08 July 2009

Same Soundtrack, Recyled

"Categorically prohibited, unnatural and contrary to God’s law, will never be acceptable within the LDS Church; deeply offensive to social norms if allowed to be performed, will lead to the destruction of not just society but indeed humanity."

In the wake of Proposition 8 and the Church's ongoing efforts to fight same-sex marriage, there's no question we've all heard stuff like that countless times from LDS family, friends, and strangers talking, calling, writing, blogging, walking neighborhoods, manning phone banks. Prop 8 was only one skirmish, and there are more rounds to fight, so we can expect to hear more of these claims. Marlin Jensen, Church Historian and member of the Seventy, told ABC News that "if the sun no longer shines, I can't see in God's world how [the Church's insistence that only heterosexual marriage should be allowed] will ever change."

Been there, heard that. That's not news, Alan.

Except for one thing. That quote up above isn't about same-sex marriage at all. It's a summary list of things that were preached over and over and over again for decades from Mormon pulpits as the unquestioned Word Of The Lord about mixed race marriages and black men receiving the priesthood.

Embarrassed? Ashamed? Can't believe prophets and apostles from Brigham Young and onward for generations thereafter said such things, denied temple ordinances on that basis, and basically treated so many of God's children as eternal inferiors? Including even sealing one black woman to Joseph Smith not as a wife, but as a servant, solely because of her skin color? Thirty years after Official Declaration #2, is all this nearly incomprehensible to you? Can't believe that endowed faithful Latter-day Saints who had the same scriptures you do, and a living prophet to guide them, could have been so unbelievably wrong, defended such reprehensible practices with all the fervor and vigor and doctrinal certainty and even the identical language the Church now marshals against same-sex marriage?

Well read all about it here and as you do, note the parallels. The absolute certainty that what you now think is horrific was The Will Of The Lord. And ask yourself, how do you know God doesn't have a broader perspective than you or even President Monson? Maybe because your cultural prejudices have stopped your and others' ears? Maybe because the Church just isn't ready yet, like it wasn't ready 100 years ago? Are you really so sure there's no place in the Kingdom for God's gay children and their marriages?

A hundred fifty years ago The Prophet of The Lord proclaimed it an eternal law that the penalty for mixed race marriage was death on the spot. "It will always be so," he said. Yet we've been performing those fatal marriages in the temple now for 30 years and the world seems to be going on its merry way quite unsullied. Heck, we just got our first African General Authority!

Who says this kind of thing can't happen again? That there's no way in heaven or hell future generations of Latter-day Saints will look back at 2008 and say I can't believe the whole Church was so bigoted as to not let gay people marry? No doubt in Brigham Young's time, such a prediction was unthinkable about mixed race marriages too. After all, the living prophets & apostles said it "will always be so!" Yet look what happened. Think about it.


Max Power said...

Do you read Mormon Heretic's blog? He wrote a great (and very long) post about the chronology of the priesthood ban for black members and whether or not it was inspired or influenced by personal bias. Some of the points in there tie into this post of yours.

It's an interesting look into "policy" versus "doctrine" and the fallibility of church leaders.


Grant Haws said...

I suspect eventually the church will have to soften both its policy and doctrine when it comes to homosexuality - partly due to the pressure from the outside world, and partly because the issue is rushing through its members as well and more and more members are becoming publicly defiant to the policies and doctrines.

The question in my mind is how will the church and its members turn around to pretend like it never was the church's policy to attack its gay members?

Andy Foree said...

I love this post! I think it is so true! I've been telling people this for ages now! I am glad that there is someone else out there who believes the same things I do...well...of course, we're both MoHo's :)

But I was impressed by your post. I enjoyed and it will probably email it to those who think I am wrong. Hope that's okay!