Sunday, July 31, 2005

#179 - Not a Political Church - UPDATED

An interesting discussion over at Feminist Mormon Housewives. Seems the poster had a discussion during a temple recommend interview regarding support of the Church's position against gay marriage. In essence, the author was informed that by not supporting the church's stated opposition to gay marriage (truthfully, the author is agnostic about the whole gay marriage issue), she may not be worthy to hold a current recommend.

Two questions were then posed:

1. Is there anyone else out there who feels as ambivalent about this as [the author does]?
2. Is there political freedom in the church?

The commenters, so far, appear mostly to mirror her views that the Church really shouldn't be making any kind of statement with regards to what is, essentially, a political issue.

And yet, it isn't.

The fires were well stoked here in California several years ago with the Church's support of Proposition 22. Prop 22 amended California's constitution to legally define marriage as only being between a man and a woman. You can imagine how well that sat with mostly-liberal Californians who couldn't wait (and didn't, it turns out) to challenge that amendment both in court and by way of civil disobedience. San Francisco (surprise!) leading the way.

The Church's support of the proposition was incalculable in getting it passed. Enough Christian voters turned out in support of the measure to carry it to a successful passage. I remember attending special meetings where we were directly counselled by members of the Quorum of the Twelve (via satellite, of course) as to our responsibilities to support this initiative.

The bottom line, of course, is the Proclamation on the Family. The Proclamation merely formalized in one statement the Church's stand with regard to the sacred nature of the traditional family. If we truly support the prophets as duly ordained mouthpieces for the Lord, then we have a sacred duty to speak out in support of the Lord's plan - in its entirety - whenever it may be threatened.

Many are young enough not to remember the Church's stance against the Equal Rights Amendment. Interestingly enough, the Church opposed the ERA for exactly the same reason it has come out in opposition to gay marriage; both issues have a direct impact on the survival of the Lord's established family unit, and supporting those issues encourages the degradation of this sacred institution.

The Church is not a political entity. You can argue the point all you like, but the Church has always stated, unequivocally, that members are free to vote their consciences on any issue. At the same time, the Church has also said that it will always stand in support of those issues which are seen to directly threaten our ability to live a Christ-centered life. Remember, too, that occasionally our decisions and philosophies will place us in a condition of disobedience, and consequences will follow. That has always been the Lord's way.

When you stop to think about it, there is never anything "political" about the Church. This issue of gay marriage is not now, nor has it ever been, a "political" issue where members of the Church are concerned. The sacred union of a man and a woman is one of the essential ordinances that makes us eligible to enter the Celestial Kingdom. Anything that corrupts that practice means that those who participate in any other kind of union - no matter how loving - do so at their eternal peril. Should we not, as ambassadors of the living gospel, do everything in our power to prevent such things from happening? Isn't that the essence of conversion?

It may not make us popular, but... since when has popularity been one of our articles of faith?

UPDATE: Interesting comments on this topic. Mostly, I suspect, non-members trying to get a rise out of me, or maybe just see if I have a pulse. Still, this one statement in particular I find to be very telling:
It is very surprising to me that a church led through direct communication with Christ would be so consistently behind the times when it comes to social issues.

There are countless arguments that could be raised in response to this sentiment which is shared by so many who don't understand either the purpose or the nature of the restored Church. In short, the Church does not exist to support societal passions or political agendas. The only agenda we have - and have ever had - is the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth.

When we come right down to it, shouldn't it be the Savior who sets the agenda for society, rather than the other way around?

Very early in my blogging "career" (if one can call it a career), I posted about a disturbing trend - supported by no less than the Archbishop of Canterbury - toward designer scriptures. The basic premise seems to be that if society has evolved to such a degree, surely the scriptures should evolve to match the times. The fact that many of the truths contained in the KJV are now so distorted as to be completely unrecognizable doesn't seem to faze the revisionists.

Money quote:
There is nothing final about this translation. It is a rolling translation. It will be changed in future editions in response to constructive suggestions from those who find it helpful. It is not meant to replace any other translation, merely to provide a fresh and exciting alternative.


For the record, Will, in response to your "codification" comment, don't forget that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was really an attempt by the framers to codify so-called "natural law," most of which is based on Judeo-Christian tradition.

Carry on...

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