The LDS church is wrong about same-sex marriage. Again.

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Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy wrote an article titled “The War Goes On”. It appears in the April 2017 issue of The Ensign, an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here is a quote from that article:

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, but same-sex marriage is only a counterfeit. It brings neither posterity nor exaltation. Although [Satan’s] imitations deceive many people, they are not the real thing. They cannot bring lasting happiness.”

See? This is just more proof that even in 2017, the LDS church just doesn’t get it. They can think they’re all clever and progressive by dropping the S from mormonsandgays.com, but stuff like this just reiterates how out of touch leaders are on the topic of its LGBTQ members. They literally don’t get it.

There are a few problems with this statement:

Same-sex marriage isn’t counterfeit.

They can bring posterity. I have friends in so-called same-sex marriages who have genetic, biological children, whose children play with mine. Men can use egg donors, and women can use sperm donors, just like straight couples do all the time.

Are childless, straight marriages counterfeit?

Is Elder Lawrence saying that marriages without children are counterfeit marriages? Even if the marriage involves a heterosexual couple? So straight couples unable to have children are in counterfeit marriages? Straight couples who choose to not have children are in counterfeit marriages?

Was Howard W. Hunter’s (former president of the church) second marriage counterfeit? What about Russell M Neleson’s (current president of the twelve apostles) current marriage? Is it counterfeit? Neither marriage has resulted in posterity.

What about my own marriage? I have biological children, but I had a vasectomy, so I can no longer have children. Has my marriage become counterfeit. My sister has had a tubal litigation; is her marriage counterfeit.

Are marriages with adopted children counterfeit?

What about adoption? Assuming that gay couples couldn’t actually have biological children (which they can and which I established under the first subheading), they could adopt. Or is Elder Lawrence implying that adopted children of gay parents don’t count as posterity? And if so, does that mean adopted children of straight couples don’t count as posterity? Does that mean marriages with adopted children are counterfeit?

Lasting happiness exists with gay couples

Gay couples (and for that matter any non-cis, non-straight couple, which the LDS church just keeps ignoring) can have lasting happiness. There are many gay couples in long-term, committed relationships. Like Jack Evans and George Harris, who have been together for over 50 years. Or Ted Spring and Paul Pollard, who have been together for over 55. Or John Mace and Richard Adrian Dorr, who have been together for over 70 years. Or Vivian Boyack and Alice Dubes, who have been together for 75 years.

And regarding exaltation . . .

And why doesn’t gay marriage lead to exaltation? Because the LDS church won’t allow their gay members to have their marriages sealed in the temple. There is no scriptural prohibition regarding sealing of gay marriages. It’s a policy decision. It’s easy to say that same-sex marriage doesn’t bring exaltation when you’re the one who won’t exalt those marriages.

And on the topic of being counterfeit, consider these quotes about polygamy, which the LDS church publicly embraced for decades and still practices in their temples:

“This monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers.” —Brigham Young

“[Rome] was a monogamic nation, and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.” —George Q. Cannon

Sometimes, I’m left wondering whether church leaders actually think through things before writing them. There are so many logical holes in Elder Lawrence’s quote at the start of this post, that it makes me wonder. Is he so blinded by his hatred for gay people (or specifically gay marriage), that he can’t see past his own bigotry? That he can’t set aside his own prejudices for a few minutes to objectively think through what he is about to write?

The church is on the wrong side of this, and if they continue to dig in their heels on LGBTQ issues, they will continue to push out their queer members, will undo any outreach they try to make in the queer community, and their 30% activity rate will continue to drop.

20 thoughts on “The LDS church is wrong about same-sex marriage. Again.

  1. Okay, I’ll give it a shot. As far as your problems:

    Same-sex marriage is counterfeit in that it is not the marriage that God has ordained. The ability for the individuals to reproduce has nothing to do with it.

    And children that are born in this scenario do not come from the marriage itself. Sperm must be brought in, or eggs, as you say. But this is beside the point, as eternal posterity is the bigger picture, not simply the ability to reproduce.

    For the reasons above, childless sealed marriages are not counterfeit. They are the type of marriage God ordained, and they will be able to have an eternal posterity. Even adopted children can become part of this eternal posterity.

    Long term marriage does not mean happiness (just ask my wife). But I believe the statement is intended to be general and referring to Satan’s imitations. Again, we are talking eternal things here.

    The question about qualifications for the temple is of course up the the chosen prophet, FP and apostles. If we do not really believe them, then this really isn’t about the church even. And statements about polygamy are about a different time, with different direction. Is really beside the point currently.

    1. “The ability for the individuals to reproduce has nothing to do with it.”

      Nothing to do with it? Elder Lawrence literally said it does have something to do with it. He said that being able to create children is one of two reasons why it’s counterfeit.

      “And children that are born in this scenario do not come from the marriage itself.”

      They do, at least partially. Or they can. Just like in many heterosexual marriages.

      “eternal posterity is the bigger picture, not simply the ability to reproduce.”

      And I touched on that already. Their posterity can’t be eternal only because church leaders won’t allow such families to be sealed.

      “They are the type of marriage God ordained”

      Well, that’s arguable since we have no evidence that he ever told even just one prophet that he has ordained heterosexual marriages.

      “they will be able to have an eternal posterity.”

      Again, see above.

      “Long term marriage does not mean happiness”

      I was focusing on the “lasting” part of Elder Lawrence’s phrasing. As far as their happiness, I can only judge their own testimonies to that fact.

      “this really isn’t about the church even”

      No, it really is about the church. It was a statement by a church leader in a church magazine.

      “ statements about polygamy are about a different time, with different direction. Is really beside the point currently.”

      Technically, the statements were about monogamy, but regardless, they aren’t beside the point at all. They are very much part of the point. Church leaders used to teach that monogamy — the concept they hold up as an ideal — was counterfeit. Members like to believe that church teachings are unchanging, but it’s simply just not true. Church teachings have been shifting and changing for 187 years. That’s how continuing revelation works. You can’t build a church on continuing revelation then claim that everything has to stay the same.

      1. Not sure how much to go into this, as Eric did a pretty good job and you seem to either accidentally or deliberately misread him.

        “Their posterity can’t be eternal only because church leaders won’t allow such families to be sealed.”

        This is a pretty provocative statement, and one utterly devoid of backing through ancient or modern scripture. Really? The only reasons why homosexual marriages cannot be eternal is because Church leaders don’t allow them? The only reason homosexual pairings cannot yield eternal posterity is because the Church stands athwart the pairing? I don’t see how you can make such an affirmative statement with zero backing (ancient or modern) — it is the philosophies of men without even the mingling of scripture.

        One criticism that many in the Church have towards those who say they are “just asking questions” or are “awaiting further light and knowledge” or “only want the Prophet to pray about it” are statements like these. Utterly devoid of doctrinal support, you have established a clear affirmative position, and it is likewise clear that anything less than the Church altering to match your perspective will be insufficient.

        “Well, that’s arguable since we have no evidence that he ever told even just one prophet that he has ordained heterosexual marriages.”

        30 seconds on google. “And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.” Doctrine and Covenants 49:15-17. There are more.

        “I was focusing on the “lasting” part of Elder Lawrence’s phrasing.”

        And so long as you get to choose the definition of the words that Elder Lawrence is using, perhaps you are correct. But if, instead, you use the definition that it appears clear from Elder Lawrence’s context that he is using (eternal, not temporal — not even 50 years temporal), then you are being profoundly unfair to him and misleading in your response. And if wickedness never was happiness, and homosexual relations are a sin (both premises have ancient and modern scriptural backing, mind you), then the net happiness of those who engage in homosexual sex is less than those who don’t. It’s modus ponen, for Pete’s sake.

        “No, it really is about the church. It was a statement by a church leader in a church magazine.”

        Just as you misread Elder Lawrence, you misread Eric. Eric was making the obvious point that if you don’t believe them to be prophets and apostles, then there is a prior, more fundamental issue in need of addressing. Your response showed you either did not, or could not, engage with what Eric was actually saying.

        “Members like to believe that church teachings are unchanging, but it’s simply just not true. Church teachings have been shifting and changing for 187 years.”

        I agree with this, but using it in this way is inappropriate. There are some things that have changed, and many, many more that have not. In fact, the vast majority of things have not changed. Therefore using the occasional change as evidence that this particular thing will also change in the future is unsupported hubris. It is taking the position (at best) that if only the Prophet were as righteous as you and as informed and educated as you and as spiritually in-tune as you, then he would receive the revelation that you know to be true. There is really no functional difference in what you are doing than in what Hiram Page did — except that Hiram eventually abandoned what he was doing and recognized Joseph as the only person authorized to receive revelation for the Church.

        1. “This is a pretty provocative statement, and one utterly devoid of backing through ancient or modern scripture.”

          Right. I’m specifically referring to current practice.

          “30 seconds on google”

          Nope. Sorry. That scripture does not show us God ordaining marriage between man and woman. Neither does D&C 49.

          “But if, instead, you use the definition that it appears clear from Elder Lawrence’s context that he is using (eternal, not temporal — not even 50 years temporal), then you are being profoundly unfair to him and misleading in your response.”

          I’ve already addressed this. The leadership get to choose who gets their marriages sealed for eternity. I mean, if “lasting” actually does mean “eternal” as you claim it does—or more specifically, sealed for eternity—then sure, I guess, gay marriages can’t have lasting happiness. Because they aren’t allowed to be sealed.

          “both premises have ancient and modern scriptural backing”

          Homosexual relations (and I assume you mean sexual acts, not just any kind of relations like handshakes, kissing, hugging, visiting, etc) being a sin is not supported by ancient or modern scripture. Well, except maybe superficially, empty of any context.

          “Therefore using the occasional change as evidence that this particular thing will also change in the future is unsupported hubris.”

          But even in this specific arena, there has been change. Church leaders, for example, no longer consider (or at the very least, teach) that homosexuality is a mental illness. They no longer teach that it is a choice. They no longer recommend heterosexual marriage as a cure. The no longer endorse violence against gay people, but have replaced that rhetoric with encouraging us to be more welcoming and accepting.

          “as the only person authorized to receive revelation for the Church.”

          The thing is though, I have never claimed that anyone other than Monson is authorized to receive revelation for the Church. The problem, however—just like with the priesthood ban—is that we have no evidence that any latter-day prophet has ever received an actual, direct revelation saying that gay people cannot be sealed in the church. The church’s stance is clear, but there is no evidence that such a stance is based on a specific revelation.

          1. Again, Kim, I cannot tell if you are simply misunderstanding or deliberately missing the point of what I am writing.

            “Right. I’m specifically referring to current practice.”

            You have missed the point. Your claim that “Their posterity can’t be eternal only because church leaders won’t allow such families to be sealed.” is what is devoid of ancient or modern backing. Not the policy, but rather your claim that it is only because of the church leaders disallowing such unions to be sealed that they cannot have eternal posterity (thus your use of “only”). It is not the policy that is devoid of backing, it is your statement.

            “Nope. Sorry. That scripture does not show us God ordaining marriage between man and woman.”

            You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. “marriage is ordained of God unto man.” “it is lawful that he should have one wife” (notice the change of genders). It is God specifically saying He ordains marriage of a man and his wife. For you to read that and come to the conclusion that it doesn’t is really very interesting.

            “I mean, if “lasting” actually does mean “eternal” as you claim it does—or more specifically, sealed for eternity—then sure, I guess, gay marriages can’t have lasting happiness. Because they aren’t allowed to be sealed.”

            Same misunderstanding, with the same absences of scriptural basis. You claim is, essentially, that the Church leaders could seal homosexual unions and these would be eternal, procreative unions. You make no attempt to support that assertion except in conclusory terms — which is apparent because no support for your conclusion exists. No doctrine, no scriptural evidence, nothing more than that you want it to be true. Like I said, the philosophies of men without even bothering with the mingling of scripture.

            “Homosexual relations (and I assume you mean sexual acts, not just any kind of relations like handshakes, kissing, hugging, visiting, etc) being a sin is not supported by ancient or modern scripture.”

            Wow. Ok, I have sometimes heard it correctly said that the Lord Himself did not condemn homosexuality, but to say that the idea that it is a sin is not supported by ancient or modern scripture is…well, obtuse. Romans 1:27, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 6:9, or even more bluntly if you go Old Testament. You undoubtedly provide the “context” of idolatry, but there is no indication that Paul is supportive of homosexuality absence idolatry — it just isn’t there, no matter how much you want it to be, and every other behavior Paul condemns in these scriptures is sinful independent of any association with idolatry. So, to claim context shows it not to be a sin, you must believe that Paul listed a number of sinful behaviors engaged in by those practicing idolatry but happened to include homosexual sex as the one non-sinful example of pro-idolatry behavior to watch out for (and that, in and of itself, ought to worry you — the contextual defense being that no it isn’t a sin it is just behavior frequently tied to idolatry isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement). And again, even this context is absent in the Old Testament references that we have. To say that it is a position not supported by scriptures is simply not true.

            “But even in this specific arena, there has been change. Church leaders, for example, no longer consider (or at the very least, teach) that homosexuality is a mental illness. They no longer teach that it is a choice. They no longer recommend heterosexual marriage as a cure. The no longer endorse violence against gay people, but have replaced that rhetoric with encouraging us to be more welcoming and accepting.”

            Burn, straw men, burn. But let’s assume your presentation here is fair (and I do not believe it is). How then are to be so certain that the Church hasn’t gone far enough and will only go far enough when it reaches your position? That the entirety of human history we have always been wrong on this issue, but in the past five years (since Joe Biden made his infamous comment) we have now come to the proper understanding of things (and why is the Church so slow to catch up?!?)?

            “The problem, however—just like with the priesthood ban—is that we have no evidence that any latter-day prophet has ever received an actual, direct revelation saying that gay people cannot be sealed in the church.”

            Elder Nelson said the following (for which he was excoriated by many of those who say they just want the Prophet to ask):

            “Filled with compassion for all, and especially for the children, we wrestled at length to understand the Lord’s will in this matter. . . . Ever mindful of God’s plan of salvation and of His hope for eternal life for each of His children, we considered countless permutations and combinations of possible scenarios that could arise. We met repeatedly in the temple in fasting and prayer and sought further direction and inspiration.

            And then, when the Lord inspired His prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, to declare the mind of the Lord and the will of the Lord, each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation. It was our privilege as Apostles to sustain what had been revealed to President Monson. Revelation from the Lord to His servants is a sacred process. And so is your privilege of receiving personal revelation.”

            So does that make you now stand in support of the policy? Of course it doesn’t, because it isn’t about President Monson receiving revelation it is about President Monson receiving revelation that agrees with you. If you are being intellectually honest, you should be the biggest defender of the policy out there — and yet, I sincerely doubt that you are.

            In any event, I have probably dedicated more time to this than I should have. Best of luck to you.

          2. “It is not the policy that is devoid of backing, it is your statement.”

            I don’t know how to make this any clearer. There is no scriptural support for the idea that gay couples are not entitled to being sealed. Nor is there any evidence that I know of that the prophets have received a specific revelation on this point. Thus, we are left only with a policy decision. I’d be happy to be shown otherwise. I hope this finally clarifies the rationale I was using in this statement.

            “ It is God specifically saying He ordains marriage of a man and his wife.”

            But it’s not. It certainly says that God ordains marriage, but regarding man and woman specifically, it says only that it is lawful. Tangentially, I guess that makes plural marriage unlawful given that it is a man with more that “one wife”.

            “You claim is, essentially, that the Church leaders could seal homosexual unions and these would be eternal, procreative unions. You make no attempt to support that assertion except in conclusory terms.”

            Let me get this straight. You want me to provide support for the idea that if temple sealers used the sealing power to seal gay marriages in the temple under the direction of the First Presidency, that those marriages would then be actually sealed? Does Matt. 16:19 suffice? How about D&C 132:46? Or are you looking for something else?

            “but to say that the idea that it is a sin is not supported by ancient or modern scripture is…well, obtuse”

            It’s not obtuse. Modern interpretation of the handful of scriptures currently cited for abhorring homosexuality is misguided. Here’s one treatment on the topic, but there are many.

            “How then are to be so certain that the Church hasn’t gone far enough and will only go far enough when it reaches your position?”

            Two things. First, it’s not about matching my position. Second, the church always changes its stance on social issues to match society; it does it slowly, but it does it. And I fail to see how that was a strawman; I was specifically responding to your comment about using occasional change as evidence.

            “So does that make you now stand in support of the policy?”

            Absolutely not. It is a damaging policy. And I question the accuracy of President Nelson’s recollection and interpretation of the event. If what he says is accurate, why have we still not seen President Monson come forward to confirm it, to verify that he did indeed receive a revelation specifically on this matter? Why did Elder Christofferson not mention this when he was meeting with Public Affairs in his interview, which occurred prior to President Nelson’s remarks? Why was the only release of the change through a handbook update, instead of at a conference session, following Joseph F. Smith’s precedent.

            I will never be the biggest defender of a policy that prevents me from baptizing my future grandchildren for something they have no control over. Never.

  2. I dont see it as a problem if LGBT members continue to part ways over the church stance. I see it as a blessing.

    1. And their family members. Add to that, there will continue to be LGBT children born into active LDS families. It is indescribably psychologically damaging to have these children attend where they are not accepted and even told they are evil. I help with the suicide hotline for the gay youth of the church and you would be shocked to learn of the families who find out their teen is gay in a suicide note. We must be careful to not use God’s name when making policies. God is unchanging. He didn’t change his mind about showing discrimination to women or blacks nor did he change His mind about interracial marriage. Brigham Young clearly stated interracial marriage in the temple would be death on the spot “thus saith the Lord” This is only one of many things said by a prophet in the name of the Lord which then changes and this causes extreme distress. Yes. The church is losing many faithful and good people. Again, God is unchanging. The New Testament is the law we are to follow so why on earth did the church EVER discriminate against blacks and women????? That is not part of the new law when Christ atoned for us all. The LGBT issue is another example of this discrimination which is clearly unhealthy and uncalled for and clearly God did not say the things which are being claimed He did. I wish they’d just say they are doing their best to navigate through the issues instead of using God’s name inappropriately.

  3. Go start your own church. All of those gays who want to be married can. They can all be merry and perhaps stop blaming the church for their own continued sinfulness.

  4. With your bizarre interpretation about the only explanation for the statement is that Elder Lawrence is under the impression that gays cannot reproduce. This is of course absurd. But this does not make Elder Lawrence foolish, it makes you foolish. The logical reading is that same sex marriage is counterfeit period. Full stop. Additionally it does not bring eternal posterity, etc. Your insistence on this absurd interpretation leads to most of your ridiculous questions.

    Further it is ironic that you seem to have faith in the exalting ordinances, but not in the consistent teachings from the same authority. And yes the church is lead by revelation, but not through you, through them. And such revelations do not flip the gospel inside out and upside down.

    I had forgotten how useless it is to engage with you.

    1. I never said that the only explanation for the statement is that is under the impression that gay people cannot reproduce. I specifically quoted, acknowledged and discussed both reasons he gave, including that of posterity.

      If the logical reasoning is that same sex marriage is counterfeit period full stop, then why did Elder Lawrence clarify what he meant by the statement?

      Just because teaching is consistent doesn’t mean that it’s correct. I think you’d be hardpressed to find members today who believe in the Adam God Doctrine, for example, even though it was consistently taught by several presidents and apostles. Same goes for people living on the moon and sun, or blacks being descended from Cain, or polygamy (as outlined in the post), or a host of other doctrines that we now label as “folk doctrine”. Church leaders have been wrong before, and they will be wrong in the future. It’s what happens when you put flawed humans in charge who don’t have a constant, direct line to God.

      I never claimed that the church is lead by revelation through me. I have never claimed to be God’s spokesperson. And it kind of puzzles me that people consistently paint me as if I have.

      1. 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

        23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

        24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you

          1. Just start your own church. You can have your own unique beliefs and interpretations.

        1. 7 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
          8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself (sex), then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.
          9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter.

          Need I go on? There’s tons of things in the bible that we don’t believe anymore…because we now KNOW BETTER. You’re cherry-picking what suites you…so too is the Mormon leadership.

  5. “I had forgotten how useless it is to engage with you.” — Kim can be very ornery and stubborn but I don’t know it is useless to engage with him?

    I think the thing he is saying is that for people in gay relationships these relationships can be meaningful and fulfilling and loving and lasting and bring happiness, meaning and purpose. Just because we may not agree that gay marriage is doctrinally correct or eternally binding these people deserve respect and we should believe their claims that their relationships are meaningful to them.

    I think it is difficult to have someone else tell you that the most important, meaningful, loving, happy relationship in your life means nothing is difficult to swallow. Imagine if someone told you your marriage was useless, meaningless, and fake you might be offended too.

    I think many people are OK to disagree they just don’t like being dismissed. You see how that feels when Kim questions what you hold true, and dear. You want to argue, refute and prove, etc. Kim might feel the same when you question what is true and dear to him.

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