Dave’s Mormon Inquiry has a post up about a new article in Meridian Magazine today that likens the brewing battle over gay marriage in California to the War in Heaven. The comments of the post link to an editorial from the Daily Universe editorial board this week that I found pretty shocking. The money quote:
Consequently, â€œactive Mormonsâ€ know that when the prophet speaks, the debate is over. No matter how diligently someone reads their scriptures, attends church or pays a full tithe, unless they sustain President Monson, his counselors and the other 12 apostles, [by supporting the proposed amendment to legally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman] they are not â€œactive Mormons.â€
This brought to my mind the well-known Improvement Era article from 1945 that President George Albert Smith personally denounced, which concluded that:
When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan–it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God.
In response, President Smith penned a letter to a local Christian minister who had raised a question about that article in which he said:
I am pleased to assure you that you are right in your attitude that the passage quoted does not express the true position of the Church. Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church, which is that every individual must obtain for himself a testimony of the truth of the Gospel, must, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, work out his own salvation, and is personally responsible to His Maker for his individual acts. The Lord Himself does not attempt coercion in His desire and effort to give peace and salvation to His children. He gives the principles of life and true progress, but leaves every person free to choose or to reject His teachings. This plan the Authorities of the Church try to follow.
The Prophet Joseph Smith once said: “I want liberty of thinking and believing as I please.” This liberty he and his successors in the leadership of the Church have granted to every other member thereof.
I don’t want this post to lapse into a discussion about the merits of gay marriage, but I’m curious whether people believe that the Daily Universe editorial can be sufficiently distinguished from the Improvement Era article? Does merely changing the word “thinking” to “debate” fully address the objections President Smith raised?
Note: I’m going to do my best to keep an eye on the discussion, but I’m pretty busy today so please try to keep the comments civil and on topic.