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Homosexuality in the Community

On May 25, 2003 at 4:00 P.M. there was a lesbian wedding at the Eugene, Oregon, Community of Christ building. It was not called a wedding, of course, since that would be illegal in the state of Oregon. So they sought for God's blessing in a "Non-Marital Union". The church leaders would like everyone to believe that the membership of the Eugene congregation were in approval. That is not necessarily the case.

Setting up the scenario for this event was an apostle, a regional administrator, a woman pastor, an evangelist and a memo from the First Presidency of the Community of Christ.

First, the regional administrator had a session with the congregation. The congregation was not allowed to ask him any questions. Each individual was asked questions such as these, ""How will this affect your continued involvement in this congregation?" "How will this affect the community?"

Then the woman pastor announced that the wedding would take place, that they did not care about the feelings of the congregation. Decisions concerning having the wedding at the church were up to the lesbian couple.

There was not universal approval of this event by the membership, but it took place anyway. These events were relayed to those of us who participate on an internet discussion board from a member of the Eugene congregation.

I feel that it is time for everyone to admit one fact. That fact is that the "Community of Christ" has completed the transition from church of Jesus Christ, to church of the teachings of man. The leaders of the "Community" have been attempting to lead the membership of the church into paths of evil and uncertainty. There are actually two issues that tell me that the "Community" has lost any spiritual authority it ever had. Those two issues are the turning away from Jesus Christ as the Savior, and their push to force homosexuality onto the church membership.

It is the turning away from Jesus Christ that has set the scenario for the approval of sin. For years the church leaders have been downgrading the Restoration scriptures and encouraging a worldly view of Jesus Christ as a meek, quiet man who exists to forgive us of all sins. In other words, "Jesus died so that we can sin." Repentance is no longer taught as part of the gospel.
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Read the full report concerning this issue at http://www.cofchrist.org/wc2002/legislation/H8.asp

H-8 Interfaith Relations Committee Report

(H-8) "The most troublesome text for the Christian community regarding other religious traditions is to be found in Acts 4:12. This text makes exclusive claims to salvation through Jesus Christ and him alone. This text has tended to foster prejudice toward not only Jews but all other religious claims as well because of its exclusivity. This text is best understood within the context of the sermon preached by Peter in the company of John and others. It should not be universalized and become a framework for either missional or theological purposes."

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Here is that oh, so troublesome text. Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
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Now that Jesus Christ is brushed aside as of minimal importance, sin can now be encouraged to become an institutionalized part of the church. That is where we are right now, the Community of Christ is using subterfuge, "discreet silence", double-talk, and a weak god, to seek to fill the ranks of priesthood with homosexuals, and to honor same gender sexual relationships.

The Community of Christ was until the year 2001 called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It had the fullness of the gospel, or to put it another way, the full knowledge that would bring us to salvation. Of all the churches on the face of the earth, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had more light than any other religious group.

But the scriptures tell us that when those who have the light rebel against it, they become the most depraved of all. -----------------------------------

Book of Mormon, Alma 14:58 "And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things."
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Since Doctrine and Covenants, Section 156, in which women were called to the priesthood by Wallace B. Smith, many people have left the main church institution. Indeed, thousands were thrown out of their church buildings for having the integrity of living by their beliefs. There are some meeting places of peoples who have left the CofC, and of those who are firmly still a part of it and going with the program. Indeed, most of us have family and friends on both sides. Peoples within the CofC try to convince the rest of us that they really do treasure the Restoration scriptures. Really? Not by my definition. What they do is pick out the verses that teach us to love, to be meek, to follow, to be submissive to earthly authority. They reject all scripture that teaches repentance, which shows us a strong and judging God. At one time I thought they only rejected the Old Testament, but have come to realize that there is much in the New Testament that they cannot stomach either, Revelation, for example. Any scripture which defines sin and defines what is an abomination in God's sight is rejected. Any notion of a strong and judgmental God is rejected. There are many facets to God's nature. The scriptures as a whole reveal God's true nature. It is not to be picked apart for our own convenience and desire to partake of the worlds depravities.

They believe that they are all going to be saved. That is true, many will be saved from Perdition, what most people call hell, but many will not enter the Kingdom of God.
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Doctrine and Covenants

[Sec 76:7l] And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one, for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; for these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas;
[Sec 76:7m] these are they who say they are some of one and some of another, some of Christ, and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias; and some of Esais, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch, but received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets; neither the everlasting covenant;
[Sec 76:7n] last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud;

[Sec 76:7o] these are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie;

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But many of those who have been the perpetrators of the destruction of the church, and have made war on the saints, will not be saved. Let us ask ourselves some questions, have the leaders of the church been misled by others? Did they have access to the Restoration scriptures, which would give them directions to the right path? Did they have honest and honorable men in their offices of power before them? Have they been truthful to the membership?

Here is the answer to the question of whether they had access to scripture. They condemn themselves with their own words.
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http://www.cofchrist.org/seek/qanda/sexuality.asp

Questions and Answers on Homosexuality
2002 World Conference Sermon - Response to Issues and Concerns
The First Presidency
June 2002

Q: We hear talk about "policies," "guidelines," and "church law." Are these just different ways of saying the same thing or are there distinctions between them?

A: It is easy for us to get knotted up in terminology and miss the real issue that is before us. However, it is understandable that such questions get raised in a matter such as this. Let us try to explain the various elements that are involved in governing the life of the church.
The Three Standard Books of Scripture are the foundation for the church and they establish the framework within which we work. Scriptures require study, interpretation, and application to present-day life. Developing a sound understanding of scripture is something all of us must do. The First Presidency are charged with the responsibility of interpreting scripture and other documents when it is necessary to make specific application to a contemporary situation. But the scriptures are the underpinnings of our life together.

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Doctrine and Covenants

[Sec 76:4a] Thus saith the Lord, concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves, through the power of the Devil, to be overcome, and to deny the truth, and defy my power;
[Sec 76:4b] they are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say it had been better for them never to have been born;
[Sec 76:4c] for they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the Devil and his angels, in eternity, concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come;
[Sec 76:4d] having denied the Holy Spirit, after having received it, and having denied the only begotten Son of the Father; having crucified him unto themselves, and put him to an open shame:
[Sec 76:4e] these are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the Devil and his angels, and the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath;
[Sec 76:4f] for all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb, who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.
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Before the World Conference of 2002 many of the saints became aware of the church leaders plans to integrate homosexuality into the life of the church. Perhaps it first started with the organization called GALA.
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http://galaweb.org/index.htm

Gay and Lesbian Acceptance

GALA brings spiritual wholeness and seeks social justice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons and allies. We claim the sacredness of each life story as a community united in hope.
GALA is an association of GLBT persons, their friends and families who have a connection to the Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) faith community.

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Then began the push to make homosexuality a legal part of church law. These legislative motions were filed and published for the 2002 World Conference.
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http://www.cofchrist.org/wc2002/legislation/default.asp

G-5 Review of Policy on Homosexuality
From Greater Los Angeles Stake:

Resolved, That the First Presidency is urged to work with appropriate councils or quorums of the Community of Christ to implement a policy on homosexuality that is consistent with the principles of inclusion, wholeness, acceptance and the worth of persons; and be it further
Resolved, That the First Presidency is directed to report to the next World Conference on progress towards a new policy on homosexuality.

G-7 Homosexuality
From British Columbia District:

Resolved, That the church set aside the document on homosexuality dated March 1982 and adopt a policy, either written or unwritten, that will permit the full participation of homosexual persons in the life of the church, including, without limitation, the option to join same-sex couples in marriage, where local laws permit, and to ordain homosexual persons who give evidence of living a moral lifestyle under the same criteria applied to heterosexuals and who are living or committed to live in monogamous, long-term relationships.

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Homosexuality was an abomination to God in the Old and New Testaments. It still is. God does not change.
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New Testament, Romans Chapter 1

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed through faith on his name; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; who love not the truth, but remain in unrighteousness,
19 After that which may be known of God is manifest to them.
20 For God hath revealed unto them the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, which are clearly seen; things which are not seen being understood by the things that are made, through his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse;
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts; to dishonor their own bodies between themselves;
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature;
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God according to some knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful;
32 And some who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, are inexcusable, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
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Unfortunately for the leaders, the saints had been warned. There was no guarantee that the legislation would pass. So what happened at the Community of Christ 2002 conference concerning the homosexual issue was a slick piece of work. Essentially it was taken out of the hands of the delegates and would be implemented as the First Presidency wished. In Grant's McMurray's Sunday sermon he spelled out exactly how it would be done. I believe that the Community of Christ will see a rush of ordinations of homosexual members and probably the performing of same gender marriages in their churches.

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http://www.cofchrist.org/wc2002/sermons/Grant2002.asp

Called to Discipleship: Coming Home in Search of the Path
W. Grant McMurray 2002 World Conference Address April 7, 2002

I am not in the habit of telling our delegates how they should vote, but I am about to make an exception. I request the delegates to this World Conference to table or refer all pending legislation on homosexuality so that we can avoid actions that will be divisive and shape a process by which a broader understanding and consensus can be built. I will ask the Standing High Council to participate with others in looking anew at this matter, seeking issues on which we can surely agree (God's love of all people, fidelity, the value of family, the sacredness of sexuality as part of creation) and shaping dialogue in areas where we do not agree (the blessing of same-sex relationships, standards for ordination, the interpretation and authority of scripture).

In the meantime, I ask the Community of Christ to be willing to live with us on the boundary for a while. To do this means that we may not have a policy that guides every decision, but we will have to trust the Holy Spirit to accompany us in our choices. It means that some parts of the church may function differently from other parts of the church and there will be distinctions that are occasionally unsettling but representative of the diversity of our body, both in terms of viewpoints and cultures. We recognize that certain national governments have requirements that our local church leaders in those nations will need to respect and interpret in accordance with their own cultural understandings.

Because of these many differences, our church stands in the midst of much ambiguity and inconsistency. We have a twenty-year-old statement from the Standing High Council that serves as official guidance, but has not been universally adhered to throughout the church.
I will be totally honest and acknowledge that I have myself participated in situations where its provisions were not honored. I have been present in conferences where persons I knew to be in long-term, committed homosexual relationships were approved for priesthood in jurisdictions where their lifestyle was known and their ministry was accepted. The conflict within me was between lawgiver and pastor. To enforce the policy would have required me to intervene and prevent the ordination of someone whose call to ministry I could not deny. This I could not do. This I will not do.
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Then in the Tuesday business meeting the delegates proceeded to "refer" the matter to the First Presidency. There may have been some delegates who believed that this meant "tabled" to come up again after more study. But I have consulted with others and we believe that "refer" simply means that all action is now taken out of the hands of the church members and that the issue is decided. Grant McMurray had made his position clear.
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http://www.cofchrist.org/wc2002/legislation/4-09Minutes.asp

Review of Policy on Homosexuality

President McMurray stated that the First Presidency felt the interests of the Conference would be advanced by bringing up items related to the issue of homosexuality at this point in the Conference. He read Item G-5, Review of Policy on Homosexuality, on page 63. Glenn Johnson moved approval of Item G-5, and a second was received.
Following brief discussion, Brother Johnson moved to refer Item G-5 to the First Presidency, and a second was received. Ken Bell spoke to a question of privilege. Following discussion, Scott Cramer moved the previous question on the motion to refer. A second was received, a vote was taken, and the previous question carried by the required two-thirds vote. A vote was taken on the motion to refer, which also carried.

Homosexuality

The Chair then read Item G-7, Homosexuality, on page 67. As the motion was being read, David Alger raised the point that the item was out of order because the First Presidency is the sole interpreter of the law. The Chair rule that the point was not well taken. Lynn Capling moved to approve the item, and a second was received. Sister Capling then moved to refer Item G-7 to the First Presidency, and a second was received.
Following some discussion, Jim Hawley moved the previous question on the motion to refer, and a second was received. A vote was taken, and the previous question carried by the required two-thirds vote. A vote was taken on the motion to refer Item G-7 to the First Presidency, which carried."
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Since the end of the 2002 World Conference there have been new documents forthcoming from the highest levels of the church. By reading them we can understand that that conference was just a bump in the road and they will keep the campaign on track. The latest news is that new legislation will be brought to the 2006 World Conference after the membership has been "properly educated". Of course in the meantime the ordinations and non-marital unions of homosexuals will continue in order to desensitize the people.
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http://www.cofchrist.org/news/oct02/WCLC%20document.asp

Community, Common Consent, and the Issue of Homosexuality
The World Church Leadership Council

In terms of policy we are aware that some are concerned that a few exceptions have been made to the 1982 Standing High Council statement guidelines that have governed us in the matter of homosexuality and ordination. That discomfort is shared by all of us in leadership, even in our awareness of the exceptions and the human and pastoral issues surrounding them.

As indicated by President W. Grant McMurray in his 2002 World Conference sermon we are asked to seek issues on which we can agree and shape dialogue in areas where we do not agree. As we continue this exploration we want the church to know that we will follow the provisions of the 1982 guidelines regarding calling and ordination. This will not affect those ordinations that have been previously provided for, even if they were exceptions to the guidelines. We will not make further exceptions to the guidelines on calling and ordination unless they are adjusted through the common consent of the people.

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With the common consent of the people? Now let us proceed to the present and back to the lesbian wedding in the middle of 2003. Here are excerpts from the memo, DRAFT NON-MARITAL UNIONS, which was sent from the First Presidency to the Eugene congregation.

I sent excerpts from the memo to the secretary of the First Presidency with my own comments.

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from the above memo--DRAFT
NON-MARITAL UNIONS

"From time to time, members of the priesthood are asked to perform ministry to couples who have committed themselves to long-term relationships but are unable to marry for various reasons. One of two situations typically applies:
1. Both individuals are of the same gender and cannot legally marry.
2. One or both individuals would lose significant financial support should they enter into a marriage."

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(Comment) Other reasons that might apply:

3. One or both parties are already married.
4. One or both parties are underage and their parents have not given permission.

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"There are, however, pastoral ministries that members of the priesthood can offer to the individuals concerned, such as offering a prayer. "
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(Comment) Hmmm! Was this prayer accompanied by some pretty dresses and or pant suits? Was this prayer accompanied by flowers? Was this prayer accompanied by a musical number? Was this prayer accompanied by an exchange of rings? Was this prayer accompanied by some people nicely dressed in matching outfits standing up front with the couple? Was this prayer accompanied by a reception with cake, punch, or maybe even a buffet?
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"It is essential that those providing for such pastoral ministry arrange aspects such as the location, invitees, publicity, and the elements of the experience with the greatest sensitivity to the feelings of the community and the implications for the church. These ministerial acts do not constitute a marriage, and care should be taken that the ministry of the church does not imply that a marriage has taken place."
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(Comment) You know, they could have "gotten married" in a park if Eugene is such a progressive place, or in a private home or rental hall. The implications for the church are these, an apostle, regional administrator, pastor, evangelist, a World Church secretary, plus one prominent lesbian part of the couple, all of the CofC, chose to make this a confrontation with a CofC congregation. They made it clear that they didn't care how the congregation felt. That is the clear "implication".

It is almost as if the CofC is doing its best to see just how far they can shove the membership until things finally fall apart.

I ask myself, what is truly the bottom line here, a questionable philosophy that is against scripture, or money? I don't quite know and I have a feeling they don't quite know either.

For those benefiting from all this, remember what Jesus said about the leaders of His day. He said, "They have their reward".

Lois

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I received a reply back from Bruce Lindgren, World Church secretary. Here are two excerpts from his reply.

"At the current time, two points are at issue: 1) Was the guidance contained in the draft statement followed? 2) Does the language of the draft statement need to be clarified to specify which elements are allowable and which are not? Both of these questions are being pursued."

"No one here wishes to force an issue on which there are many tender feelings."

A. Bruce Lindgren
World Church Secretary

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Here are my final comments. Concerning whether matters were followed according to guidance of the statement, let us have a short review. Who was involved? An apostle, a regional administrator, a woman pastor, an evangelist and a memo from the First Presidency (the above statement) were involved. Can't we all surmise that events took place exactly as they were planned?

Are the tender feelings of the righteous being considered? I do not think so. The wishes of the leadership of the Community of Christ, is the only thing being considered. Their wish is to lead the people into sin and abandon all that is decent in the once treasured gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sincerely,
Lois M. Anderson


Copyright 2001 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: May 29, 2003

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