As others have said, thank you for your reasoning of the "truths" of this situation. Yes. We must follow the prophets and get our own personal witness/revelation of the pronouncement -- as always and ever. I especially like your comment: "Whatever happened to someone hearing the word and going home and pondering and praying about it rather than flipping on their phone and spilling their emotions on Facebook which can go to thousands of people, affecting their testimonies as well?" Social media can be an instrument for good, or an instrument for evil. Satan is using, through men and women, every resource that's available to him as he knows his time is very short. I've been on earth now for 75+ years, and am amazed at all that's happened since 1940. We are truly living in "perilous times" that requires all vigilant men and women to combat the evil around us. Homosexuality IS a sin. I know, as my husband (of 19 years) and father of my four children was excommunicated for the practice in 1980. SO much has happened in the world since then! Thanks to you for your clear and reasoned voices in a sea of cacaphony. May you continue to speak out.
I'm grateful for a prophet and church leaders who teach God's commandments, and do not seek "to become popular in the eyes of the world" (1 Nephi 22:23).
I really like this talk by Elder Maxwell:
"In the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions ...
"Others will step forward, having been rallied to righteousness by what we do. We will know the joy.. of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds—a majority which was, till then, unconscious of itself."
-- Neal Maxwell, "Meeting the Challenges of Today,"
I'm not confused by this at all. The Lord has given this revelation to our beloved prophet and there is nothing else to think about. I'm sure this a huge trial for the FP & Q12 because they probably felt it was unfair to childen too but they knew our history of angels with fiery swords threatening to destroy prophets if they don't carry out divine revelations.
So good to hear your voice through this article. Miss you after our great Church History Tour. It always surprises me that so many of our people immediately let go of the iron rod and wander off into the midst of darkness when something comes along they don't agree with! The sifting will continue right up to the end. Thanks for staying on task! We need you.
I am not sure which general authority said it, or the exact words, but they said that the day would come when the members of the Church would find themselves under worse persecution than those of the early Church. I think that time is on us.
Of all the same-sex couples who have custody of minor children, how many were planning on having any of those children blessed, or baptized, or ordained in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? And why would they do that?
If the Church is "harming" children by having them wait until 18, are parents who refuse to allow their children be blessed, or baptized, or ordained also harming those children?
Thank you for this wonderful article. I know that the prophets receive revelation, I know this came straight from the mouth of the Lord.
I have heard some vicious lies about the church's law firm Kirton McConkie drafting this policy and consulting the church leaders on the potential blowback from the membership. These are lies. I have a testimony that the leaders speak directly with God. I know from the bottom of my heart that it is like you say, they didn't take a poll or check with PR or their lawyers first. They spoke with God and he gave them the new policy. The church is true.
Kevin JK, I believe the answers you are seeking can be found in another Meridian article "The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church's New LGBT Policy". Myth number 2 seems to address your question. The Meridian article links over to an article on LDS.net. It says the policy is the same for children of parents opposed to the church.
Thank you. I can always count on you to make sense in confusion to back up my beliefs.
With regard to Rebecca's question from yesterday, the quotes are mostly from two General Conference talks by President Lee, both of which are extremely relevant for the Saints today. These are October 1970 and April 1972.
To Rebecca ref for Pres Lee's comments:
President Harold B. Lee
“We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through His prophet. … 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)” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee , 84).
Thank you for this well thought out response to the media circus of the past few days. Having family on the opposite side of the fence is agonizing as they are using this to draw others away. Knowing close LDS members struggle with it has been painfully puzzling to me.
I have been strengthened by reading articles and blog posts expounding on the inspired reasoning behind the policy changes. As far as PR goes, it has been written that the information was prematurely leaked to the press by someone who is actively working to destroy the church. No matter, all things work to the good of those who follow the Lord in faith and obedience to His commandments. Let us all strive to do our best each day to live the gospel and love all.
Would you please let me know where the quote(s) by President Harold B. Lee are from? (beginning of the section, "A Key Insight"). There was no reference here, and I'm not able to find them online. Loved those quotes - loved this article - THANK YOU for sharing your testimony!!
I find it most interesting that, although there are literally hundreds of comments on the net about this new policy and how it affects the gay community and those connected to it, I have yet to see even one comment on how the same exact policy affects children who have a parent involved in a polygamous household. (And this policy about children in polygamous families has been on the books for years now!) Obviously, the folks who are outraged by this policy are only concerned about the children connected to gay families and are not concerned about children in polygamous households, so I guess this policy is only concerning for many people in and out of the Church if the child involved is connected to a cause celebre! (AND -- by the way -- I agree with the policy in general, even though I realize that it is very difficult for children in both situations!)
I remember when the church allowed blacks to hold the priesthood. Many fell away from the church after that declaration. I was so excited that I found a man who was black and told him all about the church. He joined the church soon thereafter. What a thrill it was for them to finally get the priesthood. It will be the same for those children who wait for their time to get baptized. I am grateful to be a member of this church and know that we are led by a prophet of God. Thanks so much for a well written article and standing up for the right!
I find it interesting that one side of the argument peacefully and patiently discusses the issue based on reason, scripture and prophetic counsel. The other side relies on raw emotion and taking words out of context to make its case. Can there be any doubt which side supports the Lord?
Thank you for doing what you do best...writing with a clear, unwavering voice.
From “Continuous Revelation” by Elder James E. Faust (Ensign, Nov. 1989)
“I do not believe members of this church can be in full harmony with the Savior without sustaining his living prophet on the earth, the President of the Church. If we do not sustain the living prophet, whoever he may be, we die spiritually. Ironically, some have died spiritually by exclusively following prophets who have long been dead. Others equivocate in their support of living prophets, trying to lift themselves up by putting down the living prophets, however subtly…
“When will this promised revelation come? Only God knows when. It will come as needed. To whom will it come? To obtain the answer to this, we must go back to the words of Amos: 'Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.' (Amos 3:7.) This continuous revelation will not and cannot be forced by outside pressure from people and events. It is not the so-called “revelation of social progress.” It does not originate with the prophets; it comes from God."
My first reaction to the news was pain; but as I thought about what the reasoning might be, I quickly came to two conclusions. The first was just what Elder Christofferson said, and it made perfect sense. The Church does not want to create conflict within families and this policy can help to avoid a confusing situation in which children would be actively being taught in church something opposite to what their parents are teaching them. The second conclusion I came to is that there doesn't have to be a "reason" that makes sense to me. I have come to know, through undeniable spiritual feelings, that the Church is led by living prophets under the Savior's direction; and I don't have to understand everything perfectly right now. I have had enough experiences, in which reserving judgment and exercising faith and praying for understanding and strength have brought me peace, to know that peace is enough for the time being. Sometimes the answer has come before too long and it all becomes very clear. Sometimes the answer has taken longer (like 20+ years) or hasn't yet come. But I can trust that it will; and in the meantime I know what I know. And I know that the Prophet and Apostles are able to know what the Lord is directing them to do, and even though imperfect they will not be allowed to lead us astray. That is a promise from the Lord.
Finally, God exists and He sees the eternal picture. He knows what will bring us eternal joy and peace. He promised in the Bible to do nothing without revealing it to His servants the prophets. I look to them to guide the Church in the way it needs to go to fulfill the Lord's purposes and whether I understand or not I will follow. I will always pray for understanding and peace as I do, but I will not drag my feet or turn back until that understanding comes. I will say, like the father who brought his son to the Lord to be healed: Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief. It is enough.
I have always believed that one either sustains and *believes* the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators or not. If so, this is but another example of direction from God and instruction to the rest of us about the Lord's standards contrasting with the world's. If not, then why bother complaining; move on! Each of us has been invited to test every doctrine and instruction with sincere prayer. We, you and I, are entitled to answers. Let's not protest and complain, rather believe and obey! Thanks for a stimulating article.
Thank you for this wonderful article and for the many times you have been a clarion voice on divisive topics. I trust the brethren implicitly—it is a natural part of my testimony--and I will always stand with and support them and pray that my family will also.
And thus it is. Events like this cause spiritual casualties among the weak and those who want one foot in Zion and the other in the world. That has never worked, doesn't work now and will never work in the future.
If you're so displeased by this action you want to fight it, please be aware that such action never results in a change in the Church. but if you persist it can change you right out of your Church membership. As Brigham Young reportedly said to one such complainer about something the Church was doing who threatened to leave if the course of the Church was not adjusted to his liking: "Go ahead and leave. You can have your sins back and take them to Hell with you.".:
If you're a member of the LDS Church. you have made covenants, beginning with your baptism, to have your feel firmly planted on the Lord's [and thus the Church's side].
If the Lord's servants are making mistakes, (and as a 30 year+ Church employee I saw a few), that's the Lord's problem, not mine as a Church employee or member. I know the Lord sustains his servants and so do I. He is perfectly capable of ensuring mistakes by his servants are corrected. I'm very happy to know that's not something about which I need o worry.
This is right on Meridian Magazine! You perfectly outline the things I wish I could say to dear friends that are taking the dissenting path. I know people are struggling, but my heart aches that they are not only struggling with the policy itself, but may also lose their souls and their membership in the Lord's Church in the process as well.
Thank you, Maurine and Scot for your deeply anchored article that provides important perspective in the flurry of reactivity that happened over the weekend. Your voices are needed in these difficult days.
Thanks for your courage and strength and willingness to share those traits with us. There are many who share your convictions, but "we are weak in writing"and we are grateful for those of you who are willing and able to put in words what we feel inside.
Thank you for your article and the spirit of encouragement and testimony with which it was written.
Unlike many commenters, I was upset by HOW the change in the handbook was published. This decision had a real impact on me and my family. While I am in full agreement with Church Leader's stance on SSM, I am not sure why the decision was made to not make a formal announcement explaining the decision. I guess we will never know why. I doubt leader's were so naive as to think that a confidential document that was spread worldwide would not have been leaked. Perhaps, it was a test for the faithful? If so, mission accomplished for me and my wife. Five of our six children are no longer active in the church. One child is gay and is living with a partner. One of my children announced that they will be removing their name from the records of the church this weekend. If you have never had a child make that announcement, you may not understand the pain that is involved with that type of declaration. Therefore, when I say that I am very grateful for the insights and thoughtfulness of this article, it is not just lip service, it is an answer to prayer. I recognize that I need to humble myself and submit more fully to the will of the Lord. Thank you for helping me in a time of trouble.
All these comments are worthwhile. I appreciate the article and the points it brings out. Prophesy: in the latter days even the very elect can be deceived. I have no time nor inclination to be politically correct. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong and no social opinion can change that. God ordained that the plan of salvation include men and women for a specific purpose. Anything less is the plan of the adversary trying to thwart the plan of the Creator. I speak as one with a broken heart as one of my children practices homosexuality and five are inactive and ridicule the church and its leaders. I follow Joshua's thought, "As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord". Even if all my house ceases in this endeavor I will still follow the prophet for therein we have safety and peace. Not all things will be made known to us at this time, but will be in the future. I would rather follow by faith and get the answers when given in their own due time. There is no substitute for faith and accepting the desires of God, given through His servants the prophets. Those who criticize are headed for apostasy. Those who accept with prayer and faith are headed for the Kingdom of God.
I knew you would write something solid and appreciate it very much. It hurt reading comments from members who so quickly let go of the rod and starting running away from the Tree of Life as fast as they could.
Of course homosexuality is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That being said, I am a bit confused by the new policy. I am hoping that the readers here could help.
Elder Christofferson stated, “We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different—and so with the other ordinances on through baptism, and so on.” Understood, but the same could be said for parents who are swingers, adulterers, former members who claim the Church is false, etc… , yet the children of such face no restrictions. What is it about the sin of homosexuality that differentiates it from other serious since like adultery and apostasy? Why are the children of apostates, who may even be involved in anti-Mormon ministries, allowed to be baptized, but the children of gays, who may fully acknowledge that they are sinning, are not?
I’m confused by this and have been asked about the above.
I have no good answers. Will someone please help?
Amen. Thanks for your courage and clarity.
Thank you for being a voice of calm admist the controversity.. I have found the past few days of social media discussion a blessing as my faith in "holding to the rod" has held firm.. What peace it brings into my life to know once again that God is at the helm and guiding us through this maze of earthy life.
Good defense. I don't see any problem with what the General Authorities add to the Handbook. Of course, in the past, there were no same-sex marriages and so now was the time to add to the handbook in order to answer questions and challenges portending.
We should always go to the proper source for our information. Going to most of the internet sites for information regarding The Church is like going to the KKK to learn about the history of black Americans.
Wonderful article. Thank you for always being a clarion voice of truth. Bless you for all you do in sustaining the prophet and encouraging others to do likewise. We're with you 100%!
Thank you for this ringing endorsement of those we revere as Prophets and Seers. I am grateful that they listen to He who created the universe rather than people on Twitter and Facebook.
I too stand with Eliza.
Thank God for Prophets!!!!
From what I've heard, this was not meant to come out to the media in the first place...that Handbook changes are done without any formal announcement.
When I raised my hand to sustain our leaders I meant it in every respect. I acknowledge them (especially the twelve) as God's voice to his true church. Thank you for the excellent article!
Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and insightful commentary on a difficult subject.
As we prepare for the return of the Savior to the earth there will continue to be opportunities to "stand" with the brethren and the Lord and to be tested in our testimonies. The great separation is happening in the world and is also happening in the Church. I pray that we have the courage and faith to stand on the right side with the Lord and not fall for the sophistries of the world.
I have been very prayerful this last weekend to know how to respond or not respond to criticisms regarding this and your words and others have been my answer from the Lord. ^_^
Grateful for living prophets and a kind and loving Heavenly Father who I KNOW inspires them and so many others to speak truth with love. We can only understand by opening our hearts to God's Truth.
My first impression on hearing this was that we as members of the church need to increase our compassion. We need to quit judging. We need to show compassion, acceptance and love, especially to the children who will be affected by this policy. If they continue to participate in church, we need to remember their status as we plan activities for the youth. Not saying that we have to cut out temple trips or other things, but ask if there is an alternate activity that these children can be part of while the majority are doing baptisms (as an example). My children would have been among those who would not have received church membership if this policy had been announced 20 years ago. I know the trials they faced through their teenage years because of actions of the members of our wards when people found out their father was gay and had been excommunicated. Those actions by others hurt us more than watching our family dissolve. Please, please, please be compassionate to them.
I am a convert. I found the Church when I was 16. My parents said in effect: You are a teenager, full of teenage whims. If you still want to join this Church when you are 18, we will agree. At some point I had a chat with a wise branch president. My mother wouldn't let me fast -- "You're not leaving this house without breakfast!" They were unhappy when our livelong habit of visiting old friends that we no longer lived close to on Sundays had me fighting to return home in time for evening Sacrament meeting. (This was the 1950s.) My branch president's counsel was to stay close to my parents and not fight them over temporary things. I obeyed, which helped me stay close to my parents until they died may years later. They were never interested in joining the Church themselves, but came to respect it and defend it to others. It did not hurt me to have to wait to be baptized. I was able to attend meetings, but had to find rides with members; it was too far to walk.
Over the years I have seen many teens start coming to the Church with friends. Some stay; some leave without being baptized. They still have choices, whether or not to return later. Baptized adults can make the choice to leave also.
The Church's point is to keep children in a good relationship with their parents. Also to avoid legal hassles as much as possible. There may be a few heart-broken children right now, this month, but in the long run things will settle down.
“And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.”
1 Nephi 2:12
Extremely troubling events indeed. I was shocked and I don't understand the purpose of some of it. But this article talked about the same thing I was feeling. I don't know all things and since this is from the First Presidency and the Apostles, I will accept it and deal with my family as best I can. I appreciate how you explained the issue with love and acceptance. Thank you for your time and efforts in explaining the was the Lord works. Obviously He knows all things and my understanding is limited. I will follow the prophet even when it doesn't make sense to me. I trust that the Lord knows more than I do. Thank you again.
I also stand with Eliza! Thank you for your beautifully written article. I know our leaders are speaking for the Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ. I trust them explicitly!
The topic has proven to be explosive, and you have said the things that matter most. All I can add to your comments is my own "Amen." Thank you.
I agree with most of the sentiments on this post. Having said that, I think it was a PR surprise that the instruction was "leaked" in the way it was so quickly. Frankly, that shouldn't have been a surprise. There are tens of thousands of people with immediate access to those changes and among them would be people who (for motives they believe are right) would anonymously put them out to the public where they can be pounced on by those attempting to further agendas other than those of the Church. Inspiration, check. Consistent with history, logic and scripture, check. Logical, yes. Grounded in doctrine, yes. Putting it in the handbook rather than private training for SPs to deal with on a primarily case-by-case basis or at least getting a PR strategy to explain it prior to giving the other side the jump on it. . . . ?
If we have s spiritual testimony of the Revelatory leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We can know by the power of the Holy Ghost the truth of all things.
These policies are inspired by the Living Prophets.
(Prov. 29:18) "Where there is no vision the people perish".
Thank goodness for the vision of Latter Day Prophets!
We will all see the wisdom of these policies in years to come.
We are led by a prophet, we sustained him in conference. Hang unto the iron rod and don't doubt. There is no need for all this outcry unless you figure you are smarter than the savior and his appointed representatives. Thank you for the excellent article, but it really should not be necessary if we stand by our covenants.
Excellent article! Thank you for all of your wonderful insights.
Excellent article. Thank you for writing it. The Lord does not bow to public pressure nor political correctness, nor does His doctrine change with the winds of societal mores. He is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. And thank goodness for that. This is another test where the weak will fall away, and the strong will stay firm in their gospel foundation. In these latter days these tests will come more frequently and many will divert from the path into the great and spacious building, mocking and chiding those who hold on to the iron rod, making their way to the tree of life. The living Prophets and Apostles have never failed us and never will. To paraphrase Joshua; "As for me and my house, we will stand firm".
I want to add that I was surprised to learn of this policy change through Facebook and not through official lines of communication. The church has the means to email all members. Or maybe General Conference would be a better venue to disperse changes. Don't think it would change the media frenzy any but maybe the way that the information was dispursed would diminish the intensity of some reactions. Who knows.
This is a beautifully written piece that explains well the PR nightmare that happened this past week. It also explains clearly the reasoning behind this new policy. Great article.
It is just possible that this is on of many Zions Camp. Those who "summer saints" who complain loudly and publicly have staked out their ground before really thinking clearly or praying about it. That is the very definition of building on sand!
It seems that one thought everyone is forgetting is that our Loving Heavenly Father will take care of and bless those children of SSM who would like to be baptized. They can still attend church, participate in activities, go to the temple grounds, do family history work, and the list goes on. He, with his perfect love, will not deny them of any blessing because of this, and I believe these children, as they stay faithful, will be blessed in ways we may not know. Our Heavenly Father will be with them and not leave them alone. It will be ok!!!
Right on for key fundamental principles. It is amazing how solid the position of Church leaders is on basic issues that seem very consistent and wise when looked at from within that perspective of trust, faith, and inspiration. These same type of individuals who are aghast at the idea that same-sex marriage isn't according to God's laws are a parallel to those who opposed polygamy so strongly despite examples of the same from patriarchs and prophets of old--and who also willingly winked at political leaders having mistresses or adulterous affairs. They are the ones very inconsistent and flailing while the Church has led a steady course--something for which I'm very grateful.
I appreciate your efforts to right this article. It is obvious you put a lot of thought and prayer into it. I really appreciate the portions of Elder Christopherson's transcript that you published and also the quotes from President Lee.
A few of thoughts.
First, neither the Lord nor his prophets care about public opinion polls.
Second, I take exeception with the use of the word "assume" in following statement:
"We have paid the price to study, ponder and pray and we assume that what we have come to know gives us insight not available to those reporting on the Church for the national press."
Those who have paid the price, and who are truly converted, don't assume anything. They know. They know that when the Lord and his prophets speak and make a proclamation, they, the Lord and his prophets, have greater insight than anyone in the national press does, and therefore, by extenstion, those who have a sure testimony know and have greater insight than the national press.
I appreciated your statement here:
"However unpopular that position may be in this current age, the Lord will not yield and neither will those who are His mouthpiece. They cannot and in that there is safety for us all. How insecure we would be if the Church took polls to see what the doctrine should be."
However, I would add, that neither can members of the church, who are truely converted, yield, in any way shape or form. Like Captain Moroni of old, if we are truly converted, we will stand firm in the Cause of Christ, firmly grounded on the sure foundation of Christ, right along side of the Prophet and Apostles.
Thank you so much for this incredible article. I have seen a lot about this policy on Facebook and have felt quite disconcerted and disheartened about the comments made by some members of the church. I am so grateful that you have gone further with your explanation and that is wonderful. I felt such a sense of peace reading this article. Thank you.
Thank you Proctors. Wonderful, insightful article.
I choked on my breakfast when l read your opening paragraph but l am okay now. Another thoughtful and helpful article. I will be sharing this. Thank you.
A very well written article. Great Understanding of the subject. Thank you. The Church is True!
A very well written article. Thank you for your testimony. The Church is True!
I'm amazed, that so many seem to "lose" their "testimonies" following the latest changes to Handbook 1.
It makes me wonder, whether there was a testimony in the first place.
I, for one,wholeheartedly sustain the inspired and just change, meant to protect people in extended love..
In the meantime, I'll keep on keeping on, in the predominantly secular country of the Netherlands, in which I reside at present.
The principle undergirding this as Elder Christopherson said is correct in both the doctrinal and historical content and context. But, gosh the roll out on this was poorly executed. That huge of a pronouncement needs to something more than pulpit reading of a statement, it needs to be articulated deeply and widely. This was simply not our finest PR moment. But if we can follow the admonition of Lehi's final mortal insights n 2 Nephi chapter 2 and particularly verse 2, we can use this to elicit righteousness. We can be facilitators of understanding or we can be defensive coots. A lot of members were not particularly gracious about the Church's continued support for the Boy Scouts of America. So this is a time that an understanding heart that can articulate and understand how others feel is so important to cultivate and not a tirade of homophobia. Homosexuality is not a sustainable doctrine socially nor a concept that is scientifically sustainable. Today it is touted as some new vogue social lifestyle. that is acceptable. But, that does not change how we should work with and embrace these individuals which may on the surface seem contradictory. It is not.
We know that in the last days there is to be a separation of the wheat and the tares, which for a time have grown up together. This certainly seems to be one of those issues to accomplish just that. Like plural marriage in the 1800's, the Church's positions on homosexuality will be a test to see who will "follow the prophet" and who will go their own way.
Marriage, ultimately, is either a moral construct with a moral definition or, for all practical purposes, it becomes a non-construct with no definition - just a matter of one's personal opinion (In the 'anything goes" category). Today's "politically correct" crowd seems to think that the absence of moral standards constitutes the presence of love, when in reality the absence of moral standards just constitutes the presence of relativism.
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