LDS Elder: “Central Doctrine of Eternal Marriage” At Heart of Political Activities

Jim Burroway

October 23rd, 2008

Do you want any more evidence that a powerful religious minority is bent on imposing its theological doctrines on the state constitutions of Arizona and California? Look no further than the words of LDS Elder M. Russell Ballard.

Ballard is a member of the Mormon Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which means that the church accepts him as a prophet, seer, and revelator. This gives his words special meaning among church members. In a special satellite broadcast to the church faithful, Ballard was clear about what they were really trying to do:

“We know that it is not without controversy, yet let me be clear that at the heart of this issue is the central doctrine of eternal marriage and it’s place in our Father’s plan,” Ballard said.

The doctrine of Eternal Marriage is unique to Mormonism. An Eternal Marriage is one that is “sealed” in secret ceremonies in an LDS temple (a sealing, by the way, which can occur by proxy on behalf of deceased non-Mormon couples as well). Once sealed, the couple are permanently married on earth and in the afterlife in the Celestial Kingdom. The Celestial Kingdom itself is subdivided into three “heavens or degrees”, and only those who are sealed in eternal marriage in a temple while alive (or after death by proxy) will be permitted to enter into the highest degree of celestial kingdom. Once there, they will eventually become “exalted” and live “the kind of life God lives” — and some will even become gods themselves.

In yesterday’s hour long broadcast to churches in California, Utah, Hawaii and Idaho, church elders exhorted members to embark on a week-by-week strategy before the Nov. 4 election. In speaking of the church’s efforts to impose its theology onto state constitutions, Ballard reiterated, “What we’re about is the work of the Lord, and he will bless you for your involvement.”


October 23rd, 2008

A better explanation is at:

(But you got the gist of it Mr. Burroway)

But, I suggest you confuse a Mormon with this conundrum: Make a suggestion that God sent homosexuals to this Earth for a reason. And if they don’t get married to someone of the opposite sex they can’t get to the Celestial Kingdom. Who, then, decides to whom a gay individual is “sealed” by proxy?

I bet my Mother has a list of eligible women to have sealed (by proxy) to me at my death. I would like to have Madonna on that list.(So sorry Guy Ritchie).

Mark C

October 23rd, 2008

“We know that it is not without controversy, yet let me be clear that at the heart of this issue is the central doctrine of eternal marriage and it’s place in our Father’s plan,” Ballard said.

There’s nothing clear about what he’s saying exactly.

Anyone else find Ballard’s statement deliberately ambiguous and at the same time, overreaching?

Why won’t the LDS Church admit that the current civil law allowing lesbians and gays to marry doesn’t affect them one iota?


October 23rd, 2008

“Why won’t the LDS Church admit that the current civil law allowing lesbians and gays to marry doesn’t affect them one iota?”

Because then Mark they would have to admit that what they’re doing is more because of their personal screwed up homophobic beliefs than it is because of anything to do with “our Father’s plan.”


October 23rd, 2008

(previous comment was lost in cyberspace but…)

I suggest you confuse a Mormon with this conundrum: Make a suggestion that God sent homosexuals to this Earth for a reason. And if they don’t get married to someone of the opposite sex they can’t get to the Celestial Kingdom. Who, then, decides to whom a gay individual is “sealed” by proxy?

I bet my Mother has a list of eligible women to have sealed to me at my death. And Madonna is probably not on that list.

Bruce Garrett

October 23rd, 2008

This involvement by the Mormon church in anti-gay marriage ballots isn’t new by any means either. They have been heavily involved in this, at least in the western states, since Hawaii almost got same sex marriage back in 1998. The mormon church gave $600,000 out of the 1.15 million spent on amending Hawaii’s constitution to give the legislature the right to define marriage. They spent $400.000 in Alaska (that same year I think) to change it’s constitution to deny same sex couples the right to marry.

The Mormon church has been spending tons in this fight for quite a long time now…from what I read a significant amount of all the money spent, at least in the western states, has come from them. Protestant fundamentalists may be making the most noise about fighting same sex marriage, but the Mormon church has been one of the biggest single financial backers, if not the biggest by far. It contributed, according to one account I read, 3.6 million to pass proposition 22, of the over five million spent in support.


October 23rd, 2008

Ok religious talk like this hurts my brain when I try to figure this out and I’ve reading science fiction for 30 years. No wonder I’m and atheist.



October 23rd, 2008

“No wonder I’m an atheist.” Dang Jim’s proofreader disease has got me too!



October 23rd, 2008

Maybe Orson Scott Card can send you a primer on Mormons and heaven. He writes SciFi novels and is Pro Prop8.


October 23rd, 2008

Don’t get me started on religion. Or that damned Tooth Fairy (where’s my money! I’m still waiting….).


October 23rd, 2008

Thanks, but no thanks. I’m off Card. I loved his earlier SF, but his later stuff has gotten preachier and more religious. And this is after he gave a presentation called a “Secular Humanist Revivial Meeting” back in the 80’s. Sometime after he was taken back to the woodshed and shown the error of his ways. Now he’s nothing but a right wing tool.


October 23rd, 2008

To those who say that gay and lesbian marriage won’t affect the LDS church: In Canada where same sex marriage has already been legalized, a preacher was prosecuted for hate crimes when he preached against homsexuality because he was accused of hate speech. The LDS church believes that homosexuality is wrong. Like the article says they believe it goes against the Father’s plan for his children. If prop 8 is passed in California then their right to preach their beliefs could be infinged upon. Also who they allow to use church property could also be determined by the courts if prop 8 doesnt pass. These are serious issues that greatly affect them. That that is why they care so much about prop 8 and similiar propositions in other states


October 23rd, 2008

Eternal Marriage? That sounds more like Hell than Heaven!!! ;)

Oh, c’mon Adam. The church property argument is bogus, as you well know. That New Jersey case involved a church that rented out that particular beachfront property to anyone at first. If they had been moderately intelligent they could have written their rules for rental such that there was some membership requirement to apply for it.

As for Canada’s speech laws, there is a deeper problem of colonial era legislation put in place to protect the reputation of the monarchy and limit its critics. It’s a pretty unique case and has to do with defects in Canada’s laws and a stupidity to its civil religion of civility, which also goes back to British governance to pacify and restrict the rights of colonial subjects.

Jim Burroway

October 23rd, 2008


You really need to get your facts straight. Canada’s hate crime laws would be unconstitutional in America. Know how I know? Because under our First Amendment, the Klan has every right to protest and spread their hatred on any courthouse square they please — all with the protection of our courts.

The Christian Identity movement has been able to hold their church services where they spew racial and anti-semetic hatred as well. Also under the protection of the First Amendment.

So if you’re worreid that your pastor won’t be able to continue to preach anti-gay bigotry, don’t worry. He’s protected as well — no matter what happens with Prop 8, Prop 102, or Amendment 2.

Stefano A

October 23rd, 2008

Adam’s post above is a perfect example of facts being distorted and the wilfull perpetuation of ignornance regarding several substantive points.

cd already has addressed one point, which was that no ruling was made at all regarding the use of tax-exempt church properties used solely for religious purposes. The ruling was with regard to non-tax-exempt church-owned property that was operating in the public sphere as a general services providing business.

However, Adam, with regard to your other straw man argumentation…

Firstly, Canada and European nations in general have radically different constitutions, national legislation, and provincial codes with regard to “free speech” than does the United States which maintains a much stricter means test for what qualifies speech as incitement.

Secondly, I’m presuming the Canadian case you refer to was with regard to Hugh Owens of Regina, SK, Canada who placed an ad in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. The content of the ad being solely a quotation of a biblical verse advocating execution of homosexuals with the a symbol of two same-sex stick figures with a line drawn through them and no other content.

A suit was filed in court claiming that the ad violated not the Federal Canadian constitution regarding speech or incitement but the the provincial Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, section 14, which reads in part

publish or display, or cause or permit to be published or displayed, on any lands or premises or in a newspaper, through a television or radio broadcasting station or any other broadcasting device, or in any printed matter or publication or by means of any other medium that he owns, controls, distributes or sells, any representation, including without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any notice, sign, symbol, emblem, article, statement or other representation:

(a) tending or likely to tend to deprive, abridge or otherwise restrict the enjoyment by any person or class of persons of any right to which he is or they are entitled under law; or

(b) which exposes, or tends to expose, to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person, any class of persons or a group of persons; because of his or their race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, disability, age, nationality, ancestry, place of origin or receipt of public assistance.

14(2) Nothing in subsection (1) restricts the right to freedom of speech under the law upon any subject.”

Originally the provincial court after much debate and argumentation the court found the ad violated the provincial code because while the icon composed of stick figures of two males holding hands with a red circle and slash was not enough to communicate hatred, nor the quoted biblical verse alone was enough to communicate hatred, the stick figure drawing combined with the addition of the biblical references to be dangerous. So the court ruled that under the provincial human rights code did not violate Canada’s constitution because the provincial code placed a reasonable limitation on Owen’s religious expression.

The court ruling stressed that the ruling did not ban parts of the Bible and wrote that the offense was the combination of the symbol with the biblical references. Owens, in fact, had published another ad in 2001, without complaint, that quoted the full text of the same four passages he had used in the ad that was the subject of the courts ruling.

However, what you also failed to note was that upon appeal to Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal — the province’s highest court — that ruling was overturned with the decision for the majority writing…

the ad was: “bluntly presented and doubtlessly upsetting to many.” However, it did not violate the (provincial) code… that Owens had the constitutional right to express publicly what the court determined were his sincerely held religious beliefs — most notable of which appears to be that sexually active gays should be arrested and executed, according to Leviticus 20.13

Note: If this is not the case to which you allude, then please provide specifics so that all the facts may be examined.

Stefano A

October 23rd, 2008


The Christian Identity movement has been able to hold their church services where they spew racial and anti-semetic hatred as well. Also under the protection of the First Amendment.

Not to fail to mention the rantings of the Phelp’s klan and how the courts even in the rulings such as in Ohio with regard to their right to protest funerals has been very careful to allow their freedom of speech so long as WBC does not infringe upon the rights of others and to clearly distinguish that line.

Stefano A

October 23rd, 2008


While it is fine to comment on the necessity for freedom of religious expression something for you to ponder….

Although a group of conservative Christians may devoutly believe that a minority in society should be rounded up, tried and executed for expressing love in the only way open to them, or feels that this gives them the right to deny or otherwise restrict such a minority the rights afforded to others, you might then wonder whether the religion will suffer long-term damage if this belief is advertised in the media or attempted to be written into law. You also might ponder the reasons and concepts that underly the US constitution’s exclusion clause.

Bruce Garrett

October 23rd, 2008

In Canada where same sex marriage has already been legalized, a preacher was prosecuted for hate crimes when he preached against homsexuality because he was accused of hate speech…

I’ll endure lectures on religious freedom from a lot of people, but not from someone who thinks their religion gives them the right to cut the ring fingers off their gay and lesbian neighbors.

Let’s hear it for the First Amendment. And…living in a free society. Neither one of which you really believe in, do you?


October 23rd, 2008

Adam – You may want to reconsider your arguments in favor of Prop. 8, because each one of them has been discredited by the Mormons For Marriage organization. Veritas vos liberabit!

Political Soundbite:
Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk government fines. It already happened in Canada, a country that legalized gay marriage.

The Truth:
This argument arises out of a lawsuit that happened in Canada where hate speech laws are much more stringent and free speech is not guaranteed by a Constitution like the United States’. There are plenty of Christian churches in the United States, including churches in Massachusetts and California, preaching against same-sex marriages. Until and unless the USA narrows its free-speech rights dramatically, such a lawsuit would have no standing.

Political Soundbite:
Churches will be sued over their tax-exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings open to the public. While pastors, priests, ministers, bishops, and rabbis may not be forced to conduct such marriages themselves, they will be required to allow such marriages in their chapels and sanctuaries.

The Truth:
This argument stems from a legal case in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA), a Methodist organization that owns all of the property in Ocean Grove.

A lesbian couple wanted to rent the Ocean Grove Boardwalk Pavilion to celebrate their civil union. The Ocean Grove boardwalk pavilion, however, has been used as a public space for decades. Bands play there. Children skateboard through it. Tourists enjoy the shade. It’s even been used for debates and Civil War re-enactments. The OGCMA considers the public pavilion part of its church.

The New Jersey Supreme Court found that the OGCMA’s decision is in direct defiance of recent New Jersey state legislation and a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex couples and granting legal status to civil unions. Further, given the multiple civic and religious uses of the pavilion, the space is considered a place of public accommodation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. In accordance with the law, same-sex couples are entitled to use the pavilion for civil union ceremonies.

In the case of LDS marriages, church buildings, and especially temples, are not generally available to the public. Since these buildings are not public places, they do not fall under the jurisdiction of California courts the same way the property in New Jersey did. Now, if churches start using their property for Civil War Re-enactments or band concerts or skateboarding, perhaps courts will take a second look at their property usage.

Assuming a same-sex couple would want to get married in a building that was owned by an organization hostile to same-sex marriages, the couple would have to prove that the building was a public place, that others were allowed to use it, and that they were being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Courts have not yet ruled on this, so the law is unclear at this point.

California’s constitution and laws already make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal, and the changes proposed by Proposition 8 would make no difference there. So even if Proposition 8 does pass, a same-sex couple wanting to hold a commitment ceremony to acknowledge is domestic partnership registry, for example, could bring a lawsuit against a church that denied access to them yet allowed access to other couples based on laws already on California’s books.

Churches that don’t rent out their halls or sanctuaries (or temples) to the public will not be creating public spaces and would not have to comply with existing public accommodations laws.

Obviously, no church can be forced to perform a marriage. Mormons can’t even be forced to perform temple marriages for non-worthy members. If churches could be forced to perform civil marriages, that would be an intrusion of the government onto a religious group and contrary to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

I hope that this clears up Adam’s erroneous arguments.

California – Vote “NO” on Prop. 8!
Arizona – Vote “NO” on Prop. 102! AGAIN!
Florida – Vote “NO” on Amendment 2!
Connecticut – Vote “NO” on Question 1!

Ben in Oakland

October 23rd, 2008

So, Adam— Do you care that you have been corrected?


October 24th, 2008

Ahhh… I always feel so much better when I come to BTB. Seriously.

Jim, thank you SO much for unearthing this little nugget. I missed it completely — but that one admission of Ballard’s says everything.

I’m blogging your post in a few minutes — and, serendipitously, it dovetails with something I discovered earlier today: Richard Peterson also let a bit of the truth slip out in an interview with a small college radio station. (He essentially confirmed that California does not “teach gay marriage in schools,” but tried to sidestep that fact by saying it was “beside the point,” when that has been the ENTIRE point of the Yes on 8 campaign.)

Without wasting any more of your bandwidth, my point (here, at least) is that it is crystal clear that the Prop 8 camp, particularly the Mormons on the front lines, are running on fumes. They’re exhausted, they’re cornered, and they’re desperate — and with each passing day, they’re slipping up more and more, going off-script, and revealing the real reasons behind their involvement.

Ben in Oakland

October 24th, 2008

Sappho– thism ight be something the No on 8 people owuld be interested in. Have you contacted them?


October 24th, 2008

In Canada where same sex marriage has already been legalized, a preacher was prosecuted for hate crimes when he preached against homsexuality because he was accused of hate speech.

This is a complete twisting of what happened.

1) The Hate Speech law and the Gay Marriage law have nothing to do with each other.

2) The Hate Speech law protects Christians from the same kind of hate speech that gays are protected against. If you demonize Mormons, Christians or other religious people using the public media, you can get into as much trouble as if you demonize gays.

2) The preacher didn’t preach against homosexuality, he used a newspaper column to publicly demonize homosexual people. You are allowed to criticise homosexuality all you want in Canada. You run afoul of the law when you start broadcasting statements that demonize people. There is a difference.

3) None of this has anything to do with the passage of the Civil Marriage Act of 2005, which legalized gay marriage. The Hate Speech law has been on the books in many provinces as early as the late 1940s and federally since the late 1970s. Sexual orientation has been protected since 2002. He isn’t the first person prosecuted under this law.

Free Speech is protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, however since newspapers, TVs, Radio, billboards etc., are considered part of the public domain, they are regulated. The FCC does the same in the TV when it comes to obscenity in the United States.

The speech itself isn’t regulated, but the medium in which it is conveyed is. The preacher could have said that he wanted all gays put to death without sanction, once he used the public media to broadcast it which is a form of incitement, then he got into trouble.


October 24th, 2008

Ben — I didn’t think of that, but thanks to you, I phoned the No On 8 HQ, and they asked for an email, which I just this moment sent.

If I don’t hear anything back within 24 hours, I’ll phone them again.

If Peterson said this on tape, and No On 8 can use the quote…! Keep your fingers crossed.

Thanks, Ben!

Ben in Oakland

October 25th, 2008

Your welcome!

Just doing my bit to piss of the christian Reich. I’ll be using that term for a while.

Chino Blanco

October 26th, 2008

My sense is that the next episode in this drama involves the LDS leadership throwing their own rank-and-file membership under the bus for being too zealous.

“Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction,” said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy.

I expect to see more statements like this coming out of Mormon HQ in the days ahead.

Implicit in such statements is the idea that the rank-and-file LDS have been acting on their own.

We know better.

Does the media?


October 26th, 2008

You hit the nail on the head Mr. Blanco. It wasn’t THEM [The Prophet and 12 Apostles] who did the nasty political tactics. It was over-eager Saints who literally interpreted the letter to do all they could to enact this piece of legislation.



October 27th, 2008

I am pretty sure neither side in this argument is even trying to see this issue from the other’s point of view. If either side would just do that there would be understanding and perhaps even a win-win compromise could be met. The Mormons, and Christians in general for that matter, have no intention of telling anyone who they can and cannot love. And the gay community has the right to live and receive the same benefits and rights that straight people in partnerships have. Is it a fundamental belief of Mormons that marriage is between a man and a woman? Yes! So what happens when a man and a man are married? it messes with their beliefs. How do homosexuals feel when they can’t exchange vows and be “Married”? Sad.
Solution: we keep the word marriage to mean between a man and a woman. and we make up a new name and issue licenses just like the first one. We will call this legal and lawful partnership that is equal to the first in any government or bill of rights sense…I don’t know… “conjoinment!” (I don’t know I just made that up I think). Issuers of marriage licenses will not be required to issue “Conjoinment” licenses and vise versa. No government agency will be allowed to deny someone rights or privileges because they are conjoined rather than married. No religion will be required to conjoin anyone if it goes against their beliefs. Oddly enough conjoined partners can exchange rings and vows and do everything that happens at a wedding. (notice that no one cares if there is a wedding or not) the only difference is that on their window on the way to the honeymoon the groomsmen and bridesmaids will have written “Just Conjoined” instead of “Just Married.” Homosexuals can still get married, they just need to find someone of the opposite sex willing to take that step with them. And any straight person who wishes to conjoin themselves is free to do so if they find someone of the same sex to conjoin to. And turns out we ALL have more freedom after we reach a compromise WIN-WIN-WIN!
Now all arguments are settled and do you know what? No one’s religious beliefs are even threatened anymore and perhaps some of those “conjoined” couples can go bowling with some of their married couple friends someday, and maybe they would find out that it wasn’t the fact that someone was gay that bothered them but the fact that someone tried to change something they believed was sacred just the way they had it. You can respond and refute my post all you want. The fact is that if neither side is able to budge then there is going to have to be compromise. If Proposition 8 does not pass then a new president is set forever. One side loses and one side wins. If it passes things stay exactly the way they are and there is room for compromise and talks about a real solution that does not change others fundamental beliefs. We don’t even have to call it “conjoinment.” I am open to any other ideas… something completely new perhaps? I am flexible. Are you?


October 27th, 2008

No…Mediation, I’m not flexible. The word marriage is not owned by the Mormons. In fact, some Mormons think “marriage” is inferior to the word: “sealed”. That’s their term for being married in their Temples. They use the term to designate from (and denigrate) the more worldly connotation of being married in the County Courthouse or City Hall.

Get over the ownership of the word marriage. You’re in denial if you think a separate (but equal) term is going to work in our system.

Things will NOT stay the same. Then, are you saying this Proposition is frivolous? Not so. It discriminates. Which means it thrusts the California government into a course directly at the U.S. Supreme Court and then a Federal Marriage Amendment.

And all for what?

The crux of it all is that the Mormons are anti-gay. That’s their only rationale for this Proposition. The word marriage is not harmed if two men decide they want to make the same promises to their life partner as would a Mormon and his wife.

Ben in Oakland

October 27th, 2008

No one’s religious beliefs are even threatened anymore and perhaps some of those “conjoined” couples can go bowling with some of their married couple friends someday, and maybe they would find out that it wasn’t the fact that someone was gay that bothered them but the fact that someone tried to change something they believed was sacred just the way they had it. You can respond and refute my post all you want.”

Actually, mediation, it doesn’t work that way. No one’s religious beliefs are threatened by my marriage at all. Any more than someone’s religious beliefs are threatened by someone believing something totally different.They can still believe whatever they want to believe.

I’m a jew. I don’t buy any of the christian story at all. does that threaten their beliefs?

what they really want is reality to conform to their rleigious beliefs. guess what? It isn’t going ot happen.

you are also assuming that this is actually aobut marriage. It is not. It is about what it has always been about– how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people, and some gay-people-who-wanna-be-straight-but-aint.

Here is the compromise. i won’t get married in your church. you stay the hell out of my civil marirage. we’re obth happy.

Walter Ellsworth

November 6th, 2008

The gays in reaching for the skies ended up in the basement to much to soon. I’m glad they made this mistake
it looks like this is going to end up
before the United States Supreme court
there they will finally lose. Let the Mormans have there belief in what they
want if you don’t like it chose some other religon don’t confuse imorality
with civil rights.If gays relationship
is normal then they would be able to
bring children into the world by it.


November 13th, 2008

Just a quick question: if ethnic genocide were a religion, would that make it OK? You know, religious freedom of speech and such. Mmm, just a minute … it was a religion in 3rd Reich Germany and other places like Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

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