Sunday, April 06, 2014

LDS Apostle Neil L. Andersen Reiterates Official Church Opposition To Gay Marriage At 184th Annual LDS General Conference

The 184th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints concluded late on April 6th, 2014, and two developments have attracted significant media interest. The first development was the attempt by the Mormon feminist group Ordain Women to "crash" the all-male General Priesthood session on April 5th; an estimated 500 Ordain Women activists (according to OW) lined up to get tickets for the meeting for the second conference in a row, and once again were refused entrance. Ordain Women wants the LDS Church leaders to demand a revelation from the Lord to confer priesthood upon women, and is using civil disobedience as part of their strategy.

But attracting even more media interest was one of the talks delivered by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 5th. During his talk about Spiritual Whirlwinds, Elder Neil L. Andersen reiterated the LDS Church's official opposition to gay marriage. However, many of the media outlets selectively quoted from the address, and so I present the video below to show the full context, where his remarks start at the 4:50 point and continue through 7:53. The written transcription of this section follows below:

"President Monson said, 'Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it's growing ever wider'.This chasm for some stirs strong spiritual whirlwinds. Let me share an example.

This past month [actually, in January 2014], the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve published a letter to leaders of the Church across the world. In part, it read
, 'Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We urge you to review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.'

As the world slips away from the Lord's law of chastity, we do not. President Monson said
'The Savior of mankind described himself as being in the world but not of the world. We also can be in the world but not of the world as we reject false concepts and false teachings and remain true to that which God has commanded'.

While many governments and well-meaning individuals have re-defined marriage, the Lord has not. In the very beginning, God initiated marriage between a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. He designated the purposes of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults to more importantly advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured. Families are the treasure of heaven.

Why do we continue to talk about this? As Paul said,
'We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen'. As apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, our responsibility is to teach our Creator's plan for His children and to warn of the consequences of disregarding His commandments".

Nevertheless, the Church made it abundantly clear in January that all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there. Gays can become members of the LDS Church so long as they commit to celibacy; same-sex attraction is considered a condition rather than a sin.

The only mainstream media outlet to add further depth to this story was the Christian Science Monitor, which added that since California Prop 8 backfired, the LDS Church made numerous efforts -- both publicly and more quietly -- to be more compassionate to members of the gay community. A top church official, historian Marlin Jensen, met with church members in California and apologized for the pain that Prop. 8 caused. The church also worked with the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University to make a booklet that encourages Mormon parents to embrace their gay children. It created a website with a similar purpose called Love One Another. In addition, the LDS Church supported a Boy Scouts change of policy that allowed gay members, and now some gay Mormons say they have noticed a dramatic shift at local services.

But we will not compromise on marriage.

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