ELDER DALLIN H OAKS: This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle.
Believing that I, too, must make a stand on principle, I commented:
I want to say something here, but I don't know how to put it. I understand what Elder Oaks, and other General Authorities, are trying to do under this issue. In many ways I agree that many have pushed their activism too far. On the other hand, I feel the Church and many of the GA's are doing the same thing: trying to push their view on the rest of the world and blowing certain instances out of proportion to give support to their view.
As I expected, a number of people have responded to my comment with rhetoric such as “Is the Church true or not?”, “FOLLOW THE PROPHET,” and “The 12 Apostles and First presidency are not politicians…. They tell us what God wants the world to know.” These responses are all too evident of an inability I see in many members of the LDS church, and other faiths as well, to distinguish between their ecclesiastical leaders and God himself. However, that leads towards a discussion I will leave to another time.
My desire to respond to my cousin’s post was not to say that the LDS church had no business nor even the right to support Proposition 8 or carry the views and beliefs it does regarding same-sex marriage. I understand its position and believe there are legitimate concerns and issues over the matter that must be addressed. What does bother me is how the Church and its leaders have gone about trying to support their view. On October 16, 2008 the LDS church published an article “The Divine Institution of Marriage”. In this article the issue of encroachment on the rights of churches is brought up (see under the heading “Tolerance, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom”). I believe this is a legitimate concern. However, I find the treatment and support of these concerns unethical. So as not to make this note unnecessarily long, please read Morris A. Thurston’s rebuttal of “Six Consequences the Coalition Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails” on MormonsForMarriage.org. Thurston has also posted a commentary on the responses he has received regarding his rebuttal.
As for the quote my cousin posted from Elder Oaks, the case of a pastor being imprisoned for preaching the sinful nature of homosexuality is not cited leaving me only to theorize on the incident. On the one hand I can see it possible that the pastor was being denied his rights to faith and free speech. However, I have seen all too often those who hide behind claims of free speech to incite blatant hatred, even violence, against others. I have heard pastors condone refusing homosexuals health care and housing. Some have even openly proclaimed that God will justify and bless those who beat or even kill homosexuals. Take basically anything from GodHatesFags.com. One organization tried to buy the lot next to Matthew Shepherd’s grave so they could erect a monument saying “Matthew Shepeherd has burned in Hell since October 12, 1998.” I even had a discussion with an LDS “friend” from high school who openly admitted he wants to pointedly discriminate against homosexuals, i.e., deny them employment benefits.
In the end what I want everyone out there to consider is are you doing what you do only because an authority figure said so? or have you searched out information beyond just what they say and make the decision educated and aware of what the issue and situation actually are?