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Saturday, November 14, 2015

341: MASS EXODUS FROM THE LDS CHURCH

Approximately two thousand people including lifelong members of the LDS Church gathered this afternoon across from the Church Office Building to submit letters of resignation to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Upset about the new Church policy, they officially are requesting that their names be removed from the records of the Church.  A new strict policy was added to the Handbook of Instructions which prohibits children under the age of 18 to receive saving ordinances if their parents live in a same sex marriage/cohabitation. It has caused a huge firestorm leaving many members upset, frustrated and concerned.

I have never seen more people  with letters in their hands in one place other than the post office during the holidays. :) Here are a few photos I took this afternoon.

 
 
Hundreds of people line up to cross North Temple to  submit letters of resignation to the LDS Church Office Building
 
......................................................................................
 
However, not all letters of concern were submitted to the Church wanting to resign their membership. Many have written their opinions on facebook and other social media sites. Personally I wasn't going to post anything about this since I didn't want to add to the commotion until I read the below email that my friend wrote. My friend was kind enough to grant permission for me to post this personal email. I think it is important to read amidst all of the other voices and opinions..
 
Just to put the below email into proper context, my friend is a faithful life long member of the Church. This was written in a response to a family email chain in which the siblings and parents were in favor of the new policy. My friend shared a "differing point of view" which was written a few days ago. (important to note since one of the examples in the body of the email  may be "out dated" after the 1st Presidency released a clarifying letter that will be read tomorrow in Sacraments meetings.) 
 
While the letter is long, many important observations are made in regards to this new Church policy.
 
 
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hello Everyone,

I really don't have time to be writing this and have debated whether I should or not. It is a very RARE occasion that I would disagree with my parents or siblings on a matter. This topic has raised a lot of ire and confusion and has put stalwart members in a position of feeling the need to defend the policy. I understand this: It is almost unfathomable for an active LDS to even consider the idea that the brethren could actually make an error in policy or anything else. I comprehend the dilemma being experienced by so many on this issue, and wanted to share my thoughts. THIS WILL NOT BE A SHORT EMAIL; so I suppose only those really wanting to know what I think will bother to read its' entirety; but I hope that you will. My position is NOT from those that you may be typically hearing from in the media. As you all know, I am not a homosexual sympathizer, nor a progressive Mormon in any way, shape or form.

Also, I will admit that I have been frustrated with the Church's ever softening positions regarding the surrounding LGBT issues, only because I have cared about the issue so much and see it for the serious impact it is having. I have watched over the last decade how the church has waffled and caved in on very critical matters in an attempt not to rock the boat regarding this very "politically correct" issue. I have written a book, which I will be sending to everyone probably in the spring; which includes a 50 page section just documenting how the Church has changed their stance very gradually over the last decade regarding how they deal with the sin of homosexuality. I have been absolutely dumbfounded and baffled by the position the Church has repeatedly taken. They have danced around this particular sin in ways that they do not on other sins. They have literally CHANGED before my eyes. They have caved to pressure repeatedly. Just to mention a few, without the interesting and pertinent details:

* The unscriptural, unconstitutional and hypocritical Salt Lake City Ordinance of 2010 that they formally backed

* The unscriptural (meaning they set aside direct commands in the D&C in order to support it), unconstitutional, and hypocritcal (meaning they asked the typical citizen to live something they exempted themselves from complying with) Utah State LGBT anti-discrimination law that would never have passed without the Church's pressure and support (something unprecedented for them to support before 2010) that resulted in every liberal news outlet in the nation singing our praises and a personal thank you visit from Obama! (Again, this law singling out a “certain sin” for special treatment different from other sins)

* The lack of backbone in standing with principle on the Boy Scout issue (even though they polled and found 63% of active members felt it was time to break ties with the Scouts.) How can the Church observe that an organization which was founded on commitment to God and teaching boys to be morally straight clearly throw it's foundations under the bus; yet repeatedly to lack the spiritual leadership and fortitude to separate themselves from it; and then continue to ask members in a temple recommend question if they “affiliate” with any group or individual that teaches things contrary to what the Church teaches? They need to have the courage to abide their own worthiness questions by separating ties from a now corrupted organization that has strayed from its’ moral bearings.

* Teaching a softened attitude surrounding homosexuality by reducing the “sin” aspect to ONLY existing if you literally “act” on it. This neglects the need to strongly address the connection of our hearts to our thoughts and the cultivation of sin that takes place within these unseen and perhaps never even played private corridors of our soul. Immoral desires that our dwelt upon are lust; of which “sin” (even if never acted upon) the Lord says is the same as committing the sin in your heart. Yes, this may be a “higher law” and a much more challenging standard of life to live; but we should be teaching what the Lord teaches. We are not called to make the truth tolerable and soothe the soul, but to make the truth clear. We should not be classifying same-sex attraction as some "benign guilt-free birth originating state of being" that someone has to live with the rest of one’s life. There has been a subtle but profound change in direction when the Church started coddling those struggling with homosexual thoughts by emphasizing a distinction between “attraction” and “acting.” The “Sermon on the Mount” places high standards on His followers; those standards center in what is taking place in the mind and heart of His followers. This is where our emphasis should be placed. I could go on for a long time on this one!

* After at least one former prophet declared over the pulpit that it was blasphemy to claim that you are born that way (Kimball, 1980 General Conference); we have now bought in to this concept and helped further the homosexual agenda; which requires that society accept people as being born this way, with no ability to change and that it is horrendously offensive to even suggest that they can change. As of 2007, the Church began changing their language in addressing the topic to make it clear that they no longer officially take the position that people are “not” born that way. They don't want to offend the LGBT community by sounding insensitive. Elder Holland's talk in October confirmed this fact when he added the unnecessary, but obvious, caveat into his story about a repentant young adult man by saying, “this son’s sexual orientation did not somehow miraculously change—no one assumed it would.” (Is this not a denial of the atonement of Christ, that through Him we can become new creatures, too?) It’s a complete catering to the LGBT agenda! The Church even edited Elder Packer's talk a couple of years ago when the LGBT community made an uproar because he (one who maintained the traditional church stance) inferred that gays are not “born that way.” 

* Elder Oaks and Ballard gave recent public addresses that also went counter to principles that have been valued traditionally in the Church and have advocated an attitude of compromise rather than principle in order to “get along” at all costs.

* The announcement last spring by Elder Christofferson that any member who opposes the Church's position of gay marriage and supports same-sex marriage is free to vocalize their support for such marriage in public ways, including using social media, without any fear of Church discipline. This was probably the first time I've seen the Church permit open rebellion and opposition to a gospel teaching. (Once again, allowing homosexuality to be treated as a special category of sin with it's own rules applying to it). It used to be that when you spoke out in opposition to the teaching of the church in a public manner, you would be brought in for correction by an ecclesiastical leader and if you persisted in advocating in opposition to a gospel truth then this was considered apostasy and excommunication was highly probable. But this category of sin is now being given a special "out." The Steve Young's of the world are being given a free pass to promote apostasy, while remaining secure in their standing and ability to have a temple recommend. (More on this later).


I could go on and on in great detail about the subtle, but observable changes the Church has undergone regarding homosexual issues. I fear they have betrayed the scriptures, and even created new doctrine telling gays that as long as they remain celibate they will not be denied any blessing and all things will be compensated in the hereafter, including the possible blessing of exaltation [read Christofferson’s April 2015 talk carefully to see this teaching clearly inferred], instead of teaching what the scriptures say, which is that a man MUST enter into marriage with a woman if he wants exaltation. They have catered to the whining and moaning of people who won't rise up and shake off the chains of the awful grasp of Satan and pay no heed to temptation that is common to all in mortality.

This is just my introduction to make sure everyone who reads this knows without any question that I am not to be lumped in with all these homosexual agenda sympathizers in what I am about to say.


NOW FOR THE MEAT OF MY POINT:

For the first time in a decade, the church actually came out with a policy that an first glance looks like a person such as I would be jumping up and down about. As soon as I heard it, I was like, "Yay, wait! What? I have to think about this for a minute."

My "yay" was about the excommunication of those that enter same-sex marriage or live in homosexual relationships.

To be clear, the scriptures teach that unrepentant sinners should be excommunicated. If someone lives in such a situation of immorality and blatant disregard for the laws of God and does not repent; they should be excommunicated. (Another reason why I think the soft tone the church has been taking over the last decade has hurt those tempted by this sin, rather than helped them. Sometimes in order to help a person get off the road they’re traveling, it takes realizing the gravity of the situation and the precarious state of one’s soul, rather than having others coddle you with empathy because it's a hard temptation to face).

I wanted to shout “hallelujah” that they were clear on this. But this shouldn't be news worthy of any attention. This should be obvious. It should have been standard that anyone living a homosexual lifestyle, or marriage, was subject to automatic excommunication if they did not repent and turn from the sin. I would have expected this to already be written in the handbook.

As mentioned, after this initial excitement, I felt a little twinge of question regarding some of the other points. I did NOT listen to or read the news to hear others' opinions. I merely pondered and studied it out on my own to reach the conclusions below. 

THE NUTS AND BOLTS:

The beginning portion of the new policy that is directed toward children states:

“Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship

A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting...”

As written in the handbook, this policy is directed toward any children that have “a” parent that is a practicing homosexual. It requires that minor children that have “a” parent that practices homosexual marriage or cohabitation, not be allowed baptism until 18 years old, plus they may no longer reside with said parent at the time of baptism. Additionally, they are required to get First Presidency approval and must disavow homosexual marriage as a condition to receive the ordinance of baptism.

Here are the concerns that jumped out at me in no particular order of importance:

1.) All minors are already required to get parental permission to get baptized. This is as it should be. The difference I see is that polygamy and same-sex marriage parents are the only two categories of sin identified and treated differently as to standard policy.

As a missionary, it didn't matter if a person's parents were pedophiles in prison, a strung out druggie, a convicted murderer, a prostitute or whatever other heinous sin you can think of. AS LONG AS PARENTAL PERMISSION WAS GRANTED, THE BAPTISM COULD MOVE FORWARD. Why should this situation be any different? Truly? Don't respond because you don't like homosexuality (cause I don't either...nor any sin for that matter). Think about it. If no regard is given to the sins of parents in all other cases of baptism of minors, why should this be different?


Elder Christofferson came out and said it was to keep peace and refrain from conflict in a family. This seems to be a disingenuous argument because it doesn't hold water under scrutiny. The reason I say this is because it blatantly ignores the fact that there is already a “qualifier” set in place by the church regarding the baptisms of minors: THE PARENTS OF THE MINOR MUST GIVE PERMISSION IN ORDER FOR A MINOR TO BE BAPTIZED.

An ardent practicing homosexual will not normally give permission for their child to be baptized in the first place. BUT, in the cases where it does occur; how can the church say they are protecting the child from conflict IF the parent has already given, and is required to give, explicit permission for the baptism; full well knowing that the Church teaches against their particular lifestyle? Once the parent consents, the conflict that would arise in a home is no different than that which is experienced by any other minor who gets baptized and has parents that don't live the commandments taught by the Church.

Our own father was baptized at 8 and yet, prior to his baptism, he had a parent who had left the church and was not living the commandments. He was gambling, drinking, not supporting his family financially, living questionable morality, and so forth. In essence, dad's father had apostatized. Should dad have been denied baptism because his father made choices that disqualified him and resulted in his excommunication? Getting parental permission wasn't a relevant issue in his day, but dad did experience the challenges of living the gospel when you have a parent that is “unworthy” by gospel standards. Just like all other kids that have been baptized with "unworthy" parents, he had to move forward with his conviction of trying to live the gospel, knowing that his parent was failing to live up to the standards required of the Lord. He grew from the experience. He may have had difficult moments in those young years, but it was ultimately the strength and teachings found in the gospel that allowed him to give complete forgiveness to his father when forgiveness was sought. This struggle is not unique to someone with a homosexual parent, even though the Church is trying to present it as such and that it requires more stringent “protection” for the child’s emotions.

The "conflict" that the church is claiming they are trying to prevent in these families is not a valid argument. If that were their true position; then this policy would be and should be applied across the board, to ALL minor baptisms. They should just come out and say; “no minors can be baptized if their parents are blatant sinners, even if the parents consent; And when the child turns 18, they've got to move out of the home and confess that they know that their parents are sinners and they will disavow the specific sins of which those parents are guilty.” It's ludicrous when you think about it in context of real life.

2.) By requiring people to disavow a "particular sin" before being allowed to be baptized and by disallowing minor baptism even if permission of parents was granted, and then requiring the condition of not living with the offending parent and needing First Presidency approval, they have just added conditions to baptism, contrary to scripture. (It doesn't matter how logical or prudent they or you may think it is. Scripture is given to be followed! Particularly when the one speaking in the scripture is Christ Himself. Are we greater than He? Did He not foresee our day and anticipate EVERY possible dilemma we face? He did! And He already made His declaration! Do NOT add to or take from what He gave as conditions for baptism! He called those conditions “HIS DOCTRINE” and the “Doctrine of my Father.” He didn't say to obey His instructions, “unless someone holding the keys decides I don't know what I'm talking about.”

Please take a moment to read Christ’s words in the following verses:

  • 3 Nephi 11:31-40
  • 2 Nephi 31
  • 2 Nephi 32

In addition to these scriptures clearly warning against adding to or taking from His doctrine of baptism, it is my understanding that in getting baptized, an individual is already stating by their action that they have repented of their sins and do not desire to live a life of sin; thus, if properly taught His doctrine of baptism, it would be inherent in the desire to receive the covenant that a person would be automatically stating that they reject sin of all kind. We do not have to specify particular types of sins to be baptized...it's ALL sin we are actually disavowing in reality.

3.) They have just created a logistical nightmare that could be avoided if they just followed the Doctrine of Christ in the scriptures.


Imagine the varied circumstances that this new policy effects.

Suppose, for example, as is the case with MANY people in this Church, that your daughter married a guy and they had 3-4 children together and the husband suddenly breaks it to her that he has been gay all his life and he can't resist anymore and he's running away with his lover. Your daughter is now in a situation she never imagined. In addition to the trauma of a broken marriage, most, if not all her children are unbaptized at this time because of their young age. You, as the grandparents, and your daughter, desire to lessen the impact of the father's sins upon the children as much as possible. You all want her to be able to raise your grandchildren in the gospel and allow them every opportunity to come to the Lord, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, receive the priesthood, etc. Remarkably, even though their father rejected the gospel and lives an immoral life, he actually has a kind heart and sees the good the Church does for people and HE CONSENTS TO ALLOW THE CHILDREN TO BE RAISED AS ACTIVE MEMBERS AND BE BAPTIZED! Your daughter shares joint custody with the dad, because he still loves his kids, hasn’t abandoned those responsibilities, wants to be a dad to them and has legal rights that can't be avoided even if you disapprove of his lifestyle. You struggle inside because you don't want your grandkids to accept his lifestyle as approved by the Lord, and you know that the gospel is their only hope in this world and out of it. 

According to this new policy; YOUR DAUGHTER'S CHILDREN CANNOT BE BAPTIZED UNTIL THEY ARE 18. [Note: Two days after writing this email letter, the Church further altered the implementation of their policy to now only effect those where “primary” custody of the children is by the homosexual parent. Though joint custody was not directly addressed. But prior to amending their policy, it was clearly written in the handbook and implied that the policy would affect all children with “a” parent living in a homosexual relationship. Please read this section understanding the interpretation provided at the time it was written].

Now, the Church is saying that this scenario is just fine, because, after all, the kids can still attend church and participate in activities. And they can still EVENTUALLY be baptized.

Really! Is that how you would really feel if it happened to you?

Do you think a child feels comfortable when all the other kids in primary get baptized and they can't? Do you think a boy feels wonderful and wanted and cared about if all the other boys become deacons and pass the sacrament and he can't. He can't prepare it. He can't bless it. Do you think the girl feels comfortable when all the YW get to go do baptisms for the dead and she can't go? You have forgotten what it feels like to be an adolescent if you think this won’t negatively affect them.

And let's not forget the biggest issue for those that believe that the Gift of the Holy Ghost comes by the laying on of hands after baptism; DO YOU THINK IT RIGHT THAT THROUGH SOME OF THE MOST DIFFICULT YEARS OF A PERSON'S LIFE (teens), THEY CANNOT HAVE THE PROMISED GIFT?

And what is the reason for all this ostracism and unnecessary exclusion? Because one of their parents failed to live up to their covenants with the particular sin of homosexuality. And even though their sinning father is perfectly willing and happy to support their children in baptism, missions, etc., and THERE WOULD NOT BE CONFLICT because of their membership; the child is denied! (Don't you think some kids are already embarrassed enough over their parents' decisions. Do you really think it right to shame someone during these precarious years with such unscriptural spiritual isolation and denial?)

This is a serious matter. Please don't gloss over this concept. WE SHOULD ALL BE EXPERIENCED ENOUGH IN LIFE BY NOW TO SEE THAT THE CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING TO SOMEONE IN OUR EXTENDED FAMILY, IN OUR LIFETIME, IS A VERY STRONG POSSIBILITY!

I for one, would be very sick, if my grandchildren or children could not proceed forth in their faith due to a parent's choices. It's all good and well to say they will get baptized eventually! But the Lord says we are NOT to DENY ANY THAT DESIRE TO COME TO HIM!

(And if someone tells me there are legal ramifications and protections the church is trying to guard against; I say, balderdash! Trust in the Lord and stop relying upon the arm of flesh and protecting our tax-free status!)


4.) The Church also seems to have neglected the obvious contradictions that they have created in this string of inconsistencies. This policy means that they MUST change their temple recommend questions.

Recommend question #6 states:

Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?

The question is so ridiculous in its' current format, no one, even the Church itself, lives this standard!

But in fairness, most leaders would say that this question is really just intended to see if you are affiliating with "apostate" individuals or groups.

Well, now that they have labeled homosexuals in marriage or cohabitation as apostates (instead of just excommunicating for the sin), that means the question directly applies to associating with homosexuals. 

Now every LDS person who has family or friends who have succumbed to this sin, and the LDS member seeking a recommend is still associating with the one guilty of the sin (a very likely prospect if the sinner is a family member), the recommend-seeking member will now have to answer affirmatively to this question and will not qualify for a recommend if we want to be technical. They are going to have to change the question. This is a big conflict, which it seems they didn't think through when they applied the term of "apostasy" in connection to homosexuals.

This question is also particularly troubling in light of my next point.

5.) I am particularly troubled with the ramifications of their statement in the spring of 2015 that said that an active LDS member can speak openly against the gospel/scriptural standard of marriage, the church’s teachings and what the leadership has declared, and actually make public their support for same-sex marriage through their social media and other means, without any fear of church discipline or loss of temple recommend.

How is this not in direct conflict with the recommend question above? We are asked if we "sympathize" with the precepts of people whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those of the Church; which clearly now includes same-sex marriage, since it qualifies as apostasy; and yet they give exception to those who support “this form” of apostasy! (Oddly, if members speak openly against a church teaching or the brethren on ANY other issue, they would still be considered apostate; but as part of the softening up the Church started doing, they made an exception on this matter so as to be politically correct and pacify the progressive leaning members of the Church; again, they keep treating this sin differently than other sins).

So let's analyze this a little further:
They are saying that a person that is ALREADY a baptized member that has already made covenants to follow Christ and should be striving to obey His word and commandments can actively promote their support for same-sex marriage in a public manner without any threat to their membership or standing.... 

BUT, if you haven't been baptized yet and happen to be a child who was born to or adopted by homosexual parents (one or both parents) then you cannot be baptized without first "disavowing" the practice of same-sex marriage.

Do we see a double standard here? A current member, like Steve Young, can speak in favor of same-sex marriage all day long without consequence because he's already baptized and it apparently doesn't matter to the church that he's covenanted to obey the Lord and is acting contrary to recommend question #6. Members are apparently free to AVOW this “apostate” sin all day long! But someone not yet baptized, that happened to be denied baptism until they turn 18 because of a policy, can't get the desired baptism unless they renounce a practice that other baptized members are now allowed to advocate! (Don't misunderstand; I think the sin of homosexuality should be rejected by any member on the basis that it is sin; period).

HELLO! Do they not see the stunning contradiction here? The inconsistency is mind blowing to me! How can you require something of these children to get baptized at 18; that you do not require of all your members simultaneously? THE SCRIPTURES CALL THIS HYPOCRISY! 

Where is the outrage on this from every active member of this Church? We are so conditioned to cow tow to everything our leaders say that we refuse to see the inconsistencies that need correcting because we have convinced ourselves they cannot err.

CONCLUSION:

Now, I'm sure I have infuriated some of you with these points. Once again, I want my position to be clear of not sympathizing with homosexual sin in any way.

One of my biggest hesitations in stating my views is that most of the people that are upset about this are progressive LDS members that I would probably disagree with on 98% of things. It's the John Dehlin, Ordain Women, liberal leaning, homosexual agenda supporting members that are in an outrage (many who have been thrilled with how the church has been softening over the years).

Many of them are upset for reasons that I do not resonate with. It's the "let’s just all get along no matter what" crowd and "you're being homophobic" crowd that wants their sins to be accepted over time, and not be viewed by society in any degree of negative light, that are so offended and making themselves so vocal, that it lessens the willingness of voices like mine to be heard without bias by faithful members.

The progressive crowd thought the church was changing in the direction they’ve advocated, because they were witnessing it change over the last 10 years as I've stated; and they are mad that this policy seems to revert back to the Church’s old ways.

Now, if I vocalize why I am not in agreement with this policy; I am automatically lumped in with these progressives who are not viewing this with the same lens that I am. I automatically seem like I'm soft on homosexual sin, too. I get lumped in with a bunch of “faithless, Joseph Smith smearing, Book of Mormon doubting, seeking to be popular” people; and nothing could be further from the truth as to how I am.

For all these years I have made the argument that YOU DO NOT CLASSIFY AND TREAT HOMOSEXUAL SIN AS A SPECIAL CATEGORY OF SIN! You don't get politically correct and dance around it so as not to offend. You speak boldly of what it is and why it is damning and you don't treat it differently than other serious immoral sins because it is politically charged. (IMO, this is what the Church has been doing and it has contributed to the current frustration). You stand strong on it and speak the truth clearly and with boldness. You use the power of the word of God to influence people's behavior.

In the same tone; you don't need to treat this sin as a different category in it's DISCIPLINE either. It merits excommunication for certain. But it does not need to be treated as a separate category of sin where we treat the children differently than we do of an adulterer, or any other person that has committed serious sin of any nature.

Consistency is the key. Homosexual sin is not a unique and special category of sin that deserves our tolerance MORE than other sins, NOR our empathy MORE than other sins, nor is it a sin that deserves the children to be treated differently because the parents engage in the sin. Treat all sin as sin and deal with it and those involved according to scripture (including continuing to love them); and treat all children the same, denying no one, as explained in scripture.

I send these words for your consideration lovingly, but with passion for truth as I understand it.

(signed by my friend)

23 comments:

  1. That is one well thought out email. For the past month I have been studying 3 Nephi chpts11-18.Christ Doctrine is clear and he warns against adding or taking away from it. Doctrine of Baptism, Doctrine of Sacrament, along with other things as well. Each time giving the wise man/ foolish man parable.He taught this all on the 1st day to the Nephites and Lamanites.

    Please thank your friend for letting you share his email with us. Also, thank you for those pictures and documenting what happened yesterday.

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  2. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WF4LKgSC40w

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  3. Amazing! This letter should called The Proclamation on Sanity. It should be used as a template to be signed by every agreeing member of the church and sent to every member of the 12 and first presidency.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing your friends thoughts on this issue. I have been a faithful member my entire life, served a full time mission in which i loved every minute. I have served faithfully in callings of service throughout my life and recently was just released as elders quarum president. I have absolutely loved my mebership in the church. For about the last year i have felt very strongly that something had changed within the church and that the Lord's hand was being withdrawn. Since then i have been "shown" on several different occassions that priesthood authority has been taken away. I cannot deny what i was taught and shown through different dreams and visions. It completely broke my heart but i could not deny it and if i had not experienced what i did i would not beleive it myself. I beleive Joseph Smith knew what he was saying when he said that the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobely, and independantly. Social, political, and economic pressures will not be able to stop the marvelous work and wonder that i feel has now begun among the children of men.
    I find no fault with the leaders of the church in the decisions that they are making and i pray for them continously. I also understand that if i am going to live according to what the scriptures are teaching that i must turn to Jesus Christ and put my trust in him and him alone.
    These are definately very confusing times that we live in and the confusion is only going to increase for anyone who is not standing on a firm foundation. Helaman 5:12.
    I would encourage people to not cast judgement on the leaders of the church. When we do that we are binding ourselves down with that same judgement. We cannot afford to to do that if we are searching for further light and knowledge.
    If someone is confused on the direction the church is heading then simply and quietly take the issue to the lord. See for yourself what the scriptures have to say to you individually and personally on the matter. Allow the lord to take you by the hand and lead you along. I promise He will and that He is waiting patiently for each of us to allow Him to do so.

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  5. I find it interesting to see this development. Basically this reasoning allows one to keep both their homophobia and dislike for church leadership held close to their hearts. We'll done!

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    1. Yes, Brent. There is still plenty of stone-casting going on here.

      The reason the Church went along with the notion that gay people were born that way was because of all this thing called.... what's the word again? EVIDENCE.

      Maybe we ought to consider a thought: WHAT IF the Lord sent gay people here at this time to "try the faith" of His people? WHAT IF we are meant to look at them the way Christ looks at us... without labels and judgment? Isn't THAT the Doctrine of Christ?

      The email author is quick to jump to the aid of the children, which is a no-brainer. But let's just throw the LGBT under the bus. Now that they are labeled apostates (which the author agrees is appropriate), they are considered the "least" among us, much like the Samaritans were to the Jews. He "exacteth over much" while the Lord "exacteth over nothing at all, but sendeth the rain on the just and unjust, seed time and harvest, for all of which man is ungrateful."

      " Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven."

      For a summary of the Lord's will and "commandments," see the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon in Bountiful.

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    2. Anonymous 4:05 p.m.:

      It appears you did not read the letter carefully. The author never said he/she "agreed that the label of apostasy" given by the Church was correct. They merely pointed out that unrepentant practicers of homosexuality should be excommunicated based upon the scriptures they believe to be God's word. While the author acknowledged that the Church now applies that label according to their new policy, they went out of their way to point out that by doing so, the Church has created a compromising situation for themselves due to their temple recommend question that is directed toward apostates.(This seems to infer they don't agree). They merely showed that if the Church is going to label them as apostates, then they better change their recommend question. You are "assuming" the author is in favor of the label, just because they consider homosexuality a sin worthy of excommunication. From what I read, I could argue very strongly that they do not agree with the label, but were showing further contradictions and lack of thought on the part of the Church.

      Secondly, you suggest readers look at the Sermon on the Mount and Bountiful for a summary of the Lord's will and commandments. You may be interested to know that perhaps you need to look at these sermons again. The author was actually using content from the Sermon on the Mount early in the letter, when they mentioned Christ's higher standards of conduct that deal with the core of one's heart. It was the Savior speaking and teaching Himself, in this very sermon that you appeal to in your comment, who tells all His followers that "lust" taking place in the recesses of their mind, even absent of actually committing the act, is the same as committing the sin in their heart. That is His standard and I agree, it's a high one. But we don't set the rules. (Read Matthew Chapter 5 in its' entirety).

      Why it is that people refuse to see that if you love Him, you seek to do all the things He asks, I don't understand. Love is obeying Him; even in sins that may be difficult for a person to resist. And when we fall; as we surely all do; He gave us repentance. If we choose to neglect and ignore the opportunity for repentance, all of us face the consequences of our sins here and hereafter. As for the Church, a lack of repentance allows for excommunication.

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    3. Quote from email: "My "yay" was about the excommunication of those that enter same-sex marriage or live in homosexual relationships."

      Quote from the Sermon in Bountiful: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye."

      There is plenty of paradox and hypocrisy in the Church's actions, no question. But the author lost me when he condemned homosexuality and applied his idea of what the penalty should be (excommunication). I'm not an advocate of being gay or an accuser. All I know is that the Lord Himself never uttered words against the practice. He basically said, "Leave that to me." While the Church isn't the keeper of the gate, neither is the author of the email, or this blog, or you or me. I won't risk the Lord thinking I have any business acting like I know who shall pass. Keeping those thoughts away from my heart is important. For, as you say, that's where He looks. But of course, anyone is free to point a finger or pronounce judgment. That stands out to me as a very VERY significant "commandment" given by the Lord.

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    4. You sound like Denver Snuffer - interesting you go by anonymous

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  6. I find it interesting to see this development. Basically this reasoning allows one to keep both their homophobia and dislike for church leadership held close to their hearts. We'll done!

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    1. Where and what is the EVIDENCE?

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  7. Jeepers. Loads of anonymous here. What does that say?

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  8. Yes indeed. Where is this 'evidence' that is everywhere?

    If there was evidence, wouldn't that make it impossible to ignore? Like , there is evidence that if you jump into water deep enough, and don't attempt to move around (called 'swimming ') you will drown. Evidence also shows that and egg plus sperm equals a baby.

    But to say evidence exists that gays are born that way, is vague and misleading.

    I have two private students that i teach, a gay, female couple. They are quite close to me (hope you cannot use the 'beam/mote in the eye' reasoning here) and one day asked me if i had any questions or concerns about them being gay. I took the liberty to ask them when they realized they were gay. Their answers surprised me.

    The first said in high school she started to notice the girls more than guys and knew that she was gay. Or bisexual actually.

    The second said never in her life had she ever entertained the thought of a woman in that way. She was approached at work by the first one, when she was in her late 30's, and was shocked at the proposal. It took a year of pestering and (in her words) ' a lot of heartache and difficulty ' to finally give this other possiblity a chance. She finally did and after a while decided that yes, it as working for her.

    Now, the evidence lies for which one- the first or the second?

    The answer is of course, neither. We have to take people at their word. One cannot prove gayness nor disprove it.

    Kind of like the ridiculous nature of antimormons who have evidence the BoM is a fraud. I am not in the church anymore but have never seen any compelling evidence that the BoM is anything but true and beautiful. The same goes for 'evidence' that Joseph Smith was this horrible conman. Sorry not convincing at all. Abstract and vague.

    But here is something that can be proved- no revelation or translation, nor seeing or prohesying and revealing has taken place since Joseph Smith stated he was no longer the prophet of the church, and that the church was rejected and condemned
    shortly before his murder.

    And yet, the members buy into that nonsense about the 'priesthood authority'.

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    1. When did that happen? When did he say that the church had been rejected/condemned?

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    2. Hi Donna

      I just want to be clear that i am an absolute believer if the Book of Mormon, and the other books Joseph translated. I believe most definitely that he was who he said he was (not what others said or expected him to be).

      He was sent to translate the BoM and restore this knowledge, as a Gentile, to the Lamanite Remnant. I believe this Remnant hasn't yet been found, obviously. But the gentiles know that Jesus is the Eternal God manifested in the flesh yo all the world. Joseph was instrumental in this.

      The people of the church, as early as 1832 when still known collectively as 'the Church of Jesus Christ', were told that they were to avoid priestcrafts and to look after each other- build up a Zion, effectively. They were under condemnation for taking the BoM too lightly and imposing other things over what the text of that Book stated.

      ...And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received
      55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
      56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
      57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written

      This condemnation never was lifted, especially as the church would arrogantly vote in 1834 to take Jesus' name out of 'His' church. The words imprinted on the walls outside the Kirtland temple as well as the Title Page of the 1835 are a testament to this fact (check google images for both) as the church officially became :

      'The Church of Latter-Day Saints '

      In 3rd Nephi Jesus stated that if the church was not in His name, it was simply not His church. Of course, not too many read this in the Book of Mormon perhaps, as a church historical fella, Terryl Givens, lately stated that the Bible was used 40 times to 1 in discourses rather than the Book of Mormon. Nephi of course has a few words to say about the corrupted Bible, and it is interesting that it became the primary Book of the early gentiles, rather than this rather amazing Book of Mormon.

      In section 124 the Lord tells the church that the Nauvoo Temple must be built or their promises shall be no more. Of course, the Nauvoo Temple was never finished in Joseph Smith's time, neith er in Brigham's. In fact, you may be surprised when it was actually finished.

      In section 124, in verse 28, let's see why and how the church was condemned. This 'fulness of the priesthood ' we LDS constantly brag about having when we send out the muissionaries, or when we preach from the pulpit, or lay our hands on each other's heads- its existence is declared by the Lord:

      28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore AGAIN that which was LOST unto YOU, or which HE HATH TAKEN AWAY, even the fulness of the priesthood.

      The fact is that the church lost the priesthood fulness for some reason, a priesthood that it says was restored but was in need of being restored again as it was list.

      No scriptures exist, nor any historical record in the slightest, that the Lord came back and restored this priesthood fulness.

      In Genesis JST 14: 25-40, lies the actual description of this priesthood fulness. Have a read and honestly ask yourself if you have any evidence that those who claim this priesthood fulness today, can actually fit that description?

      It is clear to me that we need to question everything without fear for the Lord will be our strength when we shuck off the arm of flesh that the BoM relentlessly warns us about.

      Check out what the Book of Mormon says of the Gentiles. We are the Gentiles, who gave the BoM to all the world (D&C 109:60)

      Look forward to your response.

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    3. Forgive my typing skills:

      *i mean Title.page of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants

      * lost (not list)

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    4. @curiously: Here is just one tiny thread among a whole woven mosaic of evidence. From Michael Buxton, a counselor who worked at BYU:

      "In the early 00's I used to try to help gay and lesbian people who would come to see me for therapy, desperately trying change their sexual orientation. After a few years I had to admit one giant common observation: no one changed.

      "I also realized that people became much happier when 2 things happened:

      "1) finding true self acceptance within their own natural sexual orientation, and 2) when they communicated with and received unqualified acceptance from parents, siblings, friends, church community, and others who feel similarly. You know, just like all of us need these 2 things in order to thrive, no different.

      "Through my own experience with hundreds of motivated, faithful, God loving people (SO many of whom are the best Christians and most decent people I've ever met), I see that trying to change someone's sexual orientation or cut such people out of our families and communities leads to tremendous and unnecessary suffering."

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    5. Denver Snuffer you are or a Snufferite - Snuffer = a device (in your case a person) that snuffs out The Light. Also you are full of contridictions, misrepresentations, and as in the Book of Mormon in several cases it was the lawyers that "led the people astray". Sorry I can't figure out how to put my name other than Anonymous. My name is Russell G!

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    6. Oh, I figured out how to put the name now. I'm just giving you a hard time about being a Snufferite, Anonymous. I'm fully aware that by casting stones at someone, or implying that they are a fool, that I am in danger of the judgment myself. Have a nice day! :)

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  10. Great letter from your friend. Well thought out. Unfortunately, protecting the TAX FREE status is the name of the game for the corporation of the LDS Church :(

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  11. Awesome letter! Your friend who wrote this letter is very wise and I agree with him on these issues. But unfortunately it does not seem like he has awakened yet or can see all the other ways the Church preaches and practices totally contrary to the pure teachings of Christ. But it seems this current issue may help him wake up to all the other issues.

    But my question for him is, what is he going to do or think, and his family, when the Church announces a 'revelation' about how God has changed his mind yet again (as he has done so many times before in the Church) and SSM will now be honored in the temple? Which is inevitable if the Church wants to have any members in the coming decades, for soon most all members will want SSM to be honored in the Church.

    Is that his line in the sand? Will he still say the Church is true when they accept SSM? Will he still think it's led by Christ? Or will he settle down and go along with it like most all members go along with far worse in the Church even today?

    There are so many other issues/sins the Church has dropped/changed it's standards/doctrine on and went along with and even encourages and rewards, that are far far worse then SSM/SSA. Does he see those?

    I admire the way he can reason and see what's right on this issue, but can he see all the other issues too, not just this lesser one?

    Thanks so much for posting that letter.

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