Prior to General Conference, the brethren announced a policy change regarding the discipline of persons in same-gender marriages to be inline with the disciplinary process of other immoral conduct and transgressions. It was also announced that the children of LGBT couples would now be able to be blessed and baptized by worthy Priesthood holders with the parents’ consent, a reversal of a policy enacted in November 2015.
Naturally, many defenders and detractors began asking the question, “why?” Some even questioned whether the original policy given in 2015 was “actually revelation.” While theories abound as to “why now?” some of which are more reasonable than others, I tend to default to “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” in these matters. (Isaiah 55:8) Each member and non-member would have been affected differently by both the original and new policy, and the Lord knows His purposes in allowing each of us individually to exercise and develop our faith.
The question about whether the original or new policy were really given by revelation because of the relative short term nature of the guidelines was a trying one for even some faithful members. Some questions I saw as I browsed online after the announcement included:
- Why would the Lord change His mind?
- Why would he command something if it was wrong?
- Are the Brethren just guessing?
Without a full acceptance of the scripture in Isaiah, these kinds of questions can lead down dark paths. I would pose different questions to those with inquiries like the ones above:
- Why would the Lord command Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, knowing that murder is wrong? Why would He then revoke the command?
- Why did the Lord command Joseph Smith march to Missouri to take back land in Jackson County only to have him and other Saints turn around once they arrived?
- More recently, why did the Lord ask the brethren in the early 1980’s to shorten the length of a full-time mission to 18 months for a period of only approximately two years?
I believe that if we can honestly answer these questions, then it becomes easier to understand why the Lord can “command and revoke as it seemeth [Him} good” and still accept that both the enactment and revocation of policy can come via revelation.
I understand that because the policy involved the hot-button LGBT issue, members that may not normally question a change or reversal in policy expressed serious doubts. If your testimony was tried and you were able to exercise faith in the Lord and His called servants, perhaps you may have your own personal answer to the “why?” question.
“Revelation in a Changing World” -Elder Boyd K. Packer, Oct. 1989
News Release of Policy Change: https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-messages-general-conference-leadership-session-april-2019
Dustin Turner is a life long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served a mission in Monterrey, Mexico (2002-04). He has been married 15 years to his wife, Paola and together they have five boys. You can follow him @dmturner1232