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Church Instructs Leaders On Same Sex Marriage


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I wonder whether, in 50-100 years members will look back on statements like the one you've shared in the same way we do today to statements like these (emphasis mine). This statement was in 1947. Living memory for some of our board's participants ;)

 

“Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. God’s rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous... We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.”

 

https://archive.org/stream/LowryNelson1stPresidencyExchange/Lowry_Nelson_1st_Presidency_Exchange#page/n5/mode/1up

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Are there things in the 1947 statement that make me cringe?  Sure.  Does it paint with too broad of a brush?  Probably.  But the Church of Jesus Christ still discourages marriage across racial, cultural, and other lines.  Is that so because the Church and its leaders are bigoted?  No.  It's simply because the more commonalities there are between the couple in terms of race, culture, socioeconomic background, education, religion, and so on, the greater the likelihood the marriage will succeed.  (And statistics bear that out.)  

 

Conversely, the more differences there are between the couple in those areas, the greater the challenges faced by the couple will be in their efforts to ensure that the marriage succeeds.  Are there exceptions to that general rule? Certainly.  But as the Brethren have noted, their job is to teach general principles, not exceptions.  It's my job, in consultation with the Spirit, to determine how I should apply any particular counsel given by the Brethren to my particular situation and circumstances (and, as guided by the Spirit, to adapt that counsel as necessary).  And there are numerous other areas in which a similar approach is necessary.  Does the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ prohibit abortion?  No.  Does it discourage it?  Yes.  Does it counsel anyone considering it to seek out spiritual confirmation regarding whatever decision is made?  Yes.  Does the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ prohibit birth control?  No.  Does it counsel couples to seek spiritual confirmation regarding its use and regarding related issues such as how many children to have?  Yes.

 

As a general matter, does the Church of Jesus Christ recommend following prophetic counsel and directives (such as to not limit family size simply for selfish reasons, or, again speaking generally, to marry within one's race?  Yes.  But are there exceptions?  Yes.  Now, with respect to other matters, the Church has been much more clear and direct regarding doctrines that it considers fundamental: opposite-sex marriage, family, and related matters are fundamental to the doctrine of the Church.  So I'd on much shakier ground if I were to say (before the Supreme Court granted a stay), "I followed the Spirit when I decided to propose to my boyfriend [i'm a guy, for the record ;)]," than if I were to say, "I followed the Spirit when, having been born in the U.S., I decided to propose to my Guatemalan girlfriend."

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Are there things in the 1947 statement that make me cringe?  Sure.  Does it paint with too broad of a brush?  Probably.  But the Church of Jesus Christ still discourages marriage across racial, cultural, and other lines.  Is that so because the Church and its leaders are bigoted?  No.  It's simply because the more commonalities there are between the couple in terms of race, culture, socioeconomic background, education, religion, and so on, the greater the likelihood the marriage will succeed.  (And statistics bear that out.)  

 

I would respectfully disagree. I think the church works now to stay out of discouraging or encouraging interracial/cultural marriages, sticking with the general advice that a marriage should be carefully entered period.  I search interracial marriages on LDS.org and what you get is statements that it's not sin, that there's no mention of it in the handbook and that some bishop never has counseled such. There's no statement past 1992 that could be described as discouragement (the one in the old manual was from the 80's). And there's also the fact that there are a number of things that make interracial marriages look as a more neutral decision (I'm thinking of the I'm a mormon vids and a few mormon messages that discuss love/family). Personally, these examples do not indicate a continued discouragement. 

 

With luv,

BD

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The direct reference to "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" in this published statement should put to rest the strange notion that nothing in the proclamation forbids same-sex marriage. Clearly, in the minds of the First Presidency and the apostles, it does just that.

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The quote that is used in the Eternal Marriage class has removed the race and cultural and only refers to economic, educational and social differences.

The only other reference iirc had been in an AP manual which is not in use any longer.

http://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng

Depending on individual circumstances, racial and cultural differences could fall under the general category of "social differences."

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Depending on individual circumstances, racial and cultural differences could fall under the general category of "social differences."

I would agree, but I think by labelling it "social" it indicates better what the underlying issue is...which isn't IMO race or culture, but what goes on in social relationships and how we react to these. This could both be how the community reacts to the simple existence of the couple (in the past interracial marriages would offend result in offensive behaviour directed against the family even if the family just stood there silent so to speak, the very existence of it was the issue for many and turmoil directed at a family whatever the cause becomes generally turmoil within the family) as well as how different each of the couple responds in social situations which can be dramatically affected by culture...common example, how women tend to behave outside the home can vary greatly from culture to culture, causing discomfort for both if expectations and experiences vary too significantly. I had a friend who married a man from the Sikh culture, her inlaws did not like her at all and there was problems because she wished her husband was more supportive of her in front of them rather than just accepting of their expectations. One could describe that as a cultural issue, but it is a social dynamic so I see "social" as being a more precise description of the problem.
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I would agree, but I think by labelling it "social" it indicates better what the underlying issue is...which isn't IMO race or culture, but what goes on in social relationships and how we react to these. This could both be how the community reacts to the simple existence of the couple (in the past interracial marriages would offend result in offensive behaviour directed against the family even if the family just stood there silent so to speak, the very existence of it was the issue for many and turmoil directed at a family whatever the cause becomes generally turmoil within the family) as well as how different each of the couple responds in social situations which can be dramatically affected by culture...common example, how women tend to behave outside the home can vary greatly from culture to culture, causing discomfort for both if expectations and experiences vary too significantly. I had a friend who married a man from the Sikh culture, her inlaws did not like her at all and there was problems because she wished her husband was more supportive of her in front of them rather than just accepting of their expectations. One could describe that as a cultural issue, but it is a social dynamic so I see "social" as being a more precise description of the problem.

I would certainly agree with all of the above.

 

Furthermore, in evaluating the 1947 First Presidency correspondence cited above, I'm inclined to be charitable, bearing in mind that times were different back then and that interracial marriage was bound to be far more problematic in that day and age than it is apt to be today, this because of the associated underlying social issues you identify above.

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Don't listen to me.  That would be dangerous, since I've been branded a racist.  (Please ignore the fact that I had a five-year relationship with a Filipina, have dated women of every size and shape and many colors, and so on.  It's not probative evidence to dispute the overriding contention (although that contention is based on nothing more than other posters' ipse dixit, whose interaction with me has been confined to this forum).  That has nothing to do with it.

 

Now that we've got that out of the way . . .

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church Educational System), "Eternal Marriage" Manual:

 


 

“The difficulties and hazards of marriage are greatly increased where backgrounds are different" (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 302)

 

* * *

 

“… We recommend that people marry those who are of … somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Marriage and Divorce,” 142–44).

 

 

 

Doctrine & Covenants & Church History Teachers Manual, Lesson 12, "The Gathering of the Saints":

 


 

 

In an area conference held in Mexico City in 1972, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

 

 

 

“[The] revealed words speak of … there being congregations of the covenant people of the Lord in every nation, speaking every tongue, and among every people when the Lord comes again. …

 

“The place of gathering for the Mexican Saints is in Mexico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan Saints is in Guatemala; the place of gathering for the Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth. Japan is for the Japanese; Korea is for the Koreans; Australia is for the Australians; every nation is the gathering place for its own people” (in Conference Report, Mexico and Central America Area Conference 1972, 45).

 

In April 1973, President Harold B. Lee, the 11th President of the Church, quoted those words in general conference.

 

 

 

 

 

These are the general rules.  Are there exceptions?  Sure.  I've often wondered if an exception might apply in the relationship of someone of whom I've grown fond and me (or at least, I would ... if I weren't a racist).  But I stand by what I've said all along: whatever the "general rules" are, we have the responsibility to seek and follow the guidance of the Spirit in determining where the exceptions lie.  

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Don't listen to me.  That would be dangerous, since I've been branded a racist.  (Please ignore the fact that I had a five-year relationship with a Filipina, have dated women of every size and shape and many colors, and so on.  It's not probative evidence to dispute the overriding contention (although that contention is based on nothing more than other posters' ipse dixit, whose interaction with me has been confined to this forum).  That has nothing to do with it.

 

 

I know I've mentioned this before, but I'll state again. You don't have to be racist to say things that are racially incorrect, oblivious, etc.  My mother one-upped you and birthed a child who was half black, another half Moroccan, and married someone of Mexican decent. She's not exactly the poster child of racism. But she does and has said things that aren't correct especially when dealing with race and the church etc. No one here has called you racist for what you've said in this thread, just that your assertion is incorrect. There's a big difference.

 

 

 

Now that we've got that out of the way . . .

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church Educational System), "Eternal Marriage" Manual:

 

 

Doctrine & Covenants & Church History Teachers Manual, Lesson 12, "The Gathering of the Saints":

 

 

As cal pointed out, in the second, the purposely removed race/culture from the line-up. On the first, this doesn't have to do with race. For example, if I, a mixed kid, who grew up in the u.s. in largely suburban areas were to be compared to a white Russian immigrant from a poor family coming to the u.s., who would you think would have the greater background differences to an American white kid who also grew up in the U.S? Race does not equal immediate and large background differences. 

 

The second is moot. The quotes are from before the ban was even lifted, plus this has nothing to do with race, plus I would tell people to think about the practical issues that may come from international marriages (such as immigration, expectations for children, etc).

 

 

These are the general rules.  Are there exceptions?  Sure.  I've often wondered if an exception might apply in the relationship of someone of whom I've grown fond and me (or at least, I would ... if I weren't a racist).  But I stand by what I've said all along: whatever the "general rules" are, we have the responsibility to seek and follow the guidance of the Spirit in determining where the exceptions lie. 

 

In a globalized society and a u.s. community with a larger complex interaction, the exception is becoming the rule. I laughed a little when you said you wondered if you were an exception when you started really liking someone of different backgrounds. Not meanly, just because it's a completely different perspective from my own. I am an exception to this idea. I don't have to be dating someone to know it. There's not exactly a ton of mixed kids with my exact pedigree running around, especially in the LDS church. None of my interests/relationships have been with someone that matches my background. No one has ever discouraged me from doing so, and for a number, it's quite the opposite. (I've had a few older (usually white) women try to set me up with their sons). And I only date LDS guys. The only voices of concern have been from immediate sources, not the church. And far more prominent videos such as this or this or this or this etc... speak far more loudly about the attitude and current voice of the church about this issue. 

 

With luv,

BD

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I wonder whether, in 50-100 years members will look back on statements like the one you've shared in the same way we do today to statements like these (emphasis mine). This statement was in 1947. Living memory for some of our board's participants ;)

 

https://archive.org/stream/LowryNelson1stPresidencyExchange/Lowry_Nelson_1st_Presidency_Exchange#page/n5/mode/1up

 

No thread on the board can go without mentioning the priesthood ban or alleged racism by some past general authority.

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Depending on individual circumstances, racial and cultural differences could fall under the general category of "social differences."

 

In this 1947 statement, I had always assumed that the issue was the temple sealing, and also that any offspring would not be able to hold the priesthood.

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No thread on the board can go without mentioning the priesthood ban or alleged racism by some past general authority.

 

Not past general authority. The letter is signed by the First Presidency and refers to doctrine.  This isn't about the priesthood ban or racism. I think we can safely say that it was against Church doctrine to marry outside of your race in 1947.  And has been pointed out this doctrine is no longer being taught.  I've never seen any statement saying it is no longer doctrine but as has been pointed out it has quietly gone away from being taught as doctrine. 

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Not past general authority. The letter is signed by the First Presidency and refers to doctrine.  This isn't about the priesthood ban or racism. I think we can safely say that it was against Church doctrine to marry outside of your race in 1947.  And has been pointed out this doctrine is no longer being taught.  I've never seen any statement saying it is no longer doctrine but as has been pointed out it has quietly gone away from being taught as doctrine. 

 

If it wasn't about racism and the priesthood ban, why the post? (the post seemed only about racism and the priesthood ban, it seems to be irrelevant to the subject of the thread). 

 

Private letters by the first presidency are not the way doctrine is taught by the church. I am not aware of other doctrine that is established by private letters. The article linked to was not official instructions by the first presidency.

 

I am in possession of private correspondence from the first presidency and I will not try to persuade others that this correspondence represents doctrine. 

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If it wasn't about racism and the priesthood ban, why the post? (the post seemed only about racism and the priesthood ban, it seems to be irrelevant to the subject of the thread). 

 

Private letters by the first presidency are not the way doctrine is taught by the church. I am not aware of other doctrine that is established by private letters. The article linked to was not official instructions by the first presidency.

 

I am in possession of private correspondence from the first presidency and I will not try to persuade others that this correspondence represents doctrine. 

 

Not just private letters, publicly stated doctrine.

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As well as the idea that it serves as a legal statement to ward off any future legal issues, I also view the church's statement as a positive sign of progress. If progress (by which I mean the progression of same-sex marriage recognition) weren't occurring, even among lds members, there wouldn't be a need to attempt to reiterate the rules.

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As well as the idea that it serves as a legal statement to ward off any future legal issues, I also view the church's statement as a positive sign of progress. If progress (by which I mean the progression of same-sex marriage recognition) weren't occurring, even among lds members, there wouldn't be a need to attempt to reiterate the rules.

 

If you mean progress in treating our homosexual brothers and sisters with the same respect and dignity as we do our heterosexual brothers and sisters. Then I agree. If you mean regarding acts of homosexuality as not sinful then no I wouldn't agree.

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If you mean progress in treating our homosexual brothers and sisters with the same respect and dignity as we do our heterosexual brothers and sisters. Then I agree. If you mean regarding acts of homosexuality as not sinful then no I wouldn't agree.

I mean: even though the current LDS apostles clearly are not open to considering any religious approval or endorsement of any type of non-sinful same-sex relationships, the fact that they feel the need to reitterate and re-enforce that position to local ecclesiastical leaders would seems to match my perception that there is an increasing number of younger Latter-day Saints (and local leaders) who may be open to accepting and even blessing same-sex unions. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a need to reinforce boundaries and tighten the reigns, so to speak. And that is progress, in my mind.

As with interracial relationships, full LDS acceptance of same-sex unions will not come until enough of both leaders and members of a certain generation pass on, and future generations will view the leadership's statements in 2014 as being "reflective of the attitudes of a different time."

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I mean: even though the current LDS apostles clearly are not open to considering any religious approval or endorsement of any type of non-sinful same-sex relationships, the fact that they feel the need to reitterate and re-enforce that position to local ecclesiastical leaders would seems to match my perception that there is an increasing number of younger Latter-day Saints (and local leaders) who may be open to accepting and even blessing same-sex unions. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a need to reinforce boundaries and tighten the reigns, so to speak. And that is progress, in my mind.

As with interracial relationships, full LDS acceptance of same-sex unions will not come until enough of both leaders and members of a certain generation pass on, and future generations will view the leadership's statements in 2014 as being "reflective of the attitudes of a different time."

 

Christ to the woman taken in adultery didn't say go they way and sin some more, but go they way and sin no more.

 

Homosexuality denies Gods' plan for his children. To come to earth, gain a body, obey the Gospel, produce children ourselves, then return to God in glory. Whatever homosexuals other fine qualities they can not produce children. That is exclusively to heterosexuals. Homosexuality(The acts not the temptation) are a sin. I really don't foresee anytime when such will not be a sin.

 

Use of the interracial argument is really a nonstarter. Black, as well as white, members of the Church have always been allowed to marry and produce children whom are also good members of the Church. No such arrangement is possible with our homosexual members.

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Christ to the woman taken in adultery didn't say go they way and sin some more, but go they way and sin no more.

Indeed, that is the teaching that is attributed to Jesus--though I am unaware of anything he said that relates a same-sex relationship to sin. Noting that he didn't tell the woman to "go thy way and remain celibate," I would presume Christ would have encouraged the woman taken in adultery to maintain her sexual expression within her marital relationship.

In "likening that particular scripture unto myself," I would presume Jesus might say something similar to one member of a married same-sex couple, if he discovered one of the spouses were committing adultery. Of course, I would not be surprised to know that most Latter-day Saints would not agree with that application. ;)

Homosexuality denies Gods' plan for his children. To come to earth, gain a body, obey the Gospel, produce children ourselves, then return to God in glory. Whatever homosexuals other fine qualities they can not produce children. That is exclusively to heterosexuals. Homosexuality(The acts not the temptation) are a sin. I really don't foresee anytime when such will not be a sin.

I understand the above represents your and many others' beliefs.

I believe the fact that some of God's children form same-sex pairs would not "deny God's plan" any more than the fact that some of God's children are infertile would deny his plan. In God's grand scheme, not everyone need produce children... Some may raise other's unwanted children, and some may have other responsibilities and pursuits, entirely (caregivers of God's many other creations, animals, plants, painters of sunsets, etc).

Even if God does ordain marriage between a man and a woman, as per the proclamation, that heavenly endorsement does not mean God would and will refuse to ever sanction a minority of marriages between a man or a man; and marriages between a woman and a woman.

Not everyone need follow in Father's chosen "heavenly profession" of creating spirit children. Allegedly (according to LDS sources), two thirds of the inhabitants of the CELESTIAL kingdom (NOT the lower two) will not be producing eternal increase, anyway. In fact, the process by which spirit children are allegedly created is unknown and unspecified in LDS cannon. Modern science, advanced as it is, is still not nearly as powerful as Omnipotence, yet we have already been able to duplicate same-sex biological reproduction in as advanced of an animal as other mammals. If one subscribes to the idea of the virgin birth, even Christ was "begotten" asexually through supranatural means. With so many things yet to be revealed, who are any of us to suggest we know the limits of heavenly powers of procreation?

Use of the interracial argument is really a nonstarter. Black, as well as white, members of the Church have always been allowed to marry and produce children whom are also good members of the Church. No such arrangement is possible with our homosexual members.

My apology--that comment of mine was not meant as an argument to pursuade, but as a statement of personal belief regarding how history will play out. Others will, of course, disagree.

D

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In this 1947 statement, I had always assumed that the issue was the temple sealing, and also that any offspring would not be able to hold the priesthood.

I think that would have been the major consideration back then. But what about intermarriages with races other than black? Were they frowned on as well in the Church?

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I mean: even though the current LDS apostles clearly are not open to considering any religious approval or endorsement of any type of non-sinful same-sex relationships, the fact that they feel the need to reitterate and re-enforce that position to local ecclesiastical leaders would seems to match my perception that there is an increasing number of younger Latter-day Saints (and local leaders) who may be open to accepting and even blessing same-sex unions. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a need to reinforce boundaries and tighten the reigns, so to speak. And that is progress, in my mind.

 

There has always been a need to reinforce teachings to keep Church members -- even ostensibly active and dedicated ones -- from drifting toward apostasy in their beliefs.

That there should be a need for course correction among younger or rising generations is nothing new. That's why we have Correlation.

 

Edited to add:

 

If nothing else, any unwise or rebellious bishop who takes it on himself to conduct a gay wedding in an LDS meetinghouse and finds himself summarily removed from office and possibly disciplined is, by virtue of this statement, left without excuse.

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