Social Question

JustmeAman's avatar

Why should a church change it's values and convictions because some of society thinks they should?

Asked by JustmeAman (3978points) October 27th, 2010

I’m speaking of the Mormon stance on gays. The Mormons have always stated that they will not accept gays as being part of the religion or culture because of their views on it. I would like to know why they should change their convictions? Any one in the church who are gay and do not agree with the stance the church takes does not have to stay there.

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34 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar


Who is trying to change the LDS Church ? ?

Winters's avatar

The LDS’s stance on LGBT issues now is that they are “temptations” and that is up to the individual to overcome these said “temptations” as the Bible warns against the evils of homosexual behavior. On the brightside, this means they’re ending their “forced” counseling and programs that attempt to change a homosexual into a heterosexual as they seem to be backing off from their original stance that it was due to bad parenting or some other psychosocial issue, to that they don’t-know-why-but-it’s-still-a-sin-because-now-it’s-the-devil-tempting-you-and-you-fell-for-it.

Despite the gay rights activists being upset by this, no one is going to force a religion to take a complete 180 in their beliefs, that’s just messed up.

YoBob's avatar

Bottom line is that church dogma is dictated by the church leadership, not the opinions of the general public.

Blackberry's avatar

The sooner we all admit some moral standards are not conducive to a healthy society, the better. We have convinced ourselves that one group’s way of life is ok and tolerate it just because of our freedoms, but seriously…...look at how these values have permeated the rest of society like a ignorant plague. People like you should be ashamed of your morals and values (in my opinion), what do they accomplish? They certainly don’t contribute to the well-being of other humans.

Grow the fuck up.

Edit: When I say you, I’m not speaking to the OP, but to people with these values in general.

iamthemob's avatar

It shouldn’t. However, if it doesn’t, it should expect to bear the full brunt of the criticism society heaps upon it. As far as I’m concerned, this is the exact reason why religious institutions in general should not receive a tax-exempt status.

liminal's avatar

I don’t think they should have to. Unfortunately, the Mormon church doesn’t extend the same respect and stay away:

JustmeAman's avatar

The claims on that video are ludicrus though I would agree that the Church has no business telling any of their members how to vote or who to donate too. If any clergy did go and tell members to do that it is against Church policy and the clergy man was wrong.

liminal's avatar

@JustmeAman I can’t attest to the accuracy of the movie. My attention is more on the money and activity of the church, this article is less sensational:

JustmeAman's avatar

There is nothing wrong with donating money to help a cause you believe in. I think there were many who were over jealous and active in the donation area. I do know the Church’s policy of not getting that involved and they take it very seriously. I was a member for most of my life though I am not active now. I still think they have a right to deny anyone membership according to their rules.

The_Idler's avatar

No, religion is clearly not subject to logic, reason, or democracy. Those things are not divine.

liminal's avatar

@JustmeAman They do have that right. In the USA no power can come in and dictate how they want to rule. I stand in support of that right. I also find it sad that they do not extend the same courtesy, thereby losing my respect.

They didn’t just spend money, they took an active role in recruiting their constituency for political means:

“During Wednesday’s taped satellite broadcast, church leaders asked for 30 members from each California congregation to donate four hours a week to the campaign. ” The churches involvement in ”...California same-sex marriage…began with a letter from church President Thomas S. Monson asking California Mormons to give their time and money to pass Proposition 8. Monson’s letter has been read repeatedly in Mormon churches…” (same source).

It is antithetical to traditional church policy and (in my opinion) offensive to enjoy the freedom of self-rule while fighting to stop others from having the same.

JustmeAman's avatar

Yes @liminal I agree the Church did step out of bounds on this one. I lost some respect as well. I think it a grave mistake to try and tell any member of a religious sect what, how or when to do anything. They can give you guidance and say that as a Church we do not condone this but to actively go out and ask members to do what is their agenda is wrong. One of the things I would point out though is President Monson was asking and not telling them to do so but if you are Mormon they think of the Prophet as a spokesmen for Christ. I was upset with the churchs activity in this proposition as well. I think everyone should question all that comes up in life and do as their own conscience dictates.

wundayatta's avatar

Why should a church change its values? Because the membership wants it to, and they don’t want to lose that membership.

Churches are the focal point for communities. People born into Mormon families may not be believers, but they still might be Mormons. Why? Because it is the community. These are the people they know and have grown up with and have done everything with.

When your community shuns you for whatever reason, it is very painful. Many people go through all kinds of mental and spiritual contortions to find a way to stay with their community.

If enough people in the community develop values antithetical to the church’s values or the religion’s values, the religion has to choose whether to stay or go. The ordination of gay priests in the Episcopal church lead to a split where more conservative churches have tried to leave. They tried to take church property with them, but that’s another story.

The reason why the Episcopal church now allows the ordination of gays is because there were years of discussion ending with enough people supporting it that the church itself could incorporate that into canonical law. This can happen in any religion—even Catholicism changes, albeit a bit more slowly.

JustmeAman's avatar

I really appreciate some of the responses and it helps me view things from a different perspective. Thank You

YARNLADY's avatar

Churches change to keep up with their membership, or they lose the membership. Some churches used to deny entrance to women without hair covering, used to give all their services in Latin, used to forbid drinking of caffeine, used to forbid priesthood to blacks or women.

Joybird's avatar

So lets get down and dirty here. Mormonism was created by a man who was a career con who inorder to avoid hard time suddenly claimed to see visions including a talking lizard in the forests nearby where I know reside in Northwestern NY State. He then proceeded during the period known as “The Great Awakening” to write his own religion based on his own selfish male needs. This isn’t fallacy. This is factual information. And now you want to know WHY decades later someone should suggest that there might be something wrong with the values and beliefs that not only your church and religion but a whole boat load of them have about a human reality?????? I am completely stupified. Science doesn’t seem to impact the Mormon thinking…but a con creating a religion to save his own bacon does?
And don’t even get me started on the premises behind Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism or Islam.

Other species demonstrate homosexual behavior. The brains of homosexual males have been demonstrated to be different than those of others. It is now widely accepted within the scientific community that the majority of humans fall into a spectrum of genetically dictated sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual with bisexual orientations running the gamut in between. That religions want to deny this only points out the entire thinking problems inherent within religions in general, not just Mormonism.

At one time churches maintained the world was flat too!

iamthemob's avatar

@Blackberry – How is that a great answer? Especially considering the fact that @JustmeAman thanked everyone and said that he had his perspective changed (no gender assumption). I’m not assuming anything about @JustmeAman‘s religion, but I don’t see how an closed-fist assault on the founder of a religion really helps move the discussion forward.

The_Idler's avatar

It demonstrates the contrived, arbitrary nature of the religion, and in doing so detracts considerably from the profundity of the question.

Why should the church changes its values? Why shouldn’t it?
They were all just made-up in the first place.

It’s not like a sudden change in the values of the Church would be any more arbitrary or contrived than the moment of their birth…

Blackberry's avatar

@iamthemob I’m having a hard time seeing his answer as an assault, unless there were some very inaccurate points he/she made. If something is fallacious, it is fallacious, what is the point in trying to respect something so asinine that you start to not see any problems with it? You’re OK with Mormonism 100%?

Winters's avatar

This reminds of a time in high school when I was doing an assigned presentation on Mormonism for American History and the one Mormon in class argued with me till the very end about whether or not my information was factual or not. Apparently, Mormon facts differ greatly from the archives of Stanford, Harvard, and a couple other universities.

iamthemob's avatar

@The_Idler – “Why should the church changes its values? Why shouldn’t it?” – that’s as clear, without being an assault.

@Blackberry – “what is the point in trying to respect something so asinine that you start to not see any problems with it? You’re OK with Mormonism 100%?” – Was that really a question? Really? Because if we’re going to talk about something being asinine that there’s no point in respecting it, we could talk about you asking me that, particularly considering my initial response above to the OP.

Blackberry's avatar

@iamthemob Joybird’s answer had some harmless wit, he/she touched on the important point that the whole foundation was created by a human. I felt it was an accurate and valid criticism.

iamthemob's avatar

“Mormonism was created by a man who was a career con who inorder to avoid hard time suddenly claimed to see visions including a talking lizard in the forests nearby where I know reside in Northwestern NY State. He then proceeded during the period known as “The Great Awakening” to write his own religion based on his own selfish male needs. This isn’t fallacy. This is factual information.”

Please tell me where the “wit” is here. John Donne is wit. Please also tell me how the above is accurate and valid., as it contains implications that the reason for the religion was to avoid prosecutions and serve his own need. I feel like in order for this to be factual information, both accurate and valid, it should be presented in an unbiased manner.

I’m no supporter of the Mormon church. I’m also pretty tired of seeing various religions generally bad-mouthed, and then have that supported by people claiming, “but it’s based on facts and evidence.” ;-)

Blackberry's avatar

@iamthemob Fair enough : ) Although it doesn’t change that he still fabricated the whole thing, which is what I concentrate on in context to the question. His values and convictions are utter BS. That shit about god being a man located near a planet? Society should have changed that individual’s values and convictions from the start.

JustmeAman's avatar

Boy I think a few protesteth to mucheth. LOL We are not talking about Joseph Smith we are talking about the current rules of the LDS church and how they are making a stand and should they change their stand or not. When someone has such strong anti seniments to something they usually are threatened by it. Sorry to have touched some nerves. I was curious because here in Utah right now there is a huge struggle going on with this subject. During the General Conference of the LDS Church one of the Apostles made a comment and the gay community is asking for an apology.

liminal's avatar

@JustmeAman I think you bring the question back around to a good point. I am not familiar with the comment, what was it?

JustmeAman's avatar

He said something to the effect

President Packer’s statements that same-sex attraction is “impure and unnatural” and can be overcome, and that same-sex unions are morally wrong and “against God’s law and nature,”.

liminal's avatar

@JustmeAman hmmm. I wonder if the gay community wants to hear apologies from the church because the church has politically ‘thrown their hat into the ring’. They went from keeping their opinions in-house to trying to influence public opinion and policy, which (to me) seems to invite public criticism. It is possible to ask for an apology without asking someone to change their mind or stance.

iamthemob's avatar

Personally, as a member of the gay community (I always find it difficult to talk in general terms about the “gay community”), @liminal has the point. The important issues here are (1) there is a separation of church and state, (2) churches are tax exempt, (3) churches have attempted to motivate followers in a political manner.

I’m fine with the above if the political motivation is to prevent discriminatory actions against the church. However, when the church pushes its own agenda into the political sphere, it is able to make use of money which has a higher comparative value (because it is untaxed) to further that agenda. When it is attempting to discriminate against another group, it’s vile (as far as I’m concerned) but inherently undemocratic and potentially unconstitutional by effect. Packer can say all he wants about same-sex attraction, but when the topic turns to legal same-sex unions, that’s where we get this discrepancy.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because healthy religions evolve. Not all forms of religions are healthy, though. Some remain stuck in dark ages thinking.

iamthemob's avatar

@mattbrowne – Or: Religions can be healthy when they evolve.

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