21 December 2010

ARG: The Family- A Proclaimation to the World (Part 1)

And so begins my commentary on The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Why do I want to discuss this? Because it is often used to denounce homosexuality. If people are going to use it against me, I want to know the validity of their argument. Before I begin, I want to say I love my family. I think families are so important. They really are the most important unit on the face of the earth in my opinion. I am very close to my family and even much of my extended family and never plan on distancing myself from them. There are a lot of truths in this document.

The first thing I want to talk about is the nature of this proclamation. Many members consider it scripture or revelation. This, however, is not the case. The most recent evidence of this can be found in the changes made to Elder Packer's recent controversial talk in General Conference. I am not going to go into that talk, enough has already been said about it, but there is one sentence that is very important in putting forth this point. Speaking of the proclamation mentioned above, Packer's original talk read:
"It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it."
After the changes, that same sentence now reads:
"It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow."
Not such a minor change is it? Downgraded from revelation to guide. Well, you don't need that talk to prove that it isn't scripture, it is built into the doctrine of the church. As outlined in the Doctrine and Covenants, a decision does not become established doctrine or scripture in the LDS Church until submitted to the "common consent" of church members. This hasn't happened.

So while the proclamation can be a helpful guide and good advice, it is not a blanket statement that can be draped around everyone. While no one should be judging another person anyway, they definitely shouldn't be judging someone using a statement as scripture when even the leaders who wrote it clearly teach that it is not scripture.

So. Before we go on this journey into the document, let's be clear that this is not a revelation, nor is it scripture. So we shouldn't be giving it that kind of weight.


Steven Lester said...

I should love to hear what the Church has to say about the repel of DADT. So far, they haven't said a thing officially. They usually have something expressed within 24 hours of something happening that they don't agree with, but not this time. Rock Waterman tells me that he is soon going to do a movie review on that film they made about Prop 8. You might in time offer your own take on the same film. For me, Prop 8 and the Church's involvement with it was the final straw that caused me to completely leave the Church.

I heard a rumor about what really happened. While some archbishop was here in SLC he got really friendly with the folks in the tower. Then he was moved to San Francisco and when Prop 8 came into being he called up his old rich friends in SLC and asked them to help out against the same. The rumor has them agreeing right away while knowing that they had thousands of obedient robots just waiting for activation. As I say, though, it is just a rumor.

Gay Mormon said...

@Steven- I watched the Prop 8 film. Although I think it made some valid points, it is a useless film. It is basically preaching to the choir, feeding them what they want to hear while turning away though who should really be considering the issue by demonizing the church. The dark distorted images and words of general conference talks, etc. I don't really see what the film accomplishes other than to make the angry and bitter more angry and bitter. But that is just my opinion.

I am not saying that the film doesn't make good, valid points, I just don't agree with the way those things were presented.

I also don't think the church has an issue with DADT and don't expect them to ever make a statement about it.

Steven Lester said...

I have never seen the Prop 8 film. It never showed up up here in Seattle. But anything that castigated the Church for what It did with Prop 8, is okay with me. I can see, certainly, how they could have sought to manipulate emotions while they were at it, but then, who else has ever done that recently. Ever go see any of the films presented in Temple Square, especially the ones shown in the Joseph Smith Building? Remember the one that showed the lady resuscitating the collapsed cow out on the prairie? Or the film that showed the white Jesus with brown hair and perfect blue eyes who healed the blind father guy, which had an official space at the ending so that everybody who was crying at the end of it could have time to compose themselves in the dark (including the three football-type college guys sitting in the row ahead of me) so that they wouldn't be embarrassed as they walked out. Quite a scene, that. Jesus was born of Middle Eastern stock and if he had looked the way they portrayed him in the movie he would have been an outcast way before he ever became a rabbi (who had to be married, by the way). But then, I love to be emotionally manipulated as much as the next guy. I cry all the time at the movies.

bradcarmack said...

I agree to an extent with Gay Mormon about "8: the Mormon Proposition," which I saw recently.

Also, great job spotting that the Proclamation doesn't qualify as doctrine and why- I think you're right on. I'm baffled that President Packer made the same mistake that so many church members make in thinking it does qualify. I would think that, being number 2 in the hierarchy, he'd be a little sharper and wouldn't need to be corrected. I think that was THE most significant alteration, despite the significance of the change about inborn sexual orientation.

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