We Believe All that God Has Revealed
by Cassandra Hedelius
On social media and other discussions, it’s very common for LGBT activists/allies to invoke the ninth Article of Faith. They take for granted that the church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality are wrong, and assert that God will soon change them. After all, “we believe that God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God!”
This argument is very flawed. Church leaders have told us conclusively that the doctrine of marriage will not change. In both the handbook and the “Life Help” section of the Gospel Library, it is plainly taught: Central to God’s plan, the doctrine of marriage between a man and a woman is an integral teaching of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will not change.” Church leaders are certainly aware that God can give them new revelation, and that everyone else knows it too. That they’re saying so firmly that it will not happen is very significant. God is all-powerful and can do as He likes, especially with His church. For leaders to say “will not change” instead of “we don’t anticipate that it will change” or “is not likely to change” or “let’s just work with the knowledge we have now instead of speculating what could change” indicates, to me, that the Lord has revealed to them that it will not change.
Some might respond that the church’s current leaders are wrong, and future leaders will get it right. After all, they assert, past church leaders were wrong about race, and God set them straight with the 1978 revelation. But there’s an immense difference between these situations: the church’s pre-1978 position on race was never taught to be permanent. There is no similar “will not change” declaration. When he announced the new revelation in 1978, President Kimball said the “long-promised day” had come. Brigham Young, the prophet who started the restriction, prophesied that it would end. Subsequent prophets did as well. Joseph Smith personally ordained Black men to the priesthood. By contrast, no prophet has ever even so much as hinted that our marriage doctrine could be changed, and no prophet has ever performed a same-sex marriage. Comparing marriage doctrine to the priesthood restriction is apples and oranges.
Not only is there no “long-promised day” regarding same-sex marriage, there’s extraordinary revelation placing man-woman marriage and child-bearing at the absolute pinnacle of eternal achievement. It’s not even possible to qualify for additional revelation when activists are so dismissive of the revelation we already have.
It’s practically impossible to over-emphasize the primacy of man-woman marriage in LDS doctrine. Exaltation is marriage. Godhood is marriage. And marriage is a man and a woman sealed together and a continuation of the seeds forever. Sex and the generation of new life isn’t just a mortal, animal condition. Our families here are preparatory for the higher, eternal reality. We don’t (and perhaps can’t) know much about what it will be like to continue our families eternally, generating new life as resurrected beings and shepherding our children to Godhood in one eternal round. But we know that marriage here and now, as part of the New and Everlasting Covenant, which lovingly welcomes children and raises them in light and truth, is essential preparation for that eternal future. And homosexual couples, no matter how much they love each other, do not generate new life and do not follow the pattern of our Heavenly Parents.
Moreover, Valerie Hudson has shown how, if one proposes a celestial kingdom where same-sex couples can be exalted and therefore man-woman partnership is not necessary in order to obtain eternal increase, the result is a blatant erasure of women. Sisters, we need to boldly assert our essential role in eternity. What we’re doing now to bear and raise children, or to cultivate the aptitude for it whenever the opportunity comes, is not just a trivial mortal pastime. We’re not going to look back on it as a bizarre, animalistic quirk of mortality that we transcended via resurrection. Motherhood isn’t just a means to obtain the sacrifice and humility that we need, either. It is a preparatory apprenticeship for Godhood that will be added upon forever, and will ensure we remain distinctly and gloriously female forever.
The truth that Godhood is marriage is a stunning, paradigm-shattering revelation that decisively separates us from the rest of Christianity. It’s exactly the sort of truth I think of when I read the ninth Article of Faith. But today’s activists don’t believe it, or value it, or recognize its stunning philosophical weight. Though they believe themselves eager and ready to welcome new revelation, they’re not, because they don’t accept what God has already revealed.
In D&C 76:5-10, it magnificently promises:
5 I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.
Those who reject living prophets because they claim future prophets will vindicate their unbelief are unlikely to qualify to receive new revelation because they do not fear God and serve Him in righteousness and truth. They reject or downplay the importance of man-woman marriage, they cultivate cynicism and disbelief in church leaders, they encourage breaking covenants, and they teach sin is love and truth is bigotry.
We believe all that God has revealed, and that includes the unchanging law of chastity and the eternally crucial beauty of marriage between a man and a woman. God may yet reveal refinements to our understanding, but nothing that will overrule those truths. If you are waiting for further revelation, do not despise what you already have.
More Come, Follow Me resources here.
I don’t have as much to say about the 1978 revelation on priesthood, but I encourage everyone to read this 2015 FAIR conference presentation by Paul Reeve. It’s the best summary available of what we know about the priesthood ban.
Cassandra Hedelius studied Political Science in Oklahoma and Law in Colorado. She currently lives in Aurora, Colorado and cares full time for her three young children and cat.