Updated on November 6, 2015
Why I Support the Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Many of you probably heard about the recent change to Handbook 1 made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called “Mormons”) concerning the definition of apostasy, especially as pertaining to those co-habitating in same-sex relationships. (Handbook 1 “outlines the general responsibilities of Stake Presidents and Bishops and provides detailed information about policies and procedures” lds.org. Because it is a manual for those with callings in Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, it is only available to those who are currently acting in those offices. Also, the Church has not made any public statement verifying or denying the authenticity of reports about these changes.) Usually I would direct you the original source, but as Handbook 1 is not available online to the public, if you want to know exactly what the original wording is, please talk to your local LDS bishop. He will be able to tell or show you exactly what it says, and probably explain it much better than I can.
I am not an expert about all of the issues at hand. I’m not here to talk about why the church might have made this change, or what the implications might be. Today, I’m here to tell you why I accept and support it!
First, I have faith in my Father in Heaven, and in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that they love their children (all of us) and because of this, they will speak to us if we listen. When we pray sincerely, they will send the Holy Ghost to us to help us understand the truth and have peace. I’ve taken advantage of this gift many times–I’ve prayed for comfort, for strength, and for knowledge. One of the things I’ve prayed about is whether the leaders of this church are called by God, and whether they do His will. The answer to both is an unequivocal “yes.”
This answer is one that I lean on often. When the church makes new announcements and statements, much like today, the hailstorm of criticism and half-truths often descend before I have time to fully process and understand what is being said. It can be confusing and difficult, BUT because I believe that the leaders of the LDS church are acting under God’s direction I have faith that what they are saying is true. I rely on what I know until I have time to properly pray for a confirmation that what they are saying is right. When I have done this, I have always gotten a resounding “yes.”
So if you, like thousands of others, were shaken by this addition to the handbook by the church, or even if you weren’t, I invite you to pray. Pray that God will strengthen your faith in the the things you already believe, and that he will help you to know the truth and have peace about whether this change is His will. I promise that if you are patient and sincere, your answer will come.
I know that God loves all of His children. I also know that He has given us laws and commandments that He expects us to keep. Lastly, I know that if we break these commandments, God still loves us. He has given us a way to repent and come back to Him through the atonement of His son, Jesus Christ.
In this, and other faith-testing experiences, I hope that we can all take to heart the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of the members of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
“Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”