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Monday, March 10, 2014

No Other Gods ~ Same Sex Attraction ~ Dallin H. Oaks

Taught by Jeanine M.

Should we care that marriage defined as being between a man and a woman is changing?
Elder Oaks does.

Last conference, he gave a bold talk that was in defense of a traditional family. He also gave a speech at the Canterbury Medal dinner in which he was honored as one who fights to protect religious expression.

In this speech he explains why we should care that marriage is being redefined: it is directly related to religious freedom. It may be seen as prejudicial to only perform marriages between a man and a woman. Imagine if the government required that all religions perform marriages for any type of union. What would this do to our temples? We would not be allowed to practice our religious belief that marriage is between and man and a woman.

In his conference talk, 
Elder Oaks explains the doctrine.

First, he clearly defines the role marriage has in the plan of salvation. “For Latter-day Saints, God’s commandments are based on and inseparable from God’s plan…..of happiness. Our theology begins with heavenly parents, and our highest aspiration is to attain the fullness of eternal exaltation. We know this is possible only in a family relationship. We look on marriage and the bearing and nurturing of children as part of God’s plan.”

Next, he explains some of the current trends in that populations are declining. Average age for marriage is increasing and that “the traditional family is coming to be the exception rather than the rule.” He expresses concern that the role of fathers is being diminished and more young women are putting careers ahead of families.

He reminds us that all men are free to choose and that we should be compassionate and charitable  toward others. 

He reminds us of the law of chastity and that the standard is “that sexual relations should occur only between and man and a woman who are married.” He says, “the importance we attach to the law of chastity explains our commitment to the pattern of marriage that originated with Adam and Eve.”

He finishes with a section on understanding that “Man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. He reminds us that just as there used to be laws in states and countries against adultery and fornication that are no longer on the books, we are still required to obey those laws because they are God-given. “Similarly, laws legalizing so-called “same-sex” marriage do not change God’s law of marriage.”

In his speech at the Canterbury dinner, Elder Oaks refers to some verses of scripture in Mark 12: 14-17. Christ is teaching us that we have obligations to civil government as well as to divine authority. He said “the two-sided coin reminds us of our two-fold duties to truth and to tolerance. In our efforts to strengthen religious freedom, we must always remember that the truth of our cause does not free us from our duty of tolerance toward those who differ.”

We need to dispel some of the myths regarding homosexuals. On you can listen to those who have struggled with same sex attraction. Even many who have received help through their father in Heaven to be able to have a loving intimate heterosexual marriage and family in the Gospel. One man that is on that sight, tells his story and he decides to put God first. He says, “My need for God was first, more than my need for companionship.”  We can offer to help those that want it and continue to practice charity and tolerance to those who don’t want to change. It is a difficult to stand for what we believe and at the same time show tolerance for those who believe differently.

Elder Oaks’ talk began with the ten commandments: 

“Thou shalt have no other God before me.” Then in Matthew again it is repeated, “Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might mind and soul.”

He poses the question to all of us: 
“What other priorities are being served ahead of 
God in our day?”

There is a reason he has called us to action---we need to know and have a testimony of the family and marriage. We need to know that following the plan of happiness set forth by our father in heaven should be our ultimate and first priority in life.

We had such a great discussion! Since this lesson, I came across an interesting article that helps shed light on this topic from the point of view of someone who is not LDS.

Here is another link to more information on "Same Sex Attraction" from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints:

It is important that we study and know the doctrine of the Plan of Happiness and the position the Church holds on 'Same sex attraction' so that we can teach our families compassion and charity while upholding the gospel stand on this important issue. 

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