When the Lord Jesus Christ visited the Nephites as a resurrected and glorified being, He taught His disciples the proper method of baptizing people and after instructing them He said, "There shall be no disputations among you as there have hitherto been: neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been" (3 Nephi 11:28). A little later during this same visit He reiterated this message when He said, "And I give you these commandments because of the disputations which have been among you. And blessed are ye if ye have no disputations among you" (3 Nephi 18:34).
In all churches there are going to be differences of opinion among people concerning various points of doctrine, because it's only normal and natural for people to see things from different perspectives. Yet the scriptures repeatedly tell us that we are to be united. The apostle Paul admonished the saints in his day that there should be "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5), not many different beliefs as what had happened to the saints in Galatia (Galatians 1:6,7). Paul also explained that the purpose of the church is to help bring us all to a unity in the faith so we can measure up to the stature of Christ and become perfect (Ephesians 4:13). In our day the Lord has said, "I say unto you, Be one, and if ye are not one ye are not mine" (D&C 38:27).
Yet, despite these clear statements, even those who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not immune from contending over doctrine. However, there are some who feel so passionately about their position that they actively seek to make the Church change their stand on certain issues.
There are various teachings of the Church that are strongly questioned by some members of the LDS faith which they can't bring themselves to accept, and one of the most prevalent of these is over the issue of homosexuality.
The position of the LDS Church is that homosexual behavior is not consistent with God's plan of salvation. For this reason there are gay and lesbian members of the Church who have remained silent about their feelings towards members of the same gender but as this issue is becoming more accepted by society, they are stepping forward seeking to have the Church openly accept them for who they are.
Many of these are people say they have strong testimonies concerning Joseph Smith, the restoration of the gospel, and the priesthood. They say they sustain the leaders of the LDS Church and willingly serve in their callings to help build up Christ's kingdom here on earth. More than that, they say they have felt the Holy Ghost in their life blessing them to the same degree that He blesses others.
For this reason they see themselves in the same position as Cornelius who sent for Peter to come teach him and his family the gospel. Some of the Jewish Christians at that time felt that because Cornelius was a Gentile that he shouldn't be allowed to become a Christian but Peter noted that since the Holy Ghost had been poured out on him and his family to the same extent as it had upon the Jews who accepted Christ, that he should be brought into the fold.
LDS homosexuals feel the same way. They feel they have received the Holy Ghost just as much as anyone else and so it is their belief that they should be accepted in the Church as they are rather than being treated differently than heterosexuals. They point out that it was Peter, the head of the Church, who said of Cornelius, "Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). Therefore it is their contention that if God doesn't respect one group of people over another and since God has poured out His Spirit on them to the same degree as He has with others, then they feel that the Church should not treat them any differently than anyone one else.
They reason that they were born with this tendency and therefore, if God has made them this way, then the Church should allow them to participate in the full benefits of Christ's salvation while they fulfill the divine purpose of their creation. They further argue that, just like God created men and women to be different from one another, so also He has created some to have different affectionate feelings towards people of the same gender. Since it is not their fault that they were born this way they contend that they are not doing anything wrong in the eyes of God. Furthermore, they point out that we are all sons and daughters of the same heavenly Father and that He loves all of His children equally. Therefore, if God loves them and is blessing them with His Spirit, then the Church should accept them just as they are, without any condemnation for their homosexual behavior.
These arguments do have a ring of truth to them and it is certain that many LDS homosexuals are sincere in their feelings about wanting to belong to the LDS Church but there are other aspects of membership that are just as important to be considered.
What makes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so unique among all Christian denominations is their message of the restoration. Until young Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son in the grove of trees on his father's farm in 1820, there had not been a true prophet of God on the earth since the death of the apostle John around 100 A.D. The message of the restoration is that God has not only restored the true message of Christ to mankind but He has restored the office of a prophet.
Without a true, living prophet of God, the LDS Church would not be much different than the tens of thousands of other Christian denomination in the world today which differ from one another only by their doctrines. Without a living prophet to guide the church, there could not be unity in the faith and, in time, even the doctrines of the LDS church would begin to change and there would be spin offs started by people who disagreed with different theological teachings of the church. This is the reason why nearly all other Christian faiths have come into existence.
One of the most fundamental tenants of "Mormonism" is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lead by a living prophet who is God's spokesman to the world. The Lord has said, "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (D&C 1:38) and three times a year - at General Conference, Stake Conferences, and ward conferences - members of the LDS Church, have the opportunity to sustain the President of the Church, his two counselors, and the twelve living apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. When we raise our hand to sustain these men we are signifying that we accept them as being God's authorized representatives on the earth and that the words they speak are those of Christ.
More than that, it is our fundamental belief that when we say that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, it's because we believe that this is His church and He is personally directing it. This is why every priesthood leader, along with their counselors, prays to know God's will in every decision they make. If that is true for all local leaders it is most certainly true for those who are responsible for directing the entire church.
For this reason, when someone objects to a doctrine that has been declared by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, they are not just disagreeing with God's prophets but are disagreeing with Jesus Christ Himself.
For someone to say they believe that there are living prophets on the earth and then say that they can't accept what the prophets teach because it goes against their personal beliefs, is a contradiction. For someone to say they have a testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's one and only true church on the earth today and then say that Christ's church is not teaching correct doctrine is to say that Christ Himself is teaching false doctrine. Either that, or it means that Christ's church is teaching false doctrine and Christ is doing nothing to correct the problem. Neither one of those conditions is something that a truly faithful Latter-day Saints could say.
The argument is made that times have changed and therefore the church has to change with the times. However, God's laws are not based on earthly circumstances but on eternal principles. Man frequently changes his mind about many things but God never changes His mind. In fact, that is one of the most basic beliefs Christians have about God. Furthermore, God bases His commandments on truth and what is true today was true yesterday and will always be true. In other words, truth is not subject to change and it doesn't depend on whether we agree with it or not.
If God has condemned the practice of homosexuality for the past six thousand years, if He would change His mind now and allow it, then He is a changeable God. And if what He told us was morally wrong yesterday is perfectly acceptable today, then how can we put our trust in anything He says? If God does love all of His children yet has consistently declared for thousands of years that homosexual behavior is wrong then such a commandment must be founded on an eternal principle of truth. To say otherwise is believe that God is changeable, that truth is not absolute, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is whatever we think is should be or what we want it to be.
But there is a more basic principle of Christianity that has to be considered. To be a Christian means to be a follower of Christ and to be a follower of Christ means to obey whatever Christ tells us to do, whether we agree with it or not. It was Jesus who say, "Why call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them…is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock:…But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that is without a foundation" (Luke 4:36-49).
Throughout all the books of scripture we read of commandments God has given that men have refused to accept. The Jews certainly believed that God sent prophets yet Paul reminded them, "which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted and they have slain?" (Acts 7:52). It is easy to accept someone as a prophet of God when they are saying something we agree with, but the true test of discipleship is being willing to follow the prophets when we don't agree with what they say.
There are those who do not believe in the principle of tithing, or of living the word of wisdom, or of keeping the Sabbath day holy, but just because they don't agree with those commandments and refuse to follow them doesn't mean they are exempt from obeying them. To truly be a follower of Christ means doing what Christ says, even when He asks us to do something we don't understand or don't want to do.
When speaking of Jesus the scriptures tells us "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). Jesus was fully obedient to all that His Father asked Him to do, even unto death, and it was because of His faithful obedience that He was exalted to sit on the right hand of God. Obedience is the eternal principle upon which salvation is received. This is what Jesus meant when He said, " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Revelation 3:21).
To be Christ-like means to behave like Christ and since Christ was obedient in doing all that His Father asked of Him, then obeying all the commandments is behaving like Christ. Therefore, if Christ says that we are not to engage in homosexual activity and we disagree with that commandment, and refuse to keep it, then we cannot truly say we are followers of Jesus.
Of course, none of us keep all the commandments all the time, but there is a significant difference between someone not keeping a commandment because they don't see the value in it and someone who deliberately advocates doing away with a commandment because they don't like it.
For example, there are those who don't pay their tithing because they feel they need every cent they earn in order to pay their bills, or because they think the church doesn't need their money, or because they think it's their money and don't want to part with it. But that's different than someone petitioning the church leaders and striving to get other members of the church to believe that we should no longer have to follow the principle of tithing by arguing that times have changed and today people can't afford to give away one-tenth of their hard earned income, or that it's an old, out-dated commandment that doesn't apply to us anymore. Or, perhaps a better example is for someone to advocate that the Church should change its stance on sexual purity before marriage or do away with God's law of adultery after marriage on the grounds that the rest of the world no longer follows such an old-fashioned and outdated concept.
But there is a far more serious reason why being a homosexual is an unchristian doctrine.
The Lord told Moses: "For behold, this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). Because of Christ's atonement, all men shall rise from the grave and become immortal, but eternal life is where we receive all that the Father has and become gloried as He is and sit upon thrones to rule and reign with Christ (Revelation 5:10). To a Latter-day Saint, this condition is called exaltation.
The Lord further revealed that "In the celestial kingdom there are three heavens or degrees and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]: If he does not he cannot obtain it" (D&C 131:1-3).
In order for someone to obtain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, which is where God lives, they must be sealed together as husband and wife because in that exalted state they will produce spirit children whom they will raise and help nurture to become exalted beings themselves. Two men or two women being married to each other cannot produce children in this life or in the next, therefore they cannot become exalted. Someone may say that isn't fair. They may argue that God wants us to love one another and so He wouldn't deny anyone the right to become exalted simply because they loved the wrong person. But God didn't create this law. Our Father in heaven is God precisely because He obeys immutable, unchanging eternal laws and if we want to inherit all that He has then we too must learn to obey those same laws.
The Lord has revealed "… unto every kingdom is given a law and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified… And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom… for he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory" (D&C 88:38,39,21,22).
What God's whole work is about and what brings Him glory is helping His children to become exalted. And the more of His children He can help achieve that status the greater His glory becomes. And as His exalted children have spirit children of their own who then go on to become exalted beings themselves, the more glory it brings to God. It's like a man who proudly talks about his grandchildren and how many of them he has and how well they are doing.
But two men or two women sealed to each other still cannot become exalted because they cannot beget spirit children in eternity. As such their very defiance at obeying this law works against God's plan for His children. Instead of striving to live the celestial law, committed homosexuals are openly refusing to accept the greatest gift that God has to offer - eternal life (D&C 6:13). Thus, homosexual behavior actually thwarts what God is working hard to achieve.
The scriptures tell us that "God so love the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Christ didn't die just to give us immortality. He didn't die just to get us into heaven, or into the celestial kingdom. He died to give us eternal life! Because of the way we are created, gay men and lesbian woman cannot inherit eternal life because they cannot fulfill their divine destiny as God intended. Therefore, those who advocate and seek to have others accept and adopt this kind of lifestyle are actively working against God's plan of salvation and are thereby working to rob Him of His glory. When understood in its proper light, it's no wonder that God has placed such a strict prohibition on this kind of behavior.
It doesn't matter in what age of history we may live, whether it was in the garden of Eden, six thousand years ago, or in the days of King David, or during the Roman Empire era, or during the Middle ages or in our modern times, the fact remains that men cannot beget children without a woman and women cannot beget children without a man. That is an eternal law that doesn't change no matter how much we agree or disagree with it, or what kind of philosophical arguments we make against it. The first law that God gave to Adam and Eve was to multiply and replenish the earth because that is the pattern used in heaven. When people deliberately seek to find ways not to keep this commandment they are not living the law of the celestial kingdom, therefore they are not sanctified by celestial law and must live in some other kingdom.
This is what the LDS Church teaches and those who disagree with these doctrines that God has restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and which have been upheld by all succeeding prophets of the LDS Church, are free to do so but they cannot call themselves faithful members of Christ's church when they willfully seek to overturn God's word. If someone says they believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's true church and that it s led by true prophets of God, then they are bound by a covenant that they themselves willingly made at the time of their baptism to at least strive to keep all of God's commandments, and not just the ones they agree with. When a member of the LDS Church raises their hand to signify that they sustain the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators, then they are signifying before God that they are willing to follow their teachings as though it comes from Christ
Homosexuals are not unrighteous people. Some of them are the kindest, sweetest people around who may have a genuine love of Christ and their fellowman, but the same can be said for Episcopals, Baptists, Quakers, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, Buddhists, and even some atheists. However, the Lord has said that there is only one "true and living church upon the face of the whole earth with which I the Lord am well pleased, speaking collectively, and not individually" (D&C 1:30). If someone truly believes that the LDS Church is promoting a doctrine that is not in accordance with God's will as they understand it, then they cannot possibly believe it is the only true and living church of Christ on the earth or that it is being led by true prophets of God.
If someone sincerely feels that their position is the correct one and that the LDS Church's position on an issue is wrong, then they have the choice to do what so many others have done in the past, which is to break away and start their own religious denomination. King Henry VIII did that when he broke away from the Catholic Church over a disagreement he had with the Pope. Martin Luther did the same when he disagreed with some of the teachings of the Catholic Church. John Calvin did that when he disagreed with Luther, and the Puritans did that when they disagreed with the Church of England.
But the scriptures are clear that there is only one faith and all who want to inherit the kingdom of God must fully embrace that one faith. God truly is no respecter of persons. What He says to one applies to all. The purpose of the church is to bring us to a unity of that faith so that there is no more disputations among us, but to do that we have to be willing to submit our will to God's, rather than seek to have God bend His will to ours.
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