Elder Russell M. Nelson addressed graduates on Thursday at Brigham Young University.

Elder Russell M. Nelson addressed graduates on Thursday at Brigham Young University. (screen shot)

Yesterday, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the BYU summer commencement, making the defense of traditional marriage a key theme.

Elder Nelson told graduates and their families that they would have many opportunities to defend “the Lord’s side” in debates about marriage. “Disciples of the Lord are defenders of marriage,” he said. “We cannot yield.”

You can watch the commencement ceremony here (Elder Nelson speaks at the 39-minute mark), or read a summary at the Mormon News Report or the Provo Herald.

Elder Nelson noted that defending traditional marriage between a man and a woman would not be an easy road for disciples of Christ. We will be put to the test. Life will not be comfortable, especially when the one-man-one-woman definition is called into question by the world. Marriage was not created by that world, by “human judges or legislators . . . think tanks or by popular vote, or by oft-quoted bloggers or pundits. . . . Marriage was created by God.”

Well, here’s a concept: I can be a disciple of Christ and a supporter of nontraditional marriage. In fact, I can support nontraditional marriage precisely because I am a follower of that good shepherd, the one who preached compassion.

I agree with much of what Elder Nelson said about marriage in general. It is the foundation of a happy and enduring family life. It’s a partnership of shared goals, mutual loyalty, and the cultivation of each individual’s gifts. The family can be eternal.

Yes to all those things.

But I cannot agree with his unyielding determination to restrict the institution of marriage to a man and a woman only.

Nor can I abide the us-versus-them mentality that I sense here, pitting LDS Church members as sacred remnants in a world gone bad. Elder Nelson even goes so far as to quote Paul about the last days in which how blasphemers, lovers of pleasure, disobedient boasters, and the prideful will appear to carry the moment while lovers of Jesus Christ suffer persecution.

At the end of the talk, after Elder Nelson has spoken strongly against gay marriage (and subtly conflated that form of committed marriage with pornography, adultery, and sexual sin), he goes out of his way to remind listeners to treat gay people with “malice toward none, with charity for all.”

We are to value them as children of God, as our brothers and sisters, while resisting “efforts to change divine doctrine. It is not for man to change.”

In other words, Elder Nelson recommends that we do everything in our power to deny LGBT people their civil right to marriage; emphasize at every opportunity that their relationships are an abomination in the eyes of God; and then reassure them that for all that, they’re probably really nice people and we just love them so much.

Obviously, I disagree with Elder Nelson’s approach to this issue. Same-sex marriage is not a threat to traditional marriage but an expansion of its definition.

And while I agree with him that “history is not our judge; a secular society is not our judge; God is our judge” I am also aware that in this case, secular society may be well ahead of my own church in its compassion toward those who are different.

 

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230 Comments

  1. If we “liken unto ourselves” the principle taught, we’d have to say the same things regarding allowing businesses to be open on Sunday, no matter what the popular opinion was in society or the religious beliefs of those wanting to open on Sunday. As followers of Christ, we can’t support or tolerate or condone businesses being open on Sunday and must do all we can to have the FORCE of law on our side to ensure that one of the 10 Commandments isn’t broken.

    As I have stated here and elsewhere, it is contrary to the scriptures (! Cor. 10:29 7 D&C 134:4) to use our religious beliefs as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. The Church ‘steadied the ark” in supporting Prop. 8 in California. Elder nelson seems to be promoting this open rebellion against the sustained word of God. For shame.

      • I will gladly repent if someone would just show me where I’m wrong. i’ve asked bishops, stake presidents and a temple president where I’m wrong and none would even try to refute what I said. You didn’t either. When you have something, let me know.

          • D&C 134 deals with the interaction of GOVERNMENTS with believers. therefore, the “rights and liberties” mentioned in verse 4 are CIVIL/LEGAL RIGHTS and LIBERTIES. God hates infant baptism, but Catholics still have a CIVIL/LEGAL right to do it.

          • KevinJK was really schooled by TomW. If I were Kevin, I’d take some time and re-read those posts and realize the folly of your viewpoint. I thought it would stop you cold in your tracks because that is how the rest of the readers saw it. Old fashioned woodshed you were taken to.

          • Hardly. He made the desperate claim that the rights and liberties mentioned in 134:4 refer only to the right of freedom of religion. To hold that claim would allow us to freely use or religious beliefs as justification to infringe upon any other rights or liberties. We can use religion as justification to take away the rights of women to vote if we claim that only those who can become priesthood holders should be allowed to vote. We could outlaw anything from being printed against the Church. We could impose an LDS theocracy where non LDS have to convert, move or pay a fine to live amongst us.

            The bottom line is that we LDS have been the victims of people who did just that….use their religious beliefs as an excuse to infringe upon the rights and liberties of LDS. This goes against 1 Cor. 10:29 and D&C 134:4. This is why we were wrong supporting Prop.8. Why is it OK for LDS to use our religion as an excuse to violate the rights and liberties of others, but NOT OK for others to do the same thing against us?

        • This is a incentive question, do you want to incentivize or not. You say yes, he says no. let the voting public decide. schooling at the college level has incentives like pell grants, people could say that is discrimination in every way that gay marriage is, as my intellect is clearly not up to par with yours….why should you be treated soo good, when my route is to a unsubsidized trade school, just sucks as i was born this way. i would love to discuss btw as i have been yet been proven otherwise, but i at least am willing to reconsider due to my low intelligence, your genious probably doesnt require such.

          • Huh? Are you sure you wanted to reply to me? I think this was meant for someone else.

      • Feel free. Maybe we can outlaw coffee, tea, 2 piece bathing suits and kids under 16 from dating (they better carry their papers with them). it’s sad to here Elder Nelson issue an LDS fatwa.

        I have asked stake presidents, bishops and a temple president about this – (1 Cor. 10:29 & D&C 134:4) condemning us when we use our religious beliefs as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. None have had an answer. None even tried. I’ve been asking about this for over 15 years and haven’t gotten any kind of a response. Our support of Prop. 8 was a direct violation of scripture that cannot be defended.

        There are only 2 reasons to deny SSM…”my religion says it’s wrong” and/or “my personal preference finds it icky”. That’s it. Kids don’t factor in since gays will still have kids without marriage and denying such families marriage just hurts those kids because it denies those kids the rights and protections that come from having parents who are married. Even SSM opponents will admit this when it comes to straight unmarried couples with kids. They’ll say how bad that is for the kids, but if the kids have gay parents, the opponents don’t care how much harm is done to the kids.

        Why are the opponents so anti-child and anti-family?

        • If you scratch a homophobe, a misogynist will bleed. It all boils down to sexism. Fix that, and it solves nearly everything stinky about Mormonism, including rejection of homosexuality as natural and worthy of tolerance. IMHO.

          • Will you please reach down with your left hand and try to unzip your pants zipper? Yeah, you can’t can you? Will you please hate the world for its hatred against us lefties as well :)

        • So supporting Proposition 8 was “a direct violation of scripture”? Really? Well, let’s try THESE scriptures and find out.

          1 Cor. 6:9-11. 1. Cor. 10:13. Gen. 1:26-17. Gen. 2:24. Matt. 19:4-5.

          Okay, now you see the truth. There is no “right” of gay marriage; in fact there is no such thing as “gay marriage” at all.

          There is simply the SIN, the evil, of homosexual behavior, and that’s all it ever will be. There is no upside on this “gay marriage” mess, nothing good you can say about this kind of enslavement. This stuff is a horror.

          So those who supported Proposition 8, regardless of their religious labels, were and are on solid scriptural ground, on this issue.

          Mormon Elder Nelson is and remains on solid scriptural ground, on this issue. He’s right, and he’s courageous to speak out abut it. “Gay marriage” supporters are flat-out wrong, period.

          • All those verses did was show that homosexual conduct, per scripture, is a sin. that has nothing to do with civil rights. Jesus talked about rendering unto Caesar those things that belong to Caesar (those things dealing with civil/secular government). Government recognition of a union and the giving of governmental rights and responsibilities by definition belong to Caesar and therefore subjective religious doctrine has no role.

            By your way of thinking, we should be able to impose LDS Sharia law outlawing coffee, tea, Sunday shopping, 2 piece bathing suits, etc…

            The scriptures are very clear. Christians of all stripes are FORBIDDEN to use their religious beliefs as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. Those that supported Prop. 8 were in direct violation of these verses because at that time. gays did have a RIGHT to marry in California. Prop. 8 was only about taking away that right. We LDS steadied the ark and were like Saul who brought back animals to sacrifice to the Lord after having been told to kill everything. He violated the word of God because he thought by doing so, he would be doing something good. this was the same thought process as those supporting Prop. 8. They ignored the word of God in order to do something they thought would please God. Both were wrong. Obedience is better than sacrifice and better than fighting sin through disobedience.

            Rebellion is as witchcraft. We LDS rebelled against God in supporting Prop.8. There is no way around that.

          • Kevin, you write: “The scriptures are very clear. Christians of all stripes are FORBIDDEN to use their religious beliefs as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. Those that supported Prop. 8 were in direct violation of these verses because at that time. gays did have a RIGHT to marry in California. Prop. 8 was only about taking away that right.”

            The fact of the matter is that Californians passed Prop 22 many years earlier, which defined marriages in California as the union of one man and one woman. It was only through the rogue actions of a judge – and not ANY democratic action of the part of the people, who are the source of all government authority – that a temporary ‘right’ to gay marriage was created out of the ether, and the citizens of California immediately overturned that judge by passing a constitutional amendment to re-enshrine Prop 22. By your twisted logic, anytime a judge creates any kind of a right, it becomes sacrosanct and beyond the realm of citizens to object. What complete nonsense.

            Kevin continues to misappropriate scripture to compare this situation to steadying the ark, as if the living First Presidency doesn’t have authority to declare the mind of God in our day. That may be fine for non-LDS, but for those professing to be practicing, it is a false argument.

            With regard to Prop 8, Kevin further comments: “Rebellion is as witchcraft. We LDS rebelled against God in supporting Prop.8. There is no way around that.”

            If rebellion is witchcraft, then those who refused to follow the direction of the living prophet and opposed Prop 8 would be the practitioners of withcraft. There is no way around THAT.

            Here’s the First Presidency statement of June 2008:

            “In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing that ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.’ The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people. On November 4, 2008, Californians will vote on a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that will now restore the March 2000 definition of marriage approved by the voters.

            “The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.

            “A broad-based coalition of churches and other organizations placed the proposed amendment on the ballot. The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

            “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”

            http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/california-and-same-sex-marriage

            When the First Presidency of the LDS Church asks its members to “do all you can,” that means exerting your efforts to the full extent you are able. In this case it means both in terms of “means and time.” When the First Presidency proclaims that “Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage,” this is not ambiguous. We are either faithful in sustaining them through our actions, or we are not. There is no murky middle ground here. If we believe the church is true and that the Lord runs it through His anointed leaders, then it is incumbent upon us to actually strive to do what they ask, even if we do not like it. “… whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38)

          • Prop. 22 was a state statute and was overturned by the CA State Supreme Court as violating CA’s state constitution. 22’s backers then decided to make it a state constitutional amendment so that that objection would be overcome. that’s where Prop. 8 came from. Between the CA SSC’s ruling and Prop 8’s passage, gays had the right to marry and thousands did. We LDS allowed our religious opinions to prompt us to infringe upon that right/liberty of gays (see D&C 134:4 and 1 Cor. 10:29).

            People are free to oppose the expansion of one group’s rights/liberties, but scripture forbids them from doing so based on subjective religious belief. It’s a violation of those verses and the principle of “rendering unto Caesar”. There is no other reason to deny SSM. Either your religion hates it our your own personal detest for homosexuality motivates you. Scripture forbids the former and common sense forbids the latter. This is why we have a constitution so that unpopular minorities can’t have their equal rights trampled by the powerful majority. that’s why the CA SSC overturned Prop. 22. It violated the state’s Equal Protection laws.

            The FP can declare the mind of God, but if such declaration violates existing scripture (which supporting 8 clearly did), the Church has to bring it to a vote of the membership to be sustained via Common Consent. I have a zillion quotes on that. When we ignore the sustained words of God to do something else we claim God is OK with, it’s called “steadying the ark”. Saul did it, Uzzah did it and both were punished. it’ll be sweetly ironic and poetic justice if the USSC uses Utah’s appeal to institute SSM nationwide. The Church will get smacked for prop 8. Woo Hoo.

            Regarding your witchcraft assertion, the prophets have declared that if they ask us to do anything or teach a principle that scripture forbids, we are to stick with scripture and ignore their words. Obeying the prophet on Prop. 8 violated this doctrine. The prophets have taught false things in the past, misinterpreted scripture and said things were a violation of temple covenants but later recanted. They are not the Lord’s ventriloquist dummies whose mouths only move when the Lord pulls their strings. They are humans who make mistakes.

            Your reference to 1:38 (I’ll throw in 21:4 as well) state that the message that the people receive from the prophet should be accepted as the will of the Lord, as if the Lord himself spoke it, IF the message was indeed from the Lord. There was never any indication that a revelation we received. It was never sent out to be sustained via Common Consent like the priesthood revelation was. it was only implied. We need much more than hints or innuendo if we are going to violate scripture as was the objective case here.

          • Kevin, if you are a Latter-day Saint, you may wish to consider the words of President Harold B. Lee: https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-harold-b-lee/chapter-9?lang=eng

            “We don’t have to depend solely upon what is in the standard Church works. In addition to what the scriptures have told us, we have what the prophets today are telling us here and now, and it is for us if we want to be saved on Zion’s hill, when these perils come, to hear and obey.

            “So often today when our brethren do speak authoritatively, we have some who rise up to challenge and say, ‘Now, just where can I find some authority that you can cite for what you are saying?’ We are tempted to say, ‘You go back and read the speech of the present leader of the Church on this subject, and you have all the authority that you should look for, because this is the Lord’s way. His prophet is here, and revelation is just as needed and is just as much in evidence as it has been in any time in any dispensation of the gospel upon the earth.’

            “Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through His prophet, ‘as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; … as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith’ (D&C 21:4–5). There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory’ (D&C 21:6).”

            The last paragraph should be put to memory by the Latter-day Saints, especially those who feel to agitate against the direction of the church under those anointed by God to lead it in our day.

            The teachings of the church and the instructions from the First Presidency of the Twelve may be difficult for some people on account of their political or social views. This still doesn’t absolve us from following the prophets. Not one whit.

            President Lee taught further, “Look to the President of the Church for your instructions. If ever there is a conflict, you keep your eyes on the President if you want to walk in the light.”

            For the rank and file of the church, we largely get this even when we are prone to stumble and walk imperfectly alongside the rest of mankind. There are those in the church, some of which have made names for themselves in the news recently, who seem bent on averting their eyes from the President of the church when their statements on political or social matters do not align with their own personal gospel. I wish for these people that they might have an epiphany and redirect their gaze to the Lord’s prophets. But regardless of their choices and efforts to lead their fellow saints in alternative paths, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

          • I’m glad you quoted HBL. Here’s a quote that applies here –

            “If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as a revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth.”
            (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 544.)

            Those supporting Prop. 8 were trying to bring forth a new doctrine saying that it is now OK to use one religious beliefs as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others, contrary to what 1 Cor. 10:29 and D&C 134:4 state. Did they “declare it as a revelation from God, and [have] it …accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church.” ? No..They simply felt that the Lord would be OK with it. Just like uzzah and Saul did.

            I agree that we need to follow the prophet, but only when they follow the scriptures. in the temple, the endowment was changed so that the sisters covenant to follow their husbands as they follow the Lord. Too many husbands were pulling rank and exerting unrighteous dominion. My quote from HBL and the one from Joseph Fielding Smith saying that if the above process isn’t followed we must reject the teachings of the prophet help prevent the Church from being like those sisters…victims of those wishing to pull rank unrighteously.

            Consider this quote from Joseph Smith –

            “We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told do by their presidents they should do it without any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.”
            (Joseph Smith – Millennial Star, Vol 14, Number 38, pages 593-595)

            Thanks for caring about your position enough to write.

          • And the 1st Amendment means I don’t have to give a flying crap what you think the Bible says when the subject is our civil laws and liberties.

            The Establishment Clause and its notion of the separation of church and state demands that all laws must have a rational and secular purpose. Your dogma just won’t cut it.

            Besides, its none of the business of any given church as to what our laws affecting all citizens, believers or not shall say. Prop 8 was a violation of scripture. Refusing to render unto Caesar, his due.

          • Brandon the Mormon

            Here’s an idea… How about you not persecute people who make life decisions that have no bearing on your day to day life. This kind of thinking was precursory to… I don’t know… Terrosit groups like the Taliban. Yes. I just compared your mentality with a terrorist’s.

          • Doc,

            I agree with you (I am not Mormon)… And I am adding Romans 1:24-27; 32 to the Scriptures you cited.

            God does not condone homosexual acts nor same-sex marriage and never will.

            We should also remember that the love of God means observing his commandments (1 John 5:3), and they are not burdensome. Living by God’s guidelines and principles as found in his Word, the Bible, will bring us true happiness and peace of mind.

          • I’d love to hear what you think Paul meant in 1 Cor. 10:29 when he questions others using their religious beliefs to justify them restricting his rights. What did he mean?

        • Obedience is the first law of heaven. Speaking evil of the lords anointed. I think your local leaders are afraid of losing your attendance at church because you have a lot to learn so it is better for them to stop their tongue.

          Obedience and sustaining are not a challenge when the two go with our current beliefs but when the apostles are trying to change our belief structure then it becomes a test.

          • I agree…obedience is the first law of heaven…but obedience to whom…the Lord or the arm of flesh? Both Harold B. Lee and Joseph Fielding Smith said that if they ever said anything contrary to scripture, that we are to stick with scripture and ignore their words. That is exactly what I’m doing. I’m sticking to obeying scripture rather than the fallible arm of flesh. Scripture condemns letting our “religious opinions prompt [us] to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others”. Church leaders have told us to ignore that and support prop. 8. that is by definition “steadying the ark”.

            Is it “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed” to point out that they sinned like humans do? If they sinned, then it’s fact, not “evil speaking”. Did they sin? the scriptures say that they objectively did sin.

        • Kevin,

          You are spot on, but I will take it a step further. Look at Utah. The church and membership ARE trying to force the gentiles to conform with the liquor laws, closing businesses on Sunday, photoshopped yearbooks, etc. I like your “fatwa” reference. In the future look for references to full-body coverings for women, female circumcision, etc.

        • Mont Aug 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm
          Marriage came from God. He mandated that it is between a man and a woman. Therefore gay marriage is neither a right or a liberty. It is an product of a fallen government.

          Look at it this way, Owning a slave used to be the right and liberty of Americans. But it was still wrong and our church spoke openly against it (D&C 101:79) and were persecuted for it.

          • The point is not what your little religion says on the subject. It is what your religion tries to do with the civil laws on the subject.

            You are more than welcomed to believe marriage comes from God because your scripture says so when discussing a Temple marriage. You are not welcomed to have our laws reflect that.

            Nobody needs a reason to keep a gay marriage out of a Mormon temple. But you need a rational and secular reason to keep it off the state’s laws.

            Civil laws and civil liberties are not beholden to your faith or anyone else’s. Kevin’s point, which you missed entirely, is that the LDS had no business using its money and influence to try to affect civil laws. Laws which affect all people not just those in your church.

    • Right on Kevin! Marriage Equality will move forward and it will be a big blessing to our society as a national law one day very soon as it has to the states where marriage equality is the law. I’ve heard the religious have apoplexy about how marriage and society are being harmed but when those same individuals have to stand up for their arguments, arguments about how heterosexual households are often or always the best place to raise kids, etc. in a court of law their arguments based on religious views don’t get very far. This is one of the main reasons why marriage equality is becoming the law of the land. The arguments against marriage equality are not based on facts but on sadly they are often based on bigotry and religious edicts. Those kinds of arguments in opposition to marriage equality don’t stand up in a court of law.

      What Elder Nelson does not mention is the fact that when you do all in your power to influence legislation in opposition to marriage equality that affects millions of people who are gay or lesbian (and their extended families not to mention their children) the pain and the harm that is done is unimaginable. Is that what Christ would do?

      I have been legally and lawfully married to my husband for over 3 years now and every year our marriage gets better. We are in the business of serving others, serving our families, helping our friends and doing the will of Christ. Our country (and our world) is changing for the better with marriage equality and LGBT rights. We are moving toward a better world as a result and the Church (as all religions who are opposed to marriage equality) will just have to get used it.

      I believe in traditional marriage. I believe in the marriage that my parents were blessed with. I believe in the beautiful and wonderful opposite gender marriages that have blessed our society down through the ages. I also believe in marriage equality for those who are always in the minority who are oriented toward our same gender. I know it is good and right because I have experienced the blessings of it in my own life. My husband is my best friend and my confidant. He’s just awesome! I couldn’t think of being married to anyone else. I’m extremely grateful to God for bringing him into my life. Our marriage is a miracle as only about 5 years or so ago I would never have thought it was possible for me to have this kind of blessing and yet I am. Had I been born 20 or 30 years earlier it is doubtful that I would have had this opportunity. I’m deeply grateful.

      • Benjamin,

        You are still okay with homosexuality and same-sex marriage, even tho it is not approved or condoned by God who is perfect in love, compassion, power and justice?

        God’s attitude is reflected at Romans 1:24-27, 32. Why is that? He refers to those things as not being natural; it is natural between a man and a woman, and God instituted this wonderful arrangement with Adam and Eve and blessed them. (Genesis 1:28; 2:24).

        What about us humans? We inherited imperfection and sin through the actions of our parents who disobeyed God. We continually sin and make mistakes every day!!

        The good news is that God’s kingdom will soon put an end to sin and imperfection and we will acquire a perfect state that was lost to us. This will be accomplished through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, a perfect man, for all imperfect humans and also allows forgiveness of sin today.

        Homosexuality and same-sex marriage will not be a part of that perfect life; and all meek persons will enjoy everlasting life on a paradise earth, with no wicked ones (Psalm 37:10,11)

        Even all sickness and disease, old age and death will be gone (Revelation 21:1-4).

        It is possible, with prayer and God’s help through his Word, the Bible, to change from a homosexual way of life. As Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 6:9,11, “that is what some of you were.”

    • Kevin, neither of the scriptures you quote mean what you claim they mean. 1 Cor. 10:29 deals with whether you should engage in behavior that is not itself sinful, but is considered so by fellow church members – Paul is saying to feel free to engage in it in private, but not where those that may have their faith weakened could see you because of their own mistaken beliefs. It has nothing to do with passing laws of general morality based on religious convictions.

      In the case of D&C 134:4, that deals with using human law “to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion” – again, nothing to do with using religious beliefs to inform laws of general morality but rather interfering with religious worship and belief.

      • Regarding 1 Cor. 10:29, the Greek word for “liberty”, [eleutheria], Strong’s word G1657, is used here. It is also rendered as “freedom” (legitimate or licentious).
        The Greek word for “judged”, {krinetai}, is used here. It’s Greek root, {krino}, Strong’s word G2919, is also rendered as “to determine” elsewhere in the KJV as for example Acts 25:25, Acts 27:1, 2 Cor. 2:1, etc… It is also rendered as “to be called into question” in Acts 23:6, Acts 24:21; etc…; as “to go to law” in 1 Cor. 6:6; and as “to be so decreed” in 1 Cor. 7:37.

        Please consider how [ eleuqeria ] and { krinetai } are rendered in other Bible translations –

        (New King James Version)
        “… For why is my [liberty] {judged} by another man’s conscience?”
        (English Standard Version)
        “… For why should my [liberty] {be determined } by someone else’s conscience?”
        (New Living Translation)
        “… For why should my [freedom] {be limited} by what someone else thinks?”
        (Weymouth New Testament)
        “…’Why, on what ground,’ you may object, ‘is the question of my [liberty of action] to {be decided} by a conscience not my own?”
        (Amplified Bible)
        “… For why should another man’s scruples apply to me and my [liberty of action] {be determined} by his conscience?”

        In context, verses 27 through 33 have Paul saying that we should limit our otherwise allowed behaviors if they offend others, which offense may cause them to reject the Gospel. In verse 29, though, Paul says that we do this only for the sake of the others’ conscience/feelings and rejects the idea that the opinions of others can limit our freedom of action. If the opinions of others can’t limit our freedom, how can we hypocritically state that OUR opinions CAN limit the freedom of others? That’s why our support of prop. 8 is wrong. Others’ liberty was judged by our conscience.

        D&C 134:4 – “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others…” It is obviously contrary to God to try to take away the civil and constitutional rights of others based on our own religious beliefs. We are not to force our subjective moral standards on others in violation of their legal rights and privileges to benignly do as they please.

        President Wilford Woodruff said, “That this Church, while offering advice for the welfare of its members in all conditions of life, does not claim or exercise a right to interfere with citizens in the free exercise of social or political rights and privileges.” (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 3: 185.)

        Do you believe that any group’s religious opinions should be used as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others? Your assertion that it deals only with religious freedom is curious since the passage mentions both rights (plural) and liberties (plural). That’s at least 4 different things, not just religious freedom. If we liken that principle unto other rights and liberties, we clearly see that it is contrary to use religious belief as an excuse to infringe upon the rights of others. In 7th Day Adventist dominated Loma Linda, CA, the city officials try to get businesses to close on Saturdays. Should they be able to pass a law closing down stores? Should they be able to outlaw the sale of meats since the SDA promotes vegetarianism?

        You need to look at the principle and not just the detail. If we focused only on the context, we could say that smoking pot isn’t against the Word of Wisdom since it isn’t mentioned in D&C 89 and prohibitions against pot haven’t been sustained by Common Consent. Look at the principle being taught.

        • For 1 Cor. 1:29, you’re right, Paul is clearly saying that those that believe that it is wrong to eat meat sacrificed to idols and sold in the marketplace are wrong, that he is free to do so without guilt. But that to protect the faith of those that believe otherwise as well as the Church’s reputation with nonbelievers, one should refrain from eating meat sacrificed and then sold when it will become public knowledge. If you, as a believer in SSM, want to apply it to the SSM debate it would seem to me that Paul would be calling on you to refrain advocating SSM in order to protect the faith of those that continue to believe otherwise. These verses are about restricting your behavior even when you shouldn’t have to, out of consideration for the salvation of others. They have nothing to do with what behavior should be permitted.

          For D&C 134:4, your question as to whether one has the right to use exercise your religion in a way that imposes on someone else’s rights and liberties, of course not. But how do we determine just what those rights and liberties are? You can’t use science, that’s great for providing facts about the material world but useless to informing us as to what we should do with those facts. Which means it ultimately comes down to theology’s “because God says so” or philosophy’s “because I say so,” and the first is no less valid than the other. Laws against murder in the US, based on Judeo-Christian religious ethics, are no less valid than, say, China’s laws against murder, inspired perhaps by Confucian philosophical ethics.

          For SSM itself, there is no “right and liberty” to that institution. Throughout history, marriage has had two practically universal qualities – conjugality, and exclusivity on the part of women. At least as early as the Law of Moses, if not earlier, that fidelity was extended to men, and with Christ permanence was added. That has been the definition of marriage in the West for the past 1500 years, but note that it’s the permanence and (at least officially) exclusivity on the part of men that really distinguishes it from the rest of the world’s cultures. Conjugality especially is what has been practically universal, whether the cultures’ marriage laws are religious or secular. Even the handful of cultures I’ve read of that allowed members of the same sex to marry preserved the heterosexual nature of the institution by either requiring one partner to take on the role of the opposite sex and possibly require celibacy (Africa) or separate those attracted to the same sex into a separate sex and forbid them to marry each other (North America). Simply put, the institution of marriage exists because heterosexual sex results in children.

          It seems to me that what SSM supporters are demanding is similar to someone demanding that they be issued a driver’s license, even though they are legally blind and so unable to drive, because of how useful that license is as legal ID and rejecting every offer for another form of ID as an abrogation of their right to equal treatment inspired by irrational prejudice.

          • Thanks for actually reading the verses that I quoted and thinking about them. You are correct that we LDS may want to refrain talking about beliefs/doctrines that potential converts may find offensive and thereby reject the gospel. They need milk before meat. Agreed.

            My point with 1 Cor. 10:29 is where Paul asks why his freedom/rights/liberties should be limited/restricted by the moral beliefs/opinions/sensitivities of others. He believes that Christians, as you point out, should CHOOSE to limit them so as to not offend other, but rejects the idea that the moral beliefs/opinions/sensitivities of others give them the right to forcibly limit his freedom/rights/liberties. if the moral beliefs/opinions/sensitivities of others DON’T give them the right to forcibly limit his freedom/rights/liberties, then how can LDS moral beliefs/opinions/sensitivities give us the right to forcibly limit the freedom/rights/liberties of others? They can’t. This is why the Church was wrong regarding prop. 8. We used our moral beliefs/opinions/sensitivities to forcibly limit the freedom/rights/liberties of gays by taking away their then extant right to marry.

            Regarding D&C 134:4, you ask, “..your question as to whether one has the right to use exercise your religion in a way that imposes on someone else’s rights and liberties, of course not. But how do we determine just what those rights and liberties are?” That’s a fair question. Since 134 deals with governments interaction with believers, the “rights and liberties” mentioned are obviously legal rights protected and established in government law. regarding prop. 8, gays DID have the right to marry in California during the prop. 8 campaign. LDS and other Christians ignored what the scriptures say about the rightness of freedom/rights/liberties being limited/restricted by the moral beliefs/opinions/sensitivities of others. We can argue the moral rightness/wrongness (are those really words?) of SSM, but America isn’t a theocracy governed by the Bible. California’s secular government said that gays can marry and LDS and other Christians, as stated, ignored what the scriptures said about the rightness of freedom/rights/liberties being limited/restricted by the moral beliefs/opinions/sensitivities of others.

            regarding you drivers license analogy, it fails because objective harm can come from letting blind people drive. there is no objective harm that can come from allowing SSM. You may be offended, but you don’t have a right to not be offended. people should have the right to do as they please as long as no objective harm to others occur. that maximizes agency and that’s why the Constitution was established…to maximize freedom which maximizes agency (D&C 101:77-80)

          • Kevin, a couple further thoughts I had on the Corinthian quote. First, what Paul is talking about limiting is your behavior, not what you teach. While one might wait to make sure an investigator (whether non-LDS or a member) is well grounded in the basics before getting into deeper aspects, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be afraid to speak of the deeper aspects because they might offend someone. Further, there’s the question of the level of importance of the behavior. I doubt Paul considered the question of eating meat sacrificed to idols to be all that important a piece of the big picture.

            For D&C 134, two problems. First, there’s the issue of how SSM came to be legal in California in the first place – not through the consensus of the citizens of the state that it was time to change, but by a single judge imposing his preferred definition on the state and other judges going along. Essentially, the courts took away the right and freedom of California’s citizens to determine for themselves what marriage will be in California. Citizens of that state fought to protect that right by first amending the law to reverse the court’s ruling, and then by amending the state’s constitution. In the end they failed, the few managed to impose their will on the many in clear violation of their constitutional freedom.

            Second, you seem to be saying that because a LEGAL right exists D&C 134 prohibits us from seeking to abolish it, however badly we might think it goes against God’s law and our own human nature, so long as it doesn’t interfere with our own personal lives. On this, I disagree. Consider abortion – clearly (in my view, at least), the right of women to kill their babies needs to be mostly eliminated. Members of the Church have long been part of the fight to overturn or limit the damage of Roe v. Wade, and rightly so. No, the rights and freedoms that D&C 134 speaks of have to be those natural/human rights inherent in our nature that our laws are supposed to reflect, but often fail badly.

            And that gets us to your last point, objective harm, because I have to disagree. The redefinition of marriage to no more than a close personal relationship with no purpose other than what the couple chooses to invest in it, in which the larger society has no interest and so no say, while ignoring the inherent heterosexual, procreative aspect of the institution, has done an immense amount of objective harm. All you need to do is check out the divorce rates, the out-of-wedlock birthrate, the number of people that aren’t bothering to marry at all, the number of children in single-parent households – the cost in pain, hardship and ruined lives has been immense. And SSM is both based on and further cements in our legal code this false, even evil, definition of marriage and the views of sex that go along with it. True, different aspects do differing amounts of damage, I would trade SSM for eliminating no-fault divorce in a heartbeat, but the damage is still there. We face a possibly impossible task of fixing the damage we’ve already done, we shouldn’t be making it even harder.

          • I appreciate your thoughts. Regarding 1 Cor 10:29, I think that Paul’s goal was to keep people from being offended and thereby reject the Gospel. Offense can come from either words or actions. As stated before, people need to be taught the milk before the meat. if they are taught the meat, they may not be able to handle it and walk away. My point regarding the verse is that Paul rejects the idea that one person’s/group’s moral beliefs have no right to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others.

            Regarding SSM’s history in CA, the courts found the prop. 22 voter initiative in violation of the state constitution. The voter’s regrouped to make a constitutional amendment to overcome that objection, hence Prop. 8. My point is that gays, due to the anti-22 ruling, had the right to marry and we LDS, and other Christians, “allowed our religious opinions to prompt us to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others”. it’s contrary to 1 Cor. 10:29 and D&C 134:4, which I quoted above, to do that. We clearly violated scripture. regarding “a single judge”, remember that the definition of an activist judge is one with whoms ruling you disagree. CA and the US are divinely established as constitutional republics, NOT democracies and therefore the judiciary is needed to ensure that the rights of unpopular minorities are trampled on by the powerful majority. LDS experiences in the 19th century are replete when the powerful majority trampled our rights.
            We should be very wary about wanting to return to such a time.

            Regarding you abortion point. I agree with you. My libertarian view on rights states that one does not have a right to interfere with the rights of others. That’s in line with those verses. We can argue that abortion infringes upon the rights of the unborn. I personally think that abortion should be outlawed, even in cases of rape and incest because the right of the infant to live far outweighs the mental harm carrying a baby to term under those circumstances may be. If the fetus is objectively endangering the health of the mother, then an abortion could happen under the principle of self defense. Mom is defending herself. Regarding SSM, no own is being harmed. Some may be offended, but no one has a right to not be offended. Denying SSM DOES objectively harm the kids of such couples because they are being denied the rights and protections that having married parents bring them.

            About the “procreative aspect of the institution”, your point is hypocritical. In priesthood 10 days ago, we talked about eternal marriage (Lesson 15). Several of the High Priests, due to death or divorce, remarried long after they had passed child rearing age. Their new wives were unable to have kids. Should such marriages be disallowed since such a marriage would have no “procreative aspect”? Another family in my ward is infertile and had to adopt all of their kids. how are they different from a same-sex couple?

            The “divorce rates, the out-of-wedlock birthrate, the number of people that aren’t bothering to marry at all, the number of children in single-parent households” all were going up LONG before SSM. the number of couples living together that i saw on my mission in Scandinavia 35 years ago shocked me. These are due to people ignoring religious and societal norms and doing as they please. SSM is coming due to people realizing that denials of rights should be based on preventing objective harm rather than being contrary to subjective religious beliefs or subjective personal animus. BTW, as mentioned, denying SSM turns every gay with kids into a single parent. they may have a roommate, but they are a single parent. that allows them to get more taxpayer funded benefits and denies their kids of the rights and protections that marriage would afford them. Denial of SSM harms kids and families.

            I agree that SSM is NOT God’s will (at least according to current scripture). Denial of SSM isn’t the way to promote righteousness. We are to instead use kindness, gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned to encourage people to be righteous. using the FORCE of law is wrong. Forcing righteous behavior or rejection of sin was Satan’s plan.

          • Sorry about the delay, I’ve been busy. (Still am, my response won’t be as extensive as I might like.)

            First, no, an activist judge isn’t one whose ruling I disagree with, it is one that has imposed his own preferences on the meaning of the law instead of the original meaning. The judges of California clearly did just that, and so overstepped their constitutional duty and took on the role of legislators. Yes, there can be any number of rulings that are iffy, but other cases that are clear abuses: Dred Scott, Plessy, Griswold, Roe, I’m sure you could come up with more.

            Second, you seem to be claiming that D&C 134:4 prohibits us from removing or restricting any LEGAL right or freedom held by others, however abhorrent we might find it. You agreed with my point about abortion, but why do you think this exception exists? According to your position, we have no right to deprive women of their right to abort their babies just because of our religious beliefs. No, the rights and freedoms that verse speaks of cannot refer only to legal ones, but to those that are inherent in our nature as human being regardless of what the law says. And conversely, it does not apply to “rights and freedoms” recognized by law that do not truly exist – such as the right to an abortion (in most cases) or the right to own slaves.

            Nor is a general restriction of marriage to heterosexual couples out of procreative concerns hypocritical because some that marry are infertile. Do you really want the government requiring those seeking to marry to prove their fertility first? No, leaving aside the added costs, that’s more invasive than I want any government to be. It also defeats the purpose of trying to limit heterosexual sex to marriage relationships by making it more difficult and costly to get married. Besides, are supporters of SSM hypocritical for insisting that marriage is all about a personal romantic relationship but not calling for the government to verify that such a relationship exists before allowing couples to marry? No – again, that’s more intrusive than we want the government to be.

            And, yes, the skyrocketing of divorces, out-of-wedlock births, and abortions predated SSM. I said as much – the SSM is the continuation of a trend that further cements in law the flawed, dangerous, and damaging view of sex and marriage that will make it even harder to fix the mess we’ve made of things even more than it already is. Yes, there are same-sex couples with children and that needs to be recognized in some form by our laws. SSM is not the way to do it.

            And finally, there is a problem with your reference to Satan’s plan. This isn’t a case of using the force of law to prevent sinful behavior. Marriage, in law, is the recognition of and support for a relationship by society. If a couple chooses to live together without marrying, there is no law against it nor should be. But there’s a difference between saying that people have the right to live together if they choose, whatever we may think of it, and extending to them the legal status of marriage.

          • Thanks for writing back. regarding abortion, I said that abortion could be opposed because we can claim that the right to life of the baby is being infringed. The tricky thing with abortion is that there is no objective point at which a fetus inheres human rights. It’s all subjective. Because it’s subjective (just like the age at which one can drink, smoke, vote, but a gun, consent to sex, etc… are likewise subjective), we have to leave it to the voters or legislatures to determine those things. Because of that, no one has an objective right one way or another. In CA, the state supreme court held that the state’s equal protection clause really meant that all should be treated equally. that’s hardly an activist position.

            Regarding marriage being granted benefits because of its procreative nature, would you be willing to deny marriage to all women over 50 since by then, they almost all have gone through the change? Once a woman hits 50 and becomes divorced, widowed or even in a relationship, she can’t marry since the government logically believes that she can’t bear children. That’s easy and could be enforced by showing clerks one’s drivers license. No extra costs or hindrance to those qualified to marry. Are you game?

            “Yes, there are same-sex couples with children and that needs to be recognized in some form by our laws. SSM is not the way to do it.” Sorry, but SSM is the easiest and fairest way to do it. It secures state and federal benefits and protections. To have an class of relationship (civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc…) is no different than having Black and White drinking fountains. Both provided the exact same government benefits (cool clean water), but having “separate, but equal ” institutions still implies that one is “more equal” than the others.

            Sorry, but using force to deny somebody the equal benefits of others because they don’t abide by your religious standards is indeed aligned with the Satanic idea of limiting people’s freedom.

          • Posting logical, systematic thoughts with clear backing is SO offensive. No wonder SSM opponents hate me.

    • Kevin-

      The crux of all the arguments you’ve made here hinges on your interpretation of D&C 134, but you’ve made an obvious misinterpretation with verse 4. This scripture is saying human law shouldn’t dictate how others WORSHIP (caps for emphasis, not me yelling at you.)

      In other words, we shouldn’t pass laws telling others they have to observe Ramadan or sacrifice burnt offerings.

      Same sex marriage, not being a religious observance (at least not yet; I’m sure we’ll get there eventually) wouldn’t fall into this category. The way you’ve interpreted it, the LDS church would be hypocrites for opposing some crazy new law (all newborns must be sacrificed to the Canadian god Beiberrum, or something along those lines) because this is forcing morals on others.

      Which, again, was never the intent of that verse. You’ve given it an erroneous interpretation. The church is open to — even has a duty — to stand up for morality.

      • I appreciate your comments, but the phrase in question refers to rights and liberties. 2 separate things, both being plural so we have at least 4 things that we are forbidden from using our religious opinions as justification to outlaw…not just one.

        Regarding D&C 134:4, consider this quote from a D&C commentary:

        “Religious freedom does not imply nor provide license to infringe or impose upon the rights and liberties of others.”
        (L. G. Otten and C. M. Caldwell, Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982-1983], 2: 375.)
        Notice that the adjective “religious” was not used when referring to the rights and liberties of others, thereby indicating that ALL rights and ALL liberties are to be protected.

        The authors here didn’t try to limit the proscription to just religious freedom. Please tell me what rights you believe that God would be happy in outlawing using religious opinion as justification. SSM does not infringe upon the rights of others. It simply offers equal rights to others…just like giving women and Blacks the vote. White men are not injured and therefore have no reason to object. The state can’t impose on believers, but believers can’t impose on the rights of others either. The separation of church/state must be maintained.

        • I forgot to mention that 1 Cor. 10:29 likewise has Paul asking why the religious opinions of others should be able to restrict his own rights. If the religious opinions of others can’t limit his rights, could his religious opinions (or other believers’) be able to limit the rights/liberties of non-believers? Obviously not without being hypocritical.

        • Kevin,

          What scriptures actually say is this: D&C 1:38 “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Elder Nelson has been chosen by Jesus Christ as one of his 12 apostles and servants. Prophets and apostles reveal the truth. A living prophet is far more important than an ancient prophet. Elder Nelson did not reveal a new doctrine he is simply supporting the revelations received by both ancient and modern prophets that homosexual relations are a sin and that children have a right to be raised by a father and a mother who love them. Here is the problem with your argument and subsequent apostasy: The church does not push to make homosexual acts illegal even though they are considered a sin. The church does have the right to push for the protection of the institution of marriage because the family is the fundamental unit of society and if it is redefined it does have massive impact on society and especially children. There are recent studies that show that children from same sex households have higher depression and drug abuse rates and are much more likely to end up on welfare. These well researched, peer review studies have opened up the researchers to threats of violence and attempts to silence them. The great social experiment of same sex unions will prove to be a disaster in society despite the efforts of many to paint over it’s evil fruits with a happy brush of censorship.

          • http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/07/children-of-same-sex-couples-are-happier-and-healthier-than-peers-research-shows/

            Just sayin.

          • Thanks for writing. regarding 1:38 dealing with the words of the Lord coming through the prophets, I agree. the words of the Lord, whether delivered by the Lord himself or through the prophets must be obeyed. the problem arises as to how we are to know when the prophets are speaking their own words or the words of the Lord. Consider the following quotes –

            “STANDARD WORKS JUDGE TEACHINGS OF ALL MEN. It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teaching of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.
            You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.
            If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it.”
            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 203.)

            “If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church (emphasis added), were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth.”
            (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 544.)

            “With respect to the people feeling that whatever the brethren say is gospel, this tends to undermine the proposition of freedom of speech and thought. As members of the Church we are bound to sustain and support the brethren in the positions they occupy so long as their conduct entitles them to that. But we also have only to defend those doctrines of the Church contained in the four standard works: the Bible, The BoM, the D&C, and the PoGP. Anything beyond that by anyone is his or her own opinions and not scripture.”
            (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965])

            “I am afraid, however, that this is not as generally accepted or followed to-day as it ought to be. Some of the brethren have been willing to submit to the inference that what they have said was pronounced under the influence of the inspiration of the Lord and that it therefore is the will of the Lord. I do not doubt that the brethren have often spoken under inspiration and given new emphasis– perhaps even a new explanation or interpretation–of Church doctrine, but that does not become binding upon the Church unless and until it is submitted to the scrutiny of the rest of the brethren and later to the vote of the people.”
            (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965])

            “In no sense can the Church be called autocratic. No one, from the President down, can dictate to the Church. All must be done in harmony with gospel principles, and by common consent. Even new revelations from the Lord are presented to the people for acceptance as part of the doctrine of the Church.”
            (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 281.)

            The bottom line is that if the prophets advance something that is contrary to scripture, we are to ignore their words. Prop.8 was clearly contrary to the verses I previously quoted. that’s why it was a form of steadying the ark by those LDS who supported it.

            you are right…SSM DOES have an impact on kids…only those who have same-sex parents. SSM gives those kids the legal rights and protections that your kids and my kids enjoy(ed). Denying SSm denies those kids those protections. therefore denying SSM is anti-child and anti-family.

            i’d love to find out more about those studies.

            Also, keep your charges of apostasy to those who whoactually violate official church doctrine…like those who supported Prop. 8.

    • Kevin,

      The church corporation owns City Creek Center. City Creek Center is home to restaurants and Harmon’s which are open on Sunday. I used to think it was bad to shop on Sunday until I realized the Corporation of the church doesnt really care. Check out Cheese Cake Factory on Sunday at City Creek you may be surprised and shocked they are open!

      Cheers

      • You are absolutely correct. I’ve told my wife that if the Church owned KSL is OK with broadcasting NFL games on Sunday, then I see no problem watching them since it has the brethren’s “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”. in actuality, I still don’t watch sports on Sundays, but I can’t really fault those who watch them on KSL.

    • So when did this American church with its American prophet lose the right to the freedom of speech? The LDS church and the prophets and members can be as politically active as they choose to be. Amazing how quickly people try to stop religion from its God given and Constitution mandated right to speech and press.

      • Freedom of speech does not mean one is immune to criticism. The LDS is perfectly allowed to turn itself into a PAC. They are also perfectly allowed to be pilloried for it. Neither Kevin nor I said such things are illegal, just rude and inappropriate.

        You want to cheapen religion into something petty and partisan, so be it. Just don’t expect to garner a whole lot of respect for it.

      • I’m not saying that they don’t have a LEGAL right. I’m saying that they don’t have a MORAL right to use their religion as an excuse to infringe upon the rights of others. The Bible and D&C forbid it.

  2. Go Jana go…I like your open disagreement with an Apostle of the Lord. He must have not been acting as a prophet at that time otherwise you wouldn’t have disagreed with him.

  3. I mostly agree with Russell Nelson and Mormons on this topic.

    I feel that many churches are going against the Bible and God/Jesus.

    I feel that churches that marry homosexuals are going against the Bible and God.

    I feel that the Bible teaches us that homosexuality is a sin. I feel that any church that marries homosexuals is committing a sin by being an accessory, by giving a stamp of approval for sin and enabling sin. I feel any church that marries homosexuals, as sold its soul to political correctness and to anti-constitutional political extremists in our government (the litigative actions and government threatening to persecute churches that refuse to marry homosexuals). I feel that man should love fellow man platonically, not sexually. The church is going against its own historical teachings and policies. The church is reversing its position on homosexuality.

    I feel the Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin. Though I suspect that the part about being “put to death” is a bad translation or/and an antiquation that Jesus has tempered by telling us too love our fellow man.

    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.”

    I feel that any churches that marry homosexuals are not standing up for God/Jesus and their constitutional right of freedom of religion. Jesus and John the Baptist did not blow with the winds of political correctness and government threats; even though it put their freedoms, well-being and lives at risk. I feel that Jesus was crucified for standing up against sinful political correctness. I feel that many churches are not willing to make a painful, costly and risky stand against sin. Jesus and John the Baptist put themselves in harms way to stand up for the word of God.

    Our sexual boundaries are being eroded, I feel that some of that is bad. Sanctioning approval of homosexual marriage, would be like sanctioning bestiality or infant marriages. Homosexual marriage is a step in that direction.

    I feel Jesus taught us, we are supposed to love sinners, but hate the sin. If the churchs did not accept sinners and have a fair degree of forgiveness of sinners, then churches would be empty (everyone is a sinner) and less people would repent. But churches should not give approval of sinful behavior. One of the many things that marriage stands for, is giving approval of a sexual union between a couple. I think churches should welcome homosexuals (it would be hypocritical to turn them away), because we are all sinners, but we shouldn’t give approval for sinful behavior.

    One of Satan’s backdoors to subvert morality and the law; is to change the language. Historically marriage was defined and still should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. Slowly but steadily over the years advocates have been trying to control the language and have been perverting the definition.

    Relevant news articles.

    Google:
    Government Forces Churches To Perform Gay Marriage

    Google:
    Washington State unnatural “marriage” bill will force churches to accommodate ceremonies or face penalties

    • Doug, nobody is forcing churches to perform gay marriages. Nobody can. You are either willfully ignorant or this or deliberately trading in fictions.

      Whether you despise gays or gay marriage, it is your opinion and your choice. But If your cause is truly following the Bible, you should be avoiding bearing false witness in service of it as you have done.

      • Larry “nobody is forcing churches to perform gay marriages”

        You are bearing false witness, not me.

        It’s happening slowly and incrementally.

        I left a couple examples of news quotes for people like you to Google. Instead of seeking the truth, you have chosen to deceive.

        More examples of news.

        “Denmark has just passed a law that will force churches to participate in gay wedding ceremonies”

        “Gay Marriage Advocates Forcing Churches To Perform Weddings”

        “Under the law, individual priests can refuse to carry out the ceremony, but the local bishop must arrange a replacement for their church.”

        “Judge Rules Christian facility cannot ban same-sex civil union ceremony on its own premises”

        • Nothing you said remotely comes close to the fictions you asserted. Most aof the topics with your assertions do not come from credible sources.

          Denmark has government established churches (separation of church and state not so bad after all). Churches in the US cannot be forced to perform ceremonies no matter what advocates call for. The separation of church and state which keeps your religious dogma from being the basis of our laws also protects churches from that sort of government involvement.

          As for “Christian facility” it was not a church but a location open to commercial use to the general public. You are not allowed to discriminate in commerce if one is open to the general public.

          You are peddling in the hysterical nonsense used to pretend marriage equality opponents are an aggrieved party rather than a group looking to attack the liberties of others.

          • @ Larry

            Again you are bearing false witness. You are dishonestly taking my words out of context to make unfounded slanderous attacks. You are using unethical practices that are often used by homosexual advocates.

            In the news, in the US.:

            “City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings”

            Our government and fascist political correctness is trying to force Christians to do things that go against our religion and God. As I said this is happening incrementally. In this case it is a for-profit Chapel, but there is little doubt that this is one step closer to forcing the homosexual agenda on churches.

            If the Hitching Wedding Post ends up on the losing side, it will be used as a precedent to try to force the homosexual agenda even further onto Christians.

      • And of course, Larry is absolutely qualified (as an atheist and a gay-marriage supporter) to lecture people on how to “truly follow the Bible.”

        • Of course. I look at it objectively without the haze of dogma. :)

          It is a sin to lie, right Doc?

          I guess not. You feel that lying for the Lord is perfectly fine. That and whatever other immoral and malicious acts. As long as its in God’s name. Everything is permitted.

    • Please tell me again how the prophets validated and advocated polygamy to be within God’s definition of marriage and then only backpedaled on the issue due to secular, political pressure. Certainly, there are better interpreters of God’s definition of marriage than the leaders of the LDS Church, who, historically, have jumped around that line like pagan dancers.

      • Bill’s point is right on the money. It is plain idiocy to give Nelson any kind of deference on any point about marriage. Mormon Church leaders are the absolute most unaccountable wannabe dictators in the U.S., but they don’t have the balls to defend their doctrine or their religions history and inconsistencies in any forum that isn’t a one-way communication setting, ie, a pulpit. Jeffrey R. Holland was caught of guard by in impromptu visit from a British reporter named John Sweeney, during the last election cycle, and ultimately had his hat handed to him and all he could do was lie, get mad, and back pedal. Russell Nelson is no different. He doesn’t have the balls to address D&C 132, but instead will just declare what God’s “divine order of marriage” is in a safe setting where all he has to do is speak and nobody can ask him the obvious questions. If Mormon’s want to be taken serious as intelligent and thoughtful members of their community, particularly these post graduate BYU alumni, then they are going to have to do a lot more that simply obey their leaders. They are going to have to be accountable for their faith, their history, and their institutional hypocrisy. These grads have their work cut out for them in following Nelson’s commandment to do whatever stupid thing he says!

    • Doug, those links you gave here are from 2012 before Washington State passed marriage equality. Those statements are based on fear and were meant to scare the voters into voting against marriage equality in Washington. Happily the majority of voters of Washington state voted in favor of marriage equality.

    • Doug,

      I agree with you that God does not condone homosexuality and same-sex marriage. His opinion of that is expressly stated Romans 1: 24-27. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: It is deemed “unnatural” by God’s standards and was not intended for the human family when he blessed our first parents, their marriage, and gave them instructions to fill the earth and subdue it.

      Then why are so many churches caving in and endorsing a lifestyle and marriage that God does not approve of? They are evidently misrepresenting God, his Word, the Bible, and its commandments, principles and guidelines. They will receive their due judgment from the God they “claim” to worship.

      Finally, if any of man’s laws or rules or commands go against those of God, then we should do as the apostle Peter advised: “We must obey God as ruler rather than man.” (Acts 5:29)

  4. Isn’t “gay marriage” an oxymoron? I dont get what all the arguing is about. The prophets have made it pretty clear where they stand. Just like Christ said he comes to divide father from son, I see a division happening as the tares are growing to maturity amidst the wheat and people are making their loyalties and dis-loyalties known.

    • More importantly, what business is it of a church as to the civil laws concerning legally state recognized unions of people? I can see you guys being concerned with what happens within church walls. But it is exceedingly rude to expect those outside your church to abide by their rules, under color of law.

      • Show me a documented marriage contract that predates the account of adam and eve. Otherwise marriage was instituted by god because thats the first account.

        • Show me that Adam and Eve existed outside of the Bible and we can talk of their applicability to civil laws. Laws that affect everyone. Not just those of your faith.

          Freedom of religion means I never have to care what you think God says on a matter of law. I still don’t see any reason why the dictates of your church should matter to anyone outside their walls. We live in a civil society with a secular government. A government which avoids entanglement with church and state.

          Btw, it was only by the Middle Ages and its near theocratic society that the notion of marriage as a purely religious function started. It was always a function of the state from the moment the first states existed. Marriage “instituted by God(s)” was only in those places where religion and state were one in the same.

          • Show me something other than the bible. And as far as america is concerned we havent had a secular government until just recently. It has always been a christian influenced government with no official state religion. What we are transforming into now is a country that worships government as the be all and end all of life. A great place for people with no morals to collect to. Hence gay mariage is now of the same worth as traditional marriage. Civil rights are not the issue, changing the word marriage is the issue.

          • And you would be incorrect.

            We have a secular government hardwired into our nation. Our First Amendment guarantees a government not entangled with religion. No official religion, no recognition of religion as part of the apparatus of government, no special consideration under the law for being a believing Christian or invoking God. The Establishment Clause has always meant a lot more than no official state church.

            “Christian influenced” is a ridiculous non-term. You have no definition of it which would not be circular, deliberately vague and involve taking credit for things having nothing to do with belief in Jesus Christ as one’s personal savior. We are not a “Christian Nation” for whatever that is supposed to mean.

            Up until the late 20th Century, “Christian” was hardly a monolithic idea. Sectarianism was extremely pronounced from the outset, hence the purpose of a government designed to avoid religious discrimination. If you say “Christian” you would have to indicate what kind of Christian. Evangelical Christians certainly have different ideas of government than Society of Friends.

            “What we are transforming into now is a country that worships government as the be all and end all of life”

            Government is the be all and end all for OUR LAWS. If you want no part of government, then you should stay out of the process of the passage of its laws.

            Civil rights are an issue because we are talking about civil government. No marriage is legal on the basis of religious ceremony. They all require the approval of the civil secular government. “Traditional marriage” is a subject for those within your church. It is not something of consideration for our marriage laws. Tradition is hardly a reasonable argument for keeping something which may be discriminatory.

            Nobody is talking about how churches perform ceremonies. They are talking about that civil government approval. One which is beholden to all Americans regardless of their religious beliefs. You want your religious beliefs to be accepted by all for no rational reasons. That is unacceptable in our laws.

            As for morals, there is no person more amoral than a Christian. Pretty much any kind of harmful and malicious behavior is excused if one claims to be doing it on the Lord’s behalf. If you want to justify discrimination, malice and overall obnoxious behavior, just claim to be doing so in the name of righteousness.

          • Larry,

            The only true theocracy is God’s kingdom or heavenly government since it was established directly from God and is a major theme of the Bible (Genesis 3:16, the first prophecy about that Kingdom; Daniel 2:44, that Kingdom will put an end to all human governments; through to Revelation, 21:1-4, the blessings to be bestowed on mankind by that Kingdom).

            It makes no difference what man’s governments do, because they will only dominate over the masses in a harmful way. Just look at them now. Even if they try to incorporate religion into their governments or enact “religion” into laws, they will still meet their fate at the hands of God’s kingdom. Even the Constitution, made by imperfect men, will be obsolete because it will no longer be necessary. Just “enjoy” it while you can… :-)

        • Nobody is preventing you from speaking your mind, nor is anyone preventing me from criticizing it.

          What you are not permitted to do is have your religious views given color of law, absent some secular and rational purpose. See the same 1st Amendment, Establishment Clause.

        • Agreed, the Church and its members have a LEGAL right to speak up, but scripture forbids us from using our religious beliefs to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others.

  5. This is pretty much as embarrassing as apostle Mark E. Petetson’s BYU talk in the 1950’s on race problems affecting the church and the condemnation of interracial marriage (which the church today disavows.)

    • Clean Cut, you ought to go back and read the hell biracial people went through back then. Then you would realize that Mark E. Petersen gave good counsel for that time. Even today being bi-racial comes with its challenges.

    • If a homely man from Galilee came to you and told you to sell everything, as a test to enter heaven would you complain about the financial advise he gave you because hes speaking outside his area of expertise or would you do it.

      • Probably. Nowadays anyone preaching stuff like loving thy neighbor, deference to civil society, charity towards all, and not rendering judgment towards others would probably be pilloried as some dirty useless hippie. Especially by people calling themselves Christians.

  6. Aside from Elder Nelson’s rant on the topic, I find it equally disturbing that all of these students have worked for many years to achieve amazing academic feats and the focus is defending marriage? An inappropriate topic for the occasion. Smacks of a myopic view that E Nelson is focused on instead of advising and congradulating these hard working students on their achievements.

    • JP, I agree! A few leaders have clearly made this issue their pet topic and would talk about it at a funeral if they were called to speak. It really bothers me because, even if they do feel strongly that gay marriage is not of God, other things that are far more rampant and horrific, like war, abuse, sex trafficking, poverty, and starvation are never preached against. If we Christians spent as much time and energy trying to solve those problems, the entire world would be better off.

  7. It’s this sort of malicious spitefull behavior that drove my family and I away from the church and towards officially resigning. It’s a shameful embarrassment when non members assume that the Westboro Baptist Church and the LDS church are one and the same.

    We were so ashamed to call ourselves Mormons that we publically denied it to others. That’s why we all eventually left.

  8. As an “orthodox’ evangelical, I confess openly my own sense that the LDS church is aberrant in its theology…sorry, but I am curious about the author of this article. Ms. Reiss seems to be constantly at war with the ‘traditionalists’ within her own church. Is she a professional gadfly, or trying to change the church from within?

  9. I’m glad I didn’t have to listen to this. Russ Nelson is the last person left that I’d want to listen to. So sad that he can’t see which side of the fence he’s on. Ain’t “the Lord’s side.”

  10. This is all quite silly fun, actually… How both sides get so emotional about this…why? Here’s the way I see it- and here’s a disclaimer!!!! And It’s JUST my opinion so don’t get your panties in a bunch already….

    What should a person do, who is physically 7 feet tall and doesn’t fit in a standard automobile configuration? Should that person sue the auto companies for discrimination? Should he/she cry out to the world of the injustice being done to all 7 ft people? Or maybe just make some custom seating in a suburban instead of trying to fit into a miata?

    Should someone who has no fingers sue the violin maker for not providing a violin that can be played without digits? Or maybe that person could just pound some drums?

    Should the athlete who doesn’t like the no performance enhancing drugs requirement for a sports association sue them for not allowing him the choice of taking those drugs and discriminating against his choice? Or maybe just go run in a tough muddier competition and crush the non steroid weaklings…

    And what if I started a club. Gay club. Where it caters to gay/lesbian dating. Should straight people be offended that I can’t provide them heterosexual potential partners at my venue? Should I be required to? Should I be discriminated against my perceived discrimination?

    It’s kinda silly that we would expect churches to change their “club” requirements.. Just like it would be silly for grown men to complain that they can’t put on a Girl Scout dress and sell cookies door to door. Sure! A dude could totally do that.. And maybe there are a couple weirdos out there like me who may buy his cookies, or even toss them if he liked…but isn’t it silly for a man to complain to everyone and the Girl Scouts association that he can’t be a member because of his age and brawnliness?

    Jana makes a good emotional argument. For equality and fairness. The truth is that we are not all the same nor should we be. And perhaps feeling this sentiment that we need to change the club requirements of clubs we may not agree with to fit our idea of morality and fairness would be totally silly, wouldn’t you say?

    Maybe if you don’t like the Mormon “club” temple requirements of marriage in the celestial kingdom by a man and woman only… Then find another club that resonates with you… It seems that there would probably be more people there you’d get along with anyway, don’t ya think? Perhaps start your own? Make your own Proclamation to the World and charge your own 10 percent fee…

    Bottom line. If a church suggests to its members to have the opinion to deny gay/lesbians civil marriage, then so be it. More progressive people will find another church that makes sense to them, maybe even create their own after licking the back of a toad and talking to diety.. But it’s a dangerous slope to feel that we need to change that church to conform with what we may think is fair and equitable… Because that just isn’t fair either..

    And Jana, shame on you! You can’t abide the “us vs them” mentality??? Here’s a shocker!! EVERYONE has the us vs them mentality. It part of evolutionary biology you silly girl! It’s what’s kept people, groups, and tribes safe for millions of years.. And it’s how our brains categorize difference and meaning in the world. Without it, we wouldn’t be human and we’d have mush in our cranial cavities.

    And what’s even more humorous is that YOU insinuate that you, others, (and perhaps gay people) should be included in the “us” category that Elder Nelson is a part of… Now, why in the hell would someone who is gay, and likes Sundays off and a 10% raise! and likes fabulous parties that continue on after the Holy Ghost has gone to bed, and likes Kahlua in his coffee….why oh why would he want to subject his life to monotonous droning talks on Sundays, Monday night jello, and Thursday night basketball when he’d rather be singing karaoke, smokin a Cuban, and drinking a Cosmo? Hmmmm?

    What’s the difference of LDS members feeling like they are the last Zion of fabulous people in a world gone bad… Their “us” group vs the OTHER “us” group that feels like they are the most fabulous group of immaculately dressed and stylishly happiness seekers who sing the best songs together, not just on gay pride day but every day of the year!!

    If someone wants to jump into a gay pride parade, does that mean they need to “go fully into it” and take the plunge into hot gay love? Do they need to do EVErYTHING to gain access and privileges to the party?

    I would hope you all see the answer is a resounding NO. Just as we shouldn’t expect someone who likes some or a lot the ideas of the Mormon church but doesn’t wanna get married to the opposite sex just to wear funny hats and aprons and play with secret handshakes, should complain and cry out about how unequal it is that we can’t hold our gay companion’s hand through the veil… And that the opinion of an Elder is so preposterous and backwards that we should ostracize him for his differences?

    It’s poppycock and silly… To think that we should go to a “them” group and tell them they should shape their thinking to “us”. Preposterous…ludicrous even… Maybe so much that I think we should all abandon technology and blogs because I like hiking and hugging trees… Shame on you technology lovers! I shed my ipad and want nature to assimilate to the internet and grow trees that I can access my email from!

    Good day to you all, you silly people.

    • I don’t know. If there was a club (where you could swim and play golf and tennis) that didn’t allow its members to be Jewish or black, would it be silly for Jewish and black people to want to be members? Would it be silly for current members of the club to suggest that maybe the rules should be changed? To me the silliest thing would be for the white Christian members of the club to tell everyone else to leave them alone and find another club.

      • like the black caucus in congress? or a thousand other minority groups that do good things? racist groups in your hypothetical should be allowed to exist but wont get anywhere. groups that dont harm anybody else should be left in peace no matter the public opinion at the time. gay groups 30 years ago are good example of why you should allow things you disagree with even when majority of public disagrees. let people live and let the legislative process work how its designed.

    • If your little “club” didn’t contribute gobs of money in order to influence the laws of people outside of it, then maybe your little diatribe would not sound so ill-informed and chock full of horrifically bad analogy.

      Had the LDS simply stayed out of the political arena on this subject, it would be nobody’s business but theirs. But they made it everyone’s business once they stepped out of those bounds.

      You can believe anything you want under the sun. Nobody has to care. Nobody has to try to change such beliefs. But when you start telling people what to do or try to force them to follow your little club’s bylaws under color of law. Then we have to care.

  11. Comment sections can be harsh, but I still insist on reading through them. It gives me a better idea of what people think–mind you, they tend to be extremes, but it’s important to know what lies on the two ends pulling your heart strings.

    I’m a gay man who used to be Mormon, and I will be the first to defend the wonderful, brilliant things that the church has created and inspired. Living in Logan, I can see how religious people have made the world around them great. It’s the people who make a group amazing, and the people here pull that off.

    When I was a teenager, though, I knew I was gay. More than once, I accepted that I would never go to the celestial kingdom simply because I would always fall to sin. After my mission, I tried committing suicide by tying a bag around my head–I chickened out, but I lived thinking about dying.

    That’s when I met a counselor in the small town of Vernal, Utah, who worked for the church. I’m unsure how I could get lucky enough to find her, but she took me in weekly and told me her own experiences with a boyfriend who turned out to be gay. She told me that she didn’t know where I would end up, but I would need to find my own happiness.

    I’ve been with my partner for three and a half years, now. We’re at the point where we bicker about how many paper towels we use and the way socks are folded. We’re more of a normal couple than I ever would have expected, but this relationship is what has given me more happiness than anything else in my life.

    I understand that people in the church feel that they want to give others what they have. They live with the plan of happiness, after all! And yes–it’s given thousands of people happiness! But all I ask is for my own happiness to be left undisturbed and, perhaps, even valued.

    That’s the pain of everything–that a relationship that has pulled me out of depression and given me a reason to live is considered sinful, evil, and lesser than what others do. For a state government to embrace that condemnation is hurtful, and things won’t be right until we have equal marriage.

    I can appreciate your love for me, my dear Mormons, but please, keep it to yourself. I’m doing the best to do the same.

    • B. Cook,
      I wish you well. This is a difficult issue and I have empathy for what you have had to endure as a gay man. Our views are on the opposite side of the fence, but I want you to know that I have only arrived at my point of view with a lot of study, pondering and soul searching. If I am a Democrat and you are a Republican, we’d have some passionate differences, but I want you to know that I respect you as a fellow human being and Child of God. My best to you.

      • You know, Lewis, I think that’s a good mentality for this kind of thing. You know what you want for yourself, but you’re able to, on some level, understand why others would go where they are. The main thing with Christianity is it’s meant to be an introspective religion–rather than judging others, the judgment should be of the self. Mind you, most people remember to look at their own lives and figure out what they need, but it’s easy to project their own spirituality onto others.

        I’m going to be honest. I don’t know a single LGBT person who grew up in Utah and didn’t seriously consider or attempt suicide at one point. I’ve been working on a book, and a good part of it deals with a suicide in Ogden just in 2013; overbearing religious and social pressures were a huge part of what drove this person to such desperate measures. At one point, this person’s father removed the bedroom door and all electronics in order to keep the teen’s life completely exposed. I know everything was done with love, but love is killing our kids.

        Marriage is a whole different issue. I’m completely okay with where you stand, and I would never want to make religious marriages change. In fact, I would be okay if the name “marriage” was dropped for governmental purposes. However, I paid almost a thousand dollars more in taxes this year than I would have if I were married; I made just enough money to put myself over the poverty line. If my life partner died, I would have no right to his possessions, and he’d have none to mine. I wouldn’t be able to visit him in the hospital. We weren’t allowed to live in married housing at the university and, instead, were stuck in singles’ apartments. There aren’t too many huge things, but the small daily things that interfere with my life keep reminding me that I’m less than others.

        Sorry for the long reply. I think it’s important to help each other know why we think the way we do, and a peaceful place is the best place to do that. It’s a difficult topic, and conversation like these can go a long way to bridge the huge division between groups.

  12. Paul Belfiglio

    For a man to want to have a sexual relationship with another man, or a woman with another woman is contrary to the harmony of what we as a species are suppose to do. As a species, like any other type in the natural world, we are hardwired to procreate (perpetuate) our specific kinds. As a ‘higher’ species, however, things can get complicated, or shall we say ‘expanded’. We have proclivities for abstract thinking more that any other species. However, is abstraction a bad thing? Well, I like a lot of non objective, so-called ‘abstract art’, as well as other types of similar artistic expression, and as such I don’t consider myself to being weird or wrong. At the same time, though, I can fully understand that some people will regard some things ‘abstract’, like art, as being without any artistic or any other sort of valid merit. This being the case does not, however, give these people the right or any other kind of justification to denigrate me, or otherwise impede my predilection for abstract art, just as I am not justified in any way to force them to think as I do.

    I see these issues of SSM and SSA as being similar to ‘abstract’ thinking and behaviorisms. As a heterosexual male, although I am not totally on-board or otherwise ‘get it’ with regard to homosexuality, I can, at the very least, much better ‘tolerate’ (for the lack of a better word, I am sure) the practice when I think in terms of ‘abstract relationships’. I am not tolerant, though, of radical, aggressive homosexuality such as proponents going into schools (and most especially at the elementary level) to soft-sell their agendas. And with regard to making it legal? I would rather see more legal efforts and money put toward regulating our abysmal gun laws, i.e., make love, not war! Other than that, to each his or her own. And as Robbie Burns wrote:

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion:
    What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
    An’ ev’n devotion!

    Just my thoughts.

  13. “But I cannot agree with his unyielding determination to restrict the institution of marriage to a man and a woman only.”
    The problem with this statement is that this kind of attitude sets itself up against the knowledge of God. The Scriptures teach us that marriage is between a man and a woman. Will anyone stand before God and tell Him we knew better than Him? Sounds dangerous. But we do that. Everytime we let our opinion negate what He says, we are putting ourselves above Him.
    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

    • isn’t that what the Church did in supporting Prop. 8…putting itself above the scriptures forbidding us from using our religious opinions to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others?

    • Actually no.
      Scriptures say that:
      Marriage between a man and several women is OK.
      Marriage as a commercial transaction is OK.
      Taking of women as war prizes and calling them wives is OK.
      A widow must marry her brother in law or be executed
      A rape victim must marry her attacker after money is paid to her father
      Use of concubines by a married man is not considered adultery
      Owning women to use for sexual gratification is OK

      God seemed to like a lot of things which would be considered anti-social at best, crimes against humanity at worst.

  14. Elder Nelson, who will have the companionship of at least two (2) wives in heaven undertook to instruct us on traditional marriage.

    The Church must be true. Because Nobody. Could. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

  15. I’m with Elder Nelson, a prophet, seer and revelator. It is easy to say that’s his opinion or that he is wrong, but this stand comes from a number of sources within in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Read the “Proclamation on the Family.” It is the position of the Church. If we want to look for a church that is runs with every current popular social trend, The Church of Jesus Christ isn’t it. It wasn’t at the time of Christ, it isn’t now.

    I like Jana and enjoy reading her blog, but I strongly disagree with this post. There are number of reasons so called “gay marriage” is a societal problem. If it was strictly a matter of rights, I’d be leading the parade in favor, but there are a number of problems it creates. Someone will say document that statement. You can do that as well as I have. Read both side. If we merely look at gay marriage as a rights issue, we are taking a very naive approach.

    • Well, yes, someone could do that as well as you could. I dare say they could even do it better.

      But we do have a tradition in Western discourse that one who makes an assertion has the duty to back it up. Otherwise we get trapped in rather unhelpful “would,” “would not,” “would,” “would not” loops.

      PS Thanks for the lovely testimony.

    • “There are number of reasons so called “gay marriage” is a societal problem. ”

      Name one which is both rational and secular*.

      You will be hard pressed to come up with one. I don’t believe for a minute you have any concern for the subject as a societal/rights issue. Kevin (above) had your POV pegged early on. It comes from either religious antipathy or personal animus.

      *”marriage as a function of procreation” isn’t rational for a number of reasons. So lets get that out of the way.

  16. It appears to me that the SSM advocates have a hidden agenda. They don’t really just want equal rights. They want acceptance of their lifestyle. SSA is not a sin but homosexual behavior is. The Church is accepting of SSA but not an immoral lifestyle. The Church holds all single adults to the same moral standard. Allowing SSM advocates seek to get acceptance for immorality that God condemned. Jana is wrong if she condones what God condemns.

    • @Mike H
      Nobody is asking you to participate in a lifestyle that doesn’t suit you but people should have the right to persue whatever lifestyle best suits them. When it boils right down to it, it’s never about gay individuals wanting to be together. It’s about what they do in the bedroom. Am I right? Stop….stop stop stop getting hung up on what happens or doesn’t happen in an intimate relationship. They way couples express themselves intimately is nobody’s business but their own. Let people live their lives and don’t project your beliefs regarding sexual morality onto everyone else. It’s absolutely against everything Christ stood for. Agency my friend. Agency.

      • Annie,
        Once you start changing the laws of the land regarding marriage, you’re no longer restricting this issue to the bedroom. The Church has the right to condemn immoral behavior and stand up for the sacred nature of marriage covenants. Marriage has always been a religious institution throughout history. It has only been recently that the government has become involved based on rights issues. Equal rights is not the issue here it’s immorality. Anyone that says differently has been misled or is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

          • @Annie
            If you believe the Bible, Genesis. 2:24, and 6:2 seems to imply it has a long history and was first implemented by God. Marriage contracts are another issue altogether. Are you LDS Annie?

          • Yes. I am. But my religious beliefs are NOT applicable to people outside my faith. I believe in marriage equality. Religions have every right to define marriage however they want, but everyone should have the right to be legally married to the person of their choosing.

          • One more thing mike, you’re wrong about the origins of marriage. People came up with the idea of marriage. Religious institutions adopted it. The bible isn’t exactly a good source to get accurate historical information from.

        • Obviously Mike H you do NOT know your history!! Marriage has not always existed in the form it is today. Women, like land and livestock, were once owned and children’s rights were granted after animals had rights. What we are talking is civil marriage which is not ordained or God but by Goverments and come with all sorts of rights and protections. It is a legally binding contract between two people–which religion and prior laws have infringed upon. You can practice any sacrament, sealing or ordinance you want in your house of worship but religious freedom also comes with freedom from religion!! I wish Russell would follow the Prophet Joseph and live by the 11th article of Faith–it’s the one that starts “we claim…” Most TBMs don’t know the Church was found guilty of falsification of fair election filings (lying) and fined in CA. They were also covertly responsible for bearing false witness by helping to finance the “gathering storm” anti-gay video. The Church has always been 20-30 years behind social issues whether interracial marriage created by rouge justices, equal rights, or priesthood racial equality to name a few. All the rest of use want is to be able to exercise our free agency, so please do us a favor and quit following Satan’s plan and forcing us to live what you think, feel, believe or “know” are God’s laws. The God I believe in loves diversity (yeah that’s taught in your temples too) and teach that All are alike unto Him. It’s also time that Mormon families quit sprirtually abusing their gay, lesbian, bi, transsexual who finally out of desperation end their lives! Here’s a simple test of Christianity–the the person feel love and secondly how quick are you willing to write off the 1 of 99? There have been too many written off.

          • Rob,
            Your accusations are actually myths. See:
            http://en.fairmormon.org/Prop_8_fine#MYTH:_The_Church_was_later_found_guilty_of_.27election_fraud.27_and_fined_as_a_result and the remainder of that page.
            Truth is rarely found in the propaganda spread by the gay community. We’re all human and make mistakes but I believe most Latter-day Saints are trying to do the right thing. Give us the benefit of hearing our side and I think all will benefit.

          • I’d like to jump in here on a few items –

            1. Regarding members’ donations to both Prop. 22 and Prop.8 –
            In 2000, the original “anti-same-sex marriage” proposition, Prop.22, was passed and the Church did the same thing, only bolder. The Church had the membership send in contributions to a Glendale, CA P.O. Box owned by Elder Douglas L. Callister’s law firm rather than to the Yes on 22 campaign. I have a copy of the letter from Elder Callister to Stake Presidents in California instructing them in this and tells them that the contribution form asks each member to indicate their ward/branch and stake and that reports listing each member’s contributions would be given to every Stake President.

            I likewise have a donation form for the prop. 8 campaign which likewise asks each member to list their ward. Those donations and slips were sent to a Protectmarriage.com P.O. Box rather than directly to the 22 campaign.

            Obviously the Church was given copies of the recevied donation forms so that the Church knew who gave what and if members didn’t give or gave less than what they were expected, they’d know. Who knows what callings people were released from (or never were considered for) based on their lack of contributions.

            I’d be happy to email ANYONE a copy of the forms.

            2. The Church was caught setting up a dummy lobbying group in hawaii where the original SSM campaign took place. That same year 1995, Alaska had a referendum vote as well. The Church directly gave $500,000 to hawaii’s campaign and $600,00 to Alaska’s. The Church got busted and that’s why the Church asked the members to contribute directly regarding prop. 22 and Prop. 8. BTW, the Proclamation on the family was published as a response to these campaigns. it is basically a political call to arms.

            3. FAIR may claim that local leaders may have overstepped boundaries and asking about Prop. 8 support during temple recommend interviews, but MY OWN recommend was pulled when I publicly denounced prop. 8 in the newspaper. My bishop came to my house and told me that the stake president got a call from the Area 70 who directed my stake president to pull my recommend. He sent the bishop to my house and my bishop related the story to me. he politely listened to my reason for opposing prop. 8 but still had to follow orders and asked for my recommend.

          • Kevin.

            If you lost your temple recommend over this dont you see what your belief structure has cost you. Please repent and put your beliefs of how things should be your way on the altar and submit to the priesthood authority. I promise that if you submit your will to the priesthood authority your life will be blessed for your sacrifice and your eyes will be opened to what the lord is doing after that.

          • Joseph Smith emphatically rejected the idea of following our leaders when they ask us to do something wrong. Violating the scriptures is definitionally wrong. Leaders who pull temple recommends for people who insist on following the scriptures, and encouraging others to do the same, are exercising unrighteous dominion. Those leaders will be held accountable not only for their actions, but also held responsible for the delay of temple work for those individuals for whom those members would have gone to the temple. My conscience is clear.

        • Michael you should get your information from others source than the LDS spin doctors. They were fined for late filling and the amounts contributed kept increasing. The decision was arbitrated (you obviously have never dealt with being across the seat from the Church’s lawyers) and while a symbolic resolution, an organization who can collect tithing around the world every Sunday night and effectively be the major contributor through organizing its members through Church resources wants everyone to think it was not capable of filing timely? They also assisted in seeing a bunch of videos which bore false witness about gays and lesbians produced and then aired by funds the help raise. I take exception to your statement about truth in the Gay community and calling their reality propaganda because you belong to a Church who is willing suppress truth if it is not “spiritually uplifting” (Boyd k. Packard).

          Look at it this way if the Church’s mission is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ they have supplanted it with defending heterosexual marriage, because by continuing this futile effort will prevent Christ’s message being heard because the rest of the world has changed. What is ridiculous it that it is already the law of many countries that the Church proselytes in. It’s as if gay marriage happens in America it is some new event in the World. Isn’t it time you practiced your religion in your home, ward, stake and temples and kept out of the government and quit trying to force your will. The scriptures teach, yes even Christ, that slavery is okay but no one would think that is what God wants currently. We would just like to have freedom from your religion. It is not what we believe nor what our religious belief is and while I know your Church believes it is the only true Church, that Is not supported or established by the Constitution nor do we have a state that has an official religion. If the Church want to save the family then if should be about repealing divorce. I wish that Russell Nelson would have stated the Church’s real belief about marriage–that it is between one man and one woman AT A TIME. It’s always about what they happen to leave out that the truth lies! This oration by Nelson will waste all the Lord’s tithing they spent on the after Prop 8 on image repair “I am a Mormon” to help Mitt get elected. The suicide prevention program to save gay youths lives “it gets better” in the Mormon Church should be called “it stays the same.” It is my fervent prayer that my God humbles the Mormon Church and State of Utah by having it be the state ruled against by the Supreme Court making gay marriage the law of the land and moving us forward with other civilized nations who recognize the equality of all people gay or straight. Will see if the Church still believes in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law. Time will tell. I wish I would be here 50 years from now to see how they spin this period of time and claim they didn’t do what is historically they have

          • Thank you Kevin, I also know of wards where the amount “suggested” was based on tithing paid. Seems to me that they should be registered as a lobbying organization rather than a tax exempt religious organization. The facts you mention would make any rational person question what they are doing with all the funds they receive. Even the Pope is now making financial action more transparent– maybe they should follow his lead and do the same! They joined forces with the former great and abominable church to help pass Prop 8 –there reward maybe just a temple in Rome??? Going to have to look at timing on that.

          • I’m not sure why it’s always “spin doctoring” when we have no real response to the opposing arguments. As I told Annie, I am truly sorry for any that suffered injustices. I grew up in California and have many friends and relatives there. I was about injustices on both sides and that is regrettable. I apologize for any misplaced zeal on the Church’s side if you’ll allow me to do that Rob. May the Lord’s bless those who suffered because of this.

      • Sorry what you say doesnt fly about gay marriage being a private thing. Public schools are funded by forceful taxes and when gay marriage has the force of law then my taxes go to support that wicked practice and my children have to learn it. The practice of gay marriage being publicly accepted leads childrens delicate souls to the slaughter.

        Hedonism is not the american way but under the cover of rights and liberties thats all they want.

        • Well we can’t have that. If children learn about diversity and acceptance, our country will never survive:). Ron, I jest of course, but that really might be the most horrible and hateful thing I’ve ever heard. My children are friends with several kids who come from families who’s parents are gay (yes, both parents, gay and living together with their children, as a family). My kids have known and understood homosexuality for as long as they’ve known and understood heterosexuality. They could care less that their friends have 2 dads or 2 moms. Homosexuality isn’t a choice, and it isn’t a disease that kids can “catch”. Its an orientation. You REALLY need to get to know some gay people. Open your heart man.

          • Thats the most hateful and even racist thing ive ever heard. Thats like saying I cant have an opinion on how I raise my kids unless I accept the gay practice. Ive got gay friends and that doesnt mean my children need to accept the practice. Good is praised in our house but Wrong actions will never be condoned. The savior makes repentance possible.

    • Not really a hidden agenda. They are pretty upfront about wanting legal recognition for families they form and the civil liberties and rights it entails.

      Whether your church accepts it is immaterial to such matters. They don’t have to perform the ceremonies. Frankly all churches should keep their nose out of civil laws in general. Just as the churches do not want to be subject to interference by civil laws. When churches act like political parties, they lose credibility.

        • Churches have no civil authority! If laws do not have a rational and secular purpose, they have no business on the books.

          Ever hear of the Establishment Clause?

          Nobody has to care what any church says on a given subject of law. Your God has no bearing on my laws.

          Separation of church and state protects the sanctity of both.

          When churches act like political parties, they lose all credibility. Suddenly God becomes partisan. God’s love becomes conditional on following a party line. Priests act like politicians. The sanctity of a church is sold out for cheap political capital. Belief becomes something to be traded commercially on an open market like futures.

          • The Establishment Clause is about churches not receiving special legal standing not available to other organizations, it does not deny churches the same rights available to other organizations. The LDS Church and its members, individually and as an organization, have the same right to advance its vision of the Good Life through petitioning for legislative action as the Sierra Club and its members, individually and as an organization. It doesn’t matter whether the foundation for that vision of the Good Life comes from Moses and Jesus, or Plato and Aristotle.

          • Sure, they have a LEGAL right to, but the scriptures forbid them from trying to take away the rights of others based on their own moral beliefs. just because any laws they propose are based in Bible doctrines does not make them good laws for a secular society like the US. Laws restricting rights/behaviors need to be designed to prevent/punish OBJECTIVE harm rather than enforce SUBJECTIVE morality.

          • Churches that act like political organizations lose their protection under the law as churches. They risk their tax exempt status. It is considered a minor abuse of the authority religion exerts.

            Just because you have the right to do so does not mean one should.
            As I said before they also lose their credibility to the public and cheapen their image by doing so. You turn religious belief into something bereft of respect. It turns a church into something petty and insubstantial. For people who want to use religious authority for self-serving purposes, this suits them just fine. But it is hardly going to be worthy of respect.

            Our laws MUST have rational and secular purpose. What you or your church believes God says is never material to something’s legality. The Establishment clause means that our government and our laws must respect something a little more substantial than simply one’s religious beliefs. If your sole argument for a law is “God says…”, it will never be sufficient.

  17. Annie, the reason I ask if you are LDS is because it helps me understand your basic beliefs and the extent of your knowledge of the Celestial Kingdom and eternal marriage. Elder Nelson’s talk indicated that marriage was instituted by God. The Bible in Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:4-5 affirms this belief. Other Bible scriptures in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17 and elsewhere forbade homosexual behavior and called it an abomination punishable by death. We understand this was a law for God’s people in the Old Testament but Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1 Tim. 1:10 make it clear that his people are still expected to follow these laws of chastity. In his talk, Elder Nelson who is an Apostle of the Lord asked us to stand up for our belief in the sacred nature of marriage. I am doing that. If you and others chose not to then that is your right. Agency is a divine privilege but we also have the right to warn those that will listen that sin never brings happiness and those that abuse God’s laws will not receive an eternal joy found in God’s Celestial Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). I hope you understand that we have the best interests of all at heart. We’re not here to condemn but to inform those that misunderstand including our own LDS members. I hope that’s clear. May the Lord bless you.

    • The remedy is clear. those verses clearly state that we are to condemn homosexual activity in the Church and forbid SSM WITHIN the Church. That is completely different than CIVIL SSM. Our Constitution clearly talk about Equal Protection. there is no objective reason to deny CIVIL SSM. Let’s keep Church and state separate and allow CIVIL SSM while condemning it in the Church. it’s no different than infant baptism. We believe that scripture condemns it, but others disagree. We condemn it in the Church but allow others who believe in it to legally perform it.

      • Constitution is dead now that we live in a welfare state. Any references to the constitution are subjective to the will of those administering the state. Because we live in a welfare state not a constitutional republic the church has every right available under the law to conduct however it pleases because we as voters have passed laws allowing corporations to have a voice just like a natural person. If your going to use law as your justification to badmouth the church for seeking to change laws in its favor then write your congressman and change the law.

        • My condemnation is not based on the Church exercising its rights under the law, but rather because it violated scripture. those verses condemn people using their religious beliefs as justification to infringe upon the rights of others. gay in CA had the right to marry prior to Prop. 8 and we LDS, and other Christians, let our religious opinions prompt us to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others by passing Prop. 8 taking away that right.

    • Mike, buddy, I’m guessing you’re a really good person. I bet we’d have a lot in common if we were in the same ward. But on this, I absolutely disagree with you. And that’s okay. The church WILL change it’s position on this eventually. Mark my words.

      • I agree. The Church will change because it is led by revelation. If you believe that then we have no problem. Mistakes were made because our leaders are human. We have to acknowledge that. I am truly sorry for any that suffered injustices. I grew up in California and have many friends and relatives there. I was told of injustices on both sides and that is regrettable. I apologize for any misplaced zeal on the Church’s side if you’ll allow me to do that. May the Lord’s heal those that suffered through this.

        • Mike, your understanding of the church being led by revelation must be very different than mine. You seem believe in our leaders always being led by revelation, until they get something wrong (blacks & priesthood, blood atonement, adam-God theory, etc.), in which case they are just imperfect men. How are we expected to know when they are acting as imperfect men and when they are acting or speaking on behalf of God? Personally, the only answer I have to that question is personal revelation. The revelation I’ve received regarding the issue of same sex marriage is different than what I hear my leaders reciting as “doctrine”. I believe they can and sometimes do receive direct revelation for the church. But in this case, I believe it’s their own biases and opinions that are taking center stage. They WILL change their stance, but I’m fairly certain it will have more to do with political pressure than revelation. Can I proove that? No. And I don’t care to. I place my faith in Christ and I pray that my leaders will learn from their past mistakes and not end up on the wrong side of history. Again.

          Cheers.

          • Interesting. All the issues you cited ((blacks & priesthood, blood atonement, Adam-God theory, etc) were not revelations. Revelations are recorded in our scriptures and other official documents over the signature of the 1st Presidency and Quorum of the 12. See:
            http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/approaching-mormon-doctrine
            at lds.org
            Do a little research at fairlds.org and you’ll understand what I’m getting at. While it is true that all our leaders of our Church and nation are just imperfect men, we believe and sustain the prophet and apostles as revelators. You need to pray to have the Spirit to know when they are acting as prophets in behalf of God. That is indeed personal revelation. What you hear your leaders reciting is not “doctrine” in many cases. It is what they believe is standard practice or procedure. There’s a difference. I also believe they can and sometimes do receive direct revelation for the church but you should receive confirmation from the Spirit that it’s true. Ask them if what there declaring is revelation and I suspect they’ll say no. They may think it is revelation to the prophet but I would ask to see it in print. I would agree that in some cases it’s their own biases and opinions or possibly a procedure. Ask to see it in the General Handbook if you have doubts. Definitely place your faith in Christ and pray for your leaders. Hope that helps. Do a little research on what is official doctrine. I think it will help you immensely.

          • Mike, I can see you’re something of a literalist. Actually, I think that’s great. I take more of a nuanced approach to the gospel and I really do believe there’s room for both views in the church (and everything in between). And yes, I’m very well versed when it comes to FAIR, although I don’t always agree with the way they spin some things. Honestly, I think you and I agree on what constitutes revelation. Some of my last comment was worded poorly, so I totally understand your response, but for the record, I agree with you. Personal revelation trumps prophetic revelation (trumps is a bad word, but you get my point). I love this church and I’m THRILLED that this conversation is taking place. I have many gay family members who have felt out of place for a long time now. The steps the church is taking, while small, should be reason to celebrate. Thanks for the dialog. I always appreciate respectful conversation.

          • Annie, you do not understand. Prophets can say what they will but D&C 107:27 clearly states that a teaching from the pulpit is not a church doctrine until all the brethren are agreed. The things that you mention as church doctrine were not ratified by the unanimous voice of the same.

          • The Brethren have stated that for something to become OFFICIAL doctrine, it must be sustained by the membership via Common Consent.

  18. By the way, would someone let the Brethren know that the term “same sex attraction” is demeaning, offensive, unkind, intolerant and not particularly full of Charity. It is probably the most hateful thing that they could do, especially when professing that members should love their LGBT brothers and sisters! How would they feel if the emotion they feel for their their choice to share their mortal life with, were referred to as “different sex attraction!!!” Faith without works is dead, so is love without action. The Church has gone from calling it a deception by Satan, to a “choice'” then not a “choice” but never to be acted upon. This is their cross to bear and no different than other unmarried members who must remain chaste. But while the others have the hope of finding and falling in love with someone everyday, LGBT members live with the fear that they WILL. To live this way is to live a joyless life! (Man is that he might have joy) God professed that it was not good for man to be alone and he created a help meet which is equal (not mate)–something obviously lost on the Adam and Eve vs not Adam and Steve group. So Brethren not to be as sounding brass, let’s see some kindness and Christ-like Love which if I remember is called Charity and is the greatest gift of God and start calling it same sex LOVE at the very least! We would also ask you to not be fearful, because perfect love removes all fear and if even if you consider us modern day Samaritans and the very least of the least regard us as would Christ. (What would Jesus do.) Cause if God knows if a sparrow dies, he knows when his Gay and Lesbian sons and daughter die or are treated unkindly–so he’s your warning, “For in as much as ye do it unto the least of these you do it unto me.” If you really do fear your day of judgement then I suggest you ponder how many have we driven out, made to feel hopeless and drive to commit suicide–let alone prior straight/gay marriages that ended in pain and suffering for both because they had faith and follow the “then” counsel of their leaders. It is this changing stance and eventual recognition that “we were wrong” that causes a loss of credibility and wondering what is the word of God and what is the opinion of men–something Church leadership is all to willing to utilize when it’s something that they want to claim was never official Church policy. It’s sad when you walk into members home and are more like to see the proclamation of the family hanging on their walls than a picture of the Savior or “By this shall men know ye are my disciple, if ye have love one to another” or Love God with all you heart, might, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” Maybe, just maybe those neighbors might be a gay or lesbian couple. Russell Nelson, we ain’t feeling the love just in case you’re interested or care!” And since you’re all about protecting the family, when are you going to follow Christ’s teachings and get divorce repealed? I think he was very, very clear on that one. But then Henry the 8th didn’t like the Pope’s view and made it legal. I’m glad you feel he was so inspired.

    • I note that exactly what term(s) to use is a semantic mine field. The official site in mormonsandgays.org. However, is gay an acceptable term for most all lesbians. How about bisexuals? To many “queer” is a slur, but to some it is the term of choice. Is is LGBT, GLBT, and/or LGBTQ? In shifting terminology same-sex attraction may be the best available term even if it offends some. I’d suggest all of try to be tolerant of each others good/best efforts rather than making each other offenders for a word and/or past actions.

      • It the word attraction that’s offensive! You missed the point. That demeans the depth of emotion and love is NOT about sex–that is one way of expressing it. Read about Jonathan and David maybe then you’ll get it. And in nothing did David sin save Urriah. So apparently the only love that is acceptable before God is not just heterosexual love but two men can share a love even more intense. And no I’m not claiming they were gay but you can’t describe it as “same sex attraction.” Not enough? Then explain why if God and Christ love all men and women equally why John is known as the Beloved or the apostle who Jesus loved. Let’s have the Prophet inquire like in the D & C about what this all means and ask The Lord for clarification maybe we will get a revelation about this just like polygamy (Celestial marriage which is still a doctrine though revoked but in effect if your wife dies and you get to be sealed to another.) Scary what if gay gets the okay? Oh my

        • Of course you are welcome to express your opinions and wrest scriptures however you like. I trust God and His revelations through His prophets. Changes continue to come as the restoration continues to unfold, but they are rarely unexpected to those who wait upon the Lord. I’ve seen at least one change in my life-time that surprised me — 70’s only being general and area authorities. I came to accept, embrace, and largely understand fairly quickly. Personal revelation through the Holy Ghost help with unexpected developments.

          As I said in my comment below: “The gospel is Not a cafeteria in which we pick and choose doctrine. It demands discipleship to all the principles. . . . Of course, none of us know when the Second Coming will be so we must do our best to be compassionate and firm in our faith.”

          I wish you well in your positive endeavors.

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  19. Lots of comments and some of them are excellent. I followed the link and watch Elder Nelson’s address. It certainly said what has been claimed with emphasis as well as covering other useful topics. I enjoyed the wisdom of his apostolic counsel.

    Elder Nelson is in-line with the position of the other Prophets, Seers, and Revelators in the Church. Simple searches at lds.org yields the same views being expressed by Elders Packard, Perry, Oaks, Ballard, Holland, Bednar, Cook, Christofferson, and Anderson as well as President Monson. Further Section 1 of the 2010 Handbook 2: Administering the Church is entitled “Families and the Church in God’s Plan” (see https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/language-materials/08702_eng.pdf?lang=eng ). These are central teaching in the restoration of gospel which continues to unfold. They are taught in the 1995 ““The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in almost the same words. This is part of the same gospel that teaches us to love God and our fellow beings, and to develop compassion and the pure love of Jesus Christ. The gospel is Not a cafeteria in which we pick and choose doctrine. It demands discipleship to all the principles.

    Of course the SCOTUS ruled last summer in favor of normalizing same-sex marriage. I think the majority did so, because the legal arguments were compelling and they hoped that by ruling they would reduce social polarization on this issue. I do Not find fault with them, even though I disagree. As far as the secular law in the U.S. is concerned the debate is over except for some yelling and kicking for the next few years. However, the change is secular law does Not mean a change in religious values for Mormons and the definition and central role of the family in God’s eternal plan. I hope in 20 or 30 years, the topic, perhaps like abortion, will be revisited legally with more data about discounted and unforeseen consequences. Of course, none of us know when the Second Coming will be so we must do our best to be compassionate and firm in our faith.

    • Wayne, you make one mistake. What the Supreme Court did last summer was NOT to normalize same-sex marriage, but to recognize that it is the states, not the federal government, that have the right to regulate marriage and to require the federal government to recognize those state laws so that residents of a particular state share the same status for both state and federal purposes. State law is what should be determinative, not federal. So according to the Supreme Court’s opinion, if a same sex couple get married in Massachusetts, then for, say, federal tax purposes they are married as well. If the couple moves to Texas and so, according to state law, are NOT married, then neither are they for federal tax purposes.

      • The Supreme Court avoided an equal protection argument for marriage equality because it wasn’t necessary for a ruling.

        One of the reasons the rulings striking down gay marriage bans have been limited to individual states is, because everywhere but Utah, state governments were clever enough not to try to appeal the adverse rulings to the Supreme Court. This way the arguments never had to be heard on a national level. The last thing someone like yourself wants is a national ruling on the Equal Protection issues raised by SSM bans.

        After 20+ Federal court rulings you would think that someone might get the hint that defending SSM bans is probably going to end badly. The only argument which can be stated in court “marriage is for procreation” is irrational, not related to the bans and bad law since 1960. The Governor and Atty Gen. of Utah are either being the stupidest supporters of SSM bans or the most clever opponents of them.

        If SCOTUS decides to hear Utah’s appeal, all of these bans will fall in one fell swoop. 5-4, Kennedy (Mr. Swing Vote) penned the prior rulings which form the basis of the arguments for SSM. He is not going to overrule himself.

        • There have been judges that aren’t abrogating their duties in pursuit of the latest fad, much like the judges that followed the fad of “Separate but Equal.” And one of them even managed to be the one writing the opinion, you might want to read it.

          As for the last Supreme Court ruling, it could just have easily been decided on Equal Protection grounds, and I can’t believe that the Liberal wing of the Court didn’t want to. Since it wasn’t, and since it was Kennedy that wrote the controlling opinion, I have to assume that the decision not to go with Equal Protection was his as well. That doesn’t mean he won’t overrule his own opinion later, of course, we’ll just have to wait and see whether he wants a new “Roe v. Wade” on the books.

          • Your ignorance is astounding! If anyone should read Brown v. Board of Ed, it is yourself.

            Its a great analogy to why Utah’s ban has to go. Like segregation, Utah’s ban was passed by a legislative majority in order to curb the liberties of a less politically powerful minority. Like segregation, the state governments claimed it was their right to set such issues of personal liberties. Like segregation, the SSM ban is being demolished under the notion of violating equal protection under the law and due process rights.

            “As for the last Supreme Court ruling, it could just have easily been decided on Equal Protection grounds, and I can’t believe that the Liberal wing of the Court didn’t want to.”

            Untrue.

            Again, your ignorance of the Supreme Court is guiding your responses. The plaintiff’s did not make an Equal Protection argument. They made a Federalism one. SCOTUS cannot make decisions based on issues which are not presented before them.

          • You do like to throw insults around, don’t you? We’re done.

            BTW, the decision I was referring to was the latest involving SSM, where a Tennessee State judge upheld that state’s definition of marriage.

          • Your prior comments were factually incorrect. If you feel insulted by having such things pointed out to you, then you should, by all means, grow up a little.

            The ruling by the TN state judge won’t hold up if there is a federal challenge. I read it. It would barely hold up to a state court appeal.

            The reasoning behind it was junk and based on a lot of obsolete law. It relies on the “procreation argument” which time and again has been shown not to have any rational relation to a gay marriage ban. It also relies on cases concerning gays from a time when TN considered them to be criminals (which the State courts shot down in 1996).

            They avoided the Equal Protection argument by claiming that no federal question exists. Not the most genuine argument to be made considering the 20+ federal cases on the same subject.

            As a state law based decision at the trial level it is certainly of no value if SCOTUS hears the Utah appeal. The case may not even survive a state appeals court decision.

          • Like I said earlier, I’m done. I don’t debate people that bring personal insult into the argument. Have fun preaching to the choir.

          • You made statements which showed a blatant ignorance of facts. If you find that insulting, then you are not mature enough to be carrying on a conversation with adults.

          • As I said, we’re done, I don’t debate people that use personal insults. Have fun preaching to the choir.

  20. Any member of the Church that rejects the ideas found in our articles of faith make me wonder what faith they are yielding to. We believe in letting others worship how and what they may. Telling other religions that they cannot allow for same-sex marriages is just as evil as telling us we cannot be polygamists, and that -I think – is the real issue. If polygamy becomes legal again, our scriptures are clear – it’s not a sin. I fear that some of the brethren and too many in the church today see polygamy as our past, yet it is our present and our future.

    • I disagree Dave. I believe polygamy was an Abrahamic test for the early Saints and was not meant to continue. See Valerie Hudson Cassler’s article at:
      http://www.squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerPolygamy.html
      Monogamy is the rule and polygamy is the exception. Read the article and see if you don’t agree.

    • Although I cannot currently find the citation, I believe you will find in countries where polygamy (like parts of Africa) is legal The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will still excommunicate members who practice it and will Not allow polygamous investigators to be baptized until they have ceased and renounced the practice.

      • Here is one source supporting my statement http://www.sltrib.com/features/ci_14751371 . There is also this counter reference to my statement: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/04/polygamy-bill-allows-kenyan-men-many-wives-201443132059130919.html .

  21. I hope that in the future that as we evolve and get smarter as a culture, that we can “reinterpret” and “expand our definition” of other things as well. Clearly the Bible is meant to be reinterpreted by each generation so as to keep it in check with the culture at large. After all, we wouldn’t want some old truth hanging around where it is no longer applicable, or welcomed.

  22. I would like to dismiss Elder Nelson as an out of touch crank. But the problem is, I met him and shook his hand a few months ago. The man literally glows with the Spirit of God, and I could feel it burning in my heart just being in his presence.
    I know for the secular person that is foolishness but it was REAL. As much as I wish it weren’t, I’m afraid what he is saying is true and is the will and mind of God. As a result of this sermon I have personally decided to change my views on gay marriage and align myself with this servant of God.

  23. Cary Martinez

    I am confused. Nowhere in her bio does Jana Riess say that she is a Mormon, but her comments seem to imply that at least she thinks she is. However, her comments also show that if she is LDS, she either does not understand her own religion or that she does not really believe some of its basic tenets. Those tenets would be:

    1-A church led by prophets and apostles, who members sustain as prophets seers and revelators. We do not choose them, we believe them to be chosen by God, and that they do not define doctrine, but simply reveal His will.

    2-Marriage, has always been and always will be defined as being between a man a and a woman.

    I am not going to debate these doctrines; one can either accept them or not. My point is that they are church doctrine, which is subject to change only at the direction of the Almighty, not because of the disgust of Jana Riess or others with similar opinions. The LDS Church does not vote on its doctrine. We have never held a Nicene Council. I have never been able to understand why members who do not accept the basic doctrines of the church not only insist on maintaining church membership, but also want to make the entire church change in order to fit their own personal beliefs. Such an attitude is dishonest, disingenuous, and arrogant.

    • Cary,

      That marriage “always will be” defined as being between a man and a woman is not official Church doctrine. The doctrine is that that is how it’s currently defined. The doctrine is not predicting the future.

      It is possible to sustain church leaders but also acknowledge that they are imperfect and can make mistakes.

      Every single member of the church is imperfect. Most members of the church that I know have some doctrine of the church that they don’t live–whether it’s forgiveness of everyone or keeping the sabbath day holy or not judging or taking care of the poor–because deep down inside they don’t believe it’s that important and have come up with justifications for not doing it. I agree that such an attitude is dishonest, disingenuous and arrogant. And guess what? We all have that attitude about some aspect of the gospel! Every one of us! Because we’re human. And if we think we don’t…that’s when we’re in real trouble.

      • Cary Martinez

        Fred M, sorry but you are incorrect. Read the Proclamation on the Family, signed by the First Presidency. Not once has the Church ever come back to an Official Proclamation or Declaration and said, “Yeah, just kidding. God has just changed His mind.” Not gonna’ happen, and everybody who thinks it will is deluded. Church policies change. Programs change. Procedures change. The manner in which we worship occasionally changes. and even the way we present gospel principles changes from time to time. However, the gospel principles themselves do not change. They are as unchangeable and immutable as God Himself.

        Secondly, there is a huge difference between living gospel principles, which only a handful of humans have ever learned to do perfectly, and openly coming out in open rebellion against rejecting them. Making mistakes, is human. We fall down, we get up, we try again. Openly rejecting an established doctrine or commandment because I don´t like it, and trying to intimidate the church into changing it for my benefit? that is what I am calling dishonest, disingenuous, and arrogant.

        • Sorry Cary, but the Proc isn’t official doctrine. the prophets have declared that only the Standard Works are official doctrine and anyone who teaches anything contrary to them must be ignored, even the prophet. the proc has never been brought forth to the Church for a sustaining vote via Common Consent. It is therefore NOT scripture and therefore NOT official Church doctrine.

          30 years ago, a First presidency letter stated that oral sex was a violation of temple covenants as an unholy and impure practice. That was quickly rescinded. If it IS a violation, shouldn’t we be told about it? Young couples today aren’t told about it and may be unknowingly violating their temple covenants. Is THAT FP letter official church doctrine?

          • Cary Martinez

            Kevin JK, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Any official pronouncement by the First Presidency is doctrine, and members are bound by it. The Proclamation on the Family was read in General Conference and since then has been taught regularly in church meetings as official doctrine.

            As far as the letter on oral sex, I have never heard of it. I´d love to read it, or at least read about it. Do you have a source for that information? Not doubting, just curious.

          • Regarding FP letters being doctrinal, the Brethren have said otherwise. Consider –
            “With respect to the people feeling that whatever the brethren say is gospel, this tends to undermine the proposition of freedom of speech and thought. As members of the Church we are bound to sustain and support the brethren in the positions they occupy so long as their conduct entitles them to that. But we also have only to defend those doctrines of the Church contained in the four standard works: the Bible, The BoM, the D&C, and the PoGP. Anything beyond that by anyone is his or her own opinions and not scripture.”
            (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965])

            “I am afraid, however, that this is not as generally accepted or followed to-day as it ought to be. Some of the brethren have been willing to submit to the inference that what they have said was pronounced under the influence of the inspiration of the Lord and that it therefore is the will of the Lord. I do not doubt that the brethren have often spoken under inspiration and given new emphasis– perhaps even a new explanation or interpretation–of Church doctrine, but that does not become binding upon the Church unless and until it is submitted to the scrutiny of the rest of the brethren and later to the vote of the people.”
            (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965])

            “In no sense can the Church be called autocratic. No one, from the President down, can dictate to the Church. All must be done in harmony with gospel principles, and by common consent. Even new revelations from the Lord are presented to the people for acceptance as part of the doctrine of the Church.”
            (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 281.)

            if Sections 137 and 138 needed to be sustained by Common Consent to make them binding….and those were REVELATIONS…you can bet your bottom dollar that the Proc would need to be. It was never declared as being given by revelation. i knew someone one Church Security who said the Proc was written by a committee of men and women who brought to the Pres. GBH who revised it 3 different times before he was satisfied with it. He then brought it to the 12. The original SSM voter initiatives in Alaska and Hawaii were going on at the time and I believe that the Proc was written to rally the troops to oppose them.

            AS far as the oral sex being contrary to our temple covenants, I have scans of the letter sent out. I remember going to a special meeting at Church that Sunday evening for only married couples and this was read by the bishop. My email address is kevin_j_kirkham [at] yah00 (dottt) {commm} . Shoot me an email and I’ll send you copies of the letter with the First Presidency’s signatures. Straight Up.

          • Cary Martinez

            Kevin JK, I did a little research and found that letter to which you referred. Now I understand why I have never heard of it. It is not a proclamation or declaration to the general church membership or public-at-large. It is an instructional letter to local church leadership. The general church membership never would have even known of its existence if someone hadn’t placed it on the internet. This type of letter is only instructional, not doctrinal, in other words it gives instruction as to how leaders are to apply doctrinal principles. It does not carry the same weight as a Declaration or Proclamation, which are doctrinal in nature. I am a stake president, and I get them sometimes on a weekly basis. They change all the time, depending on the current needs of the church.

            It is interesting that the statement that you refer to states, “The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice.” The key word here is “interpreted”. They did not declare it or proclaim it to the general church membership to be doctrine. It is not surprising that the letter was withdrawn a short time after.

          • I remember going to church that Sunday and the bishop announced that there would be a meeting for all married couples that evening. My wife and I went and the bishop read that paragraph over the pulpit. I don’t know if it was his own idea, done in all of the wards of the stake or done church wide.

            The bottom line was that the letter was signed by the First Presidency acting in the office of their callings as prophets, seers and revelators. They outlined an interpretation that would result in people possibly being excommunicated for violating their covenants if they insisted on continuing engaging in oral sex. it was not some procedural policy. it was an official pronouncement.

            If oral sex REALLY IS a violation of temple covenants, shouldn’t kids going to the temple be told about it? I understand the current policy of bishops not asking members if they are engaging in it, but shouldn’t bishops at least read this paragraph kind of like they do regarding the wearing of the temple garment?

            You are asserting that since it was their interpretation, that it was simply an opinion. if FP letters constitute official church doctrine, then they can’t be just opinions. What about their “interpretation” of scripture? Can that change too on a whim?

        • Cary,

          Actually the church just recently did just that. Look up the Official Statement from the First Presidency on the Negro Question in 1949. Everything taught in that statement (that dark skin is a curse, that it comes as a result of performance in premortal life) has now been disavowed in the recent official essay on “Race and the Priesthood” which can be found on lds.org. I agree that it doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.

          And I have to say I prefer Jana openly sharing her feelings about a topic, as opposed to many church members who profess to follow the prophet but secretly commit adultery or mishandle public funds or don’t forgive, etc., etc. And I don’t think she’s trying to intimidate anyone, let alone the church!

      • D&C 132:19-20 and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then they shall be gods.

        Notice you cannot be a god until you produce a child in eternity. God became a God only at the birth of Christ. That is why God says that Christ was with Him even from the beginning. I do not see that gay marriage can work in eternity.

  24. Jana, does it never bother or concern you that your greatest allies in many of your blog posts about the LDS church are people who are largely opposed to the church, its leaders, and its practices – many of them bitterly so?

    Does it never bother or concern you that your consistent allies are people with an unquenchable thirst for fault-finding, who do not appear to believe that the church is true, and who do not sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators?

    Do you personally believe that these men are prophets, seers, and revelators, and if so, what does that mean to you? What makes the teachings of Elder Nelson or any other prophet or apostle different from the many philosophies of men which surround us?

    For me, having a testimony of the restored church of Jesus Christ means that I approach every aspect of the gospel from the default position that what I am taught by living prophets and apostles is to be taken with the utmost gravity. From decades of personal experience I have learned that they have earned my trust, and that I can apply this trust to every aspect of life which they may feel impressed to speak upon. If they should say something which contradicts my previous notions of how things should be, I accept their guidance as authoritative and act accordingly without hesitation, and then seek personal revelation to help me understand and accept His will.

    I remember very clearly one such experience as it pertained to California’s Prop 8 in 2008. I had publicly adopted a view which I felt was compassionate, fair, and Solomonesque in terms of splitting the baby. And I felt my perspective would harmonize with the teachings of the church. And then a particular First Presidency statement came to my attention which contradicted a portion of what I felt was the perfect compromise. I put my trust in God that His anointed prophets were in harmony with His will, amended my position to align with the First Presidency, and sought clarity on the matter from God, who wasted no time providing the clarity which I sought.

    One of my favorite quotes is from Sterling W. Sill: “What a tremendous benefit we could bestow upon ourselves by calling off the war and learning to live at peace with God, not only in obeying him but also in agreeing with him.”

    Harold B. Lee taught that this would not always be easy, but that we should nonetheless look to the prophet to guide us:

    “You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory’ (D&C 21:6).

    “To you Latter-day Saints everywhere, that promise [in D&C 21:4–6] will be yours if you will follow the leadership the Lord has placed within the Church, giving heed to their counsel in patience and faith.

    “Look to the President of the Church for your instructions. If ever there is a conflict, you keep your eyes on the President if you want to walk in the light.”

    To those Latter-day Saints who struggle with the teachings of Elder Nelson and others called of God to direct His kingdom, who is more qualified than they to expound God’s will on any matter of doctrine and practice? Those who are perpetually kicking against the pricks and criticizing the church? Do we think the church is a great institution with a lot of really great ideas to come closer to Christ, but not necessarily His church? Do we have a greater testimony of the imperfections of our leaders than we do of their divine callings?

    When it comes to the non-LDS participants on these discussions, I get that they don’t see our prophets and apostles as anything other than a bunch of men who run the church according to their own personal beliefs, and that they are no more agents of God than your neighborhood televangelist.

    But when it comes to those who publicly proclaim belief in the church, what exactly is the point if each and every teaching from those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators is criticized and called into question? Have they not earned some measure of initial acceptance and deference, even if we must struggle with the Lord in mighty prayer to iron out the differences? If we truly believe the church is true, do we not owe them at least that much?

    • Jana Riess

      TomW, this blog is my own opinion, and it’s pretty clear that it’s not an official representation of the LDS Church.

      I don’t find that the majority of people who agree with my posts have “an unquenchable thirst for fault-finding.” That is a caricature. However, it’s true that some of them have been wounded by their experiences with the Church. I try to provide a voice in the middle as someone who is an active member of the Church but does not simply deny their negative experiences or place the blame solely on their shoulders. In some cases I think they have been genuinely wronged. Maybe they were gay and were told they were less than a person, an abomination, something that needed to be fixed. Maybe they had genuine questions and were made to feel that there was no safe place to ask those questions, anywhere in the Church.

      This blog is for them. And while I try to keep a reasonably civil dialogue going here by deleting or burying comments that are in essence just personal insults, etc., you’re right that sometimes they are bitter. But so are many orthodox members of the Church, whose comments are often just as nasty as or even nastier than anyone else’s. (When I started blogging four years ago, my non-Mormon mother was shocked by this and said, “Mormons are mean!” She was right.)

  25. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s address at the last General Conference, “The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship,” seems relevant here:

    Unfortunately, messengers of divinely mandated commandments are often no more popular today than they were anciently . . . Abinadi . . . said to King Noah: “Because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. … Because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad” or, we might add, provincial, patriarchal, bigoted, unkind, narrow, outmoded, and elderly.

    It is as the Lord Himself lamented to the prophet Isaiah:

    “[These] children … will not hear the law of the Lord:

    “[They] say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

    “Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”

    Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.

    Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?

    (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-cost-and-blessings-of-discipleship?lang=eng&query=)

  26. Jana,
    I’m wondering if you have read Valerie Hudson Cassler’s article entitled “’Some Things That Should Not Have Been Forgotten Were Lost': The Pro-Feminist, Pro-Democracy, Pro-Peace Case for State Privileging of Companionate Heterosexual Monogamous Marriage.” I think this article makes a very good case in defense of traditional marriage norms, and by implication, the church’s theology of sexuality. It’s at:

    http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerMarriage.html

        • I was just wondering if you had read Valerie Hudson Cassler’s article entitled “’Some Things That Should Not Have Been Forgotten Were Lost’: The Pro-Feminist, Pro-Democracy, Pro-Peace Case for State Privileging of Companionate Heterosexual Monogamous Marriage.” I believe the article makes a very good case in defense of traditional marriage norms, and by implication, the church’s theology of sexuality. The article is at: http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerMarriage.html -

  27. I just finished reading:
    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/06/10325/
    The article points out some of the results of gay and lesbian unions in Britain… It states that “62% of civil union dissolutions (i.e., divorces) in the UK are between women despite the fact that lesbian relationships only represent 44 percent of civil partnerships in that country.” and “The pattern is evident in the Netherlands as well as Norway and Sweden, where Mundy notes that the risk of breakups for female partnerships more than doubles that found in male unions. The actual study she cites estimates that in Sweden 30 percent of female marriages are likely to end in divorce within six years of formation, compared with 20 percent for male marriages and 13 percent for heterosexual ones.”
    When coupled with the fact that, “There are recent studies that show that children from same sex households have higher depression and drug abuse rates and are much more likely to end up on welfare. These well researched, peer review studies have opened up the researchers to threats of violence and attempts to silence them. The great social experiment of same sex unions will prove to be a disaster in society despite the efforts of many to paint over its evil fruits with a happy brush of censorship.” and Valerie Hudson Cassler’s article I cited above, it’s hard to believe any right-thinking caring person would think SSM is a good idea for the nation, this nations children, or women in general.
    Jana and Annie, I hope you’ll respond.

    • Could the 30%-20%-13% stats be influenced by whether the couples have kids. I imagine that the straight couples are more likely to have kids together and even if the SSM couples have them, they will not be biologically related to both, if either. Those facts should encourage the straight couples to stay together. I’d like to see the stats about SSM vs straights broken down by childless, w/ adopted kids, with step kids, with kids biologically related to only 1 parent. I bet the difference in those stats would shrink a great deal.

      Also, even failed marriages are better for society that 2 people always being single. Singles, especially with kids, are more likely to depend on welfare than married people. Even if marriages last a short while, they limit the monetary risk facing the taxpayers. Even when they break up, alimony and child support further limit the risks to taxpayers.

      Even if SSM couples are less beneficial than their demographically identical straight counterparts, they’re going to be better than being in the foster system. Also, straight couples who do drugs, have abused kids, have child porn convictions, etc…are still allowed to marry and have kids. Why can’t loving gays who are ideal in every other way be denied marriage?

      • The problem with any statistical data is you can always question whether it is representative of the group you’re most interested in. I think we all just have to ask ourselves if traditional marriages are better for children than non-traditional ones. It’s apparent to me that they will be overall. Valerie Hudson Cassler’s article argues that the nation will also be more humane and caring and women will be better off as well. Any decisions by governments which encourage non-standard marriages should consider the long term effects on the nation as a whole and not just individual rights.

        • Well, since the 30%-20%-13% stats are admittedly questionable and since the major medical and psychological orgs say that kids in SSM households do as well as others, it’s hard to make the claim that kids/society would be better off w/o SSM. Also, America ISN’T about what is best for society or even best for kids. it’s about INDIVIDUAL freedom and equality. the D&C backs me on this. The Soviets tried to have a society that benefited society rather than the individual. it failed.

          You failed to address my points about kids being better off in SSM families than in the foster care system. Also, SSm couples realize that kids need the influence of opposite sex adults so they tend to make sure extended families, teachers, clergy, etc…are involved. I think that the personality type of the parents, gay or straight, make more of a difference than their gender. We’ve all heard of the various personality types…red, green, blue, yellow…Not all men are the type A dominant type and not all women are submissive care givers. Sometimes they are the opposite. Sometimes they’re both the same. If both are Type A dominant, won’t that affect how the kids are raised due to not having a balance? What if the straight couple were both Type A’s and the SSM couple were an A and a B? Which couple would have a more balanced approach…the straights due to their differing genders or the gays with their differing personalities? The bottom line is that it is impossible to say that gays are worse parents. there are WAY too many variables to make hard and fast characterizations.

          Any couple, gay or straight, who takes the time and expense to adopt or get a kid through IVF/surrogacy will likely be very motivated to be good parents and have a stable home life. Id’ trust gay parents FAR more than a straight couple who married due to an accidental pregnancy (like my sister did and like our friend’s daughter).

          you also failed to address the issue of society being better off w/ SSM due to decreased tax burdens. the Church is constantly telling singles about the benefits of being married…better financially, better health, etc…this applies to gays and straights. Society is better off with marriage…gay and straight.

          • @ Kevin,
            I believe kids are better off in traditional families than any other nontraditional environment. I know many traditional families that would like more children but are unable to adopt here in the US because it’s just too expensive. My son and his wife are a good example. I believe the tax burden should be higher for nontraditional families because I personally believe they’re generally a higher burden on society. There are exceptions of course but I believe they will be a drain on society in many ways. I know you don’t believe that but I do. See:
            http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerMarriage.html

          • I’m glad that you brought up varying tax rates and adoption together. I agree that adoption can be too expensive. Perhaps there should be a sliding fee scale based on the stats of the kid. older kids and kids with special needs are cheaper. Non White kids might also be more affordable. All based on supply/demand.

            We could have a sliding tax rate as you suggested. if it turns out that SSM families cost society more, we could justify higher tax rates. We could charge families more if the parents didn’t go to college since they use society’s resources more…higher police and court costs, higher welfare costs, etc…We could charge single moms more since they too are a HUGE burden. We can look at demographics and see what type of burden each type of couple burdens society and perhaps draw a line saying certain classes of people can’t get married based on their likelihood of burdening society. Maybe we’d allow gays, but not allow people without college degrees to marry. Should civil rights be based on one’s societal utility?

            Do we really want to go there?

          • I looked up that article and extolled monogamy but seemed to dismiss the traditional Christian concept of the man being the head of the wife/servant-leader.

            Polygamy may not be ideal and is obviously harder since the number of relationships go up exponentially and therefore the potential for discord increases dramatically, but a man marrying and providing for a number of otherwise single women and their kids is MUCH MUCH better for society than having these women being single and depending upon the state and for the kids growing up without a father. The Black society has been decimated by the lack of fathers in the home. It’s hurt the girls and the boys.

            Polygamy can allow some of these women to be stay-at-home moms watching over not only her own kids, but the kids of the women who may work outside of the home. having a stay-at-home mother is MUCH better than kids being left in daycare or be latchkey kids. Ask you own pastor about whether its better for kids to have a father in the home rather than on weekends (if at all) and whether having a stay-at-home mom is better than daycare or latchkey.

            why should society condemn these women and their kids to this harmful existence when a much better alternative could be available?

  28. Jana writes — Same-sex marriage is not a threat to traditional marriage but an expansion of its definition.

    An good, simple and easy to understand comment.

  29. Jana-

    Thanks for posting this. I was blissfully unaware of this talk until it became the centerpiece of our lesson in R.S. today. I came online to see if anyone else had been as hurt and confused as I was by this talk — I told my husband afterward the comments in R.S. were like that old SNL skit where a couple friends sit around ripping their mutual acquaintance to shreds and then follow up with, “But I love the guy! Yeah, he’s great; I love him.” Sitting in that room listening to people talk out of both sides of their mouth was tough, and especially when no one seemed to grasp the fundamental point you make here: no reason discipleship and support for same-sex marriage can’t go hand in hand . . . because to my recollection, Christ himself said a big fat nothing on this topic (excepting maybe the eunuch verse, but that’s a stretch). So why this would somehow become a litmus test for a follower of Christ is beyond confusing to me. But there are a few things like that on my list right now. (-:
    (p.s. Didn’t make it to Midwest Pilgrims this year but hope I will see you there next year. (-: )

  30. I read the article yesterday. You are being LESS than honest. the Hitching Post is a private business. It is a wedding chapel that serves the public. it is NOT a church. The owners may be ordained clergy, but the Hitching Post is NOT a church. It is a business and as such cannot discriminate against gays any more than it could against Blacks or Mormons.

    • Right, the argument that your 1st Amendment rights vanish once you acquire a business license. Sorry, not buying it. And please don’t point at the 14th Amendment, an honest reading of that amendment would mean that it doesn’t apply to private businesses at all, and possibly not to local governments.

      • OK, we have the freedom of association, so a business should be able to exercise that right and not associate with Blacks, Mormons, women, and people under 6′ tall….correct? No reason need be given. We simply have a right to only associate with those with whom we wish to. Is that what you’re advocating?

        • No, actually, I wasn’t basing my position on the freedom of association. While I do believe that is a fundamental right, its manifestation in the Constitution is political rather than private, and almost inextricably bound up with freedom of speech and petition. I was referring purely to the 1st Amendment’s protection of our right to exercise our religion.

          But taking your statement “so a business should be able to exercise that right and not associate with Blacks, Mormons, women, and people under 6′ tall….correct?” in a more general vein, as has been noted any number of times over the centuries since the Constitution was created, protection of constitutional rights almost inherently requires us to protect the rights of people we don’t like to act in ways we don’t approve of. After all, if we like them and approve of how they act, they aren’t likely to actually need those constitutional protections, are they?

          • If we have freedom of association as individuals and, if as you claim, that right extends to our business, then yes, we can indeed discriminate against Blacks, Mormons, women and short people. If, however, those rights do not apply to businesses, then we cannot discriminate. You may not want a Muslim in your home, but you have to deal with them if they come into your store. You may not want to invite Blacks into your home for a meal, but if they sit at your lunch counter, you have to serve them. the same applies to gays. You may think that gay marriage is wrong, but you still have to bake their wedding cake, sell them flowers and even perform their ceremony if you own a wedding chapel open to the public.

          • When it comes to performing marriages, don’t most churches take money for their pastors, their musicians, and their facilities?

            So do I understand correctly that the issue with the Hitching Post is that they only perform weddings there?

            If so, what if the 2 evangelical ministers who operate the facility were to convert their “for-profit” business into a church? There’s probably nothing in their own belief system which would prohibit them from establishing a church. And if other churches can charge for their ministers and facilities, why couldn’t these ministers do so as well?

            But wait, one might say, they don’t use the facility for worship services. Well, how hard could it be to begin doing so? Does the law define the frequency and length of worship services, or the number of members who must regularly attend, in order to qualify as a church? Does anyone think it would be very difficult to find a requisite number of like-minded Christians in the area who would permit their names to be attached to the church as members in order to circumvent the persecution these ministers may be subjected to?

            Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if those who once claimed that nobody would ever be forced to perform a wedding contrary to their conscience would simply keep their promise and find people to perform their ceremonies who will happlily celebrate with them?

            An interesting perspective on this from a secularist: http://thefederalist.com/2014/10/20/gay-marriage-no-one-expects-the-secular-inquisition/

          • in my stake, there is a lady who bakes almost every wedding cake for the people getting married here. She doesn’t have a business license, a shop, website, etc…because of that, she is free to turn down business from gays, Catholics, etc… She is a private citizen.

            the Hitching Post is different. They have a business license and advertize for business on the web and presumably elsewhere. because of that they can’t discriminate. they are a public accommodation…a business.

            If they become a church, they still may be considered a public accommodation if they advertize wedding services to the public rather than just to their members…like the cake lady. Deseret book is owned by a church, but it still must obey all employment laws. There is no free pass just because it’s owned by a church.

          • Two problems with your statement. First, you state that “If, however, those rights do not apply to businesses, then we cannot discriminate.” However, you do not provide any justification for WHY we cannot discriminate in these cases. You simply assume it.

            But the second problem is the bigger one, which is that in my post I said that I don’t believe that the Constitution protects the freedom to associate outside of its political manifestations, and that rather in this situation it’s based on our 1st Amendment right to exercise our religion. Which you ignored. So please explain, how is forcing people to take part in activities that they consider sinful not a violation of the Free Exercise clause?

          • 1. the reason a business cant discriminate is because they are open to the public and therefore a public accommodation. If they could discriminate, then we could have Whites only lunch counters by having the owners, ordained ministers or not, saying that dealing with Blacks violate their religious beliefs regarding keeping the races separate.

            2. No one is forcing that minister to marry gay couples. He CHOSE to buy a public business. it’s like that photographer in New Mexico. The law there stated that businesses couldn’t discriminate against gays and she CHOSE to open a business and by accepting a business license publicly declared that she would be subject to kings, judges, magistrates and rulers in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. She and the Hitching Post people are now backpedaling. No one is forcing them. They CHOSE to be placed under those conditions.

    • @ kevin jk

      Your hateful attacks are dishonest and founded. Quite typical homosexual advocates. Whom is your hateful tirade aimed at?

      Whom said the Hitching Post post is a church or a nonprofit? You seem to be dishonestly and ignorantly taking people’s words out of context.

      The fact is that fascist homosexuals are trying to force Christians to go against their own religion and God. The fact is that incrementally these types of litigations are to undermine religion and God. These types of things are used to set a precedence, by fascist homosexual advocates to try to force their agenda onto others.

      The fascist homosexuals are violating the constitutional freedom of religion.

      • hateful attacks? Saying that someone was “LESS than honest” is a hateful attack? yet your statements regarding “fascist homosexuals” and “fascist homosexual advocates” is all well and good?

        The problem is that businesses open to the public can’t discriminate. If you want them to be able to, be prepared for businesses to refuse service to Blacks, Mormons, women, etc…

  31. kevin – If the Hitching Post were to complete the legal requirements to have itself designated as a church instead of a business, how would they be held to a different standard from any other church which may perform marriage services for a fee?

    Lots of churches perform marriages for people who are not their congregants on account of the large number of people who do not affiliate with any particular church and yet desire a church wedding because they think it’s the right thing to do, or to satisfy a family member, or simply because they like the optics of it. (And in some cases, a couple might even choose a church that neither family has any tie to in order to avoid showing preference to one or the other.)

    I don’t think one can attempt to require a church to only perform marriages for folks on their membership rolls as a requisite to avoiding legal action.

    And let’s say for the sake of argument that the government were to create what I would consider to be an unconstitutional requirement that “church marriages” must only be available to registered congregants of a given church in order to evade prosecution and/or fines over the question of alleged civil rights violations, how hard would it be for the church to put together a brief statement of faith affirmations which happen to coincide with their fundamentalist beliefs, require potential “members” to pass the equivalent of a baptismal interview, and then sign them up as members of that church (even if only for a fleeting moment) in order to appease the letter of the law?

    I don’t think it’s even possible, thanks to the First Amendment, to construct draconian restrictions on churches which one couldn’t ultimately get around via some such process. And if that’s the case, is that what we begin requiring people like these 2 pastors to do? Or do those who have been claiming the high ground on “tolerance” all these years shrug their shoulders and go, “okay, if you’re going to insist on being this way, we will give our business to those who share our views and will celebrate with us.”

    • There are undoubtedly legal guidelines on this. Churches can’t buy businesses and then only hire other Christians. They have to hire everyone. They can’t buy a lunch counter and then deny Blacks because their religion believes that races should be separate.

      A business calling itself “The Hitching Post” where people get hitched and having a webpage advertising marriages is going to have a hard time justifying why they’ll marry couple A but not couple B.

      • Kevin, please respond to my premise that the Hitching Post is legally transformed from being a business entity to a church, which is absolutely a legitimate concept. Let’s call it The Church of the Hitching Post. It’s ministers are legally recognized already by the state as ministers. And even if they weren’t, it is a simple thing in America to become such. You could do it. I could do it.

        As the newly formed Church of the Hitching Post, its ministers have every right to declare what its doctrines shall be, to establish guidelines for membership, to receive tithes and offerings, to conduct worship services, and to continue performing marriages according to the church’s beliefs.

        The Church of the Hitching Post can create a website. It could probably even purchase the URL of the existing site, hitchingpostweddings.com, and redirect to hitchingpostchurch.com without much fanfare, and with zero legal obstacles.

        Add some information about the church, its meeting times, its teachings, etc., and blammo, you’ve got the Church of the Hitching Post rather than a business entity known as Hitching Post Weddings.

        You may hate it, but legally I don’t think there’s a darned thing anyone can do to stop them if the ministers are creative enough to do something along these lines, carefully abiding by the legal requirements of Idaho to do so. The government cannot constitutionally prevent them from forming a church, so there’s no point attempting to argue that this isn’t a viable scenario.

        • Sure there is. What keeps a church from buying a bunch of businesses and then claiming that since it’s church property, they don’t have to pay corporate taxes and are exempt from discriminatory hiring practices, hiring only white male Christians?

          The LDS Church owns several for profit businesses and they all pay taxes and all adhere to the same hiring laws that other businesses do. Just being a church is not a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card.

          if the Hitching Post Church gets the vast majority of its income from weddings and selling wedding goods, the IRS may pull it’s church license. They are still free to worship how, where and what they may, but they’ll have to not discriminate.

          • I DID deal with it. You are claiming that becoming a church gives ministers a “Get Out Of jail Free” card allowing them to do whatever they want while hiding behind the 1A. I’m saying that that isn’t true and our own LDS Church doesn’t believe or follow that.

          • You’re completely ducking the scenario, Kevin, insisting on a distinction between other churches which collect money for ministers and facilities, and these people. What if they only provide marriage services to members of their church, and establish a baseline “offering” for membership in their church, along with the ability to pass a membership interview which affirms their beliefs? Trust me, Kevin, there are ways to circumvent these unconstitutional encroachments upon religion, and creative people will get there, your personal distaste for those who refuse to bow to the modern secular inquisition notwithstanding.

  32. I’m sure that the IRS and the courts have seen all kinds of schemes in its day.

    BTW, the Church Newsroom just published an article on the Web dealing with the history of polygamy. in it it states – “In Reynolds v. United States (1879), the Supreme Court ruled against the Latter-day Saints: religious belief was protected by law, religious practice was not. ”

    IOW, just because we say an activity is religious in nature does not mean that it’s legal to do if it is contrary to law. We can’t practice polygamy and hide behind the 1A and the HP ministers won’t be able to discriminate against gays by hiding behind it either.

    • Kevin, I’d already read the update. It was well done.

      Back to the topic, however, your line of thinking ultimately leads to a government requirement for ministers to marry gay couples if they are going to marry anyone at all. And while there are people in America who think that that’s just great, I assure you that such a demand will be a leap too far for the United States Supreme Court.

      And again, it calls into serious question the integrity of those who claimed throughout their political agitations to legalize same-sex marriage that they would NEVER force someone to perform marriages against their conscience. Having hijacked the court system to do what the citizens of the country would not, they now seek to use that same system to require what they formally denied would ever happen.

  33. I’m sure that clergy who marry people of their faith/congregation, like our sealers and bishops, have nothing to worry about, but those who have businesses designed to seek business from the general public will be deemed as a business and therefore subject to anti-discrimination laws. it’s like the lady in my stake who bakes wedding cakes vs. the local bakery.

    I know of no gays who have tried to force non-commercial clergy to marry them. The HP was the one who brought the lawsuit suing the city. There MAY be some gay couple SOMEday who will sue, but it won’t get very far and even if it does, a constitutional amendment would get passed at the speed of light fixing the mess. Even most gays would support it.

    • Kevin, you continue to change the parameters.

      If the Church of the Hitching Post were to become an actual church, your designation of them as a business would no longer be valid. It’s off the table. They’re a church now. A church that may collect donations to further its ministry. A church which may establish membership requirements. A church which is constitutionally protected in performing sacramental rites in accordance with its teachings.

      I have already stated a premise that the Church of the Hitching Post is established according to the laws of the State of Idaho. The manner in which they promote their church is assumed to comply with the law, including their website. For the sake of argument, we will assume that any messaging from the church complies with the law, including any messaging pertaining to weddings.

      Put out of your mind that they were once a business solely to perform good old fashioned heterosexual marriages. They are now a church, indistinguishable under the law from any other church in the state of Idaho. Past prejudices against the former business do not apply.

      The church is going to prevail by the time the case runs its judicial course.

      Considering the public discussion of the Hitching Post, it is apparent that the bulk of same-sex marriage advocates would be on board suing them, just as they have sued photographers, bakeries, and others. Those who once proclaimed this would never happen are gleeful. I am nowhere near as confident as you are of the political support by gays for a constitutional amendment affirming the rights of ministers to refuse participating in marriages. More likely there will be a movement to revoke the authority of all ministers to perform legally binding marriages, leaving it to government offices. As in Europe, church weddings would become a public show for that which is already legally concluded by bureaucrats. And society will not be better for it.

      • As stated, if their marketing via a website for marriage business is deemed OK for a church, then they are safe. if lawsuits are brought, it will likely be to test the apparent injustice of operating like a business but hiding behind the 1A. I sincerely doubt that you will see a gay couple sue the First Baptist Church. The HP is acting like a business and that is the only reason they are likely to get sued.

        legislators may have to draft guidelines as to how much and what type of marketing a church can do before it is deemed a business rather than a church.

      • I think that you may be right about ministers unwilling to perform SSM ceremonies possibly having their state license pulled. I have no problem with that. When they perform LEGALLY binding ceremonies, they are acting as agents of the secular state and as such should not be able to discriminate once SSM is universally recognized. Such a revocation is NOT an infringement upon 1A rights since the ministers are still able to believe, teach and practice their faith as before. They can still conduct marriage ceremonies so that the couple is married in the eyes of God…just not the state.

        I still think that legislators will pass laws preventing that and I don’t see the courts thinking that this is such a pressing need to address.

        because of the above, there will NEVER be a SSM in a temple. The Church will simply quit conducting LEGALLY binding marriages in any jurisdiction that requires anyone able to perform legally binding marriages to perform SSM ceremonies. There are a number of countries that don’t recognize temple sealings and so couples going to the temple have a sealing ceremony that is not legally binding. Again, I have NO problem with that.

        • Yet it is intolerant, and ultimately dishonest, for the promoters of same-sex marriage to let it come to that point. All these years, anytime someone has claimed that their efforts would inevitably lead us to where we stand on the threshold today, they were quick to spew epithets of “bigot” and “homophobe.” Turns out the concerns were legitimate and warranted.

          • If they sue to make non-commercial clergy perform SSMs, you may be right. That hasn’t happened yet though.

          • Again, the acting presumption is that they are constitutionally entitled to establish themselves as a church without the peanut gallery being entitled to judge their ministerial authenticity. After all, there are those on the Left who view ALL clergy as commercial. Some people will never be satisfied, and the law needs to protect the clergy from people like that.

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    […] AT BYU COMMENCEMENT, APOSTLE REITERATES MARRIAGE STANCE As the LDS church finds itself increasingly in the minority on marriage equality opinions, and even on the losing side of court battles, one LDS Apostle is warning members to get used to persecution. Russell M. Nelson, speaking at BYU’s commence, told graduates that “true disciples” of Jesus Christ are those who oppose same-gender marriage, and that “life will not be comfortable” for them. Nelson invoked oft-repeated rhetoric from LDS Church officials, including that marriage is God’s law, and cannot be changed by man, and that a battle for right and wrong is raging. Nelson also said that while members should be sensitive to one another, those members who support same-sex marriage cannot be condoned for their efforts to change “divine doctrine,” although at least one blogger disagreed. […]

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    […] Mormon apostle: ‘Disciples of the Lord are defenders of marriage’ (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)– “I agree with much of what Elder Nelson said about marriage in general. It is the foundation of a happy and enduring family life. It’s a partnership of shared goals, mutual loyalty, and the cultivation of each individual’s gifts. The family can be eternal.  Yes to all those things.  But I cannot agree with his unyielding determination to restrict the institution of marriage to a man and a woman only.   Nor can I abide the us-versus-them mentality that I sense here, pitting LDS Church members as sacred remnants in a world gone bad. Elder Nelson even goes so far as to quote Paul about the last days in which how blasphemers, lovers of pleasure, disobedient boasters, and the prideful will appear to carry the moment while lovers of Jesus Christ suffer persecution.” […]

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