clbent04

What if the Church’s Position on Homosexuality Changed?

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6 minutes ago, Vort said:

In my opinion, this is not a useful hypothetical question.

It’s a relevant hypothetical considering what members are now saying over the pulpit, and the societal pressure many institutions are facing to cater to the LGBT community. 

Has the Church ever had to change direction based on pressures from outside the Church? It did by suspending the practice of polygamy. 

Edited by clbent04

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8 hours ago, clbent04 said:

If the prophet said tomorrow that being gay or acting out on homosexual tendencies when legally married was no longer sinful, would you still support the Church?

Some years ago, as an exercise in rhetoric/argument and in an effort to explore the ramifications of my thoughts on this issue, I tried to draft a theoretical PR news statement for the church that would change its position on homosexuality while persuasively defending its leaders’ credibility to prospectively speak on behalf of God on other moral issues.  I spent half a day on it, and the final result was trash.

Like @Vort, I never want to box myself into the corner of seeing that “if the church leadership does x, I will leave.”  I always want to leave an opening for receiving further light and knowledge through personal revelation.  But at the same time, I will freely admit: I don’t know how to square that circle.  The church has entrenched itself on the issue of gay marriage far more deeply, and in a way that leaves far less room for future reversal, than it ever did on other issues like polygamy or the priesthood/temple ban on black people.  The old standbys of “well, they always said that might change later“ or “well, it was only one prophet who said that; it wasn’t the united voice of the Q15 speaking in an official capacity and other prophets and apostles were saying this instead“ are not available to us here.

I think, if I stayed at all in such a contingency, the “natural JAG” would be far less willing to inconvenience myself for the church’s sake.  I’d have a hard time teaching; if I slept in on a Sunday If have a hard time hustling to get to church on time (or at all); I’d be sorely tempted to suspend tithing until some other financial priorities had been met.  So . . . yeah.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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9 hours ago, clbent04 said:

If the prophet said tomorrow that being gay or acting out on homosexual tendencies when legally married was no longer sinful, would you still support the Church?

I believe whole heartedly on the Family Proclamation, and if Elder Holland’s recent talk at BYU told me anything, it’s that the first presidency still backs it 100% and is concerned with the direction many Saints are going in.

As for your question. I do always leave room in my heart for any changes. I can see, doctrinally, how homosexuality may have room in the church doctrine and is perhaps just a current issue of the times that needs to be over come. However, I don’t think this is the case. (AGAIN. I don’t believe this to be so (and just one more time, I believe the family proclamation to be the word of God)).

So what if they changed it? Then cool 👍 if they don’t… also cool 👍

truth is truth and this is a living church with continuing revelation. I would be foolish to think my current understanding of the gospel and the nature of celestial glory is fully understood.

Edited by Fether

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I never want to box myself into the corner of seeing that “if the church leadership does x, I will leave.”

Why?

Are there not fundamentals that are obvious?

What if the church leadership came out tomorrow and proclaimed that we no longer worship Jesus Christ?

Of course there are boxes we wouldn't and shouldn't step outside of based on prior knowledge and revelation. If someone has a legitimate testimony of Jesus Christ then that comes first.

What @Vort said that I agree with is that it's not a useful question.

It will not happen. It cannot happen.

But if it did...stretching the impossible...then we should all, as a collective unit, walk away. Of course we should. Marriage, family, gender, etc., are eternal principles as foundational as is the reality that Jesus is the Christ who atoned for our sins. They are core principles that cannot be betrayed without betraying the gospel.

Even the asking of the question shows a profound misunderstanding of what the gospel is. Everything is to that end. The very Atonement itself exists to that end. The gospel is, at its very most core, family. Which is, at its core, husband and wife.

Moreover, it's like asking if the church came out tomorrow and proclaimed that stealing was no longer a sin. Or lying. Or cheating. Or jealousy. Or hate. Or pride. Or greed. Or sloth. Or etc., etc., etc. These things cannot be betrayed by the Church and the Church remain as Christ's.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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58 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Why?

Are there not fundamentals that are obvious?

What if the church leadership came out tomorrow and proclaimed that we no longer worship Jesus Christ?

Of course there are boxes we wouldn't and shouldn't step outside of based on prior knowledge and revelation. If someone has a legitimate testimony of Jesus Christ then that comes first.

What @Vort said that I agree with is that it's not a useful question.

It will not happen. It cannot happen.

But if it did...stretching the impossible...then we should all, as a collective unit, walk away. Of course we should. Marriage, family, gender, etc., are eternal principles as foundational as is the reality that Jesus is the Christ who atoned for our sins. They are core principles that cannot be betrayed without betraying the gospel.

Even the asking of the question shows a profound misunderstanding of what the gospel is. Everything is to that end. The very Atonement itself exists to that end. The gospel is, at its very most core family. Which is, at its core, husband and wife.

Moreover, it's like asking if the church came out tomorrow and proclaimed that stealing was no longer a sin. Or lying. Or cheating. Or jealousy. Or hate. Or pride. Or greed. Or sloth. Or etc., etc., etc. These things cannot be betrayed by the Church and remain as Christ's.

You lead with an interesting example; because there are Church members who would argue that we don’t worship Jesus Christ—we worship the Father, in Jesus’s name.  There are so many semantical arguments and sneaky ways to justify crossing over any one of the red lines that you cite (even if only in extreme circumstances), that ultimately—beyond a vanishingly small number of contingencies, I’m not sure I’m smart enough to know for sure what will or won’t happen.  I have some pretty strong ideas, naturally; but I’m not ready to say “never”.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

What @Vort said that I agree with is that it's not a useful question.

I understand why you and Vort would both say this.  But taking into consideration how the Church has been influenced by society and the likely trajectory of its base, it's a relevant hypothetical.

Is the base of the Church likely going to be more conservative or liberal in 20 years?

How would my own faith in the Church be challenged with the Church changing it's position on homosexuality as a sin?

In my mind, this is the right time to ask this question, because in 20 years, when we wish we could revert back to the much more conservative values of 2021, there is going to be a different feeling in the air.  I believe the climate around issues like homosexuality will be much different than how we perceive it today.

Like @Just_A_Guy, I don't want to box myself in either, but I do have to ask myself how much societal influence is too much?

And it's not just the Church that is influenced by society. It's all of us! How many of us can honestly say we haven't softened our positions on certain issues over the years?

Edited by clbent04

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9 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

How many of us can honestly say we haven't softened our positions on certain issues over the years

That’s not how it usually works. Usually, people get more set in their ways and “harsher” as they get older. You have to make a strong effort and be brave in order to have your views “soften” as you get older. Few can do that. 

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Why?

Are there not fundamentals that are obvious?

What if the church leadership came out tomorrow and proclaimed that we no longer worship Jesus Christ?

 

For me, I try not to deal in hypothetical absolutes.   I can admit now that I don't see a way around your hypothetical even though I try not to even give such ridiculous hypotheticals attention, while also stating that if that were to happen I would give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to confirm the truthfulness of it after prayer and attention.

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26 minutes ago, LDSGator said:

That’s not how it usually works. Usually, people get more set in their ways and “harsher” as they get older. You have to make a strong effort and be brave in order to have your views “soften” as you get older. Few can do that. 

I've seen that as well.  But it's easier to embrace a softer stance on how we judge others when society is already headed that direction.  

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1 minute ago, clbent04 said:

I've seen that as well.  But it's easier to embrace a softer stance on how we judge others when society is already headed that direction.  

That true, but then, you can also say that it’s much harder to be open minded/willing to change when the community you live in is the opposite. So it goes both ways. 

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3 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

I've seen that as well.  But it's easier to embrace a softer stance on how we judge others when society is already headed that direction.  

It isn’t us judging. It is God. 
 

there is a difference between a societal movement that doesn’t fight against church doctrine and a societal movement that does.

For one to expect the church to embrace homosexuality, they would either have to believe (1) it is not the true church or (2) marriage between a man and a woman is not essential and that our understanding is purely based on societal norms that we are clinging to.

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39 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

But taking into consideration how the Church has been influenced by society and the likely trajectory of its base, it's a relevant hypothetical.

I disagree. I'll explain.

39 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

Is the base of the Church likely going to be more conservative or liberal in 20 years?

Depends on what you mean. Is the base of the Church likely to be more inclined to lying and stealing and committing adultery in 20 years? I don't think so. Maybe. But really, I believe, that has little to do with the price of rice in China? Or...in other words...the base of the church does not dictate core doctrine --- not does it ever influence it. Ever.

Yes...society in general and the way things are viewed therein changes, and as that bleeds into the church, it can effect some things -- even many things. Equating those things to core doctrine isn't legitimate to me. The law of Moses was the law. Then it was not. Such things can change. Such things WILL change. But the core of the gospel will not. Moreover, the core of the gospel is the thing in which I have a testimony. I will not deny that. I cannot deny that. If the church denied it (such as in the absurd hypothetical question), it wouldn't change my testimony one whit. I know what I know. There things I don't understand. Sure. Tons of things. But the man/woman, husband/wife, Heavenly Father/Mother, thing...being a thing? Well that's fundamental. One cannot pull the foundation out from a building and expect it to stand.

But, anyhow... as to the question at hand...will the core Church members be more likely to embrace and accept homosexuality as legit form or sexual activity? My take: No. I believe it will be one of those underlying threshing mechanisms.

"No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Matt 6:24 or 3 Nephi 13:24

Those who cannot accept fundamental truths will leave.

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1 hour ago, Grunt said:

For me, I try not to deal in hypothetical absolutes.

My commitment to faith in Jesus Christ isn't hypothetical though. It is an absolute. Which is my point. There are absolutes. It is the absolute-ness of certain things that make the hypothetical abandonment of them so ridiculous.

1 hour ago, Grunt said:

I try not to even give such ridiculous hypotheticals attention

The only reason to give such things attention is because there are so many who don't seem to believe them ridiculous. That's a dangerous way to live.

1 hour ago, Grunt said:

If that were to happen I would give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to confirm the truthfulness of it after prayer and attention.

I'm not saying this as a personal attack or criticism, but as a theoretical. Why hasn't the Holy Spirit already confirmed this to you?

The idea of not having the Spirit speak to us the truth of eternal marriage and gender (especially in today's world) seems odd to me. Shouldn't we know this is fundamental -- by way of both learning and the Holy Spirit -- now?

Consider: In the gospel, where do all roads lead? What does it mean to walk the ordinance path? What are ordinances about? What is the culmination of them? What is the pinnacle of this path...the ultimate covenant we make? And why?

For myself that is why I can say something like I would walk away if the church abandoned Christ (despite @Just_A_Guy's semantic play with my hypothetical over the meaning of "worship". Come on JAG! You know what I meant!* :D ). My testimony is in Christ. That He lives. That He loves me. That He atoned for my sin. My testimony of celestial marriage and the relative associated points is akin.

* on that note JAG, if the church redefined the meaning of the word "sin" somehow, so gay married sex wasn't a "sin", but the plain teaching that those engaged in it would forfeit eternal life then...weird...but...okay....

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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(Parenthetical here, but, @The Folk Prophet, I *do* get what you meant, but wanted to give an idea of how sometimes there is nuance where we didn’t previously think there was or ought to be any.  Often those who reject the Church do so because they feel some bright-line has been crossed, and they get stuck into a sort of binary thinking where they won’t entertain the saving nuance-based arguments offered by apologists.

I want to hold to the revelations I’ve received; but I also recognize that my beliefs are a sort of ongoing dance between my actual revelations versus intellectual extrapolations from my revelations.  For me, it’s not always easy to recognize or maintain the distinction between revelation and extrapolation; and anytime the Church goes in a direction I didn’t foresee I have tried to keep a sense of humility as I consider the difference between what I think and what I know. )

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37 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

(Parenthetical here, but, @The Folk Prophet, I *do* get what you meant, but wanted to give an idea of how sometimes there is nuance where we didn’t previously think there was or ought to be any.  Often those who reject the Church do so because they feel some bright-line has been crossed, and they get stuck into a sort of binary thinking where they won’t entertain the saving nuance-based arguments offered by apologists.

I want to hold to the revelations I’ve received; but I also recognize that my beliefs are a sort of ongoing dance between my actual revelations versus intellectual extrapolations from my revelations.  For me, it’s not always easy to recognize or maintain the distinction between revelation and extrapolation; and anytime the Church goes in a direction I didn’t foresee I have tried to keep a sense of humility as I consider the difference between what I think and what I know. )

(Parenthetically responding, I do understand the point you're making and think it is entirely valid. But it's false conflation, in my opinion, to compare someone leaving the church because, say, there's a policy that children with gay parents can't be baptized or things like that to the church actually proclaiming that fundamentals we've taught and believed and emphasized throughout the history of the church are wrong and we're abandoning them (and, more importantly, things I have a testimony of). There is useful binary thinking and there is harmful binary thinking. That being said, I am well aware that some of the teaching around polygamy was understood as "fundamental" in ways that it wasn't fundamental to our contemporary understanding. Still, a conflation of ideas though...because we still plainly and obviously teach polygamy as a doctrinal principle of truth. It's scriptural canon for Pete's sake!

And I do acquiesce to the "semantic"  point you made. If the church came out with a policy that people having gay sex inside a legal marriage were able to participate in church, hold callings, etc., then I might well explain it via said nuance, though I would, indeed, struggle with it. A ridiculous idea, even then, but explainable with semantic nuance. But if they announced that two men were now able to be sealed for time and all eternity as husband and husband....)

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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2 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

 

I'm not saying this as a personal attack or criticism, but as a theoretical. Why hasn't the Holy Spirit already confirmed this to you?

 

The Holy Spirit hasn't confirmed a lot of things to me.   I don't know why.  

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7 minutes ago, Grunt said:

The Holy Spirit hasn't confirmed a lot of things to me.   I don't know why.  

You are not in tune with the Spirit enough, as is the case for most of us.

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22 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Those who cannot accept fundamental truths will leave.

There's the distinction of eternal truths that will never change versus how the church allows core doctrine to be practiced or not practiced among its members and what it considers to be sinful.

Could core doctrines be changed regarding what the church considers to be sinful?  I don't know.  I think your position is that would never happen.  If we consider the sanctity of marriage to be exclusive between a man and woman as a core doctrine, will gay marriage never be deemed as not sinful by the Church?

An example to help illustrate where I'm getting at: If slavery is now considered a sin, was it not considered a sin when the Church allowed it?  Even if slavery is not an eternal truth, does the Church allowing it to be practiced on Earth not make it a sin?

Edited by clbent04

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Just now, clbent04 said:

There's the distinction of eternal truths that will never change versus how the church allows core doctrine to be practiced or not practiced among its members and what it considers to be sinful.

Could core doctrines be changed regarding what the church considers to be sinful?  I don't know.  I think you're position is that would never happen.  If we consider the sanctity of marriage to be exclusive between a man and woman as a core doctrine, will gay marriage never be deemed as not sinful by the Church?

An example to help illustrate where I'm getting at: If slavery is now considered a sin, was it not considered a sin when the Church allowed it?  Even if slavery is not an eternal truth, does the Church allowing it to be practiced on Earth not make it a sin?

Sure, I understand what you're getting at. And of course you use an extremely touchy subject as your example which makes it difficult to speak about in frank terms. So hopefully the following will come across: God clearly condoned slavery at some level in the Old Testament. I'm not sure, accordingly, that the practice of keeping slaves is an "eternal" truth. Particularly where what it means to be a slave is a fairly broad idea. At some level everyone is a slave to some things. Does that matter eternally?  Clearly we value freedom. Clearly freedom is an important issue. But also, clearly, where freedoms are restricted that doesn't end up being particularly important as to mankind's salvation.

In other words, if one man holds another as a slave, it doesn't really affect whether that enslaved person makes it to the celestial kingdom or not. But if two dudes or dudettes are doing the nasty with each other it very much plays into their making it to the celestial kingdom or not.

The broader "what body parts go together sexually?" question is clearly not the eternal truth that matters. The importance of eternal celestial marriage is the core issue at hand. And homosexual behavior (and, yes, even tendencies) is directly at odds with that core issue. So I'm not sure how we can arrive at an "it's okay even though it'll damn you" conclusion.

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7 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

The broader "what body parts go together sexually?" question is clearly not the eternal truth that matters. The importance of eternal celestial marriage is the core issue at hand. And homosexual behavior (and, yes, even tendencies) is directly at odds with that core issue. So I'm not sure how we can arrive at an "it's okay even though it'll damn you" conclusion.

You and I would probably disagree on the relevance of entertaining the possibility of the Church allowing same-sex couples to be married in the temple for time and all eternity.

Do I want to see the Church allow temple marriages for same-sex couples?  It would challenge my current understanding of the gospel and faith in the Church.  Are God's hands tied or His plan too limited to not allow same-sex couples into the Celestial Kingdom?  I honestly don't know.

What I can answer is how far I'd be willing to follow the Church if they said that same-sex couples were allowed to be sealed in the temple.  If Church leadership said that today, my best guess is I would leave the Church.

Would me leaving the Church over that issue be a lack of faith on my part?  Would I have access to revelation at the time the Church allowed same-sex couples to be sealed that I didn't have access to previously?

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12 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

Are God's hands tied

Alma 42: 22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.

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