By now, a letter from the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been read to you. The contents of the letter were leaked days ago, and the First Presidency has asked you to take a stand in favor of the proposed marriage amendment for the constitution of California.
Since that time, I have heard numerous reports of members of the church choosing to remove their names from the records of the church. I have heard numerous reports of member and non-member alike encouraging members to take a stand against the perceived despotic theocracy of the First Presidency and walk out of church when the letter was read. I imagine some of you even did that, and I imagine that even more of you will as the cries of bigotry and discrimination become the clarion call against the church in these last days.
The simple truth of the matter is this: As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe that God has prophets on the earth today and He speaks to them. If we really believe that, our responsibility in this matter is really two-fold:
- Hear the words of the prophets and gain a testimony of them through our diligence and prayerful seeking.
- Act upon our testimonies.
I find it distinctly interesting that the First Presidency message in the June Ensign discusses following the prophets. President Eyring takes great pains to point out that many people followed the prophet Lehi into the wilderness, but only those who took the time to gain a testimony of Lehi’s role and mission as prophet received the greatness of the spiritual bounty the Lord was offering. President Eyring also gives us a warning in noting that those who willfully choose to disobey or ignore the words of the prophets will find that the spirit withdraws. If we would fulfill the measure of our creation, we cannot afford to be without divine guidance. It’s just that simple.
What is at stake for you is not simply a decision on a marriage amendment. What is at stake for you is not simply losing friends and family over a highly controversial issue. What is at stake for you is the fundamental core of your beliefs: If the prophets speak to God and God speaks to the prophets, will you listen when they speak to you?
The choice before you, at least for me, is not a difficult one. I choose to stand by the prophets. The consequences, however, are more difficult. I work with several gay people all of whom I respect, many whom are good friends. This affects them. Some say this hurts them, discriminates against them. And I honestly don’t have an answer to those charges. Like you, I imagine the test will come when I will be called on to answer those charges, and the answer hasn’t really come to me just yet. I suppose it really doesn’t need to.
All I can say is this: I believe that God speaks to His prophets. I believe that those prophets speak to us.
I believe those prophets have spoken.