Will the rights of the LDS church be threatened with the recent Supreme Court ruling?

Will the rights of the LDS church be threatened with the recent Supreme Court ruling?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling for homosexual marriage to be allowed in all 50 states, what does this mean for the future of the Church and its members? Is this a specific sign of the times? I’ll be honest in saying that I am a little fearful for the future of our religious rights as members of the Church, and not legally being able to refuse homosexual marriage within our church. Can you give some insight on what we are now supposed to do in defense of our beliefs?

Mitch

also

Gramps,

Now that same-sex marriage is legal, do you think someone will attempt to force the LDS church (by suing) to perform the practice or are we safe regarding this? And if, hypothetically speaking of course, someone would win a case against the church, what would the prophet’s next step be? Would that be a point that God would have to intervene in a very drastic way?

Brittney

 

Answer

 

Dear Mitch and Brittney,

I don’t claim to know everything that our future holds.  However, the Church leadership has been very upbeat over our future.  For example, in February Elder Holland said the following at a CES fireside:

 

We know for certain that if and when everything else in the latter days is down or dying; if governments, economies, industries, and institutions crumble; if societies and cultures become a quagmire of chaos and insecurity, nevertheless, through it all the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that bears that gospel to the world will stand triumphant. It will stand undefiled in God’s hand until the very Son of God Himself comes to rule and reign as Lord of lords and King of kings. Nothing is more certain in this world. Nothing is more sure. Nothing could be more of an antidote to anxiety. As the Prophet Joseph declared, and as a generation of missionaries quote with fervor: The truth of God will sweep every country and sound in every ear. No unhallowed hand can stop it from progressing. Still true.

. . . .

And if there are some bumps along the way while waiting to see every promise kept and every prophecy fulfilled, so be it. As the remarkable Eliza R. Snow penned:

 

What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world’s bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.

 

That spirit cuts through confusion like the two-edged sword the truth of the Lord always is.

 

So, if you haven’t noticed, I am bullish on the latter-days. In nothing could I have more faith than I have in God the Eternal Father; in Jesus Christ, His Son; in their redeeming gospel; and in their divinely guided Church. So, what do we owe our students in this? We owe them a comparable testimony and a life “of good cheer.” The Savior asked for that so often that I personally consider it a commandment. However, worry and fear and pessimism and fretting can destroy anyone’s good cheer—yours and that of the people around you. So put a smile on your face, and cherish every day of your life!  [Emphasis added.]

 

As for what, specifically, the Church members are to do at this time:  The Church just recently gave some additional counsel, which you can read online here.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

Should we allow sinners into our home?

Should we allow sinners into our home?

Question

 

Hey Gramps!

I have a family friend who’s daughter is a lesbian. Her parents love her just the same and though they don’t support her actions they still invite her and her significant other over for dinner. I think that they are making the right decision but my aunt says that you should not ever allow the significant other of your child that is gay into the home. What are your thoughts? Is there scripture that talks about allowing sinners into your home to love and teach them?

Austin

 

Answer

 

Dear Austin,

This is an important question, one that has arisen a lot recently. Elder Holland said:

“Although I believe members are eager to extend compassion to those different from themselves, it is human nature that when confronted with a situation we don’t understand, we tend to withdraw.  This is particularly true of same-gender attraction.” Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction

While this is always a personal decision and should be made with much prayer, we can also look to the scriptures and our leaders for guidance.

 

From LDS.org we read:
“As Christians, we are taught to show compassion and kindness to all people whether or not we agree with their beliefs, lifestyle or behavior.” Why are Mormons Against Gay People?
Is it “unkind” to not allow those who choose a homosexual lifestyle into our homes?

 

Consider the words of Elder David B. Haight: “There were strong social barriers among the Jews at the time of Christ, yet the Savior mingled freely among the publicans and sinners–far different from the Pharisees, who believed sinners should not be guests in their houses.  Christ rebuked their unkindliness, saying, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” (Matt. 9:12People to People

 

The Savior was very clear that not allowing “sinners” to be guests in our houses is unkind. We should remember that sinners come in many varieties. If we turn “sinners” away from our table, we might find ourselves turned away from the Savior’s table “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

 

 

Elder M. Russell Ballard addressed this issue very specifically in a CES Devotional:
“You may know someone who struggles with same-sex attraction or has made a decision to live in a same-gender relationship.  Your love for that person as a son or daughter of God can create an inward struggle as you try to love and support him or her and still stand for the Lord’s eternal plan of happiness.
“Let us be clear tonight–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that ‘the experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people.  The attraction itself is not a sin but acting on it is.  Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them.  With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including [those with same-sex attraction].”  The Church does not teach or advocate shunning or other unchristian-like actions.”  Be Still, and Know That I Am God
From the Church website mormonsandgays.org:
“As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach.  Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
I believe there is a difference however between accepting individuals and accepting behaviors.  For example, I would allow a loved one who struggles with drug addiction to come to dinner, but I would not allow them to do drugs in my home.  A porn addict may be invited to dinner, but not allowed to view porn on my computer.  Likewise, I think it is reasonable to request that couples who are not married (by Church standards: a man and a woman) to sleep in separate rooms in your home.

 

I’ll close with this:
“Jesus Christ commanded us to love our neighbors. Whether sinner or saint, rich or poor, stranger or friend, everyone in God’s small world is our neighbor, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Latter-day Saints believe that our true commitment to Christian teachings is revealed by how we respond to this commandment. This love is tested every day of our lives. We may know individuals with same-sex attraction in our workplaces, congregations and town halls. As people with hopes, fears and aspirations like everyone else, these neighbors deserve our love. But we can’t truly love the neighbors next door if we don’t love the neighbors under our own roof. Family members with same-sex attraction need our love and understanding. God loves all his children alike, much more than any of us can comprehend, and expects us to follow.”  http://mormonsandgays.org

Gramps

 

Should LDS acknowledge those who change genders by their new identity?

Should LDS acknowledge those who change genders by their new identity?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Those who have been born male and have chosen to live in this world as a woman are referred to in the press as “she” and the new feminine name they go by.    The same goes for the opposite gender.  Should Latter-day Saints participate in the charade, and take up with the ways of the world, and do the same thing?  Or should they honor the gender God gave these people  when they were born into this world (and will continue to have after the resurrection throughout all eternity)?

 

Robert

 

Answer

 

Robert,

Gramps has been talking with his friends about this issue and trying to figure out how to address it. There are various issues in play here.

On the one hand, we have clear counsel from our prophets that we must be kind in our disagreements and reflect the Savior’s love in all our communications. Most people who undergo so-called “gender reassignment” are tortured souls, dealing with issues the rest of us don’t even imagine. When a man goes so far as to castrate himself, receive estrogen injections, and otherwise live a “feminime” lifestyle (as he sees it), and requests to be called “she”, it seems churlish to deny him (her) this request. It costs us nothing and makes him/her happy, so where’s the harm?

On the other hand, there is a deep danger here. We have many social fictions that we hold to, just because it makes life go easier for all involved. For example, we hold a door open for women, not because we think women unable to open their own doors, but because we want to show we value women. Perhaps our society doesn’t really value women as we should, but a simple act like holding the door, though it may perpetuate a fiction, helps remind us of the deep truth underlying that fiction.

“Gender reassignment” is another social fiction, but in my opinion, one of more dubious value. We pretend that a man is a woman (or vice versa) because that person has requested we do so. For the most part, perhaps this is innocuous. But we must always remember that it is a fiction. We must never allow ourselves to believe that “gender” is a false construct, and that we may choose our gender just as we choose our hairstyle. In the words of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

We live in this world and among its societies. We conform to the laws and societal customs of those societies unless such laws or customs force us into disobeying the Lord. In this case, calling a man “she” is not fundamentally a moral issue. So in my judgment, we teach our truths, publicly and (especially) privately, and also “render unto Caeser” by calling people by whatever gender they prefer.

 

Gramps

 

 

Can those in legal same sex marriages obtain a temple recommend?

Can those in legal same sex marriages obtain a temple recommend?

Question

Dear Gramps,

I read in a previous answer and it was mentioned in Sunday School today that members who are attracted to the same sex but remain chaste and don’t act on their urges, the same as heterosexuals, can hold a temple recommend. What about members that marry their partner in a state that has legalized same sex marriage? Given that they remained chaste until they were married can they still keep a temple recommend?

Kristin

 

Answer

Dear Kristin,

The law of chastity is simply that a man is not to have sexual relations except with his wife; and that a woman is not to have sexual relations except with her husband. With this understanding, homosexuals and heterosexuals can both worthily obtain temple recommends so long as they live this law. A few months ago The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave instructions to bishops for the particular case you mentioned – whether it is sufficient to be lawfully wedded by the laws of the land.

Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We urge you to review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’

Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages.

Besides the principle in The Family Proclamation linked above, this also comes out from a distinction that the Church continues to make clear:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.” (MormonsAndGays.org)

There is no disciplinary action taken for same-sex attraction. There is no loss of temple recommend in such cases, nor disfellowship. Should the person choose homosexual actions then it comes with consequences. The Church recognizes such as sin. Marrying a partner of the same sex clearly falls under homosexual action, and any sexual relations had under that condition are against the law of chastity as far as God and the Church are concerned, opinions of the State and culture notwithstanding.

Even so, everyone deserves a baseline of respect, regardless of how his/her sins may differ from yours. As such, the Church reminds us that “ all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises” to worship with us and participate in our activities. What’s more, we should still be civil and friendly whether attraction is same-or opposite-sex; whether such attraction is acted on or not; whether married or not. The Church “affirm[s] that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully” (Church Instructs Leaders on Same-sex Marriage).

Gramps

Should LDS parents attend the same sex wedding of their children?

Should LDS parents attend the same sex wedding of their children?

Question

Dear Gramps,

Should LDS parents attend the same-sex wedding of their gay children? What if they were having a heterosexual wedding in a Satanic church? Where does one draw the line in their children’s unacceptable conduct? How would one give their child love and support without giving tacit approval to the wrong choices they have made? The following quotation comes to mind:

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Alexander Pope – An Essay on Man

Robert (more…)

Struggling with SSA

Struggling with SSA

My son has SSA (Same Sex Attraction).  He does not act upon it. He wants to go on a mission. He has worked on worthiness and feels ready to go. We were told that he couldn’t go because he has SSA. In the Church Handbook of Instructions it says that individuals with SSA that are not living the gay lifestyle and are worthy can serve in the church. In applying for his mission we have been told that he can’t go because of his SSA. He had some sins to take care of but his home ward and stake leaders have told him he can go when wothy. His Young Adult Stake President says he can’t go on a regular mission with SSA. Can you tell me the church policy on this? This seems very wrong to me. Thank you.

Anonymous (more…)

Homosexuality and Gender Change

Homosexuality and Gender Change

My 21-year-old announced he was gay in his early teens. It took years for us to get to a place where we agreed to love each other while agreeing to disagree. We had finally succeeded in his understanding it was a matter of respect to not bring it into our home when he visited, not a question of loving him regardless of his choices. Now I am faced with a new struggle. He has begun having hormone treatments & talking about a sex change operation. I am heartbroken at the thought of my beautiful son casting off the physical body given to him by Heavenly Father, and becoming someone I will barely recognize. How far do I bend before I break? And how do we explain it to his young nieces & nephews? I love this child so much it is tearing me apart…

Sign me a brokenhearted mom (more…)

What is the Mormon Church’s position toward transgendered persons and gay marriages?

What is the Mormon Church’s position toward transgendered persons and gay marriages?

Dear Gramps,

I really enjoy your column. I have a question I have been unable to find doctrinal information on. I guess it’s a sign of the times that we have such strange situations nowadays. But I have a friend who turned out to be transgender. He is in a program to change sex and is getting married before the operation which is now legal in this particular state. He wants me to attend the wedding and be there in January when he has the operation. I keep thinking from an eternal perspective this is a marriage between two men and definitely wrong. Am I right? I have passed on the wedding but feel tremendous pressure to be there since it is major surgery. Is there a moral stand here? Thanks.

Terri (more…)

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