Is the Church Really on “the Wrong Side of Everything”?

dallin h oaks

Hannah Cornaby must have been looking into a crystal ball or something when she wrote the text for “Who’s on the Lord’s Side?” (or, I guess a little more likely, received revelation) because her words have never been more applicable than they are today.

For years, news outlets have reported that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on the wrong side of everything — history, current events, even laws. Latter-day Saints, they claim, are disturbingly anti-social justice and equality.

And you know what? Judging by the world’s views, they’re probably right.

In a world that is increasingly “accepting,” Latter-day Saints are becoming less and less accepted — all because the Church will not conform to society’s standards of morality. While the world’s laws are ever-changing, God’s laws remain the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (1 Nephi 10:18).

In April of 2013, Elder L. Tom Perry said, “The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging” (L. Tom Perry, “Obedience to Law is Liberty,” April 2013).

Elder Perry’s words were an echo of Elder Robert D. Hale’s words from a 2010 talk, where he stated, “[We do not] compromise our principles or dilute our beliefs. We cannot change the doctrines of the restored gospel, even if teaching and obeying them makes us unpopular in the eyes of the world” (Robert D. Hales, “Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship,” April 2010).

And surely, our views are growing more and more unpopular.

President Dallin H. Oaks recently spoke to a large audience comprised of young married adults from 11 stakes in the Los Angeles area, discussing everything from Church history to the Church’s stance on LGBTQ+ issues — both of which, it’s important to note, are considered controversial topics by opponents of the Church.

The world, President Oaks said, “increasingly sees the Church’s stance on the LGBT community as intolerant and inconsistent with our local and national laws.” He further explained that we live “in an environment with overwhelming information and attitudes that are hostile to the mission and teachings of the Church.”

Christ’s teachings are clear; we find them in modern scripture and revelation. But because Latter-day Saints seek to follow His commandments, we are accused of bigotry, racism, and being painfully “out-of-touch.”

This pattern, though, is hardly a new one. Christ Himself was persecuted to the point of death for His beliefs — and as His followers, it’s unsurprising that we are subjected to ridicule as well when we choose to follow all of His commandments, not just the ones we like.

“In a world where the moral compass of society is faltering, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers, nor should its stakes and wards, its families, or its individual members. We must not pick and choose which commandments we think are important to keep but acknowledge all of God’s commandments. We must stand firm and steadfast, having perfect confidence in the Lord’s consistency and perfect trust in His promises,” said Elder Perry — and this talk was given more than five years ago! Prophetic, much?

Our views may not be in line with the world’s, but the world has been wrong about a lot of things throughout the years. God hasn’t.

In the words of President Oaks, “As has been true throughout history, in this life we must choose between Jesus’ way and the world’s way.”

And if choosing Jesus’ way is unpopular, so be it — I’d rather be on the Lord’s side any day.