Following The Teachings Of The Savior

Summary: The apostle Paul has counseled us to not conform our thinking and behavior to the ways of the world, and in every age of man there have always been many different philosophies put forth to explain what someone feels is acceptable behavior. One of those philosophies was taught by Jesus Christ and this article compares the philosophy of living a homosexual lifestyle with God’s purpose for creating man. 

The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Throughout every age of man there have been many different philosophies put forth to explain the purpose of man’s existence on earth and inherent in each philosophy is a concept of what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable. For example, if we say that man’s existence consists of nothing more than doing what is necessary to survive then any kind of behavior is acceptable, including stealing, lying, and killing. On the other hand, if we say that the purpose of man’s existence is to make the world a better place then man has an obligation and a duty to gain knowledge, be caring of others, and seek to find ways to create a more peaceful and prosperous society.

Christians believe in a philosophy of life that says God want them to someday live with him in heaven and as such they follow a course of behavior that they believe God will find “good and acceptable and perfect.”  However, this kind of behavior is often very different from what the rest of the world considers to be good. For example, the world teaches that there is nothing wrong with having sex outside of marriage, or getting drunk, or telling white lies, or using foul language, but to a Christian behavior like this is not acceptable. This is why Paul told the Christians of his day that they should not conform or imitate the ways of the world.

The term “ungodly people” is defined as those who either don’t believe that God has the right to tell them how to live their lives or they choose to ignore living according to his ways. In other words, these people may claim to believe in God but are not willing to live according to his standards of behavior.

This kind of thinking can manifest itself in different ways but it is common for people to justify their ungodly actions by interpreting God’s word so as to make it conform to their philosophy of life rather than trying to truly understand what God expects of them.

One such understanding of God’s word is that he doesn’t care if we live a heterosexual or a homosexual lifestyle. This is not a new philosophy but what does seem to be new is that it is becoming fashionable for people to decide for themselves what gender they want to be. The world now has put forth the philosophy that it is not the biological and physical makeup of our bodies that determines whether a person is a male or a female but how we feel emotionally that makes that determination. Therefore, if a person who has the body of male feels they are a woman then they are a woman but, if over time, they change their mind and think of themselves as being a male then they are no longer a woman but are once again a male.

However, this would be like someone who owns a cat but wishes it was a dog, telling everyone that their pet cat is really a dog, even though their pet purrs instead of barks, likes cat food instead of dog food, and coughs up hair balls. This isn’t a case where they have merely changed the name of the animal but where they’re treating their cat as though it actually is a dog.

If someone were to do that we’d wonder about their mental condition, but when someone who has a penis, a prostrate, and produces sperm says they’ve the same as someone who has a womb, mammary glands, and produces eggs we’re expected to believe that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with their way of thinking.  Putting pants, a shirt, and a pair of sunglasses on a dog doesn’t make them behave like a human, but today’s philosophy is that you can put a dress, a bra, and high heels on a man and claim that they’re no different than a woman, or a woman can wear very short hair, dress in pants and wear no bra and then claim that they are the same as a man.

Those who want to say that biological differences don’t determine the true gender of a person find themselves in a scientific quandary. According to all scientists, man is classified as a mammal in the animal kingdom and if that is true, then our sex is determined by the same standard as all other animals, which is by our biological makeup. But if we say that our sex is determined by how we feel about ourselves, then to be scientifically consistent we’d also have to say that the only way we can truly determine the sex of a cat or a dog, or any other mammal is by asking them what gender they think they are.

To bolster their argument both transgenders and homosexuals want to believe that there is a gene in our DNA that determines whether we are male or female. It is their contention that some people are born with a DNA gene that gives them the desire to be attracted to someone of the same sex or that makes someone feel they are male or female despite their biological characteristics to the contrary.  In other words, people can’t help how they feel because of what is in their genes.

According to science, what determines the sex in all mammals is the X and Y chromosome. Those who have two X chromosomes develop female attributes while those who have an X and a Y chromosome develop male attributes. Nowhere in nature do we find animals with an XY chromosome looking like a male but acting like a female, and neither do we find an animal with an XX chromosome looking like a female but acting like a male.  Yet, despite this scientific fact, transgenders want us to believe that the rules of nature that applies to all other animals somehow doesn’t apply to humans.

But this concept of gender identity and the effort to find a plausible scientific explanation has come about as a result of wanting to make the homosexual lifestyle the good and acceptable way for people to behave. But this desire of theirs has gone far beyond their own personal preference. Now it has developed to the point where if someone believes that marriage should be defined as a man and a woman living together as husband and wife then they are accused of hating homosexuals, but that’s just as silly as saying that if someone likes to eat meat and vegetables then we must conclude that they hate eating apple pie. As absurd as this kind of argument is, it’s becoming accepted as being reasonable, logical, and intelligent thinking.

But the question that needs to be asked is, what is man’s real purpose for being on earth? Is it merely to eat, sleep, and be happy doing whatever we want, or does man have a higher purpose in living, and if so, what is it? The philosophy that has brought the greatest amount of inner peace, outer prosperity, and true joy and happiness in the lives of people is living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yet, even within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there are members who believe there is nothing wrong with living a homosexual lifestyle and they base their belief on one of two lines of reasoning. The first is that they know God loves them and if he does then to them it means he is not displeased with the way they are living their life. Therefore, if God sees nothing wrong with what they are doing then neither should the church.

The LDS Church clearly teaches that every person who now lives, or who has ever lived, or who will yet live here on this earth are all children of God, begotten by him in heaven long before the earth was ever created. Furthermore, they believe that in our pre-mortal life there was a war in heaven between those who were in favor of following our heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation and those who opposed his plan, and that everyone who has come to this earth were part of those who supported our Father’s plan.

None of us came to earth with the intention of deliberately wanting to disobey God, but as the scriptures point out, none of us are perfect and all of us have fallen short of his glory, but God still loves all of us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins. However, Christ didn’t die to save only the righteous but the unrighteous as well and that includes people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Un, along with every other violent and brutal dictator the world has ever had. Although it’s true that God hates sin, that doesn’t mean he hates those who commit sin because if he did then he would have to hate all of us, but since we are all God’s children he loves each of us as much as he loves his Son Jesus.

Furthermore, as members of the LDS Church we are likewise taught to show charity to everyone, both the sinner and the saint alike. The scriptures tell us to love even our enemies, to give kindness to those who persecute us, to be patient with those who are intolerant of us, and to be forgiving of those who offend us. In the LDS Church even those who are excommunicated because of transgression are still treated with respect and dignity.

But just because God loves all of his children and deeply cares about them doesn’t mean that he approves of everything they do. God’s love and patience doesn’t exempt the sinner from being punished for their transgressions, nor does it mean that he shields us from the consequences of our sins. As the scriptures say, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:6-7).

The second reason homosexuals give for justifying their lifestyle is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about love. In fact, the scriptures tell us that without charity, which is the pure love of Christ, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2), and that love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10). Since God is no respecter of persons and we are to love all men, then it is argued that a gay man who loves another man is living the law of Christ, while a lesbian woman will say the same thing about loving another woman.

LDS homosexuals will further say that our heavenly Father’s plan of salvation is also known as the plan of happiness and if two men or two women can be happy living together why would God want them to be unhappy by forcing them to live with someone who doesn’t fulfill their emotional, psychological, and physical needs?

To answer this question we have to have a true understanding of God’s purpose in creating us and that purpose is not only good and acceptable but it the perfect way to have a fullness of joy. If God’s plan is perfect then, by definition, any other plan for our happiness will fall short of giving us the happiness that God desires for his children.

What God wants for us is to become as perfect as he is which will then allow us to inherit all that he has and do all that he can do, and that includes the ability to beget spirit children just as he has done. What brings God glory and honor is to help his children to become immortal and for them to gain eternal life (Moses 1:39) and the very reason why we left our home in heaven and came here to earth is so that we could learn how to become like God and return to him and receive all the glory and honor he has. This is what it means to inherit eternal life.

But the way we gain the same glory and honor that God has is by doing what he does, which is by begetting spirit children of our own after the resurrection as exalted beings and helping our spiritual offspring to become immortal and exalted beings as God has done with us. It is only in this way that we are able to experience a fullness of joy, and anything less than that will not be as fulfilling or rewarding.

But it takes a man and a woman, sealed together eternally for that to happen. Two men or two women who are married civilly in this life will find themselves living the life of a single person after they leave this world because, as the marriage vow says,“’Til death do you part,” and at death they will no longer be married to each other or to anyone else, therefore their marriage relationship is only temporary and so is their happiness.

Civil marriage is an earthly arrangement that is binding and valid only here on earth according to the laws of man, but once we enter into a different world, after death any contracts we make here have no effect there. This is no different than making a contract to work for a particular company and as long as a person continues working for that company the agreement they’ve made remains in force. But if they leave that company and go somewhere else for employment, their old contract is no longer valid (see D&C 132:15).

In the same way, the laws of this earth are not the laws of heaven. Just like we can’t take any of our earthly possessions with us when we die, so also we can’t take any contracts we make in this life into the next, and that includes the contract of marriage. If we want to be married forever while living in heaven then we have to make our agreement with heaven on their terms, not ours (D&C 132:4).

Since the reason for being sealed together as husband and wife for all eternity is for the purpose of legally begetting spirit children in the hereafter there is no reason to seal two men and two women together because they could never, ever beget children after the resurrection. And if a couple cannot bring forth spirit children, like our Father in heaven can then it is not possible for them to inherit eternal life. Instead, they will “remain separately and singly without exaltation” throughout all of eternity (D&C 132:17). Our Father’s plan is all about giving his children the greatest amount of happiness possible but a homosexual lifestyle prevents God’s children from achieving the happiness that God desires for them.

But there’s a greater reason why being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender will not bring eternal happiness.

The LDS Church teaches that after the resurrection all of mankind will inherit one of three kingdoms of heaven – celestial, terrestrial, or telestial.  The highest degree of the celestial kingdom — known as eternal life or exaltation — is where we can experience the greatest amount of joy and happiness. That doesn’t mean that those living in the lower levels of the celestial kingdom are not happy but their happiness will not be as full or as rewarding as those who are exalted beings.

Those who live in the terrestrial kingdom also experience a degree of happiness but it is less than that experienced in the lowest part of the celestial kingdom, while those who live in the telestial kingdom will also experience a degree of happiness but it is far below that of the terrestrial kingdom. Therefore, to experience the greatest degree of happiness a person must inherit the celestial kingdom.

But to do that a person must be baptized by someone who holds the proper authority. Without that authority baptism is merely an earthly ordinance that is not recognized by heaven, and without that recognition a person’s baptism has no power to let them enter into the celestial kingdom.

The reason why is because baptism is not merely a ceremony that washes away our sins but is a contract, a promise, or a covenant we make with God wherein we pledge our loyalty to Christ. That covenant states that we promise to take upon ourselves the name of Christ and keep his commandments which he has given (Mosiah 18:10). It is a promise saying that we will submit our will to his by doing as he asks, and the reason why it’s important to keep that promise is because Christ’s commandments are designed to help us learn and live the laws that govern the celestial kingdom. Those who are unwilling to abide by those laws cannot live where Christ lives.

To illustrate this, suppose we want to live in a neighborhood where the houses are worth one million dollars each. Most people would love to live in such a house but very few people are willing to work at a job that will pay them a salary sufficient to buy such a home. That kind of a job would require having special skills and knowledge and would most likely require working very long, hard hours that involve some very serious responsibilities.

For example, professional football players make millions of dollars a year but very few people have the skill and talent to do what they can. To prepare for their games they are required to put in a considerable amount of time practicing and building up their physical strength and agility and then, once football season starts, they are under tremendous pressure to win every game. In addition to this they are in a business where they face the very real possibility of being seriously injured. Furthermore, if their performance isn’t good enough during the season they can find themselves being benched or having their career ending sooner than they want.

To live in the celestial kingdom requires abiding by the laws that govern that kingdom and when we strive to keep the commandments of God we are demonstrating our willingness to live by those laws. But those who are not willing to follow God’s commandments are demonstrating that they are not capable of living in the celestial kingdom (D&C 88:21).  Christ is our coach who is anxious to help us become perfect but he can only do that if we are willing to submit our will to his and do what he says.

One of the common themes that runs throughout all of God’s dealings with man is that those who engage in immoral practices will not inherit eternal life (see Romans 12:2). As such, God requires us to refrain from engaging in any kind of sexual behavior except that between a husband or wife who have been legally married to one another. If two men or two women want to live together in a partnership arrangement, God has no problem with that as long as they don’t engage in any sexual conduct, but homosexuals want to be exempted from this restriction because they feel it is unfair to deny them the same intimate experience that heterosexual couples are allowed to have.

However, the law of chastity applies to everyone, not just to homosexuals. If an LDS man or woman has a sexual relationship with someone to whom they are not legally married they face the real possibility of being excommunicated from the church, and when that happens it’s as though they had never been baptized. That standard applies to everyone, from the newest member all the way to and including an apostle. This same law applies to a man or a woman who was once married but either through divorce or death, finds themselves single. This law also applies to men and women who desperately want to get married but can’t find a suitable mate.

Of course, people are free to have all the sex they want outside of marriage but in doing so they are refusing to submit themselves to the will of God and are therefore deliberately choosing to forfeit their right to inherit eternal life. The scriptures tell us that rather than giving into the desires of the flesh we should “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all of your might, mind, and strength then is his grace sufficient for you” (Moroni 10:32).

The opposite is just as true. If someone is not willing to deny themselves of all ungodliness they cannot become perfect. Furthermore, since they will not come unto Christ because they do not want to keep his commandments with all of their might, mind, and strength, then his grace is not sufficient to save them, no matter how much God loves them. That’s not because God is being mean or callous but because mercy cannot rob justice, and God is not only merciful but he is a just God as well.

The scriptures teach that Christ didn’t come to save us in our sins but to save us    from our sins (Alma 11:37). It is only just and fair that people be rewarded for what they have done, therefore justice allows mercy to be extended to those who repent of their sins. But when someone deliberately wants to excuse living a life that is contrary to what God has ordained, then it cannot be said that they feel remorseful or penitent for their behavior therefore it is only just and fair that they are not entitled to the benefits of mercy. If that were true then there would be no reason to repent of any of our sins.

If someone wants to live a homosexual lifestyle because they find happiness and satisfaction in doing so, that is their decision to make but they are also choosing, of their own free will, to spend eternity in a kingdom where their joy and happiness will be far below that which they could have had if they had been willing to submit their will to that of Christ.

To those who feel that this is asking too much, perhaps a change in perspective will be of help. There are 3,650,000 hours in a hundred years. Suppose we were told that if we could behave ourselves and not do anything wrong for just one hour, that the next one hundred years we would be given ten million dollars each year? It’s fairly certain that most people, even the worst of us, would do everything we could to stay out of trouble for that one hour.

In comparison to eternity, our life on this earth is more like one minute out of a hundred years (there are 52,560,000 minutes in a hundred years) and yet we moan and complain that it’s so hard to do what God asks of us for such a short period of time, even though the reward for such obedience is far greater than receiving ten million dollars a year.

When we consider that all Christ asks is that we make a sincere effort to live as he commands and to repent when we fail it’s clear that Christ is being more than fair to us. In fact, he is being overly generous. To make it even easier, Christ stands ready to gives us all the help we need. Considering all of this, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would refuse to accept that kind of an offer, but that is exactly what people do when they make excuses for not wanting to follow the teachings of the Savior.

 

Related articles can be found at The Nature of Man

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