The Arrogance of Religious Leaders

On Sunday, Boyd K. Packer, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, thundered forth against the “immorality” of same sex attractions and declared that the only marriage was that of a man and a woman and that such marriage was one of “God’s laws.”  Packer went on to equate this “law” with the “law of gravity” by stating “A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. Do you think a vote to repeal the law of gravity would do any good?”  While some members of Congress might well try that if they thought it would get them re-elected, I find Packer’s statements not only chilling in their arrogance, but also typical of the ignorance manifested by so many high-profile religious figures.

Like it or not, same-sex attraction has been around so long as there have been human beings.  The same behavior pattern exists in numerous other species of mammals and birds.  What Packer fails to grasp, or willfully ignores, is that laws of nature aren’t violated.  The universe does not have large and significant locations where gravity [or Einstein’s version of it] doesn’t exist, and there certainly haven’t been any such locations discovered on Earth.  Were the heterosexual behavior that Packer extols actually a “law of nature,” there would be no homosexual behavior, no lesbian behavior.  It couldn’t happen.  It does.  Therefore, the heterosexual patterns demanded and praised by Mormon church authorities are not God’s inflexible laws; they’re codes of behavior created by men [and except for Christian Science, pretty much every major religious code has been created by men] attempting to discern a divine will in a world where there is absolutely no proof, in the scientific sense [regardless of the creationist hodgepodge], that there even is such a supreme deity. God may exist, or God may not, but actual proof is lacking.  That’s why religious systems are called “beliefs” or “faiths.”

Thus, to assert that a particular code of human behavior is “God’s law” is arrogance writ large.  For a Mormon church authority to do so, in particular, is not only arrogant, but hypocritical.  Little more than a century ago, the Mormon culture and beliefs sanctioned polygamous relationships as “God’s law.”  Well… if God’s laws are immutable, then why did the LDS Church change them?  If the LDS Church authorities recognized that they were wrong in the past, how can they claim that today’s “truth” is so assuredly God’s law?  What will that “truth” be in a century?

While Newton’s “law of gravity” has been modified since its promulgation centuries ago, it still operates as it always did, not as men would have it operate, unlike so many of the so-called laws of God promulgated by men.  Since time immemorial [human time, anyway], humans have exhibited a range of sexual attractions and practices.  Like it or not, those suggest that the laws of nature, and presumably of God, for those who believe in a supreme deity, not only allow, but require for at least some people, differing sexual attraction.  Societies may in fact need to, and should, prohibit cruel and depraved practices, such as those involving unwilling participants or children… but to declare that one set of sexual customs is the only acceptable one, under the guise that it is God’s law, remains arrogant, ignorant, and hypocritical.

25 thoughts on “The Arrogance of Religious Leaders”

  1. Lee, I know you’re not a member, so I don’t expect you to grok the LDS church on this issue. Suffice to say, of all the many doctrines of the church, this is the one where I see LDS having an “irreconcilable difference” with the modern world. Mostly because the traditionally hetero, nuclear family model is central to almost all of the church’s core teachings. There literally isn’t room in there for an Adam & Steve scenario. No doubt it sounds like hypocritical arrogance to those outside the church, but it would seem like hypocritical arrogance to those inside the church if the leadership did not stick to its (politically incorrect) guns on this topic. If the difference between hetero monogamy and hetero polygamy is a stream, the difference between hetero monogamy and homo anything is the size of the Pacific. That’s the interior view.

  2. Brad… although I don’t agree with the view of the LDS leadership, my rant wasn’t against that view as much as it was against the absolute hubris of Packer’s assertion that the official LDS view of marriage — which has changed three times in a century and a half — is an immutable “law of nature” ordained by God. It may even be a commandment of God in the view of the Church… but it’s not a “law of nature,” never was, and never can be. Sorry, but it’s just not anywhere close to the law of gravity in terms of cosmic reliability, and asserting that it is happens to be arrogant in the extreme.

  3. I’m afraid this is one of those instances where choice of analogy — which makes perfect sense for the membership — sounds pretty bad to non-member ears. Granted, I am LDS, so I will tend to play the apologist with these kinds of things. Suffice to say that LDS Conference is typically laden with metaphor and analogy, not all of it designed to perfectly square with secular perception. I used to be in Packer’s stake and knew his family. They are an iron-clad bunch, and Packer especially tends to be very staunch in both belief and language — as almost all of the LDS leadership are.

    Where homosexuality is concerned, the LDS church is doomed to being unpopular and making all sorts of statements that piss off non-members, because on this issue I can’t really see the leadership ever doing a 180 without ripping the entire church to shreds. Going “soft” on homosexuality (or gay marriage) would be so fundamentally contradictory, I doubt the church would survive such a shift without experiencing major fallout among members. Major fallout.

    Could it happen? Well, polygamy was rescinded. African Americans were (thankfully) allowed full participation as priesthood-holders. But the church continues to buck on women being ordained into the priesthood, in spite of enormous pressure and a great deal of bad press. So it’s not like the church ‘caves’ on everything. The church picks and chooses its battles, and homosexuality is shaping up to be the big one for the first decade or two of the 21st century. Church rhetoric, as a result, is going to sound rather ‘hard’ or even inflammatory as a result.

  4. Small aside, I’m coming up on 18 years in my interracial marriage — which would have been a doctrinal and social scandal during my grandmother’s generation. So I’ve got a bit of an odd perspective on all things “gay & LDS” in the news right now. I sort of see where both sides are coming from, I just suspect that unlike on matters of race, the church isn’t going to budge on matters of sexual orientation, thus the rhetoric is going to keep sounding like this — at least for non-LDS ears.

  5. Speaking as an author, this is a perfect example of rhetorical insensitivity. I don’t expect the LDS Church to change its stance any time soon, for all the reasons you expressed, but, I’m sorry, it’s not only arrogant, but stupid, to choose language that inflames those who believe otherwise. What’s wrong with simply and politely saying that you believe God meant marriage to be between a man and a woman… and leaving it at that… or at least in similar terms? All too many religions seem literally hell-bent on ramming their view of the world down everyone else’s throat. If a particular religious view is “right,” then its believers will have the satisfaction of knowing it in the end. Why antagonize everyone else in the meantime?

  6. Curtis says:

    His point wasn’t that heterosexual marriage was a law of nature. Instead he was saying that voting on a law to change the legal definition of marriage will not alter God’s will anymore than voting on a law to revoke gravity would cause gravity to cease working.

    You can disagree on the existence of God and whether LDS authorities have the ability to proclaim His will, but President Packer was merely using an analogy (as noted above) to paint a picture of the Church’s stance.

    1. Except that he ignored the very basic point that gravity only operates one way… whereas throughout history there have been quite a number of definitions of “traditional” marriage. You don’t get a choice with the law of gravity, and if Packer is using an analogy, it’s a bad one, and one that’s already enraged a lot of people. Religious authorities have power; power requires insight and responsibility. Packer fell short on both counts.

  7. Curtis says:

    Mr. Modesitt, you said, “All too many religions seem literally hell-bent on ramming their view of the world down everyone else’s throat.”

    I find that interesting, as many religious folk see the secular world hell-bent on ramming their view of the world down everyone else’s throat. I’m not entirely sure I agree with either stance, but I do get that it’s a matter of perspective.

    I’ll try my best to give a hypothetical, though I know it’s imperfect.

    In the Middle East, stoning an individual who has committed a sin is considered acceptable. People in those countries would find it absolutely enraging if a group of people were to gain political influence and try to outlaw this practice. You and I would say that it is inhumane to treat people this way – but that is certainly not the cultural view for many Muslim countries.

    America is a melting pot of ideas. There have been culture clashes since Europeans started landing ships here. This is another. Public opinion is shifting and the LDS and other conservative religions will be the minority on this issue in a short time. That’s something we’ll have to deal with. Laws will be passed that we don’t agree with. We’ll find it reprehensible.

    Mormon/Christian prophecies have been on record for a couple of millenia that the righteous will be outnumbered before the second coming of Christ. You no doubt think that is pompous and arrogant. One of us will be right sooner or later. Either Christ will come for His people or the Mormon church will become so much in conflict with the world culture that it ceases to exist.

  8. I suspect that the fracas over gay marriage has the LDS leadership a little more up in arms — rhetorically — than it might otherwise be. This is a popular issue, and there is immense pressure on the leadership and average members to, “Get with the times,” as it were. I think Packer was kind of throwing down the gauntlet, mostly for the benefit of members, but also for outside eyes and ears, whom he knows will deride and chastise the church.

    One thing about LDS: we tend to wear our “old fashioned values” on our breasts like a badge of honor. The more “The World” goes in one direction, on a morally charged issue like homosexuality, the more the LDS church and its membership will try to go in the opposite direction — sometimes, loudly.

    Personally? I have somewhat mixed feelings. I tend to describe myself as the ‘reluctant Mormon’ because I am not a fire-breather and if it were purely a matter of intellectual choice, I’d probably have remained utterly lapsed, or would now be a so-called “recovering” Mormon. Alas, I’ve had a very few, very quiet — but important — spiritual experiences which have convinced me that the LDS church is where I’m supposed to be, for better or for worse. So I often find myself playing apologist when these kinds of conversations spring up with non-members whom I admire or respect.

    Observing the church throw itself into the teeth of popular opinion on homosexuality and gay marriage has been interesting for me, if only because I am a) at once proud to be a member of a faith that is defying popular pressure and b) painfully aware of the fact that for many in the U.S. in particular, this defiance is burning the bridge of common good will that the church has been trying to simultaneously build.

    I suspect that in the eyes of the leadership, good will has to be sacrificed on the altar of doctrinal rigidity, at least where homosexuality is concerned. It’s a litmus issue which has partially come to define what it is to be a Mormon. No mealy-mouthed verbage about homosexuality. No quarter given.

    Now… if in 100 years the LDS church has “reformed” on homosexuality, as it has reformed on a couple of other things, probably people will be looking at the rhetoric and events of 2010 and going, oh my goodness, what a silly issue they chose to argue about. But here again I suspect any stark 180-degree turns by leadership, for the sake of “going along with the times,” would severely fracture the membership, making the fission between LDS and FLDS look like chump change.

    I’m sad that things said by the leadership create hard feelings and anger towards the church, on the part of non-members. I just hope that non-members like yourself who have routine exposure to us every-day folk can keep doing the trick of being pissed off at guys like Packer, without necessarily making it personal with people you know. What’s the old phrase? I just work here? That’s kind of how I feel about the church too.

  9. Curtis says:

    Regarding my last comment. I sound kind of self-righteous. Well, that’s because I am kind of an idiot. Yes, the prophecies say the righteous will be outnumbered in the last days. Am I among the righteous? I sure hope so and try to be, but it’s not my place to say. Nor is it my place to say where anyone else stands on that spectrum. I know there are a lot of good people who are trying very hard to be “righteous” on both sides of this issue and plenty of bigots to be found on either side as well. I was just trying to give a perspective from the Mormon/conservative Christian side. I actually think Brad is doing a much better job.

  10. I’m always amazed at religious leaders who insist on declaring this or that a “law” of god.

    I think I’m more comfortable with the scientific view where gravity is a “theory” – as is evolution – as is relativity.

    But I do get tired of hearing, “See, our religion has LAWS, but those secular scientists only have THEORIES!”

    And thus it is that in 2008 three presidential candidates raised their hands when asked “Who doesn’t believe in evolution?”

    In religion, as in knitting (my personal area of expertise) those who are open to the idea that there is more than one way to skin/save/knit a cat are the ones who seem to “get it” – get the idea that there are many good paths to achieve a goal.

    Those who insist that there is only ONE right way to do anything scare me. Their narrowness is chilling.

    Those who insist they KNOW the mind of god well enough to know her laws – or that there even IS an entity that creates ‘laws’ in a way comprehensible to humans – are full of more certainty than I could ever admit to.

    I like the mystery of life.

    How odd that many religions crave certainty to such an extent that they MUST create dogma to assured their followers of why we’re here, what we’re supposed to do, and where we’ll go when it’s all over.

    Me? I have no idea. I just try to be kind (and I fail a LOT!) and I try to be happy. I’m agnostic. I’m also a Modesitt.

    (I am not, however, Spartacus.)

    1. But you are a well-known knitting expert who is so distantly related that about the only thing we share is the name. Thank you for the comments.

  11. I realize that this is more an “internal” LDS discussion, but I just wanted to say that from the point of view of an outsider, I would like to thank Mr. Modesitt from the bottom of my heart. I have a wonderful gay son, and my hope for society lies in an unblinking understanding of scientific facts such as those Mr. Modesitt cites.

    Also: I realize this is off-topic, but I haven’t seen a good post to append it to. I have recently been examining the latest scientific data on climate change/climate disruption/global warming. They are more alarming than ever before, and I am becoming convinced that this is the largest likely negative impact to humanity over the next two hundred years, possibly even greater than nuclear winter — and that just about everyone, rich or poor, of whatever geography or country, will be worse off for not dealing with it. I then realized that Mr. Modesitt’s Death of Chaos is in fact a surprisingly good description of the choices we face and the likely effects even if we make the right ones — except that, unlike Lerris et al., we cannot use geo-engineering to save us.

  12. This is purely tangential to something Curtis brought up, but I think it does play into the debate, and explains part of Mormon emotional recalcitrance regarding gay marriage.

    This is not directed specifically at Mr. Modesitt, so I hope Mr. Modesitt will permit me to air a generalized statement that is related to what he’s said, without being a rebuttal per se.

    One of the big reasons why I think a lot of LDS members and even the LDS leadership are ‘circling the wagons’ on the issue of gay marriage, is because they (we?) feel like they’re (we’re?) being singled out for an extraordinary amount of criticism, despite the fact that other faith groups believe very much as we do, and in fact put their money and their votes where their mouths were in California.

    Curtis mentioned Islam, which as a world religion is notoriously hard on gays, to the point that being gay in certain Muslim lands is punishable with death. Yet the same mouths rushing to condemn the LDS church on the gay marriage issue, are often the same mouths rushing to embrace Islam on issues like park51 in New York. So that it appears very much as if the cultural and secular know-betters are playing favorites: give the Muslims a free pass on their bigotry, then berate the Mormons on their bigotry, even though LDS and Islam are more or less consonant on homosexuality, and even though the LDS church doesn’t have even close to the level of violence and injustice against gays — in its history — as Islam does.

    Perhaps when the secular and intellectual critics of the Mormon “hard line” on gays can be consistent about who they choose to criticise, and why, more LDS will be ready to calmly hear complaints. Until then, it seems very much like just another anti-Mormon political grudge match being waged in the guise of tolerance. Did anyone picket or vandalize any mosques in California? No. They went after the LDS temples, as the low-hanging fruit.

    Again, this is not a statement against or addressing Mr. Modesitt, it’s more an explanation as to why many LDS aren’t rushing to play Nice Guy in this cultural and political tug-o-war.

  13. Derek says:

    Wow, this went very religious…

    I’ll bring it back. Religion and personal beliefs on what conduct is moral or immoral are all well and good in the private realm. But in the public sector, when you try to enforce your personal moral convictions through legislation a line is crossed and you become wrong.

    I would say that marriage between a man and a woman is fine. I would say that marriage between a woman and a woman is fine. Between a man and man, and so forth. To pretend that it in some way destroys your moral world view and endangers your families spirituality is silly. You would only admit to your inability as a parent and your lack of personal convictions.

    The world is not designed to revolve around any one world view, and that for the most part, so long as individual liberty is maintained, we’ll get along just fine.

    I too am Mormon, but I cannot condone the legislation of the Churches code of sexuality. People have rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I would hope that members of the LDS faith remember the dangers of arbitrary legislation (most legislation on sexuality, except child laws, is arbitrary) and what horrors the LDS faith faced from it and the close minded individuals enforcing them during their slow migration west.

    What is that old story, the one where the abused/enslaved become the abuser/slave driver? That comes to mind.

  14. I would only add that I certainly am not taking a “pass” on Islamic or Catholic arrogance, or instances in other faiths, even if I did react to a recent LDS pronouncement. I’m opposed to the use of power by any religious faith to restrict the everyday freedoms of people, or to grant certain privileges or rights to some members of a community, and not to others, on the grounds of their beliefs and practices.

  15. Matthew Runyon says:

    I am…Confused at the comments many have left here. Leave aside LDS or any other views on gay marriage, as that has nothing to do with the point of this post. The point is that LDS views of marriage /have/ changed. Which means that comparing the LDS view of marriage to the law of gravity is, as the original post stated, inflammatory and arrogant, as the law of gravity (in the sense of gravity as a phenomenon, not our current limited understand of gravity codified by scientific knowledge) is immutable.

    If, instead, the statement had claimed prohibition of homosexual relations to be one of God’s Laws similar to “Thou shalt not commit adultery” then it would have still been inflammatory, but not nearly /as/ inflammatory and nowhere near as arrogant. Those with different beliefs would have disagreed, but most wouldn’t have cared.

    Unlike the statement which was actually made, which instead makes me seriously worry about the LDS hierarchy’s grasp on reality.

  16. The Swedish scenario:
    Maybe a decade ago a book was published for the school telling the mental differences between boy and girl, that girls actually need more time than the boys before…… The book was banned.

    What is the problem? Most people here, specially those somewhat more experienced (old), feel bad when attacked as individuals in the street by openly homosexual people. I do. I have experienced it from Sweden to Thailand.

    That is completely different from 1) today’s glorifying of homosexuality coming from the film stars a century ago who felt they had to freak out, and the opposite – the muslim culture who murders all homosexuals – see all of them escaping from the Arab world to Israel to save their life.

    The Church and the Muslims base their ban on homosexuality on the same thing – it was a total nono in the good old times in the Middle East, because it was totally against biology and God. Nowadays we accept things and do not murder people because of opposition to the basic laws. Then it was a matter of survival, now – not. It still makes me strongly disgusted.

  17. hob says:

    The united states is at war with Islamic ideology on a political/military level, I doubt that homosexuals fear that sharia law will be imposed on them anytime soon.

    The problem seems to be is that America is replaying the crusades, and in war if one is not Christian than one has no business in leadership/law making, and should presumably be quiet and stay on the side. What they don’t understand is that outsiders/non believers only see two sides of the same coin and conclude as of now one has more power not more right, so they try to insert the right.

    What right? The right that sets America apart from history, freedom, liberty, etc… So they champion building Mosques and supporting the civil rights of Homosexuals and health care and so on. Do they care about these things? Call me cynical but one cannot take advantage of war until one side is able to convince everyone that they were/are the good guys.

  18. Joshua Blonski says:

    To those who would assert their faith as law:

    A problem I see all the time with various sects of Christianity is that its leaders are so quick to dictate what people must do within the culture. Prophets, leaders, interpreters, and more all make social demands on the followers, and these demands ultimately try to bleed over into law. This practice is inherently wrong. Religion is supposed to be about spiritual guidance. While I understand that part of spiritual guidance is to live your day to day life in certain ways, it is not spiritually beneficial to try to force everyone to do the same.

    Christianity rings its own bell on the notion that we are given free will, and then its leaders quickly judge against the very choices that are a part of that free will. It is quick to point to the teachings of Jesus and then it ignores them when it suits itself to do so. Leaders should be following a simple job: to give the religion’s followers guidance (not laws) in order to live a more fulfilled spiritual life, and this–as far as Christianity is concerned–is strictly on the teachings of Jesus, delivered as a message from God. Nothing else–no prophets, no other books–are of merit, and these are all delivered by less-than-perfect, regular, everyday humans.

    I realize this goes against the notion that the entire bible is sacred text, but so be it. The entire religion picks and chooses what it wants to include anyway, and that’s a human decision, not a godly one, so the notion of a complete sacred text is already fundamentally flawed. Furthermore, once again, you cannot force a guideline as law and say that we then have free will. Beyond all of that, it comes down to a simple question: do you really think you’re making God happy by taking his right of judgmental power from him for your own uses? What gives you the right to play God? And do you really think that you’re walking the path when you do such things? Live and let live.

    If you truly believe that your particular sect of Christianity is correct and is ordained by God, then you should not worry about its own demise by following God’s teachings to accept, love, and forgo judgment of everyone else. If you are truly following the proper teachings you preach, and if you are right in your faith, you have nothing to worry about.

    The issue that Modesitt brought up is an example of the hypocrisy and arrogance of leaders who assert their own control over their followers’ free will. In trying to control their church, they effectively remove the element of faith from the religion in order to replace it with man-made doctrine. This is counterproductive to spiritual growth, and the notion that any one of us could possibly speak for ANY religion’s god is idiotic. Furthermore, it is, as Modesitt has also pointed out, completely false and illogical to say that homosexuality violates the tenants of nature, as it is a naturally occurring thing in numerous mammalian species. So to compare heterosexual marriage views to a law of physics is arrogant beyond comprehension. Even aside from it being a slap in the face to scientists who have devoted decades to their own professions (so far as I know, most leaders of Christianity these days do not have extensive backgrounds in scientific degrees and research, and therefore have no right to make those kinds of comparisons), it is yet again a slap in the face to the creator you claim to follow, presuming you could possibly speak for him and judge others on his behalf.

    1. Rob says:

      (This is written while I’m drinking an awesome cup of coffee while enjoying a quiet rainy day at work, no animosity felt nor intended. Please read it in that light.)

      Sir, I’d like it if you looked again at your post.
      “leaders are so quick to dictate what people must do within the culture.”

      Politician, Entertainment, Legal, Medical, etc. All Leaders, all fit do exactly what you just said.

      “social demands on the followers”

      Islam, Christ, Buddha, The Great Spirit through the Peacemaker, etc… The whole point of these are to regulate societal behavior. Go Read Adiamante by Mr. Modesitt. You will forever be unable to separate belief from behavior and the cohesiveness of society in relation to the general perception of unified belief and behavior.

      “This practice is inherently wrong….”

      Please explain this to the founding Fathers who in countless writings detailed the problems when the Nation as a whole didn’t adhere to a single moral code. Look at the warnings of George Washington in his final address to the Nation as a President… all of the things he said would greatly harm this nation have come to fruition.

      “If you are truly following the proper teachings you preach, and if you are right in your faith, you have nothing to worry about”

      Sir, do you know the writings in the Quran, in the Bible? Mohammed held to the belief that if you didn’t convert to Islam peacefully, you’d do it at the point of a sword, or die. The Biblical Patriarchs slaughtered countless people in the Promised Land because their God declared that they’d sinned against him and were finished with their allotted time. Some faiths prescribe behavior such as you desire. The Great Spirit of the Iroquois, Buddha, Tao, etc. However, as a follower of Christ, I’m directly ordered to get in your face. People get enflamed when Iran threatens to stone a gay man to death for being gay… how do you think a follower of Christ feels when a woman goes and kills an unborn baby? Part of the sorrow is for the murder of an infant, another is for the turmoil that the mother will know in her life because of it. Ever read the book A Silent Knife, you might want to.

      I think sir, you see the world as too black & white. Do you react with disgust when you see on the news a Fanatical Christian kill an abortion doctor? So do people who really follow Christ. If you find a Christian cheering for that, you’ve just found a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Do you react with disgust when you see churches picketing a soldier’s funeral with signs that read God’s punishment for Homosexuality or some such idiocy as that? So do I. Have you read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity sir? I’d suggest you do, as life will look a little less foggy.

      “It is quick to point to the teachings of Jesus and then it ignores them when it suits itself to do so.”

      Amen to that one my friend. Unfortunately, you didn’t take the time to add in other Theist or Atheist groups in there. Can you tell me the last day that you did everything your belief told you to do, I mean everything, you lived up to your total and complete maximum potential. When was the last time a Politician did the right thing consistently w/o fail throughout his/her term w/o dropping the ball? Doctor? Lawyer? Housekeeper? Engineer? You’re human dude, so isn’t everyone else. Do you fault the Judge in New Jersey for incorporating Sharia law into his decision to deny a Muslim woman a restraining order against her ex-husband who had (by American law) raped her multiple times? What percentage of married couple experience infidelity? What percentage of Americans even experiences a monogamous relationship period? Explain then, they Politicians lose their career for being unfaithful? In a culture where people can do anything they want sexually, why are leaders still held to standards no one else in the culture abides by?

      “If you truly believe that your particular sect of Christianity is correct and is ordained by God, then you should not worry about its own demise”

      I think sir, you mistake the purpose of a true Christian. Our worry isn’t for the demise of our faith, but for the sorrow you and I will suffer when the world walks a certain path. I don’t want abortions solely because I love the children, but because of the sorrow you will feel later for the act. The same holds for sexual promiscuity regardless of the gender or orientation, pride, arrogance, vain thoughts, etc. If you’re brother was going to commit murder, would you stand by and let him? Every man is my brother sir. Would you stand by as your daughter took drugs and got pregnant as a teenager? No sir, I doubt you would. Every child is my daughter sir, and the loss they experience because of what ill advice is given to them ….. Whether it was your brother or daughter sir, would you not want to scream that there’s a better way? I’ll give you a hint sir, if a Christian isn’t burdened by the heartbreak of his fellow men, he’s no Christian. If he can do as you say and sit back and fulfill his own salvation in his own mind without the burden of showing his fellow men the path to a healthy happy life… He’s no Christian. But then, the greatest of men fall every day, myself and yourself included sir.

      Your final paragraph leads me to my final point. You speak of things you don’t know. The Christian life is built like a family. Babies are taught by adults who are guided by the Elderly. New Christians are babies in Christ are themselves instructed by the understanding built by men and women who have dwelt in the family for a time etc. To say that no man has the right to dictate their own understanding of the faith shows that you don’t understand how Christ laid out his family. Catholic, Protestant, etc… It doesn’t matter how YOU feel they should work sir, what matters is how THEY and their followers feel. And again I ask, why do you single out religion, specifically Christ? Is Islam any different? I can tell you from personal experience, no. Is the understanding of the Great Spirit any different? Again, from personal experience, no. How about the Democratic Party? Again, no. Is the Republican Party? Again, no. The elderly, the establish, the charismatic lead but are human and thus fallible. When did you sir, start thinking leaders were infallible as your post tells me you do?

      P.S. Thank you for helping me to avoid studying this blasted book on Renal Failure. You’d be amazed the lengths I’d go to to not look at this book 🙂

  19. JoJo says:

    As someone who is proud to be LDS, and proud of Packer’s statement let me explain why. My uncle was a fantastic man, and gay. I have gay friends. As much as I wish for their happiness and peace and acceptance in the church and in society I will not vote for it. Why? There is a key point that most intellectuals are missing here. If Government can legalize gay marriage, that means that every public school will teach it and have an open continual discussions of gay and lesbian lifestyles. That may not be a big deal to older children, but to my kindergarten, preschooler and 4th grader age children?
    I feel that if one or more of children are gay, it should be because they are that way and not because they have been led that way by well meaning teachers who feel it is their duty to ‘help’ a child discover himself/herself. I do not agree with sexual orientation becoming a topic spoken in public education. They all ready have a kindergarten book for class called ‘My Two Dads’ for the states that had voted to legalize gay marriage. While I am sure the idea of the book and the message was intended for good I feel it is the parents choice to expose a child that young to the ideas and level of acceptance to those orientation issues, not the government. Are there books of, ‘My Friend is a Jew?’ No, this is Kindergarten, but I bet a public library would have a book for that if the parent felt the child needed it. And what about= if there was a large ‘gay’ elementary population. Would you have gay bathrooms? Non gay bathrooms? Open gender bathrooms? The entire dynamics of society would change in a way to make every citizen question their sexual orientation. In that sense, should there be special tax breaks for those who are bi? Should they be able to marry a man and a woman? Where would the regulating stop/start? As a society, as a mother with young children, I do not feel we are equipped to make a snap judgement on legalizing gays until more concrete research is completed and in public hands. Therefor, Packer’s statement, albeit flawed, was strong and clear cut on those waffling on the concept – and yes, I believe there is hope for those who are wired that way and do not want to be. I have seen a friend find answers that for them, worked. Packer may have saved a few lives from suicide that day. We- as a majority- accept gay’s, but can not condone the behavior to protect our structure of family the way we believe God determined it to be. Believe what you will- and speak it freely, After all, this is still America. 🙂
    (sorry for the lack of grammar, my baby is on my lap as I type)

  20. All the questions you raise are valid… but that wasn’t the point of the blog. The point was — and remains — that religious leaders outstep their bounds and display arrogance when they insist that not only do they speak for God — or whatever deity in which they believe — but their view of society should be the only one, and the one which the laws of the land support.

  21. Is your god Creator? My God says this — 17:9 And God said unto Abraham: ‘And as for thee thou shalt keep My covenant thou and thy seed after thee throughout their generations.

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