Monday, February 29, 2016

Are Mormons saying that they are "right".

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that Mormons think they are right?

Do the words of Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles really catch anyone who follows the LDS church off guard? 
Should I have been picturing him,
all these years, lifting weights?

The Church of Jesus Christ did it their way when it was on the earth the first time (New Testament). They didn't float through conventual wisdom biblically or cater to the powerful or the popular. 

Christ himself was willing to die for his knowledge. So were the prophets and apostles who followed him -- many of whom gave their life in violent fashion.     

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I count myself a member in good standing, has created missionary campaigns over the years to bring in people to the gospel of Christ, to convert new members. 

That these campaigns were thoughtful and well-mannered for as long as they have been is the surprise

Mormons are right, the ads could have read.

I will say it again, prophets of the Lord were notoriously blunt in both Old Testament and New Testament as well as the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. They tended to tell it like it was. "You are sinful group of people, and you must repent or be destroyed." How many scenarios from scripture history can we fit that sentence into? 

Adam. Amulek, Noah and Noah, Jonah -- who ran from the task because he knew what would happen, Christ himself, Peter, and on and on. 

I, for example, think the Mormons are right, and I always have. I think that everyone is going to end up either performing the essential ordinances essential to salvation for themselves or have them done by proxy -- or be left out -- though I don't know how that will look.  

I don’t know why the Blacks couldn’t receive the priesthood until modern revelation said they could, but I believe it was so. 

Is marriage between a man and a woman/ ? Yes. And it is so regardless of my own sexual orientations. Will same-sex marriage be recognized in the after-life?  No, and for the reasons Elder Bednar mentioned. 

Do I believe that Christ died on the cross for us?  That He gave his life and paid the price for our sins so that we can return?  Yes.  

Do I believe that other religions will have to embrace His teachings in order to be exalted?  Yup.

But I haven’t gone around saying that -- as a rule. If fact, while I was a student in the MTC preparing to go on an LDS mission, we were told to develop soft skills so we could teach without being smug or holier than thou. We were taught to be nice. We were taught that honey does better than vinegar, to be inclusive of others and their beliefs and feelings. The process, as I understood it, was that once a new member's testimony had been built up there would be a time for specifics.

Being right has come at a cost. Being right is thoroughly irritating to others to the point where others want to kill us.

Is it time to come out and say that Mormons are right? If it isn't time now, it will be soon.  Do we share the gospel to others because it is the gospel? Yes.

Can I still be nice about it?  How nice is it to say the LDS church is right?

No Gay Mormons?

I don't have time to do much editing, but I wanted to get this out there.

David A. Bednar says there are no gay people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because, essentially, there are no gay people.

Keep reading.

Speaking in Chile last week during a Q and A for a regional conference, Bednar was asked, “How can homosexual members of the church live and remain steadfast in the gospel?”

Bednar replied, “I want to change the question,” as Raw Story's David Edwards first reported.

He then explained his theory, one held by the Church, that no one is actually born homosexual (or bisexual, for that matter) but rather, God gives people challenges they are to overcome, homosexuality being one of them.

“There are no homosexual members of the church. We are not defined by sexual attraction,” said Bednar. “We are not defined by sexual behavior. We are sons and daughters of God. And all of us have different challenges in the flesh.”

Frankly, I agree with him on principle.  I have been championing this for years.  However, I am a gay Mormon and have written as such for those same years. The fact of the matter is that we humans do self-identify by many different methods and sexuality is one of them. 

Bednar, and I love the dude, is trying to give an advanced course in the pre-existence to a group of reporters who haven't passed Mormon 101. There is an internet out there -- leaders of the Mormon Church. Use it to get proper messages across in a timely fashion with impeccable referencing. 

Or is such a thing necessary. 

Regardless, the era of speaking from your heart to a select few members of the church in a local meeting and have it stay local are over.  Open the floor to everyone. 

Back to the story: He then went on to recite the church's stance that homosexual love is only a sin if it is expressed sexually -- nothing new there.

“Simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin,” Bednar continued. “There are many members of the church who may have some manifestation of that attraction. They honor their covenants, the keep the commandments, they are worthy, they can receive the blessings of the temple and they can serve in the church.”

“It is when we act on the inclination or the attraction, that’s when it becomes a sin,” the elder continued. “We do not discriminate and we are not bigots. We extend Christ-like love to all sons and daughters of God.”

Bednar's comments come just a few short months after the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced that Mormons who are in same-sex relationships, even though legal, are to be considered "apostates," subject to ex-communication, and their children cannot be baptized, or become members of the LDS church until they turn 18.

So, what is the answer to the origional question? How can homosexual members of the church live and remain steadfast in the gospel?

Answer: By following the commandments.  "They honor their covenants, the keep the commandments, they are worthy, they can receive the blessings of the temple and they can serve in the church."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

After the talk

The speech was called The Free Exercise of Religion in Our Time, and it was given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was given on February 9 2016 at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

The speech addressed the topic "The importance of maintaining and protecting religious liberty in the international sphere."

The speech concluded and the floor was opened up to questions from the audience. The final question of the evening was asked by Andrew Evans:

Question: “Less than a year ago, right here in Washington, DC, my friend killed himself. He was Mormon and gay. You’ve gone on record that, ‘the Church does not give apologies’. Does religious freedom absolve you from responsibility in the gay Mormon suicide crisis?”

Elder Oaks’ Response: “I think that’s a question that will be answered on judgment day. I can’t answer that beyond what has already been said. I know that those tragic events happen. And it’s not unique simply to the question of sexual preference. There are other cases where people have taken their own lives and blamed a church–my church–or a government, or somebody else for their taking their own lives, and I think those things have to be judged by a higher authority than exists on this earth, and I am ready to be accountable to that authority, but I think part of what my responsibility extends to, is trying to teach people to be loving, and civil and sensitive to one another so that people will not feel driven, whatever the policy disagreements, whatever the rules of the church, or the practices of a church, or any other organization, if they are administered with kindness, at the highest level or at the level of the congregation or the ward, they won’t drive people to take those extreme measures; that’s part of my responsibility to teach that. And beyond that, I will be accountable to higher authority for that. That’s the way I look on that. Nobody is sadder about a case like that than I am. Maybe that’s a good note to end on.”