April 2017 Ensign: The Gays Are Not the Only Ones in Counterfeit Marriages and One Man/One Woman Marriages Are Not the Only Genuine Marriages Ordained of God

In a stunning turn of events, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints publicly endorsed polygamy as genuine marriage and called all civil marriages counterfeit marriage in the April 2017 Ensign.

For perhaps the first time since the second Manifesto, the Church has openly endorsed polygamy as only one of two genuine forms of marriage.

In the 2017 April Ensign, the official publication of the Church, Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy (a governing body of the church) specifically outlined the doctrine of what constitutes a genuine marriage when he was speaking about same sex marriages in his article entitled “The War Goes On.”

“…Same-sex marriage is only a counterfeit. It brings neither posterity nor exaltation. Although his imitations deceive many people, they are not the real thing. They cannot bring lasting happiness.”

In the clearest message to date from the Church, we now have the two criteria of what constitutes a genuine marriage:

  1. Brings posterity
  2. Brings exaltation

Since both criteria can only happen in a temple where you, your spouse, and your posterity are sealed together for all eternity, any marriage other than a marriage occurring in a temple is considered counterfeit utilizing these newly published criteria.

The only genuine marriage is a temple marriage.

Although such criteria for a genuine marriage is settled doctrine, the church has tepidly endorsed the counterfeit marriages of civilly wedded opposite sex couples since its founding, allowing those in opposite sex counterfeit marriages full fellowship in the church. Opposite sex counterfeit marriages are not considered apostasy and children living in such opposite sex counterfeit marriages are allowed a name and a blessing, baptism, priesthood ordinations, and mission calls without having to renounce their parent’s marriage.

Because a large number of church members practice counterfeit opposite sex marriage and almost the entire world population practices counterfeit opposite sex marriage, the Church has resisted publicly labeling such marriages in derogatory terms so not to inflame relations with its worldwide neighbors (learning from their Independence and Nauvoo days when such things caused neighborly animosity.)

Currently, because the gays are both in small number and are already being kicked about at large by cultural and societal bigotry, the Church appears emboldened to say what it really thinks about counterfeit marriages. Directing all guns at the gays, the church does not endorse same sex counterfeit marriages and goes as far as to consider them apostasy. Since any posterity of a gay married couple is not real posterity, such can be treated as counterfeit as well. Counterfeit posterity may not receive a name and a blessing, be baptized, receive the priesthood, or go on a mission until they are 18 and only then can they claim genuineness by moving out of their parent’s home and renouncing the counterfeit marriage of their same sex parents.

If it can’t be performed in the temple, it is counterfeit. Period. Depending who you are dictates how much the church will persecute your counterfeit marriage.

This clear binary that a marriage is either genuine or counterfeit (with the temple being the benchmark of a genuine marriage) has inadvertently endorsed polygamy as genuine marriage, embracing a practice most members find revolting. This may be the first time an endorsement of polygamy as a genuine form of marriage has been published in the Ensign.

Even though it is now illegal to physically marry a second wife in the United States while your first wife is alive (this thanks to the Church who practiced and pressed the matter so hard in the late 1800s almost to its destruction), men today may go to the temple once their wife dies and marry again, obtaining a polygamous wife to be exalted with him, his first wife, and his posterity for all eternity.

We have current apostles leading the church who are in polygamous temple marriages. Dalin H. Oaks explains the genuineness of his polygamous marriage so matter-of-factly to BYU students at a devotional in 2002 when he stated:

“When I was 66, my wife June died of cancer. Two years later—a year and a half ago—I married Kristen McMain, the eternal companion who now stands at my side.”

Both one man/one woman and polygamous marriages performed in the temple satisfy the published criteria of a genuine marriage: They bring an eternal posterity and they bring exaltation.

Because they are illegal, non-temple polygamous marriages are apostasy. However, when the Supreme Court upheld the Morrill AntiBigamy Act in Reynolds v. United States in 1879, the chief justice wrote, “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.” Since spiritual polygamy is a religious belief with which the government cannot interfere, not only are polygamous temple marriages completely legal, they are not apostasy.

The real news of Elder Lawrence’s message is not that same sex marriages are counterfeit and one man/one woman temple marriages are genuine. That’s old news. Eyes pretty much roll when we hear this tired mantra. The real news is the official criteria that openly classifies opposite sex civil marriages as counterfeit and publicly recognizes polygamous marriages performed in the temple as genuine.

Legally married opposite sex couples and legally married same sex couples: your marriage is counterfeit because you do not meet the genuine requirements. While it is true that the gay community is harassed continually for having counterfeit marriages, we have lots of company even if the Church will not publicly harass other legal civil marriages for being counterfeit.

Articles like this published in the April 2017 Ensign single out the gay community’s legal civil marriages from other legal civil marriages. Articles like this harshly target the gay community and sends extremely harmful messages to LDS gay youth both in and out of the closet. In the name of religious freedom, I am all in favor of the Church promoting temple marriage as a tenant of the faith, but they do not need to harass the gay community with violent war metaphors and irresponsible language describing fellow children of God who are married civilly as something “which doth not edify[,] is not of God, and is darkness.”

You should not have to degrade another’s marriage to exalt your own.

Eventually, if not this article then sometime in the near future, something so outrageous will be said or written that good rank and file members everywhere will stop and stand and say, “ENOUGH ALREADY!” But for now it’s like everyone is just standing around watching the school yard bully kick the gay kid who is already on the ground.

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13 thoughts on “April 2017 Ensign: The Gays Are Not the Only Ones in Counterfeit Marriages and One Man/One Woman Marriages Are Not the Only Genuine Marriages Ordained of God

  1. Pingback: Counterfeit Marriage | Dad's Primal Scream

  2. I have a couple of pushbacks to this article. The church would say back to you that currently a polygamous marriage where both spouses are alive is illegal and therefore a counterfeit marriage. Being a legal it there for is not worthy of exaltation so it doesn’t meet their first of two criteria.

    II push back or correction I think you need to make is that the church and its policies absolutely allows for Spiritual polygamy to this day. You mentioned Apostles and others being sealed to more than one woman after the first spouse dies. I am proof that spiritual polygamy is Alive and Well in the LDS Church. I am still sealed to my ex-wife and my current wife against my will. I have asked 3 times for my sealing to be cancelled to my ex-wife who committed adultery and abused my children (whom I have custody of now). So, per current church policy spiritual Temple polygamy among living people is alive and well in the LDS Church
    Randall Brower
    Litchfield Park Arizona

  3. Thank you Randall for your comments. Just a couple points for clarity:

    My post does identify non-temple marriage polygamy as counterfeit.

    Secondly, I wrote this post as a purposeful exaggeration of what was really said in the Ensign article. Of course the article didn’t out right endorse temple polygamous marriages as genuine and all civil marriage as counterfeit. My post was written to illustrate (through mirroring) the whopping exaggeration in the Ensign article that same sex marriage is counterfeit.

    My post showcases and illustrates that a lot of implications from both sides can be packed into the phrase “counterfeit marriage” not just that same sex marriage is counterfeit marriage.

    Sadly even though what I wrote was written to highlight exaggerations, the facts I used were completely true.

    Stop picking on the gays. Using the criteria in the Ensign listing what makes a counterfeit marriage, any civil marriage outside the temple is counterfeit. Only calling out same sex marriage drips of animus and bigotry.

  4. I’m not gifted in writing, and it is not my intent to offend anyone, but I felt that I should share this. This post is intended for those who are seeking understanding regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ opposition to same-sex marriage. My greatest desire is to not offend anyone and to help those who are truly seeking guidance on this sensitive issue.

    Whenever I have a gospel related concern I always ask myself, “Does this fit into God’s plan? Why? or Why not? Then I search the scriptures for answers to those questions. For example: Does same-sex marriage truly fit into Heavenly Father’s plan for His children? To me, the following scripture passages briefly summarize God’s plan for His children and help me understand why the Church and the Lord consider same-sex marriage to be a particularly “grievous” sin (Gen. 18:20).

    Note that these verses contain basic, core doctrines of the Church.

    Moses 1:39
    39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
    (This is Heavenly Father’s whole purpose)

    Gen. 1:27-28
    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…

    “To the first man and woman on earth, the Lord said, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply’ (Moses 2:28; see also Gen. 1:28; Abr. 4:28). This commandment was first in sequence and first in importance. It was essential that God’s spirit children have mortal birth and an opportunity to progress toward eternal life” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 72).

    Gen. 2:24
    24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    Doctrine & Covenants 131:1-4
    1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
    2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this border of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
    3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
    4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an aincrease.
    (In summary, these verses state a core belief/doctrine of the Church, that in order to receive eternal life (return to God’s presence and become like Him), one must be sealed to their spouse (of the opposite gender) in the temple by one holding the proper authority/priesthood.)

    Doctrine & Covenants 132:19
    19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; … shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—… it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
    (Note that the Church believes that all those who are exalted will continue to procreate after this life)

    It is understandable that those who do not believe these core truths/doctrines may struggle to understand why the Church opposes same-sex marriage. However, if the above scriptures are true (and I believe that they are) then, it should make sense why the Church must oppose same-sex marriage. I would invite all who are seeking understanding to accept James’ invitation:

    James 1:5
    5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

    To those who believe that some are born with same-sex attraction, the following scripture may be relevant. I’m not saying whether this is or is not the case, nor am I saying that I don’t think God would allow someone to be born with same-sex attraction. I’m unsure what I believe regarding that. I believe the following verse is relevant in both cases:

    1 Corinthians 10:13
    13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
    (In no way am I suggesting that it is easy to overcome same-sex attraction or any other sin for that matter. I am only sharing a scripture from the Bible, and I do know that through the grace of Jesus Christ we can bear, overcome, and/or escape ALL temptations. To say otherwise would imply that the Savior is not capable of helping us to that extent. Presonally, I am grateful for all that the Savior has helped me to overcome in my life.)

  5. Regarding heterosexual marriages outside of the temple, it is no secret that the ideal marriage is done in the temple (D&C 131:1-4). It is only in God’s temples that people are married for all eternity. That being said, legal, heterosexual marriage outside the temple is still a step in the right direction. Hopefully it is done with the hope of being married in the temple in the future. Meanwhile, the couple is still helping Heavenly Father’s plan to progress by procreating, thus brings God’s spirit children to earth to gain a body and experience.

  6. Also D&C 132:15 states, “…if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.”

    This applies to ALL couples, opposite sex and same sex alike. It’s no secret. I am sure Satan is please when an opposite-sex couple decides to not get married in the temple, because their marriage will be of no force when they are dead. This should not surprise them since both agreed during the wedding ceremony that they would be married “until death do [they] part”.

  7. Thank you Rambikoff for your thoughtful comments.

    The church’s position is that God wants an opposite sex couple to wait and have sexual relations until after they are married and maintain complete fidelity after marriage. This is a reasonable standard for any Christian Church to take. LDS same sex couples desire the same thing. Nothing special. Nothing extra. Just the equality our opposite sex brothers and sisters enjoy.

  8. President Russell M. Nelson said: “A couple in love can choose a marriage of the highest quality or a lesser type that will not endure. Or they can choose neither. . . .
    “The best choice is a celestial marriage” (“Celestial Marriage,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 92, 94).

    President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “There is no substitute for marrying in the temple. It is the only place under the heavens where marriage can be solemnized for eternity. Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t cheat your companion. Don’t shortchange your lives. Marry the right person in the right place at the right time” (“Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 2).

  9. I should clarify that simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin. It is when we act on that attraction that it becomes a sin.

  10. Rambikoff, thanks for the info.

    A comment on prophets. Jesus said we would know prophets by their fruits. As I read it, Jesus charged to each of us the autonomy to decide whether every thing we are told by every person is right, good, and true. Then, when warranted, we may apply the title of prophet to the extent each person earns it. The idea of first naming a person a prophet and then by default calling all their words prophetic regardless of merit is, by my estimation, the very opposite of what Jesus taught. With that foundation, you will understand why I do not feel bound by sayings that have no upside, regardless of who says them. Especially when there are so many godly people in the world–prophets, even–with wonderful, uplifting ideas on how to actually be a good gay.

  11. Nathan, I enjoy reading your words and works. We are what we are and we didn’t ask to be this way. Helping each other, supporting one another. The good things we do in this life will speak louder than any issue involving gender or orientation. Keep up the good work.

  12. It is an addiction if you are attracted to the same sex It goes right down the same pathway in your brain as if somebody being addicted to porn

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