Straight Talk on Mormons and Gays

Why the LDS Church Will Never Change its Position on Same-Sex Marriage

83609603.jpg
George Frey/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Note from LDS Expert Krista Cook: I try to represent the LDS (Mormon) faith accurately. Readers should appreciate that some issues are extremely controversial, both inside and outside of the LDS faith. I try to be as objective and accurate as I can be.

Other religions may change their position on same-sex marriage. Mormons will not. There are numerous reasons for this.

Traditional Family is the Foundation of our Entire Belief System

Heavenly Father established marriage.

He determines its characteristics and the instructions regarding it. The Church has always been clear on this issue:

Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society....Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

Our beliefs about the premortal life, this mortal life and life after death all depend on the traditional form of marriage, as does our beliefs on virtue and chastity. Same-sex marriage cannot be incorporated into these beliefs.

Position on Gays and Gay Marriage is Doctrinal

Heavenly Father's instructions to us come from scripture, modern revelation, inspired counsel from living church leaders and policy set by church leaders.

None of these sources provide for same-sex marriage, nor will they.

The Church and all its leaders are centrally managed. In other words, LDS congregations and leaders do not and cannot defy central authority. Doctrine does not change. Our position now and in the future will remain what it has been in the past.

The Church has institutionally encouraged people struggling with same-sex attraction to remain faithful LDS members. It has also encouraged all LDS members to be compassionate and understanding, just as Jesus Christ was. This is kindness, not institutional change.

Discrimination in Benefits, Housing and Employment are Separate Issues

Just because Mormons do not support same-sex marriage or homosexual behavior does not mean that we allow others to be persecuted. From the Church:

However, “protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not remove Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people.”

Protecting people from discrimination in housing or employment are separate issues. Protecting people from this persecution does not require changing the traditional form of marriage, legally or within churches. Granting medical benefits or probate rights also does not require changing the traditional or legally accepted definition of marriage. It is deceitful to suggest otherwise.

Early on the Church signaled that it does not reject efforts to protect people from prejudice and discrimination.

Comparison With Blacks and the Priesthood is a Faulty Analogy

Blacks were allowed temple privileges and priesthood ordination in 1978.

However, this does not suggest the Church will change its position now like it did then. The two issues are very different.

Despite not being able to identify why this policy on blacks began, we always knew it would change. It was temporary. Change finally came from authorized sources. These same authorized sources have declared that our views on same-sex marriage will not change.

A better analogy is to review the Church's position on fornication and adultery. Even though society and law have softened attitudes and penalties for those who commit these acts, the Church has not changed its position at all, nor will it.

Only misunderstanding of polygamy causes people to accuse of inconsistency. This is not a good analogy either. The Church is not inconsistent.

Sin has Never Been Redefined as Acceptable, Much Less a Virtue

What constitutes sin and what constitutes virtue does not change, nor will it.

Homosexual behavior was always considered sinful. It is considered sinful now. It will remain sinful in the future.

At no time has sin ever been redefined as a virtue, or even acceptable. Doctrinal changes in the past resulted from inability to live a higher law. Moreover, higher behavior became expected, because additional truth had been revealed.

For example, the children of Israel could not live a higher law; so they were given the law of Moses, a preparatory law to prepare them for when a higher law would be imposed on them. Jesus Christ imposed that higher law during his lifetime. This higher law is present in His restored church now.

Doctrine does not become more permissive. Doctrine will demand more righteous behavior in the future, not less.

Speculation, Wishful Thinking and Irresponsible Reporting

Reports that the Church is changing or that it will change in the future have no merit. These reports are speculation, conjecture and wishful thinking. As such, they constitute irresponsible reporting.

The Church has always been clear and consistent on this issue:

On the question of same-sex marriage, the Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with kindness and understanding. If it is being suggested that the Church’s doctrine on this matter is changing, that is incorrect.

Marriage between a man and a woman is central to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. As such, traditional marriage is a foundational doctrine and cannot change.

The Church reinforced this on June 26, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal:

The Court's decision does not alter the Lord's doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.

The LDS Position is not the Result of Ignorance or Fear

LDS members and their leaders all have experience with same-sex attraction from interaction with family members, friends, coworkers, acquaintances and what not.

More exposure to homosexual practitioners or their lifestyle will not affect the Church or its practices. It may affect some individual members, but it will have no effect on the Church.

Political Pressure Likely to Make Mormons More Resolute

Political pressure to change our positions or beliefs on this issue suggests that someone or something other than Heavenly Father is the author of them.

This is highly offensive to Mormons. We believe we have Jesus Christ's true gospel and church. If people wish to change the Church, they should aim their efforts at a divine source, not an earthly one.

Furthermore, a religion of prophets and martyrs does not bend to public opinion, societal pressure or intimidation, regardless of its form or the amount of pressure exerted. Mormons will hold firm.

For additional information, see Part 2 and Part 3.