens, we have what we have. But there is solid precedent showing that many times in the past the prophets have been significantly influenced by external circumstances, including input from Church members, sufficient to petition the Lord for guidance, and have received new knowledge as a result.

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  39. @anonymous:I must apologize; while I did state that homosexuality was a sin, that is not what I intended. I was overzealous as I was editing and left out the “acts of” that was intended. I certainly agree with you that simply because someone is homosexual, they are not a sinner. I did not by any means intend to imply that, and for that, I am sorry.As to the “blind obedience” reference, however, you again use Brigham Young’s statement that no one should blindly follow the brethren. That easily leads to an inference that someone supporting Prop.8 or the Church’s position is likely blindly following. If that implication is incorrect, I apologize. Unfortunately, the knee-jerk reaction of most of the anti-Prop.8 people I see is simply, “if you feel that way, you’re hateful and you obviously haven’t thought it through for yourself.” Another person can look at someone and believe that person is blindly following when in fact there has been significant prayer, thought, etc. that has gone into that person’s decision. This is one of Boyd K. Packer’s points. Supporters of Prop.8–as with anyone who supports the Church’s position on anything–are regularly labeled as sheep, blind followers, etc. Others in the world see a person’s obedience and see blindness; that is Satan’s trap, according to Boyd K. Packer. Blindness does occur; but just because someone follows the Church’s position doesn’t mean they’re blind. Again, though, I will concded that you may not have meant to imply such, and these comments were a reaction to others’ comments around the ‘sphere and not necessarily to yours. From our discussions, it appears that the two of us may be attacking this argument from different positions. I am trying to look at it from a larger perspective, or rather a Higher perspective. You appear to be looking at it from where the rubber meets the road, a perspective of actual, every-day application. At least, that is the sense I get. By this, I am not in any way implying that I am (or my argument is) better or stronger than yours. I simply think we’re looking at two slightly different perspectives. I want you to know that I wholly appreciate the thought and zeal that you bring to the discussion; unlike a lot of the comments I see elsewhere, yours do not appear to be “knee-jerk.”I would also note, in passing, that it is possible to post on these comments using an actual name without actually having to register with Blogger. It would be nice to have a name to put with your words, after all. “Anonymous” seems so….well, exactly that.

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  40. Iguana Montana:Thanks for your response, you are correct on all points. I have never meant to suggest that anyone who supports Prop. 8 is blindly obedient and regret any implication to the contrary. I care far less about where someone comes out on a particular issue than I do about whether they have “studied it out in their mind”, though it through carefully, prayed about it when necessary or appropriate, and come to an informed conclusion while remaining open to new information. Anyone who does that in good faith, regardless of their conclusions, will have my respect. There are “knee-jerk” reactions on both sides of the Prop. 8 matter and I have little patience with such on either side. I try not to be that way myself, and thank you for your kind words on that.I agree also that I am probably taking more of an “actual everyday application” perspective on this issue, and suspect that ultimately our two perspectives are not that far apart. Again, I want to state that I have never said which way I would vote on Prop 8.Purely as a factual point, and I do not mean to imply anything about or to any California Mormons who will vote to the contrary, but I have heard through what I think is a reputable source that privately the Church acknowledges it will probably lose this battle, but it considers the issue worth fighting anyway. Again, I intend nothing by this remark other than to report what I have heard. Polls I’ve seen suggest that if the vote were held today Prop. 8 would lose and same-sex marriage would remain legal in California. If that does happen, it will be very interesting to watch how the Church and its members there react, and what the long-term PR implications for the Church will be.

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  41. I don’t want to derail the discussion and turn it another way, but I can’t ignore one thing. “Black skin” was a doctrinal truth, but a punishment or marking.” I think (hope) you meant to say “not a doctrinal truth, but a punishment or marking” – but even that was repudiated by Elder McConkie after the revelation in 1978. He explicitly said that we need to “forget everything” Church leaders said to justify the ban – that the justifications were spoken through limited light and understanding. I believe every member should realize that we have no leg to stand on when we reference justifications for the Priesthood ban that were given prior to 1978. The idea that black skin was a punishment and a marking for **all** Black people throughout history is one of the most pernicious of these justifications, and it is not taught by the Church – much less as “doctrine”.

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  42. Wo unto the wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight! (2 Nephi 15:21; also Isaiah 5:21)

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  43. Papa D,I cannot tell you exactly where but on a blog which is affiliated with this general site there is a very good epistile that substantiates that blacks having the priesthood was a “policy” and not doctrine. It is a very good read. I am fascinated by the drama that was going on in the First Presidency from David O. McKay to Harold B. Lee surrounding this subject

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  44. @papa d:You are correct: I meant NOT. Somehow, all the “nots” were disappearing from my post. I had a nice long comment posted apologizing for missing a word, then noticed that I had missed another word for a REALLY embarrassing mistake.I’ll just crawl away now and curl up with all my missing words.I am just glad to not have been flamed over my missing words.

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  45. As soon as the Lord says he was just kidding about homosexuality or “he that loveth a lie” being an abomination it can be accepted. He might change his mind about those pesky 10 suggestions too. Sorry I didn’t know I could write in sarcasm. 

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  46. Tim Malone said, I can’t think of anything that would be worth jeopardizing my standing in the LDS church, which I consider to be the kingdom of God on the earth. I value my membership too much.Is there really NOTHING that is worth jeopardizing your standing in the LDS church? That seems dangerous to me. The establishment of the Lord’s church has come and gone on this earth with vast periods in between. Is it not possible for the LDS church to become apostate again? Shouldn’t there be a point when you should say that you no longer agree with the church? Shouldn’t “the kingdom of God on earth” really be YOUR personal relationship with God (your spirituality), rather than your relationship with the church (religiousness)? What’s more important, spirituality or religiousness? Which religion was Adam, Abraham, or Jesus? How important is religion in the grand scheme of things? Are you not your own prophet? The prophet of the church is just that, the prophet of the church; YOU are your own prophet.Tim Malone said (quoting Andrew) “…in the not too distant future gay marriage will be the law of the land, and that sometime after that, the Church will offer the hand of full fellowship to practicing homosexuals.”Could Andrew have meant that, by voting to legislate the rules of marriage, couldn’t a majority one day vote to legislate the rules of religion and force the religion to have to accept practicing homosexuals?JohnB Said, It seems to me that allowing gays to marry effectively reduces their chances for exaltation to zero…The way I see things, by supporting gay marriage on this earth we are actually limiting the potential eternal progress of our brothers and sisters. How is that showing love to them?Way to go, JohnB, you’re helping Lucifer make his case for denying people their free agency and making everyone choose good, thereby gaining exaltation. Forcing people to act a certain way was Satan’s plan, not Jesus’ plan. I don’t ever remember a scripture where Jesus counsels us to force other people to live by what we think is right. In fact, when I think of ‘what would Jesus do,’ I tend to think more of love, free agency, and gentle persuasion; rather than force. Tim Malone said, Yes, I feel that we are attempting to legislate our view of morality on the rest of our California citizens. That’s OK, because they will have the opportunity to vote on it.That’s messed up, Tim. Substitute legislate with “force” (which is what it is), and then tell me it’s right to legislate your morals. What happens when someone else decides to legislate that you can’t practice Mormonism anymore? Will it still be ‘OK since you had the chance to vote on it?’Tim Malone said, My point is that the law of chastity is eternal. It will not change. It cannot change and the Lord cannot change it or he would cease to be God. The church will never change the law of chastity. From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (also taught in the missionary discussions)…”The law of chastity applies not only to behavior but also to dress, speech, and thought.”Dress and speech are always changing. Dressing modestly was a lot different in 1830 than it is today. Consider the length of garments, for example. To show your ankles and wrists in 1830 was a violation of the eternal Law of Chastity; today it’s not. It’s not so eternal, is it?

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  47. By the way, Tim, I really appreciate you talking about this topic and allowing the rest of us to leave comments. It's very interesting to read all the passionate perspectives on this issue of gay marriage. I'm far more surprised & appauled by the Mormon loyalist comments, and their lack of Christ-like love than dissenters' comments.

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  48. I’ve been reading through the posts and thoroughly enjoyed all of the debate from both sides. I will state my side before I post the title of an excellent article on the gay community that was published in New Oxford Review – a Catholic Magazine. This article gives you an inside view of the gay community and the drives therein. You can debate that the authors viewpoint is inaccurate, that he is misrepresenting or is flat out lying. Personally, I find his story very compelling and likely true based on my limited understanding of addiction. We can all be addicted, and can spiral out of control when we give in. I believe this is largely what the gay community is. I do not trivialize their temptations, which I am sure are strong, but disagree that they have to give in. Sorry, the article is quite long, but as I said, very thought inspiring. This article is a possible answer to the comment from Steven b that “Gays and lesbians are living open and honest lives in society”, which makes it sound as if everything is perfectly normal in the gay community/lifestyle. I politely, but fully, disagree.Now, my stance…I am for prop 8, and will support it with my vote. However, I also believe that the 6 points that have been mentioned and I have seen from my ward, are in fact a little misleading. I also have trouble being pushed by leaders to donate money to an organization that I have no information about, and can’t get information about. I do not know who is running the show, how much they and everyone else is getting paid. Basically, as a wise steward of money, I do not just give money to some organization because they support a good cause, even if leaders say to do it. With that said, I also do not actively fight back, which would of course be a big mistake.So, the article is titled “The books were a front for the porn” by Ronald G. Lee. You can search the title on google and it will pop up. I would love to hear any comments.

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  49. I have read the various comments in this string with interest. At the risk of seeming wishy-washy, it seems to me there are some good arguments on both sides and some not-so-good arguments (which is just another way of saying there are some with which I do not agree).Since my “Commentary on ‘Six Consequences'” has been referred to a few times, let me clarify a one thing. I did not say there would be no consequences if Proposition 8 fails. I merely said that the “Six Consequences” memo misstated the facts and should not be circulated by Church members who value the truth. I have yet to see anyone point to any statement I made in my Commentary that is inaccurate.I do believe there will be consequences if Prop 8 fails. Among them are the following: Tolerance of gay relationships will gradually increase and gay marriages will become generally accepted by mainstream Californians, particularly among the college-educated younger generation (which already largely accepts such relationships). But this is merely incremental — even if Prop 8 fails, tolerance of gay relationships will increase and gay domestic partners will gradually become accepted by the mainstream.Some of you will believe this is a good thing; others will not. I think the Church is particularly concerned that other states will more likely follow suit if California approves gay marriages, although I suspect pigs will fly before such marriages are legalized in Utah. In a sense, they are asking California Church members to front a battle they see spreading across the country.I do not believe it is within the realm of possibility that our bishops will be required to conduct gay marriages or that our temples will be forced to be opened for such marriages. That is simply not what the New Jersey case was about, and to suggest that it was is to engage in sophistry.On the other hand, I do see some so-called “Church-state” conflicts that could occur way down the road. The Bob Jones University case is the one that particularly comes to mind. In that case the IRS withdrew the charitable organization status from Bob Jones University (a fundamentalist Christian College in North Carolina) because it openly practiced racial discrimination. For instance, although it permitted blacks to enroll, it had disciplinary rules that forbade interracial dating and provided that any student who was a partner in an interracial marriage would be expelled.The United States Supreme Court found that there was a national policy to discourage racial discrimination in education and that any school having policies such as Bob Jones University would not be considered to be a “charitable” institution.It is important to note that this case was based on a specific national policy that applied to educational institutions–not to religions. No fundamentalist Christian churches had their charitable exemptions taken away, even though they taught that interracial dating was wrong. Remember too that the university was not compelled to change its rules; it simply had its status as a charitable organization taken away. (Of course, that is a strong incentive to change, and in fact Bob Jones University did.)How might this apply to our Church? Conceivably sometime in the very distant future the IRS might declare that BYU was not a charitable institution if it continued to practice discrimination against people based on sexual orientation. BYU would respond that it doesn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation, merely on sexual conduct, and that its honor code applies equally to gay and straight folks. But the IRS might well argue that it does discriminate because married straight students can have sex but married gay students cannot. (Of course, that same argument could be made right now if a married gay couple from Massachusetts or California or Canada or the Netherlands sought to enroll, but what chance to you think it would have?) Would it be a good or a bad thing for BYU to admit gay students who have made a long-term marriage commitment to their partner? Again, I suspect each of us would have an answer and not all answers would be the same.Personally I do not see this ever happening in our lifetimes. For one thing, there is a huge difference between the policy of racial equality (which most Americans accepted, even in 1983 when Bob Jones was decided) and equality based on sexual preference (where there is not such a universal acceptance). For another, the LDS Church is a formidable political entity in the United States and BYU is a huge, well-respected and well-financed University. Heck, isn’t our football team ranked in the top ten in the country? Bob Jones University had only a few thousand students and no football team to speak of. But I can see where the Church might be worried about the distant future.There might be other legal consequences that I haven’t thought of. Until someone points to something I said in my Commentary that is erroneous, however, I’ll stand by my position that Church members should not be using it. Whether the Church wins or loses the Prop 8 battle, none of us wants it to be associated with misrepresentations. At least I don’t.

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  50. TimYou are correct in every way. To those who are blasting the Law of Chastity, where in the Bible, Book Of Mormon, D & C, or Pearl Of Great Price does it state that it is ok to practice Homosexual lifestyles (married or not)? Actually, go to Duetoronomy, and it states extensively that homosexuality is a sin. Also, in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul blasts homosexuality(read Romans 1:27,Cor 6:9, Tim 1:10). The Book of Mormon never really states the issue, but does not once mention any of the righteous individuals as living a homosexual lifestyle. Nephi actually married a woman, and so did all of his brothers and Zoram. Laman and Lemuel, who were wicked and murderous, even married women and never practiced it. All of the righteous prophets had posterity that continued on the work of the gospel in the Book of Mormon, so how would that even have happened had they been in a homosexual marriage. There is no possible way, since it is physically impossible for two men or two women to have a child out of intercourse with the same sex. (If anybody wants to state that it was adoption, that wasn't ever even mentioned in the book. Every time they stated that they were passing the records down to their actual seed.) Bottom line is, if Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today and forever, He would totally lose that credibility when he specifically commanded not to engage in Homosexual relationships in any form. The law of Chastity is the same yesterday, today and forever because God is. One last thing, being African American is not even close to the same as being Gay. Don't ever tie that in together. Think of it this way, African Americans were allowed to have memberships in the church during slavery time. What other church ever allowed integration at that time? It never changed. Also, the gospel in biblical times also excluded members of different groups. Think of the Samaritans, who were outcasts, and the Lamanites. But the Lord, in his mercy, allowed these individuals to recieve the gospel in His time. Enough said.

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  51. You know what else Deuteronomy says? It says you should not marry Canaanites. Does that mean black people? It also says that drinking alcohol is fine. Also, check out Chapter 14 and make sure you don’t eat anything that is forbidden. I hope you’ve never eaten, or even touched the carcass of, a pig…that’s a sin. Have you ever eaten a catfish, trout, or shark? I hope not, because that would be a sin also. Are you keeping up on your feasts? Did you observe the month of Abid and keep your passover? I hope you’re not a female who has worn clothes of a man (pants?)…that’s an abomination. Have you ever stoned someone who you knew was fornicating? I hope you didn’t allow them to remain living. You DO believe in the death penalty, don’t you? If so, you need to administer it to spiritualists and anyone who has ever cursed their mother or father.Now tell me that God’s laws are the same yesterday, today, and forever. God may be the same, but his laws definitely are not. If you’re going to reference part of the Bible (or even Deuteronomy), as support for your argument, then you should be ready to live by everything else in the Bible.I’m not saying homosexuality is not a sin. It may be a sin. I believe anything that causes negative natural consequences is a sin (including eating that plate of brownies, which was blessed to nourish and strengthen your body, at the last church get-together). I’m just saying that referencing the Bible, and especially Deuteronomy, is a horrible way to support anything, other than the fact that God’s laws are ever-changing.

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  52. Yeah, I’m going to go with you Crusty, even though that may appear as if I’m contradicting my own essay. You’re right in that the Law of Moses was fulfilled with the atonement of Jesus Christ. So all that crazy stuff you mentioned went out the window after the crucifixion and the resurrection. Besides, we know that a lot of it was based on health concerns that are overcome today partly because of modern refrigeration.So I can’t argue that the law of chastity and moral behavior, including homosexual behavior was unchanging because it was given back in the day of Moses. And you are also right that God can and does give laws and revoke them. He specifically said that in reference to polygamy, didn’t he?I think the right source for the law of chastity is from modern revelation. Therefore, the best source for me that homosexual behavior is contrary to the law of chastity is from modern prophets and apostles. We have a ton of those from which we could quote so I don’t think we need to go there.I also wanted to respond to your question about the possibility of the LDS church going apostate and therefore not deserving of my loyalty. Didn’t you and I dialog about Daniel 2:44 previously? I don’t remember if you agreed that the kingdom that would never be destroyed is the LDS Church. I know I have heard many General Authorities state that.I like your point that our loyalty and highest concern should be our relationship with God and Christ. I seem to recall a General Authority teach one time that the church is really nothing more than the scaffold and would in time be replaced by the true form of organization recognized by the Lord – patriarchal order. In the meantime, the sealing power is contained within the LDS Church so I’m sticking with Pres Monson.Crusty, I think I already know the answer, but did you read that little diatribe I shared about legislating morality? Oh, maybe I didn’t share it in the comments on this essay. Well, here it is:”The entire purpose of law is to impose moral standards on the surrounding populace. From the most heinous crimes like murder to the more petty like curfew, laws have always been established for the purpose of enforcing standards upon its people. Who says murder is wrong? Who says being out late when you are young is wrong? Who says abortion is wrong? Who says anything is wrong? The people have the right to declare what they believe is right or wrong and make laws that enforce those ideals and beliefs.”You’re right that I would be a little upset if the majority voted that Mormonism was illegal, but I think the constitution precludes that. Wait, didn’t that come real close to happening when the church was disenfranchised in the late 1800’s over plural marriage? Anyway, if we the people can’t decide on what the law should be then we aren’t living in a true Democracy. Besides, it’s not just the Mormons that think same sex marriage should not be legal.

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  53. YOU NEVER ANSWER THE QUESTION! WHY IS DENYING BLACKS THE PREISTHOOD DIFFERENT? You know, if you’re going to write on this stuff, you should at least be cogent and coherent. You just look foolish and foolhardy. You don’t care about people. It’s abundantly obvious. You only care about your obsession which is this church. It’s people that matter, not corporations like the LDS church. Get some humanity.

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  54. Hi Kalvin,Sorry for not being explicit. The denying of the priesthood to the blacks was based on a policy, which some early leaders tried to justify with references to some scriptures. I think Papa D clarified it best in his comments. Elder McConkie told us to forget everything he and others taught about this subject with limited light and knowledge.Correct me if I’m wrong but our stand against same sex marriage is based on the doctrine that homosexual behavior is a sin. Note that I do not say that homosexual tendencies or feelings are a sin. That was the whole premise of my essay – those who fight against the church on this are fighting against a fundamental doctrine that we believe is ordained of God – that marriage is only between a man and a woman.Kalvin, you don’t know me well enough to determine my feelings about people as opposed to the church. Yes, I confess a tremendous loyalty to the LDS Church and the men who lead it, but I hope that every member and leader in this church is clear that the purpose of the church is to lead us unto Christ through obedience to the principles and ordinances of the gospel.I apologize if I come across as uncaring and inhuman. I confess that I am rather stubborn and adamant that the church is right on this issue and stand with e First Presidency in what they have asked us to do in giving of our time and means to ensuring the passage of Proposition 8. It is obvious that there are many members of the church who do not agree.I like what Nick Literski said. Nick is a well-known commenter on LDS blogs, but who is very vocal in seeking the defeat of this amendment. He said that we need to look forward to the time when this election is over and the proposition has either failed or passed. How will we treat each other then? Will we still be able to treat each other with kindness and respect? I hope so? That’s what I am shooting for on my blog.

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  55. Black people are born black. Gay people are born gay. God does not care whether Gays are married or not. This is especially true when you believe that the only true marriage is one between a worthy man and woman in an LDS temple. Proposition 8 is about fear, and fear only.

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  56. Bobby,Most Mormons support proposition 8 for several reasons – because the leadership of our church asked us to do so and because prophets of God have said that God is opposed to homosexual behavior. Same-sex marriage is all about gaining social acceptance for what God has called sin. You write as if you speak for God when you say he doesn’t care whether gays are married or not. Sorry, I’ll go with what a prophet has said on this one. Proposition 8 is not about fear or hate. It is about clearly defining marriage in the constitution of the State of California – only between a man and a woman as originally intended.

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  57. bobby teenager Leviticus 20:13 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. Uhhh; probably a bad thing don’t you think?

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