Sunday Afternoon Session

October 6, 2013 | 41 comments
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Conductinng: Elder Henry B. Eyring

Elder Quentin L. Cook: Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware Of Bondage

  • Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct result in bondage in all its insidious manifestations. These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes bring destruction.
  • Bondage, subjugation, addictions, and servitude come in many forms.  They can be literal physical enslavement, but can also be loss or impairment of moral agency that can impede our progress.
  • Addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health cause bondage.  The impact of drugs and alcohol, pornography, gambling, financial subjugation and other afflictions impose on those in bondage and on society a burden of such magnitude that it is almost impossible to quantify.
  • Addictions or predilections that while not inherently evil can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives.  These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others.
  • The most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message.
  • Gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies.  If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage.  There are many voices now telling women how to live. They often contradict each other.  Of particular concern are philosophies that criticize or diminish respect for women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to be mothers, teachers, nurturers or friends to children.
  • Now let me say unequivocally that I am thrilled with the educational and other opportunities that are available to women.  I treasure the fact that the back-breaking work and domestic drudgery required of women has been reduced in much of the world because of modern conveniences and that women are making such magnificent contributions in every field of endeavor.  But if we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship that children have with mothers and grandmothers, and others who nurture them, we will come to regret it.

Elder Neil L. Anderson: Power in the Priesthood

  • A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings. The blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift.

  • Some may sincerely ask the question, “If the power and blessings of the priesthood are available to all, why are the ordinances of the priesthood administered by men?” When an angel asked Nephi, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” Nephi answered honestly, “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” When we speak of the priesthood, there are many things we do know.
  • As surely as we know that God’s love is “alike” for His sons and His daughters, we also know that He did not create men and women exactly the same. We know that gender is an essential characteristic of both our mortal and eternal identity and purpose. Sacred responsibilities are given to each gender.
  • While we know a lot about the priesthood, seeing through the lens of mortality does not always give a complete understanding of the workings of God.
  • Sincerely asking for and listening to the thoughts and concerns voiced by women is vital in life, in marriage, and in building the kingdom of God.

Elder David M. McConkie: Teaching with the Power and Authority of God

  • You are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You must not teach your own ideas or philosophy, even mingled with scriptures. The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation,” and it is only through the gospel that we are saved.
  • It is significant that the First Presidency did not say that the most important part of your service is to prepare your lesson well or to master various teaching techniques. Of course you must diligently prepare for each lesson and strive to learn how you can teach so as to help your students exercise their agency and allow the gospel to enter into their hearts, but the first and most important part of your service is your personal, spiritual preparation.
  • After you have prepared yourself and your lesson to the very best of your ability, you must be willing to let go.  When the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost come, you must have the courage to set aside your outlines and notes and go where those promptings take you. When we do this, the lesson you deliver is no longer your lesson, but it becomes the Savior’s lesson.

Elder Kevin S. Hamilton: “Continually Holding Fast”

  • In each of these unique but connected meetings, we learn the doctrine, feel the spirit, and serve one another.   While there may be exceptions due to distance, travel cost, or health, we should strive to attend all of our Sunday meetings.  I promise that blessings of great joy and peace that will come from worship during our three hour Sunday meeting schedule.
  • There will always be some “good” activity that can and should be sacrificed for the better choice of church meeting attendance.   This is in fact one of the ways that the adversary “cheateth [our] souls, and leadeth [us] carefully away”. He uses “good” activities as substitutes for “better” or even “best” activities.
  • We should never pick or choose which meetings we attend.  We simply hold fast to the word of God by worshipping and attending all of the Sabbath meetings that are offered.
  • Just as the simple decision to attend or not attend one of their Sabbath day worship meetings made a significant difference in the lives of my grandparent’s family, our every day decisions will impact our lives in significant ways. A seemingly small decision such as whether or not to attend a sacrament meeting can have far-reaching, even eternal consequences.

Elder Adrián Ochoa: Look Up

  • So much information of man is now at our fingertips. But the Internet is also full of much that is filthy and misleading. Technology has augmented our freedom of speech, but it also gives an unqualified blogger false credibility based on the number of viewers. This is why now, more than ever, we must remember this eternal principle: “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
  • My dear brothers and sisters, if you ever come across anything that causes you to question your testimony of the gospel, I plead with you to look up. Look to the Source of all wisdom and truth. Nourish your faith and testimony with the word of God.
  • Jesus Christ, who was perfect, and Joseph Smith, who admitted that he was not, were both killed by false accusers who would not accept their testimony. How can we know that their testimony is true—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Joseph Smith is a true prophet? “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
  • There are some who may suggest that you must have physical evidence in order to believe in the resurrection of Christ or the veracity of His restored gospel. To them I quote the words of Alma to Korihor, who was trying to persuade others not to believe: “Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee.”

Elder Terence M. Vinson: Drawing Closer to God

  • … rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems, and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him, is His goal. In fact, it is His glory as well as His work.
  • That’s exactly how I feel about the Savior. He is always near, especially in sacred places and in times of need; and sometimes, when I least expect, I feel almost like He taps me on the shoulder to let me know He loves me. I can return that love in my own imperfect way by giving Him my heart.

Elder Russell M. Nelson: Decisions for Eternity

  • The wise use of your freedom to make your own decisions is crucial to your spiritual growth, now and for eternity.  You are never too young to learn, never too old to change.  Your yearnings to learn and change come from a divinely-instilled striving for eternal progression. Each day brings opportunity for decisions for eternity.
  • Your Heavenly Father has known you for a very long time.  You, as His son or daughter, were chosen by Him to come to earth at this precise time, to be leaders in His great work on earth. You were chosen not for your bodily characteristics, but for your spiritual attributes, such as bravery, courage, integrity of heart, a thirst for truth, a hunger for wisdom, and a desire to serve others.
  • A pivotal spiritual attribute is that of self-mastery—the strength to place reason over appetite.  Self-mastery builds a strong conscience.  And your conscience determines your moral responses in difficult, tempting, and trying situations… Why the need for self-mastery?  God implanted strong appetites within us for nourishment and love, vital for the human family to be perpetuated. When we master our appetites within the bounds of God’s laws, we can enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy.
  • We can change our behavior.  Our very desires can change.  How?  There is only one way.  True change—permanent change —can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • While we are to emulate our Savior’s kindness and compassion, while we are to value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, we cannot change His doctrine.  It is not ours to change.  His doctrine is ours to study, understand and uphold.

President Thomas S. Monson: ‘Til We Meet Again

  •  May Heaven’s blessings be with you. May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. May you constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of the adversary.
  • Conference is now over. As we return to our homes, may we do so safely. May the spirit we have felt here be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day. May we show increased kindness toward one another, and may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord.

 

 

41 Responses to Sunday Afternoon Session

  1. Jax on October 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I know it’s not the culturally “hip” position, but I repeatedly heard throughout this conference not to be fooled into supporting things like abortion, SSM, etc., with Elder Cook seeming to hammer that message home with this

    •The most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message.

    IMO, this wasn’t just a message of, “don’t do those things yourself” but rather a message saying, “it’s not even okay to support those political beliefs.” Anybody else get the same message from this conference and that portion of Elder Cook’s talk?

  2. Steve on October 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Yes, you’re right that Elder Cook discourages members from supporting some political causes. But, that’s nothing new. The church still doesn’t threaten any disciplinary action against anyone for their political beliefs. You can be a member in good standing and support legalized abortion and legalized SSM.

  3. Jax on October 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Steve, I understand that we can be members in good standing WITH THE CHURCH and support those things, but can we be in good standing with the Lord if we support policies contrary to His commands and purposes? Are we His disciples if we pursue, or even just support, goals that are contrary to His own?

    I’ve never really thought so, and that seems to be what Elder Cook seems to be saying as well.

  4. Charlie on October 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    “You can be a member in good standing and support legalized abortion and legalized SSM”

    Problem is that to be against abortion except in the cases of rape, incest and health or life of the mother is at risk (which is the stated first presidency position) one has to become pro-choice. The fundamentals of the pro-life position, as preached by the majority catholic and evangelical voice, does not allow an abortion even if the life of the mother is at risk or if its a result of rape or incest. So although one is anti-abortion and calls it a sin we need to accept pro-choice as the best legal and practical option.

    That isn’t the case with SSM though. I can’t see how one can be a member in good standing and still basically support people living in sin, like an unmarried couple, an adulterous couple living together (ie not divorced & remarried yet) or a SSM who engage in coitus even when the state claims that they are legal.

  5. Kent Larsen on October 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    “I can’t see how one can be a member in good standing and still basically support people living in sin.”

    Can you see how a member in good standing would support his friends?

    What is more important, maintaining a friendship? or enforcing a law (when you are not the police)?

  6. Steve on October 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    “Can we be in good standing with the Lord if we support policies contrary to His commands and purposes? Are we His disciples if we pursue, or even just support, goals that are contrary to His own?”

    Depends on how you see the nature of God’s commands and purposes. If you believe that every word in the scriptures and statement at General Conference represents God’s words, then you could probably argue that by being pro-choice and supporting legalized SSM you would be make you unfavorable before God’s eyes. But if you believe that the words in the scriptures and the words at general conference to be simply human words that may be interpreted as approximations of God’s words/commands/purposes, some of which are inspired, but others of which are liable to error, then it isn’t so clear. Bear in mind that many justify their support of SSM on moral grounds; they believe that it is morally wrong and against God’s will to regard gay romantic relationships to be inherently inferior to straight relationships. Many people believe that legalized abortion is the lesser of two evils; that it is less moral to criminalize it.

  7. Steve on October 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Charlie, you can be against women having abortions and believe abortion to be immoral and believe at the same time that abortions in the first trimester should not be criminalized. The LDS church doesn’t dictate how one should view politics. Politics are complex and there are all kinds of ways to view them. The question of legalized SSM and abortion are relatively new issues that writers of scriptures have not addressed. The LDS church allows members to interpret the scriptures in lots of different ways, there is no one prescribed method.

  8. Steve on October 6, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Sorry, I misread your comment, Charlie. You’re saying that you “can’t see how one can be a member in good standing and still basically support people living in sin.” (For some reason I read the word “can” instead of “can’t.”)

    1) Should we try to push for the criminalization of fornication or push judges to enforce existing laws on adultery?

    2) SSM and ‘living in sin’ are two completely differently issues. Hypothetically a member in good standing could completely frown on any couple living outside the bonds of marriage, but believe that a gay sexual orientation is neither abnormal nor chosen and that gays should seek romantic partners of their same gender that they should not have any sort of sexual relations with outside the bonds of marriage. They could argue that the courts are preventing gay couples from keeping the law of chastity.

  9. stephen Hardy on October 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Jax:

    It seems like you make a similar comment after every conference.

    However, the quote that you used to make your point is very vague and broadly worded. It can be interpreted many ways to mean almost anything to anybody.

    What “ideologies or political beliefs”, “throughout history”…”are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ?”

    One person’s list might not match another’s, depending on what is important to them:

    Slavery?
    Sexual discrimination?
    Taxes too high?
    Tolerating high rates of grinding poverty?
    Owning guns?
    Taxes too low?
    Social inequality?
    Building strong families, even with two fathers?
    Immigration policies that tear families apart?
    Warfare that targets civilians, such as nuclear weapons?
    Drone warfare?
    Allowing one very rich person to influence an election by allowing unlimited and anonymous donations?
    Not allowing gay people to inherit the property of their partner?

    So, you can interpret his quote to mean that same sex marriage is against God’s will and law. Many will interpret it in the same way. But there are other ways to interpret and apply what he said.

  10. Robert C. on October 7, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Kent, just wanted to say, again, thanks for posting these notes. They’re very nicely done, and really useful.

  11. Cameron N on October 7, 2013 at 2:41 am

    Yes, thank you Kent. Even when only a few of the talks that I missed are filled in or something I missed in a talk I thought I caught the message of is edifying. Appreciate your sharing.

  12. Charlie on October 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Sorry for the delay but I can usually only respond at nighttime.

    Re; “What is more important, maintaining a friendship? or enforcing a law (when you are not the police)?”

    And ‘living in sin’..I think people misinterpreted what I wrote -although considering I always got only a pass or F in english I can understand why.

    Of course one should maintain friendships if possible but I think what the brethren are saying is that we need to be clear with people and let them know that we -mormons- don’t support SSM because sex between men is considered a sin in our religion. So I can’t see you being good friends with someone in a SSM and support their lifestyle when we -mormon- think they are in sin. We should be truthful with them and tell them that this lifestyle goes against God’s wishes or commandments or not say anything and respectfully stay away. Same with a couple living in adultery, sure you wouldn’t condemn them but a true friend would tell them that we think they ought to be married.

  13. Charlie on October 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    #8 Steve, I think that the first presidency is actually quite clear on Abortion: Members of The Church … must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion…some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion,.. pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is …in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known … to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.”

    But the evangelical movement and especially the catholic position, who lead the pro-life side, will never accept an abortion due to rape and especially the last part, of severe defects. They demand birth in all circumstances. So then , more by default, we members end up being pro-choice so as to have the option of an abortion should it be needed, for example when a 12 year old disabled girl was raped and faced 9 months bedridden due to the health problems the pregnancy caused her. In a case like hers an abortion is a better option. But we aren’t pro-choice as in pro-abortion since abortion in and of itself is a sin.

    Also with SSM the first presidency is also very clear. Church handbook 1 section 17.3.10 Same-Gender Marriages states: As a ‘doctrinal’principal, based on scriptures, the Church affirms that marriage between a man and a women is essential to the Creator’s plan; …Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman legally and lawfully wedded…’Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman”
    Doesn’t leave much room for supporting SSM in any political situation.
    And if SSM is living in sin or a sin in and off itself then marriage will not actually turn that SSM into a law of chastity complying couple at all, they are still in sin after their legal marriage since in is same-sex.

    Re: Kent, yes this notes come in quite handy when studying GC talks, so thanks too; good job!

  14. Kent Larsen on October 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Sorry, but you are basically suggesting that I terminate my friendship with good friends and offend them in the process.

    Have you actually done this? Do you have any gay friends?

    I’m sorry, but I can’t see any good coming out of doing what you suggest.

  15. Charlie on October 8, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Yeah, look, sorry but how can you possibly be good friends with someone who sins at that level? like adulterous or peodophiles, homosexuals breaking the law of chastity have a lot to repent of. Now if your friend is cheating on his wife, is everything ok with you and will you continue that friendship or do you tell him as a good friend: you’re doing wrong and need to stop this. Same with a gay friend, if he is sleeping with men, then as a good friend tell him: you’re doing wrong and need to stop this

    Now a word of caution, we are talking about gays who engage in sex with other men continuously right?, not just gay inclined or repented man or a gay guy in one off, one-night stand fell type situation who’s sorry about it and is trying to repent. Cause remember that Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more in a friendly way, therefore with a gay man he’d say the same, go and sin no more. After that we can build friendships. Remember also what sec138 says, that Jesus didn’t go unto the wicked but organised reps to go and preach repentance to them.

    I did have a gay friend by the way when we were YSA..we called him ‘stick’ because he was so thin; he was still in church then, or in and out depending on his relationship status, like in when single and way out when sleeping with men. We were good friends, in the same group but now he’s living in Paris with his ‘husband’ and he’s a full time gay lobbyist and total anti-mormon. We spoke a few times on facebook about the old days, but irrevocably the conversation turns to the alleged ‘damage’ the lds church does to gay people. Because of that our friendship remains in the old days past situation and we now have very little in common. Just how it is when people sin the way sodomites did.

    If you have a good gay friend, the best thing you could do is tell him the truth….that sodomy will only bring suffering and regret in the long run and he should repent as soon as possible. You can’t be a good friend if you hide the truth from him….imho…

  16. Steve on October 9, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Charlie, you’re missing my central point. Allow me to reiterate: one can be a member in good standing and be pro-choice and/or support SSM. How?

    When I go in to talk with a member of the bishopric or stake presidency to get a baptismal interview, temple recommend interview, or accept a calling, I am never asked about where I stand on those political issues. Also much as it would be inappropriate/unacceptable for me to go up to the pulpit in an LDS meetinghouse to encourage people to vote for a certain candidate or support a certain political issue, even if it happened to be a candidate or issue that most people supported, it would be inappropriate for me to bring up my political views in favor of legalized abortion or SSM in a meetinghouse, or to try to engage members of my ward/branch in political discussions during classtime. Lastly, if a member of the bishopric or stake presidency happened to find out that I supported legalized abortion or SSM, he would not be within his power to try to apply church discipline to me, because the LDS church does not discipline someone for their political affiliations and persuasions. The church is strictly apolitical.

    You should also take into account the differences between discouragement and prohibition/encouragement and requirement. I am required to abstain from coffee, believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, and pay tithing in order to obtain a temple recommend. However, I am only encouraged to do my home/visiting teaching, believe in certain doctrinal matters (i.e. Isaiah prophesied of Jesus’ life), and be against legalized abortion and SSM. I don’t have to do home teaching to obtain a temple recommend. Nor do I have to accept every last conventional doctrinal explanation. As long as I don’t openly criticize the brethren for their positions on legalized abortion and SSM, they will take no action against me. I guarantee it. How else do you think people like John Dehlin and Joanna Brooks, who are open advocates of legalized gay marriage, are tolerated as LDS church members by local and area leaderships? Moreover, sustaining the FP/Q12 doesn’t mean regarding them to be infallible in word and deed, or agreeing with every last thing they say in general conference. Never once have they claimed infallibility.

  17. Steve on October 9, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Charlie (15), are you equating people who are openly gay to pedophiles???? OK, laws around the entire world don’t tolerate pedophiles because they are threats to children. Two people of the same gender in a consenting romantic relationship are clearly not a threat to anyone simply by virtue of their relationship and cannot even remotely be equated with pedophiles. You’re out of line here. Not even the LDS leadership supports your reactionary, bigoted view. How is that? Because the LDS leadership calls on its local leaders to report anyone to civil authorities who confesses to abuse. But they don’t call on legislatures to criminalize people who are gay romantic relationships. You need to rethink your alignment with LDS doctrine and policy. Because you have clearly drunk some highly toxic social reactionary koolaid to be equating gays with pedophiles. I think I need to be calling you to repentance, and I bet I could persuade LDS church leaders to back me on that.

  18. Kent Larsen on October 9, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Charlie, you still haven’t explained what good comes from doing as you suggest. All I can see is alienation — our friendship would end and my friends would have no more contact with me or the Church and whatever good influence that would have. There is no benefit to doing what you suggest.

    My friends are married and in a committed long-term relationship. My family and I go to their house regularly, and they come to my house and our family events regularly.

    It really seems like you think that someone “living in sin” is some kind of leper that you can’t even be close to. I don’t think it is that way at all.

    What if a friend never tells you that he/she is “living in sin?” How will you know to do as you suggest? And doesn’t what you suggest mean that you have appointed yourself some kind of enforcer of morality? How do you have that responsibility? I can understand Christ doing so, why you?

    I don’t see how what you suggest helps anyone — it only harms a potentially helpful relationship.

  19. Rb on October 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    First, great write up and thanks. I succumbed to the nice weather and took one of my kids to the park during this session and missed it altogether.

    Charlie, I manage a group of 12 lawyers. One is gay. In fact, he and his partner are getting married soon. On top of that, they are expecting twins from a Mexican surrogate. I forget the due date but I think it is still 6-7 months away. This attorney works directly for me. We are friends and I genuinely like him as a person. I review his work and will do a performance evaluation in a couple of months. I expect, at a minimum, I will be asked to contribute to an office wedding present and, in a few months, also to an office baby shower. I may even be invited to the wedding. How do you advise I proceed?

  20. Charlie on October 11, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Wow….

    ” Allow me to reiterate: one can be a member in good standing and be pro-choice and/or support SSM. How?” No you can’t. You are today’s version of the olden jack mormons who drank beer, chewed a little tobacco cause it wasn’t a ‘commandment’ but a ‘word of wisdom’ -as they claimed. However you can be pro-choice and a good mormon.

    #17 “Charlie (15), are you equating people who are openly gay to pedophiles????” No! No.. Very different sinners but sinners after all. Both, plus adultery, fornicating, masturbating, porn views are all sins to varying degrees, break the Law of Chastity as the church see’s it but at different levels; ie pedophiles are worst and should be excommunicated asap (and sent to police), openly gay (those copulating with same sex) should be ex’d or at least disfellowshipped if they can stop it; adulterers should normally be ex’d unless its a one off thing…down to porn views who shouldn’t get a Temple recommend..it’s also talking the Lords name in vain -imho! But off course it varies in each case and each disciplinary council, if there is one, depends on that final inspiration moment.

    “I think I need to be calling you to repentance, and I bet I could persuade LDS church leaders to back me on that” highly doubt that. I’ve been in countless disciplinary councils and they follow the general outline about, with copulating gay members usually ex’d unless they stop and promise to never do it again etc….

    Kent 18, what I tried to explain -and failed probably due to my pass level english- was that (trying again) if you are a good friend of say Ted, and Ted starts living in a SSM where clearly they are regularly having sex, then you as Ted’s good friend would say “Look, I think what you are doing, copulating with Bill, is morally wrong and against God’s law”. Now sure he probably will not accept it or may even chose to stop being your friend but you have done the right thing in letting him know what God’s law is in this serious matter. Same would be the case if Ted was married to Jenny and then start banging Sue on the side. We, as friends, wouldn’t necessarily need to know the details but if you are a good mormon, then you’d tell Tell that being with Sue is adultery and wrong and he should either stop it and return to the wife or divorce and start legal with Sue. If you keep quiet about it all then , imho, you’d be a poor friend, someone who is only there to hang out for a while and then leave. I think friends are more than that and they do call you out when you’re out of line. They’re the friends worth keeping. And taking your family over is rather, well, risky. You’re children may end up thinking that SSM is OK and should be blessed and that Monson and the brethren are all bigots and should be ignored.

  21. Charlie on October 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

    #19, my advice to you?

    you know very well what current anti-discrimination laws are -for the state not Church or gospel so don’t get excited here- so then:

    1- Keep working with him as up to know, do an honest review where ‘gay’ issues are irrelevant.
    2- contribute to the office gift because you are part of that team.
    3-say thanks but don’t go to the baby shower -goodness- nor the wedding. Don’t support their private sinful lifestyle.

  22. Charlie on October 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    #19, Rb my advice to you?

    you know very well what current anti-discrimination laws are -for the state not in the Church or gospel sense so don’t get excited here-

    so then:

    1- Keep working with him, do an honest review.
    2- contribute to the office gift because you are part of that team.
    3- continue to be friends if you are friends today but let him know that you don’t agree with SSM when in a social setting, ie at lunch or after work, never during work hours as that can be interpreted as discriminatory. Never lie to him and tell him that banging a dude is OK
    4- if you do get the chance to tell him you don’t agree with SSM then you can’t ever sack him unfortunately unless he commits a felony or worse. That’s the problem of being good friends with people at work instead of workmates, then the friendship gets in the way of business, usually to a business’s detrimend.
    5- say thanks but no thanks and don’t go to the baby shower -goodness- nor the wedding. Don’t support his private sinful lifestyle.

    6- Send me the cheque via Kent here for my legal services ….if you need more background work then paypal is good.

  23. Charlie on October 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Ooops, #21 was a keystroke error – delete that if possible and leave 22 there.

  24. Steve on October 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    “No you can’t. You are today’s version of the olden jack mormons who drank beer, chewed a little tobacco cause it wasn’t a ‘commandment’ but a ‘word of wisdom’ -as they claimed.”

    OK, the word of wisdom wasn’t made a requirement until 1921. Even Joseph Smith occasionally drank wine, but that’s beyond the point. Now, however, you clearly cannot openly and regularly drink alcoholic drinks and obtain a temple recommend. During the temple recommend interview you are explicitly asked if you obey the Word of Wisdom, which is well understood as to what it forbids.

    But you are not asked as to what your beliefs are about politics. SSM is a political issue. Sure, the LDS church has encouraged members to campaign against legalized SSM. But it has not made campaigning against it a requirement. Nor has it made certain political beliefs a requirement to have a temple recommend. Name me one Mormon who openly drinks alcohol and is considered a member in good standing? Because I can name dozens of Mormons who openly support legalized gay marriage are considered by their respective local leaderships to be in good standing.

    You’re a Danite Mormon. You make it your business to go around condemning other fellow Mormons who don’t agree with your views on certain social and political issues and paint them as less Mormon than you and try to exclude them. You have no grounds to do that over someone’s political beliefs. Try it. Try finding someone in your ward who openly supports gay marriage and ratting him out to the bishopric and encouraging them to deny him/her their temple recommend. Maybe the bishopric might try something, but the SSM supporter will have recourse against the bishopric’s actions in the high ranking administration. Their instructions are specific to bishoprics that they cannot discipline someone over their political beliefs.

  25. Steve on October 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Charlie, here’s evidence that I’m right. LDS leaders recently sent a letter to members, which was read by stake presidencies and bishoprics to the congregation over the pulpit, in Hawaii encouraging them to “contact your elected representatives in the Hawaii Legislature to express your views about” new legislation that proposed legalizing SSM. In the letter, leaders further urged members to “consider donating [their] time or resources to one of the community organizations addressing this issue.” But in the paragraph right after saying that, the letter read, “Whether or not you favor the proposed change, we hope that you will urge your elected representatives to include in any such legislation a strong exemption for people and organizations of faith.”

    So the letter did not insist that members have to support measures against gay marriage, and even respected the possibility that they may actually favor the proposed change. The main purpose of the letter was simply to encourage members to push for religious exemptions to laws favoring gay marriage.

    For more read here: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56890226-78/church-hawaii-lds-legislation.html.csp

  26. Jax on October 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    The main purpose of the letter was simply to encourage members to push for religious exemptions to laws favoring gay marriage.

    And why do they want to be sure to have a religious exemption? Because

    … man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral.

    No matter how the legality of SSM changes in this or any country, the church will ALWAYS consider it immoral. As people who sustain the church authorities, we should adopt the same convictions. How can I make such a claim that we ought to shun SSM policies??

    Our understanding of God’s plan and His doctrine gives us an eternal perspective that does not allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them.

    I think Elder Oaks is correct. Because he is correct I can only assume that someone that DOES “condone such behaviors” or does “find justification in the laws that permit them” therefore does not understand God’s plan and/or does not have an eternal perspective. That sounds harsh I know, but that is the formula laid out by an Apostle whom I sustain.

    Because of that view, that I held even before Elder Oaks said it just 5 days ago, I often receive quite a lot of flack from friends/neighbors/strangers on T&S… so be it. They usually use words like bigot or homophobe…

    In this determination we may be misunderstood, and we may incur accusations of bigotry, suffer discrimination, or have to withstand invasions of our free exercise of religion. If so, I think we should remember our first priority—to serve God—and, like our pioneer predecessors, push our personal handcarts forward with the same fortitude they exhibited.

    I hope no one is offended.

  27. Charlie on October 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    yeah, steve, that’s a bit of a stretch there. Sure you wont be excommunicated if you support SSM politically but Elder Oaks was clear in that you are going against God’s will if you do support SSM political. Now its another matter all together to just tolerate it as another of those things in this current world of ours but openly supporting SSM is ..well.. not what Mormons should be doing.

    As stated above by Jax: … man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. SSM may be legal in Holland, Canada and Argentina but that doesn’t make that union moral in God’s eyes.

  28. Steve on October 12, 2013 at 1:32 am

    “As people who sustain the church authorities, we should adopt the same convictions.”

    James Strang, on both this and other threads, no one seems to be adopting your infallibilistic interpretation of the word “sustain.” As far as I can see, “sustain” simply means that you don’t seek to replace the authorities of the LDS church with different people, usurp their position yourself, or undermine their authority by openly rising in opposition against them. I don’t see how holding a political position, that you do not express within the walls of any LDS meetinghouses, or use LDS church membership lists and social events to promote, would in and of itself qualify as not sustaining the LDS authorities. I, as well as others, have brought up the issue of the definition of the word “sustain” multiple times, and you do not respond. Do you fear that producing a definition of “sustain” would undermine your points or that you lack evidence to support your infallibilistic attitude towards the word “sustain”? That is the sense that I am getting.

  29. Steve on October 12, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Charlie, it isn’t that you just won’t be exed for openly supporting SSM; rather, no disciplinary action of any type (even something as minor as forbidding the sacrament or mid-level such as denying a temple recommend) could be justified against you. Did you not read the letter? Why else would it read, “Whether or not you favor the proposed change”?

    As for Elder Oaks’ talk, here is the quote in full:

    “Our twelfth article of faith states our belief in being subject to civil authority and “in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” But man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. Commitment to our highest priority—to love and serve God—requires that we look to His law for our standard of behavior. For example, we remain under divine command not to commit adultery or fornication even when those acts are no longer crimes under the laws of the states or countries where we reside. Similarly, laws legalizing so-called “same-sex marriage” do not change God’s law of marriage or His commandments and our standards concerning it. We remain under covenant to love God and keep His commandments and to refrain from serving other gods and priorities—even those becoming popular in our particular time and place.”

    Could you please tell me exactly where Oaks is saying that you are “going against God’s will if you support SSM politically”? Note how he chooses his words very carefully and does not tell the LDS membership that they should look to God’s law to inform their political stances, but “for our standard of behavior.” What he means there is that not all of our acts are justified simply because they’re legal in the given country we live in. Hence, Mormons should not fornicate, even though it is legal to do that in the US. Similarly Mormons should not get married to a person of the same gender, even if it is legal in the state or country in which they live. For their civil marriage would not change the church’s stance on marriage and the church would deny them marriage in the temple. So wouldn’t you say then that it is a stretch to say that Elder Oaks was condemning members who openly support legalizing SSM?

    “openly supporting SSM is ..well.. not what Mormons should be doing.”

    Which authority in the LDS church says this? The LDS church is committed to not dictating how people should shape their political beliefs. Also, read the rest of Elder Oaks’ talk. It strongly appears that he is simply encouraging LDS people to not raise the issue of SSM to the church itself. He advocates people protecting religious freedoms, meaning the freedom of religion to not have to marry two people of the same gender. He is not specifically dictating what position members should take on the political issue of SSM.

  30. Jax on October 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Steven, in #28 you quoted me but then addressed “James Strang” ??? Were you addressing me? Who is James Strang??? Assuming you were addressing me (instead of the mysterious James Strang) I will respond.

    As to the definition of sustain just type it into your google search bar and find this:

    strengthen or support physically or mentally.

    synonyms: comfort, help, assist, encourage, succor, support, give strength to, buoy up, carry, cheer up, hearten;

    When Apostles get up in GC and say things like Elder Oaks did, or Elder Anderson, if we then talk about how their positions are relevant, that it is fine if we ignore their counsel, or talk about how it is fine to support things that they call immoral, then we are not sustaining them, we aren’t helping them in their cause, we aren’t encouraging their message, we aren’t being supportive, etc. I have given this definition on multiple occasions, but just a little bit of ingenuity (really, just a little would have done it) would have found a definition for you.

    You said:

    I don’t see how holding a political position, that you do not express within the walls of any LDS meetinghouses, or use LDS church membership lists and social events to promote, would in and of itself qualify as not sustaining the LDS authorities.

    When authorities say that something is immoral and destructive, does casting a vote to support that thing help sustain them in their desire to help people overcome it?

    Note how he chooses his words very carefully and does not tell the LDS membership that they should look to God’s law to inform their political stances, but “for our standard of behavior

    Your political activity is part of your “behavior” is it not? The words you speak, the votes you cast, the time you donate, the messages you convey are all part of your behavior. The Apostles mission is to being traveling testifiers of Christ and to help people rid themselves of immoral and destructive behaviors of all kinds… any action (political activism, voting, donations, verbal support) that helps legalize something immoral undermines the Apostles and their mission.

    Support for something like Obamacare would NOT be a failure to sustain the Apostles… because it is not something they have deemed immoral. Same with many hot-button political issues (education, immigration, etc). But those topics like SSM and abortion where the church has taken a stance and declared to be immoral and contrary to God’s plan ARE issues where your political stance does matter to the Church. You won’t be disciplined for it, but supporting immoral things does NOT sustain the Apostles.

  31. Jax on October 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    This quote just popped up on my FB page:

    “Our loving Heavenly Father wants us to become more like Him. God understands that we get there not in an instant, but by taking one step at a time.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

    God thinks SSM and abortion are immoral. One of the steps to becoming like Him would be to think like Him and view things as He views them. IMO one cannot support things that God opposes and still be one of His “sheep”. Sheep hear their Master’s voice and follow Him, not try to justify how they are serving him by contradicting him.

  32. Brian Larsen on October 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Jax,

    Gogle search James Strang the same way you did “sustain.”

  33. Steve on October 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    James Strang (your reputation on this blog has earned you this name), there is a connotation to the word ‘sustain’ embedded in its usage in the LDS context that cannot be captured by a simple google search. At any you seem to think that ‘sustain’ means to agree with every last word the FP/Q12 says over the pulpit. You seem keen on the idea that ‘when the leaders have spoken, the thinking is done and the debate is over.’ In December 1945, George Albert Smith, while president of the LDS church, decried that kind of thinking: http://www.fairlds.org/authors/misc/when-the-prophet-speaks-is-the-thinking-done.

    Church leaders certainly like members who agree with everything they say, but they don’t make it a requirement. They leave room for individuals to have their own “personal revelation” and to search, ponder, and pray before accepting something they said as a truth. They don’t advocate finding truth through blind obedience to human injunctions. The FP/Q12 aren’t infallible in neither word nor deed, nor do they claim to be. They respect the right of members to have different beliefs regarding a whole host of social and doctrinal issues. They don’t ask the local leaderships to inquire as to members’ political beliefs about SSM and abortion. In fact, they have specifically instructed local leaderships to not take any action against members for their political positions, as long as they don’t openly challenge and/or criticize the FP/Q12. So it is one thing to support legalized SSM and abortion, but a whole ‘nother issue to call on the leaders to change their policy on gays and criticize them for their views.

  34. Charlie on October 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Steve 29:

    Goodness! From Elder Oaks talk, which you also quote:

    “There are many political and social pressures for legal and policy changes to establish behaviors contrary to God’s decrees about sexual morality and contrary to the eternal nature and purposes of marriage and childbearing. These pressures have already authorized same-gender marriages in various states and nations….

    Our understanding of God’s plan and His doctrine gives us an eternal perspective that DOES NOT allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them. ”

    Let me repeat again (on purpose) another one more time! About SSM he said “does not allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them.”

    Again, once more, repeating, it is from the same talk you quoted.

    Again: Could you please tell me exactly where Oaks is saying that you are “going against God’s will if you support SSM politically”?” Well:
    “There are many political and social pressures for legal and policy changes to establish behaviors contrary to God’s decrees about sexual morality and contrary to the eternal nature and purposes of marriage and childbearing. These pressures have already authorized same-gender marriages in various states and nations. Other pressures would confuse gender or homogenize those differences between men and women that are essential to accomplish God’s great plan of happiness.

    Our understanding of God’s plan and His doctrine gives us an eternal perspective that does not allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them.” in case you didn’t see it above.. Can’t be clearer than that!

  35. Charlie on October 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    29 ““openly supporting SSM is ..well.. not what Mormons should be doing.”

    Which authority in the LDS church says this? ”

    Yeah, me, Elder Charlie……

    I think we’ve been through enough machinations on this issue now

  36. Jax on October 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    ROFL… I’m flattered Steve. I never thought that anyone should look at me like I was a king… but I guess if you look up to me that much then I guess I can’t stop you. Though I’d be careful with using the name as a derogatory statement… Alison Moore Smith might censure you for calling me an apostate (posts 131,138,142, and 143).

    You make this claim:

    At any you seem to think that ‘sustain’ means to agree with every last word the FP/Q12 says over the pulpit. You seem keen on the idea that ‘when the leaders have spoken, the thinking is done and the debate is over.’

    I disagree with that assessment of myself. I don’t think they are infallible nor do I think we must agree with everything they say. However, on the topics of SSM and abortion, if a person were to support those items it is not any individual apostle a person would be opposing, but rather the stated position of the church as an organization and the goals/plans of the apostles. You would be working/supporting the very opposite of what they are trying to achieve. At the end of my comment (#30) I even stated some other areas where there is no reason that church members would/should be united upon. These two items though clearly are areas where the Church as an organization has a position as well as the individual Apostles… working against them IMO would be akin to fighting against Zion. I recognize that they don’t discipline in any way (comment #3) for opposing them, and a member can still be in good standing with the church, I’m just not sure they can be on good standing with the Lord. All of your rehashing that the church doesn’t take a stand is old news and already acknowledged long ago… please read what I’ve already said before you try to enlighten me with things I already know.

    Though the James Strang item, that was new. Thanks for providing the reason to do some research!

  37. Steve on October 13, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Charlie, you’re still trying to make Elder Oaks say something that he is not clearly saying. Look more deeply at the word ‘our’ in the following statement:

    “Our understanding of God’s plan and His doctrine gives us an eternal perspective that does not allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them. And, unlike other organizations that can change their policies and even their doctrines, our policies are determined by the truths God has identified as unchangeable.”

    ‘Our’ can be easily substituted for ‘the LDS church leadership,’ but here he is not necessarily saying ‘individual church members.’ For he cannot speak for what individual church members’ understandings of God’s plan and doctrine are, but he can for the LDS church leadership. So in essence he is still not yet saying that you as an individual member of the LDS church are going against God’s will by taking a certain political position, but he most certainly believes that the LDS church leadership would be going against its understanding of God’s plan and doctrine to be doing condoning what it believes to be sexually immoral behaviors or finding justifications in the laws that permit these behaviors. His last sentence supports what I have been saying; in other words, ‘don’t expect us or push us to change our policies on gays and gay marriage or abortion because we, meaning the LDS church leadership, believe that God has determined our doctrine and policies, and that cannot be changed.’ Of course, any one who has made the most cursory glance at LDS church history should know that he is wrong about the church having never changed its policies, the 1890 Manifesto and the 1978 ‘revelation on the priesthood’ being the most glaring examples of policy change. Also, the church has not been consistent in its doctrine, i.e. the question of God’s unconditional love: http://imgur.com/ziwoNyO. But that’s beyond the point and a topic for a different discussion.

    So Elder Oaks’ words are best understood as saying that the LDS church will now bow to any external or internal pressure to change its policies regarding marriage. Although he implicitly discourages members from supporting SSM and legalized abortion, note how he stops short of targeting individuals for their political stances on those issues. Note how different the LDS church leaders are from Pope Benedict XVI, who in 2004 said that communion should be denied to politicians who support legalized abortion. I don’t see LDS church leaders going after Harry Reid or John Huntsman Jr. for voicing support for gay marriage. Nor did I see them going after Mitt Romney in 2002, during his run for governor of Massachusetts, for declaring that he would ‘preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.’

  38. Steve on October 13, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Charlie (35), which authority who has power to originate policy for the LDS church? Clearly, by LDS church standards, not all priesthood holders have equal authority.

  39. SWM on October 13, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Steve, Elder Oaks said we shouldn’t condone these things in the paragraph after he mentioned that they are against God’s decrees. Not against his interpretation of God’s decrees, of God’s decrees. There isn’t any wriggle room, there isn’t any kind of scripture interpretation we can bring in to say that it’s possible God actually approves of love no matter the gender. He is against homosexuality. Elder Oaks didn’t say the Church’s policies have never changed. He said that they’re based on God’s truths and that the truths have never changed. They haven’t, not once. Same truths as ever. Maybe there’s a middle ground between believing that the leaders of the church are infallible and believing that they are wrong about major things?

    Above all, please read Jax’s comment at the top of the page. It’s comment #3, he answered I think about 50% of the text you’ve posted, I’m sorry you wasted your time asking for an answer he’d already posted. There are a lot of things you can do without facing any kind of church discipline that the Lord doesn’t approve of. That doesn’t mean they’re all right to do. And seriously, James Jesse Strang wouldn’t believe you can differ from church leaders on Obamacare. Please be careful when you throw out allegations of apostasy.

    I’m going to follow up on that paragraph in hopes that you will understand my meaning and not insult me for imagined sins. The leaders of the church are humans with complicated minds and they support a variety of causes. Some of this support is based on their own experience and wisdom. If we do not support those things, that is based on our own experience and wisdom.

    Some things that the leaders of the church support, they support because they have a responsibility to because of the commandments of God. If you or I were in their callings, we would be obliged to support those positions. One of those is that same-sex marriage is detrimental to society and that homosexual activity is an abomination before God. They want the entire world to understand these things. They are working to help that happen.

    Now look at it this way. If you support same-sex marriage, and if you want the world to understand that people who are in love have a right to be married and enjoy marriage’s benefits, and you work to convince the world that same-sex marriage is good and should be legalized, you are working against one of the things the leaders of the church are working towards. That means that you are not sustaining them. In fact, you are sustaining what they are trying to work against.

    THIS DOES NOT MEAN. Read this. THIS DOES NOT MEAN that you will face any kind of church discipline. It means you lied when you raised your hand to sustain the Prophet. It means you lied in other sacred situations. If I were to do that, I would not consider myself in good standing with the Lord. I would feel bad about it.

    Does that make sense?

  40. Tim on October 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Convincing people that something is good and convincing people that something should be legalized are two entirely different things. For example, I think pop-tarts are disgusting, but I don’t think they should be illegal. Or, more seriously, I think tobacco and alcohol are bad, and I can do my utmost to tell others that they shouldn’t be smoking or drinking, and at the same time support keeping tobacco and alcohol legal.

    Still, though, if we want to me at all decent at loving our neighbors and being member missionaries, we generally shouldn’t criticize people for doing things they don’t believe are wrong.

    I recently attended graduate school where I had quite a few non-member friends. Some very good people. My best friend was devoutly religious, but he would drink on occasion. It would’ve been stupid for me to criticize him for drinking a couple of beers–it would have hurt our friendship and made him think less of the church. Likewise, it would’ve been stupid for me to criticize a couple of friends who were living with their girlfriends (who they later married). Likewise, it would’ve been stupid for me to criticize my homosexual friend for her lifestyle.

    It’s hard to be a light on a hill if you’re driving everyone around you so far away that they can no longer see the light.

  41. Kent Larsen on October 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    This thread has gotten out of hand, and I’m shutting it down. I think calling people names is clearly against the commenting policies here on T&S, and I WILL ban anyone who does so again from commenting on T&S any more.