In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalise gay marriage across the United States, many missionaries will likely be receiving lots of questions about the church’s position on this recent law change… and fair enough, who better to ask than the representatives of the church… the missionaries. “ASK THE MISSIONARIES”.

So accordingly, missionaries need know what to say. Is this an easy topic to talk about? Heck no! There’s no magic teaching formula, no ‘heart warming’ church film to play and last time I checked, EFY or the piano guys hadn’t made any music addressing the issue.

So, how do we teach people about a topic that already divides families and friends, workers and co-workers literally the world over? How do we teach in a way that doesn’t make us appear to be heartless, love-less, fundamentalist christians armed with pitch forks and fiery torches racing angrily towards the trending moment of #lovewins

UNDERSTAND THE FACTS

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “A Proclamation to the World”, which concerns the importance of the family. A portion reads, “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children.”The Family: A Proclamation to the World October 1995

The missionary teaching guide, Preach my Gospel p77, entitled “Live The Law of Chastity”, says

“God delights in chastity and hates sexual sin. Chastity includes strict abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage.

Those who live the law of chastity enjoy the strength that comes from self-control. They enjoy confidence and trust in their family relationships. They can enjoy more fully the influence of the Holy Ghost in their lives. Those who break this law are subject to a lasting sense of shame and guilt that burdens their lives.

Chastity requires faithfulness in thought and action. We must keep our thoughts clean and be modest in our dress, speech, and actions. We must avoid pornography in any form.

We should treat the God-given procreative power and our bodies as sacred. Baptismal candidates are to live the law of chastity, which prohibits any sexual relations outside of a legal marriage between a man and a woman.

They are not to participate in abortions or homosexual or lesbian relations. Those who have committed sexual sin can repent and be forgiven”.

What appears to be an antiquated, ‘hard liner’ approach to gay marriage and homosexual relations: is just that. As old as the Old and New Testaments themselves. 

Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly…

We should never apologise for holding an Old Testament and new testament opinion of homosexuality. Remember God “is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world”.

TEACH

“It’s how things are approached.” said Elder Christofferson

The early Apostles understood that not everyone would be accepting of their message, but they knew that they had a responsibility, none the less to teach God’s word. On the 10th of January 2015, the church released a statement regarding same-sex marriage, (full article here).

“As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children”. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27–28).

Elder Jeffery R. Holland has always said that “We do not need to be apologists for our faith”. In Acts 5:29, the Apostles, Peter and John were arrested for preaching. However, Peter still insisted that “We ought to obey God rather than men”…. “And we are [still] His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him”.

Elder Christofferson enforced that “This [gay marriage ruling] is not a doctrinal evolution or change, as far as the church is concerned,”.

STOP JUDGING

However, this gives no member of the church or missionary, or anyone the right to feel superior to anyone. It gives no one the right to judge another person. The Saviour said, “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57).

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven”. (Luke 6:37)

“There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another”? (James 4:12)

The churches website confirms that “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that same-sex attraction is a sensitive issue which requires kindness, compassion, and understanding”. More: here

President Boyd K. Packer affirmed, “We do not reject you. … We cannot reject you. … We will not reject you, because we love you.”

HELP

The Church has advocated for rights for same-sex couples regarding “hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights” In Salt Lake City, for example, the Church supported ordinances aimed at protecting gay residents from discrimination in housing and employment.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and a Mormon, said he will work to “ensure that legislation designed to promote greater equality includes robust religious exemptions and non-retaliation provisions.”

Elder Christofferson  has said that backing marriage equality on social media sites, including on Facebook or Twitter, “is not an organized effort to attack our effort, or our functioning as a church.,”

“We are asked to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving. We are asked to be slower to anger and more prompt to help. We are asked to extend the hand of friendship and resist the hand of retribution. We are called upon to be true disciples of Christ, to love one another with genuine compassion, for that is the way Christ loved us.”

An Easter Greeting from the First Presidency, Church News, 15 Apr. 1995, p. 1.

EVERYONE AGREE?

Not everyone needs to agree with your teaching. This is a position held by God for thousands of years, he hasn’t changed it. Will he ever change His position? I don’t know. I couldn’t say. But do members of the church, do investigators of our church, even our members have to all agree?

Short answer: No

“There hasn’t been any litmus test or standard imposed that you couldn’t support that if you want to support it, if that’s your belief and you think it’s right,” Elder Todd Christofferson

“We have individual members in the church with a variety of different opinions, beliefs and positions on these issues and other issues,” Christofferson said. “In our view, it doesn’t really become a problem unless someone is out attacking the church and its leaders”.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.”

CONCLUSION

So, in short. We believe in marriage between one woman and one man. We believe that sexual sin, homosexual or heterosexual, “leads to a sense of shame and guilt that burdens lives”.

However, if we take the advice of Alma and “bridle all [our] passions” we may be “filled with love”.

And wouldn’t that be nice.

#loveGod  #truelove #sacrifice 

Mission Geek now has a special email for haters: [email protected]  😉

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