On SSM, Supporting SSM, and Love

By | June 30, 2015

Christlike LoveIf you are an individual who experiences same-sex attraction, I want you to know that I hold you no ill will. I have my own difficulties that tempt me to stray from God’s path. We are all in this together. There is hope. Loving each other is a very real imperative.

“Jesus Christ commanded us to love our neighbors. Whether sinner or saint, rich or poor, stranger or friend, everyone in God’s small world is our neighbor, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Latter-day Saints believe that our true commitment to Christian teachings is revealed by how we respond to this commandment. This love is tested every day of our lives. We may know individuals with same-sex attraction in our workplaces, congregations and town halls. As people with hopes, fears and aspirations like everyone else, these neighbors deserve our love. But we can’t truly love the neighbors next door if we don’t love the neighbors under our own roof. Family members with same-sex attraction need our love and understanding. God loves all his children alike, much more than any of us can comprehend, and expects us to follow.” mormonsandgays.org

This is talking about Christlike love. It is absolutely required of all who would call themselves “Christian” to show the greatest of empathy and compassion to our family and friends who experience same-sex attraction. Many of these same-sex attracted people feel overwhelmingly alone and ostracized. They fear talking about their experience because they know that many would be very quick to respond with criticism, ignorance, or fear. Why would we ever want to respond that way? We probably wouldn’t want to, yet we do.

It is imperative that we reach out with love. I’m speaking of the kind of love that shows kindness and compassion to all of God’s children without promoting or condoning sin. But is that the kind of love that has been demonstrated nearly everywhere lately?

I’ve seen a lot of writing about love in the past few days: “Love wins.” “Christ teaches us to love one another.” “God is love.” Amen. But amen to what those words really mean, not what moral relativism pretends they mean. Instead of supporting people who experience same-sex attraction without condoning sin, we are entrenching and oppressing those who experience same-sex attraction by eagerly condoning outright rebellion against God.

Remember: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

I get that some try to support same-sex marriage (SSM) from a position of Christlike love, but what do God’s prophets say? Because to believe that supporting SSM can possibly have a foundation of Christlike love is to be woefully mistaken.

“At the zenith of His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” To make certain they understood exactly what kind of love that was, He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” and “whosoever … shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be … the least in the kingdom of heaven.” Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).” Jeffrey R. Holland

Others seek to support SSM from a position of liberty and freedom. “It doesn’t hurt me. Live and let live.” To these, again, I say that this is a woefully misguided position to take. It will hurt you. It will hurt your children. I won’t say more on the topic of liberty and freedom in this post, but I may at a later time. This specific article addresses the so-called foundation of “Christlike love” that many use as their rationale for supporting SSM.

Furthermore, to those who persecute Christians (who stand firm in defense of God’s definition of marriage) and make the accusation of an absence of love, please search the scriptures. How can one possibly presume to speak in Christ’s name without knowing Him, without believing in His doctrine, and when His doctrine and His teachings are far from their heart?

What is love? What does love have to do with SSM? And can one who possesses the principle of love truly support SSM from the standpoint of Christlike love? No, because true love—Christlike love as a gift of the Spirit—cannot support and condone sin, nor “any hint of advocacy for it in others.” Christ’s love is taught via two directives: love God and love neighbor. This love is evidenced as follows: if a person loves God they’ll keep His commandments. If a person loves their neighbor, the person will  serve the neighbor selflessly—with an Eternal perspective—and invite them to come unto Christ (feed My sheep). If you know Christ, you know this is true.

It is literally impossible to exemplify Christlike love by supporting someone in their sin. Why? Because Christlike love, which is also known as charity, is a gift of the Spirit. God’s Spirit does not teach people to keep God’s commandments on the one hand and then teach them to support others in breaking them on the other.

If one’s reason for supporting SSM is a belief that they are exemplifying Christlike love, do they really know Christ? Sadly, no. I don’t say that of myself. Christ has said that those who profess to believe in Him and claim to do works in His name, but whose fruit is evil, were never really known of Him. In other words, their works were not of God. And if they are not of God, from whom do they originate? I accurately submit that—even when done with the best of intentions—they are influenced by the enemy of God: satan. He accuses truth of being falsehood. He claims that evil is actually good. He lies.

Instead of teaching others to rebel against God, please teach them to come unto Christ. Christ will never teach anyone to lead others astray from God’s truth, because He loves them too much.

So what kind of love is this that has taken over our social media? It is the new kind of love: enmity—which in the scriptures refers to antagonism, hostility, and hate—masquerading as love. This new “love” attacks true Christlike love in the name of love. I have to admit that it is a very cunning plan.

But what of those who just support SSM because they have gay friends, and they want to be supportive of their friends? To them, I pose this question: how does encouraging a person to rebel against God offer any meaningful support? It doesn’t. Not from a basis of Christlike love. Let’s make Christ our best friend and give Him our deepest loyalty. Then, to support our friends, we would show them true Christlike love by urging them to come unto Christ. It is in the atonement of Jesus Christ that our same-sex attracted friends will find the greatest support. He will not forsake them like much of our society has.

Let’s look at this another way. What is one sin that most everyone clearly understands? It is murder. We all basically understand that it is not okay to go around killing people, even when the killer enjoys it. So I ask—approaching this from a standpoint of showing love—if it demonstrates Christlike love to say this to a friend: “I don’t necessarily agree with what you do, but as long as you are happy murdering people, I support you in your choice. I’ll support a court decision that legalizes cold-blooded murder because it makes you happy to take another person’s life.” No! Why? Because we know the consequence of rebellion against God’s commandment to not murder.

How can we possibly demonstrate Christ’s love by supporting someone’s desire to disobey God? We can’t! It is literally impossible. And I don’t use the word “literally” loosely. We can choose to respect other people’s moral agency, but that is very different than campaigning in behalf of their objective: to rebel against God’s definition of marriage and to corrupt what it means to be married and have a family.

At best, supporting SSM from a stated position of Christlike love is misguided—as is probably the case with many people. At worst, it is a purposeful blasphemy and an intentional campaign to lead people astray—as is the case with many more.

A better way.shepherd - love one another

Love God? Keep His commandments. Love your neighbor? Invite them to come unto Christ. It really is that simple.

None of us is perfect, but a great place to start repenting is to cease teaching others to rebel against God. Can we model a Christlike love of God and neighbor by encouraging others to violate God’s law of chastity by engaging in same-sex relationships? No! Can we model Christlike love by urging our nation’s leaders to invent laws that violate our Constitution and offend God? No! Can we model Christlike love by encouraging our nation to adopt totalitarianism and persecute religious adherents? No! Can we model a love of the Constitution by praising a Supreme Court who literally violated their oath in inventing a new right that never existed in the Constitution? No! Instead, we model the exact opposite: enmity for God and enmity for liberty.

Our Constitutional rights come from whom? They come from God. All men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” (Declaration of Independence)

Do you imagine up a God who defines marriage and commands His children to marry and then also commands them to destroy the institution of marriage? This question and the following scripture may apply to divorce, but it most definitely also applies to anything that runs contrary to God’s definition of the marriage covenant, including SSM.

“Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Jesus Christ

Again—I get that there are those among us who try to support SSM from a position of love, but I urge caution because it is clear that this is not born of a knowledge of the scriptures; it does not grow from an understanding of the principle of love. We literally cannot support someone in living sin from a position of Christlike love. And those who persecute religious adherents—by accusing them of bigotry because they refuse to adopt an unorthodox and inconsistent point of view—put themselves in an extremely precarious situation. They become a people who use scripture in an effort to support lucifer’s agenda. That is a very dangerous position to take, spiritually speaking. It is to pretend to be religious in their hearts in an effort to destroy true religion. In other words, it is hypocrisy. Christ spoke incredibly sharp words concerning hypocrisy.

Would we approach our own sins from a similar perspective? Is this our belief: “Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God”? What is this doctrine?

Let’s beware of these false doctrines. Let’s come unto Christ. Let’s learn of Him and stand loyally at His side by embracing His pure doctrine. Does He command us to love, serve, and forgive one another? Yes! But He also teaches us—clearly—that marriage is exclusively a union of a man and woman. And He has, through His true prophets, taught us to uphold those laws that protect and preserve marriage as He defines it.

Truly loving, serving, and forgiving—in Christ’s way—is a far cry from trying to convince others that sins are actually not sins. And it is the opposite of supporting others in their sins and lifting their sins up high as a virtue—albeit a counterfeit virtue.

Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.

They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.

But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.

But behold, that great and abominable church [pride and wickedness of the world], the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.

For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;

For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.

Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.

Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts. 2nd Nephi 28

It is impossible to support SSM while simultaneously standing upon the foundation of Christlike love, as is crystal clear. The support of SSM, therefore, comes from another influence, whatever that influence might be.

It is strikingly clear that our society has attempted to change the meaning of the words found in Christ’s doctrine from something good and holy to something vile and evil. We must immediately rethink and repent. I’ll do the same insofar as I have erred. I make mistakes. I sin. I offend. I accept that, and I acknowledge my need for repentance and redemption. I make no excuse. We all rely on Christ. Let’s follow Him. Let’s love in His way: by obeying the commandments of God and by inviting all to come unto Jesus.

Encouragement for Disciples of Christ

Do not doubt yourself when you stand up for God’s marriage covenant and others call you hateful for it. It is a latter-day imperative that we know and understand how to judge between something good and evil. And it is also a latter-day imperative that we know how to love as Christ loved. How do we know the difference between good and evil, and what is Christlike love? Consider the following passage of scripture.

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Moroni 7

The appropriate application is that we clearly see that the movement to rebel against God and redefine His marriage covenant is not inspired of God, but it is inspired of God’s adversary. And the appropriate application of charity is that we not respond with vengeance but with an unyielding loyalty to God and the truth. We treat those who have wronged us with kindness, and we invite them to come unto Christ. That is the true evidence that one loves God and neighbor. It is evidence of love—the fruit of the Spirit.

When people accuse you of hatred, bigotry, and hypocrisy for standing up and speaking out for God’s law, feel honored to be persecuted for Christ’s sake. But do not falter.

Borrowed Light

No man or woman can live on borrowed light anymore. One’s testimony of truth must be one’s own. That testimony can be obtained by the power of the Holy Ghost. Read Moroni 10:3-5 and follow its direction, beginning with reading the entire book and applying its principles.

The great news is that God has promised compensatory spiritual power for the faithful in these challenging times. Please claim that power.

We can all be a little kinder. But when you—regardless of the nature of your sexual attraction—stand up for the institution of marriage as God defined it the best way you know how, you evidence your love for God and your fellow man. I know that God is aware of each of us right now. He wants His disciples—as He has said in scripture—to stand firm, but He wants us to do it without malice. If it were with malice, it would not be of God.

Sifting is happening right this moment. Sifting like I’ve never seen it before.

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly:
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

We wage no common war,
Cope with no common foe.
The enemy’s awake;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

We serve the living God,
And want his foes to know
That, if but few, we’re great;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

We’re going on to win;
No fear must blanch the brow.
The Lord of Hosts is ours;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

The pow’rs of earth and hell
In rage direct the blow
That’s aimed to crush the work;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

Truth, life, and liberty,
Freedom from death and woe,
Are stakes we’re fighting for;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

The stone cut without hands
To fill the earth must grow.
Who’ll help to roll it on?
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Our ensign to the world
Is floating proudly now.
No coward bears our flag;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly:
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

Text: Hannah Last Cornaby, 1822-1905
Music: Henry H. Russell, 1818-1900, alt.

We stand upon a firm foundation. Persecutions may rage, but the truth of God will endure despite great wickedness.

How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

In ev’ry condition–in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea–
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

Text: Attr. to Robert Keen, ca. 1787. Included in the first LDS hymnbook, 1835.
Music: Attr. to J. Ellis, ca. 1889

*The opinions stated here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official statements of any church or institution. I speak for myself. I believe that what I’ve written is true. 

Share:

2 thoughts on “On SSM, Supporting SSM, and Love

  1. Shannon

    This was so well written, and done in such a basic, non-judgmental way. I’ve had to think a lot about how I’m going to teach my future children to love everyone, but make good choices that will bring them future happiness at the same time. This was a great perspective for that.

    Reply
    1. Joshua Aaron Post author

      I’m so glad you thought so. It was a difficult article to write!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*