Last Wednesday, while teaching Institute about the rebellion of Aaron and Miriam, who in a spirit of apostasy accused Moses and thought to challenge his rule..... I misjudged God. It was clear that God called them both out for their sin, but only Miriam was made leprous. My first thought was… "what about Aaron?" I remarked to the class that one of my questions I had for God one day would be to inquire why Miriam got leprosy and Aaron did not?” Having passed judgment on God’s apparent injustice, I was ready to move on when one of my students remarked: “Maybe, it was because Miriam needed that week of suffering with leprosy outside the camp to bring her to sincere and lasting repentance.” How simple and profoundly beautiful that insight was. I had never even considered that a tender, loving, God might have different reactions to the same sin, based on the fact that he knows the individuals, as individuals. God’s perfect knowledge spares us from a one-size-fits-all response to sin, and allows Him to tailor responses to each individual that will minimize their eternal suffering and maximize their chances of exaltation. Duh! I had forgotten the first principle of God’s perfect and absolute love and so I was left to muse about justice and fairness in my worldly, imperfect mind. The sudden reflection back upon a first principle, brought to me by my student, filled me with great peace and I even marveled as I saw true love and compassion where I had only seen injustice.
Baptism for Children of Homosexual Unions
When looking at the latest policy with regard to children living under homosexual unions, understanding the first principles of God’s perfect love and perfect justice, combined with the first principle that unrepentant sin will separate us from God forever, can help us to see tender mercies and compassion where the world would judge harshness
Just as the actions of parents (nurture) can and do help their children to grow in light and truth and increase their chances for eternal life and exaltation, so too, bad parenting whether by example or precept can cause great and eternal harm to the children God so loves. God would have us act to counter that influence.
As a Bishop I often worried about new converts who, though they may have been worthy, seemed to not be ready to make such sacred covenants. How tragic and unkind it is to help souls into making covenants they are not prepared to keep. Such baptisms may appear to be accepting and good, even part of the culture of acceptance, but in truth they only increase the condemnation for the soul who prematurely makes covenants only to violate them later, because they were not truly prepared.
Those who can set aside the satanic concept which equates acceptance with love, will soon recognize how tender a mercy it really is for the church to require that children who have been subjected to the evil examples of their gay parents, and raised in homes where the spirit of the Lord was necessarily absent, be given special attention to ensure that we are not setting them up for failure.
It seems clear that it is the cultural Mormons, those who see baptism as a check the box activity or an entitlement of membership who might be offended by such a policy. On the other hand those who understand the sacred nature of baptism, and the deep responsibility that attends to the making of those covenants, are much more likely to see the need for, and even celebrate such a policy, for the sake of the child.
I remember one interview I had with a child whose parents wanted him to be baptized. He had been raised in a spiritless home and had no clue what the ordinance truly meant. I simply could not subject the child to making covenants that he did not understand and would not be able to keep. So I suggested to the parents that he needed some preparation, some spiritual training. The parents looked shocked, got angry, and stormed out of the building never to return while I was bishop. Clearly baptism to them was a cultural thing, a rite of passage. They had absolutely no understanding of the true nature of the covenant, and the sacredness of the responsibilities attendant to it. Their leaving the church was its own tender mercy in that it spared the child from entering covenants prematurely, and forced the parents themselves to acknowledge by their acts, who they truly served. I remain thankful that I did not participate in making that child accountable for covenants he would not keep. Similarly, when viewed humbly through the eyes of the underlying doctrinal first principles, these policy clarifications can be seen as acts of protection and love.
Name and a Blessing
The blessing and naming of children is an ordinance and has been closely tied into the covenant of marriage and perpetuating of the family. The family remains the basic unit of eternity and of the church. It would be spiritual schizophrenia, for the church to denounce the homosexual union and not recognize it as legitimate, and then to grant the union the appearance of propriety by allowing the naming of the child to take place. If the family is not recognized as such..... what name is the child to receive, what "family" to enter into? One possible application of the first principle of God’s love to this area is found in the fact that perhaps this action by the church will help the indoctrinated and deceived couples, and their blind supporters, to recognizing that the marriage is not accepted by God and their unholy union has, and will continue to, cause harm to their children. It seems clear that any action the church might take which tends to cover the sin, or normalize an unholy relationship, only causes harm to the couples and to others who perhaps have held back from such unions, but who by that action would then come to feel they have permission to enter into them, or bring children into such harmful relationships. I know some cultural members cry hate, but it is the facilitators, those who want the sin to be accepted, who in the eternal sense are the true haters. They hate God, and the children He is trying to save, caring only for their own private interpretations to be enforced. Their actions demonstrate that they want God to do it their way, no matter who they hurt in the process. Oh how it must grieve a loving God, that such couples, and their friends in iniquity, would not at least consider the eternal harm they are causing by even trying to raise children under such circumstances.
By association such persons join those who harshly judge God’s actions toward Sodom and Gomorrah. On the other hand, those who know first principles see it differently. I once saw harshness in the destruction of those cities. However, since coming to know the first principles absolutely, I now grieve with God as I ponder how he had to send precious, tender, moldable children, into cities filled with depravity and filth. At least in one sense I can see God’s destruction of those cities as saving the people themselves from continually sinning, and growing more and more depraved while also saving precious new children from having to enter into such a society. That demonstrates true love, founded in eternal consequences.
The same principle of God’s eternal love holds true for disciplinary councils. They are not, and never have been, instruments of punishment, but rather instruments of repentance. They are like leprosy was for Miriam. Sometimes it is better in the eternities for souls to be removed from the church and freed from the covenants they violate, rather than to allow them to go on sinning against the covenants, to their greater condemnation. Excommunication is an act of supreme love. It is a process of love for the individual as it may be the only thing that helps them to wake up to the eternal consequences of their choices and motivates them to seek repentance before it is everlastingly too late. It is also an expression of love for the church as it helps other members remain free from the subtle, corrosive and destructive “doctrines of devils!” There was a sound doctrinal reason for Paul’s exhortation for Saints to not accept sin and to cease having communion with Belial. Advocating for homosexual couples, supporting them in their destructive and perverse lifestyle, is in direct contravention of God’s desires and constitutes a lack of true love.
Members who engage in such support and condoning such actions are guilty of committing spiritual murder in the same sense that the early Alma the Younger did, or in some cases perhaps it would be more like assisted spiritual suicide. Either way, doing so in defiance of God’s leaders constitutes apostasy and hurts both the couples and their children.
At the final judgment we will not see a single gay couple speaking to their facilitators, their partners in sin, and thanking them for making it easier to live a life that guaranteed their separation from God for all eternity. However, we will see such couples tearfully asking why, if such supporters truly loved them, they did not warn them, seek to redeem them, before it was everlasting too late.
Those filled with the true love of Christ, and with a clear and spirit based understanding of the truth as it relates to homosexual unions, and who know the first principles, will be able to see in the recent policy clarifications, tender mercies and real compassion, while the myopic, arrogant and thoughtless world sees only harshness.