Damon Linker, who is not a Latter-day Saint but who briefly taught political philosophy at Brigham Young University a number of years ago, predicts that the Catholics and the Mormons will hemorrhage large portions of their membership in the coming years, and particularly their younger membership, over issues relating to gender such as the ordination of women and same-sex “marriage”:
Sadly, I think he may be correct. I’ve known some who have already left over these matters.
I can understand why. Surely, our impulses to be kind and loving and fair, and to treat others with respect and with equal justice, are fundamentally sound. They have solid scriptural warrant, too. And these impulses sometimes seem to clash with specific practices and doctrines that are also claimed to be divine commands or to be based upon revelation.
Of course, from my point of view I see those who forsake the Gospel, the Church, and their covenants over such matters as, in the end, having chosen the ideologies of the world over God, and as a fulfillment of scriptural prophecies about the deception and apostasy, in the last days, of even “the very elect” (e.g., at Matthew 24:24). As the prophet Nephi said, in 2 Nephi 28:14, “they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” Rather like trading one’s birthright for a bowl of lentil stew.
I feel compassion and understanding for them. But I’m still deeply saddened, and I regret their choice.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell was fond of a quotation from the eighteenth-century English clergyman William Law: ”If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first,” Law said, “it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.”
The responsibility rests upon those who remain faithful to try to find ways, within the constraints of obedience to what we sincerely believe to be revelation and prophetic guidance, to help those tempted to abandon their faith and to go as far as we can to meet their concerns without surrendering our own principles. It won’t be easy. But it’s imperative.