Religious Leaders, Seers and Revelators?

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I’m still flying high because of the Supreme Court decisions last week on DOMA and Prop 8!  The best article I’ve seen is from the amazing people at Ex-Mormon Mavens.  Please take time to read, it’s incredible.  While I’ve celebrated, I’ve seen plenty of people (some very close to me) heartbroken and distraught over the direction our society is heading.  I understand there will be disappointment when a decision is made on a polarizing issue like Gay Marriage.  I’m just trying to analyze how these judgments on the direction of our society were formed.  My perspective is that the correct moral decision to allow equality for others was made, thus our society is becoming better.  Many people, whom are more religious, feel the exact opposite.  Let’s look at why they feel that way.

I’ve had many extensive conversations with people about LGBTQ rights.  Many of the reasons people cite are simply untrue and have been proven as such through scientific studies and polling – “It’s a choice…” or “Homosexuals are more inclined to be pedophiles…” or “It’s bad for children to be raised by homosexual parents” or “Homosexuality is causing harm to society.”  The last three statements are absolutely offensive and have been proven completely false, although I won’t focus on those now. The reason most people object to LGBTQ rights comes down to two primary issues:

  • Homosexual relationships are “icky.”
  • The Bible and my Religious Leaders say it’s wrong and will harm the morals of our society.

I’ll save the biblical debate for another day, although that is a fascinating topic.

While I personally think two men or two women kissing, holding hands or etc. is a beautiful expression of affection or love and definitely not gross or disturbing, I can understand why some do; though I think it’s immature to focus on it or use it as a reason to protest equal rights.  To illustrate this point, I’ll share a conversation I just had with my 7-year-old son, Jordan.

Barry & Bonnie EqualityI came downstairs dressed in a shirt with a red equal sign and my BSA Eagle Scout Sash, as we were attending the Houston Pride Parade, making the statement that I’m an Eagle Scout that supports Equality.  My son got excited when he saw the sash with all the merit badges and started asking me questions about what it was.  He understood the concept from watching Phineas & Ferb and seeing The Fireside Girls earn merit badges.  I explained that he won’t have the opportunity to be in the Boy Scouts and he wanted to know why:

“Jordan, you know how we discussed that it’s OK to be gay.  Well, the Boy Scouts don’t think it is.  They don’t allow adult men and women to participate with their kids, if they are Gay.  They think it’s wrong.”

Jordan looked confused and said, “That’s horrible.”  Then he paused for a few seconds and said, “Daddy, can I tell you something… I think it’s a little gross.  I’m OK with it but I do think it’s gross.”

“Well, Jordan, let me ask you.  Do you like boys that way?”

“No.”

“Do you like girls that way?”

Jordan looks down and has a sheepish grin on his face.

I said, “That’s just it, J.  You aren’t attracted to boys, which is why you think the idea of two boys kissing is gross.  That’s normal for you.  Just understand that for some boys, it’s normal for them to kiss other boys.  That’s how they were born.  Girls too.  So while you can personally think it’s a little gross, it’s important to accept that it’s not that way for others and we still love them and want to see them happy and have the same rights we do.  Then maybe over time you won’t even find it gross.”

“I agree, Daddy.  I like that.”

Then he started asking me about which other organizations, including churches, don’t think it’s OK, so he can be aware.

My 7-year old was able to understand this idea and I hope others can come to realize the same thing.

Now, onto the main point of this post; Some Religious Leaders say it’s wrong to be Homosexual.  Since my background is in Mormonism, I’ll focus on their leaders.  Plus, Mormons believe their Prophets and Apostles literally talk to God and receive direct revelation from Him, so it is quite possibly the best example I could give.

Mormon Prophets and Apostles are considered “Prophet, Seers and Revelators.”  Let’s define these words:

  • Prophet – A teacher. That is the essential meaning of the word. He teaches the body of truth, the gospel, revealed by the Lord to man. (Micah 3:8; see also D&C 20:2634:10;43:16)
  • Seer – One who sees with spiritual eyes. He perceives the meaning of that which seems obscure to others; therefore he is an interpreter and clarifier of eternal truth. He foresees the future from the past and the present.  (Book of MormonMosiah 8:15-17)
  • Revelator –  Makes known, with the Lord’s help, something before unknown. It may be new or forgotten truth, or a new or forgotten application of known truth to man’s need. Always, the revelator deals with truth, certain truth (D&C 100:11) and always it comes with the divine stamp of approval.

polygamyBasically, a Prophet is like a modern-day Moses.  He speaks directly with God and can foresee the future and the harm certain actions will cause, to put it simply.  OK, so with that understanding, let’s get some context and background by looking at what past Mormon prophets have said.

Mormons practiced polygamy from the mid 1830’s until at least 1920’s.  There was a “revelation” in 1890 that was supposed to have halted the practice of polygamy but Mormon leaders continued to practice it for decades later.  While polygamy was practiced, Mormon Prophets and Apostles had some pretty incredible things to say about Monogamy and the impact it would have on society:

“Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.”  – The Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128

“…the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people.”  – Prophet John Taylor, Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 227

“Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire….Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers…. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ it is the only popular religion there,…”  – The Prophet Brigham Young, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862

“This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,…”  – Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195

“We breathe the free air, we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they (Non-Mormons) envy us our position, well they may, for they are a poor, narrow-minded, pinch-backed race of men, who chain themselves down to the law of monogamy, and live all their days under the dominion of one wife. They ought to be ashamed of such conduct, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices; and it is not to be wondered at that they should envy those who so much better understand the social relations.”  – Apostle George A Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 291

“I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality [of wives] looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business. I do not know what we would do if we had only one wife apiece.”  – Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses Vol 5, page 22

Those are some pretty disparaging remarks by “Men communicating directly with God” concerning monogamous marriage; even attributing the destruction of the Roman Empire to Monogamy.  However, monogamy is the current practice today and has been since the creation of the United States.  Have any of these warnings come true?  No, in fact, future Mormon prophets would completely reverse their stance on monogamy and banish polygamy.  Even now, Mormons warn that if Gay Marriage is accepted nationwide, then polygamy will be the next thing to be legalized.  From what I can see, Mormons should be praying for that to happen, as it’ll save our society and it is the law practiced in Heaven (still a current Mormon belief)….

Some will say these quotes are from the 1800’s and these men were just speaking as men.  OK, I agree, they were just men speaking as men.  However, time proved them wrong.  Let’s go to something more recent and discuss the comments made by Mormon Prophets about Homosexuality:

“This heinous homosexual sin is of the ages. Many cities and civilizations have gone out of existence because of it. It was present in Israel’s wandering days, tolerated by the Greeks, and found in the baths of corrupt Rome.”  – Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, “President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality,” LDS New Era, Nov. 1980, Page 39

“Alternatives to the legal and loving marriage between a man and a woman are helping to unravel the fabric of human society. I am sure this is pleasing to the devil. The fabric I refer to is the family. These so-called alternative life-styles must not be accepted as right, because they frustrate God’s commandment for a life-giving union of male and female within a legal marriage as stated in Genesis. If practiced by all adults, these life-styles would mean the end of the human family.”  – Apostle James E. Faust, “Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil,” Liahona, Nov. 1995, Page 3.

Homosexuals and lesbians seldom are happy people. Theirs is a relationship that is unnatural, one not bound by fidelity, trust, or loyalty, and one totally lacking in the meaningful family relationships that marriage offers. Homosexuality often espouses emotional problems because of the constant insecurity inherent in a relationship neither sanctioned by nor protected by the law.”

“Because there is no legal bond, homosexuality too often encourages, or at least permits, promiscuity.”

“To say that “no one gets hurt” is presumptive. Homosexuals are hurt by the unacceptability of the relationship, not only by society, but also by themselves. This is evidenced by their almost universal desire that their children (if they have any) not follow the same pattern.”

Someone does get hurt. There is harm in homosexuality. Many homosexuals seek to introduce others into their practice, often those in their tender, impressionable years. Many studies have indicated that such early homosexual experience may interfere with normal sexual adjustment in subsequent marriage.”

“Nor is homosexuality compatible with peace of mind, tranquility of soul, or with the Spirit of our Father in heaven that all of us want, need, and enjoy when we live in accordance with his laws.”

“Just as the Word of Wisdom is the Lord’s way with or without medical proof of its value to our health, so likewise the moral law taught by the Church does not require any medical proof of its value to our spiritual and physical health. It is sufficient that the Lord has told us to marry, to have children, and to do this according to the righteous ways of the law of God. In this lies physical health, emotional stability, and true happiness.”  – LDS Church Ensign, July 1974, Page 14

Boyd Packer Mormon Church 180th semiannual General Conference homophobic bullying antigay rights hate lgbt latter day saints“There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just “that way” and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men –masculine, manly men —ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.”  – Apostle Boyd K. Packer, General Conference Priesthood Session, October 2, 1976

“If we’re not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that will legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s
laws and nature … what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?”

“Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural,” he said. “Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” – Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, October 3, 2010.

Honestly, I could keep going with these quotes but I’ll stop, as I think the point has been made.  Interesting to see that “Prophets” are using the same argument about the Fall of the Roman Empire to explain why both monogamy and homosexuality are bad….  I guess Rome is an easy target.  Again, some will say these men are merely speaking as men and would even accuse me of taking these statements out of context.  I would give the entire context but I don’t have time here.  Feel free to look up the articles I’ve referenced with each quote. The issue is, these quotes about polygamy and now homosexuality mean some serious questions have to be asked:  When are they speaking as Prophets?  When can they be trusted?  When will future Prophets change their stance?  Why does God want to persecute people now, knowing he’ll have his Prophet change the stance in the future?  Why are these religious leaders consistently behind the curve of societal change?

Add to this discussion the talk LDS Prophet Ezra Taft Benson gave on the 14 Fundementals in Following The Prophet, that current prophets and apostles still quote from today and this issue becomes an even bigger question.

Well, it appears the LDS Church and current prophet is already changing their stance on homosexuality; at least one aspect of it.  See their new website MormonsandGays.org:

“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

When the LDS church says, “individuals do not choose to have such attractions,”  they have already changed the position that previous prophets had, as seen above.  LGBTQ are born that way.  When will the next change happen?

Here’s the point, homosexuality and specifically Gay Marriage, will become accepted in our society and homophobic speech will become like racist statements today… outcast and extremely offensive.  Churches will have to change the way they talk about it and some will even change their actual practices because they need to keep people attending.  It’s already happening.  I didn’t get into the Interracial Marriage topic or what previous “Prophets” said about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights or Women’s Rights Movements because my post is already too long but you can google that yourself and see they were once again, on the wrong side of history and then back tracked quickly once the change was made.  (Still waiting on the Women’s Right change to come)  The Mormon Church isn’t the only one at fault on Civil and Women’s Rights, as Christianity and other religions were also severely lacking in forward thinking ideas.  That is the pattern throughout history.  Why do millions of people trust these leaders without critical evaluation and historical perspective, while causing serious harm to amazing people and families?  I encourage everyone to see this pattern for what it is and to discover for yourself the direction our society is headed, and thereby recognize that the Moral Decision is to Allow Equal Rights and End Suffrage   Our society is becoming a wonderful place and I’m excited to be raising my children in this environment.  I look forward to what the future holds.