Proposition 8 Supreme Court Case: Mormons’ View on Gay Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court will hold 2 days of arguments this week about Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. This event once again puts gay marriage in the spotlight.

I’m not going to spend any time discussing the constitutionality of this proposition and act, nor will I speculate what the Supreme Court will eventually rule in June. But since this is back in the spotlight, I figured I would take a moment to discuss the Mormon Church’s views on homosexuality and gay marriage. Please note that my comments do not necessarily represent the views of the Mormon Church.

I know that this is an emotionally charged issue with strong opinions on either side. My goal in this post is not to start any arguments but rather to present the facts about Mormon belief. If you have any questions, please let me know or leave a note in the comments below.

What is the Church’s Belief on Marriage?

The Church’s view on marriage is best stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World:

“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.”

And later in the same document, it states:

“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

What is the Church’s Belief on Homosexuality?

Because of Mormons’ belief about the family and traditional marriage, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Church does not agree with or condone homosexuality. Again, from the Church’s proclamation:

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”(emphasis added)

That being said, the Church has begun to recognize the complexity and sensitivity of this issue. Let’s be clear, Mormons are not denying that homosexuality is real, because it is. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have real and legitimate feelings for those of the same sex. But that doesn’t change the Church’s belief that acting on homosexuality is wrong. The Church recently launched a new website to address this topic: MormonsAndGays.com.

In Conclusion

In summary, Mormons believe:

  • The family is ordained of God
  • Marriage should be between a man and a woman
  • Homosexuality is contrary to God’s eternal plan for His children

Want to learn more? I would encourage you to read the entire proclamation released by the Church in 1995 which explains many beliefs about family and marriage. Read it here.

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments this week, I hope this post helped explain Mormons’ belief about gay marriage and this heated issue in our country.

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns, How Does it Work With the Mormon Prophet?

pope benedict
Via ABC News

Various news outlets reported this morning that Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to resign from his position in the Catholic Church. As one of the largest religions in the world this is certainly a significant announcement, so it’s no wonder the story has been so widely covered.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, has a leader who leads the Church world-wide as well. Mormons do not refer to their leader as the Pope, but rather the President or prophet. There have been 16 prophets of the Mormon Church since its founding in April 1830, but Mormons really see today’s modern-day prophets as a continuation of the type of leadership God has always had on the earth with prophets that lead His Church (think Moses or Abraham, or even Peter).

president thomas s monson
President Thomas S. Monson

The current prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Thomas S. Monson. He has been president of the Church for 5 years and succeeded the late Gordon B. Hinckley.

It’s not my place to comment on the Pope’s decision. But I thought I would take a moment to discuss how succession of leadership works in the Mormon Church.

The prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the leader of the entire Church. He appoints two counselors to assist him in his calling. He serves in that position until he passes away. The next prophet is chosen from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (a group of 12 men who help govern the church, just like the 12 apostles Jesus called in His time). The current president of that quorum at the time of the prophet’s death becomes the next leader of the Mormon Church. It’s a very simple, straightforward process.

In my lifetime I’ve witnessed this transition of leadership several times. Even though the Church always knows who the next leader will be, it’s inspiring to see the new president take that position. I wish the best to the Catholic Church as they accept a new leader in the coming weeks.

Do Mormons Believe in the Trinity?

I get many great questions asked of me about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons. Recently, one visitor asked:

I have heard that Mormons do not believe that God, Lord Jesus, and Holy spirit are one but 3 different entities. WHY???

This is a great question. Mormons believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So in that sense, Mormons believe in the Trinity; however, you’ll most often hear Mormons use the term Godhead (the term ‘Godhead’ actually appears in the Bible, whereas the term ‘Trinity’ never does). However, Mormons do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity which states that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one being. Rather, Mormons believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct beings. In this post, I thought I would provide some scriptural examples as to why Mormons do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.

  1. The great Intercessory Prayer, as recorded in St. John chapter 17 – This is an example of Jesus praying to a separate being, His Father, God. Interestingly, many point to this instance as evidence of the trinity when Christ prayed that His disciples would “…be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they all may be one in us…” (St. John 17:21). Clearly, Jesus was referring to this oneness as a sense of unity in purpose, not that His disciples would be one being.
  2. The creation of the world. Note the emphasis in the following verses of plural pronouns and the phrase “in the image of God” that God created us.

    “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (see Genesis 1:26-27, emphasis added).

  3. The baptism of Jesus. In St. Matthew 3:13-17 we read of the baptism of Jesus. After Jesus was baptized the Bible says that “…he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Three distinct beings are represented in this experience.
  4. The Martydom of Stephen. When Stephen was being stoned and about to die, the Bible records “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7: 55-56). Three distinct beings are represented in this experience.

These are just a few examples. In the end, Mormons take literally the scriptures that state God is our Father and we are His children. Children are created in the image of their parents, and so it is with our Heavenly Father. He created us in His image. If that is true, then the doctrine of the Trinity does not align.

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's ResolutionsTomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I can’t believe another year has come to an end. But a new year means new beginnings and of course, New Year’s resolutions. I know some people don’t get into resolutions while others are all about them. I love making resolutions because I think it’s at the heart of Christianity. Being human we have faults; we make mistakes. But the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us a reason and the motivation to change.

I read an article recently from the Church’s official magazine, the Ensign, by Elder Joe J. Christensen which talks about New Year’s resolutions in light of being a Christian. In his sermon, Elder Christensen quotes a verse from the New Testament:

“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” –Luke:2:52

This is the only verse in the Bible that gives us insight into Jesus’ years between his youth and the beginning of his official ministry. But it does give us wonderful insight into the type of resolutions we can make as Christians. In other words, the Savior developed in four main areas: intellectually (in wisdom and knowledge), physically (in stature), socially (in favor with man), and spiritually (in favor with God). Pulling from Elder Christensen’s sermon, here are four areas we can seek to improve in 2013:

Resolution #1: I resolve to expand my intellectual horizons, to increase in wisdom. This year, commit to read good books throughout your life. Some people learn to read but don’t read very much. This is an area I can definitely improve in.

Resolution #2: I will be resolute in preserving and strengthening my physical health. It is impressive that more than 170 years ago the Lord revealed a health code, the Word of Wisdom, which is practiced by all active Mormons. Living healthily can make all the difference in how we feel and perform. With good health, we can be happier and more successful. Without it, we are curtailed in almost every way. The Bible teaches that our bodies are temples. Let us resolve to treat them that way.

Resolution #3: I resolve to be a truer friend and to become more socially acceptable to people of high standards. Learn to be the kind of person with whom others of high standards enjoy associating. Become genuinely interested in other people. Smile. (Remember, the Lord commands us to “be of good cheer.”) Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. Make the other person feel important–and do it sincerely.

Resolution #4: I will grow spiritually–I will increase in favor with God. A few items are essential to our spiritual growth. One that is most difficult and universally applicable is for us to resolve to overcome as much as possible the sin of pride. And, if you are really serious about growing spiritually, then “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

I hope 2013 will be a wonderful year for you and your family. What resolutions do you have? What are some ways you’ve helped yourself and others keep to your resolutions in the past for the new year?

Merry Christmas from BasicMormonBeliefs.com.

Merry Christmas! I love this time of year. There’s the secular things of Christmas to love, like Christmas trees and Santa Clause, but most importantly is the true reason we celebrate Christmas: the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. While December 25th isn’t his true birthday, I’m glad we have a time of year to remember Him.

Long ago, the prophet Isaiah prophesied:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” –Isaiah 9:6.

What I love about that verse from the Bible is that it shows how it has always been the plan for Jesus to come to this earth, to live His life as an example for the world, and to suffer the atonement for all humankind. It has been prophesied by prophets since the beginning of the world.

To commemorate this time of year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has created a special Christmas page on their website, Mormon.org.

One of the videos on this site is The Nativity, a video about the birth of Jesus Christ.

I hope you will find peace and joy during this Christmas season. And during all the fun of gift-giving, caroling and Santa Clause, don’t forget the reason for the season: celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.