Church Instructs Leaders on Same-Sex Marriage

Church & Society — January 10, 2014

Salt Lake City — Following recent court actions bearing on same-sex marriage, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today sent the following instructions and guidance to congregational leaders throughout the United States. Leaders were asked to share this information with their members in appropriate settings.

 

On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge in Salt Lake City issued an order legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, striking down century-old state laws and a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman. The United States Supreme Court has put that ruling on hold pending consideration of the issue by an appellate court. During the interval between the district court ruling and the Supreme Court stay, numerous same-sex marriages were performed in Utah. Legal proceedings and legislative action in some other states and countries have given civil recognition to same-sex marriage relationships.

As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27–28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society. Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation.

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. We urge you to review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.

Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

While these matters will continue to evolve, we affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree.

As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.

(Lea las instrucciones en español.)

Download Photos »
  • “From time to time, societies need to be challenged, corrected and improved. And it is often religious voices that awaken our better selves and act as the conscience of society.”

    Commentary, “The Voice of Religious Conscience”

  • Film & Video

    Feature Film ‘Meet the Mormons’ Makes National Debut

    Learn why for the first time, a documentary-style movie, “Meet the Mormons, was produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Discover another first for the Church and who turned out to the film’s Utah premiere.

  • Commentaries

    The Voice of Religious Conscience

    Learn how society is better served when we are allowed to pursue our religious conscience.

  • "Charity is more than aid."

    Sharon Eubank, director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities

  • Missionary

    Church Expands Use of Digital Devices for Missionary Work

    The Church announces in July that more of its missionaries would use digital devices as they preach the gospel. What missions will go digital and when the implementation will begin.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Church Provides Context for Recent Media Coverage on Gospel Topics Pages

    See the full list of in-depth essays on points of Church history that gained public and media interest over the past year.

  • Global Church

    Mormonism Online: In Your Own Words (Blog Feature)

    Lindsey Stirling participates in #LDSFace2Face, a live Facebook event for youth around the world. Find out what the world-famous violinist had to say about life’s challenges, her dreams and her faith.

  • “[Recent] court decisions … will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God.”

    Official Church Statement Summarized, October. 6, 2014

  • Global Church

    Church Making Strides Preserving African Family Histories

    Genealogy experts from Africa spoke at this year’s RootsTech, the largest genealogy conference of its kind in the world, on collecting oral histories as family historians grow old. Why they say it’s a race against time.

  • “231 of our volunteers worked a combined total of 645 hours painting, mulching, tree trimming, cleaning, organizing and more at Palmetto Elementary for #MakeaDifference day!”

    Posted on Instagram

  • Interfaith Outreach

    Church Leaders Participate in Historic Vatican Summit

    Religious leaders and scholars representing 14 faith traditions from 23 countries assembled at the Vatican November 17-19. A member of the Church’s First Presidency joined Pope Francis and other faith leaders at the summit. Learn what they said.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Getting It Right (Blog Feature)

    How does the Mormon Tabernacle Choir do what it does with an all-volunteer ensemble? Rodger Dean Duncan of Forbes provides several reasons, one of which illustrates the ethos of commitment and volunteerism common in the lives of Mormons.

  • Church & Society

    Church Responds to Supreme Court Announcement

    See the response to an October U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage by the Church. Read what Church leaders encouraged members to do.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Mormonism in Pictures: Temple Square Dressed for Christmas

    This photo essay shows millions of multicolored lights on display, crèches and a live Nativity that mark the Christmas season on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. See the splendor captured by creative photographers.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Exhibit Highlights Women in the Scriptures

    View artist Kathleen Peterson’s paintings illustrating significant roles of women in the Old and New Testaments such as Esther, Deborah and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Learn where the original paintings are on display.

  • Humanitarian

    Humanitarian Efforts at the UN

    The United Nations invites Church representatives to a first-of-its-kind meeting. What the director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities presented at the Focus on Faith event.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Temple Garments

    People of faith throughout the centuries have used particular symbols or vestments to draw closer to God. Learn how the temple garment is a physical expression to Mormons of their devotion to God.

  • "We believe that the young people of this Church will continue to say yes to missionary service."

    Elder David F. Evans, First Quorum of the Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Mormonism in Pictures: Preparing for a Worldwide General Conference

    What does it take to prepare for more than 100,000 Mormons who attend general conference in Salt Lake City, Utah? This photo essay shows the tremendous planning effort for the worldwide two-day broadcast.

  • Temples

    The Process of Building a Mormon Temple

    View the video and infographic that follows the painstaking step-by-step process of building a Mormon temple, from the decision to build to finding the appropriate land to hiring the best craftsmen and tradesmen to completion.

  • Global Church

    Apostle Calls for Uplifting Social Media Messages to Sweep the Earth

    Find out more about a Mormon apostle’s call to “sweep the earth” with uplifting messages and the flood of people using the #sharegoodness hashtag on social media.

VIEW MORE