Church Leaders’ Commentaries
Resolutions regarding homosexuality and church policy are slated for discernment and deliberation at World Conference 2010. Let’s commit to prayer, open listening, education and compassion together as our faith community approaches the matter.
I was recently with a group of young adults who were discussing the matter of same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals. What was most interesting to me was that they were not promoting their own opinions nor condemning someone else’s. Instead, their concern was for the unity of the church as we engage in conversation about these controversial matters.
Here’s what’s happening. The church’s current policy is that priesthood are not authorized to perform same-sex marriages, and that persons in homosexual relationships are not allowed to be ordained to the priesthood. Some people in the church believe that this is an injustice. Some people believe that the current policy is appropriate. Others are unsure. In some parts of the church, debate over these issues has been taking place for a long time. Consequently, several mission centers have passed (or are considering) legislation that would ask the World Conference to address these difficult matters.
The issue is especially complicated in an international church like ours. In some cultures where the church is established, having a discussion about homosexuality is widely acceptable. In other places however, having conversations about homosexuality is extremely difficult and is often considered inappropriate. Even within cultures where discussion about homosexuality is accepted, people of goodwill have strongly held divergent opinions.
With this in mind, the primary concern of the First Presidency, is that the issue be addressed in a manner that is fair to all persons who participate in the discussion. An important principle in all of this is the need for us to talk together with civility and in the spirit of Christian love. This can be hard sometimes, especially when we believe that another person’s point of view is not only opposite of our own, but opposite to what we believe is the will of God.
With this in mind, readers of this article (along with the rest of the church) are being asked to pray about this important matter, to read about these issues, and to exercise grace and kindness when sharing your perspective. There is nothing wrong with a strongly voiced opinion, as long as that voice is couched in humility and love. The world already knows how to fight and argue about things. The question is, can we model for the world how to talk about divisive issues with charity and mutual respect
~ Pres. Dave Schaal, Steve Veazey, and Becky Savage