The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent an official letter to its followers on Sunday announcing that it will continue supporting marriage as a union between one man and one woman, despite the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage in June. The church also noted that it will not be performing gay marriage ceremonies, and argued that homosexual behavior "violates the commandments of God."
"Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife," the church declares.
The letter from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was written a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down four state constitutional amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman on June 26, which effectively legalized gay marriage across all 50 states. The message was sent out to Mormon churches across the country and read aloud during Sunday services. more >>
A mainline protestant denomination will consider adopting a resolution supporting divestment from companies that do business with Israel.
The Episcopal Church will consider several resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at its 78th General Convention that's being held in Salt Lake City and began on Thursday.
Resolution D016, introduced by the Very Rev. Walter Brownridge of the Diocese of Hawaii, calls on the Church to compile a list of corporations profiting from the so-called "Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories" and divest from said companies. more >>
A Baptist theologian, who's spent years studying the works of leading Mormon scholars, said he has noticed a shift in "Mormonism" that can potentially lead to the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one day being viewed as a Christian denomination, much like what occurred in the evolution of the Worldwide Church of God.
Although many evangelical critics belonging to mainline Christian denominations view the LDS Church as less-than-Christian, Roger Olson, who's a theology professor at Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas, wrote in a recent blog post on Patheos.com that through his studies of the Mormon faith and discussion with various LDS leaders, "there is no doubt" in his mind that there is a "discernible" evolution of Mormonism that is leading it to a "more biblical" account of Jesus and salvation.
"There is no doubt in my mind that something is going on in the LDS Church and Mormonism, in general, that constitutes a gradual but discernible shift away from those doctrines most anti-Mormon Christian critics like to highlight toward a somewhat more biblical and even evangelical account of Christ and salvation," Olson, who's also a Baptist minister, wrote. more >>
The national LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign is voicing its support for a Mormon Church-backed non-discrimination bill that was signed into Utah law last week, which is being touted by some as legislation that could be used as a "toolkit" for finding the middle ground between gay rights and freedom of religion in the workplace.
Last Wednesday, Utah lawmakers passed Senate Bill 296, which was inspired by a negotiated settlement between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Utah gay rights advocates. The law prohibits discrimination against LGBT persons in housing markets and in the workplace, while providing exemptions for religiously affiliated housing.
The law also protects people from being fired for any religious or political expression, or speech outside the workplace, and gives parity to religious or political expression inside the workplace. more >>
Matt Fairbanks, an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, warned a Utah senate panel considering a bill that would allow certain patients to be treated with edible forms of marijuana last Thursday that the decision to pass it could lead to severe environmental damage, including stoned rabbits.
"I deal in facts. I deal in science. I want the science studied and looked at, and specifically gone over. I appreciate the testimony that comes before us, I appreciate people's pain. My concern is with the growing of marijuana. How quickly the growing of a cash crop can get out of hand," said Fairbanks, in a recording of his testimony before the panel beginning at about the 58:30 mark below.
Fairbanks explained that, as a member of Utah's "marijuana eradication team," he's witnessed severe environmental damage caused by the growing of marijuana on public land. more >>
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, announced Tuesday it would back legal efforts to protect LGBT people from discrimination along with religious freedom protections. This middle ground approach is consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ, church leaders said.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called the effort "well-intentioned but naive."
LDS leaders acknowledged that the LGBT community has faced discrimination and violence against them. LGBT people should be protected from discrimination in housing, employment and other places where discrimination exists, they said, but religious freedom must also be protected in such laws. more >>