Note: I originally wrote this post on October 18, 2010 on my family blog. I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and have decided to publish it on My Soul Delighteth. I think it belongs here.
On Sunday, October 3, 2010, President Boyd K. Packer, whom members of the church sustain to be a “prophet, seer and revelator” gave this talk.
As a prophet, President Packer’s responsibility is to call the world to repentance – much like Noah did in his day as he built the ark, like Lehi in Jerusalem, and like many other prophets in the past.
Unfortunately, as they did with Noah and Lehi, the world has rejected the words of the prophets, and have even gone so far as to petition him to withdraw his statements. This is not a new thing. It has happened again and again throughout history, and God’s word has always remained unchanged. As President Packer so bluntly put it:
...there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature...There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed...To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.
I respect everyone’s right to an opinion. But I also believe in God’s word, and I firmly believe in God’s prophets who deliver His word to us – especially in these latter days.
Satan is stirring up the hearts of men. A war is waging. “Who’s on the Lord’s side, who? Now is the time to show...” This particular battle hits really close to home for me. I have had to make some really difficult decisions about some people who are very dear to me. All I can think about is how to “love one another” while still being devoted to righteousness, and not “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” This article, a Q&A with Elder Oaks and a member of the 70, has been particularly helpful.
In response to the petition I mentioned earlier, the brethren had this to say:
Much of this was not new, but there were a lot of really great things said. A few of my favorites:
“As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman.”
“None of us is limited by our feelings or inclinations. Ultimately, we are free to act for ourselves.”
“The Church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.”
I don’t believe that there is a different "type" of person that is homosexual or “gay” - to me, that would be like saying people with black skin are somehow "different" than people with whiter skin (if you've read The Help you might see where I am going with that). I know that people will disagree, and that is fine. I believe that people have same-gender, or homosexual, attractions, and that they can sometimes be very strong. But they are still just children of God to me. If they choose to participate in homosexual behaviors, or live a homosexual lifestyle, then that is what they are doing. I believe that there is nothing fundamentally different between someone who struggles with same-gender attraction, and the rest of God’s children who struggle with something else. We are all children of God experiencing trials and struggles on this earth with Satan tempting us and trying us. We inhabit imperfect bodies with imperfect emotions and chemical make ups. We all face trials. (read more about that here)
God made man and woman. He created them specifically different – to fulfill different purposes. From The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
As I write this, I realize that I am not writing it to an audience of people who don’t believe in Christ and the atonement. I am writing it in hopes that someone who feels unsure about the word of God on this issue can maybe read my testimony and perhaps feel the spirit and have a little better understanding of God’s word.
It is not easy to stay true to the Savior. Especially in today’s social and political climate. There is so much of the Adversary’s influence in our societies that we can be easily confused by the arguments out there.
Sometimes I get very discouraged because the world is getting more and more wicked – good is called evil, and evil is called good. But I know that there is hope and happiness available to those who live the gospel – for those who earnestly call on God in the name of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ and ask for a confirmation of that which is true. The Spirit will guide us. I know that because I beg the Lord for His Spirit to be with me as I raise my children and feel like I don’t know anything. And he grants His spirit to me.
If there is one thing I know is absolutely true, it is that God lives and loves us and has given us living prophets on the earth to help guide us when we become confused about how to live in the world and not be of the world.
And I hope and pray that you will try to get that testimony for yourself.
Cleansing the Inner Vessel by President Boyd K. Packer
The Q&A with Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman
The Response to the HRC Petition
Many of These Articles
Another Good Article by Elder Oaks