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.