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I enjoy reading Catholic thought and I wanted to share. I believe the call for SSM and many other criticisms of the CoJCoLDS (primarily from those who still hold to some sense of its being “true”) is a product of lack of rigorous thought. An emotionalism where we substitute how we feel about things for sound principles derived by seeking God with faith and reason.
First two links:
Article by Archbishop of Philadelphia:
Faith and Reason by JPII:
I will admit that I have only read parts of Faith and Reason, but I hope to rectify this.
I think the Catholic Church is in crisis partially because its highest leaders have left behind sound thinking on issues for a hoped pastoral love of all. This is from First Things:
More poignantly from an interview with Bishop Chaput:
It is my opinion that there are many very concerning things coming for the Pope and the leadership around him. I fear he has forgotten (and I think it likely that many around him have forgotten) the second half of: “Truth without love is imperious self-righteousness. Love without truth is cowardly self-indulgence.” With an organization so committed to preserving the “truth once delivered,” how (with or without God’s supernatural guidance) can such a thing happen. How can it happen to the CoJCoLDS?
Somebody who wrestles with issues like advocating for or against SSM will become a general authority (not me). In my personal life, I feel the desire to embrace love without the restraining influence of truth. In the name of love sometime not just self love, I can stray from God’s path. As my attempt at my best self online, I feel the desire to embrace love without mentioning truth to those with whom I dialogue even though I do not face the same issues they do (I like to not speak of their sin or emphasize that I too am a sinner to eliminate or soften the truth). How much tougher will this be for the future bishop who can clearly see the pain in those he loves and knows that speaking truth to them will make him a lone voice in a world that has ceased to care about truth.
There are two things about the difficult and recent declaration concerning children of same sex couples. First, is that it would be somewhat cruel to ask a child to explain the reason his/her parents have embraced a way of living out of alignment with God’s teaching. The second is having not been cruel, those who likely believe that SSM is a wonderful institution that has blessed their lives will continue to grow and learn and progress in the church.
As I said in a recent thread, I think it quite possible that one day our church will embrace SSM in many and perhaps all ways. IMO today this would be the love without truth result. If this happens in the future, it will not be the end of the church, but too much of this love without truth could be (I have faith that God is in control and can steer away from this). But, one of the ways God steers away from this is by calling us to THINK correctly.
I believe that wrong thinking after Vatican II has lead to the place where the Catholic Church is today and while some of the things Pope Francis is doing may briefly increase the number of folks in the pews, I believe ultimately it will further water down truth and lead to more indifference to the things of God.
I do not think the highest leaders of the CoJCoLDS have succumbed to the thinking Pope Francis has embraced. And I believe that the highest leaders of the CoJCoLDS receive revelation and inspiration to guide God’s church. That being said, I have little doubt that Bishops and Stake Presidents struggle with these issues. Without a commitment to have both TRUTH and LOVE, I think errors can happen. As these error permeate the church AND society, there may be one day when our God (who I think is pragmatic) will recognize that it does more harm than good to continue to teach the truth in certain ways. Someday, the pain caused by the truth and the prevalence of societies tolerant arms willing to offer an ultimately cold loveless embrace, could make it better for the church to water down the gospel in certain areas (no more United Order comes to mind). Alternatively, if the gospel understanding of these issues is correct and discussion and dialogue helps folks to find ways to love in truth, perhaps pragmatic solution will not be required.
Anyway, there is great value in learning from wise folks like JPII and Arch Bishop Chaput. I believe God is in charge. I believe the CoJCoLDS passed through its first 200 years in a way far more remarkable than the years 33-233AD were for New Testament Christians and evidence God’s continuing inspiration and revelation for the whole body of the church. That being said, God’s hand is occasionally the wise and intelligent council of our brothers and sisters. The society into which President Nelson held his first press conference is hostile to God’s truths. I believe that the church is guided by God through President Nelson, but ALL of us imbibe inappropriately of the ideas evidenced in this press conference hostility (in the name of love or in the name of self-indulgence or in the name of …but we imbibe). May right reasoning and truth from God provide a counter force to societies pull!
P.S. In case it is somehow veiled by what I say above, I do not think I am superior in my thinking to all others. I offer the above because it is what seems true to me. If it didn’t seem true to me, my best self, would find something else to embrace that I think is true. I desire to align my beliefs with what God believes to be true!
This also means I want to read and discuss thoughts about the above.
I want to respond to a couple of statements made by Julianne from the now closed "Weed" thread, because she absolutely nails it. She is spot on and I think the discussion at this level needs to occur before any progress can be made on the SSM issue.
Speaking as a straight, white, man, I recognize that I come to the traditional church teachings of priesthood, sealing, polygamy/polyandry, and SSM from a certain privileged position. The church's teachings and practices benefit me and they always have. Even though there is little to no evidence for how celestial families will actually be organized and function in the CK I used to think I had it all figured out. Obviously, I thought, marriage is essential to have legal physical intimacy which is necessary for creating offspring with one or multiple wives. Yet there is no firm teaching about how spirits are created. Are they born like a baby is born into mortality? There is no evidence or teaching for that, but it is widely assumed. That assumption then justifies polygamy while discrediting polyandry and even SSM. After all, if the entire purpose is to create spirit offspring and it is thought that it happens in a way similar to creating biological offspring, then it makes sense. But that is ALL based on assumptions.
Based on these assumptions many are willing to condemn others to lives (and possibly even an eternity) of loneliness.
So (we) don't even know what the afterlife looks like. It is unknown. Yet we think (we) have enough information to condemn and judge others, and since most of us come at it from positions of privilege, we are in the position to enforce our dogma upon the less privileged. The church is not unique in behaving this way. It is how society has always worked. But recognizing the assumptions for what they are and being humble about how much we really don't know, can help society improve.
Julianne also stated...
How can one categorically dismiss SSM when there is little to nothing known about family organization in the next life, even regarding a variety of heterosexual family organizations. Which sealings will be valid? Polygamy/polyandry? Only those which benefit men? Who are the children sealed to? There is a lot of "The Lord will work it out" mentality, which is fine because it acknowledges a lack of understanding and knowledge. The problem comes when one then loses all humility and attempts to define how family relationships will or will not work for other people. I agree with Julianne that the polygamy/polyandry topic is closely tied to the SSM topic and must be ironed out.
So maybe this can be a thread that can be commented on instead of derailing other threads when this subject comes up.
*Julianne, I hope I didn't misunderstand or misrepresent you. I really appreciated where you were trying to take the discussion.
First, let me say that the press conference was perhaps the first time I've ever heard President Nelson speak off-the-cuff (i.e. not reading prepared remarks), and I was not instilled with confidence. I enjoyed listening to the first presentation where the First Presidency was introduced, but my heart sank when listening to the Press Conference afterward.
Specifically, the first question and response, heard at 2:05:10 here:
I listened to this driving in to work today, and I just couldn't believe it. The question was "how do you plan to approach LGBT issues?"
The response doesn't appear to be in the same universe as the question, other than them both being in English. They don't mention "LGBT issues", or homosexuality, or same-sex attraction, or anything specific to the question. They respond using highly coded and contextualized words that someone familiar with LDS doctrines might be able to interpret, but how is that the proper response in a press conference?
My interpretation of President Nelson's and Oaks' response is that they said this:
"Thanks Brady. No changes expected. Homosexual actions are still considered a sin, and members of the Church will still be expected to resist those impulses. We also still oppose same-sex marriage. We believe this is how God's plan works, and will lead them to happiness in the eternities even though it may be painful here on Earth. We love and pray for all those with same-sex attractions, but there won't be any changes on this."
Why couldn't they just say something clear and unambiguous? Was the question that unexpected that it caught them off-guard?
Here's a story of Courtney and Rachelle. Courtney grew up in the LDS Church and "did everything [she] was supposed to". During her enrollement at BYU, she met Rachelle. Courtney moved to Oregon to be with Rachelle and they got married. Courtney said her soul was torm into pieces as she was gau but knew the Church was true. Courtney found lots of happiness with Rachelle and at a picture session, Courtney's father apologized for previously, by his choice, not ever meeting Rachelle; and that began a healing process. The LDS missionaries showed up to Courtney and Rachelle's door. They both agreed to listen to their message and after feeling the peace brought into their home by the missionaries and by reading the Book of mormon and knowing it was true, Rachelle agreed to join the church they both filed ofr divorce in order for Rachelle to be baptized.
I think this is a miraculous story. It shows how through the love of Christ anyone can change. It also shows how the most effective way to bring the love of Christ into the lives of ithers is through charitbable service. Not preaching, not condemnation. Though those do have a place in the gospel, it is through personable loving service that Christ's love is most likely felt by others. Jesus knows His own and does not forget them.
I'm nervous to try and tackle this theory but I'll do my best. I'm definitely open to critique of my thought process here.
I've come to a bit of a realization today about the continuing debate about SSM and the role of gays in the plan of salvation. This modern debate seems to be based on elements similar to the debate in which Orson Pratt and Brigham Young engaged. Specifically, I'm thinking of their debate over intelligence(s) and the progression of God. (I'll do my best to describe this in the way that I understand it and I'll try to make this brief)
In essence, Orson Pratt claimed that the first God organized Himself from among eternally existing intelligences. These intelligences are the core and origin of each individual, including God. Pratt then claimed that God progressed sufficiently to become perfect at which time he organized other intelligences, the first of which was Jesus Christ. But the keys are a) preexisting individual intelligences b) God progressed to perfection so His personal progression has ceased except for the continuing progression of the other intelligences He organized.
Brigham Young, on the other hand taught about intelligence as more of a force/material from which spirits were created, not as preexisting individuals. He taught that God, and therefore all spirits, eternally progress. Therefore God is not eternally perfect. Therefore God has a father, who has a father, who has a father etc. eternally.
The debate about the LGBT role in the plan of salvation, including SSM and eternal progression, seems to be at least partially rooted in this same debate. Is each individual preexisting and organized by God into a spirit with preexisting personal attributes, or is each spirit created by God from the material of intelligence.
IF each individual was organized from preexisting intelligences, or refined into a spirit by an eternally perfect God instead of being created from a substance of intelligence by a God who is still progressing, and therefore is not yet perfect/complete, then perhaps it's easier to believe that the individual, with all of it's particular idiosyncrasies, talents, character traits etc, including SS attraction, might eternally be gay by nature. The organization of the individual from the preexisting intelligences could be an asxual process instead of a sxual one. Therefore SS couples may also be capable of organizing intelligences in eternity because it doesn't involve a kind of sxual reproduction.
On the other hand, IF each individual was procreated by a still progressing God in companionship with a Heavenly Mother, from a substance of intelligence, then it may be more conceivable to think of sxual procreation as the method of spirit creation. With eternal progression a possibility I see how LGBT could be viewed by some as a "work in progress" that will continue to progress.
I view the eternal nature of LGBT in the terms I used to describe Pratt's argument and therefore as a natural and eternal characteristic which God would account for in His plan of salvation. Further, that SS couples could organize intelligences in the eternities and in that way have eternal offspring instead of being limited to sxual spirit reproduction. But by thinking of the BY model of a progressing God and the essentialness of sxual spirit reproduction, I can better appreciate the other point of view.
Thoughts? Rip away