top of page
  • Writer's pictureJacob Hansen

Debate: Can Gay Marriage Be Reconciled With LDS Doctrine?

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Preface: Please note that the following is not written to chastise anyone who experiences same sex attraction or gender dysphoria. You are loved by me and the church and I encourage you to visit as you join with all of us who are trying to find the best path toward our Savior. I have complete faith He will accept your faith unto salvation by His grace even if you struggle. This post is specifically directed to those who (no matter what their sexual orientation) want to know what Christ's teachings are as made known to us by the collective witness of His Prophets even if His teachings are hard to live and accept.

The Winds of Social Pressure

The winds of social pressure have always blown hard on the followers of Jesus Christ. At times, those winds have blown in the same direction as the followers of Jesus Christ, at times they have blown against them. In recent decades it seems that those winds are shifting ever more against the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our teachings found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World" (The Family Proclamation) as they come into direct conflict with activist LBGT theory.

Some believe "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" is just like doctrinal statements made by previous church leaders about the priesthood ban. However, this comparison breaks down very quickly under closer examination as I have previously written about. What I would like to do here is simply establish a clear fact: unlike the priesthood ban, (which seemed out of character for a God who said all races were alike unto him in the Book of Mormon), The Family Proclamation is not only well established core doctrine, it is a doctrine that if changed would destroy the most unique and central aspects of Joseph's work of restoration.

What was it that Joseph Smith was revealing to the world? The pinnacle of our unique theology and practice can be found in the temple. The Family Proclamation is essentially a distillation of what the temple rituals and practices are all about. It is the LDS conception of who we are and our relationship to one another and God in the great cosmic drama. Please note that you may disagree with these doctrines, but they are indeed the doctrines of the church as taught by the current leadership of the church and as you will see are well supported by a collective past prophetic witness. Let’s explore some of these core elements of our doctrine that cannot be reconciled with activist LGBT ideology or gay marriage thus rendering any hope in a future revelation to reconcile them as fruitless and cruel.

Doctrine 1: “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” - The Family: A Proclamation To The World

It's interesting to see that The Family Proclamation begins with a declaration about gender. Understanding the nature of gender is where most people's misunderstandings begin. If you don't understand the reality, nature and purpose of gender the rest seems arbitrary. God created mankind, male and female, as is evidenced by the clear theme of Adam and Eve in the temple, the scriptures, and in the very obvious reality of masculine and feminine natures.

“In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them” - Gen 5:1-2

You might note that he said “Male and female”. He did not say demiboys and two spirit and genderqueer etc. etc. Simply put, God's children have an essential central identity as either a male or female that transcends biology and operates at the root of their essence. Never forget that that male and female are ESSENTIAL, God-given characteristics.

Just because we live in a fallen world where chromosomes or genitalia may not form properly in the course of human development does not mean these are new genders that correspond to each new malformation. God is no more responsible for malformations in genitalia than He is for my friend who was born with muscular dystrophy. In addition, just because cultural norms for males and females may have some variation does not mean that gender is just an arbitrary social construct. God created mankind as either male or female just as he did with essentially all other forms of life on earth.

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him... and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."-Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24

Doctrine 2 : “Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.”- The Family: A Proclamation To The World

One might wonder why God created different genders at all. Christ answered this:

"But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. FOR THIS REASON a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." Mark 10:6

So God created two complimentary genders for the purpose of becoming one flesh both in a spiritual sense and in a very real sense as their DNA combines to form new life. The purpose of combining the complimentary natures of the masculine and feminine into a complete whole acts as the basis for the ongoing creation and exaltation of His children into eternity.

Perhaps this is why…

“Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” - 1 Cor 11:11

Elder Oaks explains: “The purpose of mortal life and the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to prepare the sons and daughters of God for their destiny—to become like our heavenly parents. Our eternal destiny—exaltation in the celestial kingdom—…is only available to a man and a woman who have entered into and been faithful to the covenants of an eternal marriage in a temple of God. Because Satan desires that ‘all men might be miserable like unto himself’ his most strenuous efforts are directed…to discourage marriage and childbearing by worthy men and women, and to confuse what it means to be male or female

“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” - The Family: A Proclamation To The World

The union of the male and female, the binding together of the divine eternal characteristics of masculine and feminine modeled after heavenly parents act as the biological, spiritual and social basis for the unfolding of Gods ongoing creation now and into eternity. There is a fundamental misunderstanding among those who push for gay marriage. They don’t understand marriage. Gay marriage IS NOT POSSIBLE because marriage is a union that is inherently between a man and woman. It's like saying you want to see married bachelors! In LDS doctrine, marriage is SO much more than just two people who love each other. Marriage is the binding together of two different and complimentary genders created by God. This union of these two complimentary natures results in the creation of something new both in terms of new life and a new whole formed by the union of the male and female natures as they form a new unit that acts as the basis for God's perfect society of exalted beings who share in His eternal life.

“In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this border of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.“ D&C 131: 1-4

In God's kingdom, “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” To say that two fathers is just as good as a mother and a father completely negates the different roles that men and women play and the influence of male and female natures on the development of children. While this may be acceptable as an alternative to a child growing up in a foster system or to a child living with abusive parents, we should not forget that God's kingdom and celestial law is not built on anything less than the ideal. God's ideal and perfect exalted law and kingdom is one in which children are born within the bonds of love between a father and mother because fathers and mothers are different from one another not only in degree but in essential nature in God's plan. We can make adjustments as needed when the ideal is not possible, but that does not change what is ideal in the eyes of a perfect God who wants us to partake in His perfect eternal life.

Doctrine 3: “We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” - The Family: A Proclamation To The World

It’s not really that complicated to see where God's ideas in the scriptures come from when you understand the nature of gender and its purpose in God's plan per The Restoration. This is not just arbitrary hate of gay sex (as might be argued for without the doctrines of The Restoration). These prohibitions are really about the nature of mankind and our purpose in the grand drama of the plan of salvation. The critical role of our identities as men and women are to that plan.

Romans 1:26-27: For this reason God gave them up to passions of dishonor; for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error.

1 Cor 6:9: Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.

1 Tim 1:9-10: We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality

Jude 1:7 : Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Lev 18:22 : Thou​ shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it ​is​ ​​​abomination​.

Deut 23:17: There shall be no ​​​whore​ of the daughters of Israel, nor ​​​a sodomite​ of the sons of Israel.

Also, if you have heard interpretation about these verses claiming they don’t say what they clearly do say, please click here to learn why the radical interpretations about these verses only referring to male prostitution etc. make no sense.

Why This Matters.

These are just three examples but there are many others. Endless ink could be spilled demonstrating the centrality of gender and family in Joseph Smith's restoration theology. Perhaps this is why the word “ESSENTIAL” is used so much in The Family Proclamation. Something that is essential is something that, if taken away, it would be robbed of its essence (which is at the root of essential). To negate the truths of The Family Proclamation would render the core temple teachings unrecognizable and thus the work of Joseph Smith to restore the highest truths and ordinances pertaining to exaltation as grossly erroneous. The church would no longer be the Church established by Joseph Smith. The work would begin to look less like an ongoing expansion of revealed truth from God and more like an institution run by ordinary men afraid of social consequences. To me, it would be obvious that LGBT activism was chosen at the expense of Joseph Smith's cosmology, theology, ritual, and vision for the Kingdom of God now and eternally which all deeply incorporated and celebrated the male/female reality and purpose.

“The relationship took on a new meaning if people were invited to become kings, priests, and gods themselves. They remained subjects, to be sure, owing all deference and obedience to their sovereign, but they were subject to the monarch as princes and princesses are subject to their mothers and fathers. They subordinated themselves to the higher power in preparation for assuming that power themselves. The purpose of allegiance and obedience was not order and happiness but training. The subjects of the king were learning to become kings. King and subjects were separated by rank, not by class. All were members of the same order of beings as children are of the same order as their parents. Family became the ultimate and truest model of the heavenly order.”

— Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard L. Bushman

Luckily, I trust God is at the helm so I don't worry too much about that. Instead, I worry about those who can't seem to let go of these unreconcilable ideas. The reality is that among the intelligentsia of the church acceptance of homosexual behavior and marriage as morally legitimate is growing very fast. The brethren may find contention growing to crisis levels in the coming decades if the church does not combat the spread of false ideas. I pray for God's wisdom to guide them and trust He will.

So why do some long for Gay marriage in the church? I am certain reasons vary but I believe in the vast majority of cases it comes from a sincere empathy for those who experience same sex attraction. I don't want to trivialize this. Almost everyone in the church has been touched by this issue in a personal way. As someone with a gay brother, uncle, and three gay cousins (almost all of whom went on missions), I know the deep desire to want to reconcile these notions with the church. Many leave the church when they realize it's not reconcilable. So what is the response? The response is a massive subject in and of itself which I can't address here. But in essence that all mortal afflictions (including misdirected sexual proclivities) are temporary and all will be made whole. Do not swallow the lie that sexual proclivity (or even sexual practice) forms your essential identity. There is a path through the grace of Jesus Christ to salvation and exaltation for all our brothers and sisters no matter what. That does not mean we all will have the same trials but we all will also not be judged on the same standard. I hope that those who struggle with the idea that Gay marriage is not part of Gods plan will focus their efforts on understanding grace the the doctrines that do reconcile the reality of same gender attraction and God's plan instead of wasting their efforts in trying to push something that just cannot be.


The following subject is often debated and I welcome response essays. If you would like to write a rebuttal to this article please email it in Google Doc form to and I will post it on the blog as a response. Please keep the response similar in length.


541 views0 comments


bottom of page