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Op-ed: LDS Church can change; it did in 1978
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Being a bit geriatric, I remember well the common attitude of LDS members pre-1978 regarding the blacks/priesthood issue. Most of my acquaintances had the attitude/belief that black men were less worthy than whites in the pre-existence and therefore would never have the same rights in this life.

There are multiple quotes from apostles and prophets that indicated such.

I promise you that most church members believed that blacks would never get equal rights.

I believe that the main reason most Mormons — including church leaders — felt that LGBTs would never receive equal rights is because their "same sex attraction" trait is an abomination ... a sinful and unnatural lust that should be changed with appropriate therapy and prayer.

Science, and simple empathy and compassion, have all but debunked this attitude today. Even church leaders have evolved to an approach of acceptance that their "SSA" is natural, but they must not act on it.

Traditional Christians lean on a few biblical scriptures they believe prove that homosexuality is sinful. These scriptures are surrounded by others that we no longer accept — such as stoning the neighbor who eats shellfish and other equally bizarre concepts.

The selective emphasis on certain antiquated scriptures should give pause to the validity of all ancient religious laws, and at the very least should inspire us to re-evaluate what should be enforced and accepted today. Personally, I quite enjoy shellfish and have never seen a person stoned for partaking of this delectable food!

Mormons have the "benefit" of modern revelation. In the short history of the church, major doctrine has evolved and sometimes taken a 180-degree turn (plural marriage, blacks/priesthood to name a couple).

Clearly it is possible, and we have precedent, to accept the possibility that other major doctrines may change in the future. It is ignorant, naïve, and even arrogant to believe otherwise.

But, most important, Mormons are fundamentally charitable. Most who I know are deeply compassionate and empathetic toward others. This inherent goodness must inspire a cultural attitude shift to allow equal rights and blessings to all of God's children.

I think we are seeing this today as more Mormons are associating with openly gay friends. The natural compassion we have for others will surely inspire reflection and introspection of previously held biases and beliefs.

So the simple question we each should ask is, "Should we really do all we can to keep two loving people from having all the same rights and blessings that we heterosexuals enjoy?"

Isn't the spirit of "all are equal in the eyes of God" consistent with yearning for God's inspiration/revelation to bring this to pass, as happened eventually with President Spencer W. Kimball in 1978?

If we really believe in a loving God, wouldn't we want this to happen?

Just think about it. Please!

Rick Robison is an optometrist in Cottonwood Heights. His sister and her partner of 30 years got married in Salt Lake City Dec. 23.

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