Discussions in the Mormon blog world regarding social issues are often very frustrating because many readers refuse to consider what prophets have actually said regarding the issues they discuss.
The purpose of this post is to reemphasize — using the words of modern-day prophets, seers and revelators — the Church’s clear position on these social issues.
Elder Russell M. Nelson on same-sex marriage:
“Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed. Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God. While we are to emulate our Savior’s kindness and compassion, while we are to value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, we cannot change His doctrine. It is not ours to change. His doctrine is ours to study, understand and uphold. Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s pattern for a fullness of life on Earth and in heaven. God’s marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood or misconstrued.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk reminded listeners that the 10 Commandment prohibition on idols is not only aimed at man-made statues. Idols are beliefs or world views that contradict God’s eternal truths. One of these idols is political correctness.
The Deseret News summarized Elder Oaks’ talk this way:
“We believe that, as an essential part of His plan of salvation, God has established an eternal standard that sexual relations should occur only between a man and a woman who are married,” he said.
The importance the Church places on the law of chastity explains its commitment to the pattern of marriage that originated with Adam and Eve and establishes God’s pattern for the procreative relationship between His sons and daughters for the nurturing of His children.
“There are many political and social pressures for legal and policy changes to establish behaviors contrary to God’s decrees about sexual morality and are contrary to the eternal nature and purposes of marriage and child-bearing. These pressures have already permitted same-gender marriages in various states and nations.”
Laws legalizing so called “same-gender marriage,” he added, do not change God’s law of marriage of His commandments and standards.
“We remain under covenant to love God and keep His commandments and to refrain from bowing down to or serving other gods and priorities — even those becoming popular in our particular time and place.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson said the following regarding the role of women in the Church (as summarized in the Deseret News):
Elder Christofferson spoke of the “pernicious philosophy” that undermines a woman’s moral influence by devaluing marriage and motherhood and homemaking as a career.
“We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career — we all benefit from their achievements — but still recognize that there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family.”
Attitudes toward human sexuality also threaten the moral authority of women, he said. Sexual immorality and revealing dress not only debase women but reinforces the lie that a woman is defined by her sexuality, he said.
The apostle also addressed those who, in the name of equality, want to erase all differences between the masculine and the feminine. The distinct, complementary gifts of men and women that produce a greater whole are being blurred.
Elder Neil L. Andersen discussed the issue of woman and the priesthood (as summarized by the DN):
“Some may sincerely ask the question, ‘If the power and blessings of the priesthood are available to all, why are the ordinances of the priesthood administered by men?’” he asked.
In response, Elder Andersen shared the words of Nephi when he said he knew God loves all of His children, even though he did “not know the meaning of all things.”
Elder Andersen spoke of “things we do know” about the priesthood.
Although God loves all of His children the same, He did not create men and woman exactly the same. Sacred responsibility is given to each gender and, from the beginning, the Lord established how His priesthood would be administered, Elder Andersen said. The power of the holy priesthood takes faith and worthiness, with righteousness as the qualifier for all to invite priesthood power into their lives.
“While we know a lot about the priesthood, seeing through the lens of mortality does not always give a complete understanding of the workings of God,” he said. “But His gentle reminder, ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ reassures us that with time and eternal perspective we will see things ‘as they really are’ and more completely understand His perfect love.”
The keys of the priesthood — held by members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, direct the work of the Lord upon the earth, while specific priesthood keys are conferred upon stake presidents and bishops for their geographic responsibilities.
“They call men and women by revelation who are sustained and set apart to exercise delegated authority to teach and administer,” he said.
Sincerely asking for and listening to the thoughts and concerns voiced by women is vital in life, in marriage and in building the kingdom of God, Elder Andersen said.
Under the direction of President Monson and the First Presidency, there were many discussions with the General Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies about the age change for missionary service, before President Monson’s decision and historic announcement. As bishops follow the example of President Monson, they will feel the guiding hand of the Lord blessing their sacred work more abundantly, he said.
“The power of God’s holy priesthood is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said. “I testify that as you worthily participate in the ordinances of the priesthood, the Lord will give you greater strength, peace and eternal perspective. Whatever your situation, your home will be ‘blessed by the strength of priesthood power’ and those close to you will more fully desire these blessings for themselves.”
Elder Quentin L. Cook reminded listeners that often people will twist the true message of the Gospel for their own political purposes.
“Third, the most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Elder Cook. “This is emblematic of our own day where gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual bondage.”
I would like to address one of the memes that my liberal Mormon friends appear to have taken up from Conference: President Uchtdorf said Church leaders have made “mistakes” in the past.
Somehow, as Elder Cook warned, liberals are turning this one line into an admission that everything the Church believes about social issues is magically a “mistake.” This obvious distortion of President Uchtdorf’s meaning is truly immoral and evil. Elder Uchtdorf’s point was simply that leaders are not perfect, and this has been emphasized by every prophet in modern times since Joseph Smith.
At the end of Conference, President Monson said the conference was one of the best ever. This includes all of the messages on controversial social issues.
Make no mistake: the Church’s position on these issues is clear and has not changed.