I found this article in the Salt Lake Tribune very interesting. There are a number of misconceptions already going around about why Nielsen was fired and about the Church’s letter that was read in Sacrament Meeting two weeks ago. I”d like to address some of them
Misconception #1 – The First Presidency asked members to support an amendment banning gay marriage
This is simply not true. The letter specifically asked that you write your senator to express your feelings on the issue, whatever they may be. It outlined the Church’s official policy on gay marriage (against), but it never asked members to support the amendment. Only to make their feelings known.
Misconception #2 – Jeffrey Nielsen was fired for supporting gay marriage
Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. After reading the above linked article, I thought that’s what it sounded like. However, after reading the letter to the editor he wrote, I realize there are a number of points he makes that indicates clearly that he doesn’t understand what the letter said or the principle of revelation and inspiration to Church leaders, among other things:
- “The leaders of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke out against gay marriage and asked members to encourage their U.S. senators to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage”Per #1 above, this is simply not true.
- “Currently the preponderance of scientific research strongly suggests that same-sex attraction is biologically based.”This sentence (and it’s implications) are deeply troubling. The first word is CURRENTLY. That implies, strongly, that science may change it’s mind in the future, or at least that it’s uncertain about the veracity of it’s findings. The sentence goes to say “strongly suggests” that same-sex marriage is biologically based. I find it hard to believe that somebody who “sustain[s] the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as LDS general authorities” would base a public dissent of somebody they sustain as a general authority on research that “strongly suggests” a contradictory position. At best, that could be viewed as foolhardy. It certainly throws his statement of support into doubt.
- “I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as LDS general authorities.”But not as Prophets, Seers and Revelators?
- “Truly, God would be unjust if He were the creator of a biological process that produced such uncommon, yet perfectly natural results, and then condemned the innocent person to a life of guilt, while denying him or her the ordinary privileges and fulfillment of the deep longing in all of us for family and a committed, loving relationship.”Exactly!! So, if you have the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles telling you that it’s not natural and you believe God would be unjust if He were to create that “biological process” and then condemn the person for being that way, why would you choose to discount the Prophet, who has proven to be inspired, and support a scientific belief that is “strongly suggested”?
- “We can no longer afford to teach only what is useful and hope people won’t discover what is true. In this day of easy Internet access, a person can find more real history of the LDS Church in 30 minutes online than the same person would in a lifetime studying approved church materials.”Okay, wait. Is he suggesting that everything on the Internet is true? And that it’s more useful and accurate than official Church publications? If I were a BYU administrator, I’d fire him for this statement alone. Good heavens!
- “Too many individuals have suffered a loss of faith when they were forced to choose between the truth or their family after innocently discovering the discrepancy between genuine history and the official story of the church.”I don’t believe a person’s faith should be based on “the Church’s offical story”. I believe the Church teaches that faith is based on personal testimony, prayer, the scriptures and Jesus Christ. I don’t remember the Article of Faith that says “We believe in the official story of the Church…”
I’m disappointed that Brother Nielsen has chosen to put his trust in science more than God. I hope he will spend some time pondering his faith, seeking the Lord in prayer and in the scriptures and do what the Spirit directs him to do.