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TOM - The 11th article of faith conveys the message that we believe in allowing all men to worship however they want according to the dictates of their own conscience. It specifically says "let them worship how where or what they may." So, my question is… Why does the church care as much as they do about not allowing same sex couples to be legally married? I am fully aware that the proclamation to the world on the family in its final paragraphs states that not following the commandments of chastity and morality will lead to the decay of societies etc.
But I'm just curious why we don't allow people to live and worship how they want, and even fight for legal rights to do so, if one of our articles of faith states that we should.
If the profits and the church communicate the will of heavenly father and the Savior… Why then does the Savior want us to politically fight against same-sex marriage?

JOEL - I didn't know same sex marriage was a religion ;-)

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (AoF 11)

The 11th article of faith is refering to allowing those of different religious faiths to worship God how they want; it has nothing to do with condoning sinful acts within the secular world. We also need to protect our right to worship how we want. I think the Savior wants us to stand up for what is right and moral and let our voices be heard. It's part of the message that God wants his prophets to proclaim to the world:

"And, again, I say unto you, Go ye into the world, and care not for the world; for the world will hate you, and will persecute you, and will turn you out of their synagogues.
Nevertheless, ye shall go forth from house to house, teaching the people; and I will go before you." (JST Matt 6: 25-26)

A very prophetic scripture considering how much the church is being hated now by some for its efforts against same sex marriage. But making a stand against it is part of the teachings directed at the people of the world and not just to members of our own faith.

Frankly, I think our church leaders knew all along that same sex marriage would eventually be made legal, regardless of what we tried to do to stop it. But it was their God-given responsibility to let the world know where God and we stand on the issue. The political stand gave us the opportunity to work collectively with other organizations, providing a stronger voice. It also sends a clear message for any future legal situations the church might have to be involved in when people start trying to sue the church or church members for not allowing same sex couples to be married in our churches or be officiated by our Bishops.

Other types of problems have already come up. For example, advocates of same sex marriage and government officials in certain states have challenged the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in several states was forced to give up its adoption services rather than be forced to place children with same-sex couples.

Same sex marriage proponents advocate that tax exemptions and benefits should be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not accept such marriages. The First Amendment may protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages, but other people of faith have faced and likely will continue to face legal pressures and sanctions against their businesses or professions.

As an example of how children will be adversely affected, the establishment of same-sex marriage as a civil right will eventually entail changes in school curricula. When the state says that same-sex marriages are equivalent to heterosexual marriages, public schools will feel obligated to support this claim. This has already happened in many jurisdictions, where from elementary school through high school, children are taught that marriage can be defined as a legal union between two adults of any gender.

Things like this are going to make it more and more difficult for latter-day saints and those of other faiths to practice their beliefs and live in this world "according to the dictates of our own conscience".

Personally, two men getting married in a San Francisco courthouse is not going to have any effect on me at all. But the bigger effect on society and our ability to worship and live our religion as explained above, is what worries me. Just communicating the will of the Father will not be enough in a world that has no respect for what we believe. We also have to do something about it to preserve our rights. "Faith without works is dead" (James 2: 26). And we do allow others to fight for what they feel are their legal rights, but we expect them to let us do the same.

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