Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Hidden Reason For The Policy Change On Baptisms

Previously: The Real Threat To Traditional Marriage, Part Three

It's not often I write something that turns out to be extremely timely, but just after I posted my last piece on this blog, news broke on the internet of a new policy that would prohibit any child from being given a blessing or being baptized in this church if one of the child's parents is, or was, involved in a same-sex relationship.

In the event you have not heard the news, here is the controversy in a nutshell: The Church Handbook of Instruction, the secret manual that has supplanted the scriptures as the Standard Operating Manual for all bishops, stake presidents, and other local leaders, was recently amended to prohibit babies from being given a name and a blessing by anyone if one of the parents of the child is involved in a marriage or relationship with a person of the same gender.  Further, any child of a parent in such a relationship will not be permitted to be baptized until he or she turns eighteen years old, and even then no baptism will be allowed until the candidate disavows the relationship his parent was in. The child would also have to meet additional criteria of a sort most of us would find unreasonable, if not abhorrent.  You can see the actual document for yourself by clicking here.

This represents such a radical departure from the doctrine of Christ that when the news first broke, many faithful members of the church refused to believe it was true. But those who read my last post would have been able to put two and two together and figure out exactly why this policy has been instituted at this time: if the Church held the same status under the law as when it was organized by Joseph Smith in 1830, it would be directed by religious principles.  Alas, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was long ago converted from a church into a Corporation Sole, an act that reorganized the Church's basic structure, and gave the erstwhile "Church" an entirely different legal status, leaving it vulnerable to the whims of societal change. (If you have not read my previous post as yet, I recommend you do so now in order to have a foundational understanding for what follows.)

Whereas the church that was founded by Joseph Smith operated under the distinct doctrines of Christ, The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates under the doctrine of political expediency. By definition, any church that has been incorporated cannot claim the Lord Jesus Christ as its sovereign head. The State is the sovereign in an incorporated Church.

That's not just speculation on my part; it's a legal reality. What it all translates to is this: if the Board of Directors of the Corporation of the President expect to keep the Corporation intact, at times they are forced by circumstances to relinquish the religion.  This abandonment of principle has occurred many more times than we would like to believe, as documented here.

The primary reason why incorporated Churches will do anything to avoid a confrontation with civil authorities, even to the point of giving up religious principles, has been neatly summarized by the following two experts:
"When a church incorporates, it becomes a 'creature' of the state. Having created the incorporated church, the State governs them via corporate law and public policy, grants and revokes privileges, burdens them, restricts them, penalizes them, and can dissolve them." (Peter Kershaw, "Does the Government Control Our Churches?")
"The IRS determines, subject to costly and time-consuming challenge, whether a restriction has been breached by a 501(c)3 organization. These restrictions subject a religious organization to suit in the courts for violating a federal government law. Fundamental public law is above biblical principle if the two conflict." (Jerald Finney, Separation of Church and State: God's Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?, pg 37.)

Why Can't We Just Live Our Own Religion?
Few people would dispute a church's right to determine its own policies regarding same-sex relationships. Although the Supreme Court recognized that homosexual couples have the right to marry, the court's decision is properly manifested in the civil arena; it does not mean a particular church would be required to perform a ceremony marrying two persons of the same gender. And since many churches consider homosexual activity to be a sin, a church has the right to discipline or exclude from membership anyone who engages in such behavior, just as a church has the right to discipline or exclude from membership any heterosexuals who violate the scriptural law of chastity.

But what has outraged so many Mormons over the new policy is that it represents a radical departure from church doctrine and tradition, and that departure is radical in a multitude of ways. In the first place, by prohibiting the baptism of a child whose father or mother happens to be in a same-sex relationship, the institutional Church now appears to be visiting the sins of the fathers onto the heads of the children.

Further, in D&C 68:27 the Lord Himself has directed us through revelation to have our children baptized once they reach the age of accountability. LDS Church leaders have now abnegated that clear commandment, directing bishops that children of certain families not be permitted to be baptized at all until they reach 18 years of age.  Once that age has been attained, the child is further required to completely disavow their parent's lifestyle. It doesn't matter how any of us feel about same-sex cohabitation; this demand that any child should be required to denounce a parent in order to enter into the covenant of baptism is a clear abuse of ecclesiastical authority.

Now, I'll be the first to concede that some children probably aren't ready for baptism at eight years old; many simply aren't capable of understanding the commitment they are making.  But what if a child asks to be baptized at age fourteen? Wasn't our founding prophet capable of religious understanding when he was that age?  Or how about sixteen, or seventeen? If a teenager with the ability to comprehend the meaning of the ordinance expresses a desire to be baptized, does any other person truly have the authority to tell him he cannot? If so, where did he get that authority? Certainly not from God.

This change did not come as a result of any revelation from God. The Lord did not amend his previous revelation. If he had, that new revelation would have been read from the pulpit at general conference and voted on by the membership.  It would not have been quietly sneaked into the Church Handbook of Instruction by the Church's legal firm.

It shouldn't be hard to imagine why the Church's current management felt it necessary to take this drastic step. It appears to have been instituted as preparation for a possible difficulty the Church may soon face as a result of the recent supreme court ruling on same-sex marriage.  I believe the Board of Directors of the corporation realizes it's only a matter of time before it faces a legal challenge that might require the Church to permit same-sex marriages within the walls of its temples.

This is a possibility that I'm convinced has been the topic of many long meetings among the hierarchy of the Church, and has been for many years leading up to the supreme court ruling. As ridiculous as it may seem to most of us that the Church would ever bow to societal pressure in this matter, keep in mind that this is no longer an actual church as traditionally defined. It is, in legal contemplation, a world-wide corporate conglomerate doing business as a church,  and as such it cannot afford to run afoul of fundamental public policy.

The LDS Church itself is licensed by the State to perform marriages in its own temples. It is not too much of a leap then, to assume that one day "public policy" could dictate that entities so licensed to perform marriages between a man and a woman, may also be required to grant the same privilege to persons of the same gender. If this possibility is even hinted at, our Church is going to have a huge problem. It will find itself either forced to bow to the will of the State in this matter, or it will have to cease performing all weddings, both in temples and in chapels.  Mormon weddings, including sealings for time and all eternity, will be a thing of the past.

The Clue Is In The Handbook 
In recent years the LDS Church has shifted its stance regarding homosexuality among its members. In the past, anyone declaring himself to be openly homosexual was immediately subjected to Church discipline, and almost always expelled from the Church. This is what happened to my best friend in my senior year of high school, a wonderful kid I had brought into the church, but who later admitted to having feelings for me of a nature I had never suspected. Eventually he found new friends, and he and I went our separate ways; but when he admitted his sexual proclivity to one of the Young Men leaders, that leader took immediate steps to have my friend excommunicated. This was around 1971, and was the normal procedure back then when homosexuals were discovered within the ranks of the Church. (It was not known then that many hundreds, if not thousands, of devoted gay members secretly served missions, then went home and dutifully married an unwitting young maiden in the temple for time and all eternity.)

Today the Church recognizes that same-sex attraction is a fact of life for some people, and that such tendencies in a person don't mean that person cannot have a strong testimony of the restored gospel. So it is not unheard of today for someone to be both LDS and homosexual. I happen to know a gay man who is the gospel doctrine teacher in his ward. The official position of the Church today is that same-sex attraction in a member becomes a problem only when that member acts on his feelings and engages in sexual relations with another person. In other words, the law of chastity holds for all members of the church, whether gay or straight.

But with the recent supreme court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges, the very existence of homosexual members within the church brings with it the possibility of an unwanted confrontation. What would happen if two faithful, devoted, temple-worthy members of the church who happened to be homosexual approached their bishop with the desire to be married in the temple according to the tenets of their faith? And what if that bishop denied them that wedding? Could the Church face the possibility of a legal action by the State requiring them to treat such a marriage in exactly the same manner it would if the couple had been a man and a woman? Could it not one day be considered "fundamental public policy" that a gay couple should have the same access to a wedding as any other couple in the Church they happen to belong to, especially when that Church is licensed by the State?

I believe the possibility of this hypothetical scenario occurring one day is what has been keeping our leaders up at night.

But they have also come up with what they believe could be the solution to this problem.

Concurrently with the new policy inserted into the Church Handbook of Instruction prohibiting the children of gay couples from being either blessed or baptized, another important policy change was inserted in Handbook 1 at page 6.7.2. What this policy change does is place same-sex marriage in the category of apostasy.

Like it or not, I had to admit this was a brilliant legal maneuver. Although sexual relations between two persons of the same sex remains in the category of sin, same-sex marriage now constitutes full-blown apostasy from the Church. Why? Because apostasy infers a complete rejection of the core fundamentals of the entire religion and all its teachings.

Mildly serious sins such as rape, robbery, or attempted murder can be repented of without the sinner necessarily having to undergo formal disciplinary proceedings. But Apostasy? That's a serious one, Bubba. Take it from me, all it takes is the mere accusation that you are an apostate, and you're out on your butt.

This may seem far-fetched to the average Mormon but remember, these rules are not intended to play to members of the church. These policies are aimed at outsiders in the legal community who may one day be judging the Church based on its legitimately held policies. This is also why the Church in recent months has spent so much time and energy instructing local leaders on the importance of following the Church Handbook of Instruction. When government lawyers are investigating an incorporated church for infractions, they aren't interested in that Church's religious beliefs. What they want to see is the Church's policies, practices, and procedures. I've been on the phone recently with three former bishops who all informed me they had been instructed by their higher-ups that the CHI is the only source they are to consult in the performance of their duties, barring even the scriptures. This would also explain why the Church released a training video featuring President Monson actually testifying of the Church Handbook, and did so in the name of Jesus Christ!

If that doesn't qualify as taking the name of the Lord in vain, I don't know what does.

The thing that makes Monson's odd testimony all the more disconcerting to me is that at least one blogger has noted and documented that in the past ten years, Thomas Monson "has not borne testimony of any of his own Church’s unique foundational doctrines, including the truth of the Book of Mormon or the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith in any of the church’s General Conference meetings"

But he enthusiastically bears his testimony of the corporate handbook.

Why Apostasy?
Since the legal definition of "apostasy" is the "total renunciation" of one's previously held religious beliefs, labeling a person an apostate effectively obviates any obligation a church might have to accommodate that person. In other words, the apostate, being in a state of apostasy, automatically forfeits any right to be served by an ecclesiastical authority that he, by nature of his apostasy, has effectively rejected as having no religious authority over him in the first place.

Even in the current political climate, no church would be required to perform a marriage ceremony for a couple who are not members of that church. Same-sex activity and cohabitation with a person of the same gender has always been considered sinful behavior in this church, but now the act of legitimizing such sinful behavior in a marriage contract represents willful rebellion against the religion itself. That effectively places the apostate couple in the category of "non-members." And since the Church already has a firm policy in place that non-members are not permitted to be married in our temples or our chapels, the request for a temple marriage is moot.

So that takes care of that.

But why the unusually harsh ruling regarding baptisms for the children of these so-called "apostates"?  Why punish them by refusing to allow their participation in an ordinance the Lord requires those children to have?

I really don't know the thinking behind that. I can only speculate that the Brethren are convinced that in order to make this charge of apostasy stick, it was necessary to claim that those who apostatize from this church are so furiously hateful in their apostasy that their disdain for the Church could conceivably rub off on their children, unduly influencing the children to embrace their parent's rebellion. It would not do, then, for apostate children to infiltrate the Church until they have been thoroughly vetted by those in authority.

Will The Strategy Work?
Whatever the plan was, it was not intended to attract such widespread public notice. The intent was to quietly slip these policy changes into the Church Handbook of Instruction without attracting any undue attention. That plan went out the window after someone working in the many layers of Church Bureaucracy leaked the document to John Dehlin, who then published screenshots of the CHI inserts on the internet.

The result was a virtual firestorm, resulting in the very type of publicity that could backfire on the corporate Church. Already every major news organization from CNN to the New York Times is reporting on the flood of members who are fed up with the hypocrisy and taking steps to resign.

If the time ever comes when the Church finds it necessary to employ this strategy, it could be seen by the Church's adversaries as a legal trick that lacks any true validity in doctrinal tradition. The other day the Church trotted out one of its general authorities to try and attempt damage control, but that interview was conducted by the Church's own head of Public Relations, so you can imagine how lame and unsatisfying that interview was. It did nothing to clarify why the Church's leaders had chosen to disobey God.

Of course, if the leaders really want these headaches to go away, they could easily solve all their problems by dis-incorporating the Church. That would place them once again under the protection of the first amendment to the constitution, removing the church from any and all interference from government lawsuits.

But this they will not do. As Moroni observed when looking into the Church in our day, "ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches..." The risk in dis-incorporating the Church is the possibility that a lot of the perks the Brethren enjoy would evaporate, and they would be forced to get regular jobs between conference gigs just like the Book of Mormon says they should.

As I related in my last post, Congressman George Hansen confided in me some years ago that he personally knew several general authorities who would prefer the Church rescind its corporate status. He did not name those particular apostles, but he did say they differed from the newcomers in that the old school apostles were firmly rooted in the doctrines of the faith. Those general authorities are all dead now, replaced by corporate yes-men who can't imagine the Church operating in any other form than the business model they have grown accustomed to.

I grew up in a different era. I can't imagine such theological giants as LeGrand Richards, Mark Petersen, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard Hunter, Harold B. Lee, Joseph Fielding Smith, or even Bruce McConkie sitting still while their lesser informed Brethren gutted the church of its core teachings on baptism and turned the church into the obvious counterfeit it is today.

It may very well be too late to turn this thing around. I highly doubt the Church will be reformed from the inside by its current administrators. We'll most likely have to wait until Christ returns as promised to set his house in order.

Let's hope by then there's still something left worth saving.


One Further Note:
I realize not many people follow the links I provide in these pieces, but if you are at all interested in how incorporation has turned churches in America upside down, I urge you to watch this one hour video by Peter Kershaw.  But beware: during the two or three minutes Paymon spends introducing the speaker, the sound levels have not yet been adjusted, so if you are wearing earphones when the sound gets corrected about four minutes in, be careful or you'll get blasted.


PNW_DPer said...

A cogent explanation of our late friend's (LDS_DPer) belief that the church is in bondage, like the Jaredite kings in Ether of the Book of Mormon.

Unknown said...

You missed the obvious, Rock. Children of gays aren't allowed to be blessed or baptized in the church because, as Elder Christofferson explained, that would trigger a cascade of paperwork and the official creation of membership records for the children.

This could conceivably create the scenario where two same-sex parents would be listed on the child's naming or baptismal record. That would be a legally disastrous precedent for the church.

Jared Livesey said...

Two points.

1. But what has outraged so many Mormons over the new policy is that it represents a radical departure from church doctrine and tradition, and that departure is radical in a multitude of ways. In the first place, by prohibiting the baptism of a child whose father or mother happens to be in a same-sex relationship, the institutional Church now appears to be visiting the sins of the fathers onto the heads of the children.

It is not a radical departure at all. This very same policy was already in place for the children of polygamists. All the Church has done is extend the exclusionary criterion to include children of married gays, who by marrying have publicly repudiated the doctrines of the Church as found even in the scriptures.

If this policy is unfair to the children of married gays then so also is the same policy unfair to the children of polygamists. But we were used to the ban on polygs' kids - out of sight, out of mind. This is a fresh offense, a fresh wound.

2. There will be nothing worth saving at the Lord's coming.

53 And the kingdom of God shall be taken from [the Jews], and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

54 Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

55 And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

56 And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

If that's not explicit enough...

23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

The fate of the Church is to be burned at the coming of the Lord.

Unknown said...

Wow... I decided to link over and listen to Monson's testimony of the CHI. Is it just me or does he seem to openly mock local leaders who try to conduct their meetings by the Spirit rather than by the policies and procedures? Is the president of the Church actually warning leaders to ignore the Holy Ghost and instead put their trust in the arm of flesh?

Idolatry in the Church is absolutely out of control...

Milo Jury said...

Unknown at 11:54am is on to something when considering the plight of young children in homes of same-sex married couples. I also think there is a similar practical problem if we allow these children to be blessed and baptized. After a blessing, the bishopric often recognizes the mother. Who would stand? One? Both? Man? Woman? And when holding a baptismal service or when a young man is ordained to the priesthood, there in the room will be two smiling parents. Of course, they would most likely be happy. But what kinds of uncomfortable moments will this make for other members in attendance,or worse, their children! To keep things from getting familiar and less objectionable, you must keep the sense of uncertainty and fear alive and well.
The church may be able to stop a legal fight using its policies and procedures, but a good investigator would uncover the actual acts being performed in our wards. If Salt Lake allows these things to happen, then appeal to policy would be weakened and perhaps nullified.

Unknown said...

Here's the thing: the power of Christ operates within the lives of those who faithfully strive to be like Him, regardless of whether the organization of The Church and the leaders thereof do.

Rebecca C. said...

If we can't have radical reform in the church, what is the point of holding onto it? We may as well get in line with the thousands yesterday. I still can't stand for this policy and I never will. I'm sure that will get me ousted. As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord.

Rebecca C. said...

It is also not fair to polygamous kids. Too bad John Dehlin wasn't in a position to leak that 9 years ago or so.

Brett said...

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

Adrian Larsen said...

If you watch president Monson's eyes when he testifies of the handbook, he is rather obviously reading from a TelePrompter. But then, I suppose that's the only way he testifies of anything.

LJn said...

Rock said: "But why the unusually harsh ruling regarding baptisms for the children of these so-called "apostates"? Why punish them by refusing to allow their participation in an ordinance the Lord requires those children to have?

"I really don't know the thinking behind that"

If they don't deny gay families the rites beginning at birth, the families can legally ask for all of the rites. At least, I believe the LDS Church leaders thinking runs along these lines. If members of a gay family are not allowed to get a toe in the door, the Church is safe (whatever that means).

In other words, they are covering their tails, preparing for the future.

But, I believe it will blow up in their faces, just like when Wilford Woodruff went to DC, insisting that the Lord would never let polygamy cease. He fought the federal gov't and the gov't won. I think this new policy is hastening the time when gay marriages will be performed in temples.


Inspire said...

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness....

And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men. And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly."
"And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people."

Behold, the weakness, behold the folly and abomination of the Gentiles. Next up, the overflowing scourge and desolating sickness, starting at His house.

Melissa Cunningham said...

Great post as usual. I love the way you explain things and make them so clear.

I'm Dence said...

I found the "well in this ward, we face the congregation" thing to be ironic.

I'm Dence said...

I found the "well in this ward, we face the congregation" thing to be ironic.

Thunder and Lighting said...

So why is it such a hard thing to stop doing weddings?

Craig Morris said...

If a gay couple cohabitate but are not legally married can children living with them (e.g. a child of a previous marriage) be blessed and baptized?

Robin Hood said...

I absolutely and unequivocally support the Handbook amendment. It is timely and well thought through. As Elder Christopherson pointed out, it brings the policy and practice of the church regarding the matter of SSM in line with that already adopted with children of polygamous marriages.
It's sensible, wise and workable, and will serve to protect the church in these volatile times.

Jared Livesey said...

Even if the Handbook amendment may ultimately be undone by the courts in the US, it does the people of the Church a service by illustrating just how far the Church has come from her titular head, the one whose name, for some reason, she still carries from when she was married to him.

1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

3 Whosoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

4 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.

5 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

6 Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!

7 Wherefore it thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

8 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

9 And a man's hand is his friend, and his foot, also; and a man's eye, are they of his own household.

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.

11 For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost, and to call sinners to repentance; but these little ones have no need of repentance, and I will save them.

12 How think ye? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13 And if it so be that he find it, verily, I say unto you, he rejoiceth more over that which was lost, than over the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14 Even so, it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

And, again.

25 And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.

And, again.

11 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and the disciples rebuked those that brought them.

12 But when Jesus saw and heard them, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.

13 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

14 And he took them up in his arms, and put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Dox said...

5 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

When you go back to the Greek, the word "offend" can also be translated "cause to sin," or even more relevant in this case, "cause to stumble."

Putting stumbling blocks in the way of children is not, in my opinion, a proper way to "protect the church," whatever that means.

alamogal said...

When I use the simple fulcrum of "What would Jesus do" to the evaluation of this 'policy', it comes down pretty hard on the "Well, he would NOT be involved in punishing the innocent". That's a no-brainer to me. I agree with Rock in that this is obviously a preemptive legal maneuver by the Boys to cover their hineys should the need arise, and the children's pain in this scenario is simply 'collateral damage'. However, (and more sinisterly, I believe) perhaps we should also consider the following: These handbook additions serve to make the environment in the church SO toxic and distasteful for gays and their families that they would have to be NUTS to want to cross the threshold of an LDS church to begin with. Could THAT be the real intention of the action? I can see a room full of 'suits' discussing what could be done to weed out current 'deviants' and prevent any new ones from coming into the membership. Soon enough, a 'Final Solution', of sorts, begins to develop, and the Boys and their attorneys have figured out this marvelous balance of feigned concern and hatred, resulting in the natural culling of 'less desireables' via the passive-aggressive disenfranchisement of their family members. Way to go, Boys! However, you can smell the desperation coming out of Salt Lake with this, and other recent moves. There is a winnowing going on all right, but NOT the one they imagined: Folks who still operate by the Spirit have started voting with their feet and soon enough, the only membership left will be those who don't question, swallow the absurdities, and can smile as they enter the gaping maw of the Machine.... Oh. Wait. Maybe THAT'S the Final Solution they were really after! Dang, these guys ARE clever.

Ryan Nickel said...

I have to say, that I have read several of your blog posts and never has it been any clearer to me than it is now about the church's head not being Christ. I want to do a word search for "Christ is the head" to see when the last time that was uttered in general conference.

Steak Presedent said...

I feel a bit dumb sometimes reading this blog because I have to look up words. Today it was "abnegated". I think I've heard that before, but I'll try to learn that one. I also felt a bit dumb when Rock said that anyone who has read the previous two posts should know why the change in policy was made, and I couldn't figure it out. Thanks for explaining it, though and I know you didn't mean that.

I'm quite surprised that all the media attention is due to John Dehlin leaking the information online. I bet most people commenting about it on Facebook have no idea who he is. What upsets me and others on these threads, is the un-Christlike behaviour of the active members to those who wish to leave the church. They're basically saying, "good-riddance" and "why would you want to stay in the church if you don't agree with it." Hey, what about those who love the church but don't agree with every policy that comes out of Church Headquarters? But I don't really know what to think of this one. I'm just strangely unfazed.

I don't wish to find fault with the Brethren. I think it's the general membership (which may include them) at fault. I believe they're true when they do what Lord wants them to do: preach the gospel. They're good at that (at least they're better than dumb little me), and I feel the Spirit testify of the truths they share but then I come across weird rules, like no divorced man is allowed to teach in CES. Or no gay man can be a scout. So, if you're a divorced gay man, watch out!

Steak Presedent said...

While I'm at it, here's another thing I couldn't stand: When the Mormon Tabernacle choir was on tour in Israel, they either received a bomb threat or there was some other cause that made them go into safety measures. The idea of going into safety measures is fine. But what those measures were, well, you make a judgement of them. Frankly, I found them utterly abhorrent and sexist. Not at women this time. No, ladies enjoyed a good ride this time! If you were a bloke though, you were expected to sit on the outside seats of the coach, so you were by the window. This was so you could protect the women.


Not only was it pretty stupid, but it basically meant that men were required to die in order to protect the women. No legitimate organisation that transports people will make such a policy as this. Rescue agencies try to save men and women; not distinguishing the worth of a soul based on what's between their legs. But no, not the guys leading the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. After all, no greater love has a man than this, that he lay down his life for his (female) friends. You wanna lay down your life to save your male friends too? Sorry, bud, no can do. Your leaders won't let you. Women are too precious (or weak and frail and will die if even one small shard of glass touches their delicate frames). Men on the other hand, either you were designed by God to better survive a bomb blast, or you're just disposable.

I don't know if they thought this policy came from God, because it was tradition for women to be saved first and then men. Like it was in the case of the Titanic. But that wasn't a tradition, nor was it ever a maritime law to save women and children first. Sadly, the fame of that event made people think it was the way things are and how they should be. There was only one other case I came across where the captain made this decision. But in both these cases it was simply that: the captain's decision. Not maritime law and not a commandment from God.

Steak Presedent said...

Sorry to veer off topic, but no-one points out the sexism, when it's unfairly in favour of men. A search on google to strive to find a complaint about how men aren't treated fairly by the church, will only yield results about women not having the priesthood and how they need to be married to a man to get to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom (even though men need to marry women, likewise). Somebody has to stick up for the guys!

Steak Presedent said...

I meant in favour of women.

I'd rather not have the priesthood and be treated like my life is worth saving than have the priesthood and expected to die to save a woman. I might lay down my life to save a friend, be they a man, woman, boy, girl, or have a rare genetic condition that produces both male and female genitalia. But it shouldn't matter what gender they are. I should lay down my life, if I want to become like Jesus, but I can't say if I would, right now. I need to study the church handbook of instructions until I become like that.

I like the CHI, btw, but I think it gets emphasised too much. If one follows the scriptures, they should be following what's in the CHI, as the CHI should be based on the scriptures.

Blaine said...

The easier solution would have been to do like is done in many countries. Separate the temple ceremony from the civil marriage. Require all members who wish to be married (in the temple) to first have a civil ceremony and then they can whisk off to whichever temple they wish and have those ordinances performed. It sure would solve a lot of headaches with people who come from member/non-member families. The church wouldn't even have to kick out those who are in same sex marriages. It could just say "we believe in treating everyone fairly and you are welcome to come and benefit from being at the ward and the activities, but you won't get a temple marriage..." Separating it would put them under the protection of the first amendment because they aren't denying anyone the right to marry. They would just be able to say "look, our religion doesn't do marriages...we seal a religious ordinance..." The church could have easily gone the route of love and openness to everyone rather than this route. This isn't unconditional love...this is discriminatory and legal wrangling and eventually I think they have opened a larger can of worms.

Steak Presedent said...

Bishops are able to perform marriages and they do that in many countries, so they would have to stop doing that then.

dtanner said...

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.

Jared Livesey said...

And yet, some children are to be excluded from full membership and participation in our society through no fault of their own.

That is not treating them with utmost respect and love, you see. To say otherwise is to lie.

24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;

25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.

Mike H said...

All children are to be treated with utmost respect and love while their parents are rounded up and excommunicated off the rolls as apostates. And as we look upon your poor poor unsaved children attending our holy sacrament services (blessed by our fine young, straight Aaronic priesthood holders boys who are constantly having to lie about all the porn and masturbation, (hope they washed their hands first..EW Gross!!))....eating our enriched white bread which represents Christs white Jewish flesh, drinking our chlorinated tap water which represents his pure sanitized holy blood, praying our solemn prayers and singing our reverent hymns and feeling the wonderful happy holy feeling thingy, yea looking upon your poor lost soul with piety (oops, meant pity) and shaking heads, know it is with the utmost kindness and reverence for every human soul that we withhold traditional baptism and human dignity. Yea, and when we honor your children with our priesthood blessings and admonish them to seek the lord for ten more years, then promptly disavow their caregivers who cared for, fed and clothed them, and labored for them, when we certainly wouldn't yea, when we offer them the spiritual council of wise men instead of the supposedly holy feely thingy, you will know that while we may love them, our Holy General Authorities certainly cannot. Yea because thus saith the sacred and divine handbook of instructions yea, the very same delivered to Thomas S, Monson prophet seer and revelator extraordinaire, yea delivered by the gift and power of Kirton MC-honky angels, yea, thus saith them:

Sing It Baby!

(fingers snappin, foot tappin)

♪You gotta be cruel to be kind, in the right measure,♪ cruel to be kind (it's a very good sign), cruel to be kind, means that I love you (wink, wink), BAAABAAY!! You got to be cruel, you gotta be cruel to be KIIND!!♪

Oh well,,, don't take it too hard LBGT folk, this church treats pretty much everyone like crap (I mean shows utmost love and respect) at some point or another, heck they're excommunicating some folks just for lipping off a little, especially if they don't take it back and disavow the internet. It could be worse, they could be coming around all the time trying to save your kids like they did the Native Americans, all the while telling them that one of these days, they'll be white and delightsome again! YEAH!! how do you like that Satan, we're gonna make them white again uhuh uhuh, church lady dance!! :) :)

Mike H said...

Eureeka, I've got it! I know how to get around this whole mess. Why, it's the Golden Rule! Not the my turn on earth golden rule, the three way golden rule! It's the new polygamy/polyandry baby!!

It's not gay when it's in a 3 way!

Mahana said...

"President Monson actually testifying of the Church Handbook, and did so in the name of Jesus Christ!

If that doesn't qualify as taking the name of the Lord in vain, I don't know what does."

I know you like to post word-crafty sentences to grab the readers attention, but this is pretty serious....So what is it Rock, you conceded in a previous post that President Monson kinda sorta is a prophet and now you've gone full Ed Decker by insinuating that he's blaspheming the name of the Lord.

President Monson said "If you follow the handbook it will be a blessing to you."

Most if not all blessings come from obedience. The handbook is a procedural outline to avoid aberrations from occuring like the High Councilman who wanted people to face their local temple when ordination took place. President Monson gave several examples like that. His words were a principle with a promise. You know that and are leading people astray.

Jeremy Blanchard said...

Well written. I do find this passage a bit dramatic though:
"It will find itself either forced to bow to the will of the State in this matter, or it will have to cease performing all weddings, both in temples and in chapels. Mormon weddings, including sealings for time and all eternity, will be a thing of the past."
There is perhaps another solution to avoiding the possible state requirement to perform SSM, and that is to perform no marriages at all, like the Church does in other countries. A couple gets married by the state and then gets sealed in the temple. The sealing, after all, is not a legal document or binding agreement.
Wouldn't this work? The Church hasn't been required to grant the Priesthood to anyone and everyone, why would the Church then be vulnerable of being forced to perform Sealings (not state marriages) for anyone and everyone? The Church is required to let anyone and everyone enter the temple.

Unknown said...

Wait what, Rock you stand by Mc Conkey and Peterson two racists? And diametrically opposed in doctrine in many areas?
Wait what, part 2, apostacy is if you don't defer to someone higher on the org chart? Like standing up to Adam God, racism etc?

Wait what, part 3, when a President such as Hinckley says tithe payers can see the books in a video interview and that isn't true (I asked) what is that?

Rock I hope you think twice about citing the likes of Mc Conkey and Peterson as your high mark...

Sincere in this, Moe

Meag said...

I feel the same way. And it hits close to home, as I know so many queer mormons (myself included) who wanted to raise our children in the church whether we marry someone of the same sex or the opposite sex. This policy is taking away even our hope for our children's faith in Christ's Church.
All my testifying of the gospel, a living Prophet, and the Restored Church will be counteracted by that same church telling my children they are not welcomed as full, participating, ordinance-making members.
I can't help but feel that the Church is doing all it can so that our families won't come to church at all...
I have a testimony of the Restored Gospel, but I also have been told through that same Spirit that same-sex marriage can be a holy endeavor that teaches His children how to be more like Him-especially as a same-sex couple raises a family.

Meag said...

Agreed. In other countries, a couple has to get married civilly first, then gets sealed in the temple.
Not so bad

Lilli said...

1st off, real men do protect women. That is their #1 responsibility in life. Not only is that Church doctrine but even the history of the US army shows that. Men go to war and most women stay home (to take care of the rising generation). Has always been that way in almost all societies.

And while this latest move might buy the Church a little more time, it's not the government or legal system that is the biggest worry for the Church, it's the members.

Probably half or more active members already support SSM, because they have family or friends with SSA and don't want them to have to be alone their whole life.

And soon it will be the majority of the membership pushing for SSM. So I believe the Church knows it's only a matter of time before they have to allow SSM in the temples, not only because government will insist but so will most all the membership.

The Church probably knows that it will loose some members when they do accept SSM, but it will also gain or regain many more because of it, and they know most members will just make excuses & go along with the change even if they don't agree , just like they do with so many other aspects of Mormonism that they may not like, like polygamy. For it seems being part of the social club means more to most members then if the Church is really following Christ or not.

I believe the Church even has the 'revelation' already prepared for when they have to announce that God has once again changed his mind on eternal doctrine, just in the nic of time too, like he has done so many times before.

Folkhard said...

Maybe marriage in the temple might became realitiy one day ( I personally don`t think it will happen ), but ther is a difference between getting married in the temple and getting sealed for time and all eternity.
What about the sealing of a SSM couple for time and all eternity?
How would that mach with the male / female principle and " be fruitful and multiply"?
As I am informed; even the creatures, who reproduce themselfes, experience a sort of "biological impuls", which creates a kind of male / female principle in the body of the " mother" in order to create the new live.
My point: what we are talking about are so 70-99 years on earth. We might have a lot of different points of view.
Christ said:

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Who is excluded?

As fare as age 8: I dont know a kid who knows what it means to be baptised and to be accoutable. Maybe 8 might mean something different as to be 8 years old. In the old hebrew meaning the number 8 belongs to the other world. Theay speak of the 8 th day. So maybe the Lord meant the real accoutability wich includes the understanding. Some may have a beginning of an understanding at 8, some somwere later.

1.Corinthians 13: 12
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known

Please excuse my mistakes in writing. I am not so firm in englisch.

Steak Presedent said...

DeeLyn, were you replying to my comment?

I agree that real men protect women, but it's not just women they should protect but their fellow men too. Real men don't spare womens' lives while sacrificing men. I'm not talking about in war, when the strongest individuals (which are men, usually) go to fight the enemy and protect everyone else. This will lead to some men dying while of course women are at home safe and sound, but I wasn't talking about war. I was referring to times when captains of ships or the leaders of MoTab were deliberately trying to save women over saving men. Men aren't more likely to survive freezing cold seas or bombs than are women. They're not being sent to fight for everyone, they're being put in harm's way so that women and only women will survive. I don't see how that is God's doctrine at all. Neither is it a tradition of men, unless you count what two captains did between around 1870-1920 as tradition. Personnel working on ships and planes today try to save everyone, male or female, and don't discriminate based on gender (and it had always been that way).

Steak Presedent said...

I have to say I'm very surprised to hear that there are Mormons who would consider getting married to someone of the same sex. By consider, I don't mean having the desire to be with someone of the same sex; that's understandable. But it's just obviously not the church's teaching to allow that kind of marriage. Personally, I don't call it marriage, as that word has always meant the union of a man and woman. Even in ancient societies like ancient Greece which tolerated homosexuality (at least between an older man and a teenage boy), they never had marriage between two persons of the same gender. If you know any cases when this has been done before, please let me know, because as far as I'm aware this is a recent move by human society.

Incidentally, and Rock alluded to this, is the problem with this subject in Pure Mormonism, is that neither the Lord nor Joseph Smith talked about it. SSM didn't exist back then. I don't criticize church leaders for condemning it as the only times the Lord talked about marriage, He referred to a man with a woman and the Old and New Testaments command against homosexual acts. So we can't go changing that without His instruction. Some say He referred to homosexuals (and asexuals) in Matthew 19:12, when He talked about eunuchs, but we don't have a clear instruction for gays and what they should do with regards to marriage.

Jared Livesey said...


If this is an issue you wish to know the Lord's will about, why not inquire of the Lord?

Pure Mormonism ought to consist, at the least, of people who can and do inquire of God and get answers, after all.

2 And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them.

3 For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought.

4 And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts....

6 And it came to pass that after I had received strength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the cause of their disputations.

7 And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.

8 And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?

9 And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.

10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?

11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

You say that "conceded in a previous post that President Monson kinda sorta is a prophet" and now I'm going full Ed Decker.

Well, I would hope not to be compared to a real, lying apostate like Decker, but I sure don't recall conceding anything about Monson having the gifts currently attributed to him. My position has always been that Thomas Monson, like his predecessor Gordon Hinckley (among others) fails to demonstrate any gifts or abilities one would expect to see in a prophet, seer, and revelator. So what post was it where you feel I've changed my mind?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mark Moe,
I seem to have failed to communicate my view if you got the impression I "stand by" Peterson and McConkie, in light of their racist views. I think it's pretty clear I opposed Peterson's view in particular, in a paragraph from his talk on Race and the Church which I cited in my piece, "Not Quite The Same."

In the present piece, I was merely comparing the Old School Church leaders, men who actually knew their way around the scriptures, with the current crop of imposters whose background is primarily in finance, law, and the professions, and who show little knowledge of LDS doctrine and theology. In my view, a religious leader should be very well versed in the religion. The modern managers are notable primarily for their administrative capabilities, and not for their mastery of the scriptures.

I have been especially critical of McConkie in the past for injecting his personal prejudices into his speeches and writings, but there is no denying he knew the scriptures inside out. The guys in charge today are flying by the seat of their very expensive suit pants, making it all up as they go, and justifying it by asserting that "living prophets" (by which they mean themselves) are more valid than the scriptures.

Lilli said...

I believe Christ's words are the best thing we have to inquire about the truth about SSA/SSM and of course common sense and experience and history. Like how does it effect society?

For 'the spirit' can give people all different versions of revelation & inspiration for and against SSA/SSM. Even if God himself appeared to someone no mortal is able to tell for sure if it's really God or Satan or his imagination.


I believe it's a show of respect by men to protect women in cases other then war. Women can choose to protect men too, but generally real men insist on protecting women and children from harm, out of respect and what women endure for men and posterity by giving birth. Mother's instinctively would do the same for their children, they would put their children in life boats 1st.

And I believe the Church will go along with the world and the push for allowing SSM because the Church has changed it's doctrine 'without God's approval' so many times in the past because the world wanted it, and the members or leaders wanted what the world wants, far more then what God & Christ wanted.

Money & power seems to be the bottom line for the Church, for the leaders have never kept the commandments of Christ, so why would they start to now?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I agree with you that the current policies are designed to discouraged homosexuals from joining the church. My guess is that the dilemma they face is the discovery that a good number of believing members happened to turn out to already be gay; not much they could do about turning them out. But they can certainly institute policies that would result in many of those same members deciding there is no place here for them, plus those policies are sure to prevent any new gay converts.

The strategy seems to be finding a way to get gay people to vote themselves and leave on their own. That way the Church doesn't have to look like they're performing a purge of gay members.

It was asked why can't the Church just stop performing marriages altogether; they could require couples to get married first (as is the proper way in the first place) then come to the temple for the sealing ordinance. Since a sealing is not a marriage but a priesthood ordinance and not a marriage, they could not be accused of discrimination.

There were rumors emanating out of the Church Office Building that this was being considered, but the problem with that would be that chapel weddings would have to cease also. If a bishop were to marry a straight couple in a church wedding, what would keep a devout gay couple from demanding the same privilege? The safe alternative would be for the Church to stop performing weddings of any sort.

I think for the Church to have to tell its members, "look, you can't even have a church wedding in this church, so go find another church to get married in, or go before a Justice of the Peace, or get married in some local community center" would be more than most members would stand still for. They would start to figure out that the Church is beholden to obedience to the State, and would start to ask questions. The last thing the leaders want is for the members to realize Jesus Christ is not running this show. That would deprive the hierarchy of all pretense to authority they now depend upon to hold the members in obedience to them.

Jared Livesey said...


Since you have negated any revelatory claim to knowledge, how, pray tell, do you know whether Christ ever said any of the words ever attributed to him by anyone?

After all, you cannot claim "the spirit" as a source of knowledge - ie, you cannot claim "the spirit" told you Christ said what is attributed to him in the Bible, because, forsooth, "the spirit" is claimed by others to give contradictory claims to yet others - and be self-consistent with your own statements.

I think we've had this discussion before and I don't believe you have yet offered a public reconciliation of this fundamental contradiction in your worldview. If you are not yourself Christ, your opinions, on your own claims and standards, ought to be dismissed out of hand.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I have to respectfully disagree with your prediction that the Church will one day seal same-sex couples in the temple. the recognition of marriage between two persons of the same sex belongs in the civil arena; as I pointed out in part one of this series of posts, gay "marriage" wouldn't even have become a thing had not people who opposed homosexuals living together done their utmost to get laws passed that would deprive those people of the basic rights of association that are enjoyed by married couples.

Gay marriage is a civil institution. A sealing ordinance is a religious one, intended only to "seal" a man and a woman and their offspring together for time and eternity. If the Church were to seal a same-sex couple under that holy ordinance, I feel it would be an abomination. That would be the last straw for even the most faithful Saints. Hell, that would be enough for me to realize that every last pretense of this Church being led by Christ was gone. I'd quit the church myself over that issue, had they not thrown me out already.

I understand what you are saying about the growing acceptance by many members of people with same-sex attraction. But that acceptance is based on the realization that people should not be deprived of basic human rights simply because they love differently from others. But acceptance of the rights of all to be treated decently does not extend to religious ordinances intended to accomplish a specific purpose, and in the case of a sealing, that purpose has to do with persons of opposite genders only.

I think (and I should have included this in my piece) that the Church leaders are more afraid of a suit requiring churches of any denomination that perform weddings in their chapels to also perform weddings between ALL members of the congregation in those chapels, regardless of sex. Or, if not within the chapel walls, a minister (or LDS bishop) who performs a private wedding in a couple's home might also be required to do the same for a same-sex couple in his congregation.

I think it fears this outcome more than it fears the requirement to perform temple marriages. But until the Church stops calling them temple marriages and starts calling them by their rightful name, temple sealings, they will continue to have problems they will have to think up ways of dodging.

PNW_DPer said...

Had a weird thought just now, (actually not really new, but more clear) that perhaps the main reason the "church" is being afflicted with these issues regarding same-sex attraction, gay marriage, etc. is because of the failure of the members and leaders of the church to renounce war and proclaim peace, along the lines of Rock's postings on war and peace.

As recently as WW2, the First Presidency did in fact issue letters and statements opposing war and proclaiming peace, including a talk in General Conference by J. Reuben Clark that supported the many US Generals and Admirals who opposed and condemned the atomic bombings of Japan, and added that God will not forgive the people of the country, and the church, for not publicly rising up and opposing the terror bombings.

PNW_DPer said...

And perhaps the "Corporate Church" doesn't follow the Savior's teachings on war and peace because, as a corporation, it is in captivity to Babylon (the pro-war government).

Anonymous said...

"...only a matter of time before it faces a legal challenge that might require the Church to permit same-sex marriages within the walls of its temples." I would argue against your theory in that 1) the US law on same sex marriage protects all churches from litigation should performance of said marriage goes against their belief, and 2) same sex marriage has been legal in many parts of the western world and has not, thus far, been a problem to the church and its teachings. Otherwise, we would have heard about it by now.

Inspire said...

Charles10: You said, " the US law on same sex marriage protects all churches from litigation should performance of said marriage goes against their belief..."

The Corporation of the President... is not a church. It does not have rights like a church does. If the government says that it has to perform marriages, as per its contract with the state, it will have to do so or risk losing its tax-exempt status.

Steak Presedent said...


Wow! Someone actually talking about one of the really big dangers in general conference. No one mentions the wars going on today or how the events in the Book of Mormon are similar. I know things like sexual immorality are a real danger to society, in an insidious destroy-from-the-inside sort of way, but Gadianton robbers were the ones who actually destroyed nations in the BOM, and there are no warnings or mention about them today.

Jared Livesey said...

Well, if you have not come unto Christ, nor are keeping his commandments, do secret combinations really matter? Only repentance could have saved the Nephites. Only repentance can save us.

Steak Presedent said...

If they didn't matter, they wouldn't be in the Book of Mormon.

Jared Livesey said...


Yes, God gives people stuff, scripture even, that isn't expedient for them.

Jacob 4:14
14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.

If you prefer to be decoyed, though, go right ahead.

11 For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:

12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.

13 Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 And many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

Steak Presedent said...

Yes, the important thing to take out of the Book of Mormon is to have faith in Christ and repent (and do the things that enable us to achieve having faith and repentance.) Still, unless you're good enough to only need a chapter to live your life righteously following Him, you could do with some more help. I don't think the Lord caused the books to be written so that we may stumble.

Besides didn't Mormon or Moroni say that we should not let secret combinations take over. If everyone follows Christ that won't happen, of course. (I'm lazier than you, and don't look for scriptures to make a comment, and so I'm not sure who said it). I believe it's good to be warned of such things, and it helps us understand what's going on in the world. Does the world at large know that the secret combinations today are inspired by the devil and that he has so inspired many others in the past? At least those who are in it, may learn from the teachings of the Lord in the Book of Mormon and realise their faults and repent.

Steak Presedent said...

When I said "lazier than you" I don't mean it in a way that implies you're lazy.

Jared Livesey said...


I am lazier than you.

But check this out.

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

PNW_DPer said...

I remember attending a Gospel Doctrine class about 20 years ago where the teacher was giving a lesson about secret combinations, using the Book of Mormon terminology of "Gadianton Robbers", and directly relating them to the secret combinations of our day. Very, very true what he was saying, and very, very politically incorrect. He was very shortly released from Gospel Doctrine, but continued on as the Gospel Essentials teacher. I always admired him for having a lot more balls than I or anyone else I know of to actually teach the truth.

Unknown said...


Thanks for the clarification on Peterson and McConkie.


I tonight we were on the same page... We are...

Craig Morris said...


What's more

38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.

39 And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God.

40 And thus we see that they were in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction.

We should be asking:

* Who has obtained sole management of our government smiting, rending and turning their backs upon the poor in the process?

* What seductive "spoils" supported by secret combinations and murder can this group offer, something that can garner wide, nearly universal participation of the "righteous"?

* Or does this not apply to us?

Jared Livesey said...


Let me ask - should we be asking those questions?

Or should we be making an altogether different request?

15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.

That is the doctrine of repentance in the Book of Mormon - the plan of salvation.

And, again:

41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

And, again:

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?

8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

So, should we be asking about secret combinations, or should we be begging God for the remission of our sins?

The choice is up to each man. One path is profitable, while the other leads to death.

Craig Morris said...


I am not sure why you dismiss what is clearly a major (though secondary) theme of the Book of Mormon.

37 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites.

The descendants of Lamoni and Aminadab asked both questions. The questions of salvation was obviously more important but they didn't just say "we are saved and can ignore this problem". Focusing on the second question can of course become a distraction from the first and maybe that is what you mean when you say it leads to death. Also, the Lamanites response to the second question was based in charity rather than vengeance and one we would do well to emulate.

Captain Moroni worked hard to eliminate conspiracies against the government because if they got the upper hand there would be no possibility of practicing his religion at all and it is suggested that we should try and emulate him.

17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

I believe these things are included to instruct our actions and we ignore them at our peril.

Jared Livesey said...



8 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.

9 And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies.

10 But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.

On the other hand,

Helaman 7:23
23 For behold, thus saith the Lord: I will not show unto the wicked of my strength, to one more than the other, save it be unto those who repent of their sins, and hearken unto my words. Now therefore, I would that ye should behold, my brethren, that it shall be better for the Lamanites than for you except ye shall repent.

Who are the wicked?

49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.

50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.

51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.

52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.

53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.

Priorities, you see.

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Steak Presedent said...


So, you're agreeing with DrabMatter then, because he/she said that the questions of salvation were more important.

But anyway, I see you have taken the message of the gospel to heart, so continuing about secret combinations won't profit you much. If we live the gospel fully we will be helping others follow Christ, whether they are part of secret combinations or not. If we're all like Captain Moroni and like Alma and like Jesus, we won't be defeated by secret combinations but they will be destroyed from among us.

Unknown said...

while you argue several logical points, the mischaracterization of the policy at the beginning undermines some of your arguments by setting up a straw man. First of all, the policy affects children whose primary residence is with a parent that is in a homosexual cohabitation arrangement. If they have a parent who is gay, that isn't enough to keep them from getting baptized. It's if their primary residence is with a gay parent who is ALSO in a current cohabiting relationship with another gay person. Second, you state that policy requires them to denounce their parents, no it doesn't. It requires them to denounce the practice of same sex marriage/homosexual BEHAVIOR. You are very educated about nuances of words and how slight changes in paraphrasing something can change how it is represented, so you should be setting up your argument based on the actual policy. Any argument is more powerful when the facts are clearly stated, not mis-characterized by paraphrasing.

On one hand you bemoan the church visiting the sins of the parents on the children by not allowing baptism until 18 for children the policy actually applies to (a much smaller audience than what is presented in the article), and then on the other you complain that it requires the children to make a clear distinction that the lifestyle their parents conveyed and lived while they grew up is sinful. So who do you want to be responsible for their commitment? It seems the policy allows parents who are in open rebellion to God's standard on sexual relations to take responsibility for their choices and recognize that it affects their children while allowing the children to make a commitment when they can be fully responsible for it. The church does have a responsibility to make sure when someone gets baptized they have been taught and understand the commitment and are in a situation where they will likely be able to keep it. For the average child of 8 that is baptized, they have at least one parent who is fully active and will continue to teach and reinforce gospel standards at home after they are baptized helping them to keep that commitment.

Finally, organized polygamous groups DID infiltrate the church with children that were taught one thing at home and another at church and sent several children on missions who then proselyted other missionaries and church members in France to practice polygamy. It created a mess in the 50's in France for the church. You don't think with the activism in the gay community today that the same thing could not be perpetuated by an organized group of homosexual mormons?

While you make valid logical points, you fail to consider other possibilities and motives for the policy so the argument rings somewhat hollow. The reasons the church has given and some that are there, but not commented on (like past experience) suggest there is wisdom in the policy, even if you don't care to acknowledge it.

sfort said...

I hate to burst your bubble concerning other general authorities of the past, but they were no better. Harold N. Lee ramrodded correlation program through against David O'McKay's admonition. Joseph Fielding Smith created his own doctrine and Mark E. Peterson was upended by Dewey. The idea that any man is revered is really distasteful and lacks any independence of a divine soul looking within for their own personal power. The whole system has been covert for many years.

Anonymous said...

That's not always true of other children though. Children can be very cruel. If little Jenny was sitting in Primary during the time that the other children were preparing for their baptisms, it would become very clear to the other children that there was something different about little Jenny.

When I was young here in Canada, we used to sing God Save the Queen and then say the Lord's Prayer. Before we said the prayer, several children would be asked to leave the room. I didn't understand what this meant and assumed that they had done something wrong and were being punished. I realize now that they were probably just Jewish and their parents had asked that they be excused. But they never explained that to us. They just left me to my assumptions. I pitied those kids.

But kids can also be very cruel. A child being excluded could well be bullied. They would absolutely feel different and that does nothing for a child's self-esteem. I really don't think that the children were considered here at all.

I don't know very many people who would grow up in a loving home and then denounce their parents. Most people love and are proud of their parents, no matter who they are.

Juan said...

I've thought about this, and I think the church views itself as an arbiter in the intimate family structure. The more they can get into your lives, institutionally, the more they feel that what they are doing is right. The church is about power. There is no reason you can't get married outside the temple, and sealed therein, even scripturally. Basically, the church doesn't trust us to have a good marriage if it can't be inside the temple.

Folkhard said...

In gernany one can only be sealed in the temple. There is no marriage in the temple although members call it this way. One have to be married civilicly in order to get sealed.

Folkhard said...

In gernany one can only be sealed in the temple. There is no marriage in the temple although members call it this way. One have to be married civilicly in order to get sealed.

Jimbo said...

Great post Rock! Love your explanation, and agree 100% with you.
The Church loves shooting itself in the foot, and has NOT learned it's lesson from the past (i.e. Polygamy, and Blacks & the priesthood).

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Joe said...

You made two legal errors in your post:

"Board of Directors" -- There is NO board of directors in corporate sole. ALL power resides in the President (singular) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In short, if President Monson wanted to buy the Bahamas, there isn't anything anyone could do to stop him.

"The LDS Church itself is licensed by the State..." No, the state grants the right to marry people to most religious "pastors" with the location not mattering. This is actually the exception, not the rule vis-a-vis most countries.

I believe the problem of litigation per se is minimal. Any claims by same sex couples would already have been litigated by heterosexual couples. I believe it's a combination of fear of losing their tax exempt status, which for property tax would crush the church, and not wanting to put down two daddies or two mommies on an individual's church record. Yes, it's that crass.

PNW_DPer said...

Just looking at links to various blogs and websites of people exed for being too "Mormon", (Rock's-this one, Will Carter's, Denver's, the 77truth guy, etc.) it occurred to me that one of the temptations or evils of contention (whether by "TBM's" defending the faith, "Remnants" defending their understanding of problems in the institutional church, atheists/agnostics defending their own perceptions, or any other kind or source of contention) is it appeals to our pride.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure why this additional policy is such a big deal little plig kids haven't been able to be baptized for years on the same note, that should effectively excommunicated the entire early church. This just further proves that they are not worshipping a God who is the same yesterday today and forever

Steak Presedent said...


It's funny how people only mention pride when it's a single member or a group of members who disagree with the institution. But can't those who uphold the institution also get tempted with pride?

Joy Metcalf said...

I've been ruminating on your blog for a few days, and while I agree with some of what you say, it appears that you've overlooked some fundamental ideas.

I do wonder about the “apostate” label, but I don’t agree with your seeming assessment that civil marriage makes same-sex marriage right, and that the participants do not deserve excommunication. I've known several members who have broken their marital covenants, did not repent their behavior, and were excommunicated. And as I muse on what "apostacy" means, haven’t those in same-sex marriages rejected the Plan of Happiness? They’ve rejected God’s definition of marriage for their own; they’ve rejected the sealing of children to a father and mother. Isn’t that the foundation of the Plan? So how can you say they are not apostates?

Like it or not, the Great Plan depends on marriages between a man and a woman. I can't see where recognizing civil marriages or allowing blessings and baptisms of children of same-sex marriages is helpful. You deplore the same treatment of polygamist families, but here I must disagree.

Many years ago when I was in my late teens, I lived across the hall from a young man who came from a polygamist family. He did not have to renounce his family, only the practice of polygamy. He joined the Church because through study and prayer he became convinced that the sect he came from had gone astray. He still loved and visited his family, but he thought the Church's stand on baptisms and blessing was absolutely right. He remarked that it would have been very uncomfortable with a foot in both worlds, and that he was grateful that he was made to wait until he understood the ramifications of his decision.

I've never forgotten him or the long conversations we had over thorny Church teachings. Perhaps in 20 years we'll be able to talk to the children raised in same-sex marriage and get their perspective. Until then, I support the policy.

Joy Metcalf said...

Blogger PNW_DPer said...

As recently as WW2, the First Presidency did in fact issue letters and statements opposing war and proclaiming peace, including a talk in General Conference by J. Reuben Clark that supported the many US Generals and Admirals who opposed and condemned the atomic bombings of Japan, and added that God will not forgive the people of the country, and the church, for not publicly rising up and opposing the terror bombings.
I would add to this, that there have been many talks given in conference and without that condemn war. One that I read and reread is by President Kimball, called "The False Gods We Worship". Easy to find, June 1976 Ensign. There are others if you look, but unfortunately, as a people, Latter-Day Saints love the war machine.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Crooked Shade Farm,
I think you've misunderstood me. I don't hold the position that "civil marriage makes same-sex marriage right." I don't hold that view at all. Neither am I "in favor" of gay marriage. My views on the subject can be adequately gleaned from a reading of my posts entitled "Why I Don't Care If You're Gay" and "The Real Threat To Traditional Marriage." (You can find the links to those pieces by following the first link in this essay.)

As for the example of your friend, I've already stated my opinion that few children are capable of understanding the commitment they make at baptism when they were eight. But does that preclude someone older, say, of the age Joseph Smith was when he beheld the Father and the Son? Could not a fourteen year old, or a sixteen year old, be capable of the decision to be baptized for the purpose of demonstrating his commitment to Christ? What in heaven's name does baptism have to do with joining a particular denomination? Most pertinent, why does the LDS Church insist a person must be of LEGAL age? I think the answer is clear: to protect the institution from political fallout, it has chosen to abide by the arbitrary age limit set by the laws of men in our day.

For those who believe baptism is only valid if performed by one holding authority in the LDS Church, the solution is much simpler than disobeying the commandment of God and prohibiting a willing youth from taking part in that ordinance. All that needs to be done is to baptize the minor, but refuse to confirm him a member of this particular religious denomination. That way the commandment to be baptized is fulfilled, but the institution can make its own rules as to who can join the society or not.

I was expelled from the LDS Church last year, but I would be a fool to assume my expulsion from the society somehow negated my baptismal commitment to God. One has nothing to do with the other. Why else would we hold a separate ritual to confirm a person a member of the Church, if baptism alone served that function?

If the Church was truly guided by Jesus Christ today, it would align itself on religious principles, and not kowtow to political expediency in an effort to protect itself from the arbitrary and changing laws of men.

Lize M.B. said...

I did notice it. He definitely was reading the teleprompter. 🙄