I have a brother who is funny, kind, intelligent, musically gifted, a friend to all, and a very supportive and loving uncle and brother. He is someone I respect and love with all of my heart, and one with whom I share many happy, and hilarious, memories. He also happens to be openly gay.

aaron and me

When he asked me to watch a documentary last year called “For the Bible Tells Me So”, I gladly agreed to watch it. It was a documentary that greatly affected me. I sent my brother my most sincere thoughts and feelings from the film:

…As I watched and heard some of the views people have, I was astounded. I always knew there were prejudiced people out there, but I didn’t realize there were so many gay-bashing people, especially Christians.

 As a devout Christian, I can say that I know that Christ would never condone this hatred and persecutions of gays. He loves all people equally and tells us to love all people, and to forgive all people, and to judge no one.

 I am in total agreement with a lot of the points: you can’t change a person who is gay. Being gay is not a choice. Forcing a gay person to hide his orientation is detrimental. SSA is not a disorder or illness. I agree with all of that, and so does [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints].

 I agree that often the Bible is taken out of context, and I appreciated the interpretations of what some of the scripture passages in the Bible might have actually meant. I think the reason there are so many Christian churches is because people pick and choose what to believe from the Bible, and [also] study passages out of context.

 I have so much sympathy for what gays go through. I have not even thought of this, but I imagine you have gone through persecution in your life. I hope not; I really do.

 I wasn’t there when you came out to Mom and Dad, but I commend you for being honest and telling them everything… That must have made them sad because I think all parents hope their kids will get married and have kids of their own.

Mom and Dad never expected to have a gay child, but they did. I am totally aware there is a possibility one of my children could also be gay. If that is the case, I would want him to be honest with me, and I would still love my child with all my heart.

I got a lot out of the documentary. I found I related the most to the black family in Haw River, which is only like five minutes from Mebane, where they love their daughter, but don’t rejoice or encourage her lifestyle.

Now, as I say that, I have thought a lot of what it must be like to be gay. I am not, so I can’t have that empathy. However, if I were gay, I would imagine that I would want what most anybody wants: a romantic, long-lasting relationship. Suppressing that desire would be so difficult, and being confident, while being a widely misunderstood and feared minority, would be a definite struggle.

 Aaron, my heart is with you, and I do not judge you or hate you or fear you or find you in any way disgusting. You are my brother and I love you with all my heart. Out of all my siblings, you are the one I bond with the most. I [also] have many gay friends, and have always been comfortable around them…  

I will always believe, however, that marriage should be between one man and one woman. It is not because I hold on to those few Bible verses. It is not because I have a huge passion for the definition of marriage. It is because I have a strong testimony of God and of [modern day] prophets. I believe that God knows more than we do, and that sometimes He has commandments that don’t seem fair or make sense to us as humans. I believe someday we will understand. 

Here is what I do understand: life on earth is short. Life after death will go on forever. This life is a time to prepare to meet God. If I am a true disciple of Christ, my focus should be not on how to bring happiness to others on earth only, but to bring happiness to people in this life, and especially in the life to come. God always meant for a man and woman to be together. Only through that union can children be brought into this world. True joy comes from this family unit.

You may ask, why then would He allow people to be gay? That is a question I have too. I think out of all struggles, that would be one of the hardest.  

That is the extent of my understanding and my testimony. I don’t understand everything. I don’t hold the stance I do because I am bigoted or because I don’t want equality. I have the stance simply because that is what I believe God wants. That doesn’t mean I am totally comfortable with it. Being a Christian sometimes means taking leaps of faith, and walking in the dark until God reveals more light.

At the end of the documentary, one of the parents said that she wants to help the churches change. If Christ is the head of Christianity, only He can change His doctrines. Otherwise, the church would be a man’s church. I disagree with her opinion, but I do agree that Christians need to act like Christians and accept gay people into their congregations and into their hearts.

I hope this commentary gives you some kind of peace and clarity, if there was ever a thought in your mind that I didn’t love you as much because you are gay. I hope you never ever think that because it is not true…

I wrote this message to my brother nearly a year ago now. I meant every word I said, and I still believe it with all of my heart.

I know my brother, and many other people are ecstatic about the recent Supreme Court ruling, legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. I understand why they are happy. When I first found out my brother was gay, 10 years ago, I was actually very adamant about supporting gay marriage because I wanted my brother to be able to be happy, and to have the union that I had with my spouse.

My feelings have changed since, but not because I love my brother less (in fact, I am closer to him now than I have been in a long time).

Rather, my feelings have changed because I have recognized that I have a duty, as a baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.

love

I have taken more seriously the first and great commandment, which is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” I know that to love my God with all my heart, I must keep all of his commandments, not just some of them. If I believe that God created the divine institution of marriage, than I must choose to follow Him by supporting His definition of marriage. I can still love one another as I obey this commandment.

I have tried to start living my life by considering good, better, and best options. To me, the best way is always God’s way.

The problem is, we differ in our definitions of God’s way, and many people do not even believe in God, or believe in a different god.

To quote from Fiddler on the Roof, “He’s right and he’s right? How can they both be right?” Tevye, whose previous comments provoked this puzzlement, answers and says, “You know, you are also right.”

No, it cannot be both ways. Either traditional marriage is right or gay marriage is right. They cannot both be right.

I must believe and do what I believe is right. I believe God is still speaking, and that He has upheld his charge that marriage should be between a man and a woman only. I have seen the blessings of leaving my parents and cleaving to my spouse. I know that there are divine roles for both men and women, which when combined in righteous unity, can lead to harmony in the home, and provide the most ideal setting for raising children.

wedding

As I do what I believe is right, I certainly do not want to be contentious, or contribute to any feelings of division in our land. Know that I believe everyone is a child of God, and are loved equally by Him. We all endure various trials over the course of our lifetimes. We will also be tempted, and oftentimes succumb to that temptation. We are always equal for these reasons, and we must treat each other as such.

To both sides, I plead to please stop the hate. Please stop the fighting and name-calling. We do not understand everything about each other, God, or even ourselves. Rather than divide ourselves because of our differences, let’s unite because of our similarities.

I recently asked Aaron if he was offended that I often eat at Chick-fil-A, a company that is very pro traditional marriage. His answer is a profound ending to this discussion, and something I hope we can all reflect on:

It doesn’t bother me at all, actually. I even have had it in the last couple of months. It did bother me at first; I didn’t want to support a business that didn’t align with my political and personal views. But then I thought, do I want to encourage destruction or growth? By encouraging myself and others not to go there, in protest, I was hoping in some roundabout way that their business would fold. If enough people stopped going, they would be FORCED to change or fold. On the other hand, by continuing to go there in love and peace, I am encouraging growth and acceptance in Chick-fil-A’s employees. I want to promote understanding, not violence. I can’t do that if I’m not present.

Update: My brother and I had a lovely conversation about my post. He even had a stranger message him and thank him for his example. In our conversation, Aaron said something profound, a message I had actually almost written myself. I suppose it needs to be shared:

If #lovewins is to really mean anything, we must treat all with love! Not just those with whom we agree on any given matter.

Amen, brother. Love you!

***********************************************************************************************

This post is part of a blog hop with these wonderful bloggers! We’re talking about our marriages, giving tips, and sharing what we’ve learned, but most importantly defending traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

Marriage between a man and a woman blog hop

Mandy @ A Bliss Complete |Hilary @ Pulling Curls |Emily @ Celestial Shine Magazine | Kerry @ My Random Sampler

Jocelyn @ We Talk of Christ | Jenifer @ Moss Moments | Montserrat @ Cranial Hiccups

Jennifer @ My Daylights | Camille @ Chicken Scratch ‘n’ Sniff | Angela @ Mormon Women Stand | Kathryn @ Well Behaved Mormon Woman

Thank you for sharing!

107 thoughts on “Someday we will understand”

  1. Thank you so much for your comments. You have beautifully summed up my exact feelings in the issue.

    1. Ditto. Sometimes it can be hard to hold your tongue though when you are being vilified and attacked by the very people who are fighting for equality, love and tolerance.

      1. It hurts me too. I see the hate everywhere. All I can do is try to show them I don’t fit the stereotype and I am more like them than different. Best to you!

  2. This is exactly how I feel. Thank you so much for this post. It has renewed my hope for peace after witnessing all the animosity on social media sites.

  3. Thank you so much for this blog post. I have actively avoided discussing this issue because I have been so torn on my feelings about it. But your words are exactly how I feel and I feel like I now can participate in a discussion on this topic without feeling guilty or torn.

    1. That means so much to me. I too find this issue so complex and difficult. This is how I have found peace. I am glad it has helped you. Feel free to share! 🙂

  4. I have a gay daughter whom I love with all my heart. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments and am grateful for your courage in sharing your feelings. My God bless you, your family, and your brother.

    1. God bless you and your family as well. Thank you so much for your comments, and for publicly expressing your love to your daughter.

  5. Beautifully stated. Thank you for sharing your story and for being a point of peace and love in the middle of a tumultuous discussion.

    1. Thank you so much. Tumultuous is a good word for it. Hopefully we can all help calm the storm.

  6. Mandy – this is the best article on the subject I have read. You have so eloquently expressed for many of us what we feel but have a hard time articulating. Good for you – and love to you and your wonderful brother! I don’t know why this issue is so prevalent at this time in the history of the world – why so many forces are in conflict. All I can imagine is that the end times are truly upon us. The hardships are getting harder and more visible, causing more contention and division among all of God’s children. If we want to speed up the 2nd coming – by all means – we should keep bickering among ourselves. If not – let’s show some love and acceptance while still holding fast to the rod of iron. 😉 Thanks for reminding us of that.

    1. Wow, what a compliment. Thank you. I think having a gay brother has really helped me love and accept all people. I know that fighting does not help. Loving does. Thank you!

  7. Thank you for sharing your family’s experiences and your thoughts. I am wholeheartedly in support of equal marriage rights, as I have seen how the past inequality in the supports and legal system affect the relationships of people who are in a same-sex partnership. However, I also wholeheartedly support your right to your beliefs and see no differences between us as thoughtful, kind, and caring people. I am so happy that you and your brother are lucky enough to have one another to learn from and support.

    1. Yes, I completely agree there are good people everywhere. We don’t always agree, but we can definitely learn from each other. Thank you for your kind words!

  8. “I am in total agreement with a lot of the points: you can’t change a person who is gay. Being gay is not a choice. Forcing a gay person to hide his orientation is detrimental. SSA is not a disorder or illness. I agree with all of that, and so does [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints].”
    Umm to my knowledge this is not correct and is completely opposite. Please provide the documentation that officially states this from the church.

    1. Please visit mormonsandgays.org. It is on the homepage. Also, Elder Oaks did an interview where he talked about that too. I talk a lot about it on my site here:
      http://ablisscomplete.com/teaching-gospel-lessons/the-hard-questions-part-1-blacks-and-the-priesthood-polygamy-traditional-marriage/

      Though the things I stated are truez it is also true that the church does not condone acting on SSA. It is also something that can be controlled, though not “cured.” It is not permanent though. It is a temptation of this life only.

      1. What is SSA? what is the LDS stance on coming out when your LDS? Do you get excommunicated from the church? Disowned by your families and LDS friends? What is your LDS family and friends supposed to do when you tell them your gay? Does the LDS religion have suggestions or rules on how to treat LDS people who come out of the closet??? Just curious. I have heard all of these stories of these happenings to LDS people that come out and I have a very close friend who is LDS and gay and won’t come out for all of these reasons and has chosen to be alone and have no children or a family for the rest of her life rather than come out to her LDS family, friends, church which I find extremely saddening!

        1. SSA means same sex attraction. No, you will not get excommunicated from the church if you are gay. We are also encouraged to be kind, loving and compassionate to all people, including our gay brothers and sisters. For more information, and to ease your heart, please visit mormonsandgays.org. It is a wonderful resource, and is an official LDS site.

      2. Thank you for your article.

        You state: “SSA is not a disorder or illness. I agree with all of that, and so does [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints].”

        However, at the link I was unable to find any of the Church leaders say SSA was or was not a disorder or illness. Perhaps I missed it. Can you be more specific as to which Church leader said it and where it can be found.

        I do note this language from the website’s opening section: “Those who speak from the heart on this website do not necessarily represent in every word or detail the policies or positions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but all of them speak with authenticity because they reflect what has happened in their own lives and the experiences of those they love. The Church leaders featured here reflect the sentiments and teachings of the highest Church authorities — the First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.”

        Based on this statement, I think your assertion that the Church sees SSA as neither a disorder nor illness can only be accurate if one of the Church leaders said this on the website you cite. From my reading of their statements, I understand them to be saying they don’t know, and therefore take no position, as to what causes SSA.

        Again, thank you for your post. It is very well written and I wholeheartedly agree with your “bottom line” – love everyone, and trust/follow the prophet.

        1. From what I’ve seen, and I can’t find any official articles stating this, is that SSA is a trial, just like being tempted to do other things we’ve been commanded not to are trials. You don’t HAVE to act on the attraction, just like a heterosexual person doesn’t need to act on being attracted to the opposite sex. It is a very difficult trial, but it is possible to live with it without sinning. I know of a few lds people who have grown old and passed away without ever having sex because they never found a spouse.
          And, to be clear, I’m not judging anyone. Do I believe someone who acts on their SSA is sinning? Yes. But I’m in no place to judge anyone, no matter how much their sins differ from my own. We are all children of God, and as the blog stated, it is important to learn to love everyone, no matter their views on any particular matter. I loved this blog!
          So, SSA by itself is not a sin, and is not an illness or disease. It is a trial. And the church teaches us all to help each other, especially when you know someone is going through a trial.

          1. Anonymous:

            Thanks for your response.

            My reading of all the statements of the Church leaders is like yours: SSA is a trial and only a sin if acted on. As to the very narrow point of whether the Church has taken a position as to whether SSA is or is not an illness or disorder, I have found nothing.

            You say towards the end: “So, SSA by itself is not a sin, and is not an illness or disease. It is a trial.” Again, I agree the Church views it as a trial, but I don’t see the Church taking a position as to whether it is an illness or disorder. By your above quoted statement, are you asserting this to be the Church’s position that SSA is not an illness/disorder/disease, or merely your own view? If you are asserting it as the Church’s position, please give a specific citation. Because to say it is a trial, is not to say that it is not an illness or disorder. In fact I would say that all illnesses/disorders/diseases are a trial. They are not mutually exclusive.

            Lastly, I would be interested in knowing why it seems to be important that SSA not be viewed as an illness/disorder by the Church. By my reading the Church has not taken a position one way or the other on this, but it seems it is important to many that the Church not view SSA as an illness/disorder. Why is that?

            Thanks again for your response.

          2. Thank you for explaining it this way. That is my understanding as well. I am so glad you enjoyed my post. 🙂

        2. Thanks for the question! I was taking that stance based on an interview with Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Wickman. Elder Oaks talks about SSA as a temptation that can be controlled. They do say they aren’t 100% sure about nature vs nurture, but the point that does matter is that God has not given any trial or burden to us that we cannot overcome, and thereby receive eternal life. I hope that helps.

          http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction

          Thanks for your comment and your compliment. 🙂

          1. Taa, for your second follow up question, I got the quote from mormonsandgays.org: Attraction to those of the same sex, however, should not be viewed as a disease or illness.

            I believe the disclaimer on the site deals with the videos from individual members, not the official verbiage in each section. I could be wrong, though.

            The reason I even put that in my letter to my brother is because, based on the documentary I watched, gays do not like to be told they have an illness or disorder. They do not believe it is true, and if I recall correctly, they had some scientific evidence supporting it.

            I think another reason not to call it an illness or disorder is because is we do, it takes away responsibility from the person, like they can’t help it and thus can’t control it. Does that help?

          2. Mandy:

            Thanks – I found the language on the website. And I agree that situated where it is as part of the site’s official verbiage, it is reasonable to conclude that it reflects the position of the Church.

            As to the importance of SSA being or not being viewed as an illness/disorder, I think it is interesting: for those who feel it is, they can (as you point out) find justification for not being being able to control their conduct; and for those who feel that it isn’t, they can find justification for not needing to control their conduct. I suspect there are some with SSA in both camps. Either way, the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides hope and strength to all who want to control their conduct and lead virtuous lives.

            Again, thanks for your article and responses.

        3. I totally agree with your final comment, Taa. Great discussion!

    2. Some with gay orientation can and do succeed in changing, and they go on to experience happiness in heterosexual marriages. I have noticed that when these people post their stories, they are immediately and often viciously attacked.
      For some the condition was caused by environmental factors, such as feelings of shame associated with gender caused by actions by mother, father, uncle, etc., or love and affection shown by one parent and not the other.
      Some is a direct result of child rape by an adult, which causes a tremendous amount of psychological damage and confusion as the child moves through puberty and into adulthood.
      Also, natural aversion to the opposite sex naturally occurs at a certain age, just prior to puberty, and, if children are taught at that stage that this could be an indication that they are gay — that that’s perfectly OK and they should act on it — it will lead to a lot of gender confusion. This is what really concerns me about some of what is being advocated to be taught in the schools.

      1. Thank you, April. Yes, many people with SSA actually do learn to control their feelings, and either remain celibate, or marry heterosexually. I have heard of some of them being very happy. They definitely should not be persecuted. They are doing what they feel is right. I think the factors you mentioned can definitely be factors in the development of SSA, though in many cases, the reasons for the attraction isn’t explainable. My brother, for example, can’t think of any reason why he started having attraction to boys. He just did, and he was very young. Thanks for your comment!

      2. “Some with gay orientation can and do succeed in changing, and they go on to experience happiness in heterosexual marriages.”

        Some, but not many. Many others have attempted to do that, and it lead to a great deal of heartache and pain. Objectively speaking, so-called “reparative therapy” is far more harmful than helpful.

        Also, your “theories” on the origin of homosexuality have been pretty thoroughly debunked by scientists who have actually studied the matter. I mean, the “homosexuality is caused by insecure attachment to the same-gendered parent” thing was recognized as the nonsense that it is DECADES ago – and here you are repeating it as fact.

        “Also, natural aversion to the opposite sex naturally occurs at a certain age, just prior to puberty, and, if children are taught at that stage that this could be an indication that they are gay — that that’s perfectly OK and they should act on it — it will lead to a lot of gender confusion.”

        …That isn’t how human beings actually work. And a large majority of gay people aren’t actually afraid of or averse to the opposite sex. In fact, I know many gay men who have more female friends than male ones. They just aren’t romantically attracted to them. As for “gender confusion” – well, let’s not even go there. (Suffice it to say, most LGBT individuals are very aware of the differences between the sexes. There’s no confusion at all in that area.)

        Wanna know what does cause homosexuality? There’s not a single determining factor, but all available research indicates that it’s the result of a wide variety of biological and environmental factors. It’s probably not as simple as a “gay gene,” but “they’re born that way” is much more accurate than “they choose to be gay” or “they were abused by their fathers when they were young.”

        Please don’t read this as hate. I fully support your right to express your opinions and ideas. But in this case you’re perpetuating some false – and harmful – misinformation, and I think it’s important to respond to that sort of thing no matter what side it’s coming from.

        1. I appreciate your comment! I don’t disagree with you at all. I think sometimes those things might be factors, but it isn’t that simple and can’t be compartmentalized. I agree with you that “born that way” makes more sense. Some people get offended by that comment, because then they think it means something against God. I don’t see it that way myself.

      3. All the reasons you give for people being gay are completely wrong. Please refer to current research and sources for correct information on the subject. The family Acceptance project from the university of San francisco has excellent information geared towArds parents and families with religious orientations to understAnd and learn to accept lgbt individuals in their families.

        1. Sounds like a great resource. Thanks for sharing. I think that most people don’t stay in the loop on research, so then may hold on to information they were previously told. I know that research on the origin of homosexuality is ongoing. Regardless of the origin, the bottom line is to love and accept them.

    3. AI have read those articles, they do not specifically say being gay is not a choice. We do not know all the reasons. I have had friends who admit it was a choice.

      1. On mormonsandgays.org, it says: The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

        I think there are some people who do choose to be gay, but there are many others that do not choose to have those feelings.

        It saddens me when people try to make something an opinion that cannot actually be an opinion. This can only be fact, and as a straight woman, I don’t feel qualified to say if it is a choice or not. For my brother, it most certainly was not. In fact, he tried for over 10 years to be straight. All the girls loved him. But, he could not be rid of his SSA.

        I hope that helps.

  9. I agree with a lot of this, and it is a conversation I have with my family (who are also devote LDS members). However I have to disagree that more than one person can be right. You are right in your belief that marriage should be between a man and woman, and it is ylur right to no support it in that sence. The issue at hand with the reality of gay marriage is not a matter of whether or not you have faith in gods word or not. It is matter of whether or not everyone has the same religious beliefs. We live in a country that supports and believes in freedom of religion and celebration of diversity, so to deny gay men and women the right to marry based on your faith is a violation of our country’s law. I do not have a faith that teaches me marriage is between a man and woman, nor do majority of americans. Marriage is the eyes of the law is not a religous ceremony, it is a legal contract between 2 people who choose to dedicate themselves to eachother, and when looking at it with these two factors it is completly right for our country to allow marriage between two people of the same sex. What would not be okay is if the government required the LDS church to marry them. It would be a violation of your faith and your belief system to make you do something that you fundimentaly feel is wrong. So given these two sceanarios you are both right. You and your church do not have to support what you refer to as non traditional marriage, that is okay, and no one is making the church to allow gays to get sealed or married in the temple or even in the church. No one is making you view their marriage as legitiment. However we are not in an LDS state or Christian state, we live in a country that does not infringe on religious beliefs or force religious beliefs on other, we live in a country that views marriage as a legal insitution, regulated and granted by the government, not god. This means that in that sence gaay marriage is exceptable and okay. Which again brings me to my point, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR MORE THAN ONE OPINION TO BE RIGHT.

    1. I would say that I agree with you, to a point. For many religions people marriage is a contract between two people and God. A civil union which is what you seem to be talking about, call it marriage or not, is a contract between two people and the state. Two completly diffrent things actually no matter what you personally choose to call it. If we truly believe that the goverment has no buisness approving/disappoving of a religion, why is it that we allow religious leaders to validate that contract? Not all countries do. In many countries you go before a civil magistrate, agree to the civil contract that you are enacting, and that is the end of it. If you have a religious affiliation you can then go preform whatever religious ceramony you wish. The Church recognizes this and in those countries, they do exactly that. appear before the magistrate (county clerk, judge, whatever) to inact the contract with the state, and then to the temple to inact their contract with God. I personally think this is the ideal situation. If a couple wants a contract with the state, awesome! Do it. If a couple wants a religious contract with God, go find a group that shares your opionions, whatever they are and have them preform what you believe to be the required steps to inact that cxontract. No harm no foul, and no ones rights are stepped on.

      1. Hi Karin! Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. I don’t have all the answers, and no matter what side you are on, it isn’t easy. All I know is what God has instituted. His laws outweigh any man-made laws. He has said marriage should only be between a man and a woman. He didn’t give a caveat that it is okay in civil contracts. I am not so sure we can say that even if marriage was merely a civil contract, completely separate from religion, that we could say “no harm, no foul.” We do not know how this change will affect our world, and we may not for a long time. I just trust in the prophet’s voice at this point. God knows the future – we don’t. I do agree that would be better than the current situation, though. 🙂

    2. Thank you for your words, Ariel. I appreciate you taking the time to write about something you are clearly very passionate about. I have been thinking about something for quite some time. I keep hearing that I should not infringe my beliefs upon others. What does this really mean? Well, to those who say it, it means that I should make my choices in such a way as to please others, and not myself , or the God I worship. Well, I love other people very much, and do wish to please them. However, is it fair to tell me to abandon my moral compass, abandon God, who I put all my trust in, because not everyone believes in Him? I would never tell someone to deny their moral compass to please everyone else. I would encourage them to do and advocate for what they believe is right. Don’t we have that freedom in our country? Nobody wants anyone to dictate to them what they should do, so doesn’t that mean we should all, regardless of our views, be able to express them and follow them without fear of persecution? I do not persecute anyone. I don’t speak badly of anyone. I simply follow my religion. I do not attempt to force anyone else to follow my beliefs. I simply try to encourage understanding so that incorrect judgments and stereotypes diminish.
      To your point, though, only both opinions can be right if they don’t trample on each other. We have already seen the multiple lawsuits, bashings, and hatred that has come from people trying to follow their religious beliefs in the midst of the legalization of gay marriage. If there were a 100% guarantee that this would not happen, that people could practice their beliefs and not be torn down because of laws that do not agree with their beliefs, than perhaps both opinions could be right. Many gay people are being married, or asking to be married in churches, so it is not simply a civil contract. In many cases, it is still very much intertwined in religion.
      For me, though, the definition of RIGHT comes from God. Many religious people who stand behind gay marriage quote the commandment “Love one another,” saying that God would definitely condone marriage for all. However, they seem to forget the first and greatest commandment, which is to “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” To love the Lord, one must keep His commandments, and stand as a light to the world. God has made it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. Most religions around the world still believe that. God is Truth. God’s opinion is the only one that matters to me. He would not condone gay marriage. He does not. So, when I say they can’t both be right, it is true, if we are talking about God’s definition of right.
      No, not everyone believes in God. I respect that. I will never stop following what I believe He wants me to do, though. I believe that He speaks to prophets today, and for many years they have testified that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. I would be a hypocrite, and fearful of men more than God, if I did not follow that counsel.
      I am sorry to talk your ear off. I just want you to understand the other side a little more. It is so complex, and politically speaking, your views make perfect sense. For me, God’s law trumps man’s law. That is how I must turn.
      I wish you all the best!

      1. You are being led astray by old, judgmental, -onery men who are losing sight of Christ’s teachings and what the church doctrine states.

        Two articles of faith:

        “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

        We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

        You know what that means?! God’s law does not trump civil law. My heart just breaks that people continue to be brainwashed and influenced by “prophets” who have not received revelation for decades, and when they do (I.e. Polygamy, blacks) it was YEARS behind when the U.S. Laws changed for those very matters. The U.S. Has been more Christlike and acceptin of people, including women, than the church will ever be.

        1. I am sorry you feel that way. In our church we are actually taught the doctrines, and then are encouraged to pray about it and make our own decisions. We are supposed to govern ourselves. I am sorry you feel that way about church leaders. In contrast, having watched General Conference for so many years, I can’t think of a time I would ever call any of them that. They speak with authority, yes, but they speak with love, compassion, understanding, and hope.

          You quoted two articles of faith. If you do not believe that our church leaders are inspired, why would you quote Joseph Smith’s words to express your point?

          Speaking to them, though, I would say that the first article of faith you mentioned really supports my points. Did you mean that everyone except LDS people should be able to worship how, where and what they may? That wouldn’t be right. Everyone should be able to worship as they choose, including me and my church.

          As for the second AOF, absolutely! We believe in sustaining our laws. I would direct you to D&C 134, however. Another commentator used this chapter to say that the church’s position on gay marriage is unfounded. However, if you read the whole chapter, one major theme is that the government should secure the free exercise of conscience and the protection of life. We are seeing our free exercise of conscience be slowly taken away in this country.

          I could not find a scripture that said that the law of the land trumps God’s law. It doesn’t really make sense to me because God created this earth and the people on it. If we are His, and this is a borrowed planet, why would man-made laws trump His?

          Here is a scripture you may find useful: Romans 8:1-13.

          I also love Isaiah 55:6-9. Here is verse 9:

          For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

          God’s ways definitely trump man’s ways, every time.

          I am sorry that you feel that the prophets haven’t received revelation for decades. It would be silly to argue about it. I would just suggest reviewing general conference talks.

          I think we will believe what we want to believe. I think many of us just don’t know enough about polygamy, the priesthood, etc., to judge. I actually learned quite a lot when I taught Institute last year. I did a whole lesson on some of the subjects you mentioned. You may find it of interest: http://ablisscomplete.com/teaching-gospel-lessons/the-hard-questions-part-1-blacks-and-the-priesthood-polygamy-traditional-marriage/

          Speaking of treatment of blacks, specifically, did you know how racist the deep South was, even in the 50s and 60s? It is horrifying. The church always allowed blacks to join the church and to worship with them. Brigham Young promised the priesthood ban would be lifted someday as well. We don’t understand everything, but your statement is incorrect. Please read the article I posted. I am sure it will help you.

          As for accepting of people, I would ask you to consider the definition of “accepting.” Are you using God’s definition or society’s? I have been studying Daughters in My Kingdom. I think if you studied that, your mind would change drastically about the church’s acceptance of women. It is absolutely amazing.

          I spent all this time responding to you because I care. I don’t want you to be bitter or upset. I know there are a lot of things that are really hard to wrap our minds around, in the church and outside. For me, I just continue to study and pray, and hold on to the testimony I already have. God bless you.

          1. Mandy, I agree that “God’s ways trump mans’ ways.” But, for me, that’s not the issue. This issue is whether or not we can impose God’s ways on others who do not believe in that same God. How can we insist that our government only recognize our God and His ways as valid and not someone else’s God? To me, that is just is too much like Satan’s plan. If we want to argue about government banning same sex-marriage for the same reasons that it bans other practices that are clearly detrimental to society (such as murder and theft) then I think that’s another discussion entirely.

          2. I also have a hard time really believing that free exercise of conscience is being slowly taken away in this country. That just rings of a scare tactic to me and the evidence to truly support that claim is is simply lacking -in my view. We have to remember that religious freedom has to work both ways -not just in favor of Christian religions.

          3. And finally, and this is not to be challenging or rude, but I would be sincerely interested to read where Brigham Young said the priesthood ban would eventually be lifted.

          4. Thanks for your comments, Laurie. I am happy to reply to all of them.

            The bottom line really is, there is no possible way to please everyone on this issue of gay marriage. There just isn’t. So, I have a choice. I can follow my beliefs, or I can deny my beliefs and follow someone else’s beliefs. Only one option brings fulfillment. It has nothing to do with insisting our government do anything. It has nothing to do with forcing anyone to believe in our God. We simply have to make a choice we feel is best for us.

            Religious freedom. I believe whole-heartedly that everyone should be able to have it. That includes me, that includes you, that includes Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. Again, though, it is not possible to have laws that make every religion, or lack of, happy all the time. Religions don’t all agree on the issue of gay marriage. Christians are split on it even. So, whose religious freedom should I advocate for? I guess I don’t see a better answer than to follow my own conscience.

            I am not a person who has enough experience to try any scare tactics. I simply read the warnings in the scriptures, and from the First Presidency. The last paragraph of the Proclamation is a good one. Honestly, I am not afraid of anyone or anything, as long as I remain steadfast and immovable in my faith. For if I do that, the Holy Ghost will lead and guide me. If I choose not to follow my faith, then I have no doubt I would be confused and afraid.

            As for Brigham Young, here is where I found it: https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng#9

            In two speeches delivered before the Utah territorial legislature in January and February 1852, Brigham Young announced a policy restricting men of black African descent from priesthood ordination. At the same time, President Young said that at some future day, black Church members would “have [all] the privilege and more” enjoyed by other members. (there is a link to where he actually said that at the bottom of the article).

            I hope this helps. I really do see your perspective. I have heard it by many wonderful people.

        2. This discussion was going well until the first sentence about onery men. Those who love their decisions find they don’t need others to love their decisions. It becomes personal when when the insecure in belief and decision gets frustrated that someone doesn’t agree. You don’t need agreement if you feel your beliefs and decisions are right for you.

          1. Very true. That is why when I have been faced with negativity and disagreement, I have been able to maintain my peace. I have not been afraid.

    1. Thank you so much! I have seen that so much in my life. God knows all, and we don’t. We must trust in Him and His messengers.

  10. Mandy

    For the past few days I have felt nothing but sadness and confusion. I have spent most of my day in tears trying to “figure out” how or where to stand in this issue. My brother is also gay and my best friend. I want him to be happy. I want him to be treated equally and fairly. I WANT him to find love. I can’t, logically, explain how I can support a faith that stands so strongly against HIM. Yet, I know unequivocally, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints IS Christ’s church here on Earth. It’s been a gut wrenching time. I’ve NEVER questioned any part of my testimony. I want to thank you for this post because it is the first dose of clarity I have had. I think it’s okay to not understand, and to not be afraid to admit it. I know I must follow the words of Christ…..even if isn’t the popular thing to do. I truly love my brother, and my homosexual friends and family, no less.

    1. I feel for you, Lydia. I can empathize with you most definitely. The solace I receive is that this life is short. We will all be met with trials and tribulations. I think SSA has got to be the hardest, especially for a believer. However, those with SSA can be promised the same eternal blessings as anyone else if they remain faithful. They will find love someday, a love that can last eternally. It just may not be in this life – or maybe it could be. Some do find love in traditional marriages, though that is less common. Thank you for your testimony and your kindness. Much love to you and your family.

    2. I am very sorry that you are feeling this way, but the Church is not against your brother. In fact, the Church is desperately trying to save your brother from more problems and eternal problems. The Church doesn’t discriminate on which commandments it expects men and women to obey. Single adults, ALL single adults, are expected to obey the law of Chastity. All married adults are expected to obey the law of Chastity as well. Single sisters have been doing this for generations.

      All adults yearn for the ability to be able to have a partner in life. Yet, there is no age where it suddenly becomes okay to engage in sin, so you don’t get left out of what someone else is enjoying. I’ve read many comments by people in various articles where they are lamenting how hard it is for a person with SSA to be happy in the Gospel because they are singled out. I have two sisters that have never married. Both of them would have and still would love to be able to be married, but it just hasn’t happened for them. I have several female cousins that have never been married as well. They are just as attracted to the opposite sex as someone that is gay is attracted to the same sex. They are expected to not act on the attraction, unless they are married. I don’t see many demonstrations protesting why they are not allowed to ignore the commandments because they are being left out otherwise.

      It is a sad thing when it is a family member that you are seeing face these issues. The blessing for those of us that remain faithful to the Gospel and endure to the end, is that all the problems we have faced, all our short comings, all our pain and problems will be made whole. That includes those that have SSA. None of us know why we are faced with these types of things, but it happens. A faithful, happy life is available to anyone who remains true to the Gospel. Following the ways of the world will never bring lasting happiness. Take a moment to read Alma 41. Alma is speaking to his son, Corianton. There is good advice in there for all of us. It is very true, wickedness never was happiness.

      1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Patricia. You expressed that beautifully. I too have thought about how there are many people who do not have the opportunity to marry in this life. If they remain faithful, though, they absolutely will be able to have all the blessings of the kingdom, including eternal marriage.

      2. I just have to point out that comparing a celibate heterosexual to a celibate homosexual is not a fair comparison. One of the differences that needs to be pointed out is hope. The believing heterosexual always has hope of finding someone to share intimacy with in this life, regardless of his/her age. The believing homosexual can only hope that his/her nature will be changed in the next life. They, in fact, face a very different set of circumstances and I think it’s important to acknowledge this –otherwise we downplay the challenges a believing homosexual may face.

        1. I agree with you, Laurie. In my letter to my brother I even said I think out of all trials we have in this life, SSA would be the hardest.

          In an interview with Elder Oaks and Wickman, they spoke about this: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction

          They talked about how there are people born with very serious physical or mental disabilities, who have no hope for marriage in this life. They did say that SSA would be so difficult, but said that they are not the only ones who would feel that way.

          They reiterated, though, that anybody on this earth who remains faithful, will have all the blessings of eternal life.

  11. This saddens me to no end. The prophets have changed “God’s law” many times, and the argument that God’s law doesn’t change is false…according to the LDS faith polygamy was allowed, and then not, blacks were restricted from the priesthood and then not, temple rituals have changed, prophets have changed their stances on various issues, and our argument is in direct contradiction of D&C 134:4. You have temple dealings for religious marriage ceremonies that gays will not be privy to, it’s ignorant to use legal marriage as a God-given legal commandment. I’m sad your brother doesn’t have you on his side on this issue, I know Christ would have been one of the first ones to celebrate .

    1. I am sorry you are sad, Suz. My stake president a couple years ago taught me something that I didn’t realize before. That is, not everything we believe is a “doctrine.” Sometimes it is a practice or a principle. Those are all three different things. The things you mentioned were not doctrines that changed. I don’t have the time or resources to discuss it all with you, but that is a huge problem – the lack of distinction between doctrine, principle and practice.

      Also, just because one prophet said it, doesn’t mean it is doctrine. Only the first presidency and quorum of the 12 can receive revelation for the church as well. This talk may be helpful to you: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-doctrine-of-christ?lang=eng

      It is also important to note that in our church we believe in continuing revelation. Christ still speaks. He offers new revelations for the benefit of His church.

      You may find this lesson I taught useful in your understanding of polygamy, the priesthood ban, and traditional marriage: http://ablisscomplete.com/teaching-gospel-lessons/the-hard-questions-part-1-blacks-and-the-priesthood-polygamy-traditional-marriage/

      I read D&C 134, the entire chapter, to get complete context. There are two sides to the story in this chapter. One, is the side we should take, and the other, is the side the government should take. It kind of reminds me of a covenant. You do your part, and we will do ours. The problem in our government is that it has allowed gay couples to sue individuals and companies over their religious practices. No doubt this will continue, and become even larger in scope. In this section of Doctrine and Covenants, in verse 2, it says that no government can exist in peace unless its laws secure the free exercise of conscience, along with other rights. Nobody can honestly say that freedom of religion isn’t being infringed upon by our government. It is. The pressures are enormous, and the division is scary.

      I quoted a scripture from Isaiah to another reader: Isaiah 55:9 – For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

      I also told the same reader that God created us. This is His earth. Using His law in making my decisions on anything makes perfect sense. No, not everybody believes in God or His laws. That does not make their existence any less true. I have a solemn obligation to keep my covenants, stand as a witness of God, and share the gospel. How can I do such if I condone something that goes against God’s law, even in a secular setting. Again, though, it isn’t just secular. Many gay couples are being married in churches too, and some will persecute churches who choose not to perform their marriages.

      I am puzzled as to why you think Christ would celebrate the legalization of gay marriage. His work and His glory is not to be politically correct, but to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. The family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan. His doctrines are very clear in the Bible and in modern revelation. Going on LDS beliefs, gay couples will not be able to be baptized. They also will not be able to partake in temple ordinances, the most important being eternal marriage. Gay marriage cannot be eternal. It offers only temporary happiness on this earth.

      I absolutely am on my brother’s side. Because you don’t know me or him, you should not presume anything. I love him as much as I love anyone else on this earth. I want him to be happy, and I let him make his own choices. My deepest wishes for him, however, are eternal in nature. I want him to be with my family forever. I want him to be able to make the same covenants I have, so that He can live with God again. He doesn’t practice religion at this time, and I respect that. I don’t shove my religion down his throat, and he doesn’t shove his lack of religion down mine. We are united in our love for each other. We are both more than our stances on this issue, and we don’t focus on it. We just are the best siblings we can be.

      I respect your stances, but hopefully, after me taking a solid effort to sincerely reply, you can also respect mine. Best to you!

      1. Brigham Young instituted the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood and it was very openly referred to as doctrine for many years.

        When we cite the 13th Article of Faith in support of allowing people to worship how, where, or what they may; we often, as members of the church, only see our right to worship in that article. If we pass laws defining marriage to be one way we are categorically denying that right to everyone else who believes differently.

        That’s why I support a legal marriage contract that can be accommodating to everyone regardless of race, religion, or creed. The government should decide who is legally able to be married, the church should decide who is a worthy member.

        The only way we can have true and lasting peace in this nation is to allow everyone to find the path to truth at their own pace.

        1. Thanks for your comment, Henry! I appreciate it.

          I don’t have all the documentation and research to know what you said about blacks and the priesthood. What I did do, was reference an Institute Manual on the Doctrines of the Gospel. This the doctrine that was mentioned in the manual on the priesthood. It doesn’t speak of race at all:

          A. The priesthood is divine power and authority.
          B. Priesthood authority is conferred only by the laying on of hands.
          C. There are two orders of priesthood.
          D. The work of God is performed by the power of the priesthood.
          E. Through the keys of the priesthood, God directs and coordinates His work.

          When I read the 11th Article of Faith, I see it as a statement for all, not just me or my church.

          As Elder Perry talked about in his final conference talk, most religions around the world still uphold that marriage is between a man and a woman. So, whose religious freedoms should I support? Mine? Mine and everyone else who agrees with mine? Everybody who does not agree with mine? No matter how you vote, there will be many people who will be unhappy.

          I support the first presidency, who have reiterated for many years, that we should support God’s laws and His definition of marriage. I wish that the legalization of gay marriage would affect the believers at all. I really wish that. It isn’t the case, though. Media, school curriculums, advertisements – everything will change. Churches will continue to be pressured to accept things they don’t believe in or be sued. People like me will continue to be persecuted for having a firm, religious belief.

          This change cannot just be secular either. Don’t we, as members of the church, have a responsibility to gather Israel? Gay couples cannot be baptized. They cannot receive temple ordinances. By supporting their marital union, we are taking away their opportunities for eternal life. They may not believe that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. God wants all his children to have eternal families. That is also what we should want for each other.

          Your last statement has some sense behind it. One of my favorite quotes, though, says something different. It says: “There is only one thing that can bring peace into the world. It is the adoption of the gospel of Jesus Christ, rightly understood, obeyed and practiced by rulers and people alike.” (President Joseph F. Smith)

          Thanks for your comments. I hope I have offered some clarity into my views. 🙂

          Here is where I found that: https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/chapter-25-priesthood-what-it-is-how-it-works?lang=eng

  12. Good morning, everyone! I am so humbled by all the readers I have had on this post. I am also grateful for all the comments, positive and negative. I have done my best to reply to every comment. I may not have time, going forward, to answer every comment that comes. If you are someone who is opposed to my viewpoints, and want some answers from me, I encourage you to read the replies I have made on previous comments. I am sure it may help you gain some more of my perspective. Thank you again, and God bless!

    1. I agree. How much more wonderful that it came from my brother and not from me. 🙂

  13. Thank you so much for this post, and your amazing kind and thoughtful replies to all your readers’ comments. I had been struggling with how to respond to the ruling on Friday as i wanted to show how I could love the gay community fully and still support traditional marriage, and this post beautifully shared my thoughts and feelings. Many people I shared it with also told me they were lifted and helped by it’s message. Thank you again!

    1. Brooke, I appreciate your comment so much. It has filled me with strength to know I am not alone in my views as well. God bless!

  14. Mandy, I am increasingly impressed not only with the article but with your very thoughtful replies too the comments. You are clearly practicing exactly what you preach. I usually avoid the comments on articles like this because they very quickly get out of hand. It’s nice to see that everyone can still have a civil conversion about this issue. God bless you as well Mandy!

    1. Thank you, Malinda. That is so kind. I really just want to increase love and understanding among people of all viewpoints. 🙂

  15. This blog is well thought out and loving. I have read much and believe in and consider myself a Christian, a work in progress.

    The question are people born that way, Gay, Gender confused, pedophilia, any number of things that are out of the norm. If so it is then a illness that must be treated. We are commanded to love all of God’s children. How is indorsing a mental defect, loving, it is not, and all the folks out there show their love by indorsing such behavior are facilitators.

    What is obvious is that with my comment many of you wonderful loving and tolerant folks with answer this with hate.

    I don’t have any answers and those (professionals) don’t either.

    One thing why has this group of folks (less than 4%) believe you have to endorse that life style to love them?

    1. Thanks for your comment! Some of us have been discussing the origin of homosexuality. It is not something that can be said for sure. In my church, leaders talk about it as a very strong temptation, and one that can be controlled if not succumbed to.

      There are so many opinions on this matter, and for me, it is one of the hardest things in the world to wrap my head around. No matter how I try to answer the concerns or find a way to solve it all, I can’t.

      I just try to do my best with what I have. I agree with you, that to love someone, we do not have to support their lifestyles. It is also important to know that we are all more than our orientation, or race or hair color or favorite sports team. We need to find ways to relate to each other and to have genuine conversations and friendships, even with our differences.

  16. I can understand the need to encourage people to not hate, but I think it also goes both ways. We see businesses being put out of business because someone who thinks they need to teach a lesson got to them. I do not see any hatred to say I would rather not provide my services for your party, but because they have a different belief now their whole life is ruined. I just encourage people to move down the road and find someone else, rather than forcing something they do not believe in to be thrust upon them. That is fair, I expect to get comments, but it is ridiculous to have that just as much as I do not think a color of skin should be given or taken any rights away. We should be past all this, but seem political people and the media keep bringing it up. I will say, I will fight against any that will try to force the marriage between same sex to be done in all churches, or for LDS to be told that they must perform a marriage in a temple. There are certain criteria to attend the temple and this new accepted lifestyle is not there, so just don’t even go there is all I am saying. Interesting how in 1995 the proclamation to the world and what a family is came out and many thought duh, but now we know why I suppose.

    1. Thank you, Andy. I agree. There will be bad eggs on both sides. I guess what I want people to know is that there are many more good eggs. Not all gays are going to be actively causing trouble for churches, and not all people who support traditional marriage are homophobes and bigots. They do exist, however, and that is hurtful to people of all sides.

      I feel completely the same about the family proclamation. Someone mentioned in a comment that our church leaders haven’t had any real revelation in decades. I was saddened by that comment, especially since the proclamation, and all the talks about it the past 20 years, were certainly inspired.

  17. Such beautiful thoughts you’ve shared. What a confusing time for so many. After praying about the ruling and the future of our country I ended my prayer feeling excitement! Which is not what I expected. But things have to keep moving forward to ushering in Christ’s return, and this was an essential part of that. We’ll be alright if we stay strong in the church. There is no greater comfort than knowing that no matter what the law says, our church won’t change its doctrine. And it’s nice we have each other to gain strength from, so we don’t feel alone standing for it. Thank you for your brave, honest, faith inspiring post!

    1. I love your comment! I felt the Spirit when I read that you ended your prayer in excitement. It is so true. The Lord needs us to help Him usher in His second coming. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to remain faithful, and spread the gospel despite all the persecution we are seeing.

  18. Thank you for your thoughts on this issue. I have been very disturbed since the legalalization of gay marraige, mainly because I worry about how it will affect my ability to teach my kids my beliefs (are schools now going to teach kids that homosexual relationships are just as good as heterosexual ones? Are they going to try to normalize or even encourage homosexual acts as a party of normal “exploration”? I don’t know but it worries me) and also am afraid that anyone who disagrees with gay marraige will be discriminated against and even prosecuted for not fully supporting others in what we consider a sin. I haven’t been able to express my thoughts yet because I don’t know how to in a thoughtful, clear way. I will be sharing your post! Thanks again!

    1. Tamara, thank you. I too am worried about how media, school curriculums, advertisements, etc., will change. I am a little worried about churches and religious people being targets of lawsuits and persecution.

      I do find peace, though, as I read the words of the prophets. They always talk about the home and how if we keep it a sacred place, it will be a refuge from the rest of the world. That brings me hope.

  19. I agree with what you have to say. I am also LDS and my sister is gay. She lives in Pennsylvania and has had gay marriage legalized for a while, and if she chose to marry someone, I’d be there in the front row. I do not agree with gay marriage, but I also do not deny them that right. It is not my place to be God. It would have happened anyway in this time, but for me, it’s one less sin right? Sex before marriage is a sin, and being homosexual is a sin, right? So with that being said, wouldn’t that mean that they would be committing one less sin? Marriage has always been between a man and a woman, but our church also says to obey the laws of the land, so that is what I will do. I will obey the laws of the land and love everyone around me, regardless of their beliefs.

    1. Interesting comment. I actually had that same logic when I first found out my brother was gay – that if he were married, it would be one less sin.

      I must say, though, that there is so much more to it than avoiding sin. There are sins of commission and sins of omission. Unfortunately, those who are in gay marital relationships are unable to be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and do any temple ordinances. All of these things are necessary for exaltation. As members of the church, one of our responsibilities is to gather Israel. If we condone gay marriage, then there will be many who we will not be able to gather. For me, though, if I decide not to follow God’s plan and support His definitions, isn’t that also a sin on my part?

      I too will obey the laws of the land. I will not rise in rebellion or treat my gay brothers and sisters as less. But, as I said in another comment, God’s law always trumps man’s law. Jesus Himself said that:

      Isaiah 55:9 – For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

      I hope that makes sense.

  20. I really appreciate your post and I agree with almost all of it. I guess I see this as a completely separate discussion from legalizing gay marriage. The points you make are excellently stated from a religious view and I am so glad that we are all entitled to have our own opinions. I also think that if we ran our country based heavily on religious beliefs we’d be opening ourselves up to a very serious problem: whose religious beliefs? I am 100% sure I never want sharia law governing the land I live in and therefore I can’t support Christian laws as the basis either. To me the question of legalizing gay marriage was more to do with equality. Under the constitution, I believe the right to marry another consenting adult should be the same regardless of color, race, sex, or any other differentiating factor.
    I’m actually interested to hear your opinion on the church’s stance on interracial marriage in the 60’s. That was also a highly contested issue. Any thoughts?

    1. I agree with you, Kate. I would definitely not want to live in a country with sharia law. As an LDS person, the answer is quite simple. In the Book of Mormon we learn all about how our land would be the land that was chosen to usher in the restoration of the gospel. This land is the promised land. Jesus promised that as long as the people followed Him, the nation would be prosperous. Ether 2:9-12 is wonderful.

      Verse 12 reads: Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

      The God of this land is Jesus Christ. In fact, the God of all the earth is Jesus Christ. As His followers, should we not uphold that?

      I think your stance is a popular stance, and makes perfect sense. I actually agree with it. However, I do not base my decision on traditional marriage vs gay marriage on it. That is because there is something even more important than civil equality. That is upholding God’s laws and following His counsel.

      I know that not everyone believes as we do, but we have been given the responsibility to share the gospel with everyone. How can we do that if we actively support something we know God does not? That is why I choose this stance. I wish it could be both ways. It can’t, though. I have talked more about that in other comments. 🙂

      As far as interracial marriage, I do not know much about it. I wasn’t actually alive then, and it is really hard to find documentation about it. However, here is what I did gather. The priesthood ban was not lifted until 1978. The US at that time was still in the midst of segregation and disgusting racism. Even some members of the church had racist hearts.

      I read a story of a white woman and black man who wanted to get married in 1978, before the ban was lifted. They received counsel of the difficulties they might face being married. They were not told not to marry, and they did. I don’t have the answers, but I suppose the reasons for this counsel had to do with them not being able to marry in the temple, and also that they would be persecuted for their interracial marriage.

      I wish I knew more for you. The whole thing about the priesthood ban is really hard. I do find this article really helpful, though: https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

      I have also read statements from Pres. Hinckley and Pres. Haight, who were there when the revelation was received to lift the ban. They both talked about how happy they were, and how strong the Spirit was.

      Thanks for your comment!

  21. I have so many questions, starting with this one:
    “I agree that often the Bible is taken out of context, and I appreciated the interpretations of what some of the scripture passages in the Bible might have actually meant. I think the reason there are so many Christian churches is because people pick and choose what to believe from the Bible, and [also] study passages out of context.”
    The author, along with EVERYONE, believes their interpretation of the Bible. But who’s is right? They can’t all be right. Only one is right, and none of us know for sure. Also where does it say that God invented marriage? Marriage has been practiced by people of many different beliefs over many thousands of years and they’ve always had that right even atheists and agnostics but now when a definition of marriage includes government licensing that marriage and giving rights associated only with marriage, then the government must assure all citizens have equal rights that’s what this is about it’s not a religious issue so this article you have posted has raised more questions than anything.

    1. I apologize for the confusion I have caused you, Mark. From a Judeo-Christian standpoint, we believe that God created the earth, and that the first two people on it were Adam and Eve, whom God married together: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

      For your question of whose interpretation is right, I have a blog post for you if you would like to read it: http://ablisscomplete.com/2014/10/11/you-arent-weird-but-your-beliefs-are_11/

      I believe that everything is a religious issue if it ties in with one of God’s commandments. I wrote more about it in previous comments. 🙂

  22. The issue of equal access to a government contract and associated government benefits and social benefits has nothing to do with religion. Leave it up to religion to stick their nose into everybody’s business. Please stay out of it this is between the government and its citizens. I realize some of those citizens may not agree with other people entering into a contract with the government and receiving benefits from the government and society because they don’t agree with a certain lifestyle or they believe that God invented marriage but what about those that believe differently what about their religious rights what about their social rights?

    1. Your viewpoint is interesting, and I respect it. Actually, my church believes wholeheartedly in providing benefits to gay couples. The only thing my church draws the line on is marriage. I mentioned this to someone else, but gay marriage being legalized definitely goes into religious territory, when churches are pressured to perform gay marriages, and people are being sued and persecuted for not wanting to provide services for gay weddings.

      It goes even beyond that, though. My church believes that there is life after this, and that in order to live with God again, we must live and do a certain way. So, we have an obligation to not only be a disciple of Christ, but to help others come unto Christ. If we believe that homosexual activity is sinful, it would not make sense for us to condone it. I hope that makes a little more sense.

  23. I liked this post. I really liked the author’s tone and how she emphasized the loving relationship she has with her homosexual brother, including some of his letter in response to her. I liked how she tried to balance the commandment to “love God with all her heart” with the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” I think it would be great if more people on the other side of this issue (particularly non-religious people) read this post.

    I don’t want to be contentious or overly-critical, but I do wonder why this Mormon author (among many others), after stating her belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, goes on to say that “God ALWAYS meant [for this to be the case].” I can see why she says this –it makes a lot of sense in light of what we know about Adam and Eve. But this simply isn’t accurate in light of our own church history (unless she doesn’t believe that polygamy was commanded by God). I know that’s not the point; the point is to make our marriage practices in-line with what God CURRENTLY commands, but I think that ignoring or white-washing our own history is not a good thing, and I think it’s an oversight that weakens her argument. I don’t think that God will redefine marriage (and we certainly can’t force Him to), but I do think that acknowledging that He has done so in the past is important.

    I am a big proponent of committed, loving marriages. I am a big advocate of children being raised in the security of this framework (and I tend to think that being raised by a committed, married same-sex couple would often be superior to being raised by a single parent or being raised by a parent just living with someone). I am very grateful for my marriage. I am even more grateful for my sealing and the opportunity I’ve had to bring children into this world with my husband. The doctrines surrounding procreation are beautiful.

    I am also very grateful that churches in our country (including the Mormon Church) have the freedom to solemnize (or not solemnize) marriages in accordance with their own doctrines. But I don’t understand why we almost seem to talk about secular marriage and the sealing ordinance interchangeably. I believe strongly in a separation of church and state. God is God and government is government, and I believe that Jesus taught us to keep the two separate. I do not think that a truly democratic government can be a respecter of persons or a respecter of religions, and I think that only recognizing marriage as defined by Christian religions would represent just that, so I support the legalization of same-sex marriage. And when I hear others (like this author) declare that that they support traditional marriage (really meaning that they of oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage), I think to myself, “But wait! I support traditional marriage too!” God may only recognize opposite-sex marriage or same-sex marriage as correct, but it’s the insistence on pushing this deeply help religious belief into politics and onto others that I don’t understand. To only recognize opposite-sex marriages within our church seems like keeping with the commandments of God, but insisting that our government do the same (using many scare tactics and inconclusive statistics to do so) seems like discriminatory Christian favoritism to me. There are many arguments that can be made about why government should only promote opposite-sex marriage because it is the only marital arrangement that benefits society…but I am not trying to respond to those arguments here. I am only disagreeing with the idea that one must oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage in order to keep the commandments of God.

    1. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your combination of praise and constructive criticism.

      I actually do recognize that at certain times, polygamy has been commanded by God for His own purposes. This happened in ancient scripture, and of course, in the early church for some members. The standard of God is a monogamous marriage between one man and one woman, unless He commands otherwise. If you would like to read about early church polygamy, here you go: https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-and-families-in-early-utah?lang=eng#1

      I appreciate your stances on why you feel you can support gay marriage and traditional marriage. Here is something I said to another reader:
      only both opinions can be right if they don’t trample on each other. We have already seen the multiple lawsuits, bashings, and hatred that has come from people trying to follow their religious beliefs in the midst of the legalization of gay marriage. If there were a 100% guarantee that this would not happen, that people could practice their beliefs and not be torn down because of laws that do not agree with their beliefs, than perhaps both opinions could be right. Many gay people are being married, or asking to be married in churches, so it is not simply a civil contract. In many cases, it is still very much intertwined in religion.
      For me, though, the definition of RIGHT comes from God. Many religious people who stand behind gay marriage quote the commandment “Love one another,” saying that God would definitely condone marriage for all. However, they seem to forget the first and greatest commandment, which is to “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” To love the Lord, one must keep His commandments, and stand as a light to the world. God has made it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. Most religions around the world still believe that. God is Truth. God’s opinion is the only one that matters to me. He would not condone gay marriage. He does not. So, when I say they can’t both be right, it is true, if we are talking about God’s definition of right.

      If I am completely honest, this is so hard for me. It really is. What I am doing now if trusting in the words of the prophets. They have reiterated over and over again that the church does not support the legalization of gay marriage. They will not change now, even though it is legalized. I find great comfort in that they are following Christ’s doctrines instead of folding to societal pressure. I find peace in following the prophet, and that is why I do not support gay marriage.

      I hope this helps in some way!

      1. Thank you for your heartfelt response. I am struggling through this issue too, as I’m sure you can tell. I did acknowledge in my comment that I do not think that God (at least presently) condones gay marriage. Both opinions cannot be right sight in the in the sight of God, as you say. This raises so many questions, but I feel the same as you in saying “someday we will understand.” God does not condone it, but does that mean we should actively legislate against it? -When the legislation affects so many people who do not believe in God or who may believe in a different God than we do? How is this not imposing our religious beliefs upon others when we are, in essence, requiring that others live up to our standards and to our strict definition of marriage? I want to be completely behind our church leaders on this (believe me, it would make life so much more simple) but I have a hard time supporting their active involvement in politics. This mixing of church and state does not seem to fit with what Jesus taught about “rendering unto Cesar what is Cesar’s” and I find that my conscience objects. It is a moral dilemma that I think many church members face. I have promised to sustain our leaders, but I do not want to squelch my own moral conscience -and I don’t think that God would want me to either.

        …In regard to your comments about religious freedoms being trampled, this article is one of the best I’ve found on that topic:

        http://rationalfaiths.com/erosion-religious-liberty/

        Non-discriminatory policies are also very important and need to be balanced with our efforts to protect religious freedoms. What we may see as an infringement of religious freedom at first may not still seem so when we take a closer look at the facts. Religious freedom is important. Conscientious Objector laws are important. But we need to remember that religious freedom does not mean freedom from criticism. And freedoms that apply to one religion must apply to all religions (in other words, Christian religions do not get special privileges compared to other religions). Anti-discrimination laws for public organizations are important… Just think of where we might be (and, in fact, used to be) without them. And finally, not just any public organization should be able to claim exemptions from laws simply by slapping a “religious” label onto that organization. I do of course think churches and church organizations should be given exemptions.

        1. Thank you for your follow up comment! Our church definitely believes in being taught the doctrines and then governing ourselves. You must do that, just as we all must. My first thoughts when I read your comment were something we teach Primary children: When the prophet speaks, it is as if the Lord is speaking. You mentioned you don’t like the church’s active involvement in politics. Well, technically, it would be the Lord being actively involved in politics, right? I am not saying that everything a prophet says is what the Lord would say. However, I am 100% sure that the Proclamation was revelation from God. I also have noticed how over the last few conferences, many of the conference talks have focused on family. That can’t be a coincidence. I believe that the Lord has commanded the prophets to be involved in politics. To be more specific, though, the church has political neutrality on parties and candidates. However, it does take stances on certain social issues that affect God’s plan. Gay marriage is one.

          Thank you for sending me that article. It would seem to be slightly biased, though I won’t argue its validity. I do know, though, that the prophets and apostles have, in the past couple years, really been strong in their speech about protecting religious freedom. They wouldn’t do that if they didn’t feel that it was being infringed upon. Elder Hales gave a talk about it in conference: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/preserving-agency-protecting-religious-freedom?lang=eng

          I think it is definitely worth re-reading.

          Thank you so much for this discussion. It has been an enlightening one. I am happy to speak further if you wish. My email is mrsapplejelly@gmail.com. 🙂

          1. The article is slightly biased, but I apprecitated how it looked at the facts of each case individually -rather

          2. (hit post too soon on the last comment -sorry)…The article is slightly biased, but I appreciated how it looked at the facts of each case individually -rather than just laying down a blanket statement such as “my religious freedoms are under attack!” And I think it made a good point in saying that these anti-discrimination laws have been around for a while now; if we really want a public club or business to be able to exclude homosexuals, we probably should have been fighting against these laws for decades now. I really do appreciate your thoughtfulness and faithfulness on this issue. I think I would have an easier time believing that God had commanded our church leaders to get involved in politics (I have a really hard time in seeing what good came from the church’s involvement in prop 8, for instance, but can see a lot of harm that came from it) if it wasn’t for church history being so messy; if leaders made mistakes in the past, couldn’t they be making mistakes now? I would also have an easier time if our leaders would just come out say as much. I guess the “thus sayeth/commandeth the Lord” part is simply implied in every major action they take? But I think it would actually be really nice to hear them say it. Well, I need to get an answer for myself on this issue, it would seem. 🙂 Anyway, best wishes to you. God bless!

            1. Hi again! Okay, my computer is being crazy. This is my fourth attempt to reply to you. Haha.
              I really think it will take some time before we see the true repercussions to religious freedom from this decision and others that will follow it. I read an article yesterday from one of the Supreme Court justices. It gave some remarkable clarity on things that might happen (: http://ldsmag.com/justice-roberts-just-who-do-we-think-we-are/
              I don’t know much about Prop 8, but I do know it wasn’t just an LDS effort. I am sure the intentions were grand. Sometimes, the results can’t be. The brethren don’t get step by step revelation for everything, though it would be awesome. I think they are supposed to learn and grow too. They are human. However, they are prophets, seers and revelators. They do receive revelation. They do prophesy. I trust them.
              I read another article that I can’t find now, but it is so wonderful. It is from the perspective of gay members of the church. They are pleading for support from their fellow church members to help them stay strong in the faith and keep their covenants. Seeing members support gay marriage hurts them, and I am sure many other Christians who struggle with SSA also want the same kind of support. It is sobering to recognize that not all gay individuals support gay marriage either. Good to ponder on.
              I wish you all the best as you pray on this matter. I am sure we will hear more about it in general conference. I found it so profound that Elder Perry’s and President Packer’s final conference talks both centered around marriage and family. That means so much to me, and obviously to them.
              God bless you!

  24. BTW Mandy, thank you for being so civil here and especially for your emphasis on our commonalities rather than on our differences. That is so important! When we view people with opinions different from our own as “other” -almost as a foreign species- (and doesn’t it seem like we are seeing more and more of this with the extreme polarization of politics?) it scares me. It really reminds me of the scripture we studied in Sunday School last week about the “love of men waxing cold” in the latter days. It’s easy to stop loving people when we see them as being “other” and “separate” from ourselves.

    1. I totally agree, and thank you. I have seen this with people of different races, cultures, languages, religions, and of course, sexual orientation. It is wrong. We are all children of God. We are all humans. We are all on a journey, and we should help each other. Thanks again!

  25. I don’t think sexuality is so black and white. I don’t think we ARE our sexuality. I think there are things such as urges that can come and go. Some stay for long periods of time. Some are transient and some are curiosities and some persist. There are those that have lived both sides of male and female attraction and those who live both sides simultaneously and separately. Sexuality is a powerful thing in the formation of a brain and it can be expanded and it can be entrenched in certain ways into the wiring of our brains. It has a powerful emotional component many times that also affects that center of our brain. The interplay between environment and genetics is also not so black and white. Environment can impact promotion/expression/and down regulation of genes. In the end is a powerful component called choice or “will” in which we can actively influence or control nature, urge, and or action to a large extent. In the end we have more capacity and more decision than we believe we have. Humans can do things that are pretty much impossible if they really have to or if they really want to. Training and “exercising” our capacity to control desire is a powerful entity that never gets discussion.

  26. There are some drugs so powerful that the single partaking of them can cause in some genetically susceptible people a life long battle that will never be won or totally conquered. Sex in the physiological sense produces impacts on the brain much like drugs do. It would explain (if you believe God has anything to do with religion) why so many religions have so many rules, laws, hedges, protections, commandments, and guidance on things relating to sexuality. It truly is probably one of the most powerful forces that a human encounters in their lifetime. The thing one has to be careful of in the church is to suppose that none of the brethren who lead the church have no personal experience with this issue. To suppose that the brethren have experienced no personal susceptibility to chemical addiction, same gender attraction, depression or any other ailment or deviation from what is defined as “correct” by the doctrine is blatantly false. Just as Christ is able to succor and judge us because of of his “mortality”, his servants are also able to succor, love, and understand us because of what they have been through. Though they lack the perfection of Christ, we can’t suppose that they are without personal experience and feeling about much of these issues. They are mortals. They are imperfect and this is a positive for those of us who suffer from internal conflict due to our weakness but still want to grow our faith to overcome and become as the savior. I have a feeling that many of them know much about what they are trying to convey to us.

    1. I love this comment! You gave a wonderful explanation of why having rules and commandments can be so freeing, and so necessary. I wouldn’t doubt that some of the brethren have experiences that would help them really be in touch with this issue and others. If not their own experiences, surely they have family and friends who do.

  27. Everything EVERYTHING I believe too summed up in one well articulated article. Thank you and God bless you, your brother, and your family.

  28. Wow. Very well said. This is one of the best explanations, not only of same-sex attraction, but of Christianity and religion in general. If we all could only follow your simple advice this would be a much better world! Thank you for this article.

    1. Thank you so much, Travis. You are so kind. Feel free to share if you wish. I want everyone to find peace in this.

      1. I want to share my thanks for the patience, time, and energy it has taken to respond to all and I did follow the thread to the end. I agreed with all you wrote and feel secure in my decisions and beliefs just as you do. Some are not at peace, but you hung in there with love just as you do with your very lucky brother. Those who are parents know that when you disagree, it doesn’t mean you love a person any less. We must keep trying to get that point across to the LBGT community and also those who aren’t able to put doubts aside about our church. Thanks for sharing!

        1. Carolyn, thank you for your thoughtful comment and for taking time to read this discussion. I am so glad you are secure in your beliefs. It does bring so much peace. God bless you.

  29. Thank you so much for posting this. I also have a brother who is gay. He was a good man a loving faithful brother a good son. Although I did not support his being gay I did support him as a human being as my brother as a child of God. My brother passed away 7 years ago from cancer. I miss him every day. I wish she could have lived to see this day. I heard a quote yesterday that’s Said Fault are like headlights we only see others. again thank you so much for your article.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. I am so sorry your brother passed away. I am sure he was a wonderful person. What a good quote too!

  30. Mandy, thank you for bringing this post to my attention.

    First, just a question about the choice of font color. To me, it looks very washed out, pale – hard to read. Was pale gray your intentional design choice? I strongly recommend that you change it to solid black, for better contrast and legibility.

    Second, you indicated to me via email that, as of today, the post has had over 45,000 pageviews, which is truly extraordinary. To what do you attribute that? I guess that your blog (and perhaps individual posts) are recommended on various LDS websites. If correct, that speaks highly of those websites’ power to attract readers to your site. Bravo!

    Finally, I applaud you for your intended support of your brother, but I wonder whether he might be a bit suspicious of your religion’s seeming to prevent you from fully endorsing the way he is. You write to him, “God always meant for a man and woman to be together…why then would He allow people to be gay?…that is what I believe God wants.” Boiling it down blatantly like that (leaving out the words where I have substituted ellipses), your religion seems to hold that God “allowed” him to be gay but didn’t MEAN for him to be together with another person of his kind, and WANTS him to be with a woman instead. If I were your brother, at any rate, I would feel very far from having been accepted for who and what I am (by either you or God). I wonder whether your brother would be willing to write a reply to your “endorsement” of him, or would he feel constrained to write platitudes so as not to rock the boat?

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