It is not possible to uphold and sustain the Brethen while at the same time supporting or agreeing with same-gender marriage.
Every disciple of Christ will be most effective and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of a follower of the Savior. Discussions focused on questioning, debating, and doubting gospel principles do little to build the kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul has admonished us to not be “ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). Let us stand firmly and speak with faith in sharing our message with the world.
Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” Ensign, July 2008, p. 63.
The gist is: same-gender marriage has the potential to endanger freedom of religion.
Read the whole article: “Will gay rights trample religious freedom?” by Marc D. Stern of the Los Angeles Times.
I would like to respond to some issues raised with regard to the Church’s support for traditional marriage and its opposition to same-gender marriage.
1. Why is the Church doing this?
Some are under the mistaken notion that the Church has taken a stand in order to protect itself and its beliefs. In other words, that the Church fears that if the state permits same-gender marriage, the Church would be forced to seal same-gender marriages or recognize them.
While this is a concern, as far-fetched as it may seem now, this is not why the Church has taken a stand. Regardless how this issue affects religious organizations and their policies, the Church recognizes the impact this decision will have on the social fabric. If people are permitted to define marriage as they see fit, the stability and even institution of marriage becomes a farce, becomes ineffectual. There are a number of rules and expectations with regard to marriage, and these are increasingly being eroded in society and attacked by various elements within society that chafe under these rules and expectations that limit what society accepts.
I do not think this radical redefinition of marriage will immediately bring down society, but it perpetuates a dangerous momentum that redefines and eventually makes obsolete and useless the institution of marriage. We should do whatever we can to staunch this momentum against marriage.
2. Isn’t the Church risking its tax-exempt status?
No. Since the beginning of the founding of The United States, churches and religious organizations have spoken and have been involved in political issues. These include temperance, abolitionism, and civil rights. If the Church is to be stripped of its tax-exempt status, then it would follow that the Catholic Church should be stripped of its tax-exempt status because of its active pro-life programs. Or that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s organization should have had its tax-exempt status stripped.
It is interesting that this argument arises only when the Church takes a stance that people disagree with. The vast work of the Church, from missionary work to philanthropy, seems to be conveniently ignored.
Of course, if the Church is to have its tax-exempt status stripped, thousands of other religious organizations (including synagogues, mosques, and churches) would have their tax-exempt status stripped as well: many religious organizations are actively involved in this issue.
The Supreme Court of California struck a blow against marriage and ruled that same-gender marriage, contrary to thousands of years of human evolution and societal norms, shall be permitted by the state as the right of the people. This ruling struck down California legislation that defined marriage for what it is: a union between one man and one woman.
As may be expected, there has been a flurry of activity online against and for measures to protect marriage. Two prominent posts I am aware of are: “Supporting the Church’s position on SSM (part 2)” by Geoff B. of The Millennial Star, and “Affirmation, California, and the LDS Church” by Connor of Connor’s Conundrums.
Regarding families, one of the most important documents to Latter-day Saints is The Family: A Proclamation to the World (often called “The Family Proclamation”) issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1995. The beginning says:
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God
When the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared what marriage is, as defined and ordained by God, the debate on this issue came to an end. The prophets have spoken, and thus God Himself has spoken. He said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). Thus, God has spoken.
Furthermore, we cannot say we are sustaining the Brethren when we oppose what they have revealed and what they have directed. The Church does not support same-gender marriage. The Church opposes any effort to legalize same-gender marriage. The Church has declared that same-gender marriage is wrong and unacceptable, most importantly wrong and unacceptable to God. Thus, it is the duty of Latter-day Saints, who sustain the Brethren and desire to follow Christ, to likewise oppose same-gender marriage. Simply not doing anything to support it will not count: we must oppose it and do everything we can to defeat such measures.
Indeed, we have covenanted in the Temple to consecrate everything to the Church. And so when the First Presidency and/or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles calls upon us to act on this covenant, using our time, talents, money, and everything which God has blessed us with, we must comply or risk breaking the covenant we have made. When the Prophet says, “Go and do,” we must fully comply. He or she who does not, or who opposes such compliance, has set underfoot the holy things of God and stands in need of great repentance.
Making one’s calling and election sure does not come when one has obeyed enough: it comes when it is that whatever may come, one will obey. The Saints of the Lord go and do when called upon to go and do. I am so very grateful for those Latter-day Saints who sustain and support the Brethren in this issue, and I pray Heavenly Father will bless their efforts with success and with blessings upon their heads for their obedience and humility.