Oaks and the First Commandment

Stuart C. Reid: Oaks does not deserve to be attacked over LGBT rights

At the Women’s Conference session on October 6, 2019, President Oaks gave a talk that gives an unusual and chilling interpretation of Jesus’s teachings. Referring to Jesus’s discourse that the first and greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor, Oaks equates loving God with obedience to God’s laws. He also states that the second commandment to love one another does not supercede the first commandment to love God, which Oaks presumably uses to justify judging, condemning, and hating others who he thinks are not obeying God’s law. This is his argument for justifying bigotry which is based in hating others and not loving your neighbor.

When Jesus taught that the first great commandment was to love God, he was NOT saying that the first great commandment was to keep the commandments. That doesn’t even make any sense and is a ridiculous interpretation. Jesus was teaching us to love God, period. And that is between the individual and God, and Oaks has no business interfering and telling us how we should love God.

Yes, it is true that Jesus also taught “if ye love me, keep my commandments”, but this statement emphasizes that loving God is not the same thing as keeping the commandments. First, we love God, then we desire to keep his commandments — cause and effect. Oaks mistakenly considers them to be the one and the same, probably because it is more convenient to support his argument for exclusion of LGBT people.

Furthermore, Jesus’s charge to keep his commandments is directed at the individual, and it certainly is not license for us to condemn others who do not keep the commandments the way we think they should. Immediately after teaching that we should love God, Jesus teaches that we should love others, not condemn and exclude them. Again, Jesus charged us to love one another. It’s not our job to judge, condemn, and exclude. It is our job to love everyone.

Lastly, Oaks argument of exclusion depends solely on people accepting the huge assumption that forbidding same-sex dating and marriage is not only one of Jesus’s commandments, but one his most important commandments of all time. Yet I cannot find recorded anywhere the teachings of Jesus forbidding same-sex marriage. That’s because it doesn’t exist. Jesus never gave this commandment. There are plenty of examples of commandments to avoid whoredoms, adultery, fornication, and lasciviousness, but these are sins that affect heterosexual humans equally as much as homosexual humans.

As a prophet, seer, and revelator, Oaks is claiming that how he defines the commandments is the same as Jesus giving the commandment. Even though there is no scriptural evidence that Jesus condemns loving, committed, monogamous same-sex marriage, just because Nelson and Oaks said it makes it so. This to me is spiritual abuse.

In effect, what Nelson and Oaks and their brethren are promoting is what I call the Five Rules of Spiritual Abuse (as I first wrote about in my previous post). These rules are:

Rule #1: We are prophets and apostles. We are better than you, and we are more spiritual than you. We know what is best for you, better than you do.

Rule #2: God speaks to us and lets us know what his commandments are for you and how you should keep them. But if teaching those commandments makes us appear rigid and uncompassionate, we will just say it is God’s Law and throw God under the bus.

Rule #3: If you don’t keep God’s laws the way we say you should, you will be disciplined and humiliated before the whole Church.

Rule #4: Go ahead, pray about it and seek your own personal revelation, as long as it only confirms what we have already told you.

Rule #5: If you get any personal revelation that is contradictory to what we have told you, refer back to rule #1, because you have been deceived by Satan.

To me, this is tantamount to spiritual abuse. This is the very definition of spiritual abuse.


2 thoughts on “Oaks and the First Commandment

  1. This analysis is spot on. There should be more concern for the justification our leaders find for their prejudice, discrimination, and hatred. Their example is emulated by millions of members.
    The writer calls this trait chilling. I would add grotesque. The effort President Oaks goes to in order to justify and even indulge in his revulsion for his sexually nonconforming brothers and sisters is painful to watch. This is an all too human man wrestling with his disgust and losing in an ugly way. This is what your creepy uncle does over the Thanksgiving dinner to everyone’s protest, not what a man of God does to lead a living, vital, modern day church.

  2. Read pp 171-172 in Gregory Prince’s recent book “Gay Rights and the Mormon Church–Intended Actions, Unintended Consequences” (University of Utah Press, 2019) for the egregious way in which President Oaks portrayed the victorious Mormon proponents of Prop 8 in California as having become the victims of anti-Mormon backlash. The pot calling the kettle black?

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