Dallin Oaks ‘clarifies’ backing of Respect for Marriage Act. Did he really need to?

Also: Christian couples have more and better sex; how to model your marriage after Heavenly Mother and Father; and the finances of the Church of Latter-day Saints face increasing federal scrutiny.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency addresses Church leaders and their spouses in Wilmette, Illinois, 14 miles north of downtown Chicago, on Saturday morning, February 11, 2023.

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“A big step forward”

Lest anyone think that the Church’s support for the recent Respect for Marriage Act was a sign that it was wavering in its opposition to same-sex marriage, President Dallin H. Oaks clarified this past weekend.

The First Counselor in the reigning First Presidency said the faith’s surprise approval of the new law — which codified same-sex marriage — was for just one goal: to protect religious liberty.

“The focus of the church’s efforts has not been on same-sex marriage, but on making sure the law includes the necessary protections for religious freedom,” the 90-year-old told Oaks, who is next at the forefront of the world’s faith Latter-day Saint leaders meeting in Chicago. “…Ultimately, the law as a whole ensures that religious organizations, religious schools and their staff need not conduct or host same-sex marriages or celebrations.”

Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court Justice, said he felt the need to “clarify” the church’s position — saying “some of our members have expressed concern that the new national law respecting marriage conflicts with.” to the teachings of the Church”—although the attitude seemed clear from the start. Finally, in the Church’s first press release in November, expressing its support for the law, the first sentence of the Church’s first press release states that its doctrine “concerning marriage between a man and a woman is well known and shall remain unchanged.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency addresses Church leaders and their spouses in Wilmette, Illinois, 14 miles north of downtown Chicago, on Saturday morning, February 11, 2023.

Leaders doubled down on that fundamental bottom line when President Joe Biden signed the bill into law at a White House ceremony in December attended by church officials, noting that the measure ensures that the faith’s views oppose same-sex marriage “to be duly respected”.

“Adding such protections to federal law was a huge step forward,” Oaks said in Chicago, where he once taught law. “We will be vigilant for proposed future government actions and legislation as we continue our defense of religious freedom.”

A fierce campaigner for freedoms of belief – he won Becket’s Canterbury Medal for his advocacy in 2013 – Oaks has nonetheless called for a compromise, arguing that Congress, not the courts, is the best place to balance religious freedom and LGBTQ rights bring.

“Courts are . . . inadequate for the overarching, complex, and comprehensive policymaking that is required in circumstances like the current conflict between two great values,” Oaks said in a landmark 2021 speech at the University of Virginia. “Despite my many years of working with court opinions, I prefer the first path of legislative legislation when it comes to big issues.”

Many LGBTQ people and their allies inside and outside the church hailed their support for the marriage law. You’re probably less enthusiastic about Oak’s clarification.

The Latest Mormon Land Podcast: A Valentine’s Day Special

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

We discuss how Latter-day couples can shape their marriage after the perfect mating: Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. The forces behind the new book, In the Image of Our Heavenly Parents: A Couple’s Guide to Building a More Godly Marriage, discuss how earthly couples can build heavenly marriages. listen to podcast

Christian couples have more sex

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

A few family life experts have put it bluntly about married Christian couples and sex: Hollywood is wrong.

Instead of being stuck in a boring, repressed, or non-existent sex life, these devoted duos are having better, more frequent sex.

“Studies show that highly religious couples have significantly more satisfying sex than their less religious or secular peers,” write Misha Crawford and Mark H. Butler in Public Square Magazine. “…If couples believe that sexuality was created by God to help couples connect, experience joy, and strengthen their bond with one another and with their families, religion is a positive force that enhances sexual satisfaction for both women as well as for men.”

As the Church’s Universal Handbook states, “Bodily intimacy between a man and a woman is to be beautiful and sacred. It is ordained by God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife.”

And a recent New York Times op-ed piece laments that couples across the country are actually having less sex.

“Sex,” the article states, “reduces pain, relieves stress, improves sleep, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens heart health.”

“Super” Saints

(AP) Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, left, and Philadelphia Eagles punt returner Britain Covey during the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz.

Andy Reid, the most successful Latter-day Saints football coach in NFL history, secured his second Super Bowl title as head coach on Sunday when his Kansas Chiefs defeated his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in a 38-35 comeback win. defeated victory.

For the Eagles, Latter-day Saint Britain returned two punts, including one for 27 yards, to Covey, a former missionary and University of Utah star.

From the stands

(Pat Bagley | The Salt Lake Tribune

* Pioneer children just sang as they walked and walked and walked—and they never grumbled or bitched? Even as a Primary kid, Eli McCann, guest columnist for the Tribune, knew that was a lot of bullshit.

* Questions about Church finances continued to increase. First, a whistleblower called on the powerful US Senate Treasury Committee to investigate the faith group’s investment arm, Ensign Peak Advisors, over alleged tax fraud. Then came the news that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Ensign Peak for reportedly hiding his multibillion-dollar portfolio for years, the first public indication that he was under investigation.

* For at least the second time in four years, the Church has made significant changes to temple ceremonies, placing greater emphasis on Jesus Christ, promoting gender equality, and providing more explanation of the promises participants are making to God.

* Religion News Service columnist Jana Riess examines and welcomes the temple revisions.

* A new study shows that Latter-day Saints are more prone to Christian nationalism than the US population as a whole. This statistic worries Latter-day Saint scholar Taylor Petrey.

* The estate of celebrated Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert is suing the Church, Deseret Book, Brigham Young University and others, accusing them of illegally reproducing and profiting from their work. Point of contention: who really owns the pictures?


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