Comments about ‘Mormon church reiterates its stance on marriage in response to petition from gay rights group’

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Published: Tuesday, Oct. 12 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Farmington, UT

I've been observing these discussions for years now. I have come to the conclusion that this topic is as great a test for those of us members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who DON'T live with same-gender attraction as it is for those who DO. It's not the ONLY test we'll undergo, but I believe it to be training wheels for what lies ahead.

What is the test? To see if we can learn to express our opinions without allowing anger, hatred, sarcasm and criticism to creep in. How do we do that? Simple, but perhaps less than easy: we must purify our hearts of all such emotions, and replace them with love and compassion for all God's children who suffer from seemingly uncontrollable tendencies.

For perspective, if you are honest in examining your own life, you will undoubtedly recognize that you also have some weakness, that, if given into repeatedly and relentlessly, would destroy you and hurt deeply those you love. Consider the irony and hypocrisy of condemning another for the mote in his or her eye, when you've a beam in your own....

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

President Packer is clealry much better at considering the import of his words than are others.

President Packer said that God, our loving Heavely Father, would not give us tendencies that would force us to be permanently held in sin.

He did not explicitly say anything he was refering to. He also, which is something some have unfortunantly done here, did not try to make a clear analogy, a troubled attempt I have also at times done. The context of pornography was clearly of inpure actions.

I would say that same-gender attraction is a unique trouble. On the other hand, to make broad statements that assert that all people experience it in the same manner is unwise.

President Packer's earlier counsel to speak of homosexual actions but not homosexual people is helpful for clearity.

A close problem is that there is speaking around eachother at times. Brother Otterson avoided this in his remarks, making it unambiguously clear of what he spoke. Elder Holland achieved the same in his Ensign article back in October 2007.

President Packer only failed to achieve such because so many people engage in taking his comments out of context.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

In my last post the line "The context of pornography was clearly of impure actions" was meant to be at the end.
Pornography is about the choice to take in evil images. One does not become a sinner because they walk down a street and accidentally see a pornographic piece of literature strewn on the ground. However picking it up and reading it, or lingering over it are actions.
The response to President Packer's talk has ignored all the context of this. It has also ignored the context of stating that there are some who will not marry in this life. To claim that even the majority of such cases are due to same-gender attraction has no basis in fact, but some are, so to claim that President Packer was saying that everyone would overcome same-gender attraction to the level of being able to marry someone of the opposite gender is not possible with a full reading of his talk, in any version.

Albuquerque, NM

To the commenters who hold that the Church doesn't respond to political pressure, see Kimball: 1978, when he changed church policy, allowing black men to hold the priesthood, even though Brigham Young had said that would never happen, at least not until well after the Second Coming.
Also from Young, in Journal of Discourses:
"If the White man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain (those with dark skin), the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."
Times have changed...thank God. And they will continue to.

Las Vegas, NV


Great comment.
Unfortunately some people hold onto their religious beliefs so strongly that it makes them callous towards their fellow man.

Paul in MD
Montgomery Village, MD

Pagan, there is a big difference between HRC petitioning the LDS church to change its position and the church encouraging its members to get involved in the political process to shape the laws of the land.

In the case of law, there is a process in place to allow such change. The church teaches principles and encourages members to get involved. Reading the comments at the time Prop 8 was coming up for a vote it's clear that members don't always do what the brethren would like. Many people were posting that as good upstanding LDS members they would be voting against Prop 8.

On the other hand, there is no mechanism in place for groups outside the church to change our doctrine. Actually, the only mechanism is from the top down. We believe that our church doctrine and direction come from divine revelation through a living prophet. Pressure from members to change doctrine goes nowhere, nor does pressure from outside.

By the way, the LDS church wasn't the only one to encourage its members to vote for Prop 8. It's just the only one targeted because of it.

Paul in MD
Montgomery Village, MD

Jolter, I would much rather follow a religion that claims to get its doctrine from God than one that gets its doctrine from science and consensus.

In my view, religion is a tool or vehicle for helping me grow closer to God. A religion or set of doctrine that comes from Him will do a far better job at that than one that comes from a committee of men/women.

As for LDS members not practicing everything preached by the brethren, well, you'll find that in every church. We're all imperfect people.

But I have to disagree with you on a specific point. It is possible to act with compassion and love toward someone while still condemning something they are doing. As Robert from St. George has found (and I'm very sorry you've had to suffer their bad behavior), not everyone in the church has learned how to do that.

Love and compassion do NOT equate to permission and condoning.

Cedar City, UT

I is not reasonable to expect any church to compromise its position on a moral issue. If a church does so, it loses its credibility and authority to save souls.

Murray, Ut

Christian, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, the fight is with a great audience than just the LDS.

He edited his speech, that was a huge concession on his part. What more do they want?

Pete in Texas
Copperas Cove, TX

Robert in St George and ProvoLow.... thank you for your posts.

True, the LDS GOSPEL and it's leaders teach to love everyone regardless of what they are like and how they are living. Imperfect LDS individuals mess that up a LOT of times. (As is reflected in these posts....) I feel your pain and understand what you are both saying. I hope your faith in the church is stronger than your natural inclination to condemn it because of imperfect members. I'm convinced that there are those who struggle with sins, and those who's struggle is learning how to love and accept those with "big sins". I've been shunned by family for different actions in my life. That's unfortunate. I'm not proud to say it, but I left the church for a while because of it. Only later did I realize the CHURCH can be God's church here on the earth even with imperfect "saints".

You both have my love and respect. Keep the faith, brothers. Hopefully through our trials, others will learn how to properly support and help those of us who struggle. Press forward with faith. God will answer our prayers.

Manti, UT

What a great idea! Why doesn't the LDS Church gather a million petitions and deliver it to the LGBT headquarters asking them to give up the idea that homosexuality is a pure and sinless way of life? Then let's get 10,000 LDS people to go in front of their national headquarters and scream and yell at them for not understanding us and agreeing with us. Maybe that would make them change their minds about their lifestyles. Anything else would be Mormonphobic. The LGBT petition, no matter how many signatures are on it, cannot change wrong from right. God bless you President Packer. We love and support you.

Rexburg, ID

We don't vote on the laws of God. We try to learn to live with them.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

Did they think that a petition would cause the Church to change its doctrine on marriage? President Packer was merely teaching doctrine, not anything else with no other motive.

Carlsbad, CA

I agree with SyracuseCoug. I would like to see the petition presented to the retirement community where I live. The old folks would tell them to put a sock in it. And most of them aren't LDS.

Orem, UT

Really, this isn't about treating the gay community fairly or including them in your circle of friends, it's about accepting their behavior as normal. We will never come to any dialogue or agreement until we all accept that homosexuality is normal and ok. Until then we will all be labeled bigots and haters...

Their reasoning...why would anyone choose to be gay? It simply doesn't make sense to a normal person. Why would any man choose to be gay, right?

Well I believe it is a fad. It's trendy. The same reason why people do drugs, etc. Many go to San Francisco, Sante Fe, and other places around the world to delve into their deplorable behavior. If they have no foundation of truth, what's stopping them? If they have no moral base, why can't they involve themselves in any kind of immorality they want? Anyone heard of the 'Natural Man'?

I do believe there are very few who legitimately struggle with these feelings at no fault of their own. But I also believe that most absolutely choose to be gay for whatever reason and it their behavior sickens me...

Bluffdale, UT

To all the spin doctors out there. I watched a very humble man of God deliver a message to the members of the LDS Church. He wasn't hateful in his delivering of his message. I believe that a current prophet is more valuable in a current message than old scriptures. Scriptures are our guidelines and modern revelation is for our day. Quit promoting your agenda to the LDS Church. The Church leaders have listened to you comments. That doesn't change the way we believe. You are creating the spin on hate and misunderstanding. That appears to be your goal. The Church leaders have made their position very clear on numerous ocassions. Your goal is to make the LDS Church appear to be a hateful church. Why not move on a put your efforts into your own organizations. I have studied propaganda techniques over the years used by many groups including government and political groups. You heard the position of the LDS Church through modern day leaders. Your agenda would be better used elswhere in the world.

Northern, Utah

@Paul from MD

Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or any other dubious religious claim, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments, and a passionate UNWILLINGNESS to do so. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a genuine openness to fruits of human inquiry and modern knowledge, and a premature closure to such inquiry as a matter of principle. The distinction between science and religion is not a matter of excluding our ethical intuitions and non-ordinary states of consciousness from our conversation about the world; it is a matter of our being rigorous about what is reasonable to conclude on their basis. We must find ways of meeting our emotional needs that do not require the abject embrace of the preposterous. I choose reason over faith!

Murray, UT

Lynn_Ann: Joseph Smith stated "They came into the world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation." History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 217 OR
In 1863 Brigham Young stated "For their abuse of [the Black African] race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent." Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.110

Remember that the LDS church was in Missouri when the state was very firmly a slave state. The fact that the full priesthood was given to a Free-Born Black member was considered an act against the state and the governer threated to wipe the church from the face of the earth if they didn't recant.

"Even from the 1900s to the 1940s, when there was a general segregation of Blacks from so-called white churches, there was no Church policy of racial segregation of blacks and whites." D. Charles Pyle, Encyclopedia of Mormonism

However, this is irrelevant. Comparing homosexuals to a specific race is like comparing apples to oranges.

The doctrine of the LDS Church is not dictated by man, it is given by revelation from God.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

Some thoughts:

1. Any member of the Church who states that homosexual tendencies are not genetic or that one can change and no longer have those tendencies are stating their personal opinion. Elder Packer stated his personal opinion regarding origin and change. That was reflected in the subsequent editing of those points of his talk. Members can personally believe that homosexuality is not genetic or that a gay individual can change and become heterosexual. But please do not attribute that in any way to the LDS Church. Because neither point is supported by the Church's offical position. Even Packer's belief in these points were soley his personal opinion. The Church remains neutral on these two points.

2. Heterosexual LDS members have SIMILAR struggles in regard to moral expectations. For example, a heterosexual member who has divorced or lost their spouse after years of appropriate sexual activity is suddenly asked to remain celibit until remarrying.

3. But reality is that the gay LDS member is asked to live celibit for life or somehow practice heterosexuality within marriage.

4. Perhaps the greater sin is how so many LDS fall short of the love and kindness expected of us.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

I agree that the use of the term "hate speech" is inappropriate. Elder Packer and the LDS official position is clear on moral behavior but completely free of hate. Some rank and file members have a long way to go, however.

But I am confused why some LDS are upset with this petition. Gay advocacy groups disagree with the LDS position and are using means to express that. This is NO different than the LDS Church using means to express their position whether through this statement or the activities related to Prop 8.

Both sides are simply expressing their position and beliefs. Debate and dialogue is what makes this country great. The problem is that each side simply does not like what the other is saying.

The other point I want to make is in regards to so many comments stating that the Church will never change due to pressure from the world. I am not saying they will change regarding homosexual behavior. But if anyone thinks that outside pressures were not the SOLE cause for the change in plural marriage and the priesthood policy then they have no real understanding of those two events in LDS history.

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