Saturday, October 9, 2010

LGBT, the Savior and Eternal Life

Just so you know; here's the disclaimer up front: I am a heterosexual monogamous male living in the last days who is not without sin. When I found my eternal companion, Patsy Hewlett, our union began simply as one male and one female who were deeply in love with each other from the moment we went on our first date. Neither of us was perfect yet, but she's always been pretty darn close to perfection as far as I've been able to discern.

From those two imperfect beings have come many -- thirteen children and thirty-five grandchildren. We have been added upon in ways we never imagined when we first met. . .

And, I'm a Mormon.

I suppose there are others types of "love" in these last days because I've been told there is an acronym to describe everything else under the broad heading of "love," and it has been in widespread use since the 1990s:  LGBT is an initialism referring collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. What a great device an acronym is -- it just softens those crude, unspoken and repulsive words no one dared to utter even a few years ago.

My first conscious experience in life with a homosexual was being part of what we now refer to as "disciplinary councils." A missionary in our mission was excommunicated and sent home from his mission because he was engaging in sexual activities in public bathrooms with other homosexuals, total strangers. I also witnessed a heterosexual who was likewise excommunicated and sent home from his mission because he committed fornication on his mission. The standard for both, I always thought, was the same.

But now there are those who are seeking to be excused from repenting, it seems. They would have us believe they are an exception because they were "born that way," and there's nothing they can do about it.

What Patsy and I have in our union as husband and wife is called "marriage." When we were married, I never really imagined the word would come under attack the way it has with everyone else wanting to define it in their own way. It never occurred to me as a young man that marriage would someday of necessity be defined in courts and individual state constitutions as a union between a man and a woman.

For six thousand years of recorded history until now it was obvious to everyone how marriage was defined. It didn't have to be mandated by statute. It was easily understood.

In the third chapter of Abraham, it is stated: "Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born."

Now, note: "And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is a space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; and they who keep their first estate" — that means have obeyed and lived up to the challenges of that premortal life — "shall be added upon."

They would have a body added to their spirit, but those who didn't keep their first estate would not be added upon. "And they who keep their second estate" — that means in mortal life — "shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever." (Abraham 3:22-26).

The fact that you and I are here in mortal bodies is evidence that we were among those who were in that great concourse of organized intelligences. We knew God, our Father in Heaven. He was our Heavenly Father. We were sired by Him. We had a Heavenly Mother — can you think of having a father without a mother? That great hymn "O My Father" (see Hymns No. 292) puts it correctly when Eliza R. Snow wrote, "In the heav'ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal tells me I've a mother there." 

So each of us who lives on the earth today was born of a Heavenly Mother, sired by a Heavenly Father. We knew Him, we were in His house, and we knew His Firstborn Son, who was to come here and redeem mankind as the Great Prototype who would implement "the plan of salvation." A plan suggests a Planner.

What did He mean, then, when He said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent?" (John 17:3). The plan is to regain that knowledge we possessed in the beginning before this world was and before we were born and clothed in mortal bodies, then to go back where we once were. The coarseness of the materials comprising our mortal bodies shrouds our spirits in a veil of forgetfulness and the purification of those native elements is what overcoming the flesh is all about. Our spirits must gain ascendency over our bodies so we may come to remember our glorious beginnings. That becomes the great quest of mortality for each of us.

There was no ambiguity when Jehovah taught these truths plainly to Moses when He said, "This is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39).

Immortality is something that comes to us as a free gift to all mankind from our Heavenly Father. Whether we are righteous or evil, everyone will come forth in the resurrection after death.

Eternal life means acquiring the blessing through obedience to regain the presence of our Father and His Son in that heavenly home from which we have come, and to live the kind of life He lives. To inherit eternal life is a matter of personal righteousness and keeping the commandments to see if we will do all things the Lord God has commanded us to do. Since each of us sins and comes short of the mark, a Redeemer is provided in the plan so that none who repents will be lost.

All who become disciples of Jesus Christ have to reconcile their past sinful behavior with their present desire to become righteous, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23).

All have sinned, it is true, but there is hope for all sinners. John taught: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he [Christ] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9).

When we get discouraged because of our sins, we must remember the Lord is eager for us to repent and be forgiven. The scriptures have provided many examples of valiant disciples who had to repent of a sinful past before they could move ahead as servants of the Lord.

The conversion of Alma the younger and the four sons of Mosiah before their repentance, "were the very vilest of sinners" (Mosiah 28:4) and even sought to destroy the church (Mosiah 27:10; Alma 26:18).

Alma the elder also had been a sinner in the first rank of the wicked priests of King Noah. He wrote:

"Remember the iniquity of king Noah and his priests; and I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance; Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth." (Mosiah 23:9-10).

Even my mightiest Book of Mormon hero, Nephi, cried out in the agony of his sins:

"Notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted." (2 Nephi 4:17-19).

The Apostle Paul was another prominent example of a sinner who amended his former ways and found redemption. He witnessed and consented to the violent stoning death of the Christian martyr Stephen and "made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." (Acts 8:1-3; also see Acts 7:54-60). On several occasions he was active in the persecution of the Saints and did many things "contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." (Acts 26:9-10; also see Galatians 1:13). After acknowledging his past persecutions of the church (Philippians 3:6), he did the only thing one can do who has sinned and desires to serve the Lord:

"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14).

Joseph Smith
In modern times we have similar prominent examples. Without being specific, young Joseph Smith wrote of his youth:

"I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been." (JS-History 1:28).

Joseph wrote of the night when he was first introduced to Moroni: "I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him." (JS-History 1:29).

Many who joined the Church after the restoration began had similar concerns about their past sins. The Lord frequently revealed that if they would go forth to preach the gospel they would bring salvation to their own souls (see D&C 4:4; 11:3; 12:3; 14:3) and would be forgiven of their previous sins (see D&C 31:5; 62:3; 84:61).

The pattern here could not be more clear. We come into mortality pure and innocent: "Light and truth forsake that evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth. (D&C 93:37-40).

So we lived before we were born. We were born into mortality pure and innocent. Satan comes among us and decieves us. All succumb and commit sin. None is exempt from sin. Many acknowledge their sins, repent and come unto Christ.

President Henry B. Eyring
President Henry B. Eyring once called this the "most important invitation," ever offered:

"The words 'come unto Christ' are an invitation. It is the most important invitation you could ever offer to another person. It is the most important invitation anyone could accept. From the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel in this dispensation, it has been the charge given by Jesus Christ to His representatives. Their charge has been 'to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ.'  (D&C 20:59).

"Every member of the Church, upon accepting the baptismal covenant, becomes a disciple who has promised to stand as a witness of Jesus Christ at all times in any place he or she may be in.  (Mosiah 18:8-10). The purpose of our witness is to invite people to come unto Him.

"All of us should be intensely interested in learning how to issue that invitation effectively. We know from experience that some will not respond. Only a few responded when the Savior Himself offered this invitation during His mortal ministry. But great was His joy in those who recognized His voice. And great has been our joy when those we have invited have come unto Him."  ("Come Unto Christ," Ensign, March 2008, 48-52).

In Matthew we get a sense of the almost universal rejection suffered by the Savior when He was here on earth.

"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11:20-30).

President Boyd K. Packer
President Boyd K. Packer as recently as last weekend at General Conference offered the same invitation and has been rebuked and rejected totally and completely by the people calling themselves the LGBTs. The other night a crowd estimated at near 600 people ringed Temple Square to call attention to their protests. He entitled his remarks, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel." In part, he observed:

"The old saying 'The Lord is voting for me, and Lucifer is voting against me, but it is my vote that counts' describes a doctrinal certainty that our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcibly taken from us.

"There is also an age-old excuse: 'The devil made me do it.' Not so! He can deceive you and mislead you, but he does not have the power to force you or anyone else to transgress or to keep you in transgression.

"To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key — the very key."

When we tamper with the powers of procreation, attempt to alter their holy and divine purpose or redefine their meaning, we are tampering with the very headwaters of godhood. It is little wonder those who are now flaunting their sins, demanding their rights without the attendant repentance, are so offended.

Come, let us reason together.  We are all sinners, even guys like me.  And you who are in the LGBT coalition are sinners too, sinning against the very first two commandments given to Adam and Eve in Holy Writ:  "Multiply and replenish the earth; and do not partake of the forbidden fruit." We must all unite under the banner of Jesus Christ, our Savior, repent of our sins, and have faith in His redemptive power to save contingent upon our true repentance. Otherwise, we have no promise. It's a simple requirement, but it is universal. There is no "special exemption" from repentance for a "special class" of God's children with which I am familiar.

President Packer continued:

"We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.

"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.

"Paul promised that 'God . . . will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.'  (1 Corinthians 10:13). You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must 'watch and pray continually.'  (Alma 13:28).

"Isaiah warned, 'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).

"Years ago I visited a school in Albuquerque. The teacher told me about a youngster who brought a kitten to class. As you can imagine, that disrupted everything. She had him hold the kitten up in front of the children.

"It went well until one of the children asked, 'Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?'

"Not wanting to get into that lesson, the teacher said, 'It doesn’t matter. It’s just a kitty.'

"But they persisted. Finally, one boy raised his hand and said, 'I know how you can tell.'

"Resigned to face it, the teacher said, 'How can you tell?'

"And the student answered, 'You can vote on it!'

"You may laugh at this story, but if we are not alert, 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. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. For instance, what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?

"There are both moral and physical laws 'irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world' that cannot be changed.  (D&C 130:20).  History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. 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.

"Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish."

Statistically, all populations can be distributed across a bell curve.  It is no different in sexual tendencies. LGBTs are the minority "outliers" at the extremity on one side of the bell curve, and hyper-sexed heterosexuals represent "outliers" at the other side. We are commanded to keep our sexual activity confined "within the bounds the Lord has set" for optimal eternal joy and happiness. The Planner of the plan of happiness has so decreed.

The futility of lobbying the Planner and His servants for a redistribution or a "special exemption" at either extremity along the bell curve should be obvious. How successful with the General Authorities could I expect to be if I organized protests for heterosexuals who just couldn't manage to stop having sex with multiple partners or even with monogamous partners to whom they were not legally and lawfully wedded?

That's why in order to be accepted by the majority under the bell curve, they must do all they can to redefine the marriage covenant "legally and lawfully" and broaden the distribution to include the outliers as "normal." Anyone who does not accept their minority definition, then, can be more easily labeled as homophobic, narrow-minded, or bigoted.

* * *
To summarize: We are all sinners. Some are heterosexual, some are under some other heading, but let us all acknowledge our weaknesses and our sins. It is not to be thought that just because we are not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender that we heterosexual sinners are somehow "better" sinners than they. In that context we are all in this "soup" of mortality together, and we can strengthen one another and help one another to overcome those weaknesses which are inherent in the flesh of mortality.

The LGBT lifestyle assures subtraction and division. The eternal marriage lifestyle assures something else: addition and multiplication.

In our eagerness not to offend but to befriend and to invite all to come unto Christ, we sometimes first tolerate, then accept, then embrace those who remain unrepentant and have come out in open opposition to the appointed servants God has sent us. The issue should not be whether or not we love one another, but rather whether our tolerance may eventually lead to a clouded view of that which cannot be altered because it is bedrock eternal truth upon which the foundations of exaltation and eternal life are constructed. Do you discern the difference here? This is not a "policy" or a "procedure" that can be changed. It is doctrine.

Beware of those sympathizers within the Church who are coming out now in open opposition to the humble prophets of God. It's a new topic today, but the "higher critics" have always been part of the fabric of the Church. Many are erudite, sophisticated, persuasive, intelligent, articulate and well-educated with "science" on their side, proclaiming they espouse "proof" that homosexual behavior is pre-ordained, normal, natural and perfectly acceptable in every way, including the need to grant all the legal advantages attaching to marriage between a man and woman. They are increasingly vociferous and bold in their open hostility toward and their criticism of the living prophets

The choice could not be more clear. Either the revealed word of God is right and His prophets are right, or the LGBTs are right. No one can have it both ways in this specific and current war of opinion. But taking a vote like the one in California over the much-discussed Prop 8 doesn't settle it, nor will the forthcoming legal challenges in courts for years to come

Correctly using your agency to choose repentance, however, is choosing wisely.

I've made my choice as a repentant (and repenting) heterosexual monogamous male living in the last days. I've cast my lot with the living prophets, the revealed Word in the scriptures, and the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. I invite everyone else of like mind, even if your sexual orientation is different than mine to join me in the most important invitation ever offered, "Come unto Me!" We can still love one another under the heavenly banner of Jesus Christ, but the requirement for all of us remains unchanged -- repentance.

That's what got everyone so agitated about what President Packer said. He dared to suggest that sinners could change, must change, in order to be exalted. It's not exactly new doctrine.

Jesus Christ -- He is the only way, the only name given under heaven by which we can be saved. . .

And I'm a Mormon.


  1. Great extensive write up! This really is nothing new.

    Where were you Mission President?


  2. I haven't been a mission president, but I am the father of my children ;-)

  3. I really appreciate this posting. I'm going to bookmark it for further reading when it's not late and I'm not tired. Thanks so much!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I wrote this five years ago. I just re-read it today, and I cannot think of one word I would change. Those who propose that the Church leaders can change their policy and accept gay marriage as they once did their position on extending priesthood ordinations to all worthy male members fail to appreciate the differences. One cannot equate doctrine with policy.