"Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three-fourths of the states." (Bold added for emphasis)
Did they just say "IRREVOCABLY"? Oh YES they did! What does this mean? Let's find out...
Irrevocable: Not able to be changed, reversed, or recovered; final.
"Not able"? What are they saying? Let's find out...
"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (D and C 130: 20-21)
Perhaps this, from Elder L. Tom Perry, an apostle, will help clarify:
"The doctrine of the family and the home was recently reiterated with great clarity and forcefulness in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It declared the eternal nature of families and then explained the connection to temple worship. The proclamation also declared the law upon which the eternal happiness of families is predicated, namely, “The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”
God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes. Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging. Men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and, in turn, their eternal happiness come from obedience to His laws. As Alma counseled his errant son Corianton, “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).
In this day of the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel, the Lord has again revealed to us the blessings promised us for being obedient to His commandments. In Doctrine and Covenants 130 we read:
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
“And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (v. 20–21).
Surely there could not be any doctrine more strongly expressed in the scriptures than the Lord’s unchanging commandments and their connection to our happiness and well-being as individuals, as families, and as a society. There are moral absolutes. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. These things do not change.
In a world where the moral compass of society is faltering, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers, nor should its stakes and wards, its families, or its individual members. We must not pick and choose which commandments we think are important to keep but acknowledge all of God’s commandments. We must stand firm and steadfast, having perfect confidence in the Lord’s consistency and perfect trust in His promises.
May we ever be a light on the hill, an example in keeping the commandments, which have never changed and will never change." (Bold added for emphasis)
Please note that this strong declaration, regarding the doctrine of marriage, and its preordained status in the Plan of Salvation, was given during the most recent LDS General Conference. Also notice that Elder Perry referred to the Proclamation as 'doctrine'; sadly debated by some within the Church.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, current members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, responds to the question: Is the Church softening its position regarding same sex attraction?
"There shouldn’t be a perception or an expectation that the Church’s doctrines or position have changed or are changing. It’s simply not true, and we want youth and all people to understand that. The doctrines that relate to human sexuality and gender are really central to our theology. And marriage between a man and a woman, and the families that come from those marriages – that’s all central to God’s plan and to the opportunities that He offers to us, here and hereafter. So homosexual behavior is contrary to those doctrines – has been, always will be – and can never be anything but transgression. It’s something that deprives people of those highest expectations and possibilities that God has for us."
Doctrine? Isn't that changeable if a revelation comes, sending more light and knowledge? Let's find out...
On the doctrine of marriage, past President of the LDS Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, said this, when pointing out some of the important revelations which came through the prophet Joseph Smith, during the early days of the Restoration of the Gospel:
Another great and singular revelation given to the Prophet was the plan for the eternal life of the family.
The family is a creation of the Almighty. It represents the most sacred of all relationships. It represents the most serious of all undertakings. It is the fundamental organization of society.
Through the revelations of God to His Prophet came the doctrine and authority under which families are sealed together not only for this life but for all eternity.
I think that if we had the capacity to teach effectively this one doctrine, it would capture the interest of millions of husbands and wives who love one another and who love their children, but whose marriage is in effect only “until death do you part.”
In a 2012 worldwide training for Mormon leaders, Elder Russell M. Nelson, an Apostle of the Lord, taught the "Doctrinal Importance of Marriage and Children".
"In the Church, we stress the significance of marriage, children, and the family because we know the doctrine. And we, as leaders of the Church, know that the adversary incessantly aims attacks at the family. In the past 50 years the birth rate has dropped in nearly every nation of the world. Marriages are being postponed until later in life, and families are getting smaller, even in the Church.
Our task to defend the family is not an easy one. Trends in the world diminish the significance of the family. Sadly, the sacred powers of procreation are desecrated by many people. And the divinely designed nature of marital intimacy is tarnished by the addictive, pernicious, and poisonous plague of pornography.
In reality, we are raising our children in enemy-occupied territory. The homes of our members must become the primary sanctuaries of our faith, where each can be safe from the sins of the world.
Our Master depends upon us to live according to His truth. Please teach our members that marriage is ordained of God. It is doctrinally based and eternally significant. The Lord has taught:
“From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
“And they twain shall be one flesh” (Mark 10:6–8).
Three times in sacred scripture the warning is made that “the whole earth would be utterly wasted” at the Lord’s return if certain conditions were not in place (see D and C 2:3; 138:48; Joseph Smith—History 1:39). In each instance, that warning relates to the condition of the human family without the sealing ordinances of the temple. Without these ordinances of exaltation, the purposes of creation would not be realized.
The work and glory of God—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man—comprise the foundation on which we stand as leaders in the Church." (Italics added)
Joseph F. Smith, the last LDS Church President to have personally known the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr., taught this on the subject of what is LDS doctrine, and what is not:
"It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teaching of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine. You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted." Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3
As Elder Perry said, "God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes." The question at this point: Is marriage between only a man and a woman, ordained of God, as firmly stated by current prophets of God, a "moral absolute"?
I believe, based on modern revelation and scripture that indeed it is, and that the further light and knowledge expected, is now coming through his current Prophet, in the call to stand for traditional marriage, and in doing so we keep our covenant to sustain His anointed servants. I find it interesting that many feel that what is revealed today, in the most critical of times, is potentially lacking the necessary light to guide the Lord's Church in these, the Last Days, to bring all unto Christ.
One would think that missionary work would pick up if the Church were to suddenly accept same-sex marriage, now that its becoming legal on a broader scale, and with recent polls suggesting that the majority now support it. So why isn't the Church changing, if as some of our critics suggest, it is run like a 'business' and by controlling, greedy old men, and that its members are either clueless and/or brainwashed? Certainly if they did, it would increase tithing donations - seen as a financial benefit to the Church, and not a commandment from God.
Others believe that the Church made a regrettable decision in supporting Proposition 8, and because of that blunder, the Church has established a new website, mormonsandgays.org, with the intention of repairing the damage by "building bridges" with the LDS homosexual community, indicative that they are finally "softening" their position on homosexuality, which will eventually lead to the acceptance of same-sex marriage - so why not now?
Why go through standing for traditional marriage, publicly, losing some of its membership, because of that decision, and go so far as to submit a friends of the court brief to the United States Supreme Court, admonishing the court to uphold Prop 8? Or for that matter, why would the LDS Church step out in support of the recent BSA policy change, upsetting to many, which now allows gay youth to participate in the scouting program, with all the backlash that decision has garnered - even among other Christian denominations?
To those who think that the LDS Church is going to eventually accept same-sex marriage, or should, when extreme outside pressure finally force them to 'do the right thing', then what is the Church waiting for? Why hasn't God given the expected revelation (Seeing as outside pressure is how some believe revelation comes) when its faithful members are now considered bigots and homophobes, among other things, by the majority of society - even their own government?
I'll tell you why: He can't. He's "not able". He cannot remove the required laws, which obedience to, will ultimately exalt His children, for their temporary happiness - and which would completely undermine the Plan of Salvation instituted before the foundation of the world; His work and glory. If He did, He would cease to be God. Former President of the Church, Howard W. Hunter, explains mans God-given agency in relation to His unchanging character:
To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God’s chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation. He acts by gentle solicitation and by sweet enticement. He always acts with unfailing respect for the freedom and independence that we possess. He wants to help us and pleads for the chance to assist us, but he will not do so in violation of our agency. He loves us too much to do that, and doing so would run counter to his divine character.
Brigham Young once said: “The volition of [man] is free; this is a law of their existence, and the Lord cannot violate his own law; were he to do that, he would cease to be God. … This is a law which has always existed from all eternity, and will continue to exist throughout all the eternities to come. Every intelligent being must have the power of choice.” (In Journal of Discourses, 11:272.)
With this understanding, I believe that it becomes easier to understand how the world is allowed to become so wicked unto the convincing of others that, that which is popular is considered progression - when in reality they have been blinded by the adversary. Our Father in Heaven knows that only through the eternal law of individual agency can we freely choose Him to be our God; having experienced the consequences of choosing between good and evil.
"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."
"This verse shows a part of God’s basic nature: the way He deals with His children and the reason they can trust Him. Elder James E. Talmage said: “‘Mormonism’ has taught me that God holds himself accountable to law even as he expects us to do. He has set us the example in obedience to law. I know that to say this would have been heresy a few decades ago. But we have the divine word for it: ‘I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.’ (Doc. and Cov. 82:10.) He operates by law and not by arbitrariness or caprice.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 96.)" Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual
In the Mormon Newsroom's bold statement, the word "irrevocably" was intently used to reiterate what the official position of the LDS Church is on marriage - only between a man and a woman - and that it always will be "regardless of the court decision" - and regardless of outside, cultural pressure. As Elder Perry firmly proclaimed, to any who believe differently or aren't sure, "These things do not change".
To those who have fallen for the false assumption that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have "softened" morally, and are now finding out the truth that the LDS Church has not, and never will, they might very well be shocked when finding out that they have been deceived.
Many good people have accepted, as official, misguided misrepresentations of various positions of the LDS Church, associated with homosexuality and gay marriage, in particular, by those having no authority - and who advocate for that which is oppositional to the Church - under the guise of faithful membership. In reality, it is those individual members of the Church who are soft, or are softening, and believe that through outside advocacy, this pressure will cause their desired hope for change within the Church. It's a kind of 'say it is and it will be" approach intended to manipulate a conversation and distort God's true message; propaganda.
If there is a positive to having my vote, along with 7 million other Californians', disenfranchised by not only my state, but in essence, by the highest court in the land, it is that the faithful are witnesses to God's Word (Revealed doctrine) which can be trusted under the greatest pressures of man - and that He expects those who have made covenants with Him, to stand and endure that pressure. In this light, it can be felt a blessing to be upon the earth at this time, and do what I am confident many of us covenanted to do - possibly before we were born.
I harbor no ill feelings toward those who identify as homosexual, and others, who are pleased with the federal court's decision on Prop 8 and/or DOMA, which I am not. I am sorry that a desire for same-gender marriage, by some, is the issue mingled in the governments, both state and federal, making decisions that have compromised democracy for all Americans - gay and straight. I am deeply disturbed, even saddened, that most have made the choice to either ignore, deny or defend this great travesty to our democracy the Prop 8 case resulted in, on the basis of immediate gratification, believed rights, or tolerance. I am in full agreement with the LDS Church's response, which also speaks to these concerns:
"By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates. Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens."Read entire news release on Mormon Newsroom.
"In addition, the effect of the ruling is to raise further complex jurisdictional issues that will need to be resolved."
This Californian, most certainly feels that, indeed, there is something "fundamentally wrong" with how, at both levels of government, they have managed to become involved with the Prop 8 case and refused to honor and defend the clear voice of the people on this matter. I have no doubt that if the state had upheld the vote of 7 million Californians', that likely we would already have legalized same-sex marriage - and through the proper democratic channels.
I have come to feel that the people of California have been used for a much larger agenda: to promote gay marriage broadly. Activist judges have used their position of authority, in my opinion, to bring global attention to the cause, in order to promote the homosexual platform worldwide, and sadly with much success. This is a clear abuse of power. As they have done so, all eyes have been on California - as liberals have used the Prop 8 case to advance their agenda of a distorted view of equality, convincing most that those who clamor for gay marriage are in a comparable situation to those of the civil rights movement - which they are not. The distorted argument, slowly being accepted by mainstream society, which is the greatest of their lies: children do not need a mother and a father.
It is no wonder, in my opinion, as one who accepted the call, that the Lord inspired His prophet(s) to become involved with this moral issue in California, to boldly invite the local membership of the Church to stand for traditional marriage by opposing Prop 8. None of us could have known, initially, the extent of what this exercise of our faith would mean. Among the unanticipated, are the abuses the LDS Church receives, and the personal challenges of individual members', and families', by those who disagree with the Church's position to do so, and why; staggering to contemplate. I am inclined to feel that the time will come, when the Saints in California, will be considered among the ranks of those who crossed the plains; as personal sacrifices in doing so currently are unknown. I am aware of only a handful of the sacrifices members here have made, and trust that all are being recorded in heaven.
In an email, following the Court's Prop 8 decision, President of the National Organization for Marriage, Brian S. Brown, wrote these scathing words:
"The Supreme Court chose to reward corrupt public officials and judges and disrespect the right of the people of California to define marriage in the way that marriage has actually existed throughout human history — the union of one man and one woman.
First off, over 7 million Californians voted in favor of Proposition 8. It was the second time that California voters had decided to preserve the institution of marriage as between one man and one woman.
Not content to let voters have their say, gay marriage activists from Hollywood and New York hired celebrity lawyers Ted Olsen and David Boies to sue and the case now known as Hollingsworth v. Perry began. Frankly, I've never seen such corruption in the judicial system as I have seen in this case. First, a homosexual judge in a long-term gay relationship was assigned the case, and refused to disclose his relationship before declaring that marriage is unconstitutional. Then we had to turn to the most liberal appeals court in the nation, the Ninth Circuit, whose senior judge — Stephen Reinhardt — agreed that marriage must be redefined. Reinhardt wrote the appeals court opinion invalidating Proposition 8, despite the fact that his own wife advised the lawyers challenging the initiative. Incredibly, Reinhardt, like the corrupt trial judge, refused to remove himself over his conflict of interest.
To make matters worse, the elected officials responsible for defending the vote of the people and who swore an oath to do so — Arnold Schwarzenegger, then — Attorney General (now Governor) Jerry Brown, and current Attorney General Kamala Harris — abandoned their duty and left marriage defenseless. And all the evidence suggests they will continue in this vein unless we fight back.
The Supreme Court then rewarded this cronyism and corruption by effectively giving negligent public officials a pocket veto over ballot measures they don't like. All they have to do now thanks to the Supreme Court is refuse to defend a law passed by the people, and it will crash and burn in the courts."
"It's an outrage."
Yes, it is.
From a doctrinal perspective, I believe it is agency that, endowed by God, is at play in where the world is going - as society casts morality by the wayside.
The greatest blessings that God has to bestow upon His Children, will only come to those who have married in God's ordained way and in His holy temple - in order to establish eternal families and experience a fulness of joy. Mormons believe that all marriages between a man and a woman, even civil, are on this path, if they so choose it. If the purpose of this life is to learn through our own experiences, to ultimately choose God, then it begins to become clear why those who insist on that which is unacceptable before Him, are allowed to experience it, and the inevitable, negative consequences.
That wickedness will never produce happiness is an eternal truth. There will be no long-term satisfaction in breaking the commandments of God, nor positive results going forward into the next generation. If society as a whole, have made a choice to ignore God (Some denying His existence), who rules by absolute love and law, then they will experience their choices to the point where they will hopefully use that God-given agency to choose Him; as did the prodigal son.
Perhaps the faithful, those who must endure this particular time in the history of the world - the last dispensation, where the fulness of all things here in morality are revealed (Maybe people) while our brothers and sisters learn to choose God, including the many children yet to be born, agreed to do so. That sounds like love to me; genuine, eternal, family love. And even if it's not, it's a nice way to think about our current circumstances, with an understanding that we are all brothers and sisters whom God, the Father of us all, equally desires to return home. His love for us is not focused on our behavior, rather, it has everything to do with who we are, which is why He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for us - that we might Live.
In regard to the 'world', change, and the Church, I like what a friend pointed out: "The Church has been and continues to be changed by the outside world. God's laws, on the other hand, will not be." So simple and so true. Remember that, and go forward with an understanding that God knows His Plan, He knows His children, and that the agency that He gave us is intended to, "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life" of ALL, and that we agreed to the Plan - even shouting for joy!
It is a plan of love, and with a better understanding of the purpose of our agency, perhaps we will come to love better, those who choose and or think differently than we do. It is an amazing and miraculous thought to consider, that all who choose God, will eventually be joined in the unity that the Godhead now enjoy and which governs the Plan of Salvation.
"And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." (Moses 7:18)
Mormons Will Continue to Stand for Traditional Marriage
Let's Talk About What is Marriage? And Why That's Important...
Mormons Value Traditional Marriage
Millennial Star: Why I Support Traditional Marriage
SCOTUS Blog - Kevin Russell
Post updated 6/28/13: Elder D. Todd Christoffersen's statement.