There has been a lot of “wars, and rumors of wars” over what President Boyd K Packer said in the Oct 2010 General Conference about the stance the Church has on Homosexuality. The wars have started because of a talk entitled, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel.” In that talk President Packer says:
We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.” Alma 41:10
Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.
First I want to point out, that no where in his talk does he say that we DON’T LOVE anyone, and that we should PERSECUTE anyone or HATE them. As an apostle of the Lord, he is giving us advise and telling us about things in the world that we should avoid and not justify.
There are a couple of things I want to remind people of when they respond to this talk. There are a couple of misconceptions that people are using to, “kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.” (D&C 121:38)
First, who’s church is it….
A lot of people forget when they are trying to persuade people to fight against the words of President Packer that this is not President Packer’s church. This is not President Monson’s church, your church, my church or the member’s church. We all may belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), but it is not our church. We need to remember that this is the Lord’s church. It is a church that is not lead by men, but lead by Jesus Christ himself and our Heavenly Father. If you don’t have a testimony of who is really in charge of this church, then you need to get down on your knees and ask the Lord to testify with his spirit and the Holy Ghost to let you KNOW it is His church. This church is not the church of man, it is the church of GOD.
Second, GOD does not change…
A lot of people are also confused on this topic. Yes, it is true that GOD does not change. There are a lot of scriptures that say He is “the same yesterday, to-day, and forever”. Yes, God’s nature is unchangeable. And there are a couple of things that GOD cannot do. He cannot deny His Son, and He cannot lie. If He does either of those, He will exist to be God. (Titus 1:2) He also can’t rob justice from mercy or mercy from justice. (See Alma 42). But I have yet to find a place in the scriptures where it says His doctrine, or His church cannot change. In fact, there are a lot of scriptures, old and new, that say the opposite.
Adam and Eve in the garden had a different law than they had after the fall. The Israelites had a different law before the 10 commandments. After Christ came to the Earth and gave the ultimate sacrifice, the law changed again. It changed from “an Eye for an Eye” to “turn the other cheek” (Matt 5:39, 3 Nephi 12:39).
My point is that the Gospel of God’s church does change. It changes over time. But it changes because God changes it, not because man thinks that God should change it. This principle is also taught in the scriptures. Remember these concepts? “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10,13). Or how about the concept of milk before meat? “For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive'” (D&C 19:22). As we become a more religious society, God gives us more doctrine, and laws to help us achieve the ultimate goal, and that is to become perfect has He is, and to return to live with Him. But there are MORAL laws that he will never change or consider changing.
The reason I bring this up is that some people think that because God has changed in some of his doctrine, namely the practice of polygamy (polygamy is still an eternal law) and blacks holding the priesthood, that he will change his view on homosexuality. BUT, the Lord will not change his stance on a MORAL issue, the Lord has told us through his prophets that it is an “impure and unnatural” practice. It does not matter how many people protest it, God will not change his doctrine on a MORAL issue. (Do you really think that homosexuality brings us closer to God?) The practice also goes against the first law given to Adam and Eve to “multiply , and replenish the earth…”
There are a LOT of things that the Church has taken a stand on. They have a very strong stance against Murder, Adultery, Fornication, Bestiality, Incest, Rape, Necrophilia. All of which are also choices that people have made, and are moral issues. I don’t see anyone trying to get the church to change its stance on any of these. Some people have a harder time with temptation than others. There are some people who become addicted to drugs after one use, and others that can stop at any time. That does not mean that God should change his stance on either of those. Everyone has their trials, but that does not mean that God should approve of actions because they are what man or people think should be OK to do.
God does not change, the administration of His church does change, and will change. But he will not change his stance on a moral issue. No matter how hard people protest, or say that something should be, does not make it so. President Packer makes ths point at the begining of his so called hate talk.
Fifteen years ago, with the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.
It states in part: “We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
“The Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
“And the Gods said: We will bless them. And . . . we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” (Abraham 4:27-28)
This commandment has never been rescinded.
Third, why all the HATE….
If I hear one more person tell me, that because the church has taken a stance on something that they are preaching Hate, I will SCREAM. Show me where in any of the official doctrine of the church where we are told that we are to HATE someone because of a sin, or immoral practice they are engaging in. Not once in President Packers talk does he say we should HATE anyone that is struggling with homosexuality. I see the exact opposite in the talk. He talks about how God suffered for us so we could overcome sin. And that if we live what God has told us that we will be happy. Not once does he preach hate.
Where is all the talk of Hate when the church takes a stand against Murder, Adultery, Drugs…. Just because the church says that something is wrong does not mean the church preaches HATE to wards those that are struggling with that sin.
Being intolerant of an action does not mean someone is intolerant of the person participating in that action. You can truly HATE a sin, but LOVE the sinner. Because you HATE the sin, does not mean that you automatically HATE the sinner. If you are being true to the teachings of the church, we are taught the total opposite. We are taught that EVERYONE is a child of God, and has a divine potential. We are also taught that EVERYONE is a brother and sister of God, and they deserve our love as a brother and sister. But we do not have to LOVE or tolerate behavior that we are taught is contrary to Gods plan.
We have to remember why God has a church on earth, and why we are given commandments. Some of them are to test our faith, but ALL of them are to help prepare us to return to live with him again. I think that President Packer said it best, in the talk he is getting blasted for, at the end he said:
President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.
In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26) Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”
She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”
“Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!” (Boyd K. Packer, The Things of the Soul (1996), 116)
Strangely enough, it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.”
I promise that ahead of you is peace and happiness for you and your family. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home. And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague, to find the healing that is available to us in the priesthood of the Lord. I bear witness of that power in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Note, he does not call down the wrath of God on those who “struggle against this terrible plague”. He calls down the blessings of God. Where is the HATE?