Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gay/SSA and Mormon? Some Advice

      Are you gay, lesbian / experience same-sex attraction and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  If you are, I know the dissonance and pain you may feel between how you feel towards people of the same sex and your faith.  It may seem almost insurmountable the disconnect between the two.  How can I be a Mormon and gay.  Do I have to give up the church and it's teachings and eventually be with someone of the same-sex or can I just work really hard and be the best I can be and my same sex attraction will go away and I will be heterosexual, be married in the temple, and have a great life.  Do I need to go the celibate route, live alone the rest of my life, and God will reward me in the eternities?  These questions I hope to address in this blog post.

      Growing up gay and Mormon all of us knew and know that ultimately we would have to make a very important choice in our lives. This choice would be one where we would either trust in our leaders and live a a celibate life or, God willing, have a mixed-orientation marriage.   These choices both seemed bleak but for me I felt that if it was God's will it would all work out.  So I suppressed my feelings and would not accept their reality.  I had low self-esteem and I had a fear of being outed.  I was afraid that this dirty secret that I had hidden up would somehow surface expose me and destroy my life and my relationships.  This I can imagine happened to many of you or is currently happening to you.  For me it lead to a very dark time one where suicide seemed the only option to my pain and anguish.  For many of us sadly that became their end in this journey of mortality.  So what are we to do.  I have seen people reject the church and it's teachings completely.  I have seen people try there best and be miserable in the process, and people who are actually quite successful and happy.

      The advice I give is my own and may not work for everyone.  Ultimately everyone needs to work with God to find their own unique way through mortality.  I offer four steps in the process of accepting your reality and moving in the direction God would have you go.

1. Come out to yourself and to God.
2. Come out to close family and friends when the time seems right.
3.  With the help of God, learn about all possible paths in your life.  Even ones you may be extremely uncomfortable with.
4. Make a decision with God on how to proceed with your life.  It may be for a short time it may be for a lifetime but commit to God and remain prayerful and trusting in His guidance.

1. Come out to yourself and to God.  

      Using my own experience I hope to convey what it is that helped me.  Starting from puberty I felt a desperate struggle inside of me of what I presented to the world and what I felt.  The months and years went on and through my trials I began to realize something.  I had never asked God about what he felt about me.  Truthfully, I had just assumed from what I implied from my priesthood leaders and society in general.  One day, I decided I would find out for myself.  I wrote about the experience in my coming out story which at the beginning of this blog.

      "I kneeled down one night and prayed to my Heavenly Father.  I asked him if these feelings were acceptable in his eyes and whether or not he still loved me even if I was attracted to the same gender.  What followed would change my life.  A wonderful, indescribable warmth filled my chest and spread to the rest of my body.  I knew at once it was the spirit and that God accepted me for who I was and would always love me.  All my life I had not only lived in fear of others rejection but God's rejection.  I found out, beyond a shadow of doubt, that God loved me and accepted me for who I was.  I came out of that spiritual experience with the knowledge that God accepted me."

      So my first piece of advice is not to assume how God feels about your attractions.  Ask him yourself, develop that relationship with him and find out that he loves you unconditionally.  This changed my life and led me down a path of healing and I know it can change yours.  Even with God's acceptance, it still does not answer many of the other questions, but it can provide a foundation to build one's life off of.

2. Come out to close family and friends when the time seems right.

      The next step I would recommend is one that could take a very long time.  This step involves, with the help of God, learning to accept yourself and then ultimately coming out to your family or close friends.  Research has found that the process of coming out is beneficial for the man or woman who does so.  Not only will it strengthen your self-esteem it will also make the relationships you have with others more genuine.  When you have a core group of family or friends you have come out to it can then help stabilize you not only emotionally and personally, but also spiritually as well.  I understand that for almost everybody this is something that is very difficult and terrifying.  Sharing something you have kept secret for so long and that has negative connotations in Mormon culture lays bare to everyone a place that is raw and can be easily used to harm you.  But this is a necessary step.

      If now does not feel like the right time, wait.  Ask God what he thinks and be patient.  If you do not feel safe sharing this part of yourself with family, colleagues, friends, or church members.  I would recommend some support groups such as Mormons Building Bridges, USGA at BYU, Affirmation, NorthStar, etc.  It's important to find someone that you can share with who won't judge you or put you down.  Mormons Building Bridges has been building a roster of LGBT friendly people in wards throughout the country that also might be a good place to check.

      Ultimately do what is most comfortable to you and come out in a safe environment.  I promise that although it may be the scariest thing you may ever do.  It will also be one of the most freeing experiences that you will ever have.  Trust me, a weight will be lifted off of your shoulders.  Even if others do not take it well.  You will feel much more genuine and much more true to yourself and God.

3. With the help of God, learn about all possible paths in your life Even the ones you may be uncomfortable with.  

      The third  recommendation that I give is to find out what to do next.  I have seen two polarized sides when it comes to this and not very much people in the middle.  Although there are some.  One side talks of the importance of following the Prophets, Apostles, and the official policy of the church whether it be through a mixed-orientation marriage, which is no longer recommended because of the negative consequences of the decision, or celibacy for the rest of your life.    The other side tells you to be true to yourself and have a same-sex relationship and get married if you are able.  What I see as a problem is that sometimes people on  both sides see each other as enemies or lacking in one respect or the other.  Some on each side say that they are right and everyone else is wrong.  But what does God say to you on this matter.  If our hearts and desires are pure he says, "Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh receiveth;and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened." 3 Nephi 27: 29.

      My advice is to go to our Heavenly Father and ask Him yourself.  I encourage everyone to learn from both sides, learn of the struggles and failures but also the triumphs and successes.  One can do this successfully using a computer but also personal experience.  Some websites to check out are and

      I grew up thinking that LGBT people were immoral deviants who I should never associate with.  Come to find out after following many promptings from God.  They were actually just normal people.  Just as moral or immoral as straight people.  Learn in safe environments about either side.  I encourage you as you go on this journey of learning and growing to not hold anything back from Him.  Do not put qualifiers or exceptions,  trust in Him and let Him teach you and lead you anywhere He sees fit.  Follow the Law of Chastity when learning about this and always seek to have the spirit with you.

4. Make a decision with God on how to proceed with your life.  It may be for a short time, it may be for a lifetime, but commit to God and remain prayerful and trusting in His guidance.  

      The answer might be one you felt like you should do all along.  It might be completely different.  It might bring fear, it might bring hope and joy.  If it be from God he will provide a way, he promises this, the fruit will be good and God will sustain you.  If ultimately it is not the way God wants you to go, you will have confusion, a loss of clarity, and the fruits of those actions will be bad.  Ultimately I encourage you to have faith in God and know that He has a plan for you that will bring you happiness and that God will provide a way for you to accomplish it.  Follow the law of chastity as it applies to all members and relationships, God is not a respecter of persons.  Maybe if it is God's will you will marry a person of the same-sex and have a deep and loving relationship with them, and build a family together, or you may be asked to go the opposite route.  He even may ask you to wait and remain celibate.  Remember to trust in God's will for you.

      Some people may say that God will never say anything against what the prophets and apostles have said. However we know in the scriptures that this is not the case.  When Nephi was told to kill Laban in the Book of Mormon.  This action was murder, plain and simple, something that all prophets have said is a grievous sin.  But God had Nephi do it because he had a greater plan in the action.  Ultimately, God is the place from where all truth flows.  Christ due to the atonement is the light of truth.  The Apostles and Prophets are men, which means that they are imperfect and they may use their own understanding until a new revelation from God comes.  Although they are called of God they ultimately are not the source of all truth.  You all are entitled to personal revelation for yourself.  God will guide you as you pray on the words of the leaders of the church.

      This process will take time.  It has taken me many years and each step was long and filled with ups and downs.  I promise you that those trials will strengthen you. Looking back on my life now I realize and have grown to understand through my trials what Peter spoke about in 1 Peter 1:3-10

3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, through now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.
7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, through it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
10) Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

      The trials of my faith have been more precious than gold.  I have grown closer to God and I have gained greater insight and understanding in my life through those trials.  I know that God loves each and everyone of us and that he seeks that best for each of you.  This decision is between you and Him.  I can't tell you which direction is best for you because I don't know your reality.  There is one person who does and that is Jesus Christ.

      That decade of my life between puberty and when I turned twenty years old was a definite trial of my faith in God.  Whether He knew me and whether He actually cared was my struggle.  Peter writes "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth"  My trials are much more precious to me than anything I have ever experienced and they have led me to a place of love, happiness, and joy that I would never have imagined just two years ago.  I found my joy in a place I never expected that I would. Whatever trials lie ahead of you I know that God will be with each and everyone of you as you work out where He wants you and where your happiness in his Kingdom is.  I encourage you all to remain active in the church.  Whether your path leads to celibacy or a loving relationship with the man or woman of your dreams, whether they be of the same sex or not.  You have many people cheering for you on earth and in heaven and I know God will never fail you.


  1. As an Mormon-turned-atheist, I couldn't disagree more with you on religion. But what a sweet and warm post. You seem a splendid young man. I'm sure your words will be of useful to any number of LDS.

  2. Thank you! I appreciate your kind words.

  3. I like that you are one of the few voices bold enough to talk openly about hot-button issues like this. It's great that people struggling with same-gender attraction can have an opportunity to hear you explaining what you've gone through and how you've handled it.

    That said, there is one thing you wrote that sent off alarm bells when I read your post. You said:

    "Maybe if it is God's will you will marry a person of the same-sex and have a deep and loving relationship with them, and build a family together... The Apostles and Prophets are men, which means that they are imperfect and they may use their own understanding until a new revelation from God comes. Although they are called of God they ultimately are not the source of all truth,"

    It seems to me that you are suggesting that as individuals we can receive personal revelation that negates something that has been handed down from the leaders of the Church. Specifically, that God may possibly approve of us choosing to enter into sexual relationships outside the bonds of a legally recognized heterosexual marriage, and that He may give us authorization-- a personal pass-- to do so by revelation.

    Elder Oaks was referring to this notion when he spoke in general conference less than 4 years ago:

    "Unfortunately, it is common for persons who are violating God’s commandments or disobedient to the counsel of their priesthood leaders to declare that God has revealed to them that they are excused from obeying some commandment or from following some counsel. Such persons may be receiving revelation or inspiration, but it is not from the source they suppose. The devil is the father of lies, and he is ever anxious to frustrate the work of God by his clever imitations."

    Also in that same Conference, two other speakers were both inspired to repeat segments of President Benson's hallmark talk: "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet," which further testifies that no personal revelation can override a commandment from God:

    "1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
    2. The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
    3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
    4. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
    5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
    6. The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture.
    7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
    8. The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
    9. The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
    10. The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
    11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
    12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
    13. The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.
    14. [Follow] … the living prophet and the First Presidency … and be blessed; reject them and suffer."

    To use your example of Nephi again, even when his father murmured against the Lord and was unworthy to lead, he still went to his father to ask where to go for food because his father was the priesthood leader entitled to family revelation-- not Nephi.

    Likewise, when Nephi had finished building the boat (a personal revelation), the Lord commanded Lehi the prophet/patriarch to get the family on board. When acting in his prophetic role, Lehi always sounded the Lord's voice-- not his own.

    The meat of the deal here is that we have the promise from God that the Prophet will not lead us astray.

  4. Hello Matthew, thank you for the concerns you raise and the points you give. It is something that I have thought about and prayed about for many years. How can someone sustain our Priesthood Leaders and still feel prompted by the Holy Ghost that some things they say may come from their own understanding. Personally, I feel that if it came down to it, following one's priesthood leaders is probably a safe choice and one that will more likely bring someone closer to God. I encourage everyone to seek counsel from their Priesthood Leaders in regards to questions they might have or struggles they might be going through. I personally think people don't do it enough.
    What I am talking about above is a very deep matter that affects many people and for me very personally. It is a subject that should never be taken lightly and one that I encourage everyone to fast and pray about and to seek understanding whether someone be heterosexual or homosexual.
    That being said God is the source of all truth, plain and simple there is no substitution for the Holy Ghost or Christ's Atonement. I am sure you agree with this completely God being a perfected individual makes him therefore infallible and therefore someone who would not lead us astray. Our priesthood leaders are not infallible because they are not perfected individuals and they never claim to be, therefore being imperfect and human they can make mistakes. Dieter F. Utchdorf said as much in a recent talk. "We know that despite our best intentions, things do not always go according to plan. We make mistakes in life and in our priesthood service. Occasionally we stumble and fall short."
    Another quote from a prophet comes from Brigham Young.
    "I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually." Journal of Discourses V. 9 pg. 150

  5. It seems to me that according to these two leaders that we are to bring up to God all things and ask of him whether they be right or wrong. God won't let us go astray if we trust in him and have faith in him. We are only promised that God will not take away the priesthood from the earth according to the doctrine found in the standard works.

    I applaud that the leaders of the church are holding their ground in regards to marriage between a man and a woman because they have not received any other revelation. In regards to future revelation that is open to God’s will.

    What does change often and what has been changing is the church's policy toward LGBT members. Early on in the 50s and 60s the church adopted the policy of reparative therapy for LGBT members because it was something that general society and the scientific community accepted. They also encouraged LGBT members to go into mixed orientation marriages because it was believed that homosexuality could be cured.

    Luckily this strain of thinking was changed after it was found out that these marriages and the reparative therapy used to cure homosexuality caused awful mental and emotional trauma. Their priesthood leaders promised them they would be cured but that didn’t happen. The consequence of blind obedience was horrible amounts of mental and emotional trauma that ultimately resulted in the destruction of many families and the subsequent suicide of many youth and LGBT members which continues through to this day.

    The church changed its policy after seeing the horrible fruits it bore in the early 90s with Gordon B. Hinckley who counseled that the church didn't recommend that path anymore. I have a friend who grew up during the time and was a young adult when the church policy changed. He told me that if someone came out as homosexual to their priesthood leaders before the change they would have had to submit themselves to reparative therapy or go under church discipline.

  6. This and subsequent other changes to policy has to led to what the church teaches now. More recently with the new site the church has been doing more outreach toward LGBT members admitting that it is not a choice even though it was considered to be a choice only a couple of years earlier by the leadership.

    I am bringing this up to show that as Leaders of the Church grew in understanding of these issues policies in the church changed. The doctrine stayed the same because that would require revelation from God to change. But policy changes, even the apostles don't agree on everything Elder Henry B. Eyering talked about how decisions are made amongst the apostles. If they are not completely unified on something then they move on to the next discussion which does happen.

    My point in telling you this is that we should not be blindly obedient because then that negates the importance of the spirit in our lives and God. Denying the Holy Ghost is the greatest sin. The prophet has the authority to run the affairs of the church while he, along with the twelve apostles, have the authority over doctrine.
    Now to go into your statement that God would never tell someone anything that goes against the prophets. I once again use the example of Nephi, Nephi was told to go and get the brass plates from Laban, by his father who received a revelation of their importance. Lehi didn’t tell him every single step he needed to take nor what would transpire in exact detail. It was up to Nephi and his brothers to follow with the spirit of revelation what they were to do to receive the plates. So they first tried the most sensible and moral route of going and buying, using their own property, the brass plates from Laban. They were following all the prophets in regards to this including their father. To their dismay this path didn’t work Laban took their property and chased them out of the city. It turned out that that was not the way that God had provided them even though it was the most righteous and moral route they had. Desperate to know God’s will in the matter Nephi turned to his faith in God that a way would be provided to accomplish all that he commanded. He went back into the city and followed the spirit. God delivered Laban and in the process tested Nephi’s faith.

  7. Laban was on the ground before Nephi completely drunk. Nephi felt prompted by God to kill Laban. Now if Nephi only had blind faith in his Priesthood Leaders I would guess that he would not have followed the spirit because I am sure his father and all the prophets before him including Moses said that “Thou shalt not kill.” Nephi was following a Priesthood Leader and trying his best to accomplish something God wanted him to accomplish but in the process God was telling Nephi to break the commandments that prophets have revealed in order to accomplish it. Not only was he being commanded to murder, but to also steal, and lie to get the brass plates. Wouldn’t it have been eaier and so much more moral if Laban had just given them the plates? Once again his faith was in God only and that faith translated into knowledge of his father’s prophetic calling not because his father told him but because God told him. Therefore God was his source of truth and his father held the authority in order to receive specific revelation and Nephi knew that, but he also knew that he was entitled to personal revelation himself and that that personal revelation was based on his faith and willingness to submit to his Heavenly Fathers will. Not based on what prophets have said but what the Holy Ghost had expressed in his heart. You know the rest of the story in turned out that that act of faith influenced the course of millions of people even to this day.

    So in conclusion we ourselves are entitled to personal revelation. That is why on any of my blog posts I don’t advocate for one position or another I leave that all up to the individual because all of us are sons and daughters of God that he loves. We each have very unique situations and circumstances. God has spoken through the Prophet about the general commandments in the church and then it is up to us to test them for ourselves with revelation, and then through that guidance we seek our lives according to God’s will. We are commanded throughout the scriptures to bring everything we hear to God whether it be true or not. We are asked to try out for ourselves if the gospel is true and whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God on this earth. That I know because of personal revelation that has spoken in my heart. It wasn’t the words of prophets. the scriptures or any reasoning that could convince me of that, it was God himself.

    I have a testimony of the Priesthood and it's restoration on this earth. I also count my relationship with God to be the most important aspect of my life, that is where ultimately my trust is, and where the truth for me lies. As I hear the General Authorities speak, most of the time I feel a confirmation of the spirit that it is true. Some of the time I need to wrestle with God and the spirit over the answer which I know eventually will come according to God's will. And Sometimes I don’t feel the spirit after I tried my best to see it from every different angle, although this is a rarity and only usually comes in regards to church policy not doctrine.

  8. I know the spirit would not tell me to fight against God's church, I know that the spirit has spoken to me of the trustfulness and power of the priesthood. I also know that I am not to blindly follow men but to align my will with my Heavenly Father’s will. My relationship with Him and Jesus Christ grows as I read and study the words of his prophets.

    I know that as we summit our wills to God, we will all become greater intstruments in His hands. I know from my studying of the scriptures and fasting over them that it is important to give everything to him and have full faith in him and not to lean on the arm of man. So my ultimate source of truth and all sources of truth come from God whether he is speaking to the prophet in regards to the general body of the church or to me personally in regards to my life. I cannot judge another person’s decisions because I do not have the knowledge to be able to do so righteously, only Christ through the infinite atonement can truly know our hearts, our intents, and our desires to follow him.

    Thank you Matthew for your comment I hope that what I answered clarified to you my views and I hope you are doing well. I did go to your sites and saw that you have a beautiful family and I thank you for your service as a missionary. Your sacrifice is inspiring and I can tell you have a love for God.

    Sincerely your fellow brother on this journey back to our heavenly home,

  9. PS: Sorry about the long response.

  10. First, I'm totally with you on the long comment thing. I never realize how long-winded I am until I have a character limit. So, in that light, prepare for a multo-comment response. :)

    Second, I'm grateful that you make commenting and reading blogs worthwhile. Too often on the net, a discourse between disagreeing parties quickly dissolves into name-calling and personal attacks. I wouldn't have posted my comments if I felt you were that kind of person. Thank you. It's refreshing to find a place where there actually is such a thing as friendly disagreement.

    OK, so that was the friendly. Here's the disagreement :)

    You made a good point that we should not blindly accept everything that is told to us in the Church without seeking God personally as well. I hope I wasn't conveying that thought in my earlier comment. In fact, the talk from Elder Oaks I quoted referenced that same point later on-- that both the Priesthood line and the personal line of revelation are critical for us.

    After addressing that point, you proceeded to make the case that the Church’s position regarding non-heterosexual relationships fits under the umbrella of Church policy instead of Church doctrine. You then indicated that there are occasions where we may receive a personal revelation authorizing us to take a course of action that are contrary to a Church policy*.

    That idea bothers me. I think you will agree with President Benson’s quote from my earlier comment saying, “The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture.” But how then, can we know whether any Church position or rule falls under the category of doctrine, or the category of mere policy? And besides that-- doctrine or policy-- what does it matter in relation to our willingness to obey?

  11. For example, I really loved my mission. I wish with all my heart I could go out and serve a proselyting mission all over again right now.

    As far as I know, there is nothing in your Church record to indicate whether or not you are a returned missionary. Well, I’m still of missionary age, and I have enough in my savings account to fund it. Hypothetically, all I’d have to do is move to a ward where no one knows me and tell my new Stake President how I received my call, went through the Temple, and then got in a car accident that put me out of commission for a year, and now I’m ready to serve.

    Aside from the idea of leaving my wife behind, the idea is really tempting. In fact, back in “ye olden days” men would serve 4, 5, or 6 missions in their lifetime. So why not? After all, I have seen no explicit revelation unequivocally stating that I can’t go. It’s probably not doctrine-- just policy. So, if I believe God has told me personally that I should go on another mission, I should do so, right?

    Obviously, my wish to serve a second mission “while in my youth” is not on the same level as someone who feels deep attraction (yes, even love) for someone who, according to the law of chastity, of “out of bounds.” I recognize that this struggle, as Elder Andersen acknowledged this April, “is a whirlwind of enormous velocity,” and one I do not wish to make light of at all.

    However, I don’t think we can claim to define for ourselves which positions of the Church are doctrine, and which are merely policy. It would be different if it were a debate about what exactly the Church means when it says the serving areas are for “preparing” food but not “cooking” it. When the Relief Society has cookie night, the sweet aroma of chocolate chip is enough thoroughly the blur the lines for anyone :)

  12. But this is a bigger issue. This is something that the Church got politically active about. This is something the First Presidency sends letters about. This is something the Prophet put out a Proclamation to the world about. This is something that Apostles and Prophets warn about every single conference, using very clear language:

    “His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife… As the world slips away from the Lord’s law of chastity, we do not… We reject false concepts and false teachings and remain true to that which God has commanded.”

    I personally can’t imagine the Lord would allow His representative on earth to spend so much of His Church’s time, money, and resources, and to invite worldwide scorn against His work, all in the defense of a supposedly antiquated “policy” driven by personal opinion. I also can’t imagine the Lord telling the Prophet to warn the world that such-and-such is a sin, and then whispering to certain individuals that for them it’s OK.


    * You used the example of Nephi obtaining the plates. I have several reasons I believe that story doesn’t hold your point, but since they’re my own insight/theories and not doctrine, I’m going to avoid posting them online. Suffice it to say I view Nephi as being a bit more obedient to the letter of the law than you do.

  13. Hello Once again Matthew! Sorry that it's taken me a while to write back a reply to you. I've been quite busy over the past few days. Reading through your comments I see a few things I will seek to address.

    Coming back to the discussion, I was thinking about our conversation before and I realized something that I forgot to add in my Nephi argument. What it all boiled down to was Nephi's intent. He didn't want to kill Laban and only did it out of faith. He followed Heavenly Father's instructions even though it made him uncomfortable and made him fear it would be a sin. Nephi's intent was good and desires of his heart were pure.

    Alma 41: 2-3

    2 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.

    3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.

    Not only will we be judged by our actions but also our desires. Actions we make are motivated by the intents of a person's heart. If a person feels inspired that God wants them to be in any relationship based on love, companionship, spiritual connectedness, and they continuously seek God's will in their lives in regards to these relationships following to the best of their ability. I'm sure God will judge accordingly. Just my thoughts on the matter the desire's of one's heart is incredibly important.

    It's also important to see all parts of the story. I do not know how much you know about the plight of LGBT mormons throughout the history of the church but it's very bleak, it's filled with suicide, broken families, youth homelessness, and reparative Therapy.

  14. The next is the policy and doctrine question. How I have seen it is that Doctrine is what is in the standard works, Bible (as long as it is translated correctly, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price. Conference talks are usually considered doctrinal because they are based off doctrine from the standard works. Now every once in a while personal opinions can be placed into these talks and some times they are even changed. A revelation does not become doctrine until it becomes canonized like the church declarations in the doctrine and covenants. This involves a process including voting by the quorum of the twelve, the seventy, and then the general membership of the church I do believe. The last added Doctrine to the church canon was the official Declaration 2 in regards to Blacks and the Priesthood. Of course you may be wondering what about The Proclamation on the Family.

    Describing both the ability of personal opinion to get into talks and also the state of the Proclamation to the World. I will use Boyd K Packer's talk, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel" he originally said during Conference:

    "Fifteen Years ago, with the world in turmoil the First Presidency of the church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it."

    When the church published this talk the next month the last sentence was removed and was replaced by this sentence.
    "It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and follow."
    So revelation was removed and guide was put in its place.

    Another paragraph reads in regards to people with Same-Gender Attraction.

    "Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies (which was changed to temptations) toward impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? ( this sentence was removed completely) Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.

    The reason why the second to last sentence was removed, I'm guessing, because it went against church policy which now is that people are born with same-gender attraction which wasn't the church's policy previously. The church's policy previously was that it was something that is caused by environmental factors and is not inborn. The doctrine of Marriage between a man and a woman has not changed through all of this but the policy in regards of what to do with the LGBT members has.

    Doctrine does not change very easily at all because of the lengthy process it has to go through to be canonized, however policy changes often, which has been the case of LGBT members. The changes usually occur within shifts of society and Mormon culture. Don't get me wrong I believe that the intent of these policies are good and just. However sometimes the fruit they bear is very bad and therefore the policy is changed accordingly.

  15. Finally I address your final question about

    "Personally can’t imagine the Lord would allow His representative on earth to spend so much of His Church’s time, money, and resources, and to invite worldwide scorn against His work, all in the defense of a supposedly antiquated “policy” driven by personal opinion."

    Like I said before I believe that marriage between a man and a woman is doctrinal because we have received nothing else in regards to this.

    The church has done just that on other issues that God changed through revelation and after much push back from the church and it's leaders against general society. The two issues were Polygamy and Blacks receiving the Priesthood. It's interesting to note that both also affected the church's definition of marriage.

    First Polygamy, when polygamy was being practiced in the LDS church, the prophets and the apostles railed against monogamy as the source of decay in society. Here are some excerpts:

    "...the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people."
    - Prophet John Taylor, Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 227

    "This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,..."
    - Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195

    "Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious."
    - The Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128

    We obviously don't believe these things now. Yes Polygamy was doctrine and those marriages performed in the temple are binding. But it seems that the prophets of the day sought to justify it through their own understanding in regards to these words. And yes Mormons fought against the prospect of banning polygamy including going to jail for it because the US government outlawed it. Willford Woodruff (one of my personal favorite prophets) explains in the back of the doctrine and covenants why the revelation to abolish polygamy was given.

  16. The second is in regards to Blacks and The Priesthood. The church received a lot of bad publicity and harsh criticism for this. Considering that Joseph Smith ordained Black Men to the Priesthood. It was taken away under Brigham Young. It was not only the priesthood it was also being able to enter the temple and receive the crowning ordinances of exaltation although they could be baptized.
    Some quotes:

    “The Church has no intention of changing its doctrine on the Negro. Throughout the history of the original Christian church, the Negro never held the priesthood. There’s really nothing we can do to change this. It’s a law of God.’
    - Apostle N. Eldon Tanner, Seattle Magazine, Dec. 1967, p. 60

    “Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them.... Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned...”
    - Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 477, 1958

    (These are but small quotes amongst many wonderful teachings that have been given by these great men of God.)

    It turns out that God was willing to give Blacks the priesthood and all the full blessings of the kingdom of God. But it seemed because of an overriding culture many members including the apostles felt it would never happen. I have heard people tell me that it wasn't a moral issue, just simply an issue we can't fully understand. Recently someone I know was talking with a woman who got married to a black man pre-1978. She told him that it certainly was a moral issue. She remembers being derided by priesthood leaders and members for the sin of marrying a black man and how she and her children would never be sealed in the temple because they would be the offspring of what was considered not a real family according God's definition of marriage. The church recently released an essay on this topic on called Race and the Priesthood.

    It seems to me that new revelation comes when people are ready to receive it. Racism was a large problem in the church before 1978 and yes many members saw it as an unjust policy by the church that they felt God prompt them was wrong. Of course the only way that change occurs in the church is through the proper authority of God's Prophet and Apostles. The declaration was given and it was added to the canon as doctrine. Unfortunately it was not changed until society had noticed and were putting a lot of pressure on the church because of these practices. The church pushed back against what they felt was the evils of society trying to subvert God's ways. By the time the declaration was given most of the members were in support although I'm sure some did leave.

    This goes all back to my point, that yes Priesthood leaders are men, plain and simple, but through personal revelation I know that they are they good men and pure in their intents. I know them to be called of God and I know he is leading this church.

    However, culture and personal understanding can get added on in order to justify certain things. This does not lessen their authority as priesthood leaders that I most certainly have a testimony of. It just reinforce the point that receiving revelation for one's self is important. The way that we can work through this and find what God wants of us and also be willing to be teachable through his servants is through the use of personal revelation.

    I hope I helped answer your questions if you have any more I would love to continue to discuss them with you.


  17. Just going back to the original question. If a person feels that God is leading them in a certain direction whatever that direction is, if their hearts are pure and it is the same spirit that has testified to them of the truthfulness of the church and the priesthood. I do not see what is wrong with that. We do not know God's will in all things he has infinite wisdom which cannot be compared to our finite wisdom. I am not professing to say the church will change. That is up to God and he has a certain way a change can be made, but I am seeing the hearts of many people change. And the change is involving more love, understanding, forgiveness, and charity. God is always working in the hearts of the children of Adam both inside and outside the church. He will do what He will. We are only commanded to have faith in him and in what he has revealed to us in personal revelation and in the structure which he had designed.