elder christofferson

There are a few clarifications that needed to be addressed in light of the recent Supreme Court Ruling. Clearly we have seen arguments for and against same sex marriage from individuals both within the church and those outside of it as well.

One of the links that we’ve seen making the rounds is a link to an interview that KUTV news had with Elder Christofferson.

Elder Christofferson Did Not Say that it is Okay for LDS Members to Support Same Sex Marriage

The video of Elder Christofferson’s full interview is found at the bottom of this post and we’ve posted the majority of the transcript of this interview below as well. Although we have added additional transcripts from the interview, a majority of the transcripts were taken from J. Max Wilson’s post on this interview. I would suggest that at some point you watch the full interview for yourself. The video lasts approximately 16 minutes.

Elder Christofferson never specifically said that it was ok for them to support same sex marriage but simply that the church wouldn’t be disciplining individuals for supporting it in forums like Facebook, Twitter etc., provided that they were not part of an organization that was trying to undermine or attack the church. He talks about the church’s approach in focusing on persuasion to help members and other individuals understand the doctrines that the church holds when it comes to families and same sex attraction.

He talked about how we need to approach the subject with greater sensitivity and that we as a church and as individuals have gained a greater understanding on the subject matter over the past few years both from a social & physical science perspective and from better communication between the members and leaders of the church and the LGBT community.

He also did point out that there is a difference between having a political belief of how the community and community laws should be handled and one’s personal religious beliefs of the doctrines of the gospel.

However, he did clearly state the church’s stance and doctrine on the issue and when asked if he thought the church would ever evolve their doctrine when it comes to same sex marriage he stated:

“I don’t think so, because that’s such a fundamental aspect of what we see as the purpose of life. You know, we talk about the plan of salvation as we call it, and take into account the pre-mortal existence, this current existence, and what comes hereafter– marriage between a man and a woman, the family that grows out of that– all of that is so fundamental to what has happened, what needs to happen here, what comes hereafter, that without it falls apart. So I don’t think we can take away the cornerstone without everything else coming down.”

Lastly, remember that there’s a huge difference between what an individual apostle states in public or in an interview setting like this and what the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve states as a collective whole.

Transcript of Elder Christofferson’s Interview with Daniel Woodruff of KUTV news

Starting at 4:11 in the video:

Woodruff (KUTV):
Well there is a diversity of opinion among church members in that regard. And you know that’s always been true, I guess, on many subjects over the years, over the decades, and we don’t have qualms about that. I mean people, we urge people to take part, for example, in the political process and we don’t tell them how to vote or who to vote for, but that they exercise their own good judgment and and make their decisions. Obviously that’s different than when somebody attacks the church you know, per se, or tries to hinder its work.

Elder Christofferson:
But anybody pursuing their view of what ought to happen in the community– that’s what we hope to see frankly. And in a way you saw it here in the legislature. The vast majority of legislators in Utah are members the LDS Church, and you see a wide variety of opinions in them and among them as you do in our, at the federal level in the US and in other countries. So we, if we’re trying to get everybody to sing the same song and say exactly the same thing we’re failing miserably. But you saw that in this case as in most I hope, people do work to come together on what can be the best solution for everyone.

Woodruff (KUTV): 6:02 in the video
“I know that in one of the temple recommend interview questions it asks, “do you agree with elements that are against the church?” and I guess, I mean, could it be interpreted that if people supported gay marriage that would be agreeing with something that was against the church?”

Elder Christofferson:
“Well, it’s not do you agree with a person’s position or an organization’s position, it is are you supporting, are you supporting organizations that promote opposition, or positions in opposition to the church.”

Woodruff (KUTV):
“So would supporting gay marriage threaten somebody’s membership in the church? If they went out, say, on Facebook or Twitter and actively advocated for it?”

Elder Christofferson:
“No. That’s not an organized, you know, effort to attack our effort or attack our functioning as a church, if you will.”

Woodruff (KUTV):
“So members can hold those beliefs even though they’re different from what you teach at the pulpit?”

Elder Christofferson:
“Yes and we, you know, our approach in all of this, as Joseph Smith said, is persuasion. You can’t, He said you can’t use the priesthood and the authority of the church to dictate– you can’t compel, you can’t coerce– it has to be gentleness, persuasion, love unfeigned, as the words are in the scripture.”

Woodruff (KUTV): 7:12
How would you describe the evolution of the church over time on this issue. I mean, for the last couple of years the anti discrimination act got no traction. The church coming out was a game changer, that many people believe that’s what made this law come into play. But we know over the decades rhetoric from church leaders hasn’t always been so supportive of measures like these. How would as an apostle would you explain to members the movement in church leaders and what they say about this issue from decades ago to today.

Christofferson:
“Well the doctrines have been clear and been consistent. And I want to emphasis that this is not a doctrinal evolution and doctrinal change as far as the church is concerned. It’s how things are approached, how things can come together when the time is right. How to talk about things, you know, how to be sensitive as you grow in understanding for example about same sex attraction as we all have. How do we help families, not just individuals but families cope with what that means and to maintain love and communication and fellowship within the family and in the church to the extent that is possible.”

Woodruff (KUTV): 11:09
“We’ve reported on your situation, you have a brother who is gay, and you’ve talked about how that has impacted your family. Has that, personally for you, has that family dynamic impacted at all how you’ve approached this issue– how you’ve approached publicly advocating, as an apostle, for SB296?”

Elder Christofferson:
“No. The the real genesis of, of the movement, if you will, behind these issues has been a matter of counseling together as we do in the church. We operate by councils: there’s the Quorum of the Twelve, which is a council, the First Presidency, is a council, and at the ward, the local levels, and the stake levels, we rely heavily on counseling together to determine which way to go and to, as a way of facilitating revelation and inspiration and receiving guidance that way. So it’s not one person says, you know, because of this experience that I’ve had in my life this is how we need to do it. But it’s this sharing of past experience, sharing of knowledge and background, but it’s after everything else a search for revelation– a search to know what the Lord’s will is and that’s what we try to follow.”

Woodruff (KUTV):
“What would you say to those members who wonder, is it possible: would the church ever, one day, accept monogamous same-sex marriage or move further beyond the position that you’re currently at?”

Elder Christofferson:
“I don’t think so, because that’s such a fundamental aspect of what we see as the purpose of life. You know, we talk about the plan of salvation as we call it, and take into account the pre-mortal existence, this current existence, and what comes hereafter– marriage between a man and a woman, the family that grows out of that– all of that is so fundamental to what has happened, what needs to happen here, what comes hereafter, that without it falls apart. So I don’t think we can take away the cornerstone without everything else coming down.”

Woodruff (KUTV):
“Now, you say you don’t think ..is there.. are leaving any room at all for…”

Elder Christofferson:
“No.”

Unidentified Man:
“This has been a divisive issue, in all of society, but I think also within the church– that people are still trying to sort out exactly how they think and feel and how to act and they don’t like feeling like they’re in opposition to the church but they may in their heart feel like marriage equality is something that they have a personal conviction of. What would be your message to those individuals within the church, that are trying desperately to stay within the church, but feel like that because they’re so at odds with what is publicly stated that they no longer feel like they might fit– your message to them? You know the church has done a lot with the I’m a Mormon campaign to emphasize the diversity of the backgrounds and perspectives within the church, but on this issue specifically I think people sometimes feel like it’s in or out.”

Elder Christofferson:
“Well it’s, it’s not an easy thing, and I believe we recognize that. Our hope is that over time, as we stay together and worship together and search for inspiration together, that ways open up for people of all persuasions to come to feel that they’re comfortable here. While they don’t know the eventual outcome and what’s going to happen in the near term– I should say what’s going to happen in the near term, they know the end result can be happiness– a state of happiness, a state of fulfillment, something that God desires for all– and we firmly believe no one is predestined to a second class status and… have a… no one who is is faithful to the commandments and the principles that we teach even though that may involve some very significant sacrifice in the short term (even all of mortal life, if you can call that short term) it’s all worth it in the end because nothing is denied anyone who is faithful. We don’t see all how that comes together, but we have the faith that it does because we have a God who created us all, loves us all, and is gonna give everyone who tries and who is loyal to him everything that he has to give.”