19 March 2010

Letter From An Apostle

Dear -----:

It was a real pleasure to greet and have a moment to visit with you and your wife here this past week. It is wonderful to see how enthusiastically you are received by the good people of Utah.

After listening to your talk on homosexual rights, I am very much concerned. Several others have expressed the same concern to me. It does not altogether harmonize with my own understandings regarding this subject; therefore, I thought to drop you a note--not in my official Church position, but as a personal friend. Only President Monson can speak for the Church.

I felt that your views were most liberal on this vital problem in light of the revelations, but nevertheless, I cannot deny you the right of your position if it represents your true belief and feelings.

I would like to suggest you read the teachings of leaders of the Church on this subject. President David O. McKay said homosexuality was even worse than heterosexual immorality and called it a "filthy and unnatural habit." Spencer W. Kimball called homosexuality a habit based on selfishness and caused by masturbation, said it was unnatural and contrary to the nature of God, and declared that no real love could ever exist in any homosexual relationship. He affirmed that it could be cured and suggested that those who failed to overcome it simply had not tried hard enough. As you may know, the organization called Evergreen International, which has unofficial Church backing, offers resources and support for members of the Church with this problem and who wish to change their sexual orientation.

When I reflect upon the statements of these Church leaders and remember what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations which all tolerated and supported homosexuality, I am sobered by their demise. They went contrary to the teachings of the prophets, unwittingly, no doubt, but nevertheless, the prophecy of Joseph Smith, " . . . those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by his counsel," has and will continue to be fulfilled.

In this respect, let me give you a personal experience. A friend of mine in Arizona--not a Church member--a great champion of homosexual persons--came to me after my call into the Twelve, and acknowledged President Monson to be a Prophet of God. He wanted me to ask President Monson to inquire of the Lord to see if the Lord would not lift the curse from homosexual persons and give them the privilege of same-sex marriage. I explained to him that the Lord had prohibited homosexuality; therefore, it was the Lord's responsibility--not man's--to change His decision. This friend of mine met a very tragic end by drowning. He was a most enthusiastic advocate of same-sex marriage privileges for homosexual persons and went about promoting for them all the privileges, social, opportunities, and participation enjoyed by the heterosexuals.

The statements of the prophets I reference above have been a helpful influence on me because they accord with my own understandings regarding the homosexual. I cannot, in my own feelings, accept the idea of public accommodations. I do not have any objection to recognizing the homosexual in his place and giving him every opportunity for education, for employment, for whatever contribution he can make to the society of men and the protection and blessings of God. Yet, all these things, in my judgment, should accord with the expressions of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

It is not right to force any class or race of people upon those of a different social order or sexual classification. People are happier when placed in the environment and association of like interests, sexual instincts, habits, and natural groupings.

I am enclosing a little booklet entitled "God Loveth His Children", which you may already have. If not, it is an enlightening exposition and quite well reflects the Church position in regard to these people.

I am not against legislation that would establish basic civil rights for the homosexual if it conforms to the views of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the other leaders of the Church according to the references above given. I fully agree that the homosexual is entitled to considerations also stated above, but not full social benefits nor marriage privileges with each other, nor should heterosexuals be forced to accept homosexuals into restricted heterosexual areas. In my judgment, the present effort to establish so-called "gay marriage" is vicious legislation. There needs to be some modification. The position of the Church cannot change until the Lord changes it Himself. Certainly I am not for exploiting gender-based or religious prejudices, but it is the present play-up to the homosexual voters which is unnecessarily creating problems that by a more firm, sensible approach can be avoided. There will always be a few die-hard leaders, but then that has always been true with any debatable issue. Principle--religious or otherwise--cannot be abrogated for political expediency.

Now, don't think I am against the homosexual, because I have several in my employ. We must understand and recognize their status and then, accordingly, provide for them. I just don't think we can get around the Lord's position in relation to the homosexual without punishment for our acts; going contrary to that which He has revealed. The Lord will not permit His purposes to be frustrated by man.

Please understand that I have a great respect and admiration for you, but because of my feelings I thought I should express myself as I have so you will know my personal position.

This letter is for your personal use only (also your wife's), and is not to be used in any other way. It does not require an answer.

With best wishes and success to you both always, I am

Faithfully your friend and brother,



Surprised? Astonished, even? Think this is a fake?

Well, it sort of is, but sort of isn't either. Replace all the gay references with "African-American" or "race" or what have you, as necessary, and take out one paragraph where I had to substitute some quotes from past LDS leaders, and you'll have the exact text of a 23 January 1964 letter from Mormon Apostle Delbert Stapley to Michigan Governor George Romney, in which Stapley essentially told Romney that his support for civil rights was contrary to God's will. Yet how much of this letter, as I've "amended" it, falls right into line with current Mormon thinking about God's gay children?

We all know how opinions like Stapley's ended up. And they didn't end that way because everybody sat around on their hands and kept their mouths shut and just waited for God to decide to speak. No, change happened after years of effort and lobbying and discussions and persuasion and dialogue and yes vigorous disputes over what was really right and what was wrong, what the scriptures really supported and what they didn't.

One of the main purposes of this life is to learn, grow, explore, exert ourselves, stretch, investigate, ask why and why not. The scriptures confirm time and time again that God rewards those who ask Him, who debate with Him, who aren't afraid to question and even dispute Him. And there is precedent for His children persuading Him to change his mind.

So despite recent requests by members of my own family to keep quiet and not talk about this because "nobody needs to know," I will respectfully decline and will continue to speak out. Silence perpetuates the problems and the injustice. Sunlight, honesty and freedom are far better.

To see the original letter from Delbert Stapley, click here.

13 comments:

Good to be Free said...

Could you give us a link or reference to the original text? Thanks!

LDS Brother said...

It's only a matter of time, then. ;)
1978 wasn't that far off from 1964. :)

Steven B said...

Brilliant!

Evan said...

Love it, Rob.

Part of me wants to put the original text up on Facebook..... but that would probably lead to some huge ruckus, thus shutting down Facebook forever.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

Rob, this was a real and appreciated eye-opener.

TGD said...

Well I'm going to post it. If Facebook get's shut down then you can blame me.

Beck said...

Wow! All I can say about the original letter is "unbelievable". Makes you stop and think. Wow!

Konrad said...

I really liked this post. I believe that the church will eventually change its position on homosexuality. This isnt going to happen overnight and there will certainly be a lot of heated discussion about it. Like you said, its not going to happen without a lot of debate and the like. The church has changed its view on Polygamy and African Americans. It will only be a matter of time before they will change their stance on homosexuality. This letter that was written surprised me. I will definately be sharing that. Im sure there are letters out there right now in regards to 'the gays'. Something that I have always wished for was to see a major change in the church regarding this issue during my lifetime, though I dont know if thats a reasonable expectation.

robert said...

Nicely rendered, sir.

Sean said...

All I can say is Wow! I love how there is the disclaimer for using the letter for personal use only but I'll bet it was on official church letterhead when written. Boy would I like to get my hands on a link to the original text.

Rob said...

@Sean:

A link to the original letter--and yes, it was on official letterhead--is at the end of the post.

wireless green mouse said...

Great Post, really clever.

BigRedHammer said...

Impressive! Bigotry is bigotry no matter who the target is!