In January 2020, the Methodist Church announced they will be splitting in two because of discord over LGBTQ issue;, local congregations will vote on with which church they will affiliate. This video reviews The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ progress in understanding LGBTQ issues , but also many of the challenges we are still trying to navigate. One of the most important takeaways is our need to increase love and outreach to any LGBTQ members, as Elder Ballard said, “We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home…”
Okay. So, on this video, I’m going to talk about LGBTQ issues. I’ve been dreading doing this video in some ways because I know it’s a very polarizing, charged topic, highly opinionated with different views. It’s a very challenging space right now. In fact, just in January 2020, the United Methodist Church said they are going to split over this issue, just a big vote. They’ll have two churches now that are Methodist you can choose from. They’re going to vote on the local level I guess is my understanding, but one will accept same-sex marriage and ordination of clergy that are LGBT, the others will be called traditional Methodist there.
So, you may have also heard just in the news, I just saw this. The evangelist Franklin Graham, all seven of his venues in the UK just canceled him coming because of his views on homosexuality and Islam both, but anyway, it’s a very challenging topic today.
So, I want to go through this. I do want to remind you also I’m trying to do this at the beginning of a few of these videos. I’ve got the transcripts for all the videos now on a website that I set up called latterdaysaintsqa.com and under the Read the Blog section, that’s where you can get the transcript of the video.
So, on this, I want to talk about really the Church’s understanding today and where we’ve come from, really, some why questions, talk about that, how some scriptural foundational issues, how parents can help, how members can help do a better job there, what to do if we’re struggling with the Church’s position on some of these things, talk about same-sex marriage, the recent LGBT policy change and reversal, how this compares to the priesthood ban, and then some closing thoughts.
So, this is going to be, like I said, a heavy topic. So, the Church has come a long way. Also, I will tell you, it’s interesting to think about, a couple of the leaders that I know specifically, we’ve got Elder Christofferson, I don’t know them personally, I’m just saying I know that they have gay family members.
So, Elder Christofferson, you may know his brother Tom, I’m going to reference his book here in a minute, is gay. Then, also Elder Gong, one of the last to be called here of the Twelve, his son is gay. So, I think this is also probably helpful to have these in the leading bodies of the Church, too, as these discussions go on.
So, first of all, I want to share this Gospel Topics Essay on same-sex attraction. If you look here, “The church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior.” This is a huge distinction we’re really focusing on now. “People who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual can make and keep covenants with God and fully and worthily participate in the Church. Identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual or experiencing same-sex attraction is not a sin and does not prohibit one from participating in the Church, holding callings, or attending the temple. Sexual purity is an essential part of God’s plan for our happiness. Sexual relations are reserved for a man and a woman who are married and promise complete loyalty to each other. Sexual relations between a man and a woman who are not married or between people of the same sex violate one of our Father in Heaven’s most important laws and get in the way of our eternal progress. We may not know precisely why some people feel attracted to others of the same sex, but for some, it is a complex reality and part of the human experience.”
“The Savior Jesus Christ has a perfect understanding of every challenge we experience here on earth, and we can turn to him for comfort, joy, hope, and direction. No matter what challenges we may face in life, we are all children of God deserving of each other’s kindness and compassion. When we create a supportive environment, we build charity and empathy for each other and benefit from our combined perspectives in faith. The Church provides resources at mormonandgay.churchofjesuschrist.org to help individuals and families live the fullness of the gospel and seek the Spirit while navigating this aspect of mortality.”
Okay. Now, just referencing the Church’s website. If you look at this, it is a great website, lots of resources, some great videos to watch. It says here, “The intensity of same-sex attraction is not a measure of your faithfulness. Many people pray for years and do all they can to be obedient in an effort to reduce same-sex attraction, yet find they are still attracted to the same sex. Same-sex attraction is experienced along a spectrum of intensity and is not the same for everyone. Some are attracted to both genders, and others are attracted exclusively to the same gender. For some, feelings of same-sex attraction, or at least the intensity of those feelings, may diminish over time.
“In any case, a change in attraction should not be expected or demanded as an outcome by parents or leaders. The intensity of your attractions may not be in your control. However, you can choose how to respond. Asking the Lord what you can learn from this experience can focus your faith on an outcome you can control. Turning your life over to God is an important act of faith that brings great blessings now and even greater blessings in the world to come.”
Okay. Now, I want to share with you, there’s a great book I’ll recommend, In Quiet Desperation, Fred and Marilyn Matis and Ty Mansfield. They wrote half the book, each of them did. But the Matis’, their son Stuart committed suicide. It’s a very, very painful tale to understand his story, but I wanted you to hear from his parents describing, finding out that he was gay and then just what his experience was like and struggling with it, but I wanted you to hear from their voice.
Latter-day Saints Q&A:
So, they were interviewed on a FairMormon podcast called FAIR-Cast. I’m going to let you listen to this. I’m going to do it at 1.25 speed. I think it’s about four or five minutes here but I think, I really want you to just take it in. It’s a little tear-jerking and painful, and it helps, I think, with empathy, to hear and listen to these types of things. So, there you go.
It was a February. Actually, it was January 29th. One of our daughters came to me on a Friday morning and said, “Mother, what would you do if you found out Stuart was gay?” And I said, “I’d cry.” She asked me why. I said, “It would break my heart to think one of my children broke his temple covenants.” So, I thought, Stuart had just flown in from New York. He was a consultant for Anderson Consulting and flew home every weekend from back east.
So, I went to his room where he was sitting at his desk and at his computer. I went in to ask him. Then, I thought, “How do you ask your 32-year-old son if he has same-gender feelings?” I’m trying to be polite about it and not offend him. He said, “Mother, what you’re trying to ask me is am I gay,” and I said, “Yes, Stuart.” He said, “Yes, mother. I am.” And it literally was as though lightning went through my entire body and I grabbed ahold of the doorknob because I could feel my legs giving out from underneath me.
So, for the next two hours, he quietly told me the struggle that he had endured for the last 20 years trying to change, trying to deal with his feelings, in denial that he had those feelings, would not face the fact that they were real. He’d had those feelings. He recognized that when he was just in grammar school, he had feelings of attractions to a boy and didn’t understand, when the boy moved, why he felt so sad.
But by the time he was 12, he began to realize what those feelings were all about but he thought, “When I receive the priesthood, those feelings will go away. Well, when I receive my patriarchal blessing, then those feelings will go away. When I go to the temple, when I go on my mission, when I do this, when I do that, and it never happened.” He went on a mission and he came home and he struggled with those feelings. He said he would go to school and come home and study. Then, he’d get down on his knees and he would pray all night long. He’d wake up in the morning where he’d fallen asleep sobbing, begging and pleading with Heavenly Father to take the feelings away. He said he’d get up like a zombie and go to school, come back again, go to school, come back again, night after night. He would pray until he fell asleep crying, begging and pleading with Heavenly Father to take the feelings away.
How old was he when he first told you this, then?
He was just a month before he turned 32 that we actually found out. So, we knew for the last 13 months of his life he had those feelings.
We had a number of experiences since we live so close to San Francisco to be involved with the situations where gay people were involved and we always made light of it. After we look back on it, we thought to ourselves how cruel we were and how misunderstanding we were, and how Stuart felt when we made those statements or did those things, not knowing he was just struggling inside to deal with them himself.
We never realized that a son of ours … I mean, good criminy! He was a scout. He was very faithful in the Church. He served a mission.
He had been the Elder’s Quorum President.
Yeah and he was a good young man. I mean, this couldn’t happen to him because this happens to the other people. This happens to someone else, but it was our son.
He went to the temple every Friday. How could he have these feelings?
Right, and he wasn’t acting on those feelings?
No. Actually, he was a gospel doctrine teacher at the time when we found out. He’d been a gospel doctrine teacher at a BYU ward. He was going to a Stanford ward at the time of his death.
So, he was always active in church. He was the perfect child. His whole life was spent of trying to be perfect because if I’m perfect, then God will take these feelings away from me. When they wouldn’t go away, then he had to try harder. There were times when he would deny himself certain privileges, of doing things, going to a movie with friends or doing some activity he wanted to do with his friends. He wouldn’t go because he had those feelings and he tried to punish himself because he wanted to be as good as he could possibly be so God would just remove all these feelings because he felt that they were sinful and they were wrong. He just didn’t understand. Actually, he was in denial of having those feelings.
Latter-day Saints Q&A:
Okay, so that was gut wrenching, but I hope that helps with us to yearning to reach out in love as we’ve been told to do.
Just at the October 2019 General Conference Leadership meeting, this is what Dallin H. Oaks said to the leaders of the Church: “While God’s commandments forbid all unchaste behavior and reaffirm the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, the Church and its faithful members should reach out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same sex or whose sexual orientation or gender identity is inconsistent with their sex at birth. We do not know why same-sex attraction and confusion about sexual identity occur. They are among the challenges that persons can experience in mortality, which is only a tiny fraction of our eternal existence.”
Okay. Now, there’s another interesting book that had recently came out. Is He Nuts?: Why a Gay Man Would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ, Dennis Schleicher. In fact, a general authority asked him to write this book after hearing his story. It is fascinating, very powerful but I love, I pulled a little piece out towards the end of his book. It made me feel like the Church, we are doing much better in certain things. I love what he said. He said, “I can honestly say that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is by far the safest church I’ve ever attended.” He goes into this in the book a decent amount what he means by that. “It’s imperative for everyone to know that God loves you no matter your race, sexual orientation, financial background or anything else. It was this knowledge that God loves me with a continuing confirmation from the Holy Ghost that brought me into this church. I also believe in my heart, through my own personal revelation, that this church is by far the most accepting of LGBT members based on what I’ve experienced. This may not be the case for past members or people who left the Church.”
“Other churches have also experienced hate crimes because of a lack of understanding and tolerance for people’s differences. That was a different era and times are changing. We are a church of prophecy and revelation. I finally found the emotional security I sought for so many years. That security falls within my faith and belief in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
I love that. There’s an interview that public relations did with Elders Oaks and Elder Wickman back in 2006. It’s a pretty lengthy thing. I will link to it under the description but here, if you’ll look. Just one particular thing I wanted to point out. This question. “One question that might be asked by somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is, ‘Is this something I’m stuck with forever? What bearing does this have on eternal life? If I can somehow make it through this life, when I appear on the other side, what will I be like?’ Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that, for whatever reason or reasons, seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nanosecond of our eternal existence.”
“The good news for somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is this: Number one, it is that I’m not stuck with it forever. It’s just now. Admittedly, for each one of us, it’s hard to look beyond the ‘now’ sometimes, but nonetheless, if you see mortality as now, it’s only during this season. Two, if I can keep myself worthy here, if I can be true to gospel commandments, if I can keep my covenants that I have made, the blessings of exaltation and eternal life that Heavenly Father holds out to all of His children apply to me. Every blessing, including eternal marriage, is and will be mine in due course.”
Elder Oaks said, “Let me just add to that. There is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband, a wife, and posterity. Further, men are that they might have joy. In the eternal perspective, same-gender activity will only bring sorrow and grief and the loss of eternal opportunities.”
And a couple of other quick quotes Elder Holland on a PBS special called The Mormons back in 2007. He said, “I do know that this will not be a post-mortal condition. It will not be a post-mortal difficulty.”
And then one more on that interview with Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman. Public affairs says, “A little earlier, Elder Oaks, you talked about the same standard of morality for heterosexuals and homosexuals. How would you address someone who said to you, ‘I understand it’s the same standard, but aren’t we asking a little more of someone who has same-gender attraction?’ Obviously, there are heterosexual people who won’t get married, but would you accept that they at least have hope that ‘Tomorrow I could meet the person of my dreams’? There’s always the hope that that could happen at any point in their life. Someone with same-gender attraction wouldn’t necessarily have that hope.”
Elder Wickman said, “There’s really no question that there is an anguish associated with the inability to marry in this life. We feel for someone that has that anguish. I feel for somebody that has that anguish. But it’s not limited to someone who has same-gender attraction. We live in a very self-absorbed age. I guess it’s naturally human to think about my own problems as someone greater than someone else’s. I think, when any one of us begins to think that way, it might be well to look beyond ourselves.”
“Who am I to say that I am more handicapped or suffering more than someone else? I happen to have a handicapped daughter. She’s a beautiful girl. She’ll be 27 next week. Her name is Courtney. Courtney will never marry in this life, yet she looks wistfully upon those who do. She will stand at the window of my office which overlooks the Salt Lake Temple and look at the brides and their new husbands as they’re having their pictures taken. She’s at once captivated by it and saddened because Courtney understands that that will not be her experience here. Courtney didn’t ask for the circumstances into which she was born in this life, any more than somebody with same-gender attraction did. “
“So there’s a lots of kinds of anguish people can have, even associated with just this matter of marriage. What we look forward to in the great promise of the gospel is that whatever our inclinations are here, whatever our shortcomings are, whatever the hindrances to our enjoying a fullness of joy here, we have the Lord’s assurance for every one of us that those in due course will be removed. We just need to remain faithful.”
But I do think it is important to acknowledge with empathy the incredible pain on a daily basis of not having that hope in this life. Then, I’ve heard some talking … boy, it’s gut wrenching to just think …They said, “I want you to think about you as a heterosexual to say that, in the next life, you’re going to be homosexual for eternity.” For some of them, there’s no hope even for the next life to it because, emotionally or mentally, because of their same gender attraction, it’s not a reward for them emotionally, if that makes sense.
So, oh! It’s just gut wrenching, but again it’s listening, it’s understanding, it’s empathy and showing love and saying, “This is one heck of a trial and challenge. It’s an Abrahamic trial.”
Okay. Now, let’s talk a minute about some of the why questions. So, this was a big, big study that was done, the biggest of its kind, a hundred times any other study that had been done in size on trying to find the “gay gene”, as they called it, trying to figure out why people are gay biologically, et cetera.
So, the headline here on pbs.org, this is August 29, 2019. The headline says, “There is no gay gene. There is no straight gene. Sexuality is just complex, study confirms.”
So, the article on PBS says, “There is no single gene responsible for a person being gay or lesbian. That’s the first thing you need to know about the largest genetic investigation of sexuality ever, which was published Thursday in Science. The study of nearly a half a million people closes the door on the debate around the existence of a so-called gay gene. In it’s stead, the report finds that human DNA cannot predict who is gay or heterosexual. Sexuality cannot be pinned down by biology, psychology, or life experiences, this study and others show, because human sexual attraction is decided by all of these factors.”
So, previous studies were small. They talked about this is a hundred times bigger than the previous studies. “Genes play a small and limited role in determining sexuality, explains about 8 to 25% of why people have same-sex relations.”
“Moreover, they talked about sexuality is polygenic, a proclivity towards trying new things. Polygenic traits can be strongly influenced by the environment, meaning there’s no clear winner in this nature versus nurture debate.”
So, I think it is probably wise the Church is saying, “We don’t know,” because we don’t know.
So the American Psychological Association statement. This is interesting. It says, “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles. Most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” That’s that key they got part of that, I believe.
Okay. I thought this was really interesting. I wanted to share this from Elder Bruce Hafen speaking at the Evergreen Conference in 2009. This is a group for, it used to be a part of North Star, now as a group for those with same-gender attraction to affiliate together. This is a great group actually that really emphasizes Church standards and those that want that and a support group essentially.
But when he spoke to them in 2009, he said an interesting thing. He says, “An LDS medical doctor who has worked closely with many people who deal with same-gender attraction recently said to me, ‘This is a truly difficult problem, but in its very difficulty is something that allows those who meet the challenge to become amazingly purified and sanctified and thus qualified for special comfort and revelation from the Savior, who knows how to succor all men and women in their infirmities.’ His words prompted a memory of Elder Maxwell’s insight: ‘If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are the most difficult to do.’ The apostle Paul wrote, ‘All things work together for good to them that love God.’ Even same-gender attraction can work for your good if you love God.”
And then the current president of North Star International, which Evergreen’s a part of now, wrote a letter recently to the members. It was called Awake and Arise: A Call to Action. I just want to share just a couple of nuggets from that. I thought it was really good. His name is Bennett Borden.
So, here you go. “So, why was I born gay? If that’s what creates my unique perspectives and abilities, this balance of male and female energies, this thing that makes me me, then I’m okay with that because I know that the Lord has prepared a way of salvation for me. We are also truly agents of transformation in our society, in our families, in our country, in our communities, because when people encounter us, they encounter the very blade of the scythe that separates the wheat from the chaff. Knowing us requires more than it does the average person. My family has been greatly affected by my being gay and have largely loved and supported me. They became better and more Christlike people.”
“Others in my life were not that way. They were rejecting and cold and exclusive and I believe their souls were wounded because of that. I believe that is true of every person that we meet, that we are literally an agent of other people’s purification and sanctification, that either they step up or they step down because they encounter us.”
“Pray and ponder on these questions: Why are you here and why now? Why are you on this planet, in this place, at this time, with your totally unique characteristics, and how can those further the kingdom of God?”
Then, he said later in his letter, he said, “Our dear friend, Tom Christofferson, perhaps best articulates our challenge. ‘We often feel like we are caught between two truths. The truth of the gospel and the truth of us as LGBT LDS people. These sometimes feel like incongruent truths.'”
Then, he goes on to say, “We know, however, that truth cannot conflict. Rather, truth is circumscribed into one great whole. As such, if something does not seem to fit, it means that there must be a piece missing from our understanding. This is why our mission at North Star could be summed up as working to help our brothers and sisters find the understanding that creates an eternal bridge between these two seemingly incompatible truths. It is time for us to grasp this understanding and awake to our essential importance in building the kingdom of God and establishing Zion.”
Okay. Now, one of the co-founders of this North Star International is Ty Mansfield that was the co-author of this book. I loved what he shared in the 2014 conference. He said, “The difficulties we experience in this life are not always for us. There is a broader meta-narrative at play in all of this that ultimately subsumes all of our individual narratives; while many or most of our experiences are certainly for our own spiritual learnings, some or many of our experiences, gifts, strengths, weaknesses, et cetera, may very well be as much or more for the learning of others. Elder Maxwell once said, ‘Sometimes our trials or circumstances are not fully for us. We need to have patience and realize that there is a bigger story at play when God doesn’t change or transform us in the way that we desire. Patience helps us realize the while we may be ready to move on, having had enough of the particular learning experience, our continuing presence is often needed as part of the learning environment of others.'”
That’s pretty powerful. Okay and then just one last piece from his talk. In a separate part of his talk, he says, “Science and sexuality studies will never be sufficient to frame the eternal lenses through which we harness our human energies and guide our life choices. President Brigham Young once lamented, ‘People do not have the full vision before their minds, for if they did, I will tell you plainly and honestly, there’s not a trial that they would be called to pass through that they would not realize and acknowledge to be their greatest blessing.'”
Elder Maxwell in April ’85 conference said, “Just as the capacity to defer gratification is a sign of real maturity, likewise the willingness to wait for deferred explanation is a sign of real faith and of trust spread over time.”
Okay. So, let’s talk about some scriptures. When we talk about homosexuality, again, it’s about behavior. In these verses, I want to show you, I want you to remember that the focus is on the actual behavior and making that differential is very critical here. But I do want to show that it’s very clear that homosexual behavior was considered a sin, for there’s no question in these biblical verses.
So, we look through these real quick. Leviticus, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination,” and then, “If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”
Well, some say, “Well, those are part of the law of Moses. What about the New Testament?” Well, here’s Romans 1, ” And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.”
1 Corinthians, “Now, ye know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”
1 Timothy, “The law is not made for a righteous man but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind.”
Okay, now we know about Sodom and Gomorrah. I won’t even talk about the story. You know the story but some will point to Ezekiel 16 and say, “The real sin of Sodom was lack of hospitality and a focus on pride and fullness of bread,” but there’s more to this.
So, this is Ezekiel 16:49. It does say, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy,” but verse 50 says, “And they were haughty and committed abominations before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” And remember, this is way before the law of Moses.
Now, to clarify it’s very strong in Jude 1:7 about Sodom and Gomorrah. It says, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Again remember, it’s about behavior.
Now, some will say, “Hey. What about Christ? Christ didn’t talk about homosexuality.” Well, let me share this. This is from fairmormon.org under the title Did Christ Teach Against Same-Sex Relationships During His Mortal Ministry? Here you’ll see, “The Jewish world in which Jesus lived set a very strict moral standard, especially against the backdrop of the infamous promiscuity of the Greeks and Romans. Sexual relationships were absolutely forbidden outside of marriage. Christ validated these teachings, by teaching against adultery and fornication.” There’s some verses there. “And although he taught against judging the woman taken in adultery, he also confirmed that she should ‘sin no more.’ Adultery and fornication include all sexual relationships outside of marriage. In the Jewish custom, marriage was defined as a union between a man and a woman. Jesus confirmed the definition of marriage.”
And there’s where he says, “For this cause shall a man leave a father and mother, and cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” He says, “Jesus defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, there is no way for two men or two women to have sex without fornicating. Jesus did not go through all of the different types of fornication. He simply taught against fornication.” 1 Corinthians.
“It is not surprising that Christ wouldn’t specify same-sex relationships. He didn’t specify other types of fornication, and the concept of homosexuality as a steady sexual orientation didn’t evolve until recently. He taught against fornication, and just because society starts using a word to describe a specific type of fornication, doesn’t mean that type is an exception to the rule.”
And speaking of the word fornication, I went to vocabulary.com. If you pull it up here on the screen, I’ll show you what the definition under that is.
It says, “Fornication is a word for sex, especially sex that takes place outside of marriage. This is an old-fashioned word that you can definitely spot in the bible and other holy books because it refers to sex that is considered wrong because it is not between a man and a wife.”
Then, here I just did a count on the appearance of that word “fornication” in the scriptures. So, you can see 5 times in the Old Testament, 40 in the New Testament, Book of Mormon 5 times, Doctrine and Covenants 5 times on there.
Okay. Now, what to do as a parent and then as members here. First of all, this book. If there’s one book I would recommend, it is this one, 10 times over. That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith and Family. I would highly suggest and I’ll link to this. Deseret Book did an interview with Tom Christofferson and with his bishop and stake president when he came back to the Church. He was out of the Church for several decades with his partner and then came back to the Church and there was this long path and ended up becoming rebaptized. He felt like he couldn’t ethically be a member of the Church and go into this relationship with his partner. So, he asked to be excommunicated in the beginning.
Anyway, but it’s called That We May Be One. It’s very, very powerful, but he talks about his parents, how they treated him and his partner, fascinating, but he’s very careful to say, “This is not one size fits all. Every single family is different and they need to reach for the Spirit,” but I thought Tom is very powerful today for so many people. I thought, pointing back thinking of his parents and that bishop and that stake president and how they treated Tom. It’s such a great read and example I think to understand.
Okay. Now, if you go to the Church website mormonandgay.churchofjesuschrist.org, there’s some great stuff there but I really was impressed by this. In fact, this family used to be in my ward, the Millers, a fantastic family and there’s a fantastic son, a young man, Andy Miller. He’s great, but here’s his mom Tanya. She says this about her experience with Andy coming out and trying to go through the process but she says, “My son Andy identifies as a gay Mormon. It would be convenient if I could write about my experience of being Andy’s mom as though it were a story told with the wisdom of hindsight and the benefit of resolution. However, what follows are really just snapshots taken from an eternal story that is still unfolding. Regardless of the fact that my love for Andy didn’t change after he told me, I still felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me spiritually.” It sounds like the Matis mother, if you remember early in the video.
“I had a lot of questions and a lot of fears. My way of finding the peace and answers I sought was to go to the temple a lot. My experiences in the temple during that time galvanized my faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ. They also solidified my knowledge that Heavenly Father knows each of his children intimately and loves every one of us more deeply than we can comprehend. I often felt isolated and sad. I worried that my pride-based grief over not being able to produce the stereotypical perfect Mormon family interfered with my ability to receive guidance. Satan had a heyday with me. I felt like I was on an emotional and spiritual teeter-totter.”
“I know now that those experiences were vital to being able to find and share the peace that I eventually gained. One of the greatest gifts I received during that season of my life was the ability to live with, for lack of a better term, spiritual ambiguity. I don’t have all the answers to spiritual questions that surround same-sex attraction. I want answers, but I can’t have them now.” I just think that’s wonderful and I’m so grateful they’re sharing these things online. It’s a helpful resource to have.
President Eyring in the April 2019 conference said this. “My promise to you is one that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once made to me. I said to him that because of choices some in our extended family had made, I doubted that we could be together in the world to come. He said, as well as I can remember, ‘You are worrying about the wrong problem. You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine.'” Okay. That’s beautiful.
Okay and Elder Christofferson, listen to this careful wisdom from someone who’s lived this personally with his brother growing up with this, and it’s another reason to stay strong ourselves. He says, “In reality, the best way to help those we love, the best way to love them is to continue to put the Savior first. If we cast ourselves adrift from the Lord out of sympathy for loved ones who are suffering or distressed, then we lose the means by which we might have helped them. If, however, we remain firmly rooted in faith in Christ, we are in position both to receive and to offer divine help.”
“If (or I should say when) the moment comes that a beloved family member wants desperately to turn to the only true and lasting source of help, he or she will know whom to trust as a guide and a companion.”
Latter-day Saints Q&A:
Alright. Now, as far as members go, so this is something that’s for parents. So, these are members and I definitely need to start with back to the Matis’ because they have just … I’m going to play again at 1.25 speed. It’s just about maybe, I don’t know, three or four minutes of just some great advice. I love the way they word some of this and experiences they had and they helped so many people. Fred actually passed away recently there so they’re not doing these firesides anymore, but listen to some of these here. Then, I’ll pick it up.
Now, both of you have been involved in helping to bear the burdens of those who experienced same-gender feelings. You’ve talked about the firesides that you’ve held. You’ve wrote a book about your experience with Stuart. What are some of the kinds of things that other members of the Church can do to help bear the burdens of those that are struggling with same-gender feelings?
Love them, just to love them, really. It’s as simple as that. It’s not any more complicated than that.
I just think, when the day comes, when members of the Church come to an understanding, and that’s the key to the whole thing is an understanding. Once the members of the Church come to an understanding, the love and acceptance is there. It just isn’t something that has to be talked about or taught. It’s an atmosphere of love and acceptance. It all comes from understanding and I can see it happening. It’s been 11 and a half years since Stuart took his life, and there’s such a change, such a growing change of understanding that is taking place.
That being said, there still is a long way to go. There’s still people who do not understand it and remain saying unkind things, but for the most part, we can really see the beginning of things happening and the brethren have been so loving and so supportive.
What kind of advice would you give to just the rank-and-file members of the Church? How can they respond when they hear someone speaking negatively about people with same-gender feelings?
Speak up. If you hear someone saying something that is cruel, to inform them that it’s not learned, it’s not a choice, and to help them. It’s a one-on-one. It’s an individual thing. I have spoken up in Church and Relief Society. I have spoken up when I’ve gone visiting teaching or when home teachers come, our neighbors, our friends or whatever. I am very vocal. Fred is very vocal about showing love.
And it’s happening more and more now where people speak up. We had a young sister in a gospel doctrine class where it was brought up. She has a brother who has this challenge. She stood up and said specifically that– that people do not accept them because they think they’re wicked and they’re evil and they’re not. They’re good saints and good members of the Church and should be accepted as such.
So, more and more people are beginning to step up and not in a vindictive way or in a challenging way, but to let people know. Our ward is that way because we’re so vocal, but there are other wards, there are other people. It’s happening slowly but surely, and it needs to happen in a more rapid way.
I don’t think it’s happening as fast as the Savior wants it to happen.
As Elder Holland said.
But it is happening. It is happening and the brethren are helping it happen, but one of the things that what was said to us by a church leader, that you train bishops, you train stake presidents. Then, they’re released and then you have to train again and then they’re released and then you have to train again. Sometimes a bishop or a stake president is new and has not gone to the meetings to learn about this issue. So, maybe he doesn’t understand.
If two members of the Church have decided to be compatible and live the lifestyle but they decide to come to Church, that’s a question that you say, “What do you do?” The brethren say, “You accept them as members of the Church.”
Well, you don’t run them out any more than you run somebody out who is smoking.
No, no. You don’t agree with you agree with what they’re doing, but you reach out to them and you accept them and embrace them as members of the Church.
Right. Now, they may not qualify for temple, right?
No, no. They maybe not even qualify for membership in the Church.
Right, but you want to accept them into-
But them to church-
… the congregation.
… because we have known fellows who have left the Church and returned to church. If they were shushed-
Because that door was open.
Because the door was open, because if they were shushed out, they would still be gone, but they have been rebaptized because they felt the need. They left the Church. They were angry. This one fellow left the Church, was angry with the Church, felt the Church had abandoned him.
Then, after several years, felt this longing and this need in his life to come back to church. He came back and a bishop reached out with love and compassion. He’s been rebaptized. He is now active and he’s a gospel doctrine teacher.
Latter-day Saints Q&A:
And then Dennis, in the Is He Nuts? book, he says, “No matter your religion, faith, background, sexual orientation, or race, I challenge you to choose love. Open your heart and you open your mind. Loving and accepting all is a true Christlike attribute. If you don’t understand someone, ask them. If you have a friend who is dealing with depression and you don’t have the comprehension of that experience, ask them what it’s like to be depressed. If you don’t understand what it’s like to be LGBT, ask a person what it’s like to be that way. By listening instead of lecturing, you can gain knowledge and understanding, which will help you love them more.” I really like that.
And then a couple more quick ones. Eric Huntsman in the BYU devotional August 2018. Ah! I’ll put that as another great resource, top recommendation, but one little quick line. He says, “For not just our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers, but for many people, the choice of love can literally make the difference between life and death.”
Then, listen to Elder Ballard. This is the November 2017 BYU devotional. He said, “I want anyone who’s a member of the Church who is gay or lesbian to know I believe you have a place in the kingdom and I recognize that sometimes it may be difficult for you to see where you fit in the Lord’s Church but you do. We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the past, so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord.” That was pretty powerful.
Then, lastly, I wanted to share on this thing is Elder Holland wrote a great article in the Ensign called Helping Those Who Struggle With Same-Gender Attraction. Here are a few highlights. He talked about Nephi saying God loves all his children. He says, “Some things will have to wait for answers perhaps till the next life.”
Then, he says, “Unfortunately, some people believe they have all the answers now and declare their opinions far and wide. Fortunately, they don’t speak for the Church,” he says, “Although I believe members are eager to extend compassion of those different from themselves, it is human nature that when confronted with the situation we don’t understand, we tend to withdraw. This is particularly true of same-gender attraction. We have so little reliable information about it that those who wanting to help are left feeling a bit unsteady. Admitting my own inadequacy in this regard but wanting to assist, let me offer some suggestions to help those who have loved ones or friends who are attracted to same gender.”
Okay and then just the underlined parts here. He says, “Recognize the courage, recognize the trust in talking with you. It is imperative that these first steps be met with compassion. No one, including the one struggling, should try to shoulder blame. Recognize that marriage is not an all-purpose solution. Same-gender attractions run deep and trying to force a heterosexual relationship is not likely to change them. We are all thrilled when some who struggle with these feelings are able to marry, raise children, and achieve family happiness, but other attempts have resulted in broken hearts and broken homes. Above all, keep your lines of communication open. Pure love, generously expressed, can transform family ties, but love for a family member does not extend to condoning unrighteous behavior.”
Okay. Now, let’s talk about what if you conflict with the Church’s position on some of these things? The best thing, when I thought about this, was I just want to play a quick … I’m going to do this. It’s about a five minute segment or so from the video that I did on sustaining fallible leaders of the Church. I think just there’s a bunch of nuggets here that really applies to this topic specifically. So, let me play that.
Then, the one that’s really stuck with me over the years is this modern-day example from Dallin H. Oaks and President David O. McKay. It serves to illustrate a great point I want to make.
So, decades ago when the US … Now, this was published in the Interpreter journal in 2015. Duane Boyce wrote this. “Decades ago, when the US Supreme Court first ruled against prayer in public schools, President David O. McKay publicly criticized the ruling; he considered it to be leading the country down the road to atheism.”
“Dallin Oaks, on the other hand, who was a law professor at the time, saw a good reason for the court’s decision in the case before it and worried that criticism might be based on incomplete information about the full rationale and intent of the ruling.”
“Brother Oaks began organizing his thoughts on paper, reviewing the court’s reasoning and showing its application to secular influences in the public schools as well as to religious ones.”
“Soon after completing this document, he met President Henry D. Moyle of the First Presidency at a Church function in Chicago. When President Moyle asked him about his work, Brother Oaks gave him a copy of this writing. President Moyle took an interest in it, and upon returning to Salt Lake City, shared it with President McKay.”
“Interestingly, after reading Brother Oaks’ thoughtful treatment, President McKay directed that it be published in the Improvement Era. As Brother Oaks did not give up his right to think, he felt dissonance between his own judgment and the public expression of the prophet. He wondered about the issue and prayerfully brought to bear his own best thinking on the relevant questions.”
“Significantly, however, he did not publish a critical article or give a disapproving speech. Instead, he expressed his feelings respectfully and privately (remember that it was President McKay who directed that it be published), with no motivation other than to help and in the spirit of true discipleship.”
“The outcome of the story is also instructive.” This is interesting. “Some 30 years later, now one of the Twelve himself, Elder Oaks wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal on the subject of school prayer. He said, ‘When the Supreme Court decided the original school prayer case in 1962, I thought the case was correctly decided. What I did not foresee, but what was sensed by people whose vision was far greater than mine, was that this decision was set in motion a chain of legal and public and educational actions that would bring us to the current circumstances in which we must reaffirm and even contend for religious liberty.’ While the Court’s decision was probably the correct one on the matter before it at the time, the way the majority opinion was written set in motion the chain of events that President McKay had originally feared.”
“In recognition of the prophetic nature of President McKay’s warning, Elder Oaks wrote: ‘My worldly wisdom in writing approvingly of the school prayer case on the facts of the decision was just a small footnote in history compared with the vision of a prophet who saw and described the pernicious effects of that decision in the years to come. It was’, he says, ‘a powerful learning experience on the folly of trying to understand prophetic vision in terms of worldly wisdom.'”
This brings me to the thought of we already sustained them, I should say, as seers, seers, and they can see. Remember, they’re watchman on the tower. We are not on the tower. We might be winning a battle, but losing a war that they can see and the bigger picture of that.
So, I think it’s just a very helpful thing to remember this experience. Then, I want to share too that the Spirit can comfort and help us through some of these things.
But I also like some of these examples from Elder Oaks. I’ve had them on the screen in that little box: Politely, privately, respectfully, pure motives, prayerfully, best thinking, patience, and faith. I would say that one of the biggest things is prayer. Pray. Pray for our leaders that they will have the Spirit to guide them and direct them, that they will seek this revelation. This is particularly if you feel in conflict on something. Pray for the body of the saints.
I’m about to show you that the body of the saints matters, too. The Lord can only move as the body of the saints moves, so be aware of that, too, and pray for yourself, that you will have maybe experience like Lorena Larson or that you’ll have the patience to endure, that you’ll sustain in that sense of that suffering and the enduring aspect of it.
Then you’ll have that experience to add with the comfort in the meantime out there and then to be patient. The Church might change, the body of the Church, the leaders, you might change there, but to be patient and be faithful in the meantime there.
So, now about the saints themselves. Listen to what prophet Joseph said. It’s fascinating here. He said, “I tried for a number of years to get the minds of the saints prepared to receive the things of God, but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions. They cannot stand the fire at all.”
And listen to what he said about the great vision of the kingdoms of glory described in section 76. “I could explain a hundred fold more than I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them.”
And here’s George Q. Cannon even a more clarifying statement. He says, “There are many things that the leading men of this Church can see and understand that they cannot impart to the people nor ask the people to do. Why? Because they know that the people would not come up to the requirement and that therefore they would be disobedient. Better to give them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, than to give them something that they could not receive and that they would rebel against. That is the manner in which the Lord deals with His children, and it is the manner in which wise men, inspired of the Lord, deal with their fellow men. Speaking as a First Presidency, if we could have our way, there are many changes that we would make; but you know how difficult it is to have people see alike upon many points.”
And the last thing on this is the Samuel principle that President Vincent talked about limiting things. I actually shared this in the priesthood ban video as one of the possible possibilities that could have been involved in that. I will link this on the in-screen.
This is what he said. “If you see some individuals in the Church doing things which disturb you, or you feel the Church is not doing things the way you think they could or should be done, the following principles might be helpful. God has to work through mortals of varying degrees of spiritual progress. Sometimes he temporarily grants to men their unwise requests in order that they might learn from their own sad experiences. Some refer to this as the ‘Samuel principle.’ The children of Israel wanted a king, like all the nations. The prophet Samuel was displeased and prayed to the Lord about it. The Lord responded by saying to Samuel, ‘They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.’ The Lord told Samuel to warn the people of the consequences if they had a king.”
“Samuel gave them the warning, but they still insisted on their king. So God gave them a king and let them suffer. They learned the hard way. God wanted it to be otherwise, but within certain bounds he grants unto men according to their desires.”
Okay, so I hope you found that helpful and saw the insights for this topic specifically with that. I love this. In fact, I shared this at the very end of that video. This was Elder Christofferson. He says, “The Church will know by the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the body of members, whether the Brethren in voicing their views are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and in due time that knowledge will be made manifest.”
I’ll talk about this a little bit in a minute about the policy changes recently. Also, sustaining in all patience and faith, wherefore, this is in D&C 21, “Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shall give heed unto in all his words”, the prophet’s, and he says, “For his word ye shall receive from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.” It’s like that story with Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and if not, but if not, and holding out for the patience and faith.
So, here’s a quick story. I’m just going to let you pause the screen if you like to see it from Elder Hafen about this waiting on the Lord that he experienced. That was just beautiful the way that he put this, but it’s a little long. I’ll let you just pause and read it if you’d like to, his experience with that.
Then, the other is that, and I’m going to let you just read these quotes yourself, but basically it’s about if you receive personal revelation and comfort that can come to you, but it’s not for the Church. There’s this order in the Church. You can kind of think of it as revelation stewardship there and that revelation also is very private.
So, here are three prophets talking about this very principle. I think it’s very helpful to see these there, so I’ll let you pause the screen if you’d like to read them. Let me just read the last one at least. “If a man comes among the Latter-day Saints professing to have received a vision or a revelation or a remarkable dream, and the Lord has given him such, he should keep it to himself. The Lord will give His revelations in the proper way to the one who is appointed to receive and dispense the word of God to the members of the Church”, as a whole.
So, alright. Now, as far as the same-sex marriage, let’s look first at some scriptures. If you look at the screen on here I’m just going to read the underlined, the beginning, male and female in Genesis. God created male and female and told him to multiply. It has to be a male and female to do that. Leaves his father and his mother, cleaves unto his wife. So, in the beginning, God married them. That’s how it was set up in the beginning.
Matthew 19, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”
1 Corinthians, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord.”
And then some scriptures there. The Book of Mormon, Jacob 2 there, D&C 132, “If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, sealed unto them they go onto exaltation, a continuation of the seeds forever and ever, all power, and angels are subject unto them.”
Then, D&C 131, “Celestial glory there are three heavens. And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this new and everlasting covenant of marriage. If he does not, he cannot have an increase.”
Now, on the Gospel Topics Essay, there’s one on same-sex marriage there. I’m not going to read this whole thing but here are the key nuggets. The central teachings we know the Church’s stance on this. And look at this bullet point number two. “The changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established.” And then respect on both sides.
Then, this is interesting. Look at the second to last one. “We affirm that those who avail themselves of the laws or court ruling authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility, even when we disagree,” on there.
So, then, if you flip over, now some say, “Well, is the Church going to change? Is the Church is going to change on this?” We talked about praying for ourselves, for the body of the saints and for the leaders to have more light and knowledge. There’s a lot of things probably that will come with policy changes and things over the years that will continue to come up on this, and praying for all of us will be key.
This is interesting on the Mormon and Gay website, it does say, “Central to God’s plan, the doctrine of marriage between a man and woman is an integral teaching in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will not change. As a doctrinal principle, based on the scriptures, the Church affirms that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children. Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family.”
Latter-day Saints Q&A:
Okay. Now, I want to just share a quick thing, an interview that happened with Elder Christofferson, just a brief little bit here. I thought it’d be very helpful for people who didn’t know, again, there’s this kind of almost civil war in the Church on some of these topics. I’m seeing this, too, with Book of Mormon geography. I’m doing a video on evidences of that and there’s a civil war happening on some of the Book of Mormon lands geography concepts. I’ll talk about that in this upcoming video, but I’m sure the devil’s just having a heyday laughing about, “Yeah. This is great. Get them fighting with each other,” but, again, there’s high opinions on same-sex marriage and different topics. I want you to hear Elder Christofferson saying, “It’s okay.”
I know that in one of the temple recommend interview questions, it asks, “Do you agree with elements that are against the Church?” I guess, I mean, could it be interpreted that if people supported gay marriage, that would be agreeing with something that was against the Church?
Well, it’s not do you agree with a person’s position or organization’s position, it’s are you supporting organizations that promote opposition or positions in opposition to the Church?
So, would supporting gay marriage threatens somebody’s membership in the Church if they went out, say on Facebook or Twitter and actively advocated for it?
No. That’s not an organized effort to attack our effort or attack our functioning as a Church, if you will.
So, members can hold those beliefs even though they’re different from what you teach at the pulpit?
Yes, and our approach in all of this, as Joseph Smith said, is persuasion. He said, “You can’t use the priesthood and the authority of the church to dictate. You can’t compel. You can’t coerce. It has to be gentleness, persuasion, love unfeigned, as the words are in the scripture.”
You said we’ve seen rhetoric from Church leaders change or soften over time. Is it possible, would you say to those members who wonder is it possible, would the Church ever one day accept monogamous same-sex marriage or move further beyond the position that you’re currently at?
I don’t think so because that’s such a fundamental aspect of what we see is the purpose of life. You know, we talk about the plan of salvation, as we call it, and take into account the premortal existence, this current existence, and what comes hereafter. Marriage between a man and a woman, the family that grows out of that, all of that is so fundamental to what has happened, what needs to happen here, and what comes hereafter, that without it, it falls apart. So, I don’t think we can take away the cornerstone without everything else coming down.
Now, you say you don’t think. Are you leaving any room at all for …
Latter-day Saints Q&A:
So, I hope you got something out of that. I want make sure it’s clear that the Church is making a very strong stance of this. You can oppose that stance there and still have a temple recommend, but they’re clear about this is a very dangerous thing in the sense of not advocating in a sense of having an organized effort to attack the Church or go against it and protest in a very organized way.
So, I hope that makes sense, but it’s a key thing to understand what the Church’s position is and they’re saying they’re not going to change. So, just to be aware of that, but I do think it’s interesting to see Elder Christofferson’s words to help people understand.
Also, I think about Zion, one heart and one mind, trying to agree and to disagree and to try and love each other and try and work through these things and understand them.
I will tell you there’s this book called Common Ground, Different Opinions: Latter-day Saints and Contemporary Issues. It’s a book of debate between active, faithful members of the Church on these different things.
So, on this topic, I will tell you some of the things here and some others that where this is framed. So, some of the things that they’ll say, “Hey, if it’s not a choice.” We’re saying, “It’s not a choice and they’re willing to commit to a relationship, shouldn’t we allow them to have sexual relations within the bounds of a same-sex marriage?”
The problem is the Law of Chastity. How does that get around the Law of Chastity? All those scriptures that we read? So, it’s a challenge but also the proclamation on the family. Someone point to, a thing that was struck by Boyd K. Packer in his talk, he mentioned in 2010, he called the proclamation on the family rose to the level of a revelation, he said. The next week that was stricken from the written record on there.
So, they’ll point to that and say, “Well, maybe it’s not revelation per se,” but we need to be careful. This is being taught and the brethren are teaching this every conference basically. So, I think we need to be very careful the way that we’re maybe talking about the proclamation on the family.
Okay and then a couple of other things and when you read this, sometimes it’s like, “Whoa! These are things that are hard to …” You’ve never thought of these kind of things, but they’ll talk about we don’t understand what spirit birth is. God organized intelligences and that was spirit birth. We don’t understand, and is that the same as a man and woman on earth the way that we think of sexual relations to create a child? Again, these are people trying to make arguments of different ways to view this. I’m just telling you what some of the arguments are.
The last one is the sealing power that we’ve grown in our understanding of this. If you recall the big change that Wilford Woodruff made on the law of adoption and these dynastic sealing to Church leaders that were happening until 1894. There were 13,000 sealing transfers that were made as he received this revelation. No. It was to go back to your parents and be sealed to your parents. It didn’t matter if they weren’t members of the Church. That was the big problem back then, the way they understood it in the beginning and thought of it. The Lord allowed it to happen and unfold step by step, but he also said there’s a lot we don’t understand and will probably yet will be revealed on these things. So, some hold out thoughts there, too.
So, again, but I think it’s helpful to understand some of these things and maybe where they’re coming from, again, trying to have more civilized discussions about these things and agreeing to disagree maybe, but just to understand.
Now, this on the defense of the family and of traditional marriage, there are a couple things that Kent Brooks said. I’ve got to share this. I thought that, “Wow! This is really fascinating.” This was somebody who was the founder of the sociology department at Harvard.
He conducted a sociological study of major civilizations of the world, their rise and fall. “He concluded that common threads in the declining demise of each one were deviations in the sexual and marital practices of their people.” Very interesting.
So, he goes on to say, “Concerned for the future of our own civilization, he warned if more and more individuals are brought up in the sex-saturated atmosphere that now exists, then without deep internalization of religious, moral, and legal norms of behavior, they will become rudderless boats controlled only by the winds of their environment. He noted that the most decisive factor in the survival and well-being of a society is marriage, and change in marriage behavior, any increase in sexual promiscuity and illicit sexual relations is pregnant with momentous consequences that would drastically affect the lives of millions, deeply disturb the community, and decisively influence the future of society. In the long run, such a society would be increasingly composed of self-centered egoists, incapable of acting altruistically and of being true, good neighbors.”
Now remember who it was that was saying this. This is a Harvard professor, a founder of the sociology department. Elder Maxwell said, “Take away basic moral standards and observe how quickly tolerance changes into permissiveness. Take away regard for the Seventh Commandment, and behold the current celebration of sex, the secular religion with its own liturgy of lusts and supporting music, its theology focus on self, its hereafter is now, its chief ritual sensation, though ironically it finally desensitizes its obsessed adherents who become past feeling.”
Then, a few statistics that he shares in his book. He says, “In a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2001, it was found that 66% of first marriages for heterosexual couples lasted more than 10 years, while 50% of them remained intact for 20 years or longer. Similar results were found in a study commissioned by the US Census Bureau in 2002. In comparison, the 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census surveyed the lifestyles of 7,682 homosexuals. Of those who reported being in a current relationship, only 15% had been in a relationship for more than 12 years. Only 5% had remained a couple for 20 years.” Remember that was 50% for the heterosexual, 10 times more. So, kind of interesting.
Then, here’s a fidelity comparison he did. He says, “Numerous studies have shown the majority of married husbands and wives remain faithful to their marital vows. For example, a study published in 1997 found that 77% of married men and 88% of married women had remained faithful to their partners. Similarly, in a national survey conducted and published by the University of Chicago, 75% of husbands and 85% of wives reported they had maintained complete fidelity to their spouses. In contrast, studies have shown significant patterns of promiscuity among homosexual partners. One study found that male homosexuals who reported being committed to a steady companion still had an average of eight sexual partners each year. Another study found that 43% of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners in their lifetimes. 28% reported having 1,000 or more sex partners.”
Then, the last thing, “Studies have shown”, parenting studies, “have repeatedly shown the most favorable environment in which to raise children is in a home with both mother and father who love and are committed to each other.” He references six different studies.
David Popenoe wrote, “The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development, and that the contribution of fathers to child rearing is unique and irreplaceable … the complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development.”
Then, Elder Oaks, a couple of last quick things here. He says, “Let’s not forget that for thousands of years the institution of marriage has been between a man and a woman. Until quite recently, there has been no such thing as a marriage between persons of the same gender. Suddenly, we are faced with the claim that thousands of years of human experience should be set aside because we should not discriminate in relation to the institution of marriage. When that claim is made, the burden of proving that this step will not undo the wisdom and stability of millennia of experience lies on those who would make the change. Yet the question is asked and the matter is put forward as if those who believe in marriage between a man and woman have the burden of proving that it should not be extended to some other set of conditions.” We may not really know the impact societally for decades and decades, maybe generations, but anyway, interesting.
Okay. Last part of this section was from fairmormon.org. I thought this kind of blew my mind. In fact, it kind of scared me to think of, again, remember the seers that we talked about? The seers. The seers, watchman on the tower. Maybe things that could be coming and that might be … I know some people are critical and very upset with the Church’s vigorous defense of traditional marriage, but listen to this. “While many same-sex marriage supporters do not wish to harm those who follow the law of chastity, many major organizations have actively sought to take away rights from those people who do not live up to the new standard. For example, the Human Rights Campaign has actively opposed anti-discrimination employment rights for gay people who do not have gay sex. It is ironic that while the Church has been actively lobbying to extend employment rights for all LGBT people, the Human Rights Campaign is working and succeeded in taking away those exact same rights from LGBT people who live Church standards. By the Supreme Court’s encoding this new standard into law, people with same-sex attraction who do not live up to the standard can be discriminated against in the private sector.”
“For example,” this is crazy, “Apple recently removed an app from its iTunes collection because the organization who put it up was composed of gay Christians who lived the law of chastity. A spokesperson for Apple explained that having an app for gay people who live the law of chastity violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people. There’s a difference between seeking for the right to live an alternative lifestyle and taking away rights from those who do not choose your lifestyle because you find it offensive.”
This may be the start of many things to come. So, again the seers and maybe there’s a lot more. Just like Elder Oak said, “Hey, I won the battle, but lost the war. I didn’t see maybe what President McKay could see what was going to happen decades later.” We were going to lose all this religious freedom, and this may be some of the things coming.
Okay. Let’s talk about the policy reversal, the LGBT policy recently. So, this, in November 2015, the policy was rolled out and reversed three and a half years later. Some are critical because President Nelson talked about that it was revelation both times. How could this be?
So, let’s talk about this. This came on the back of, as soon as the Supreme Court announced that same-sex marriage was legal in the United States, and they felt like, I think, maybe a statement needed to be made. They considered if somebody was seduced to go into same-sex marriage that they would be considered going against Church policy to the point of it being apostasy essentially. Then, they used the polygamous marriage language for the children to not cause conflict in the family.
So, I’m going to talk about this a little bit as I want to share President Nelson’s words that he gave at a devotional in September 2019 down at BYU. He said, “Though we of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve cannot change the laws of God, we do have the charge to build up the Church and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations. Thus, we can adjust policy when the Lord directs us to do so. You have recently seen such examples. Because the Restoration is ongoing, policy changes will likely and surely continue. Consider the policy announced in November 2015 relating to the advisability of baptism for the children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents. Our concern then, and one we discussed at length and prayed about fervently over a long period of time, was to find a way to reduce friction between gay or lesbian parents and their children. Because parents are the primary exemplars for the children, we did not want to put young children in the position of having to choose between beliefs and behavior they learned at home and what they were taught at church. We wanted to facilitate harmony in the home and avoid pitting children and parents against each other.”
“Thus, in 2015, the policy was made to assist children and their parents in the circumstance, namely that children being raised by LGBT parents would not automatically be eligible for baptism at age eight. Exceptions to this policy would require First Presidency approval.”
So, it could still happen but it was to go through the First Presidency, which, again, there’s decisions made at the local level. They’re just saying, “We want it to be harmonized,” and maybe they wanted to also see what this was going to look like as part of additional revelation they may have received. Talk about that in a minute.
Okay. “The First Presidency and Twelve have continued to seek the Lord’s guidance and to plead with Him in behalf of His children who were affected. We knew that this policy created concern and confusion for some and heartache for others that grieved us. Whenever the sons and daughters of God weep, for whatever reason, we weep. So, our supplications to the Lord continued.”
Then, he went and said as these things came in, he says, “Nearly every case where the LGBT parents agreed to teach the children about and be supportive of the covenant of baptism, the requested exception was granted. As a result of our continued supplication, we recently felt directed to adjust the policy such that the baptism may be authorized by bishops without First Presidency approval, if the custodial parents request the baptism and understand that a child will be taught about sacred covenants to be made at baptism.”
Then, he goes on. If you look at the underlined, “Finally, we also clarified that homosexual immorality would be treated in the eyes of the Church in the same manner as heterosexual immorality,” so still, it was a serious sin but not apostasy or the level of apostasy. “Though it may have not have look this way to some, the 2015 and 2019 policy adjustments on this matter were both motivated by love– the love of our Heavenly Father for His children and the love of the Brethren for those whom we serve.”
Then, one last part of that and then I’m going to share a couple thoughts. He said, “Sometimes, we as leaders are criticized for holding firms of the laws of God, defending the Savior’s doctrine, and resisting the social pressures of our day. In doing so, sometimes we are accused of being uncaring as we teach the Father’s requirements for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. But wouldn’t it be far more uncaring for us to not tell the truth, not to teach what God has revealed? It is precisely because we do care deeply about all of God’s children that we proclaim His truth.” And then he said, “Seek earnestly a confirmation from the Spirit that what I have told you is true and is from the Lord.”
So, a couple of quick thoughts on this, is revelation works the same for us individually as it does for the Brethren, the top leadership of the Church. Line upon line, and also to experience. I love the talk, if you remember the story Elder Holland told about the fork in the road and this son and dad feel like they’re supposed to go this one way and they go for a while and it becomes a dead end. The son asks the dad, “Dad, why did we have the feeling to go this way?” The dad said, “Probably so we know that it was definitely not that way. Now we know the other way is the right way.” Revelation can work that way, too, in understanding.
Also, remember the whole body of the Church. Remember those quotes we read before? I can tell you, there was a lot of very active faithful members of the Church that this was very painful, very unsettling, the feeling there. And so, maybe again, the Holy Ghost was moving upon the whole Church like Elder Christofferson said, that in due time it would be made known there as a whole body of the Church. Also, maybe it could be Elder Gong’s in there. His son was gay. Maybe there’s also additional insights and experiences among the Brethren in helping to study it out here. Maybe this also softened the hearts of the leaders, maybe of the members, going through this experience there. So, there’s lots of ways to look at this there.
Okay. Last quick things. The priesthood ban comparison that people will make. “Hey, this is just like the priesthood ban. It’s going to be reversed in time.” I just want to share the way this was put was so well, I think, on the FairMormon blog, Gregory Smith wrote a piece. This is actually a comment that I saw him put in the author’s comment section. I’ll just share it straight up how he said it. I thought it was very well put. He says, “It was always anticipated that the priesthood ban would be lifted at some point, if only in the Millennial years, even by Brigham Young. A few prophets before President Kimball expressed the view that it could change if the Lord commanded.”
I did a video talking about this in depth, but he says, “This is quite different from the same-sex acts prohibition, which many have said emphatically will not and cannot change. I think members who communicate either explicitly or implicitly to gay members that the doctrine will eventually change in fact do an unwittingly-cruel disservice. To say something will come, and then to never have it come, promotes frustration and anger and search for someone or some group to blame because they’re holding back what is supposed to happen.”
“Such a stance also tends to communicate the idea that this isn’t really a big deal. Get married as a same-sex couple. At the worst, you’ll simply be ahead of the curve. Doing that will someday soon, they hope, be endorsed or celebrated by the Church. Thus, if it’s sin at all, it isn’t much of one. That message has obvious downsides if same-sex acts simply cannot be consistent with gospel covenants.”
“Plus, the priesthood ban always stuck out as an aberration, hence the appeal to premortal factors to explain what on its face seemed incredibly unjust. Putting same-sex marriage into the doctrine of the Church, however, would destroy a great deal of how we see the premortal, mortal, and postmortal worlds.”
So, there it is, but again, if you struggle with this it’s the “but if not” kind of thing. Then, to pray. Pray that your own heart will soften or that if there is further light and knowledge that needs to be had by the body of the saints or by the leaders, again, pray. But I think it is important to still say, “Okay, but if not, we will continue faithful here.”
Okay. Tom Christofferson and so the last couple of things. He said, “Where do we go from here?” This was a great essay. I’ll link to it in the Faith Matters website, faithmatters.org under the Big Questions. He wrote a piece, A Place for Our Fellow Saints, Tom Christofferson. He said, “Individuals have not chosen their attractions, but they do choose how they will respond to all of the opportunities and challenges in their lives, including this one. Some will choose to date and marry someone of the same gender, and form families with two moms or two dads. Some will choose to date and marry someone of the opposite gender, and form families with a mom and a dad. Some will choose to remain celibate, and as such, may have time and resources to bless the lives of many families. There are significant costs and benefits to the individual in any choice she or he makes, and choosing one option precludes choosing one of the others, at least for a period of time. Individuals will make their choices guided by their sense of what will be best for their emotional, social and spiritual health, seeking confirmation of the Spirit.”
“How, then, should family members and other loved ones, and fellow saints respond to these individual choices? The answer, of course, is with love. A question I am often asked concerns a point at which acceptance becomes condoning another’s actions. My feeling is that we show the depth and sincerity of our beliefs through our own actions, how we live our lives every day, not in the pronouncements we make on how another person should live their life. Showing empathy and support for another is not a compromise of moral values.”
And then he finishes by saying, “When as parents, leaders or friends, we are entrusted by individuals who feel their best course is to pursue a same-sex relationship, I hope we will encourage them to look at their decision not as ‘either a relationship/or the Church,’ but rather as a time to ponder what is good, better and best. Even when one feels he or she cannot obey all commandments, they can focus on aligning lives and conduct with eternal principles in every way available in the circumstances.”
“For example, committing to a standard of chastity that includes abstinence before marriage and fidelity afterward while pursuing or creating a same-sex relationship is a far, far better choice than abandoning all the practices that generations have proven create an atmosphere of trust, confidence, health, and strength in a home. Participation in church services and activities needn’t be an either/or choice. We want all of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, wherever they may be in their lives, to join us in chapels, in service projects, in all the ways we endeavor to be a force for good in the world. Our love for LGBTQ brothers and sisters is not contingent on their choices. We are all imperfectly seeking to become like Jesus. All of us can choose each day to do the best that our circumstances allow, to follow Him, to learn to love what He loves, and to love as He loves.”
Okay. I wanted to finish. This is the last slide. I love this. I think it’s a great one to finish on. Elder Renlund put this on his Facebook page as a post. He says, “We may on occasion find ourselves in uncomfortable situations where we differ in doctrine with our acquaintances, friends, and family members. But the doctrine can never be used to justify treating others with anything less than respect and dignity. We can stand firm in our beliefs and have a loving relationship with those who hold differing opinions. It is never an either-or choice. We love and live our doctrine, and we love those who do not live it. We need not create false dichotomies. The late Elder Marvin J. Ashton shared this insight from an inspired leader: ‘The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people.'”
Sorry this is record-long length, but it is the toughest situation in some ways I think we’re facing today as a Church. So, it probably should be maybe one of the longest. So, hope you got something out of the video. Subscribe for more. Thanks.
That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith & Family by Tom Christofferson
In Quiet Desperation by Fred & Marilyn Matis & Ty Mansfield
Is He Nuts?: Why a Gay Man Would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ by Dennis Schleicher
Common Ground, Different Opinions: Latter-day Saints and Contemporary Issues by many authors
Faircast interview with Fred & Marilyn Matis (co-authors of In Quiet Desperation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIHyV…
Deseret Book: That We May Be One Roundtable Discussion with Tom Christofferson, along with his past Bishop & Stake President: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkuwY…
Faith Matters Foundation: Interview of Tom Christofferson by Terryl Givens; A Gay Mormon’s Approach to Faith, Family, & Discipleship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPQmR…
Faith Matters Foundation: Discussion on LGBTQ Policy Reversal with Bill Turnbull, Patrick Mason & Tom Christofferson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qMXz…
Ty Mansfield – 2014 North Star International Conference, North Star Mission & The Language of Eternity — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn_87…
Ganel lyn Condie – Keynote address at 2019 North Star International Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qMXz…
North Star International YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/NorthSta…
Elder Christofferson TV interview, from which clip came shared in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XybDk…
Latter-day Saints Q&A Video on Sustaining Fallible Prophets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBEh2…
Church gospel topics essay on same sex attraction: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/s…
Church gospel topics essay on same sex marriage: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/s…
Fairmormon link to numerous sub-topics: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mo…
Fairmormon link to numerous sub-topics related to the Proclamation on the Family: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mo…
Fairmormon Q&A on Receiving Revelation that Contradicts the Prophet: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Qu…
North Star President Letter to Members – Awake & Arise: A Call to Action: https://static1.squarespace.com/stati…
President Nelson’s address at BYU in Sept 2019: https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders…
Elder Holland’s Ensign Article on how to Help those struggling with Same-Sex Attraction: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/s…
Fairmormon Essay by Gregory Smith on LBGT Policy Reversal: https://www.fairmormon.org/blog/2019/…
PBS Article mentioned in the video on the largest study ever done on science behind the ‘gay gene’: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/…
Faith Matters Foundation article by Tom Christofferson, A Place For Our Fellow Saints: https://faithmatters.org/a-place-for-…
Faith Matters Foundation article with a number of links – What about our LGBT brothers and sisters? https://faithmatters.org/big-question…
Church Public Affairs interview with Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman on same-gender attraction: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist….
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.