|photo by Steve Goodwin|
Older or infertile couples
We are all supposed to strive for marriage, yet for some it does not happen until later in life when childbearing years are far behind. Other couples may be infertile and not able to adopt. These situations couples did not bring upon themselves. The Lord knows their righteous intentions and will not hold them responsible for things they cannot control.
Furthermore, marriage and family are for more than just having children. Marriage was designed as a way to help each other return to Heavenly Father because we cannot do it alone. We need the unconditional love and support of others. Religious or not, I think everyone agrees they would not be able to get through this life without their family. A childless married couple is just as much a family as the largest families.
We also believe that familial relationships remain beyond death for those who have been sealed in the temple and kept their covenants. Righteous couples who were unable to have children on earth will have that privilege in the next life. As for those who never have the opportunity to marry, they also will receive that opportunity in heaven if they are righteous. While on earth, they are expected to remain celibate, whether heterosexual or homosexual. God's rules always apply no matter if they seem unfair under certain circumstances, but God is merciful and will reward those who obey.
Those who keep mentioning our seemingly negative attitude toward homosexuals completely missed the first part of my post. We do not hate gay people nor are we taught to treat them unkindly or as lesser humans. All are children of God and equal in His eyes. Any Mormon, or other Christian for that matter, who treats anyone with prejudice or malice is not a true disciple of Jesus Christ. He gave us an example to follow by showing love and compassion, especially to those who struggled with sin and other trials and were considered outcasts.
However, Christ also made it clear that we all should repent and follow Him. For example, when a woman was caught in adultery, He had mercy on her and did not judge her, but he did tell her to "go, and sin no more" (John 8:3-11 ). Loving others and approving of their behavior are two different things. The first is a commandment (John 13:34), the second is not.
Furthermore, the principles discussed here are not unique to gay marriage. They apply to all trials and temptations, whether as serious as stealing or as personal as negative self-thoughts. Those principles are the simple facts that Heavenly Father gave all of us weaknesses to overcome so we could learn to be humble, have faith in Him, and come to Him, allowing His atonement to make us whole (Ether 12:27). Those weaknesses are not excuses to act a certain way. Satan wants us to believe that we have no control over our desires, be they sexual or otherwise. That belief is in stark contrast to the core of the plan of salvation: agency. Heavenly Father allows Satan to tempt us, but we choose whether to trust in God and become who He wants us to be or to give in to temptations because we were "made that way."
We are fighting for what we believe is right; we are not trying to be discriminatory. It isn't an attack on a group of people, but an attack on an action we consider wrong. Yes, of course, it affects that group of people as a result. In any moral or political debate, like gun control or government healthcare, there will always be a losing side with denied rights. In fact, Christians usually end up being the losing side.
Some of you brought up points from our Church's history. As for polygamy, the Lord allowed it only at certain times for specific reasons, such as for Abraham to have posterity before Sarah miraculously bore Isaac in her old age (Genesis 16:1-3, D&C 132:34-35, Jacob 2:30). He also clarified when it was a sin, as when King David sought Uriah's wife (2 Samuel 11, D&C 132:39).
For a historical summary of blacks and the priesthood, read the article "Race and the Priesthood." It is important to note it says that none of the explanations given for the restriction is Church doctrine. However, His rules concerning family and marriage are. Even if that were to change, God expects us to follow the commandments we are currently given, regardless of their future status.
Other gender issues
I haven't read about biological gender issues since my high school genetics class, so I had to do a little research. With some, like males with Klinefelter's syndrome (XXY), gender is still obvious despite the physical problems. For others, like those who are intersex (pseudohermaphrodites), it is not. In those cases, the only thing parents can do is pray for guidance to know how to raise their child so that they are happy and comfortable with their gender, and for adults to pray to know if that choice was correct. Intersex people are different from transsexuals, who are born distinctly female or male and desire to change. Please visit the Intersex Society of North America for more information.
It is not our privilege to understand why God does what He does. He has all wisdom and always acts for a reason. We may or may not know those reasons. This is where faith comes in. We must have faith that in time, whether in this life or the next, we will comprehend the works of God. For now, we need to obey His commandments and trust in Him, for which we will be extremely blessed.