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Homosexual Acts Second to Sins of Murder and Denying the Holy Ghost, per LDS Quorum President

LDS Church - Moroni

The LDS Angel Moroni in Salt Lake City - National Geographic

In speaking about the Holy Spirit and health laws at the 181st General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints yesterday, Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve said that homosexual acts were second to murder:

The Lord has also revealed that the sacred powers to beget life must be protected and employed only between man and woman, husband and wife. "To misuse this power is exceeded in seriousness only by the shedding of innocent blood and denying the Holy Ghost." Repentance can erase the effect of such transgressions.

Packer talked about obeying other health laws of the church, including avoiding tobacco, tea, coffee, liquor, and addictive substances.

He stressed that while many people call the church the "Mormon church" because of the Book of Mormon, it is actually the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  As to outsiders who do not think that the church is Christian, Packer responded that "every ordinance is done by the authority of and in the name of Jesus Christ. It is the same organization that was found in the primitive Church with apostles and prophets."

Packer said that people who had become inactive in the church because they were offended by some aspect of it were metaphorically beating themselves over and over on the head with a club.

About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
  • http://thejoyfulmystic.blogspot.com Sheri Lawson

    Did he really say this??? I thought they were past this horrible stage of likening homosexuals to murderers. I thought they had learned from the backlash they received over their involvement in Prop 8. My heart was just beginning to feel a little softer toward the church again. This simply infuriates me!!! Yes, I am reacting. This is a hot-button topic for me and makes my blood boil. Mainly because people I love dearly are being indoctrinated by this rampant hateful rhetoric.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      Yup, according to the LDS website, we quoted exactly what he said. I think the Human Rights Commission was way off base when they said the LDS church was working with them. As a gut reaction, Packer reminds me of the Mormon version of Bryan Fischer.

      Deborah

  • http://thejoyfulmystic.blogspot.com Sheri Lawson

    I'll have to look up Bryan Fisher, I'm not sure who that is. I was also unaware of the HRC work with the church. Another one to research. We have work to do!!!

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      Check him out here on God Discussion … we're always reporting on him. He's one of the more extremist Christians out there and the Republicans are always showing up on his show with the American Family Association.

  • Rational Thought

    How is this new to you Sheri? The Church has always said sexual sin (fornication, same sex act, etc.) is SECOND only to murder. He did not state anything new. You see, it's an equal opportunity sin that can be committed by all according to the LDS faith.

    You are very quick to anger about something that only shows your ignorance and bigotry. Your lack of rational thought shows by your temper and your bigotry through your statement "of likening homosexuals to murderers". No "likening" occurred, only your anger and hateful rhetoric of Mormons.

    It appears that Bryan Fisher is not the only thing that you need to research in order to comment rationally on the Church.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      I'm curious if there are third level sins that fall below homosexual acts or, as you pointed out, fornication. It seems that homosexual relations are being targeted exclusively as being second to murder and denying the holy spirit — would lying or theft also be second to murder?

      Sheri used to be a Mormon, so I don't think she is ignorant. Perhaps different wards taught different things, such as homosexual acts being the same as murder.

      For those of us outsiders, it appears that the church has a special category of disdain for gays and lesbians — at least if they act on it. I'm not trying to be hateful — I'd honestly like to understand why Mormons believe this way. I would think that for young people who grow up in the church and hear this, it has to be very painful if they happen to be gay or lesbian.

      Deborah

      • http://mjb.biglaughs.org m

        Just to be clear: Pres. Packer did not call out homosexuality. He called out sexual sin, which includes any sexual relations outside of marriage, not just homosexual ones.

        LDS doctrine has always been that of all the ways to do something that's not God's will (the LDS definition of sin) there are three are particularly harmful, which are the 3 Pres. Packer mentioned, in that order.

        Another apostle, Elder Holland, once said something about how it's very important to God how we get into this world and how we get out. See "Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments".

      • RamonaLDS

        Deborah, I appreciate that you expressed interest in our beliefs. I can't speak officially for the Church of course, but here's my take on church doctrine:
        1) God gives us commandments for our own good. We may have a hard time seeing it during this lifetime, but in eternity it will be clear to us.
        2) Our Heavenly Father created us male and female in His image, implying there is a Heavenly Mother as well. (ie, if God had wanted to create us hermaphroditic or with some other reproductive cycle, He certainly could have).
        3) We believe that families are forever, and that in the afterlife we will be rejoined with our families.
        4) So, if God's definition of a family is a mother, father, and children, then people who don't follow that pattern in their lives are denying themselves blessings and joy in the afterlife.

        And the following is simply my take as a Libertarian Electrical Engineer:
        5) The degree to which homosexuality is genetic versus learned isn't relevant. We are also commanded not to drink alcohol, and there's no 'pass' card for people with an alcoholic gene. And before someone gets upset, I'm not equating 'gayness' with alcoholism. I'm simply saying that there's precedent for God giving us genes that make our lives challenging. In fact, our understanding is that we volunteered for these assignments beforehand, with the understanding that we would grow as a result of the challenges we overcome in this lifetime.

        6) I am not a "homophobe"; I really don't care what other consenting adults do. However, I do believe the Church needed to get involved in this issue (ie, Prop8) because the Pro-Gay movement will keep pushing this issue until any minister who refuses to perform same sex marriages will lose their state license to perform marriages (allegedly because they are hateful, since their doctrinal reasons won't be considered). Likewise, Church adoption services will start to be denied a license to perform adoptions. Some may see this as a great victory for some kind of equality, but I see it as a huge loss for tolerance and religious freedom.

        As a Latter Day Saint I am very concerned about being able to worship and have an effective church organization without government interference.

        As a Libertarian, I think the best answer is for Government to get out of marriage altogether. Why on earth should two consenting adults have to get a license from the State to form a union anyway? Why should private institutions (hospitals) use government guidelines for who can visit a patient? The tax code needs to be vastly simplified anyway. There should be choice for people between schooling options for their kids (ie, public, private, home, parochial, whatever). I really believe that if government weren't so intrusive, politically this would be a non-issue. (On this portion specifically, I believe I differ from the position of many "Traditional Marriagists", largely because I've given up on any hope of Government doing anything useful. Having someone else call what they're doing "marriage" doesn't devalue my marriage. Having government tell us what marriage is or isn't devalues ALL marriages. :-) )

        That said, I do believe that those who choose not to follow God's pattern for families are doing so at the risk of losing greater blessings in the world to come. I'm okay letting them do that according to their understanding and conscience if they're willing to let churches operate in society without insisting they either change or violate their doctrine.

        • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

          You and I are pretty much on the same page on some things, Ramona, and I really appreciate your spending the time to share your beliefs. I completely support and understand church's stances on marriage for their congregants.

          I, too, hold the Libertarian view that government should stay out of marriage and that there be civil unions to recognize property rights.. There are too many conflicting religious views vs. secular views.

          Deborah

  • fromthediagonal

    It seems to this ancient mother and grandmother that all religions abhor those who do not conform to their standards of physical love. It is simply this:

    Loving someone of the same gender does not result in new members!

    What does constitute the difference between a cult and a religion? Numbers of membership! Think about it! I really is simple, and simply brutal for those who cannot, will not, do not comply with the edicts of the leaders/preachers/priests/prophets, whatever those who reap the profits may call themselves.

    As far as I am concerned, that covers it.

    As simple as it is, this dogma has, throughout much of of the history of paternalistic religions, resulted in prosecution of those who do not produce offspring.

    Rant over…

  • http://thejoyfulmystic.blogspot.com Sheri Lawson

    Rational Thought, you are correct. When it comes to the Mormon church's treatment of my gay brothers and sisters, I am quick to anger and for that I am constantly repenting. But the reality is, I thought after the rash of suicides of gay youth, and the murder of a gay man named Matthew Sheppherd by an LDS man in 1998, the church would have quit likening homosexuals to murderers. But they refuse to tone down their rhetoric even when it's costing lives because then they would have to admit they've been wrong all along. When General authorities label people as almost equal to murderers simply because they're gay, they are as responsible for the deaths of gays who commit suicide out of complete hopelessness, as the reverend who burned the Koran is in the deaths of UN workers and the violence now occurring because of religious intolerance.

    • fromthediagonal

      sheri…why do you feel you have to "constantly repent"? Anger is justified when we are opposing institutional discrimination/demonisation as they are practiced in all kinds of religions/denominations.
      Anger at wrongful deeds is a necessary component when summoning the strength to fight Those Who Rule, be it secular or religious.

  • http://thejoyfulmystic.blogspot.com Sheri Lawson

    And also "rational thought" I don't hate Mormons. But I do like – and even love some more than others:-) It's the undercurrent of prejudice that indoctrinates otherwise beautiful souls that I hate.

  • Jon Miranda

    Homosexual copulation is a grave misuse of the physical bodies we are given.

  • http://thejoyfulmystic.blogspot.com Sheri Lawson

    Jon, how do you know, have you tried it?

  • John

    FYI, its just not homosexuals. It is anyone not married who has sex that supposedly commits the sin. That goes for heterosexual couples too! So the about every Mormon college student is in trouble!

  • A Neighbor

    "For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face."

    It is a fact of life in the human condition that we tend to look at things through the lens of the issues that matter most to us. When you look through a red lens, all you see is red, red, everywhere red. Even the grass is just a shade of red. Could that be what is happening here?

    I invite everyone to go back and examine the quote. Better yet, go back and view the whole talk on the lds.org website. What in his statement leads you to believe he is referring only to homosexuality? The way I read this quote, he is referring to any sex outside of wedlock.

    So why did he say "man and woman" before "husband and wife"? Well, because some states are now recognizing homosexual marriage, while the Church does not. Church officials have stated repeatedly that homosexual sin is no worse than heterosexual sin. In fact, the Church treats adultery as a far more serious sin than homosexual fornication.

    I understand that most commenting here will have a problem with the fact that the Church does not recognize homosexual marriage, but that's a different matter entirely. Let's be intellectually honest with ourselves and identify the real point of disagreement. Setting up red herrings as a rallying cry for indignation doesn't really help anything.

    If you can lay aside your assumption that everyone against homosexual marriage is a troglodyte and I can lay aside my assumption that everyone for homosexual marriage is a libertine, we will have a much more fruitful discussion and learn to understand and respect one another a bit more… which is really what this is supposed to be about, right?

    Have a better day, everyone.

  • Timothy-Allen Albertson

    I wont engage in the obvious ad hominem remarks about the author's ability to comprehend the English Language, but President Packer taught the scriptural condemnation both homosexual and hetrosexual, indeed all sexual, acts outside of marriage. I am sorry that one must point out the facts that get in the way of a good piece of propaganda and which feed a falsely overblown sense of victimization.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com Dakota O'Leary

      By not engaging in an ad hominem remark, you just did.

    • http://johnthomasdidymus.blogspot.com johnthomas didymus

      I read the piece over and over again to understand the jusfication for the comment on the author's "ability to comprehend the English language": i didn't get it…?

  • Sandy

    What is illiterate about quoting the church's language, "The Lord has also revealed that the sacred powers to beget life must be protected and employed only between man and woman, husband and wife. "To misuse this power is exceeded in seriousness only by the shedding of innocent blood and denying the Holy Ghost." Repentance can erase the effect of such transgressions."

    Your anger appears to be a "falsely overblown sense of victimization," using your own words.

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