Sunday, June 28, 2015

When Men Oppose God

Last week we celebrated Father’s Day. We paused to remember what our mortal fathers have done for us in giving us life, supporting us, and teaching us to love our Heavenly Father. We remembered that we would not be who we are today without the influence of our fathers in our lives. Studies have show that families with both fathers and mothers provide the best environment for children.

In recent decades, high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have resulted in an exceptionally large number of single parents. Many of these single parents have raised exemplary children. Extensive studies have shown, however, that a husband and wife who are united in a loving, committed marriage generally provide the ideal environment for protecting, nurturing, and raising children (“The Divine Institution of Marriage”)

This past Friday (June 26th, 2015) the US Supreme Court ruled that all 50 State must allow same-sex marriages and recognize the same marriages from other states. With this decision the U.S. joins 20 other countries around the world that have legalized same-sex marriages (U.S. News & World Report).

Marriage has always been sacred and ordained by God. It is part of His plan of happiness for all his children and without it God’s work to bring us back into his presence would not be possible. Christ reminded us that marriage was to be between a man and a women when he taught during his mortal ministry (Matthew 19:4-5). What happens when men turn against God’s laws? Mosiah, an ancient American Prophet, taught his people that as long as the people who were brought to this land obeyed the commandments they would be protected, but if the time would come when they chose wickedness they would be destroyed.

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.

 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. (Mosiah 29:26-27)

This land, North and South America, was to be a choice land, a land of freedom and liberty as long as the people here kept God’s commandments but if the time came that they rejected God they would be scattered and smitten by other nations (2 Nephi 1:9-11). The Book of Mormon tells of two nations that were completely destroyed after rejecting God’s commandments and when they were ripe with iniquity.

Two cities in the Old Testament (Sodom and Gomorrah) were destroyed because of homosexual behavior (see footnote b of Genesis 18:20). The Apostle Paul condemned these practices (Romans 1:26-32). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reminded us of the importance of the family and that failure to sustain laws supporting traditional marriage and families would bring the calamities foretold in the scriptures (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

You will not see me out on the streets with a sing warning of the end of the world, in fact I still believe that the majority of the people still choose to keep the commandments of God. I believe as Mosiah said that it is the “lesser part of the people” that are causing these laws to be passed. As in Book of Mormon times, it is our judges and rulers that are brining us under this condemnation. We have been warned that changing the laws to support same-sex marriage does not change the standards and laws set by God.

Many advocates of same-sex marriage argue that traditional standards of sexual morality have changed and that “tolerance” requires that these new standards be recognized and codified in law. If tolerance is defined as showing kindness for others and respect for differing viewpoints, it is an important value in all democratic societies. But as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has observed, “Tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination.”

In addition to using the argument of tolerance to advocate redefining marriage, proponents have advanced the argument of “equality before the law.” No mortal law, however, can override or nullify the moral standards established by God. Nor can the laws of men change the natural, innate differences between the genders or deny the close biological and social link between procreation and marriage. (“The Divine Institution of Marriage”)

While we should not compromise our commitment to God’s commandments, we must remember to follow the Savior’s example to love one another. When he was confronted with the women caught in adultery, he did not condemn her, but he also did not excuse her sin (John 8:11). Dallin Oaks in the October 2014 General Conference warned members to avoid being contentious:

On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teaching s to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

When our positions to not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries. In any event, we should be person of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non belief, and differences in sexual orientation. (“Loving Others and Living with Differences”)

I am saddened by the decision of the Supreme Court but I know that it does not change the commandments of God, I know that those who support the decision and those who choose to live in opposition the what God has said are still his children. None of us are without sin and should not be casting stones at those who disagree with us. The fact also remains that when we choose wickedness and rebel against God there are consequences. We will all stand before Him when we die to be judged of our works whether they are good or evil and will receive the rewards for the lives that we live here.

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