April 15, 2013 by FHElessons
If you’re anything like me, you may have wondered at least once over the last couple of years, “Why is the LDS Church getting involved in the debate over whether to legalize same-gender marriage? I thought their policy was to let members make their own decisions in matters of politics.” And, if you’re anything like me, when faced with an argument from someone who supports the legalization of same-gender marriage such as, “Laws prohibiting same-gender marriage discriminate against those who wish to be in a committed homosexual relationship,” you may have thought, as I did, “I certainly don’t approve of discriminating against anyone for any reason,” and, “I believe in free agency. Everybody should be able to make their own choices about how they want to live their lives,” and, “It does seem reasonable that any two people who have been living for many years in a committed relationship should be able to file a joint tax return and inherit one another’s property without paying an inheritance tax.”
So, although I trust the prophet to know what he’s doing when he decides to caution church members to oppose same-gender marriage, I haven’t felt at all committed to fighting against it. And when I have found myself in a discussion with someone who whole-heartedly supports same-gender marriage, I have had nothing really to say in response other than that I believe that homosexual relations to be immoral.
But recently, I had an epiphany:
For many years I have understood the principle that all of God’s laws are given to us because obeying them will bring us happiness and disobeying them will bring us unhappiness. God doesn’t just make up arbitrary commandments to make walking the straight and narrow path more difficult. He doesn’t do it to give us obstacles or make our “test” in this Earth life into a harder test. He does it to help us know how to make decisions that will bring us happiness both in this life and in the life to come. He gives us commandments as a road map to find the way back to Him but also as a way to avoid pain and suffering whenever possible. His rules are tools to help us be happy. (To learn more about this principle, check out my previous blog post HERE.)
So, logically, if all commandments are given to bring happiness to the individual, and God has commanded us not to engage in homosexual practices, then the reason must be that doing so will bring the participants unhappiness. Thus, although proponents of same-gender marriage claim that refusal to legalize such a marriage will deny them happiness, actually the opposite is true. By argument of logic, participating in homosexual behaviors and the homosexual lifestyle will bring unhappiness to those who participate.
Although I believed this to be true logically, I still wasn’t sure exactly why it was true. Those who are living that lifestyle claim that it makes them happy. I have seen numerous videos where a person tells his own story about how he came to recognize that he had same-gender attraction and the agony he feels about it. These stories are always heart-wrenching. This poor person wants to be attracted to the opposite sex like most everyone else. He wants to fit in with society. He doesn’t want to disappoint his family or God. And he certainly doesn’t want to live a life of celibacy and loneliness because he is denied the fulfillment of his desires for a same-gender relationship, romance, and intimacy.
So, on the surface, it seems that allowing those who are attracted to the same gender as themselves the pleasure of acting on those desires would bring them happiness, right? Yet, if we trust God to give us the directions that will bring us happiness, then we should know the opposite to be true. I decided to do some research to figure out how homosexual relations could bring the participant unhappiness. I have spent so many hours reading that my brain has felt sore and tired (which says a lot since I am an avid reader normally). I have 34 pages of notes on the subject (typed). And through all this research, I have become convinced not only of my original premise – that transgressing God’s laws makes people unhappy – but also of the overwhelmingly detrimental effect on society that will come if same-gender marriage is legalized.
Originally, I planned to write a family home evening lesson about the one simple concept about which I had the epiphany. But after doing all this research and learning everything I have learned, I pretty much want to share all of it with you. Unfortunately, that might turn into 100 pages or more. So, what I am going to do is summarize the points that I have learned and give references where you can read more about it if you desire. Although this format makes the article look something like a research paper, please realize that it is still essentially an opinion post. As such, many of the references are opinions as well. Although your opinion may be different than mine, please respect my right to have my own opinion.
I’m hoping I won’t receive any hateful comments or other negative repercussions for writing this post, but I do feel it necessary to stand up for my position – to let people know that I am on the Lord’s side, to try to educate others as to what I have learned about this issue, and to do my best to try to prevent something disastrous from happening to the country in which I live. Although mine is only one small voice, at least I won’t sit by the sidelines in silence. At least if same-gender marriage is put into law and bad things happen because of it, I will know that I put some effort into trying to prevent it. I will know that I took advantage of my right to free speech and freedom of religion while I still had it. I will know “That as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Something to note: This post is in no way meant as a judgment or condemnation of any person. My purpose in writing this is to give my readers something intelligent and worthwhile to say in a discussion about homosexuality and/or the legalization of same-gender marriage and also to encourage those people to have the courage to voice their opinions and religious convictions in a world where it is becoming increasingly more difficult to do so. As for people who may be struggling with this issue personally, I have nothing but love for you in my heart. I want all people to be happy and am convinced that following God’s laws is the way to be so. If this article hurts your feelings in any way, I am truly sorry. That is not my intention in writing it.
I also want to make clear that nothing in this article applies to those who feel same-gender attraction but do not act on it. When I refer to homosexuality in this article, I am speaking specifically about homosexual sexual relations, which I will shorten to homosexual relations or homosexual lifestyle. I will also speak about the lobby for the legalization of same-gender marriage. But I do not mean for any of it to apply to those who are tempted by same-gender attraction but do not act on it. Thank you for understanding.
picture from lds.org media library
Some Reasons Why Homosexual Sexual Relations Harm the Participants
- Homosexual relations deprive the participants of the opportunity to create life. As Latter Day Saints, we know creating life to be the “measure of our creation.” Any couple who has experienced the anguish of infertility can testify to the unhappiness of being denied this blessing. Those who have experienced the joy of parenthood can testify that they would never want to miss out on this experience.(1)
- It also deprives the participants of the opportunity to create life in the eternities (have eternal increase). One of our purposes here on earth is to unite with a spouse (of the opposite gender) so that as a pair we may become a god and a goddess someday. (See my post entitled Are We Gods in Embryo for more information.) Since our resurrected bodies will be the same sex that they are here on earth, two people of the same gender will never be able to create life in the eternities. I am reminded of Shakespeare’s poem, The Rape of Lucrece, where he asks, “Would you sell eternity to get a toy?” Would you sell the blessings of having eternal increase in eternity to gratify your sexual desires during our short time on earth?
- Homosexual relations justify actions by desires, but one of the main things we are here on earth to learn is how to be selfless and choose the right despite what we desire. (2)
- The male and female bodies are designed in a complementary manner. They fit together, and the vagina has qualities which make it resistant to disease and injury. But our bodies were not made to endure anal sex. The result of anal sex is physical injury and easy transmission of disease. Men who engage in homosexual relations typically lose up to 20 years of life expectancy because of this. (3)
- The homosexual lifestyle tends towards promiscuity. (3) & (4)
- Because of this, it leaves the participants vulnerable and emotionally unsatisfied. (5) & (6)
- Some studies show that homosexual relations are like an addiction. At one point, the participant makes a choice to engage in the behavior. After that, each successive homosexual encounter becomes easier and easier until the participant becomes unable to turn from that lifestyle. This happens because neural pathways are strengthened by repetition of the behavior and emotional responses are conditioned by the lifestyle. (7) & (8) & (9)
- For sexual expression to produce true joy, it must be guided by spiritual principles. (7) One of the reasons sexual union within the bonds of marriage is so joyful is because God Himself is a part of the union (see “Doctrinal Foundation” in the reference). (10)
- Beyond all these rational explanations is the simple truth that transgressing God’s commandments brings loss of the Holy Spirit in our lives and separation from God. As we read in Alma 41:10, “Wickedness never was happiness.”
- Lastly, there is the tried and true evidence from the lives of people who have learned by experience that the homosexual lifestyle just doesn’t make them happy. (11) & (12) What seemed like it would bring happiness at the outset, simply didn’t after trying it out.
So, we’ve established that God gives us commandments to teach us how to be happy. He also gives commandments to prevent us from hurting others, to help us help other people to be happy. This is true about the commandment to abstain from homosexual relations and applies most specifically to the idea of same-gender marriage.
Reasons Why Same-Gender Marriage Harms Children
- Homosexual couples who adopt children or obtain them through artificial insemination or surrogacy, deprive those children of either a mother or a father. Children need both genders as parents in order to be whole and happy. We need only look to our prisons, full of children from one parent families, for proof of this fact. (1) & (2) & (13) & (14) “Not all adults have the inherent right to have a child, but all children have a right to a mother and a father.” (15) Although it is true that many children do grow up with only one parent, hopefully that situation is unintentional. To place a child with a same-gender couple is to intentionally deprive that child of either a father or a mother.
- Legalizing same-gender marriage will require schools to teach its validity, which equates to indoctrination of children over the objections of their parents. It teaches children that the rationale of marriage is nothing more than satisfaction of adult desires. (16)
- Both the legalization of same-gender marriage and homosexual unions raising children place the desires of adults ahead of the best interests and welfare of children.
As I said above, I was originally planning to discuss only the reasons why homosexual relations make the participants unhappy, but with all I learned, I also want to talk about the legalization of same-gender marriage. In an interview posted on Mormon News Room, Elder Wickman said,
“This notion that ‘what happens in your house doesn’t affect what happens in my house’ on the subject of the institution of marriage may be the ultimate sophistry of those advocating same-gender marriage.” (17)
The notion of “live and let live” may seem logical at the outset, but we will find that if same-gender marriage is legalized, all of us will be profoundly affected for the worse.
I really like the analogy given in reference (18): The author describes how up until now, the national discussion of same-gender marriage has treated “the issue like a game of checkers, where opponents can quickly gain each other’s pieces without much forethought for the consequences.” However, he tells us, “The game we are actually playing is chess, not checkers.… Chess is hard, requiring thought about the intended and unintentional consequences of every single move that may or may not be made.” I hope that the following list of reasons will help us give some thought as to what will happen if the proponents of same-gender marriage succeed.
Reasons Why Same-Gender Marriage and Even Same-Gender Civil Unions Harm Society
- If same-gender marriage is legalized, any expression of disagreement with it becomes illegal discrimination. (16)
- It becomes unacceptable for anyone to say that children need both a mother and a father. (19)
- Public officials would be required to perform same-gender marriages, Businesses offering wedding services forced to provide them for same-gender couples, Public schools required to teach its acceptability, Rental property owners forced to rent to same-gender couples, State employees expressing disapproval of same-gender relationships would be punished, Religious schools would be forced to provide housing for same-gender couples. (13) & (14)
- Christians, Jews, Muslims, and any person who believe homosexual relations to be wrong based on religious convictions would be required to betray their consciences by condoning homosexuality. Thus, legalization of same-gender marriage discriminates against these people. It hampers religious freedom. It is intolerant of anyone who adheres to the sanctity of marriage. The same holds true for “civil unions” of same-gender relationships. (13) & (20)
- It turns a moral wrong into a civil right. (13)
- It defines our culture as an immoral one. (2)
- If marriage between two men or two women is legal, we must also allow polyamorous groups. By the same reasoning as same-gender marriage, a person claiming to be bi-sexual should be able to marry both a man and a woman. Polygamy should then also be legal. There’s no limit as to the size of a group that could form a civil union or marriage under the same reasoning. (21) & (22) & (34)
- If two people should be allowed to marry solely based on whether they have an emotional bond, then there is no reason to assume the marriage will have any permanence. The partners can change whenever the emotional bonds change. (21)
- Once the state has determined that gender identity is irrelevant to marriage, how can it be relevant to any less intimate practices? How can gender identity be relevant to bathroom choice or locker room choice? (23)
- Marriage is not just about recognizing bonds of affection or romance. It is about a union fulfilled by procreation and family life. (21)
- Legalizing same-gender marriage amounts to a government take-over of an ancient institution. Government did not create marriage and has no business re-defining it. (19)
- Allowing children to grow up without either a father or a mother is bad for the common good. (2)
Some proponents of same-gender marriage have stated that the above arguments made by conservatives equate to Chicken Little running around yelling that the sky is falling. However, we need only look at what has already happened as a result of the push for same gender marriage to see how society will be affected. At the time of this posting, 9 states in the US plus Washington DC have legalized same-gender marriage, 1 has legalized same-gender civil unions, and 9 more offer legal protections to same-gender couples. Even states which do not offer legal protections have been affected by popular opinion in support of same-gender marriage. Eleven countries throughout the world have legalized same-gender marriage (Canada has had it for 10 years) and 15 more countries have bills proposed and/or pending. Let’s look at the effects so far:
Ways Society Has Already Been Affected by the Trend for Legalization of Same-Gender Marriage
- The European Parliament has recommended laws guaranteeing rights of same-sex couples be made uniform across the EU. (14)
- Canada has passed bill C-250 removing the right of anyone to speak against the homosexual lifestyle. Several religious clergymen have already been prosecuted and/or sued for delivering religious sermons or distributing religious pamphlets which speak out against homosexual relations. (24)
- Catholic Charities has been forced to stop offering adoption services in Massachusetts because of state law designating that homosexual couples must be allowed to adopt. (25)
- A New York court has ruled that Yeshiva University’s married-only cohabitation policy discriminated against homosexual couples. (26)
- “A New Jersey judge ruled against a Christian retreat house that refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its premises, ruling the Constitution allows ‘some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.’” (27)
- Public high school students in Kentucky were refused excusal from mandatory diversity training on the grounds that the course’s content was contrary to their religious convictions about human sexuality. A federal trial court ruled they had no First Amendment right to avoid the training. (20) & (28)
- Vanderbilt University has decided that Christian student groups that hold traditional Christian religious views are not welcome on campus if they insist on being led by Christians. They will no longer be recognized as valid student organizations. (29)
- The Massachusetts legislature has enacted a statute prohibiting discrimination in public schools on the basis of “gender identity.” The child himself/herself is solely responsible for defining his/her own gender completely independent of his/her own anatomy. On the basis of that, the Massachusetts Department of Education has issued a directive eradicating gender distinction from public schools. Schools are now required to allow children to use bathrooms and locker rooms and play on sports teams according to the gender they personally prefer as their own, which has nothing to do with their anatomy. Schools are also required to eliminate gender distinctions in dress, physical education, and other practices. (30) & (31)
- Furthermore, any student who does not endorse another student’s preferred gender will be subject to punishment. The directive instructs teachers to discipline students who intentionally refer to a transgender student by his/her given name or the pronoun corresponding to his/her anatomical sex. This is classified as bullying. (30) & (31) & (23)
- The above gender identity issues are a natural consequence of removing gender identity from marriage.
- Just saw an article today stating that Margaret Thatcher had passed a provision prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality either by teaching or publication in 1988. She stated, “Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay.” I was feeling happy about this provision that Britain had until I read further to find that it had been repealed in 2003 with an apology, stating that it was wrong. So apparently, now Britain approves of promoting homosexuality through teaching and publication. (39)
- The California legislature is now considering legislation which would require insurance companies to pay for fertility treatments for same-gender couples. Because these couples have had sexual relations for a year or more without contraception and have not conceived a child, the law would require insurance companies to pay for procedures such as artificial insemination or surrogacy for them just as it would for a heterosexual couple who was deemed infertile, irrespective of the fact that it is impossible for a homosexual couple to ever conceive a child. (42)
Beyond the possible and probable consequences for society that will stem from the legalization of same-gender marriage, there are also legal arguments as to why it is non-sensical for the government to issue a license for such a union. I have listed some of them below:
Legal Arguments to Support Keeping Marriage Between a Man and a Woman Only
- The government is not in the business of affirming our loves. It leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. Neither is it the government’s purpose to provide legal protection to every way possible in which individuals may pursue personal fulfillment. (33) & (14)
- Same-gender marriage is not illegal. In all states, two people of the same gender are free to live together and choose employment that offers joint benefits. The government actively prosecutes people living in polygamy, but it will not prosecute people for living in a same-gender relationship. (33) & (22) & (34)
- What is at issue in the debate over legalizing same-gender marriage is whether the government will force every citizen, house of worship, and business to recognize and affirm same-gender relationships as marriages. (33)
- If we view sexual orientation as being more like religion than race, then we will understand why those who are religious don’t want someone else’s “religion” imposed upon them. (40)
- The right to marry is denied to many – those already married, those too young, those too closely related. Saying that two people of the same gender may marry does not make everyone equal. It just draws a different line. There is no marriage equality. (22)
- “Historically, marriage has been reserved for the joining of two human beings who are fundamentally different (and do not share the same chromosomal patterns). In other words, prohibitions against same-sex marriage are very much like prohibitions against same-kin marriage. They aren’t rooted in hate; they’re rooted in nature. And they’re designed to forge unity from diversity at the most basic level of society — which is no small thing for a nation that celebrates e pluribus unum.” (40)
- Although all individuals are equal, not all societal groupings are equal. The membership rules for marriage should include one representative from each half of the human race. (40)
- It is illogical to demand the right to do something that you have no inclination to do. Marriage is between a man and a woman. If a person has no inclination to be married to someone of the opposite sex, they should not demand the right to marry. The reference has an interesting analogy. (22)
- As for financial benefits to married couples, the state is interested in supporting marriage because it provides a stable, affectionate, and moral atmosphere for raising children, thus perpetuating the nation and strengthening society. Homosexual marriage provides no such conditions. (13) & (35)
- Even so, tax laws could be changed to allow people cohabiting to inherit property without taxation, whether in a sexual relationship or not (for example, two sisters living together long term and sharing household expenses). (36)
Now, after all these logical and legal arguments, let us also add what God has told us in the scriptures. In the book of Judges, during a time when the majority of the people had turned away from God, we are told, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Does it not seem that our society is turning towards that same kind of thinking?
Dr. Martin Luther King warned against this “moral relativism” in 1954:
“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws….The other thing is that we have adopted a sort of a pragmatic test for right and wrong—whatever works is right. …My friends, that attitude is destroying the soul of our culture. It’s destroying our nation.” (37)
God’s laws do not change with the trends of the times. They are immutable. They are true in all ages and times. As Dr. King says, They are the “laws of the universe [and are] just as abiding as the physical laws.” Ignoring those laws, allowing everyone to do that which is right in his or her own eyes, is “destroying the soul of our culture.”
One last point: without morality, there is no agency. “If nothing matters, freedom is pointless. If one choice is as good as another, choice is merely preference,” not agency. (7) That being said, here are some scriptures (click on them to read them) to support the fact that homosexuality is immoral and that marriage is to be between a man and a woman.
- Leviticus 18:22
- Leviticus 20:13
- Genesis 19:24-25 (the fate of Sodom & Gomorrah, one of whose sins was Sodomy)
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
- Romans 1:26-27
- Genesis 1:27 (God created us in separate genders)
- Matthew 19:6
I’m not going to include any statements from General Authorities, but I would like to say that Elder Bednar’s talk in the LDS General Conference last week was AMAZING! You can watch it HERE or read it here: (41).
Lastly, I feel it is appropriate here to list some guidelines for how to treat people who are homosexual. (38) These may be self-evident, but I thought I’d include them anyway.
How Should People Respond to Someone Who is Homosexual?
- Follow Jesus’ example. Love everyone.
- Minister grace and compassion. Everyone has challenges. Some are harder to deal with than others. For those who face a life of loneliness and celibacy because of desires that are beyond their control, this is an overwhelmingly difficult trial.
- Be humble – Realize you may never have been tempted as they have been.
- God commands us not to judge others if we don’t want to be judged ourselves.
- An old proverb tells us we can never truly understand another person’s circumstances or feelings until we’ve walked a mile in his/her shoes.
- Seek to understand his/her feelings.
- Realize you cannot change him/her.
- Share your love for the Lord.
- Be affectionate but avoid inappropriate physical affection.
- Be a friend without condoning sin.
I hope this blog post has been helpful to you. Contrary to popular opinion, I do not feel that the legalization of same-gender marriage is a foregone conclusion here in the U.S.. The research I have done for this blog post has given me hope that there are still many people fighting for the right.
Society today makes it difficult to stand up for one’s beliefs concerning this issue. It seems that to have an opinion that differs from the proponents of “marriage equality” is to be called a bigot and a “hater.” See if you think this scripture applies to this situation:
And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, …And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound…. for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men…. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved. (D&C 45:26 – 32)
Everyday we tell our kids to “stand in holy places and be not moved.” We tell them to stand up for their beliefs when at school and not bend to peer pressure. Do we have the courage to do the same when out among our peers or will “our hearts fail us”? Do we have the courage to stand up for the right, to state our beliefs unequivocally, to stand in holy places and be not moved? It is my hope and prayer that we do. I hope that we will all have the courage to hold to our convictions, to defend the right even when we feel outnumbered, and to place ourselves firmly on the Lord’s side. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
References for Further Study
(click on the article title to view full article)
1. I’m Gay and I Oppose Same Sex Marriage by Doug Mainwaring
2. Sexual Revolution: Defend It if You Can by Anthony Esolen
3. Why Homosexuality is Wrong by Clenard Childress
4. The Limits of Homosexual Love posted on The Truth Sets You Free
5. Change Is Possible posted on The Truth Sets You Free
6. Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View by Robert Oscar Lopez
7. The Role of Free Agency in Sexual Identity Development posted on The Truth Sets You Free
8. 12 Propositions About Homosexuality posted on But Such Were Some of You
9. Insights in Brief posted on Unhappy Gay
10. Nurturing Marriage by Russell M Nelson
11. Gay = Unhappy by Kristoff N Münchengladbach
12. Gays Are Deeply Unhappy by Hilary White
13. 10 Reasons Why Homosexual Marriage Is Harmful and Must Be Opposed by TFP Student Action
14. The Divine Institution of Marriage posted on Mormon News Room
15. Homosexuality: The Untold Story posted on The Truth Sets You Free
16. Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada by Bradley Miller
17. Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: “Same-Gender Attraction” posted on Mormon News Room
18. Same-Sex Marriage: We’re Playing Chess, Not Checkers by Doug Mainwaring
19. Defend Marriage: Moms and Dads Matter by Maggie Gallagher
20. Marriage, Religious Liberty, and the Ban Myth by Adam J MacLeod
21. Gay Marriage, then Group Marriage? by Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis and Ryan T. Anderson
22. Gay Is Not the New Black by Voddie Baucham
23. Sky Fall: Gender Ideology Comes to the Schoolhouse by Adam J. MacLeod and Andrew Beckwith
24. Senate Passes Bill C-250 – A Chill is in the Air posted on Catholic Civil Rights League
25. Catholic Charities Pulls Out of Adoptions posted in the Washington Times
26. Levin vs. Yeshiva University case in the New York Court of Appeals
29. Vanderbilt’s Right to Despise Christianity by Michael Stokes Paulson
30. Students Who Refuse to Affirm Transgender Classmates Face Punishment by Todd Starnes on Fox News
31. Massachusetts Department of Secondary Education directive for public schools
32. State Must Grant Murder Convict A Sex Change Operation, Judge Rules by Mark Memmott
33. In Defense of Traditional Marriage by Ryan T Anderson
34. Justice Sotomayor and the Path to Polygamy by Carson Holloway
35. Cats and Dogs and Marriage Laws by Stephen J Heaney
36. We Don’t Need to Redefine Marriage to Fix Policy Problems by William W. Beach and Ryan T. Anderson
37. Rediscovering Lost Values by Martin Luther King
38. Homosexuality Questions and Answers by Sue Bohlin
39. When Britain Banned Promoting Homosexuality by Chris Geidner
40. Sexuality More Like Religion than Race by William Mattox
41. We Believe in Begin Chaste by Elder David A Bednar
To Any Who Wish to Leave a Comment
Sorry, everyone, but I am closing the comments for this post as well as deleting the comments made so far. Thank you so much to those of you who left kind comments. I appreciate your kindness and support.