Policy changes and God’s will

Since general conference there has been a lot of discussion regarding the doctrinal basis for the stance on homosexuality.

This arose due to comments by Elder Oaks who said “Our understanding of God’s plan and His doctrine gives us an eternal perspective that does not allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them. And, unlike other organizations that can change their policies and even their doctrines, our policies are determined by the truths God has identified as unchangeable.”

Several people have taken issue with this, especially the notion that the church’s current position cannot change, and lots of discussion has arose on this point, and here is my response:

God makes it clear in D&C that it is not meet that we are commanded in all things. With this in mind I see countless instances in the past and presently where church leaders teach their own ideas as church policy. This is natural, and they don’t claim infallibility. Elders Oaks talk rankled many liberal Mormons due to his insistence that all doctrines and policies come from God. I think he was trying to hammer home his point and didn’t use the right method. Elder Uchtdorf’s talk from the day before admitted that mistakes have been made in the past (although we are left to determine what they are).

A good example is Blacks and the Priesthood as previously mentioned. I don’t think the ban on black’s holding the priesthood or attending the temple was ever the will and command of God. It was initiated in a racially different time and perpetuated my men sharing their own prejudices and viewpoints. It took 130 years for the church to align itself with the will of God.

Regarding homosexuality, the church has recently stopped insisting that these feelings are a choice, which is good progress. There is still some way to go.

Condemnation outright of homosexuality is quite unscriptural in my opinion. Away from Leviticus and a couple of letters by Paul there is no mention of it. The Pauline epistles are full of common contemporary viewpoints such as women wearing hats and slaves being obedient. Specifically, Christ himself never mentions homosexuality and Joseph Smith mentioned it once – when he said that the sin in sodom was actually ingratitude, a view echoed by modern biblical scholars.

Church leaders are overwhelmingly white elderly American men who are mixing their own upbringing and prejudices into this debate. They were brought up to believe that homosexuality is evil, dangerous, threatens families, can be taught/caught and is simply a lifestyle choice. These views have little basis in reality. Consequently, although I don’t anticipate this in the near future, I am convinced that the church will accept faithful gay people as active members in the future and that the current leadership stance is not in line with the will of God.