LDS Church apostle Dallin H. Oaks recently said that human laws “cannot make moral what God has declared immoral.” It’s a sentiment that has been increasingly clashing with the heartfelt longing for marriage equality among a growing number of Mormon faithful.
But there are a number of things to think about concerning Oaks’ message and the way the LDS Church functions. The church has an interesting concept of revelation. Not only do they believe that church leaders receive continual revelation from God, but they also believe members can receive their own revelation from God.
One of the most prominent early Mormon leaders, Brigham Young, once stated “the greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.”
So what happens when members earnestly pray about the words Oaks has said, and the current LDS teachings against gay marriage, and don’t receive such a witness? Well, there are some things to keep in mind.
LDS apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf stated during the church’s October 2013 General Conference that church leaders have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes. Sometimes BIG ones.
As if to hit Uchtdorf’s point home, the Church also released an essay acknowledging that past church leaders were not divinely inspired on racial issues, but were simply influenced by the cultural norms of their time — noting that the church today disavows any racist remarks they made or actions they took.
Indeed, Brigham Young said of interracial relationships that “if the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”
Yet, look how far the Church has come on interracial relationships.
Where to look for truth
So, Mormon faithful, when Dallin H. Oaks says that “the law cannot make moral what God has declared immoral,” consider what church leaders have said about themselves, the Church’s past mistakes, and what church-revelation-yet-to-come may still reveal.
And if you’re feeling torn between your faith and your heart: Go with your heart — chances are it’s the still small voice telling you how to make the LDS Church more Christlike.