The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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Steve
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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When God can do what he will with a man, the man may do what he will with the world.     ~George MacDonald
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Ian
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by Ian »

thanks, steve. as elder christofferson said, this removes "any doubt."
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by Angela »

Well, my question was thoroughly answered. Thanks bryn and Steve for posting the elder christofferson video.
I enjoyed reading that quote, lily, thank you!
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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I appreciate hearing of an insight provided us by Zina: this issue is one where we can directly apply the wisdom of Solomon in one of his most notable decisions. Rather than "divide the living child in two", sounds to me as though the church would rather preserve the child and hope for its eventual recovery. The true mother wants to preserve the child. The false mother wants only to preserve what she perceives as "fair".
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by micah »

I appreciate the civil discussion about this, I know that I am in the minority in this group. Personally, I am not at all shocked by this announcement. The church has as sorts of policies that don't make sense to me.

What I think has bothered me most about this, is how so many people are trying to make the argument that this somehow protects children. I do not understand this at all. I cannot think of one scenario where this policy will protect children. Please help me understand in practical terms how this policy will protect these children. And if this protection is necessary, why not protect all the other children in similar circumstances? And how does not allowing blessing of the children protect them, when they are not even aware enough to know what is going on?

I have noticed that often good members of the church jump to defend exclusionary church policies by arguing that exclusion is actually a wonderful thing for those excluded. Former BYU professor Randy Bott did this regarding blacks and the priesthood. Published in the Washington Post:
Bott says that the denial of the priesthood to blacks on Earth — although not in the afterlife — protected them from the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers. “You couldn’t fall off the top of the ladder, because you weren’t on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them.”
The church is again excluding a group of people, not for their sins or their unworthiness, but because of social circumstances. And again church members and leaders are explaining the policy as a great blessing for these excluded children. By taking the stance that this policy is "the greatest blessing God could give them" we are invalidating the pain this policy will (and already has) caused. I get that this is the direction the church is going, but let's not make things worse by invalidating others' pain.
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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Micah, did you read my post from the previous page? What are your thoughts on it? Or Lily's?
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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In my view, the harm being done to the children in question is perpetrated not by the Lord and his church, but by the parents. No matter how popular a concept it may become in the world, to teach and proclaim by precept and by example that same-gender unions are acceptable to God cannot ever be the fashionable doctrine of his church. It is false. How else is the Lord's church to remain perhaps the sole bastion of truth if it allows this falsehood a foothold? It is a lie, and has been since even before the beginning of time. The culpability for the collateral spiritual damage done to children rests with the parents and proponents of this false doctrine, not with the children, and not with the church.

I quote, if you can endure it, from Elder Nelson: “‘Inasmuch as parents have children in Zion … that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents’ [D&C 68:25; italics added].

“That commandment places responsibility and accountability for the teaching of children squarely upon the shoulders of the parents. The proclamation to the world regarding the family warns that individuals ‘who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God’ [“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102]. Today I solemnly reaffirm that reality."

If said children are not baptized at age eight the fault lies not with the church but with the parents. Let me also state, that I am sure that the mercy and love of the Savior for these and all children will take into account the harm done by parents. I fully anticipate facing some pain and suffering on my own part for any harm I may have done to any of you.
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by John »

Another thought:
Seems to me that to accuse the church on earth of being wrongfully hurtful to children in these circumstances would be like accusing the Lord for being wrongfully hurtful for denying exaltation to those who have not met the requirements. Is this hateful of him? Or is it actually a sign of his love for all?

Please remember as you consider my question, that the policy under discussion does NOT deny membership to anyone meeting the requirements. It only deals with the timing of the membership and its ramifications.

The Lord's love is unconditional and greater than we can comprehend. Salvation, however, has conditions that must be met. His grace manifested in salvation, is conditioned upon obedience.
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by Tuly »

Micah, I too have appreciated the dialogue between us. I loved Lily's post ( I love many posts) in that this policy will test our faith and that we might not have the perfect answer to how this protects a child. However, I have been reading Isaiah (I love Isaiah), and this scripture filled me with so much hope. Sorry this is too simple an explanation, but I KNOW how much God loves His children, He is always protecting them.

Isaiah 40:29 - He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increased strength.
"Condemn me not because of mine imperfection,... but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been." Mormon 9:31
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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here is some guidance:
THE CHURCH OF JESUS GHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

OFFICE OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY

47 EAST SOUTH TEMPLE STREET, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 84150-1200

November 13, 2015

To: General Authorities; Area Seventies; General Auxiliary Presidencies; Stake, District, Mission, and Temple Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

The Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provides the following guidance in applying provisions on same-gender marriage recently added to Handbook 1:

Revealed doctrine is clear that families are eternal in nature and purpose. We are obligated to act with that perspective for the welfare of both adults and children. The newly added Handbook provisions affirm that adults who choose to enter into a same-gender marriage or similar relationship commit sin that warrants a Church disciplinary council.

Our concern with respect to children is their current and future well-being and the harmony of their home environment. The provisions of Handbook 1, Section 16.13, that restrict priesthood ordinances for minors, apply only to those children whose primary residence is with a couple living in a same-gender marriage or similar relationship. As always, local leaders may request further guidance in particular instances when they have questions.

When a child living with such a same-gender couple has already been baptized and is actively participating in the Church, provisions of Section 16.13 do not require that his or her membership activities or priesthood privileges be curtailed or that further ordinances be withheld. Decisions about any future ordinances for such children should be made by local leaders with their prime consideration being the preparation and best interests of the child.

All children are to be treated with utmost respect and love. They are welcome to attend Church meetings and participate in Church activities. All children may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance.

May the Lord continue to bless you in your ministry.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The First Presidency
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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There is a strong tendency today for many to talk of Jesus Christ as if His teachings on love were somehow inconsistent with his teachings on divine commandments. Of course the Savior’s love was never withheld from anyone and His words on the cross exemplify that. But, He also expressed love by teaching clear doctrine and standing firmly against sin with sometimes-tough lessons for which people rejected Him. That is where Church leaders stand today – holding firm to the doctrinal position of right and wrong, while extending love to all people. Church members who believe in modern prophets and apostles understand and appreciate the intent of their leaders to guide the Church through the complexities of diverse societies and rapidly changing social circumstances.

(Michael Otterson, Understanding the Handbook, 11/13/2015)
When God can do what he will with a man, the man may do what he will with the world.     ~George MacDonald
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.

Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?

And what of those who just want to look at sin or touch it from a distance? Jesus said with a flash, if your eye offends you, pluck it out. If your hand offends you, cut it off. “I came not to [bring] peace, but a sword,” He warned those who thought He spoke only soothing platitudes. No wonder that, sermon after sermon, the local communities “pray[ed] him to depart out of their coasts.” No wonder, miracle after miracle, His power was attributed not to God but to the devil. It is obvious that the bumper sticker question “What would Jesus do?” will not always bring a popular response.

At the zenith of His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” To make certain they understood exactly what kind of love that was, He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” and “whosoever … shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be … the least in the kingdom of heaven.” Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).

...

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.

(Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship, April 2014 General Conference)
When God can do what he will with a man, the man may do what he will with the world.     ~George MacDonald
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by Ian »

thank you steve. when elder christofferson was asked why the church changed the handbook, his immediate response was that “same-sex marriage” is a “particularly grievous or significant, serious kind of sin.” years ago, president kimball wrote that “homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it, as well as to many past offenders who are seeking a way out of its clutches.” that is the truth. “same-sex marriage” is a particularly grievous and ugly sin, with terrible consequences. that is the real issue here. God commands us not only to forsake sin, but to forsake any hint of advocacy for sin. we have also covenanted to stand up and defend the church. i whole-heartedly support our leaders, and i totally agree with the handbook changes.
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by Edward »

I have thought a lot about Zina's comparison; it runs deeper than people realize. I have pondered on it in this light:

Two women came before Solomon with one child; one of them had lain upon her own in the night and it had died; now both claimed the living child as her own.

Solomon proposed that the child be cut in two, each woman receiving half of the child. One mother said Yes, cut the child, and it will be just. But the other, pained to the death at the thought of harming the baby, said No, let the other woman have the child, only do not harm it. Let it live, and grow, and have a happy life, and I will still be here, and someday, my child may yet come to know me. Do not cut my child in two! Le

By this, Solomon knew her to be the true mother, and the woman was given her own child. To sacrifice her child, so that it could live, was a token of her true motherhood.

So now, we have a child who will come before the Lord, asking, who is my mother? One "mother" will be the parents, living in sin, who deny themselves God's promised blessings by living outside the law of the Gospel and against the Plan of Happiness. The other "mother" is the Church, who teaches that Celestial happiness and ultimately, Exaltation, can only be received by a Man and a Woman sealed to the holy blessings given in the Temple.

That child will have to ask the difficult and profound question, Who is my mother? And one shall say, we both are, you shouldn't have to choose, but should have both, and be loyal to us, and be loyal to them if you like. Serve two masters, and we will be as a mother to you. Yet the other shall say No, choose the other if you must, but do not cut yourself in two; it will be better you to be one and whole so that you can live and grow and have a happy life, and someday, you will yet come to know me. Do not cut yourself in two!

By this, the child will come to know its true mother, and the mother will receive someday that child with all the true love that a mother has. To be willing to sacrifice the child so that it can live is a token of true motherhood. It was always her child; it will always be her child.

Do we question that mother's love, and say she loved the child less because she let it go? Do we count it an act of cruelty if she lets it go for a season so that it may live and grow? Do we doubt that she hoped and prayed that someday, it would find its way to her arms again?

I know that the decision of the Church comes, not from men, but from the Lord himself, who knows more than any of us what it means to let something go so that others may live. He wants these children to receive the Gospel more than any of use can ever imagine, but He knows, more that we know, what it feels like to be "cut in two," and He is taking every step he can to spare them that pain. And when after a season, which to Him is but the blink of an eye, they can and will come to Him, one and whole, and will be received forever by him in His Church.

Those that question the Church in this, I feel, show not a misunderstanding of the Leadership's motives, but a misunderstanding of the Lord's love. Look not through the eyes of Men, but through the eyes of God, through the eyes of a Father who sees little ones being cut in two, and doing all he can to keep them whole.
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Re: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Post by Steve »

Thank you for the comments. I love this warning I found from Elder George Q. Cannon. It's long, mind you, but I promise a remarkable experience for those who take the time to read it.
[Elder Cannon quotes D&C 43:1-7]

It is a good thing for us, as a people, to let our minds dwell upon the principles which God our Heavenly Father has given unto us by revelation in this, as well as in preceding ages. The Lord, in His goodness and mercy unto His children, has not left them in ignorance concerning the plan of salvation, nor the manner in which He intends His Church to be built up. He has revealed unto us many principles for our guidance, and they are essentially necessary to enable us to grow and increase in the things of His kingdom; for in these days, as well as in preceding days, as the apostle has said, there are many spirits gone forth into the world and there are many influences brought to bear upon the minds of the children of men. There are many creeds, doctrines, and views propagated industriously by those who entertain them, and unless we cling to the truth and pursue the path which our Heavenly Father desires His children to walk in, with all our claims, and the promises which have been made unto us, we are as liable to go astray as any other people. If we treat these things as matters of no importance, and are careless and negligent in relation to that which we believe, and to those whom we follow, we are sure to err.

There are some principles which have become firmly rooted in the minds of the Latter-day Saints. It is a difficult thing to cause them to doubt in relation to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance of sin, baptism for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. These principles seem to be clearly understood, and in them the people are apparently fully indoctrinated; and though men may deny the faith, in one sense, and turn away from the path of righteousness, and dissolve their connection with the Church, yet they will cling, in most instances, to what we term the first principles of the Gospel of Christ; and it is a very rare thing to see those who have been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turning away and joining what we call sectarian churches. If they leave this Church, it is an exceedingly difficult thing for them to connect themselves with other denominations, because the Scriptures are so familiar to them, the principles contained therein are so plain to their understanding that, unless there is some speculation, some mercenary or other end to be gained by their alliance with people of other creeds, they are very apt to stand aloof; that is, where they have a thorough understanding of the principles of the Gospel.

But there are other principles more advanced with which the people are not so familiar, and of this the adversary seeks to take advantage; and when men deny the faith, they are apt to deny these principles; and when they get into the dark, there is probably no point upon which they differ more frequently than that which relates to the authority that is exercised in presiding. This is a point that the adversary always aims at. I suppose it was so in ancient days. We read of false prophets then, and also of men turning away; and there is no doubt but what the rock upon which they split was the question of the right and authority of those presiding over them.

It seems as though the adversary, in the day in which we live, seeks, by every means in his power, to undermine the influence and the authority of the man whom God has called to preside over His people.

...

There were others during Joseph's day, who professed to have the authority which he possessed, or, as they said, which he had once possessed. At one time, in the early days of the Church, there was a number of elders among whom were some of the Twelve Apostles and one or two of the First Presidency, who banded themselves together and declared that Joseph was a fallen prophet, that he had taught correct doctrines, that he had been the instrument in the hands of God, of revealing the truth and of bringing forth the Book of Mormon, restoring the holy Priesthood and of organizing the Church; but that he had fallen. The doctrines which he had first taught were correct, they said, and the position which he first assumed was acceptable in the sight of God; but through some cause, he had strayed from the path and had become a fallen prophet. Said they, “We now have the right and the authority which he once had. We have the right to organize the Saints, to build up the Church and carry out the work of which Joseph was the founder, but which, through transgression, he has forfeited the right to lead.”

There was one peculiarity, however, connected with these pretenders, which distinguished their course from that pursued by Joseph. Instead of being the subject of all the evil remarks, all the calumny, all the hatred, slander, bloodthirstiness, and denunciations applied to the Prophet Joseph, singular to state, when you take into consideration the pretensions of those men, the wicked hailed them as brethren, consorted with them, became very brotherly, very fraternal, and looked upon them as very good, clever fellows.

...

Many men wonder and say, “You Latter-day Saints are bowed down in tyranny and are groaning under despotism. Why are you not free to exercise your liberty? Why don't you do as you please? Why do you always do as your prophet and leader tells you?” Because we have proved during twenty-five long years, that God has blessed him in everything he has told us to do, and we have been blessed of God in carrying out his counsels. When we have prayed to the Almighty to give us wisdom and humility to obey the counsels of His servant, He has given unto us His Holy Spirit and witnessed unto our hearts that this course was pleasing and acceptable in His sight. Rebel against him and his authority! As well might we rebel against Jehovah Himself, or against Jesus!

...

See the blessings that have followed the administrations of these men in our midst. Who would exchange the peace, the joy, and the knowledge we have concerning the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ for the meager and vague ideas of God and His kingdom that prevailed before the people became acquainted with it?

...

Let me assure you, brethren and sisters, if there is anything in our hearts that interferes with our complete love of God and our reverence for Him and His work, we shall have to banish it, or sooner or later we shall lose our standing in the Church of God; for He wants a people who will render implicit obedience to His laws and the requirements of His Gospel, and who will love Him better than any earthly thing, and place a higher value on the gifts of the Spirit than on worldly possessions or even life itself.

...

Think not, my brethren and sisters, because God has chosen earthly vessels to hold this power and authority, that therefore you can treat lightly the holy Priesthood. I have noticed from my boyhood, and it has been a constant lesson to me, that those who speak against the authorities and lift their hands against the holy Priesthood of this Church invariably deny the faith. I have never seen it otherwise. You may trace the history of this people from the beginning and you will find that every man who has indulged in this spirit has always come out and denied the faith.

(Discourse by Elder George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, December 5, 1869. Reported By: John Grimshaw)
When God can do what he will with a man, the man may do what he will with the world.     ~George MacDonald
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