[Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from “Mormons Believe …What?! Fact and Fiction About a Rising Religion,” and is the author’s answer to critics who claim Mormons are bigoted homophobes.]
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That there are two sexes screams that there must be a master plan.
We declare that marriage is God’s institution, not man’s. We believe that He has a master plan for His children and that gender is at its foundation.
Sure, if God had so intended, He could have had us grow on trees and drop to the ground as fully developed non-sex adults. But He didn’t.
It is impossible to believe that such a master plan would not address the purpose of gender and provide for an agreement – marriage – between a man and a woman. Nor can we believe that such a solemn agreement would not be of critical importance to a commitment to nurture new life that may ensue.
So, should the establishment of a commitment to nurture and raise helpless infants be left to a happenstance, man-made agreement?
We ask whether it makes sense that the Creator of this master plan would leave to chance that man would stumble across the need for such an agreement some century in the future – that its creation and definition should be left to man-made governments?
No. Gender and the plan for marriage were created at the same time.
Gender and Inclinations
As explained earlier, we believe life is a test in a sphere of existence where things go wrong, and that inclinations and weaknesses are part of that test. Every person is guaranteed to have a weakness, a temptation, an inclination that God wants him or her to overcome. Struggling with such challenges strengthens and refines. It is part of God’s plan for our growth.
Which is why we feel sadness when one of our brothers or sisters would rather indulge an inclination than conquer it.
Consider the word gender, a convenient flexible concept the gay and lesbian community utilizes. By last count, they claim seven types of genders and speak of gender fluidity. They assert that feelings rather than biological makeup determine one’s sexuality, and that when one feels part of a newly invented gender category, one is justified acting accordingly – an excuse, in other words, not to overcome the inclinations.
The origin of the word, however, does not support the way they use it. Never more than a dual-category construct, gender came into vogue in early 20th century genteel company as an equivalent substitute for the word sex, which had taken on erotic qualities. Instead of a polite stand-in for “sex of a human being,” gender has now been imbued with social traits, making it easier to accommodate trendy definitions of the day.
We stand in opposition to the infinitely expandable definition of gender proclaimed by same-sex marriage proponents. We maintain that God created only two genders. We further state that same-sex attractions by themselves are not sinful, but are if acted upon.
Right to the Institution
Marriage is both a legal contract as well as an institution. Man’s legal authority on earth can and must determine arrangements necessary for societal order, such as financial matters and the settling of disputes, but cannot trump an institution, founded before this world was, that specifically identifies the genders of the parties.
We believe that God, not man, created the institution of marriage and He alone can change it.
Compare marriage to a church. The Catholics, as one example, believe their church came from God, that it was not created by man. Now suppose someone who is not a Catholic says to the Pope, “I like your church and want to become part of it. But I want you to change your liturgy and commandments to accommodate my behavior, which you happen to oppose.”
Fat chance. No church that believes their institution came from God would allow an outsider to change it.
Yet this is exactly the same demand made by proponents of same-sex marriage. Those who believe marriage was created by God, and is the natural pairing of two genders, are being told, “You must accommodate me into your institution on my terms!” Unbelievable.
Are we unreasonable if we say, “Are you serious?” In the example above, if the Catholic Church turns down the petitioner, does he have the right to form his own church? Absolutely. Does he have the right to call it the Catholic Church? Absolutely not.
Same thing with marriage.
[Note: The author continues this chapter with four additional segments …
Role of Government
… and then concludes:]
Same-sex marriage has become a major wedge issue in our society. The related issue – at what age and from whom children receive information about other behaviors in society – will become even more salient in the public square. Our position is simple and strong: Same-sex marriage undermines the institution of marriage and the family – how can a change in the definition of marriage do anything but? – and it undermines the belief that our rights and freedoms come from God, thus contributing to the power and growth of government.
Weak families and large government. Now there’s a formula for success.
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Gary Lawrence’s book “Mormons Believe … What?! Fact and Fiction About a Rising Religion” answers 24 misconceptions and rumors about the Church. Please visit MormonsBelieveWhat.com
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