Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Thoughts On President Packer's Talk

Many people have offered their thoughts on President Packer's talk from General Conference, and I would like to share my thoughts on this topic. I would like to start by saying that I agree with everything President Packer said, but not only do I agree, I know that what he said is truth revealed from God. One of the greatest blessings I have is that there is a Prophet of God on the earth, and I know that God directs through His mouthpiece on the earth.

President Packer mostly reiterated the doctrine in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. That page shows when the proclamation was received: September 23rd, 1995. I am very grateful that my Father in Heaven wants to bless us with the chance to be together forever, and I know that this is possible through marriage in the temple.

Part of President Packer's talk, the part that I'm guessing is what people found most upsetting, was that he taught what is taught at the end of the proclamation: "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." No matter what we do, we cannot avoid the consequences of sin forever. Eventually, the violation of God's laws brings punishment of one form or another. The family is essential to God's plan, and He will protect it.

The above summarize our beliefs on homosexuality, as well as child abuse, spurning families for alternate arrangements, not taking a marriage commitment seriously, and other things.

What we do not believe, is that bigotry is okay. We do not believe that persecuting someone for sinning is acceptable. Any Mormon, or anyone at all for that matter, who judges someone for participating in homosexuality will be judged for their own sins. Anyone who commits a hate crime or discriminates against another commits a sin, and if you commit a sin and then judge someone for sinning, the Lord himself said that you will be condemned (Matthew 7:1-5).

For some, it may be automatic to say that if you think someone chooses to sin, that you therefore hate that person. I am a sinner, and if you have a natural tendency to sin, then that means you are human: "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been since the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever." (Mosiah 3:19) It doesn't mean that Mormons believe they have a license to hate or discriminate against you. Simply put, Mormons are not bigoted against homosexuals, and President Packer did not advocate any such thing. Do not look for any Church leader to change the eternal doctrines on gender and gender roles. As the proclamation says: "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

I know that this is a serious matter. For many, it tests their faith to belong to a Church that tells them they cannot act on homosexual tendencies which they likely feel make up part of their identity. For others, and perhaps even more, it tests their faith to belong to a Church that runs contrary to their political views. My friends, I know the difficulty of struggling with the Lord's teachings. I wish there was something I could write to make this easy, but there it doesn't exist. All I can tell you is that when I have made my personal - although completely insignificant when compared to His - trips to Gethsemane, I have made my way out on my knees. I have come to know my Father through these experiences, and what I know of Him is love. He does not abandon His children, whom we all are. I pray that He keep and deliver us all.