If you think that anti-gay ideology, political activism against Same Sex Marriage, and forced polygamous marriages of underage teenage girls are somehow founded upon the teachings of Joseph Smith, then read on. You are in for a surprise.
During the last year the LDS and FLDS denominations of Mormonism have made national headlines because of several issues involving sex: polygamy, same-sex marriage and civil rights for homosexual Americans.
In the Spring of 2008, state authorities raided the FLDS compound in Texas, taking over a hundred teens and children into protective custody because of allegations of sexual abuse of underage teenage girls.
In November of 2008 the passage of Proposition 8 in California took away the rights of homosexual Californians to marry—a civil right that the state Supreme Court had granted earlier that year. The success in passing Proposition 8 was due primarily to the political activity of the LDS Church. In the weeks that followed, political rallies by those in favor of same-sex unions were held in front of LDS Temples across the country—in much the same way that the LDS, in September and October, had organized political rallies across the state of California to demonstrate against same-sex unions.
This week it was revealed that the work of the LDS Church in stripping homosexual Americans of their civil rights continues. Using certain pages its official website (accessible only to currently active Church members, who are given a special code) the LDS Church is organizing its members in Illinois to campaign against efforts to established same-sex civil unions.
The LDS Church erroneously presents itself as the one and only “Mormon Church”—as the only institution divinely authorized to interpret the teachings of Joseph Smith—the First Mormon. As such the LDS renounces the FLDS Church as well as all other Mormon denomination—ranging from polygamous groups to the mainstream Protestant-like RLDS Church (now known as “The Community of Christ.”) In recent years LDS Church president, Gordon B. Hinckley, went so far as to say that “there is not such thing as a Fundamentalist Mormon”—despite the fact that in Utah (headquarters of the LDS and the FLDS Churches) there are over 40,000 Mormon polygamists.
Since the 1960’s, the LDS Church had presented itself as an ardent defender of “traditional marriage” and “traditional family values.” The Church has based its entire missionary program on promoting post-World War II, 1950’s mainstream American ideals regarding marriage, gender roles and family.
Because of this, the LDS Church not only denounces polygamy and same-sex marriage, but it continues to demonize homosexuals, and to insist that homosexuality is merely a “lifestyle choice”—this despite increasing scientific evidence proving that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, and that it can not be changed.
Cartoon of LDS President Spencer W. Kimball, flanked by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, attempting to "cure" two homosexual men
In the 1970 LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball (revered by the LDS as the prophet of God at the time) in his book “The Miracle of Forgiveness” lamented the fact that in many places homosexual was not longer a crime punishable by arrest and imprisonment; he wrote that for those who engaged in homosexual acts, it would have been better that if they had never been born.
committed suicide in Arizona in 2000.
Since that time the suicide of numerous homosexual Latter-day Saints—distraught over their inability to change their sexual orientation—have been reported in the news.
suicide on the lawn of an LDS Chapel
In 2000, faithful LDS Church member and returned missionary Stuart Matis shot himself through the head on the front lawn of the local LDS chapel in Santa Clara, California. Matis left a suicide note blaming the suicide on the conflict between his religion and his sexual orientation, a conflict that was accentuated by the battle over California's Proposition 22.
Russell Henderson (above) was an LDS Aaronic Priesthood
holder when he murdered Matthew Shepherd in 1998
Most famously, Russell Hendersen—one of the two young men who, in the 1998, murdered gay college student Matthew Shepherd—was LDS and ordained to the Church’s Aaronic Priesthood.
More recently, speeches and public rants given by church members who headed the Church’s campaign for Proposition 8 equated homosexuality with bestiality, incest and the sexual abuse of children. The Church declares that homosexuality is something that can be overcome through conversion, prayer, fasting and “obeying God’s commandments”—by which they mean the dictates of the current LDS Church authorities. The Church continues to demonize homosexuals—presenting them as sinister agents under the influence of the devil who are out to destroy the institution of the family.
Over the last two years, LDS Church members have been told by Church General Authorities (who are revered as being the sole representatives of God on earth) that they should forbid adult homosexual children and relatives to bring their partners into their homes. Their fear is that if LDS children or youth are allowed socialize with homosexual relatives and their partners, they will begin to see homosexuals as normal, ethical, happy individuals. More than any other religious denomination in the United States, the LDS Church continues to take increasingly drastic steps in stigmatizing homosexuals.
Utah Senator Chris Buttar
Just two weeks ago LDS Church members serving in the Utah state legislature showed every thing from indifference to vicious contempt when law-abiding homosexual Utahan presented a plea to state representatives to find some common ground for addressing the issue of same-sex civil unions. At the same time, Utah State Senator Chris Buttar (a devout LDS Church member--pictured above) said that gay and lesbian rights activists are "probably the greatest threat to America going down." He also asked "what is the morals of a gay person? You can't answer that, because anything goes. So now you are moving toward a society that has no morals." Buttar also compared gay rights activists to Islamic radicals: "Muslims are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it's been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side."
TE LDS CHURCH AND SO-CALLED “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”
Since the 1940’s, the LDS Church has gone out of its way to distance itself from its polygamous past. LDS General Authorities, historians and apologists never miss an opportunity to declare that the LDS ended polygamy in 1890 (actually it was 1904), and that it has excommunicated any member even preaching the doctrine since that time. (Actually such excommunications didn’t begin until 1907. They were aimed only at Church members who entered polygamous marriages after 1904.)
Heber J. Grant, who died in 1945, was the last
polygamist to serve as President of the LDS Church
The LDS Church does not advertise the fact that until 1945 every LDS Church president (each regarded as an infallible prophet) was a practicing polygamist. President Heber J, Grant, who died in 1945, was actually the Church’s last polygamist prophet with three wives. Into the 1950’s there were elderly LDS Church members who were polygamists. This means that the LDS Church has only been polygamist-free for about 50 years. This is quite a different picture than the one painted by the LDS Church in it’s official announcements, literature and press releases—all of which insist that the Church had been polygamist-free for nearly 120 years.
Even today LDS Church members, in LDS Temples, can be sealed (married) to more than one spouse “for time and all eternity.” This means that even though a Latter-day Saint can only have one wife at a time in this life, the Church continues to teach that in eternity (in “heaven”) he will be married to all the women to whom the Church has sealed him in their wedding ceremonies. Many modern LDS men—including quite a few modern General Authorities of the Church—believe that they will be polygamists in heaven.
Despite its current theology, the LDS Church continues its work to deny homosexual Americans of their civil rights—all in the name of defending “traditional marriage.”
THE LDS CHURCH & THE FLDS CHURCH HAVE THE EXACT SAME THEOLOGY REGARDING SEX
On the surface, the politically right-wing LDS Church and the radical FLDS Church seem worlds apart; like two completely different religions.
This is not the case.
Regarding the purpose of marriage and sex, the LDS and FLDS Churches embrace the exact same theology. The LDS Church opposes civil rights for homosexuals on the same theological ground that the FLDS Church has sanctioned polygamous marriage to underage teenage girls.
THE LDS/FLDS THEOLOGY OF SEX
Both the LDS and FLDS Church share a common theology regarding sex.
According the LDS and FLDS doctrine, God commands that all human beings must “be married for time and all eternity” in order to reach the highest degree of glory in heaven—Celestial Glory. A human being who reaches this degree of glory will become a God or Goddess.
As Gods and Goddesses, they will sexually produce spirits for future human beings who will be born on futures worlds that will be created. In LDS and FLDS theology, not only marriage, but heterosexual sexual intercourse itself and reproduction are pre-requisites for Godhood. According to LDS theology Godhood itself is the ability to engage in heterosexual sexual intercourse and reproduction for all eternity.
Since 1852 the LDS Church has taught that God (Our Heavenly Father) is married, and that our spirits (the part of us that will live on after death) were begotten through God’s sexual union with a Heavenly Mother. Until recent decades LDS Church authorities taught that God was a polygamist with many Goddess wives. Though the LDS Church no longer preaches this doctrine publicly—as does the FLDS Church--neither has it officially denied the doctrine.
In its recent statement concerning “the divine institution of marriage” the LDS explicitly has said that love is not the basis of marriage. Instead the Church insists that the purpose of marriage is reproduction and caring for children. Likewise the FLDS Church insists that the basis of marriage is not love. These views are a continuation of the LDS Church’s teaching in the late 1800s, which was usually articulated in this way: “We consider [romantic] love to be a false emotion.”
Both the LDS and FLDS Churches teach that marriage is commanded by God; that to fulfill God’s purpose for humanity (that is, to become Gods ourselves) every human being must get married and reproduce—in this life if possible, but most certainly in heaven. One’s future power and glory as a God will be based on the number of “spirit children” one has in eternity.
In the theology of the LDS and FLDS, heterosexual sex is the means by which one becomes like God and enters into heaven’s highest degree of glory.
No wonder the LDS Church is so vicious in its attacks on homosexuality.
BUT DID JOSEPH SMITH—MORMONISM’S FOUNDER—ACTUALLY TEACH THESE IDEAS?
The LDS and FLDS Churches each claim to be “the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth.” Each claims to perfectly teach the doctrines of Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith.
But did Joseph Smith actually teach the doctrines described above?
Did Joseph Smith teach that our spirits were begotten by Our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother?
Did Joseph Smith teach that one became like God through getting married?
Did Joseph teach that human beings, once they became Gods, would sexually begat spirit children for future worlds?
The answers to all three of these questions is NO.
These ideas are found nowhere in Mormon scripture—not in the Bible, “The Book of Mormon,” The Doctrine and Covenants, or “The Pearl of Great Price.”
These ideas can not be found in any of Joseph Smith’s letters, journals or sermons.
How is it that the LDS and FLDS Churches—the two institutions that claim to teach the doctrines of Joseph Smith—base their entire theology on ideas that Joseph never taught?
Joseph Smith--the founder of Mormonism--in 1843
And if Joseph Smith never taught these doctrines, how should devout Mormons who happen to be homosexual react to the LDS and FLDS Churches?
Can one be a Mormon without being a member the LDS or FLDS Church?
WHERE DID THESE IDEAS COME FROM?
Where did these ideas—the central concepts of LDS/FLDS theology—come from? Who came up with these ideas? If Joseph Smith didn’t teach these ideas, then who did?
THAT will be the focus of our next installment.
We will reveal exactly who invented this theology of married Gods and Goddesses sexually begetting the spirits of human beings.
We will reveal why, in 1852, Brigham Young and the LDS Church embraced these ideas.
We will then reveal exactly what Joseph Smith DID teach regarding the origin of the human spirit and the process by which human beings might progress to Godhood.
We will then reveal Joseph Smith’s vision of humanity once it achieved Godhood—a vision that he declared publicly in plain language—and a vision which the LDS Church ignored in the 1850s and then began to suppress and deny in the 20th century.
We will show that the actual teachings of Joseph Smith in his famous last sermon—the King Follett Discourse—actually undermine the LDS and FLDS theology regarding human sexuality. In light of this we will ask you to consider the following: When one considers what Joseph Smith actually did teach at the end of his life, is it possible that, strictly speaking, the modern day LDS Church isn’t even “Mormon?”
Finally we will present the Reform Mormon theology of human progress, marriage and sexuality.
This theology—founded firmly upon the principles of Joseph Smith’s unfinished Nauvoo-era reformation of Mormonism—is one that embraces all people— regardless of their sexual orientation. It reveres the worth of the individual, human freedom, intellectual curiosity, human progress and achievement. It exalts in human joy, and it embraces humanity and life on earth in a spirit of generosity and hope.