barrattasu » Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:11 pm
I have a temple recommend interview on Sunday and I am having a serious internal dilemma. I have asked several people who serve in a bishopric if I can have a temple recommend and believe that gay marriage should be legal. I even asked a counselor in my current bishopric. He said that the bishopric talked about this specific question and they would not give a recommend to anyone that admits to supporting gay marriage. I have a friend who is a counselor in another bishopric and he went to the Stake President with this question. HIs Stake President said that you absolutely could have a recommed and support gay marriage. I did clarify with those who said I couldn't have a recommend if I support gay marriage, that it was simply agreeing with gay marriage that makes me ineligble. They said to refer to the question that states do you sympothize or agree with any individual or group.... I told them that the question/answer form that was given along with the statement to be read said that a persons membership is not in question if they support gay marriage. They said this is true but you can't have a temple recommend. My feeling is that there will be enough confusion that the Church will further clarify this situation. Has anyone run into this before or heard anything in regards to this in there local ward/branch?
It's already been clarified. In March 2015, during an interview by KUTV, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke out on this issue. He made it perfectly clear that LDS members who support secular same-sex marriage will not sacrifice their membership or temple worthiness. Here's the video of the interview:
There's also a written transcript of the interview. Here's the key excerpt:
Reporter: Members of the LDS Church have been watching this too, around the the country, and it brings up the question as they’re dealing with these issues, maybe within their families, or trying to understand how maybe religious freedom applies to them within the church. Obviously the church has its doctrine, but can members of the church, say, support gay marriage or other things that are related to this bill [Utah SB 296] that the Church teaches against – can they support that?
Christofferson: Well there is a diversity of opinion among church members in that regard and you know that’s always been true I guess on many subjects over the years over the decades and we don’t have qualms about that. We urge people to take part, for example, in the political process and we don’t tell them how to vote or who to vote for but that they exercise their own good judgment and make their decisions. Obviously that’s different than when somebody attacks the church, you know per se, or tries to hinder its work. But anybody pursuing their view of what ought to happen in the community – that’s what we hope to see, frankly. In a way you saw it here in the legislature. The vast majority of legislators in Utah are members the LDS Church and you see a wide variety of opinions in them and among them as you do in our at the federal level in the US and in other countries. So if we’re trying to get everybody to sing the same song and say exactly the same thing we’re failing miserably, but you saw that in this case as in most I hope people do work to come together on what can be the best solution for everybody.
Reporter: I know that in one of the temple recommend interview questions it asks do you agree with elements that are against the church and I guess, I mean, could it be interpreted that if people supported gay marriage that would be agreeing with something that was against the church? [Ed. Note: The specific question reads "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"]
Christofferson: Well it’s not do you agree with a person’s position or an organization’s position – it is are you supporting organizations that promote opposition or positions in opposition to the church.
Reporter: So would supporting gay marriage threaten somebody’s membership in the church if they went out say on Facebook or Twitter and actively advocated for it?
Christofferson: That’s not an organized effort to to attack our effort or attack our functioning as a church, if you will.
Reporter: So members can hold those beliefs even though they’re different from what you teach at the pulpit?
Christofferson: Yes. And we..you know, our approach in all of this, as Joseph Smith said, is persuasion. You can’t, he said, you can’t use the Priesthood and the authority of the church to dictate. You can’t compel, you can’t coerce. It has to be gentleness, persuasion, love unfeigned as the words are in the scripture.
As blogger J. Max Wilson later pointed out on June 28th, Elder Christofferson did NOT say that there is nothing wrong with Church members supporting same-sex marriage. He merely said that expressing personal support for same-sex marriage in social media would not be cause for discipline, so long as it wasn’t part of an organized effort to undermine the church. LDS members who support same-sex marriage are still out of harmony with Gospel principles. But the Church will tolerate their erroneous views in the hope that over time they will be persuaded to repent.
So if a bishop threatens to withhold a temple recommend from someone who has supported secular same-sex marriage, the best advice is to simply remind him that an apostle has ruled otherwise.