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Mormons Will Continue to Stand for Traditional Marriage

On occasion I've heard active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormons) when discussing the issue of same-sex marriage, share the opinion that they believe the church will eventually accept it and, like other periods of LDS Church history, will be found to have been on the wrong side of the debate. In fact some believe that this is inevitable. End of story.

Granted, this misguided (IMHO) understanding of Mormon doctrine is only found among a very small percentage of active members of the LDS Church.  Certainly they are entitled to their own opinion  --  I just happen to strongly disagree. I say "doctrine" because the position of the LDS Church on homosexuality is more than a policy, it is based on the eternal doctrine of marriage and the perpetuation of the family throughout eternity. This is of no small consequence.

I've had countless opportunities to share and discuss my thoughts and feelings about traditional marriage as opposed to same-sex marriage, and in doing so have felt the sting of those who consider my views to be based in hate. Living in California, and going through the ongoing Proposition 8 trial, puts me fairly close to the issue and somewhat sensitive to the ongoing conversation. Most likely you are already aware of this, but in a string of court cases to overturn the 2008 vote that banned same-sex marriage in California, just this week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. This last ruling will most likely move proponents of Prop 8 to take the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court for a final judgement.

In response to the ruling The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued this official statement posted on the LDS Newsroom:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view. Courts should not alter that definition, especially when the people of California have spoken so clearly on the subject. 
Millions of voters in California sent a message that traditional marriage is crucial to society. They expressed their desire, through the democratic process, to keep traditional marriage as the bedrock of society, as it has been for generations. 
We recognize that this decision represents a continuation of what has been a vigorous public debate over the rights of the people to define and protect the fundamental institution of marriage. There is no doubt that today’s ruling will intensify the debate in this country. We urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.

Personally, I want to say thank you. For the many members of the LDS Church who have hearkened to the words of living prophets, on this matter, who have stood firmly in the face of great opposition in standing for traditional marriage, this is a very important statement and message.

It requires great faith and courage for those of religious convictions to stand fast to their beliefs, while the majority around them, even some within the church, oppose their position. And yet, past prophets have foretold of this time in order to ready the saints of God, in these latter-days, for the work that they were born to do.

In 1978 Elder Neal A. Maxwell shared these prophetic words, that perhaps to many at the time, seemed afar off...

Video: Elder Maxwell on Same-Sex Marriage, Family, Abortion and the Secular Church 



"Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus and not to get uppity about it. This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain people's opinion because those opinions grow out of religious opinions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened. 
In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending towards those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values. In its more harsh forms, as is always the case with those whose dogmatism is blinding, the secular church will do what it can to nullify the opinions of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments. 
If people, however, are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold which grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would we be anyway? Our founding fathers did not wish to have a state church established nor to have a particular religion favored by government. They wanted religion to be free to make its own way. But neither did they intend to have irreligion made into a favored state church. Notice the terrible irony if this trend were to continue. When the secular church goes after its heretics, where are the sanctuaries? To what landfalls and Plymouth Rocks can future pilgrims go?"

You can read the entire address entitled: Meeting the Challenges of Today 

Those are some stunning prophecies, don't you think? And if you take the time to read the entire speech you will find that Elder Maxwell, if he were alive today, might very well be shocked to find that some of what he thought would most likely never happen, is happening.

This brings me back to the beginning of this post and to the speculation, by some, that the LDS Church would ever change its position on the definition and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.  Based on revealed doctrine I feel confident that this will never happen. Instead I believe that we, as members of the church, will need to strengthen our testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, accept that going forward our position may not be a part of mainstream society any longer -- and be ever willing to stand for that which we believe, in the face of potentially even more difficult circumstances.

May I share with you some of my favorite quotes from Thomas S. Monson, whom I sustain as a living prophet of God, from the October 2011 General Conference:

"Also evolving at a rapid rate has been the moral compass of society. Behaviors which once were considered inappropriate and immoral are now not only tolerated but also viewed by ever so many as acceptable." 
"Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The ten commandments are just that -- commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel."

"As the winds of change swirl around us and the moral fiber of society continues to disintegrate before our very eyes, may we remember the Lord's precious promises to those who trust in Him: "Fear thou not; I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yeah, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
tDMg
Kathryn Skaggs


More Reading:
Mormons Value Traditional Marriage

Same-Sex Relationships and Marriage Equal to Heterosexual Marriages and Relationships. Really?

Not Anti Gay? Prove it!

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

29 comments :

  1. I totally agree with you. We live in Cali too and went through the whole Prop 8 thing up here in San Jose. My husband was part of our Stake's group of people that worked hard on this, went to other churches to help them on it and we had a sea of Yes on 8 signs in our backyard ready to replace people's stolen or broken ones. So many people worked so hard on it! But I'm not surprised that that particular court overturned it, we just need to take it further now. The church isn't going to change position, no matter what some good-intentioned LDS may hope for. I know they likely just have big hearts and want everyone to be happy, but it's misguided. I'm loving your blog and am happy to have discovered it! :o)

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    1. Hi Carolyn - Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'd like to believe in your assessment of those in the church who think that someday the church will change its position on SSM. But I sincerely believe that most members who stand for traditional marriage also feel that same way. I know I do. And of course that is what makes this all so difficult.

      It's hard to say to your gay friends that as much as you love them and want them to be happy, you can't support changing the definition of marriage. I've had to do this several times to people that I dearly love and respect, who are gay.

      Well, I just wanted to point that out about those of us who do stand for traditional marriage. We also love our gay brothers and sisters, but we love the Lord and desire to uphold His standard above all. I should have made that point in the post.

      I'm really glad you "discovered" my blog, too! So nice to meet you. : )

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  2. It does make it difficult when we want everyone to be happy. I have a few old high school friends who are gay and one I see all the time on my FB wall. Of course he's happy about the 9th court decision, but it's hard for me to see that knowing what it means to us, yet it's not like I'd wish for him to be unhappy the rest of his life either. It is a tough one for sure. I have a male cousin who is gay, but he actually is for traditional marriage to remain as it is, for some reason, but I'm glad.

    But yes, we do love them all, no matter what, and it hurts to think what it means for them, that they can't (or shouldn't) marry, but it's how it is. I think it must be among the very worst of trials someone can have in this life and I feel terrible for them in that way. But feeling badly for them doesn't mean we get to go against what God wants either. We still have to stand for what is right, even in the face of those who disagree with us. *sigh* Nobody ever said it would be easy.

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    1. A great trial indeed. For those who struggle with SSA and stay true to the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have the utmost respect and compassion.

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  3. My husband and I recently moved from California for school, but we still call it home. Thank you so much for this post, it inspires me to move forward through the best and worst of times. It would be easy to say "Oh darn, I guess we got beat after all" and give up on this issue, but we can't. Although, I sometimes wish we could just go into our little Mormon corner of the Earth and live without the rest of this world's tortures (it's hard enough to try to live as Christ did on a good day). It will get extremely rough, but it's nice to know that we still have each other; it makes it seem less heavy.
    Breanna.

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    1. BG - I think many of us feel the same as you do, but onward we must go, and in so doing, continue to strengthen one another. : )

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  4. Kathryn, have you seen FAIR's podcasts interviewing church members dealing with SSA and their family members? http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700220436/FAIR-podcast-series-explores-homosexuality-among-Latter-day-Saints.html

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    1. Ironically I had the tab open in my browser to listen to those. At your prompt, I listend to the first one earlier this morning. Great interview. Such a powerful testimony. I'll definitely catch the other one later today and look forward to following the series of interviews with members dealing with SSA. As members, we have so much to learn.

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  5. Awesome. I appreciate this post.

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  6. I appreciate your blog and how very kindly you stand for truth.

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  7. Katherine, this is by far one of your most touching posts to me. I have struggled with so much sadness this week as I heard the news of this week's ruling, knowing that many friends & members of my extended family were rejoicing over the decision. Every word resonated so very clearly within my heart.. especially those of Elder Maxwell. Thank you!

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    1. Elder Maxwell's words, together with the official statement by the church, both strengthened me as well. I really wanted to share these with those of us who need added confirmation that what we are doing, as we follow living prophets, and how that affects us, is known to the Lord -- this is His work that we are engaged in. I'm so happy to hear that this information has been a comfort to you personally. Hang in there!

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  8. Britney Spears can get married for an evening but lifelong partners can not. You're on the wrong side of history here, like people who fought against the Civil Rights Act.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. The current state of marriage in our country is far from ideal, to be sure, but that doesn't mean we should push the envelope even further, even if it is in a completely different direction.

      To say one side or another is "on the wrong side of history" implies that history has already spoken on the subject. It has not. We can try to draw all sorts of parallels from other events of history -- the Civil Rights movement is a popular one here -- but that doesn't mean that this is the same fight, nor that is will turn out the same way.

      I am willing to let the future decide how to judge history, and I am willing to let God decide how to judge (and direct) His children. I believe that God directs His children and His church through His prophets. I believe that He loves His children perfectly. I only hope to stand how and where He would have me stand. Once again, thanks for your thoughts.

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  9. I agree with you that the Church -- and its members -- will continue to be against gay marriage. And so should they.

    It is the role of the Church to raise a voice of warning when it believes it sees values erode the fabric of society. (The government will not muzzle the Church or force it to perform gay marriages.)

    The Church also is against cohabitation, unmarried couples living together. It doesn't mean legislative measure needs to be taken. But the Church has the right -- and should continue -- to warn about the dangers of cohabitation.

    The Church is not a government, it's a religious institution. As such, it should be allowed to fulfill its role as well as courts and governments. I'm thankful for that difference. I'm thankful to have them both in my life, and not live under a theocracy.

    The reason why a vote shouldn't decide the fate of a minority is that the majority will always prevail, potentially stripping rights of a minority.

    Have teenagers? Ask about gay marriage. You'll get a blank stare. They don't understand why adults are arguing about this.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Dan.

      As far as LDS teenagers go, I find that their response about SSM varies. Most who have been taught well the doctrine behind marriage are quite supportive of defending traditional marriage. The ones that don't seem to get it, in general, just haven't really taken the time to really study it out. For those, it's easy to fall into general tolerance for most any activity as long as they believe it won't affect them -- which is simply a false presumption.

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  10. In a moment of irony, I was talking to a non-member with a gay family member and realized that to her Mormons are rather liberal on this issue. We don't believe gays/lesbians are going straight to hell! That's a benefit to living in South Carolina, I suppose;) There is a lot of compassion built into the Plan of Happiness.

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    1. So true, Kelly. The LDS Church in comparison to other Christian denominations is quite progressive in their thinking about homosexuality. Simply put, all members must adhere to the same standards of worthiness to be considered in good standing. Gender or gender preference has nothing to do with it. The Lord is no respecter of person. We are all equal before Him. I love that about 'us'. : )

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  11. I am a member of the church. I severed a fulltime Mission when commanded to do so. I love the church and life I have because I'm a member. My struggle is how will it negatively impact me or the church if gay people get married. Like someone else said we are against pre marital sex but everyone is doing it and the effects are devastating to those that are expose and involve themselves in that practice. To say such would be unlawful would be to step on the rights of others IE the free agency of others. Does the fact that it is so prevalent make it harder to choose the right? Yes, but it doesn’t diminish my willingness to do so. It’s the government’s job to make sure everyone is treated fairly. “… They are free to choose, liberty, and eternal life, through the great mediator of all men or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil…” I know the church will never change it’s position on the sanctity of marriage however, should it actively participate in clearly what is an argument that creates and fosters such hate and anger, from our brothers and sister who are already struggling? I just don’t know….

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    1. In the near future I plan to address the issue of SSM and religious freedom and in doing so, or if you go ahead and make it a study on your own, perhaps it might address some of the concerns that you mention here. Certainly the church has ample cause, in terms of morality, to stand agains SSM and if that were the only reason they are encouraging members to do so, to me, that would be enough. But I think it goes even further than that and I look forward to exploring that in the near future.

      If you head over to the LDS Newsroom they have written a series of articles on religious freedom that I think you might enjoy reading. And if you haven't studied both the proclamation on the family and the document I link to from this post about the doctrine of marriage - i would submit those to you as well.

      For me though, rather than trying to justify why or why I should not stand with our modern prophets on this issue, according to my understanding, comes down to whether I believe they are inspired for our day -- and I do, so I do. Some call it blind obedience but for me it's a matter of faith -- and I chose to exercise my faith in their words on this issue.

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  12. A very interesting argument and discussion. Cards on the table – I'm not a believer, nor am I gay, nor am I a militant atheist. I'm genuinely interested in why and what people believe; given that same-sex marriage isn't mentioned in the Ten Commandments, nor condemned by Jesus, why is it such a problem?

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    1. The definition of marriage was long established before God issued the Ten Commandments and well known to His people throughout history. When Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden God proclaimed that it was not good for man to be alone, therefore He gave, in marriage, Eve, a woman, to be his wife. He instructed them to cleave to one another and none other, and then commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth. The pattern of eternal families was set forth then, in the beginning. Mormons believe this pattern existed before we came to earth and will continue in the next life.

      It is not necessary for SSM to have been included in scripture when God, from the beginning, declared it.

      Throughout ancient and modern scripture God has made it very clear that sexual relations outside of marriage is a sin. Murder and adultery are the two greatest sins. If marriage, as ordained by God, is only between a man and a woman, then any sexual relations between any gender outside of that legal contract is an abomination to the Lord -- which therefore includes homosexuality.

      Which is also why the Mormon faith welcomes all, regardless of gender preference, but requires that they keep the Lord's law of chastity. The same is required of all members.

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  13. Thank you for that explanation. I hadn't realized your faith took so much from the Old Testament. The Church of England in which I was raised (though left as soon as I was able to form and declare my own beliefs) places much more reliance on the New Testament and even within that, there seems to me to be more reliance on what Jesus is reported to have said rather than what Paul wrote – and that leaves rather more room for tolerance in a modern context from one point of view. I don't criticize, I hasten to say...

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    1. My pleasure. Mormonism greatly values the Old Testament and find our doctrines rooted in that sacred record. I can't imagine my faith without it. Everything in the OT points to Jesus Christ! IMHO, if we want to understand our relationship with God, today, we must understand how he has dealt with His children from the beginning.

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  14. Thank you for taking a firm stand on this issue. I agree.

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  15. Is this blog a parody? Some of the comments made here are completely ridiculous! In the past few years, public opinion among Mormons has changed and we have already seen the LDS Church begin to change their stance. To the recent judicial action in Utah, the church made a very brief and somewhat neutral response.

    What will happen, I wonder, ten or twenty years down the road, when all 50 states have legalized gay marriage and the very notion of limiting marriage to a man and a woman is foreign to a majority of people under 50, will the church still hold fast to their misguided "truths" or will the fold like they did as segregation became less socially acceptable?

    The idea that the church does not bend on doctrine is ridiculous. Of course the leaders of the church have done this over and over again.

    Furthermore, to say in one breath that you love the person who "struggles with SSA" is a clear indication that you do not realize the damage that kind of statement can have on a person. The message is that there is something wrong with a person who is attracted to someone of the same gender. The psychological ramifications of this are too widespread to pursue here, but as someone who has been through this, and has experienced, firsthand, the kind of "love" LDS people tend to give to their gay neighbors, I can attest that the damage done to me far outweighs any damage my gayness can do to you or your families.

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  16. Hi Greg,

    In direct response to your opening question and general remarks: No, this blog is not a parody. In fact, I'm very serious about what I write here and why. And like your comment that I don't agree with, I allow others to respectfully share their opinions, too, which you may not agree with and judge to be meaningless.

    "Public opinion among Mormons" does not the LDS Church make, nor changes its doctrine. I do not accept the misguided reasoning, which advocates that past policy changes are doctrinal changes. Doctrines and policies are completely different; policies can change according to circumstances and culture; doctrine is fixed and immovable, applicable in all circumstances.

    Marriage has always been only between a man and a woman. Period. Blacks were never forbidden from being ordained to the priesthood, etc. Joseph Smith ordained, I believe, two black men during his life. Brigham Young said that someday they would have the priesthood. (Paraphrasing). No doctrinal changes were necessary to change anything in regard to both of these "examples", which are continually advocated as changes to Mormon doctrine due to outside pressure.

    One thing many continually disregard, is that the majority of the U.S. is Christian and even if all 50 states legalized gay marriage I seriously doubt that traditional marriage will then lose its value and be considered, other than to liberals, outdated. Also, in twenty years or so, we will definitely begin to see the clear fallout of legalizing SSM and the negative ramifications for many children caught up in the trend - and society in general.

    You can bet that the conversations will have even more meaning then, because the evidence to support the opposition to SSM will be undeniable, which will disallow the up and coming generations from ongoing support because they are the guinea pigs in this current experiment; contrary to biology.

    Greg, I'm so sorry that you have not felt loved by those who don't hold your same values, or agree with your choice to practice homosexuality. I know for a fact that there are those who have and I pray that many more will feel that love and especially within the LDS Church.

    However, if you equate "love" with the expectation that people of Christian faith must validate and accept homosexual behavior as not being sin, you ask us to disregard God's laws. We don't make the laws of God, but we do honor them as His commandments. But, that doesn't mean we can't love a person who is homosexual, in the same way we love anyone else. We are all in need of repentance, forgiveness, and increased strength to keep the commandments.

    BTW, it is Jesus Christ who not only taught, but showed by example, how to love people who openly sin against God. Christians just need to become better followers of Christ; not disregard Him. And I doubt that the psychological ramifications to those who sin, which Christ called out publicly in His day, were any less - even if gays were totally in the closet.

    Sin is like that; it condemns in and of itself. To blame having shameful feelings on others seems more like a scapegoat to me, than perhaps being willing to take the necessary personal accountability for one's actions when they are contrary to God's will; path to happiness. (Again, all of us need to increase our ability to show love for each other, which of course can help, but it’s not the end all to the problem.)

    It's not possible to sin and be at peace with oneself. That is totally contrary to God's plan for our happiness. Therefore, that is possibly why most don't accept the accusation that they are responsible for others psychological well-being when they openly reject God's laws - knowing that nothing they can do will make a sinner's heart right, and restore personal confidence except individual reconciliation with God Himself, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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