This is a guest post by Hanna Seariac, who recently graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Classical Studies. She is a MA student at BYU in Comparative Studies and seeks to become a religious author and an apologist for the Church.
Ex-Mormons often get much wrong about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but something they get right is that the progressive movement in the Church does not reflect the teachings and doctrines of the Church. Progressive Mormonism, not to be confused with members of the Church who happen to identify as liberal or progressive politically, represents a small section of the Church who often do not uphold the doctrinal sexual ethics that exist.
These Progressive Mormons often attack and denounce The Family: A Proclamation to the World, but ignore that it qualifies as doctrine. Proclamations exist to reaffirm doctrine and act as documents to regulate the Church. Not upholding these documents is in direct conflict with the temple recommend interview questions, which ask us if we sustain the leaders of the Church as well as the doctrine that the Church teaches.
Clearly, a document signed by the free will and choice of every member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency (including Elder Holland and Elder Uchtdorf) represents doctrine not just because the Church simply states that it does on their website, but it is the unanimous voice of the Lord’s Church.
While the Church can potentially err on policy, asserting that the Church errs on doctrine (i.e. eternal truths) is antithetical to its nature and structure.
A divine patriarchy exists as inherent to the nature and structure of the Church as outlined in the calling of prophets as men, the duty of holding the priesthood as delegated to men, and the responsibility men have to preside. Historically, this has been used in conjunction with the scriptural and doctrinal definition of marriage to discriminate against certain individuals, which is wrong. By seeing the patriarchy as a delegation of responsibility based on eternal principles of gender as opposed to an unequal power system, we uphold doctrine.
It is antithetical to the gospel of Christ to characterize the identify of a person negatively, but it is also antithetical to the gospel of Christ to demand that the doctrine, the eternal truths of the gospel of Christ, change.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needs to dismantle negative perceptions of certain people based on gender, sexual orientation, and race, but we still need to push back against a movement that seeks to pervert the doctrine of Christ as clearly outlined in The Family: A Proclamation to the World as well as what has been said over the pulpit at General Conference numerous times.
Particularly as this movement has gained traction from the protests at Brigham Young University regarding the Honor Code Office, we have seen an increasing divide between those who see negative aspects in the culture of the Church and those who seek to dismantle the doctrine of Christ. At this critical time, it must be said that Progressive Mormonism does not conform to the Church of Jesus Christ.
It may be unpopular in this day and age or even difficult to believe that God would ordain men to the priesthood and not women and also, define marriage as between men and women eternally, but it remains true that these teachings are integral and definitional to the Church.
In the same way that Deseret Nationalism (commonly known as DezNat) propagates blood atonement, which is currently not taught widely in the Church, and targets individuals in a way that is antithetical to the Church, Progressive Mormonism also fails to see what is doctrine and what is convenient.
If the doctrine not simply the policies of the Church of Jesus Christ change, then the prophets are not called of God because God does not change. Again this does not mean that the culture and members of the Church do not have a long way to go in learning to lead more Christ-like lives, but it does mean that the rise of Progressive Mormonism directly contrasts with the structure of the Church.
The Church’s doctrine is not a buffet where you pick and choose what is convenient to you or fulfills your pre-existing biases about society and culture; the law changes you, you don’t change the law.