The ultimate purpose of the adversary, who has “great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,” is to disrupt, disturb, and destroy the home and the family. Like a ship without a rudder, without a compass, we drift from the family values which have anchored us in the past. Now we are caught in a current so strong that unless we correct our course, civilization as we know it will surely be wrecked to pieces.
Moral values are being neglected and prayer expelled from public schools on the pretext that moral teaching belongs to religion. At the same time, atheism, the secular religion, is admitted to class, and our youngsters are proselyted to a conduct without morality. World leaders and court judges agree that the family must endure if we are to survive. At the same time, they use the words freedom and choice as tools to pry apart the safeguards of the past and loosen up the laws on marriage, abortion, and gender. In so doing, they promote the very things which threaten the family. (Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994) ---------- We live in a day when there are many political, legal, and social pressures for changes that confuse gender and homogenize the differences between men and women. Our eternal perspective sets us against changes that alter those separate duties and privileges of men and women that are essential to accomplish the great plan of happiness. (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness”, General Conference address, 3 Oct 1993.) ---------- There are those who would have us believe in the validity of what they choose to call same-sex marriage. Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and our sisters. However, we cannot condone immoral practices on your part any more than we can condone immoral practices on the part of others… With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history… “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets… “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995) ---------- Every Latter-day Saint knows that God has forbidden all sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage. Most are also aware of the Savior’s teaching that it is sinful for a man to look upon and lust after a woman (see Matt. 5:28; D&C 42:23; D&C 63:16). Attraction between man and woman was instilled by the Creator to ensure the perpetuation of mortal life and to draw husband and wife together in the family setting he prescribed for the accomplishment of his purposes, including the raising of children. In contrast, deviations from God’s commandments in the use of procreative powers are grave sins. President Joseph F. Smith taught: The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, and … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers.” Though He loved the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” His Apostle Paul specified some of those sins in a letter to the Galatians. The list included “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, “Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, … wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” To Paul’s list I might add the regrettable attitudes of bigotry, hypocrisy, and prejudice. These were also decried in 1834 by early Church leaders who foresaw the eventual rise of this church “amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites.” The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that “prejudices may give way before the truth.” Hatred stirs up strife and digs beneath the dignity of mature men and women in our enlightened era. Paul’s list included “uncleanness.” As members of the Church entrusted with its holy temples, we are commanded that “no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into [His] house to pollute it.” That assignment requires great fortitude as well as love. In former days, disciples of the Lord “were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin.” In latter days, devoted disciples of the Lord are just as firm. Real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior. (Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Ensign, May 1994) ---------- The Apostle Paul warned of these days: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Paul also taught that the Lord “gave some, apostles; and some, prophets … “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, … “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:11-14)… In plainness and power President Hinckley teaches the eternal plan of salvation, rebukes sin, calls all people to repent and accept Christ and His gospel. The doctrines of eternal salvation are not unclear or uncertain, but rather they are consistent with revealed truths, both ancient and modern. President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that the prophets “constantly cry out against that which is intolerable in the sight of the Lord; against pollution of mind, body, and our surroundings; against vulgarity, stealing, lying, pride, and blasphemy; against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and all other abuses of the sacred power to create; against murder and all that is like unto it; against all manner of desecration.” He continued: “That such things should be found even among the Saints to some degree is scarcely believable. … Sadly, however, we find that to be shown the way is not necessarily to walk in it” (“The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign, June 1976, 4). Therefore, let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They “set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Ne. 26:29). Of such President Joseph F. Smith warned when he spoke of the “proud and self-vaunting ones, who read by the lamps of their own conceit; who interpret by rules of their own contriving; who have become a law unto themselves, and so pose as the sole judges of their own doings” (Gospel Doctrine, 381). Now let me give you a few examples of the false teachings of those who read by the lamps of their own conceit, who, though “ever learning,” are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7)… False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages. To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. Regardless of which particular false doctrines they teach, false prophets and false teachers are an inevitable part of the last days. “False prophets,” according to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “always arise to oppose the true prophets” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 365). However, in the Lord’s Church there is no such thing as a “loyal opposition.” One is either for the kingdom of God and stands in defense of God’s prophets and apostles, or one stands opposed. And as Lehi of old counseled his sons, so this counsel is true for us today: “And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. “And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit” (2 Ne. 2:26-28). Brothers and sisters, let us be anxiously engaged in good causes. Let us love the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us sustain and live by the revelations of the restored gospel. Let us love our fellow beings and fill our hearts and souls with the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then we will sing with Isaiah: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; … “Therefore with joy shall [I] draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isa. 12:2-3). We also know from Paul’s inspired words to the Galatian Saints that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. … “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23, 25). (Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Ensign, May 1994) ---------- I have time to discuss one other question: “Why does the Church become involved in issues that come before the legislature and the electorate?” I hasten to add that we deal only with those legislative matters which are of a strictly moral nature or which directly affect the welfare of the Church. We have opposed gambling and liquor and will continue to do so. We regard it as not only our right but our duty to oppose those forces which we feel undermine the moral fiber of society. Much of our effort, a very great deal of it, is in association with others whose interests are similar. We have worked with Jewish groups, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, and those of no particular religious affiliation, in coalitions formed to advocate positions on vital moral issues. Such is currently the case in California, where Latter-day Saints are working as part of a coalition to safeguard traditional marriage from forces in our society which are attempting to redefine that sacred institution. God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of civilization for thousands of years. There is no justification to redefine what marriage is. Such is not our right, and those who try will find themselves answerable to God. Some portray legalization of so-called same-sex marriage as a civil right. This is not a matter of civil rights; it is a matter of morality. Others question our constitutional right as a church to raise our voice on an issue that is of critical importance to the future of the family. We believe that defending this sacred institution by working to preserve traditional marriage lies clearly within our religious and constitutional prerogatives. Indeed, we are compelled by our doctrine to speak out. Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married. I commend those of our membership who have voluntarily joined with other like-minded people to defend the sanctity of traditional marriage. As part of a coalition that embraces those of other faiths, you are giving substantially of your means. The money being raised in California has been donated to the coalition by individual members of the Church. You are contributing your time and talents in a cause that in some quarters may not be politically correct but which nevertheless lies at the heart of the Lord’s eternal plan for His children, just as those of many other churches are doing. This is a united effort. I think that is all I need to say on that and the other matters on which I have commented. I have tried to explain why we do some of the things that we do. I hope I have been helpful. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, Nov. 1999) ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// --^---------------------------------------------------------------- This email was sent to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://topica.com/u/?aaP9AU.bWix1n.YXJjaGl2 Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] For Topica's complete suite of email marketing solutions visit: http://www.topica.com/?p=TEXFOOTER --^----------------------------------------------------------------