Wednesday, July 1, 2015

LDS Statement on Same-Sex Marriage

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing all same-sex marriages in all 50 states, LDS Church leaders have issued a statement on same-sex marriage outlining the Church's policy. This statement is in addition to, and elaborates upon, the statement made immediately following the court's decision.

This statement reaffirms, "Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well‐being of society...Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and vital to eternal salvation... A family built on marriage of a man and a woman is the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive."

The statement includes an introductory letter, statement, and background material for bishops and branch presidents. Here is some more of the Church's statement:
Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same‐sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree. We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same‐sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.

As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite all to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths God established in the beginning, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.
As always, our Church leaders emphasize the ability of and necessity for all church members to "seek guidance from the Holy Ghost to help them in their personal lives and in family and Church responsibilities."

I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our leaders are called of God and inspired to act in His name, and they always encourage all of us in the fundamental principles and doctrines of God's love, His eternal plan of happiness, and our own free agency in choosing the course of our own lives.

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