How Same-Sex Marriage Could Save the Church

Moroni sunsetMaybe it’s all the years I dedicated as a missionary, as a bishop, as a seminary teacher, etc., but I still feel very connected to the Church and hope and pray for its success in fulfilling its mission to build Zion. This is why I am so concerned about current trends of so many people leaving the Church, especially the younger generation.

My husband I are active members of the Church. We both still feel connected to the Church and its mission. We attend church meetings every week and feel welcome in our ward. Of course, we are not allowed to participate fully because our marriage is still considered a “serious transgression”, and because of that we cannot help but feel excluded. So many other LGBT members of the Church feel the same, and most leave the Church. But it’s not just LGBT members who are leaving.

In her recently published book, “The Next Mormons: How Millennials are Changing the LDS Church,” Jana Riess reported that “Mormonism used to keep about three-quarters of its adherents. Among young adults it is now retaining less than half.” And the trend is getting worse. That just is not acceptable!

It’s not just the exodus out of the Church of progressives that we’re talking about. The whole next generation of Church leaders and members is at stake. We cannot write them off simply as “evil progressives” that the Church would be better off without anyway. These are our own sons and daughters. They are the future of the Church. The Church cannot afford to lose them. This situation is as serious as when the federal government in the 1880s threatened to confiscate all Church assets and imprison all the leaders in order to stop the practice of polygamy. The result is the same — the end of the Church as we now know it. The Church’s very existence and survival could be dependent on changing what is causing them to leave.

When I served my mission in 1983-84, there were only 5 million members of the Church worldwide. For most of my life, I have seen the miracle of the rapid growth of the Church. In General Conference we often heard talks quoting Daniel’s prophecy of the stone cut out of the mountains without hands that would fill the whole earth, and saying that the Church is fulfilling that prophecy. Today, the Brethren have not been quoting that prophecy in General Conference anymore, because the miracle of the Church’s rapid growth that I had seen most of my life is no longer happening.

There are large numbers of once active and devout members of the Church of all stripes who are leaving the Church, especially our young people. As noted above, more than half of all our young members are now expected to leave the Church before they turn 30. In addition, it is estimated that only 30% of the 16 million members worldwide, roughly 5 million, are still active and attend Church regularly. There also seems to be a growing trend of “Middle Way Mormons” who still attend Church for social and family reasons, but who no longer fully believe as they used to.

What is happening to cause this? Why is this happening?

Our Church is not the only church to experience this kind of exodus of members. Largely it is the Internet and instant availability of information that has changed the landscape forever for all of religion, but it has had a particular impact on Mormonism. Information regarding the historicity of the Church’s truth claims is available now in countless forums, not just anti-Mormon publications and scholarly journals buried at the BYU Library. Even the Church’s own website makes the Gospel Topic Essays available to give the Church’s perspective to all the controversial issues that were once hidden or unknown to the vast majority of members.

The Internet also raises awareness to social issues and the perceived draconian positions of Church leaders toward issues such as race and priesthood, and women and patriarchy, to name a few. The number one issue among these social issues is homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

More than any other issue, members of the Church are being challenged by the Church’s position on homosexuality and its labeling same-sex marriage as a “serious transgression”. Recent studies have shown that nearly half of all members in the United States disagree with the Church’s position, and that this number has been continuing to increase rapidly. Even though the November 2015 exclusion policy was recently rescinded, it still does not change the fact that LGBT members are pressured to remain single and celibate, and that same-sex married members are still under threat of excommunication. While revoking the exclusion policy was a step in the right direction, it likely will not be enough to stop the exodus from the Church of hundreds of thousands of members who are deeply affected by this issue, especially the younger generation who will not tolerate bigotry and exclusion.

To me, these trends are tragic. It makes me so sad to see the Church failing in its progress like this. Despite the pain that I have felt personally because of the Church’s position, I do not want to see the Church fail. I believe that the Church has tremendous potential to do so much good in the world. I believe in the goodness of its mission. I believe in building a Zion society where all of God’s children are loved, respected, nurtured, and included in the great work to prepare for the Millenial Reign of the Savior.

For this reason, I believe the Church will make the necessary changes it needs to make to adapt to the new landscape that is a reality now. When polygamy was about to destroy the Church, the prophet received revelation that polygamy had to be abandoned. When the Church’s racist teachings against people of African descent were thwarting rapid Church expansion in Brazil and Africa and other countries, the prophet received a revelation to abandon those teachings.

Today, as the Church continues to lose its once faithful members in large numbers, and continues to lose the young people who are the future of the Church, the Church is once again standing on the brink of possible destruction. As in the past, when the Church has faced similar circumstances, the prophet will receive a revelation adjusting the policies and doctrines causing the problems. Top of that list of policies and doctrines is the Church’s position on homosexuality and prohibition of same-sex marriage.

I fully believe that within the next 5-10 years (maybe sooner), we will see the Church solemnizing same-sex marriages, and even same-sex sealings in the temple. I used to believe that we would have to wait until Elder Holland or Elder Uchtdorf are president of the Church before such change would be possible. However, in light of the continuing hemorrhaging of members leaving the Church because of this issue, it is possible that even President Nelson or Oaks may lead this change. This is how same-sex marriage could save the Church.

When the majority of the members realize that excluding same-sex couples and shaming single LGBT members into living a lonely, unfulfilled life, then we will finally see things change. The thing is, according to the Pew study, we are almost there already. If the trend continues, we will see the vast majority of members in favor of accepting same-sex marriage in a few years.

The Brethren are hoping that by rescinding the Exclusion Policy, that most members will just forget the issue, and that it will relieve the pressure for more changes. I’m anxious to see if the Brethren are going to push stake presidents to excommunicate same-sex couples (such as my husband and I) for “serious transgression”, or remove any pressure to do so. Because of the PR damage it could cause, HQ may be telling bishops and stake presidents to lay off disciplining same-sex couples for the time being. It’s too early to tell, but we shall see very soon how it all washes out.

My oldest sister, who is a devout member of the Church and the 74 year old matriarch of my extended family, has been a huge supporter of me and my husband and our marriage. She has admonished us to continue to keep God a part of our marriage and to remain worthy to hold a temple recommend, even though we can’t get one right now. She is certain that it is just a matter of time before we will again be able to hold a temple recommend and enter the House of the Lord and be sealed together for time and all eternity. I am longing for that day.


19 thoughts on “How Same-Sex Marriage Could Save the Church

  1. Could the Lord have rescued the ancient church? Certainly He could! Instead, He looked on as the early Saints apostatized, corrupting his teachings and yielding to wickedness, eventually falling away.
    The great apostasy had been prophesied from the beginning, paving the way for the Restoration. The Prophet Joseph Smith was promised that this restored gospel, coming in this dispensation, would NOT be taken from the earth. It will not be allowed to fail!
    It is with great regret that we watch members leave the church, including our youth. Should the church compromise on its previous position stated in the “Proclamation on the Family? It cannot! The conditions of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage are eternal and irreversible! The Lord cannot, and will not compromise His great plan to satisfy the demands of modern society .
    Rather than counsel the Lord to compromise His teachings, to satisfy our desires, it is for us to conform to
    His word and show our faith. Great blessings are in store for those who do .
    I believe that the Lord will bless the writer, and all those like him, who struggle with matters of sexual orientation while trying to keep the faith. I pray that by following the own pathway of repentance and faithfulness, they will witness great miracles leading them to life eternal!

  2. I actually dont believe they will change their policies on same sex marraige. If they did it would be going over fundamental beliefs held within the church and touted as part of christ’s gospel. I would say there are certain things set in stone and if there are not then this church fails to be true bending towards every whim of man.

    That said I am a member of the LGBTQ community. While I hope that things change I doubt it will 😦

  3. I completely agree…I feel like this will also change like so many previous policies/doctrines have. When the brethren finally accepted that being LGBTQI is not a choice (duh!) then it leads no other options but full inclusion one day. They can’t say God created them gay and not give them a Plan of Salvation like everyone else in the church has. The brethren have also Finally agreed that mixed orientation is a disaster waiting to happen, they will one day (through research, revelation or listening and understanding) that celibacy is also not the answer for our LGBTQI members…..hopefully before more lives are lost and more good families walk away!

  4. Glenda, the church will not, cannot, go so far as to totally reverse it’s policy on homosexuality and marriage. While today’s social climate has created an environment where a great deal of pressure exists for this, the brethren cannot overrule revelation. They cannot ignore scripture.
    Ancient scripture speaks out clearly on homosexual practice. The creation of male and female was not just a convenient means of human regeneration, but the holiest and most integral part of the Plan of Salvation, a plan ordained of God before the foundation of this world. It is eternal, and will still be in effect when the world passes away.

  5. Alan, thank you for being respectful, while sticking to your guns on your point of view. I will likewise be respectful to you, because I used to think like you. I was a missionary and a bishop and a seminary teacher for years, and I taught others precisely what you just said. Today, I have a very different perspective.

    As a seminary teacher, I taught my students all about the history of the Restored Church, which is in effect, a history of Modern Revelation. You have said that the Brethren cannot overrule revelation and ignore scripture. Yes, they cannot do so, or at least they cannot do so lightly, UNLESS God reveals unto his prophet to overrule previous revelation and ignore scripture that was written for a different audience at a different time.

    As Latter-day Saints, we believe that “God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Article of Faith 9). Taking the position that the prophets have never overruled previous revelation or have never adapted ancient scripture for modern purposes is a position that does not stand up to the facts of our religious history. Prophets have done so, and they will likely do so again and again.

    The scriptures, ancient and modern, are full of examples of previous teachings being replaced by new teachings for a new dispensation. This concept is even at the root of the word “dispensation”. The Savior himself came to fulfill the Law of Moses, and he instead replaced it with the Doctrine of Christ. You cannot put new wine into old bottles, as the Savior taught!

    In more recent history, the prophet Wilford Woodruff received revelation that the practice of Plural Marriage should be discontinued. The Manifesto was issued in 1890, and it was approved by the whole Church and canonized into scripture and is now published in the Doctrine and Covenants as Official Declaration 1. And within my own lifetime (I was just a teenager in 1978, but I remember the day vividly), President Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation that the doctrines of the past that forbade people of African descent from receiving the priesthood and temple blessings were no longer accepted in the Church. Official Declaration 2 was likewise canonized and added to the Doctrine and Covenants as modern scripture.

    So, you see, it is totally within the realm of possibility that the Lord could reveal to his prophet that it is time to accept same-sex marriage in the Church. It doesn’t matter what may have been taught by previous prophets. It doesn’t matter what was recorded in ancient scripture. If God reveals new revelation to the prophet, then it is the mind and will of God. We will all be better off and be blessed if we will accept any new revelation that the prophet receives, because to do otherwise will only offend God.

    Will you be willing to accept what the prophet says when he receives a revelation from God accepting loving, stable, monogamous same-sex marriage as righteousness? Or will you become an apostate, just like the polygamists in Southern Utah, who cling to the doctrine of the past and refuse to accept the new light and knowledge God has revealed? Prepare yourself for that day, because I believe with all my heart that it is coming.

  6. What is happening in the church today is predicted in the scriptures; people leaving the church for various reasons is part of that prophecy. As we prepare for the second coming of Christ, we must stand in holy places and not be moved, or we will not abide the day. Hoping the church will change to accommodate our lifestyle does not seem like a good approach, in my opinion.

  7. In response to Alan Pearson’s comment “Ancient scripture speaks out clearly on homosexual practice.”


    I’m glad you specify “ancient” scripture, because modern scripture is silent on the subject. There are no passages in the Doctrine and Covenants that even hint at the issue of sexual orientation. Even Section 132 specifically comes from a heteronormative perspective without even acknowledging the existence of any sexual orientation besides heterosexuality. This is understandable, because back in the 1830s and 40s, there was no real sense of sexual orientation. The majority ruled, and the minority didn’t exist or was shamed into silence and obscurity.

    It’s not that there were no homosexual members of the Church in Kirtland or Nauvoo, because history has proven that there were. It’s just that society had not yet evolved enough to recognize the concept of sexual orientation and had not developed appreciation for diversity. Conformity was valued far more than diversity. If you are part of the majority, it’s difficult to recognize the existence of a minority, and easy to dismiss it as degeneracy.

    Joseph Smith’s own counselor in the First Presidency, John C. Bennett, was excommunicated for “buggery”, which is the archaic term used to describe homosexuality. Bennett was actually bisexual, and he seduced a number of women at Nauvoo with his “spiritual wife” practice, but that was not why he was excommunicated. He was forced from the Church because of his sexual relationship with the young man Frank Higbee who was also a member of the Church in Nauvoo. Higbee was also excommunicated and ostracized from the Church.

    It turns out it was a really bad idea to excommunicate and shame both of these men for their gay relationship. Bennett became instrumental in galvanizing anti-Mormon sentiment when he published his expose of Mormonism, and in lobbying the Illinois government against the Mormons. Frank and his brother established the infamous Nauvoo Expositor newspaper, which if you know Church history, was very critical of Joseph and the Church. Joseph called for the destruction of the Expositor press, which was carried out in a violent manner. It was this unconstitutional behavior and abuse of power of Joseph that led to his incarceration in the Carthage Jail and his ultimate martyrdom.

    It has been Church practice ever since to deny the existence of a homosexual sexual orientation, and it is being reinforced to this day. Just last year, Elder Bednar proclaimed that there are no homosexual members of the Church. Really?

    Most of this comment has been focused on the modern scripture’s lack of mention of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, even though homosexuality played a significant role in events during the Nauvoo period. But ancient scripture is also largely silent on the subject. The Book of Mormon says nothing at all. Jesus himself never mentioned a word about homosexuality, or if he did, it has been removed from the text by scribes because it didn’t fit their heteronormative perspective.

    In the entire Old and New Testaments, there are only five passages that address homosexuality, the most famous of which about Sodom and Gomorrah is mistakenly thought of as a metaphor for homosexuality when it really has more to do with rape and violence toward God’s messengers.

    Probably the most clear and direct of these five Bible passages is the one in Leviticus 18:22 which prohibits homosexual intercourse. However, Leviticus is hardly a handbook of behavioral standards that are binding upon Christians and Mormons today. Leviticus also has prohibitions against trimming your beard, marrying a widow, and even prohibits having sex with your wife if she is menstruating. The last I checked bishops don’t ask members about their observance of these “commandments” when they conduct worthiness interviews. Leviticus explicitly bans 76 behaviors, most of which are either obvious or ridiculous (see ). No one would try to argue that God still requires his people to observe all of these commandments today, so it is not a conclusive source for denouncing same-sex relationships and marriage.

    All five of the Biblical passages that refer to homosexuality do so in terms of the pagan worship practices of the day, and do not refer to what we see today as loving, committed, monogamous same-sex relationships and marriage. Even the ancient concept of marriage was more of a geopolitical and economic arrangement — a man’s wife was his property — and not remotely close to what we consider ideal marriage to be today. Each of these passages in the Bible should be interpreted more as admonitions to stay true to the faith than to abstain from committed same-sex relationships and marriage.

    Since there is really no scriptural basis for the prohibition of committed, monogamous same-sex relationships and marriage, then we can only rely on modern revelation. Again, the Brethren CAN receive revelation accepting same-sex marriage as righteousness for LGBT members. They do not have to ignore ancient scripture, but they do have to ignore and overcome centuries of bigotry and unenlightened exclusion.

  8. I’ve also read Jana’s book, but it’s unclear to me how anyone could think normalizing homosexuality would help the church retain members in the long run. A number of churches, including mainline Protestant churches and the Community of Christ, have done this and have only seen membership decline more steeply. It’s conservative churches, like Pentecostal churches, some evangelical churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox churches, and yes, ours (we still have modest congregational growth, even in the US) that are holding steady or growing in this very challenging climate.

    The evidence is that liberal young people leave anyway–that is, even when churches try to conform to their views. They aren’t actually interested in liberal churches. If they were, they’d attend liberal churches. Rather, they just aren’t interested in religion, maybe because they can already get mainstream liberal ideology from universities and media. On the other hand, abandoning the Christian sexual ethic alienates traditional believers and often leads to schism (this is currently happening in the UMC, one of the last mainline Protestant churches to normalize homosexuality).

    It’s tempting to make comparisons to racial restrictions or polygamy, but same-sex marriage blows a much bigger hole in our theology, because it requires the unraveling of the entire Christian understanding of sex. If the relationship of two men can be a ‘marriage’, then we cannot believe that kids deserve a mom and a dad, or speak coherently about a husband’s or wife’s distinct roles in a marriage, or say much about the meaning and purpose of sex (maleness and femaleness) at all. It changes the whole underlying anthropology, our understanding of what humans are. And indeed, members who accept same-sex marriage also tend to abandon church beliefs about porn, premarital virginity and everything else sex-related.

    And, frankly, how are we going to appeal to non-white people and people from outside North America if we keep focusing on these bourgeois concerns that, sorry, for the most part, only educated white members in the US and Canada care about? It’s no coincidence that the mainline churches are the one religious group in the US which is even whiter than ours ( The most diverse churches are conservative on sex:

  9. Then why did Wilford Woodruff end plural marriage? Why did Spencer Kimball allow blacks to hold the priesthood? Why is it that we are not punished for shaving our beards, as forbidden in Leviticus? Why do we allow women to speak in Church when the New Testament forbids it?

    If Church doctrine and practice cannot “be moved”, then why do we profess to believe in the 9th Article of Faith?

    The Church has already changed from Spencer Kimball’s hardline to accept that being gay is not a choice. This position of the Church rejects what you just said about accommodating “lifestyle”. Being gay is not a “lifestyle”. Being gay is how God made gay people. Telling gay people they have to stop being gay is offensive to God and disrespects his creations.

    If God gives revelation to the prophet to change the Church so it is a little more loving and accepting of gay members, and gives them more options than just celibacy, how could you stand in the way of God’s will?

    Would you be willing to accept a life of celibacy? If so, then do it, your entire life. If you’re not willing to be celibate for life, how can you stand there and preach that others must live celibate as you impose your dogma on a minority who have been sidelined and excluded and abused by the majority? Just because you want to cling to hardline dogma that kills people and makes our gay kids want to commit suicide?

    I’m sorry, your position lacks any sense of ethical morality. The only ethical and moral position is to hope and pray that the Church WILL change — that it will discontinue clinging to doctrines, policies, practices, and old ways of thinking that cause so much pain and harm to a whole segment of the Church and their families and friends. This is untenable, and this is exactly why so many are leaving the Church now.

    I want to see the Church succeed in its mission to build Zion and be that stone cut out of the mountains without hands that will fill the whole earth. As long as the Church clings to the old ways and insists on continuing to harm and hurt so many members, the Church will totally fail in its mission. And for that I am very sad, because I have dedicated my whole life to seeing this Church flourish and blossom as the rose. I still have faith that God will correct the leaders of the Church who are entrenched in the old dogma and resist the changes that God wants for his Church.

  10. Tom, you make some good points. I appreciate your objective analysis. However, you are overstating the conflict of same-sex marriage to our theology. I am assuming you are straight, because it appears you are stuck in a heteronormative mindset and can’t seem to see things beyond your own experience.

    I do not see the same conflict that you see between same-sex marriage and the Plan of Salvation. Accepting same-sex marriage does not require the Church to rewrite the entire doctrine. The doctrine of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage is beautiful and wonderful exactly as it is, for heterosexual people. It does not need to be changed for heterosexual people, or for those who would be in a same-sex marriage.

    When we think of marriage between a man and woman in the Church, we are thinking of loving, stable, committed, chaste, and monogamous marriage. However, when straight members discuss same-sex marriage, it is clear that they are not thinking of it in terms of loving, stable, committed, chaste, and monogamous. That is a false premise that leads to the wrong conclusion. This false premise comes from a belief system still rooted in bigotry.

    There can be every bit of righteousness in a same-sex marriage as there can be in a heterosexual marriage. Just because a same-sex couple cannot procreate does not mean the marriage is an abomination. President Nelson himself married his second wife when they were both past the age of childbearing, yet their marriage is not considered sinful. There is righteousness in being in a committed and loving marriage with another person, even if you cannot bear children.

    As for procreation in the eternities, there is nothing to preclude the principle of adoption. In fact, we can say that adoption in the eternities is the rule, not the exception. All of our spirits are spirit children of heavenly parents. When we are born to a family in mortality, we are being adopted. When we are sealed to our mortal parents, we are being adopted. So, you see, the doctrine needs no changing to be able to accommodate righteous same-sex marriage. It only needs a little elaboration, and a willingness to abandon bigotry.

  11. “When we think of marriage between a man and woman in the Church, we are thinking of loving, stable, committed, chaste, and monogamous marriage.”

    But why? Heterosexual relationships are monogamous because it takes one of each sex to produce a child, and one plus one is two. They are sexually exclusive (partly) because cheating leads to children not getting to grow up with both parents. They are permanent because breaking up is bad for kids who may come into existence through that relationship. We have these norms because it’s in the collective interest for heterosexual couples to behave this way. The distinctive and gigantically important feature of the male-female sexual relationship is that it can produce new human life.

    On the other hand, there’s no public interest in chaste, monogamous homosexual relationships. It’s not like society cares about your love life in itself–we don’t need sexually exclusive, monogamous homosexual relationships for any civilizational purpose. Obviously it’s *possible* for homosexual relationships to mimic marital relationships but there’s no underlying reason for them to be this way *as a rule*. If you undercut the rationale underlying the norms (monogamy, sexual exclusivity, permanence) by changing the form of the institution so as not to fit that rationale, the norms will evaporate over time. And, looking around, you can see that they do in churches and societies that have gone in this direction.

    And that brings me back to my main point: doesn’t the evidence suggest that normalizing homosexuality will not only not “save the church” but perhaps make things much worse? How can you look at the Episcopal church or PCUSA or the Community of Christ and see something worth emulating? They conformed to contemporary sexual ideology and all that comes with it and have faded into irrelevance. There’s so little to distinguish them from their secular competitors. They didn’t retain Millennial liberals, who don’t want any kind of religion, and they lost the traditionalists, who are the vitality of religious institutions. And, to be frank, I think that’s what some progressives, possibly including Jana Riess, expect and hope for–for the church to wither and die off like the liberal churches.

  12. Tom, I had appreciated your logic and clarity of thought in your first comment. But this comment is just so blatantly bigoted and full of unconscious bias that I was tempted to trash your response. I approved it getting posted because I wanted to make this response to you and help you become aware that you are clearly stuck in an area that you don’t know that you don’t know — a heterosexual blindspot. From my vantage point, I can see the errors you are making that you are apparently unaware of.

    You are clearly stuck in a heteronormative perspective, interpreting everything in your world through the lens of your heterosexual orientation. You are so convinced of heterosexual superiority that you are incapable of even comprehending what same-sex orientation is and is not. Your heterosexual arrogance even blinds you from seeing just how flawed your logic is and how offensive your comments are.

    You have this underlying assumption that monogamous marriage is only relevant for heterosexual couples who can procreate. Do you really believe that only straight fertile couples can make a family? Do you really believe that in Mormon theology, fertile straight couples are actually “creating” their children? Then you don’t understand the doctrine. It is a clear doctrine of the Church that spirits are children of heavenly parents. They are not “created” by the union of mortals, a fertile man and woman, here on earth. Mortal parents are only “adopting” the spirits into their family. When children are sealed to their parents (or born in the covenant), they are only being adopted.

    Just because a man and a woman can produce offspring does not mean that their marriage is superior to the marriage of infertile couples. The same applies to same-sex couples. Both infertile couples and same-sex couples can and do build families that are just as good and of worth as families built by fertile couples. Through adoption, these couples can be just as fruitful and multiply as fertile couples can. There is no way that you can say that fertile couple “adoption” of children is any more valid or superior to infertile couple or same-sex couple adoption. In fact, all the recent studies are showing that same-sex parents do a much better job of parenting than opposite-sex parents.

    There is no way you can legitimately hold the position that families built by fertile couples are superior to families built by infertile or same-sex couples. To try and justify such a position would expose your bigotry and show how uninformed you are. There is certainly a public interest in the stability and success of any family that has the potential to raise children, same-sex couples included.

    You need to open your eyes and your mind and get rid of the hetero-blinders you are wearing.

  13. Hmm. I don’t think you understood the first two paragraphs. I wasn’t saying anything about “superiority” at all. I just think the whole reason marriage takes the form it does relates to procreation, and that changing the form makes it impossible to rationalize the institution in the same terms. And this is what we see in practice. You ignored the third paragraph, but I understand why.

  14. It is captivating and insightful for me to read the posted comments. Well thought-out, cordial, and organized. To turn to labeling someone is disappointing, as this turns a time to shares insights into one in which an oppositional, somewhat hostile discussion develops.

    For me, I appreciate a church whose tenets adhere as closely as possible to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is comforting to me, to be a member of an organized church which encourages me to become and conform to what they teach, therefore not expect said church to become like me. I am a sinner in need of spiritual medicine which does not allow me to dictate what a particular church should change, as that would surely lead to the loss of many believers in Christ. I don’t want our Savior and Redeemer to be like me, but rather I strive to become as He is. Thank you for this marvelous, robust forum of perspectives and experiences.

  15. The procreation argument does not hold water. If marriage gets its value from the ability of the couple to procreate, then is it a sin for a sterile couple to be married. President Nelson married a woman when they were past the child bearing years, but their marriage is no less valuable than a fertile couple’s in their 20s. Likewise, same-sex marriage cannot be written off simply because the couple cannot reproduce together. Marriage is a valuable institution and is counted for righteousness no matter if the couple can reproduce or not.

  16. LovinglyAnon, Why do you feel the need remain anonymous? Why do you speculate the church will change its position on this subject just because you and others believe someday it will. If you believed as you indicated we have a living prophet who receives revelations from God for our times, why do you and your husband reject todays prophets who have said you can remain a member of the church in good standing as long as you are not in a sexual relationship with a person to whom you are not lawfully married and not married to a person of the same sex. You cannot accept some teachings and doctrines of the Prophet and at the same time reject those with you disagree. Revelations 3:15-16 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

  17. Jim, you have asked why do I speculate the Church will change its position, just because I believe it will. Actually, there is significant historical evidence that such a change is likely. However, my conviction that the Church will change its position is based on much more than just historical precedent.

    Like many other gay members of the Church, I have received a spiritual assurance and personal revelation that the Church will eventually accept same-sex marriage on the same footing with opposite-sex marriage. Now, I don’t know that it will happen within my lifetime, but I know it will happen. However, I can see all the trends and indications that the Church has changed on significant doctrinal issues in the past (i.e. polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, and most importantly the reversal of the 2015 Exclusion Policy), and that it is likely to change further on the issue of same-sex marriage.

    As for me and my husband, both lifelong members of the Church, we knew the consequences if we were to get married, and that we would face opposition and even persecution from some members, such as yourself, for making the choice to get married.

    At first, one of my sisters was very upset with me for marrying my husband. She didn’t deny that the Church would some day change its current position on gay marriage, but she was upset that I wouldn’t hold off getting married until it was revealed to the prophet. She has become much more accepting since then, realizing she doesn’t have all the answers and should not presume to be so arrogant as to tell me that I have only one option in my life. But at first she was very upset and even refused to speak to my husband. Today she has realized she was wrong to be so judgemental, and now she has accepted my husband into the family, and loves him almost as much as I do.

    I will tell you the same thing I told my sister. I considered this choice to get married to my husband long and hard before making it. At my age, I only have some 20 or more years left on this planet before I return to my heavenly home. My choices were this: I can spend the last years of my life alone, celibate, and miserable waiting for the Church to change, or I could marry this man who I was in love with and spend the rest of my days with him as my companion.

    I made this decision a matter of continual prayer and fasting. I attended the temple regularly, seeking inspiration and guidance from the Spirit. The answer that came into my mind and heart was that I don’t have 20 years to wait for the Church to change, and that I was to move forward with my marriage, trusting in the Lord that all would work out in the end. The Spirit even confirmed for me that the Lord brought me and my husband together and led us to be married, and that Heavenly Father not only sanctioned our marriage, but foreordained it. I have a spiritual conviction that my marriage is one of righteousness.

    But Jim, you bring up a very important point about following the teachings of the prophet, as my sister did. What does one do if they have received personal revelation from God that contradicts what the current prophet teaches? The Church teaches that we should always follow the prophet’s teachings, no matter what. However, where would we be with the Restoration if Joseph Smith had adhered to the same philosophy? He had received a personal revelation (the First Vision) that contradicted the teachings of all the religious elites of his day. Had he just followed the conventional religious teachings of his day, there would have been no Restoration.

    The Church is going to teach that we should always follow the prophet, because he will never lead us astray. They are going to teach that we should all seek and receive our own personal revelation, but only if it confirms what they have already said. They are quick to label any contradicting personal revelation as coming from Satan. To me, this is a very limited way to look at personal revelation. If the only legitimate revelation we can receive is to be a carbon copy or a rubber stamp of what the prophet says, then it really isn’t personal revelation.

    This is how I have prayerfully resolved this contradiction. I believe the prophet receives revelation and teaches us what is needed for the entire Church and appropriate for the whole Church at this time. This prophetic revelation is from a 20,000 foot view as it applies to the Church as a whole. I believe there is tremendous value and blessing from having a prophet who can receive revelation for the whole Church.

    However, at the same time, I have learned that it is incumbent upon each of us to receive our own personal revelation that is customized for each of us and our individual needs, adapted to the mission and calling Heavenly Father has for each of us, and relative to the spiritual gifts He has given us. One size does not fit all. I can therefore make room for the notion that sometimes the highly customized personalized revelation an individual receives may not need to be a dogmatic rubber stamp of the policy or practice for the whole Church.

    Therefore, while I sustain President Nelson in receiving revelation for the whole Church, it does not trump what Heavenly Father has individually revealed to me directly about my own personal life. Just like it says in the Family Proclamation, individual circumstances will require individual adaptation. But what it boils down for me, if Heavenly Father speaks to me and the Spirit bears witness to me, this will always take precedence over what the prophet teaches for the whole Church. I know Heavenly Father knows me and my personal circumstances much better than any mortal ever could.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s