Tom Christofferson: Church policy change should remind us to listen with love this Easter

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  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 20, 2019 5:45 a.m.

    @ sashabill

    "If Jesus accepted your interpretation of 'forsaking sin,' he would have told the woman to 'go your way and keep on doing what you've been doing.'

    Ranch' definition is to stop loathing/hating oneself for being who one is. No one is intrinsically a prostitute or adulterer. Actions are what qualify us for those labels. Ranch could never once act on his sexual orientation and he'd still be homosexual.

    So, yeah - his definition makes a lot of sense to me. What a waste of one's life to loathe/hate oneself for being who you are. And what an absurd notion to expect some to not act on who they are while reserving that right for oneself.

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    April 19, 2019 1:16 p.m.

    M_Hawke,
    What you state is right and well said, but I think you have misunderstand Jane B. She does not like what Pres. Nelson taught in the article and has therefore become her own interpreter (or wrester) of the scriptures. She doesn't like the fact that the President of the Church is the official interpreter of scripture and doctrine for the church since he interprets it different than what she wants the doctrine or policy to be.

    She has accepted the views and opinions of the world (Babylon) over those of the Church and is chafing under the differences between worldly thinking and prophetic teaching. The two are becoming less compatible every passing month and she will or is finding herself split in two, which hurts a lot, or having to fully commit to one or the other. I hope she gets it right, but from seeing her other comments on other stories, she seems to have clamped onto modern feminism and worldly philosophies already. But one can always hope for the best for anyone.....

  • M_Hawke Golden, CO
    April 19, 2019 9:30 a.m.

    @JaneB

    I just read the article “Divine Love” by then Elder Nelson and it is masterful. I believe you do not understand that point he is making. He is clarifying “infinite” love from “unconditional” love. As he states, “unconditional” never appears in the scriptures. I believe you are mixing the two up.

    If you would re-read the paragraph near the bottom, “Divine Love and the Sinner,” you will see that he states that God loves all of his children. But unconditional blessings do not exist. By very definition, the “covenant path” refutes that term.

    If you believe that his arguments or the scripture verses he uses fails to support his thesis, then I am sure curious as to what article you could write on the subject, or at very least, show us using examples of how his supporting scripture verses are “weak” or how any of his article fails. This is somewhat of a complex concept.

  • sashabill , CA
    April 18, 2019 4:32 p.m.

    Rnach, Nice try. If Jesus accepted your interpretation of "forsaking sin," he would have told the woman to "go your way and keep on doing what you've been doing."

    I agree, however, that ones does not need to embrace a religion or theology in order to have a moral compass. Religious people are wrong when they dismiss the non-religious as somehow immoral -- but then, they aren't much different from the liberal secularists who shout "bigot," and "homophobe" at anyone who disagrees with them.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 18, 2019 2:07 p.m.

    Jacobiuntherus says:
    "...how the Savior interacted with the woman taken in adultery and "invited her to forsake sin going forward".

    -- Perhaps "forsaking sin" means learning to love and accept ones self AS IS and letting go of the self loathing and self hatred induced by religious bigots who seem to think that being gay and living true to ones self is a "sin".

    @Oatmeal;

    "Ranch,
    If loving means accepting of every action or choice, then I guess some are not very "loving." But if "loving" means encouraging all to live the laws of God, then they are much more loving than anything LGBT activists can muster."

    -- You just made my point.

    AZ Observer;

    Our "moral compass" is every bit as functional as yours, even without "religion". Religion doesn't own morality (usually they miss the mark by a parsec or 2).

  • 10Kidz Nampa, ID
    April 18, 2019 12:56 p.m.

    I agree with Orson of Woods Cross. As I see it, the Lord first gave us the higher law regarding this issue. However, just as the ancient Israelites, complaining to the Lord brought about the lessor law, which is what the Lord gave us through His ordained apostles that we now have. The Lord is very patient and loving, but sooner or later, we will be expected to live the higher law or simply fall away.

  • SliceofHumble Issaquah, WA
    April 18, 2019 12:04 p.m.

    Those of us who embrace our baptismal/temple covenants know that the gospel is to be lived "within the bounds the Lord has set" but we are free to choose. That is the test of this life. "He who cannot abide a celestial law cannot abide a celestial glory".

  • Silflay Katy, TX
    April 18, 2019 9:20 a.m.

    @ Oatmeal

    Karen R. here.

    "Please note that Christians are not polytheists."

    You're mistaken. There are Christians sects that are nontrinitarian.

    "...please remember that it was Christians, often organizing in their churches, who led the abolition and suffrage campaigns..."

    But this SUPPORTS my point. Yes, the change in Christian posture to slavery and the role of women does provide legitimate reason to wonder if they've been wrong about homosexuality, too.

    @ redshirt

    IMO, the hopeful thing about revisionist apologetics is that it reflects the recognition that slavery is immoral. But it also creates a problem similar to the above: If translations/interpretations surrounding slavery have given the wrong impression, how can we be sure that this same problem doesn't exist on other subjects in the Bible?

  • Chasey San Antonio, TX
    April 18, 2019 6:55 a.m.

    I would wholeheartedly embrace those who smoke cigarettes in sacrament meeting. Never seen it done before though.

  • M_Hawke Golden, CO
    April 17, 2019 9:51 p.m.

    First, a disclaimer: I did not read the article. Because of its title. I do not need a change in policy to remind me to "listen with love" this Easter. The title was a little off-putting to me. Easter thoughts should be focused on and motivated by the Savior. Not a policy change. Yes, I can guess in what direction he takes his article, but still, the point is, Easter is celebrating Christ's atonement and resurrection, the very reason why we have hope for a better life. Happy Easter, everyone!

  • Jacobiuntherus Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2019 4:18 p.m.

    Tom Christofferson offers a provocative and thoughtful narrative but he also raises several questions in my mind.

    He tells of seemingly warm hearted stories such as: "I love the ward where Primary leaders and teachers ensure that the children of gay parents are at ease sharing the experiences of their family" Interesting, given that our Church leaders have reiterated that gay couples who are married or engaging in sexual acivity are committing "serious transgressions". I wonder how primary teachers tip-toe around that when discussing gospel principles?

    Tom reminds us that of how the Savior interacted with the woman taken in adultery and "invited her to forsake sin going forward".

    As we contemplate welcoming and loving our neighbors and ward visitors who are gay couples, how do we navigate around "the elephant in the room"? After all, most lessons and talks in the Church include details about following the Savior and keeping his commandments - including virtue and chastity. Maybe we just pretend that part isn't part of the package?

  • JaneB Wilsonville, OR
    April 17, 2019 4:02 p.m.

    Oatmeal, I'm well aware of that talk by president Nelson because it's controversial. I recently re-read it, and found his case remarkably unconvincing. I don't even think the scriptures he cites support his thesis. We'll have to disagree about Christian theology/unconditional love, but there is a mountain of scriptural evidence supporting God's unconditional love for us, not to mention that the Atonement is all about unconditional love.

    I believe the most important attributes of God and Christ are their unconditional love for us. No matter what we do. Love should not be confused with approval. I think that's one of the big problems in the church. Some people think they can earn God's love. That's a false and pernicious doctrine.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    April 17, 2019 3:09 p.m.

    JaneB,
    President Nelson preached a sermon on unconditional love some time ago. The title is "Divine Love." It may help you come to terms with the terminology used.

    If you really want to know, "unconditional love" is not a Christian doctrine. It is a product of social science.

    And God gave far more than two commandments.

  • JaneB Wilsonville, OR
    April 17, 2019 2:59 p.m.

    I am baffled by those who say God's love is not unconditional. Our entire theology is based upon the unconditional love of God. I feel like maybe we are living in two different universes in the church? One universe is all about judgment, condemnation, rules, absolute sureness of the "right" way. The other has a little more humility, love, forgiveness, understanding, and a realization that we see through a glass darkly.

    There's a reason for the two great commandments. We should all stick to those, and stop thinking we know everything God is thinking.

    The church changes. Doctrine changes. Sometimes our leaders get things wrong. That's inevitable. They are doing the best they can.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    April 17, 2019 2:57 p.m.

    Ranch,
    If loving means accepting of every action or choice, then I guess some are not very "loving." But if "loving" means encouraging all to live the laws of God, then they are much more loving than anything LGBT activists can muster.

  • AZ Observer Phoenix, AZ
    April 17, 2019 12:56 p.m.

    There's more. Christ's injunction to the woman caught in adultery was not an invitation. An invitation does not carry the moral implication of a response being morally right or wrong. A commandment does, and that is what Christ commanded: Go and sin no more, ie, adultery is a sin, don't do it, period. The author's dishonest description of the commandment as an invitation minimizes the moral force, clarity, seriousness, and utter prohibition of sexual sin. The author did this because he does not want these standards applied to the commandment not to engage in homosexual sin; he wants the reader to think the "invitation" not to engage in homosexual sin is up for debate to be resolved individually according to--you guessed it--one's personal moral compass, for obvious reasons. And then there's the partial quoting of scripture to suit his agenda (John 8:2-11), but the failure to cite other scripture that demolishes it (Romans 1:18-32).

  • AZ Observer Phoenix, AZ
    April 17, 2019 12:56 p.m.

    The sophistry continues with a reference to same-sex individuals "whose personal moral compass would not allow them to continue church activity . . . . " Say what? What recognized set of moral values is same-sex ideology based on? There isn't one--Mr. Christofferson borrows the esteem accompanying a true moral compass, i.e., Judeo-Christian teachings, to enhance his spin on what is otherwise known to the rest of the world as "my selfish personal choice to accommodate my selfish personal belief."

  • AZ Observer Phoenix, AZ
    April 17, 2019 12:46 p.m.

    bee/ECR - If your undefined version of "love" was all that was needed to achieve the celestial kingdom, then there would be no need for a savior or the atonement--God/us could just "love" everyone into the celestial kingdom...just love everyone...that's all to do, just love everyone..no commandments, no repentance, nothing...just love. I think something is missing in your equation.

    Norman Wright - it is an unpersuasive rhetorical device to claim that "nobody understands what I'm going through" so therefore others are in no position to comment. Intelligent, wise, and experienced people (Church leaders, maybe?) can understand the pressures LBGTQ people endure and can comment on it, too, with much more authority than personal anecdotes.

    PacNWinUT - The notion of "unconditional love" is not founded in the Gospel of Christ - it's another creation of mankind trying to justify and excuse wrongful behavior. Jesus also didn't say anything specifically prohibiting intercourse with a tree so, according to your logic, that must be okay then?

  • rlsintx Saratoga Springs, UT
    April 17, 2019 12:39 p.m.

    Happy Easter to all, of all faiths.

    I am reminded of the core element of this week and that is the atonement of Christ to take upon himself the sins of the world, if people will just repent. That's an amazing gift, it's been wrought through the totality of the Easter week events and redeems us from mortal death.

    DC 64:9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.

    10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

    11 And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.

    12 And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.

    13 And this ye shall do that God may be glorified—not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver—

    14 Verily I say, for this cause ye shall do these things.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 17, 2019 12:17 p.m.

    The comments in this article are not very "loving". Typical though.

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    April 17, 2019 12:13 p.m.

    With mounting pressure from the world regarding acceptance of gay marriage, etc., it is one sign of the true church that the hand of fellowship is extended to all of us sinners. That being said, smoking is a far cry from destroying God's plan for families. The world only views love as accepting what it says it wants. This makes the Book of Mormon even more powerful. The bible's view on homosexuality is well documented, well established, and well understood by most Christians. However, when the validity of Christ as the son of God is also being questioned, a second witness becomes paramount. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and God's church is upon the earth and the Proclamation on the Family stands clear and bold in the declaration that you were born male and female and marriage is between a man and a women. Without the Book of Mormon, the bible and the veracity of Jesus as the son of God, for many, not for me, is just another fable orchestrated by those who want to control the masses and the ignorant. As a fable, it can then change with the times. With the Book of Mormon, both are unquestioned witnesses of His truth!

  • sashabill , CA
    April 17, 2019 12:02 p.m.

    Strider, I fully agree. I became an "abandoned spouse" when my former wife embraced the "new lifestyle." I then raised my children as a single father over the space of the next fifteen years. I was grateful and appreciative to have the love, encouragement, and support of my fellow ward members during that time. ( I am now happily remarried to my current wife, whose first husband had abandoned her for the "new lifestyle.")

  • Ms.W South Jordan, UT
    April 17, 2019 11:52 a.m.

    PacNWinUT "Repent and learn to love unconditionally like Christ does"

    Although Jesus Christ's love is infinite, enduring, and universal, it is not unconditional. If you look at the scripture patterns of conditional statements in mind, you will see many verses that declare the conditional nature of divine love for us.

    eg: " IF you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you"

    " IF ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love"

    " God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh in
    righteousness, is accepted with Him"

    " I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no
    promise"

    Spencer W. Kimball said.... "the Lord "cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance" (D&C 1:31)....we will better appreciate His love....if similar abhorrence for sin impels us to transform our lives through repentance."

  • JaneB Wilsonville, OR
    April 17, 2019 11:52 a.m.

    Sad to see so many comments here about how being in a gay marriage/family is a sin. As a faithful believing member, I do not know that, and neither do you. I'm inclined to come down on the side of loving gay relationships not being a sin. Yes, I know our current doctrine says it's a sin. But I'm not convinced.

    Remember, our church once preached (for decade upon decade) that blacks were not entitled to the fullness of gospel blessings simply because they were black. A lot of other cruel myths were perpetuated, too, which I will not name here. They called it "doctrine", meaning it came from God. This is indisputable.

    Guess what. The church was wrong. Dead wrong. They may be wrong here.

    So, I think the comments about loving the sinner and hating the sin are off. Waaay off. Gay people should be who they are. Who God created them to be. It is not a sin, imo, to be who you are, and have a loving relationship with someone.

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    April 17, 2019 11:45 a.m.

    @nonamesaccepted,
    I mostly agree with your comments. In cases of divorce, approval must be given for underage children to be baptized. But under the former LGBT church policy, even if the gay parents wished to have their child baptized it was not permitted. That was the opposite of “respecting families” as you stated.

    I believe that the church’s about-face on blacks and the priesthood was a consequence of revelation to Pres. Kimball. But I don’t believe it was revelation that instituted the discriminatory practice but rather tradition, culture, and racism. Neither do I believe it was revelation that instituted the bad LGBT policy. To believe it was is to believe the Lord had a change of mind in the intervening 3-1/2 years. I had hoped for some clarification from church leaders on this issue at the recent general conference to further help bind the wounds that were created. Unfortunately there was none.

    My faith in the church and its leaders remains strong. But I know of many, including members of my own family, who have become disaffected with the church over this issue. The recent policy reversal did little to assuage their disappointment or help any of us better understand.

  • IJ Hyrum, Ut
    April 17, 2019 11:02 a.m.

    LGBTQ is an adjective; the noun - Child of God. It is not our job to judge. It is our job to love. Elder Holland once said that if we don't have people in our Sacrament Meetings that smell like smoke we aren't doing our jobs. I would say the same thing goes for liars, thieves, LGBTQ, and all the rest, as we all fit into one of those categories. If you don't turn away one person of sin, where do you draw the line? Where does the sin become so dark that it is OK to shun. Be very, very careful with this as one day, you may have to shun yourself. The Savior will take care of the judging. Let all love one another as Jesus loves us.

  • sashabill , CA
    April 17, 2019 11:00 a.m.

    rlynn, So essentially, regarding the definition of marriage, you are asking for the LDS Church to replace love with relativism. Unlike the "politically correct" crowd, the leaders of the LDS Church understand the difference.

  • RockOn1224 Spanish Fork, UT
    April 17, 2019 10:49 a.m.

    Yes, love one another. That's easy to say and of course it resonates in all of us. But, literally, the devil is in the details. The questions abound as to who is tolerant of who. Saying it's wonderful to welcome two men adopting a child shows tolerance for them. But how do they show tolerance for those who know there is NO evidence "God made me that way" and are concerned that a child is growing up in a home without a mother. How you react to that statement will tell you more about your universal rather than selective tolerance for people of differing points of view.

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    April 17, 2019 10:45 a.m.

    As I read the calls for love and compassion for gay persons in their struggle for what ever it is they seek, I would offer a request for some love, compassion and balm of solace for the spouses who are abandoned emotionally, physically and usually financially when a gay person announces their new life style and leaves the spouse and family to fend for themselves.

    Where there were two, now remains one against the world.

    I am aware of the emotional and spiritual toll wrought on the abandoned spouse. 'Tis well and good to speak of mercy and compassion for the "liberated" one, but often the other spouse is forgotten and ignored. Long term family and personal relationships are forever altered.

    Houston, we have a problem.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 17, 2019 9:44 a.m.

    There is a Primary song about this very subject that they ought to put into the Hymn Book.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    April 17, 2019 9:43 a.m.

    To "Roadside Philosopher" you say that we have no right to judge others, but that is wrong.

    For instance is a registered sex offender, that got out of jail yesterday, who pleaded guilty to abusing children offered to babysit your children, would you let them? Even if they promised that they were a changed person.

    To "PacNWinUT" but Christ didn't tell us to accept sin. Christ told us to avoid the very appearance of sin. So, if we are to follow Christ, why would we even appear to accept sinful practices?

    To "rlynn " yes, if you are in a same sex marriage, you will always be living contrary to LDS doctrine. What you are asking for is a change to the Doctrine. God's doctrine doesn't change to make people feel better. As Jesus said, he is come to divide families and friends into those who follow him and those who won't.

    To "Karen R." in the Bible, slavery was ok. However, you should realize that slavery in the Bible was different than what was practiced more recently. In fact,the Bible tells us how slaves should be treated and how slaves should behave. If you read the biblical teachings on slavery it sounds more like contractual employment.

  • dordrecht Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2019 9:41 a.m.

    Good article, especially since Tom has gone through some heart-aching experiences himself. Whatever the Christian beliefs are, people demonstrate outwardly how these beliefs affect them.
    In that sense, knowledge of Christ is dead until it is revealed by one's acts.

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    April 17, 2019 9:34 a.m.

    I am sad to see so many comments being left that feel judgemental and self- righteous to me. There is so much about same sex attraction, transgender issues, etc which we understand so little about. We need to reserve judgment to God , live our individual lives to the best of our abilities, and extend Christ-like love to those around us. I applaud this policy change which does not make children of same sex couples feel inferior or in condemnation of their parents. The Church leaders wouldn’t say that children whose parents drink alcohol or abuse drugs can’t be baptized until they are 18 and denounce their parents’ lifestyle. I am encouraged to see our prophet and leaders seeking constant inspiration regarding policies which may not reflect doctrine, such as blacks holding the priesthood and gay members not being considered apostates or unworthy. Continuing modern day revelation is one of the reasons I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    April 17, 2019 9:32 a.m.

    Many commenters are talking about "judgment" incorrectly. Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Tom's brother, who has ecclesiastical authority to speak, taught:

    “Not judging” has become an almost unchallengeable standard for conversation and behavior. But in reality, we all make judgments about what is right and wrong, and not just for ourselves, but for the people and the society around us. Laws and systems of law, even political systems, are the embodiment of moral values and perceived truths. In a pluralistic society, we may debate what values should be enshrined in laws or regulations and what is right or wrong or true, but in the end, on any given issue, someone’s view, or some group’s view, of truth prevails and everyone becomes bound by it. . . .

    Most troubling are those who insist that “society must be transformed so that it no longer stands in awful judgment. So it is that they change the laws, infiltrate the schools, and create intrusive social-welfare bureaucracies.” Well did Isaiah warn, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” ("Truth Endures," on church website)

  • David Anderson Lakewood, WA
    April 17, 2019 9:20 a.m.

    “Critics launched petitions calling on guest performers to cancel appearances with the Tabernacle Choir and to boycott games against Brigham Young University” (Tad Walch, “Deseret News”, April 4, 2019).

    Pressure from parishioners’ changes policy?

    Obviously, in the Mormon Church, the Bible is not the final authority for faith and practice. The ever-changing so-called ‘revelations’ of so-called ‘leaders’ – not the Bible - affects policies and practices.

    How do those who advocated for this change in policy see it?

    They’re not done yet. “The fact legally married same-sex couples are still considered in serious transgression within the church leaves painful choices for lesbian and gay members and that unresolved issues remain for transgender members.”

    “Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wants to see “a day where LGBTQ Mormons can see themselves affirmed and included within their faith community.”

    I.E., more boycotting BYU football games, more ‘revelations’ and one day gay marriages will be blessed by the Mormon Church.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    April 17, 2019 9:04 a.m.

    Karen R.,
    "The Christian gods didn't see fit to tell Christians up front.."

    Please note that Christians are not polytheists. This would include Latter-day Saints. There is only one God or Godhead. And to add historical context to your comment, please remember that it was Christians, often organizing in their churches, who led the abolition and suffrage campaigns for women and blacks as well as the civil rights movement.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 17, 2019 8:39 a.m.

    The Christian gods didn't see fit to tell Christians up front that slavery wasn't cool. In fact, what they're purported to have said points strongly to, "Yeah, it's okay, especially if they're not a member of your tribe."

    But Christians will also tell you that their gods did it this way because it was important that people learn this moral lesson on their own.

    Isn't it possible that this is also the case with homosexuality?

  • Scotty Mac Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 17, 2019 8:29 a.m.

    It is somewhat humorous that we are often so quick to point out flaws and commandments we feel others aren’t keeping. That can give an appearance that WE keep ALL of the commandments. The funny part is that we give little thought to scriptures of beams, motes, or casting first stones because we feel so compelled to point out that others have need of repentance.
    Great article Tom Christofferson! I love you my brother.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    April 17, 2019 8:21 a.m.

    I challenge directly the notion that if we love someone, we approve of their beliefs, actions and lifestyles. Love is to want what is the best for a person in an eternal sense. If certain behaviors are sinful, then I cannot wish or hope that a person engages in sinful behavior and still claim that I love that person. I can only hope for change and repentance on their part.

    Those who truly love (good parents and inspired prophets) often warn those they love of behaviors they recognize as sinful. We cannot claim that we want any person to engage in sinful behavior and still claim that we love them. To do so would be a lie, a lie which jeopardizes, in an eternal sense, both the person or persons we claim to love and ourselves.

  • Guido Pescatore Layton, UT
    April 17, 2019 8:17 a.m.

    @rlynn - I am sorry that you feel that way, but all of the wishing in the world will not change God's law. You can choose to make this about the Church, but ultimately this is about the laws that govern salvation. We can do anything you want here on Earth - agency was given to us all. The problem is that we cannot choose the consequence of the choices we make here. If we choose to do anything against the law God has established, we will inherit something less than our full share. I believe that God is merciful and will give us every possible chance to reach our full divine potential and become as He is, but if we choose to live contrary to the laws He has given, in the end we will have to accept what wages we have earned. The scriptures are very clear on this point.

    Having said all that, charity is one of the most important of God's laws, and it is incumbent upon us all to show unconditional love to everyone, regardless of their life choices. So while I do not believe that the LGBTQ lifestyle is correct, I will still be a friend to you and to my many other friends who are gay, and serve you to the best of my ability.

  • tahnl Francis, UT
    April 17, 2019 7:55 a.m.

    So which is the greater 'sin'? The LGBTQ couple raising a child being open and honest about who and what they are -or- those that 'shade' the truth, or are out right dishonest, so that they can secure that TR renewal?

  • ZION4MAN Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2019 7:44 a.m.

    Speaking on the subject of tolerance—a virtue much needed in our turbulent world. But in discussing this topic, we must recognize at the outset that there is a difference between tolerance and tolerate. Your gracious tolerance for an individual does not grant him or her license to do wrong, nor does your tolerance obligate you to tolerate his or her misdeed. That distinction is fundamental to an understanding of this vital virtue.
    Now may I offer an important note of caution. An erroneous assumption could be made that if a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Not so! ... Boundless mercy could oppose justice. So tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness.
    The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, and … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers.”16 Though He loved the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.
    Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, April 1994

  • ZION4MAN Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2019 7:29 a.m.

    Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, as to be hated needs but to be seen, yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, we first endure, then pity, then embrace!
    Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    April 17, 2019 7:03 a.m.

    "... they were challenged by Christ that only those who themselves were without sin should carry out such punishment."

    Jesus did say that they should not stone her. Stoning is a deadly punishment.
    But the second half of this story is always conveniently omitted:
    "And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

    Although Jesus did not want the crowd to stone her to death, he still did not ignore the sin or tell her to just keep on doing it. He told her to **Sin no more**.

  • The Dark Knight Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2019 6:11 a.m.

    In my opinion this is the best, most balanced thing that has been written or said on the subject.

  • rlynn Brandon, FL
    April 17, 2019 5:31 a.m.

    I still find the change not helpful at all, not until the LDS Church changes the Proclamation on the Family. The LDS Church policy is still anti LGBQT, they would rather see them live without love of a spouse in a holy marriage bond. The LDS Church still preaches that it is a burden to be LGBTQ. That we are less than. So nothing really changed. My LDS family as accepted outwardly my husband and our marriage, however in some members, there is still a displeasure look in their eyes. For many of us, who were forced or choose to leave the LDS Church, believe that we were created from the foundation of the world as a Gay person.

  • Max Upstate, NY
    April 17, 2019 4:46 a.m.

    I think the previous policy was a classic example of the independence of intent and outcome. The intent was that it would help keep peace in same sex families and would prevent eight year old children from being put in such a difficult position of living up to their baptismal covenants. The outcome, of course, was that all anybody could see was what those in sex-sex marriages could not do and what their kids could not do. The new policy makes much more clear what the intent of the church is and what we believe concerning the matter. I am glad for the clarification. It communicates the intent much better.

  • kbee Syracuse, UT
    April 17, 2019 3:26 a.m.

    Orson. You are totally missing the point. We aren’t anyone’s judges and now you speak for the prophet just as you asked the author not to do? All we are required to do is to stop judging . Love and lift the hands that hang down and let God do the judging, that is the point. He made the laws and he is the perfect One to judge. He made it easier for us to become more like Him by setting it up that way.

  • TrueBleuCoug Salem, UT
    April 17, 2019 3:17 a.m.

    Very well written. I am grateful for those who share their challenges with us while trying to live the gospel. It helps me have more empathy and understanding. It also gives perspective to my own struggles.

    I also applaud the changes by church leaders. I truly believe they are receiving inspiration "line upon line" regarding this and other difficult issues facing the church. I believe that this is another great example that shows they are listening and concerned for all of God's children.

  • slackoff green river, WY
    April 17, 2019 1:45 a.m.

    Do they want love or do they want their life choices to be accepted. I understand nothing about that choice, but if the consequences of making that choice are so painful and life threatening why celebrate it, why flaunt it. People struggle with weaknesses their whole lifes and never give in, why is this different. I'm not sure not loving the "sinner" is the problem. I think they want their life choices to be accepted, not just to be loved. not sure thats gonna happen. Opposition is an eternal plan, and society today wants to make everything acceptable, eliminate opposition. I feel for those who struggle with that choice.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    April 17, 2019 1:24 a.m.

    Something to think about. When a woman was caught in sexual sin and was dragged before the Savior, he didn't condemn her. He also didn't forgive her. What he did say was, "go, and sin no more."

  • Jade Provo, UT
    April 16, 2019 11:22 p.m.

    Thank you so much Brother Christofferson for writing this. This is what is often missing in discourse about LGBTQ issues and the church: A real acknowldgement of the pain, the heartache, the lonliness and the self-doubt that people have suffered in relation to everything from the exclusion policy to thoughtless comments by self-righteous members. General conference talks about marriage between a man and a woman often only say "The church's teachings aren't always going to be popular" as if the only problem people have with the doctrine is that we might lose a popularity contest.
    My problem is some of my friends I love like my own brothers have felt suicidal at the thought of trying to live 70 or 80 years without so much as ever kissing a person they're attracted to. Acknowledgement of that, of "Hey sometimes life feels incredibly, impossibly unfair and I want to do what I can to help you bear that burden as well as you can," is Christlike, not apostate. I'm saddened by the large number of church members who take any acknowledgement that being LGBTQ in the church is hard as an attack on the church and a failure to live up to its doctrines. Charity is the pure love of Christ.

  • water rocket , 00
    April 16, 2019 11:16 p.m.

    You can (and should) love the sinner, but until God changes (not likely to happen) we still do not have to love the sin. I say this knowing full well that some will take this personally, and I am sorry, I do not want to cause any one harm, BUT sins cover a wide range of behaviors, such as robbery, murder, moral issues, and even lying. In fact, there are sins of commission and sins of omission as well. The one great constant is that we are all imperfect in the eyes of the Lord, and all have need to repent. Many like to cast stones (figuratively speaking) at those who do not embrace their lifestyles, and that is too bad. Furthermore, we are all at different stages of maturity and understanding, and none of us even come close to were the Lord is. I will say this, however, and that is that the Lord knows what brings true and lasting happiness and joy, and if we study the scriptures and listen to the prophets, we will have a far better chance for happiness, regardless of what ANY ONE ELSE may say, think or do. Since we will stand before the Great Judge in the next life, may we do so with clean hands.

  • Count Rushmore Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2019 8:57 p.m.

    It's heart-warming to see so many people expressing love and support to the LGBT community. I believe it is possible to be supportive without rejecting or becoming confused about the Lord's standards of chastity. I wish every Christian would offer the same love and support to the President of the USA, Donald J. Trump. To forgive the sins of those who break the law of chastity yet to be judgmental about the sins of our commander in chief is rank hypocrisy, and Jesus had some pretty harsh words for hypocrites.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    April 16, 2019 8:25 p.m.

    Sorry my previous comment should be didn't want not did

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 16, 2019 7:56 p.m.

    Someone once observed it was a good thing not all sins smelled the way tobacco use does or we couldn't stand to be around each other for our meetings.

    It can be easy to look around secular society and see how acceptance of people who engage in certain behavior has very quickly become acceptance and even celebration of the behavior itself. That is not the way of the Gospel. But neither should it ever be the way of the Church to shun the sinner. We are all sinners.

    At the same time, we must be clear that accepting the individual is never going to be a step toward condoning sin. I will not be exhalted with a bad temper, with a lustful heart, being greedy, or with addictions, nor while being unchaste including with a same sex partner. Sooner or later I will have to overcome all such weaknesses.

    Temporarily witholding ordinances from children whose parents object, living in plural households, or with same gender parents has never been about punishing children, but rather about respecting families--even families comprised different than we teach--and helping assure that children have the support needed to live the covenants they are making. This is a policy, not doctrinal change.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 16, 2019 7:49 p.m.

    I believe that truly loving is the hardest and most important commandent.

    When asked, Jesus told us the most important commandment was to love God and the 2nd was to love others. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." The "law and the prophets" constitute the Jewish Bible and commandments as they existed. We might well translate that into the commandments as they exist for us today.

    But what does it mean that all the commandments hang on the commandment to love God and love others?

    Simply, but often with great difficulty, to truly love God, to show that love, requires that we keep His commandments. If we love him, we want to spend 1 day a week worshiping him; we follow His Son into the waters of baptism; we eagerly pay tithes and offerings or even live the United Order; we properly care for our bodies; we abide the law of chastity. If we truly love God and others, we treat them as He commands us to.

    We might obey other commandments without truly loving. But we do not truly love God and others unless we do our best to obey all the other commandments as well.

    "Love" increases our obligation to obey other commandments; it does not excuse disobedience.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    April 16, 2019 7:37 p.m.

    I think it's important to remember the policy was not intended to hurt the LGBT community and their children. The same policy has been in place for plural families and others. The Church did want children in conflict between what their parents believe and practice and what the Church teaches and practices.

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    April 16, 2019 7:00 p.m.

    Kbee,
    It is a common current fallacy to believe God will love all people into heaven/exaltation. Read the determining factors laid out in D&C 76 and 88 and 131 if you want to know where people will end up who live according to various moral standards. The scriptures are doctrine and teach eternal laws.

    President Oaks was recently quoted in the Church News (8/28/18) as teaching:

    “You are raising children in an environment with overwhelming information and attitudes that are hostile to the mission and teachings of the Church.” . . .
    “As has been true throughout history, in this life we must choose between Jesus’ way and the world’s way.”
    “Our eternal perspective sets us against such changes,” he said. “God’s love is so great that He requires His children to obey His laws because only through that obedience can they progress toward the eternal destiny He desires for them. Thus, in the final judgment, which follows the universal resurrection, we will all be assigned to the kingdom of glory that is commensurate with our obedience to His laws.” ("President Oaks talks Church history, LGBT issues, mental illness").

    Of course, many people don't care for this true doctrine and dispute it

  • ECR Burke, VA
    April 16, 2019 6:55 p.m.

    Thank you Tom Christofferson for your courageous essay encouraging us all to listen and learn. I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is much more simple than some want us to believe. Everything the Savior taught during his ministry pointed to the concept of love. Love is the reason for everything. His greatest commandment, the one he points to to help us become like our Father in Heaven, was to forgive or to love our enemies, which is the ultimate expression of love. Loving everyone while withholding judgement of anyone is is what the Savior taught.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    April 16, 2019 6:23 p.m.

    In Hebrew, there is over 200 different meanings for the word love. God fulfilled Moses s law an gave us three, love God, love our neighbor an love ourselve. Have some manners an be polite. It's a, you matter thing.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    April 16, 2019 6:21 p.m.

    I once heard a bishop talking to his ward about supporting LGBT family and friends. Some members of the ward expressed concerns about having LGBT family and friends in their home. The bishop responded with something like, 'you don't have to march in their parade but you should welcome them into your home'. Being friends and supporting LGBT people does not mean you disagree with the doctrines or policies of the church (very must the opposite).

    I have numerous colleagues who break virtually every commandment except murder. I don't distance myself from these people and hope that some day my association with them will help them decide to make positive changes in their lives.

    I have deeply enjoyed studying the New Testament over the past four months. Jesus never deviates from teaching gospel doctrine; some people chose to distance themselves from Jesus but at no point does he distance himself from sinners.

    I cannot imagine how difficult it is to be an active member and LGBT (imagine someone telling you salvation only comes if you marry someone of the same sex) and they need all the support they can get.

    We are commanded to love; judgment is God's and God's alone.

  • PacNWinUT South Jordan, UT
    April 16, 2019 5:47 p.m.

    Christ commanded us to love they neighbor as thyself. He didn’t leave it open to conditions or questions. So if you’re one who claims to “love the sinner but hate the sin,” “not support lifestyles,” etc. just stop. Repent and learn to love unconditionally like Christ does. If Christ cared as much about whether we were gay or straight as he did about how we treat people and follow him, he would have made it a core part of his doctrine. He didn’t, so follow Christ and just learn to love without being so judgy.

  • Nanook of the North Los Angeles, CA
    April 16, 2019 5:39 p.m.

    This is a beautiful and badly-needed message. And I would encourage all to note that neither Tom Christofferson's message, nor Christ's words on loving our neighbours, had the word "but" in there.

  • RunMom Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2019 5:29 p.m.

    I appreciate Tom Christopherson's message and his fervent plea to members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ to demonstrate they are true disciples of Christ by extending unconditional love to our LGBTQ+ sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. He has given wonderful examples of what that kind of love looks like within a family and a congregation.

    Anyone who still holds judgment in their heart should visit the official church website MormonAndGay - watch the videos, listen to the stories, read the messages from our prophets and leaders about loving and accepting - "For all are alike unto God". You never know what your own beloved child, grandchild, sibling, or friend is struggling with and the terror they have of coming out and being rejected, shunned and cast out. Many would rather die than experience that kind of shame and rejection - and many are dying.

    I pray we will all read this message and see how we can become a trusted servant of Jesus Christ. Are we willing to gather all the lambs of his fold - of all shapes, sizes and rainbow colors - and tenderly feed and nourish their souls with our loving kindness.

  • Norman Wright Provo, UT
    April 16, 2019 5:24 p.m.

    For those who push hard for exaltation through obedience to law, I hope we can remember that there are a lot of laws out there and that just because my predispositions to sin may different than your's does not give me the right to judge you or vice versa.

    If I am gay and yet hold a testimony and am simply doing my best under circumstances you cannot even imagine, who are you to judge me? If you grew up in a family where a father regularly yelled at his children and put down his wife and you are not as loving and kind as you could be, who am I to judge you?

    I know that I have been commanded to be obedient to God's laws and one of them is to love my neighbor as myself. For me, that's a pretty good place to start regardless of the sin.

  • kbee Syracuse, UT
    April 16, 2019 4:36 p.m.

    I disagree with [email protected] If there is life after death, if there is exaltation, if there is a celestial kingdom which I believe there is....it will be based on many things including love. Especially love. Without charity there is no celestial kingdom for anyone. We don't know everything yet, in fact very little about the next life but if you don't have compassion and love for every human being you have no hope. We are not the judges of law or anything else. Just love....that's all. Let the rest work itself out in a Loving Creator's hands.

  • American First Merced, CA
    April 16, 2019 4:34 p.m.

    I've never met a person who's actually been traumatized over any LDS Church doctrine, only people who are angry they don't get more attention for their cause. Greasing the squeaky wheel only distracts from far more important issues.

  • Roadside Philosopher Fayette, UT
    April 16, 2019 4:32 p.m.

    I really can’t see Christ saying... hate, judge, and be mean to those that are different than you? I’m sure he would most likely say, the greater sin is on those that hate, not those who love.
    No one has the right to judge who are residing as a mere human on this planet as we are all flawed and none of us know All. Hence we can not possibly know enough to say how God would judge.
    All I know is that contributing to condemnation of those who contribute to our society, doesn’t appear to be productive, just divisive.
    Being so inflexible to say God is Only one way, hasn’t taken any of the lessons that God has shared with the great diversity of life. He made all sorts of relationships within his life’s creation.
    Inflexibility and thinking only you are right, leads to breakage, solitude and bitterness.

  • Cougalum St. George, UT
    April 16, 2019 4:30 p.m.

    I wholeheartedly agree that we should love people. I would treat the baby shower as I would treat the baby shower for the baby of an unwed mother. I would send a gift but would not celebrate what my moral compass requires me to recognize is wrong and is not in the best interest of the baby. I would treat the adults and babies with kindness even through I do not agree with the circumstance. The leaders have instructed that these people are not to be referred to in church records as apostates. A distinction that recognizes that people can make mistakes and not choose to repent but still believe in the tenets which they have broken. I dare say many/most of us fall into this category in varying degrees.

  • Upson Downs Sandy, UT
    April 16, 2019 4:30 p.m.

    God loves all His children as LDS Church Leaders continually preach. However, I think most sincere followers of the LDS Church know there is more to it's theology on this topic than simply God loving all His Earthly children. Please read Romans 1:21-32 for more information on this topic.

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    April 16, 2019 3:33 p.m.

    I hope readers remember that the author of this piece does not speak for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; that prerogative is reserved for the president of the Church and the First Presidency and/or Quorum of the Twelve. Things said in opinion pieces may or may not necessary reflect doctrine.

    President Oaks has taught that people will receive exaltation based on law, the law of the Celestial Kingdom, not on love.

    I personally will not support people in sin, but I hope they find happiness following the right path.