LDS Church Leaders Issue New Directive On Gay Marriage

LDS Church Leaders Issue New Directive On Gay Marriage
LDS Church Leaders Issue New Edict On Gay Marriage

(This article originally appeared in Gephardt Daily on June 30, 2015.)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 30, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — Top leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have issued a letter addressing the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage in the United States.

According to LDS Church leadership, the letter is to be read in church meetings across the U.S. and Canada beginning Sunday, July 5 .
The directive was issued by the Council of the First Presidency along with the Quorum of the Twelve.
It was signed by LDS Church presidents Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
The church letter is a follows:

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
OFFICE OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY
47 EAST SOUTH TEMPLE STREET, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 84150-1200

June 29, 2015
TO: General Authorities; General Auxiliary Presidencies; and the following leaders in the United States and Canada: Area Seventies; Temple, Stake Mission and District Presidencies; Bishops and Branch Presidents

Dear Bretheren and Sisters:

Enclosed is a statement by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in response to the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States. The statement also pertains to the situation in Canada. Local leaders are asked to meet with all adults, young men, and young women on either July 5 or July 12 in a setting other than sacrament meeting and read to them the entire statement.

Also included is background material which may be helpful in answering questions that arise.

Stake presidents are asked to see that bishops receive copies of this letter and the enclosures.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 

RESPONSE TO THE SUPREME COURT DECISION LEGALIZING SAME‐SEX MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES

June 29, 2015

Because of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court and similar legal proceedings and legislative actions in a number of countries that have given civil recognition to same‐sex marriage relationships, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints restates and reaffirms the doctrinal foundation of Church teachings on morality, marriage, and the family. As we do, we encourage all to consider these teachings in the context of the Plan of Salvation and our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children.

Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well‐being of society. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27‐28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and vital to eternal salvation.

A family built on marriage of a man and a woman is the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage between a man and a woman, and the family that results from their union, as privileged institutions. Sexual relations outside of such a marriage are contrary to the laws of God pertaining to morality.

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 invite all to review and understand 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. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree. We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same‐sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.

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

THE COUNCIL OF
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND
QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER‐DAY SAINTS

Background Material for Bishops and Branch Presidents
On the U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Same‐sex Marriage

The Church has provided a statement dated June 29, 2015, prepared by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same‐sex marriage in the United States. The response reaffirms the divinely‐revealed reasons and proper doctrinal context for the Church’s unequivocal position regarding matters of morality, chastity, marriage, and the family. As the response notes, the Church’s teachings on these subjects are grounded in the scriptural declarations of God’s eternal plan for the salvation and exaltation of His children and are framed in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” While the statement stands on its own, below is additional information that may be helpful to you in responding to questions that may arise.

For much of human history, civil laws have generally been compatible with God’s laws. Unfortunately, there have been notable exceptions to that pattern. For example, it is legal in the United States to perform an abortion on an unborn fetus. However, this practice is not morally acceptable before God. (See Handbook 1, 17.3). The consumption of alcohol, while contrary to God’s law, is legal in most nations of the world, but the physical and social toll for doing so is a painful matter of record. So, too, with issues of unchaste sexual behavior, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual in its orientation. As the First Presidency has previously said and as this current response affirms, “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” (First Presidency letter on “Same‐ Sex Marriage,” January 9, 2014).

What is the Church’s Policy on Homosexual Relations?

“Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance. “If members engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.

“While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. “If members feel same‐gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances” (Handbook 2, 21.4.6).

Does the authorization of same‐sex marriage affect my right to religious freedom?

Our individual right to religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution and by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As we exercise that right, we must also exercise tolerance and respect toward others’ rights but do so without condoning behavior that goes contrary to the laws of God. “While we strive for the virtue of tolerance, other commendable qualities need not be lost. Tolerance does not require the surrender of noble purpose or of individual identity. The Lord gave instruction to leaders of His restored Church to establish and maintain institutional integrity—‘that the Church may stand independent’ (D&C 78:14)” (Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” April 1994 general conference). How do I respond respectfully to those who consider the Church’s position on this matter unchristian? Our objection to same‐sex marriage is not based on animosity toward anyone, but on our understanding of God’s purposes for His children. For us, the issues are not simply “tolerance” and “equality.” The issues are the nature of marriage and the consequences of redefining a divinely established institution. In addition, redefining marriage in the law can have profound consequences for society, particularly for children. Mothers and fathers matter, and they are not interchangeable. “On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should . . . be good listeners and show concern for the sincere belief [of others.] Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. We should be wise in explaining our position and, in doing so, ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Loving Others and Living with Differences,” October 2014 general conference).

What if I have reservations of my own regarding the Church’s position on this subject?

“Members who . . . have doctrinal questions should make a diligent effort, including earnest prayer and scripture study, to find solutions and answers themselves. Church members are encouraged to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost to help them in their personal lives and in family and Church responsibilities.

“If members still need help, they should counsel first with their bishop. If necessary, he may refer them to the stake president. “. . . Stake presidents who need clarification about doctrinal or other Church matters may write in behalf of their members to the First Presidency” (Handbook 2, 21.1.24).

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461 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, longest convo I’ve ever read so far in my existence. I guess bottom line is too simple RESPECT. Please do not bash our prophet. We all may claim our own beliefs, while we respect each other.

  2. any religion that respect others religion teaches the right religion. Although we’re from different system, but we respect each other. I am a Latter-Day Saint. Its our system, we believe in it, we respect yours. Continue to mock other religion is not a true religion. God said Love One Another, even our strongest enemies. I hope you got my point. I love you.

    • “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Joseph Smith Jr.

      I agree with this previous statement written by Joseph Jr. the prophet back in the the 18 hundreds. I am NOT Mormon. (He was but one man who abridged most of the Book of Mormon.) But… ‘I DO belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints…. I know who I am… I know God’s Plan,.. I’ll follow him in faith…. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ,… I’ll honor his name….. I strive to do what is right;… I’ll strive to follow his light… His truths I will proclaim.’

      The easiest way to find the truth, is to:… search in the purest scriptures, (the Bible, and the Book of Mormon),… ponder them in your heart…and humbly pray with sincere desire and diligence to want to know the truth.

      And then hopefully you receive the answer that you are looking for.

  3. Just a matter of time before gays will be married in the Temple. Give it about 20-50 years. Possibly sooner if the federal government takes away the tax exempt status. Watch and see, the Church will fold when it involves loosing money, just like they did on polygamy and polyandry. BTW, I’m a very active member of the church.

  4. Marty, if you can predict 20-50 years ahead please publish your insight on the stock market at that time and on all other critical life issues including religion and politics, etc. While your statements regarding temple marriages for gays, etc., seem plausible based on how other institutions would react, the church has a history of surprising plausible thinking. Best wishes. ssjackson

  5. All I can say about this message that do not forget who are !!!! And always make right choices even it is hard !!!! Because that guy in the corner working 24/7 to mess up Heavenly Father children’s mind !!! So be aware !!! Choose the right and do what is right !!!!

  6. IMPORTANT: JOHN 1:1
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Exodus 20:4-6
    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the …”
    Right here we see men in power breaking this commandment. They are creating a God to suit “THEIR” needs and the IMMORAL followers who are pressuring them to change what GOD said was SIN.

    1Corinthians 6:9-10
    “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous1 will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: xneither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,2 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Therefore, it is GOD who says homosexuality is WRONG. Take your argument with HIM.

  7. I like most all comments
    But I think Jone Pita is best.
    I am not a active member of the church, I have many faults, but in my opinion marriage is between a man and a woman.
    The power of choice is given to most all humanity. It is a great responsibility. Therefore if you choose to be in a civil union between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, I’ll respect that. You will not get any less from me than I will give unto an other. Please don’t attempt to force me to be contrary to my beliefs. In doing so you will earn disrespect.

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