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First Presidency Letter on Defining Marriage

The First Presidency just issued a letter to leaders indicating support for a constitutional amendment to define marriage, and asking members to express themselves on the issue. I am expressing myself:

I believe that we should work on this problem from the other end. If we have a problem with the lifestyle that gay people are living, lets confront them about the problem directly, instead of playing games of legislation with others at their expense. We should be able to win these people over as converts to the Gospel, and allow them to choose Good over Evil. In order to leave possibilities for us to do this, we need to stop trying to force their hand because that offends them.

So why don't we support an amendment to remove Federal power to define marriage, or something similar to this. The problem is actually a problem of wording, I think, and the Church has gotten itself tied up with accepting something worldly as something Holy just because the World has been using a name for it that confused them: Marriage. The Latter-day Saints, of all people, should recognize that there is a higher law, the sealing power exercised in the Temple, that constititutes a different type of union than the civil authority of Marriage.

If the idea is that the Church is claiming the term "Marriage" as its own, we could try to legislate that the word Marriage be used only for traditional marriages, (or for no civil marriages at all!) and set aside another term for any other type of union recognized by law, but afford the other type of union the same legal status as Marriage has. It would be much easier for the Church to adopt exclusively the term Sealing and let the world have whatever word it wants. I thought this was why we had the word sealing to begin with?

The thing that has become blurred is that the Chuch accepts civil marriage as binding currently. This is a mixed message. People who are married by outside authority and yet are members of the Church (either through converting, or otherwise) should be seen as needing to be re-sealed under priesthood authority, as a requirement (even if it is only for Time due to other issues). We expect this of them concerning Baptism, and ordination to Priesthood. Why not expect this concerning Marriage, the holiest of all?

Because the World's Marriage in the 1800s seemed "good enough", I suppose? I don't see us accepting a Catholic priest who has been baptized (christened) into our doors and accepting his Priesthood and his Baptism as "good enough" to allow him to exercise them within the arena of Mormonism. No, we would require baptism by immersion, and a new ordination of him.

If we are going to tie ourselves to the state, wilfully, we need to be willing to go wherever the state takes us. Otherwise, we should dissolve the unholy union between Church and State so that we can remain unspotted from the world.


Stenar said...

Religious folks like to claim that "marriage" is a religious sacrament only. However, civil marriages pre-date religious marriages.

Read more about it at:
The History of Marriage

Jeff said...

Your point is good, however, a true believer in Mormonism would say that marriage predates everything else, since Adam and Eve had a celestial marriage in the Garden of Eden.

From a Restorationist viewpoint, it would seem that Restoring marriage to its proper place: in the Family (which WAS the First Church, and the first Government), and not dictated by any other authority.

Stenar said...

Well, there you go. LDS are always trying to legislate their religious beliefs on everyone else. What about the religions which allow gay marriage?
This is America, based on a constitution and not based on the Book of Mormon. :)

Jeff said...

To the contrary, early Latter-day Saints were quite apart from trying to control the government. They were rather opposed to the government controlling them, and fleeing FROM it. I think this should be a personal issue. Each Church, or other Group, should be able to define Marriage for themselves, practice it how they will, and not impose upon any other group. I'm inclined to be supportive of everyones rights, and opposed to restricting the rights of any minority, however small, or any majority, however large, for that matter. When we step over the line, and start deciding things for other people that should be none of our concern since they do not affect us personally it is frightening and divisive.

Stenar said...

Well, that is good that you allow for free agency. ;)

The early LDS church established its own government, however.