In response to an online treatise on gay Mormons and how the church deals (or not) with them, a friend responded with the following (JNR — let me know if its okay to post this; I only steal from the best):
The part of Mormon cosmology that claims an exalted destiny involves at least one heterosexual marriage is pretty hard to get around
I agree. And you’re right that it would be a disservice to not address that fact, so I’ll just say this (again this is just my personal belief):
Mormon belief/doctrine/dogma/cosmology is pretty messy and has changed an awful lot since 1830. We’ve changed our position on things like polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, the doctrine of tithing and the organization of church leadership. We’ve changed our policies on what members can/can’t eat and drink (no coffee/tea/alcohol, but it used to be okay to drink beer though not anymore). We no longer observe the doctrine of gathering, and we’ve even changed the content of our most sacred ceremonies several times and so dramatically that people who had been alive 50 years ago wouldn’t recognize our current iterations. We barely even recognize the doctrine of common consent, even though it was pretty obvious that it was a big part of the early church.
And that’s really the problem. The church leadership has made a really big push to “correlate” Mormon belief, so much so that they promote some beliefs while de-emphasizing others. For example, with the concept of canon. It’s really easy to find in the LDS scriptures as well as our historical documents the idea that nothing is considered doctrine unless it’s canonized, and yet we frequently have meetings in which a new policy manual will be handed out and we will be told that it is doctrine!
So what we have in the church today is a major emphasis on relying on published manuals, policy books and press releases to define doctrine, even though this idea contradicts our own early doctrinal statement on canonization. What this means is that a typical Mormon is more likely to believe something (i.e. that being gay is evil) based on a statement made by a modern church leader instead of based on what our actual canonized doctrine states. What makes this really troubling is that it was never supposed to be this way.
And the hilarious contradiction here is that at the same time we’re doing all this we’re also saying stuff like “thank goodness we have modern revelation” while we continue to not (by our own definitions) receive any modern revelation whatsoever and continue to not (by our own defined processes) canonize anything since 1978. I think it’s telling that even in the most recent public statements from church leaders about homosexuality, their statements are almost explicitly couched in the language of “moral opinion” and never in “thus hath God decreed.”
Until the church actually comes down and says “this is the doctrine regarding homosexuality, we’re going to add it to the scriptures, all in favor say aye” then everything we state, whether by policy or by pulpit, is just an expression of scriptural exegesis not founded on the the Mormon principles of modern revelation and common consent.
Oh yeah and hippybear is right about S&G. In fact, all the Biblical passages “about” homosexuality either aren’t really about that at all or happen to be about it in a way that doesn’t apply to modern times. Further, the fact that there exists some Mormon scripture about marriage being between a man and a woman does not exclude the possibility that it could be between a man and a man, but rather it just means to me that the question wasn’t asked (probably because Joseph Smith didn’t have exposure to that concept and didn’t even know it needed to be asked).
Again, I believe there’s room in the Mormon faith continuum for gay and lesbian oriented families, and that the church leadership, instead of asking for a revelation of that nature, are just holding the party line with the other Christians…”well the Bible says (even though it really doesn’t) this, so…”. Needless to say we’re still a very young church and have a lot of growing up to do. I for one hope we can grow in ways that will allow us to truly invite all to come unto Christ, regardless of who they love.
posted by jnrussell at 3:49 PM on May 16