Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reconciliation: The Family

Preamble: This is not my attempt to preach or teach but to share some of my viewpoints on the possibilities of some words deemed scripture.

One of the things my Bishop asked me a few weeks ago was, "How do you reconcile what you believe with what the prophets have said in 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World'?"

Unfortunately, he did not give me the opportunity to adequately explain how I so reconcile the two. Some say it is impossible... I say it's actually quite simple (and requires zero refutation of what is said).

I will extract the statements which have been used to denounce same-sex coupling and follow with an explanation as to how I reconcile them with my stance on gay marriage:
We [...] solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God
I believe I have mentioned my views on this before; however, to reiterate, stating that something is ordained of God in no way means that something else is not ordained of God.

This would be like saying, "An apple is a fruit. An orange is not an apple; therefore, an orange is not a fruit."

It would be a completely different story if they had said that marriage between a man and a woman is the only ordained marriage.
[T]he family is central to the Creator's plan
Arguably, A gay couple with their children can lay claim to the status of "family."
Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
Arguably, homosexuality makes no refutations of one's gender and is, in and of itself, an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.
Although I have a different interpretation of what it means exactly to multiply and replenish the earth, I will address the typical translation (implying populating the earth with billions of bodies).

Simply put, a gay couple is a barren couple and could arguably fall under the same pardon from this commandment as a barren heterosexual couple.
We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
The LDS Church actually has two definitions of sex. One is "the sacred powers of procreation" and the other is the sacred powers of unity.

Arguably, homosexuals are not "[employing] the sacred powers of procreation" when they have sex. Such is frankly impossible as they are not procreating or even attempting to procreate. They are employing the sacred powers of unity.

It would be a different story if they had explicitly said something like, "God has commanded that sexual activity is to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wed..." I know this is how it is often translated, but there are other ways to translate it -- which is the whole point of this post.
Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.
Refer to my first statement, but I will add a different analogy: Eggs are essential to an angel food cake. So is flour.
Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity... By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
Indeed, there would be no way for anyone to truly reconcile this statement... if it weren't already reconciled for us:
Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. (emphasis mine)

Really, it's not that tough to make some compelling arguments that would dissolve the believed concrete stance that 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World' refutes any possibility that gay marriage could be appropriate in God's plan.

I will close with the following warning as presented in 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World':
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
... adding that one should consider what actions against gay marriage could arguably be doing:
  • Gay couples are fighting to make covenants of fidelity in the eyes of their respective governments. Those against gay marriage are fighting to violate such chaste covenants.
  • (I'm going to refrain from commenting on the abuse and violated family responsibilities... such is frankly obvious to those of us who have experienced it firsthand.)
  • Those against gay marriage are fighting to disintegrate families.
  • Those fighting against gay marriages are not fighting to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society... they are fighting to maintain and strengthen their religious sect as the fundamental unit of society.
Gay couples and their kids.... they're families which provide the same service as any other [barren couple] family in society.

up next... Reconciliation: D&C 132

19 comments:

  1. Excellent post. You have found the logic that will eventually allow the church to gracefully accept homosexuality into its church, without violating former decrees. Why else wouldn't they say that 'man and woman' isn't the ONLY ordained marriage?

    I fully believe that within 50 years, the church will recieve revelation that homosexuality is now okay. the wording of this document indeed makes this easier.

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  2. Great post! Your thinking aligns well with this clip from Mofembit about modern revelation:

    [It is] precisely because “We believe that God…will yet reveal many great and important things…” that prophets of the Lord will again be inspired “to extend to every worthy member of the Church all the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.”

    Throughout our history revelation has profoundly impacted how we define the family. The official doctrine has evolved from monogamy, to polygamy that included men being sealed to men, and back to monogamy while not invalidating polygamy in the hereafter, nor those same-sex sealings of long ago.

    Given these precedents, God through his living prophets, may yet clarify that “other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation” when heterosexual marriage is not advisable.


    Please keep refining and sharing your insights about different fruits. ;D Again, congrats on a wonderful post!

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  3. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

    A former bishop of mine used this line in the proclamation when speaking with the youth to show that God disapproves of homosexuality. It just illustrates just how out of touch people are.

    I am a homosexual man; and, I have zero confusion about my gender - I am happy being a man. Just because I like other men doesn't mean I want to be a woman.

    btw, I'd be curious to learn your insights on Romans 1:27 - which, IMOHO, is the most damning scriptural reference.

    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

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  4. Andrew hits it out of the park again. Looking forward to your take on Section 132.

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  5. This is a great post! I hope this get around; I know I'll be forwarding to some people.

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  6. This is just fantastic, Andrew. I might go share this post on my facebook.

    Just great :D

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  7. I'm thrilled that you all enjoyed my thoughts! Thank you, not just for your nice comments, but mostly for your open eyes, hearts, & minds. [/corny]

    Abe: The Bible verses will be my third installment (I'm working backwards chronologically).

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  8. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I'm sorry Amanda, but your comment just made me laugh out loud. In fact, I'm still currently laughing. You believe that the church will receive a revelation saying homosexuality is ok? Are you joking? Do you go to church? Do you listen to the prophets? Do you know ANYTHING about the Plan of Salvation? Wow. If you've ever been to conference, the temple, read the scriptures, or even said a prayer on behalf of that subject you would laugh at that statement too. The Plan of Salvation will never be altered. It was establish before you can even comprehend, and it is perfect. (I'd just like to point out that I'm STILL laughing) it is eternal and it's principles are eternal. It in no way compares to black having the priesthood (if that's the direction you were leading that comment). It is simply the fact that man was created for woman and woman for man. Anything else goes against God's plan. You cannot defend gay marriage with anything because nothing can defend itself against God. Call it what you want, but it IS wrong. I'm not close minded, I'm not sheltered, but I have been to the temple and understand what the Plan of Salvation means. There it is plainly stated God's stance on marriage. Not the church's even, but straight from God. If the church changed it's view points on homosexuality, then it WOULDN'T be revelation and it WOULDN'T be the true church anymore. I'd bet my life that the church will never change it's position, because that's what makes it true. It doesn't conform to fads that are politically correct. You can argue polygamy, and the blacks and the priesthood, but you obviously then know very little about the church. Wow. Wow. Wow. and one last...Wow.

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  9. Hey, everyone, I ask that you just ignore Anonymous. His/her tone (I'm actually pretty sure who it is) is not one of discussion but of contention, and it will do no good to acknowledge it beyond this comment.

    Thanks.

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  10. Actually you don't know who I am. We've never met. I don't know you. We have a common friend, and I stumbled upon your blog. I thought I'd give it a fare shot, and I can sort of see some of your points, but you fail to justify them with any logical reasoning. You can't be satisfied with your mockery of the Plan of Salvation. Tell me, how does homosexuality fit into the eternities? Seriously, tell me. I'm listening.

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  11. You deleted me from facebook and blocked me for preaching self righteousness? You don't discuss anything either but preach your "self-righteousness of building bridges to a brighter future."

    I do so because I take the sacrament to stand as a witness to Jesus Christ and his will every week, and not because I'm perfect. I would stand a lot more guilty in the eyes of God to not stand for his ways squarely to his children in "self righteousness" than to pacify you into thinking that all is well in Zion. You have a big heart, but are far from the spirit and true healing. SEEK professional help.

    http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/same-gender-attraction

    I don't know the last anonymous although he/she makes some good points. More need to make a stand. I'm done, too, and goodbye. My hands are clean.

    ~Josh Mangelson

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  12. Wow, I didn't know my little comment would cause all the contention and...laughter? Sorry Andrew for bringing that upon your blog. Because you asked, I won't bother to counter or respond to the accusations therein. You're right - it's not worth it.

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  13. Andrew not only hits it out of the park, he obviously hits a nerve as well.

    The confidence of The Anonymous Twins is that of a 15 year old temporarily persuaded by the hormone hurricane that they have life all figured out and that no one is as smart as they are. At some point this always changes. We must try to be patient.

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  15. "Done" is a good example of why many other churches say the Mormons are not Christian.

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  16. Again Alan, I wasn't trying to offend, I simply wish someone would recognize that my beliefs were attacked with this post. Why is that too much to ask? I don't care if you think I'm close minded or even evil, I just want someone to tell me how this whole thing isn't hypocritical. I think if homosexuals want their relationships as equal then posts like this should not exist. Why is it hard to understand that to get rights being a total jerk isn't the way to go. Martin Luther King would have never written something like this. This blog is filled with counter productive posts for Andrew's cause. I honestly think if change is to be made then it needs to be done without offense. If there is offense then stupid arguments like this are started. I apologized, and have yet to feel like people who share your beliefs are even slightly remorseful for mocking something I hold to be sacred. It's not about being gay or straight. We will never see eye to eye on that obviously.

    And as much as people want to make Christianity a psychology class where there are more than one answer, and more than one way to get there, it's not.It's more like a math class where only one answer is correct. Christianity is following Jesus Christ's teachings. Read up what he taught about homosexuality. If you want to claim Christianity, then you must align your beliefs and actions with the Savior's. Posts like this are taking what he has said and spitting on it. That to me is not Christian.

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  17. Chednar, thank you for your thoughts. Scott blogged similar ideas a few months ago, but I liked the refresher and the additional insights. You are still honoring the proclamation for what it is and holding to the truth that you know is there, but also allowing yourself to think beyond the scope of the actual words. This is what I believe pondering and likening scriptures to ourselves is really all about.

    The great thing about thoughts like these is that it allows us to peacefully explore the "what ifs" of mohos finding acceptance within the church. That does not mean that your ideas are true or false, they are just thoughts that allow you to find peace with being a member of the church. Even if we all find out someday that you were totally wrong, I believe you will be blessed for attempting to draw closer to Christ by reconciling the conflict within you, instead of allowing the conflict to fester and send you running the other way.

    I hope you are feeling better today. It is best for you to not drive out here in this weather, anyway. :) Take care.

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  18. You're right - you ARE a troublemaker. Clearly, when you write your own blog and don't go advertising it to people who wouldn't want to hear it, and when those people come by on their own terms and read it, it means you are attacking them personally and the whole of Christianity! Don't you know that? Sheesh. I mean, the people who seek you out to insult you are CERTAINLY not the troublemakers. How could you think that?

    ;)

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