Sheldon Fisher: LDS views Respect for Marriage Act represents as a balanced approach

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By SHELDON FISHER

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that each of us is a literal spirit son or daughter of God, created in His image. We call God our “Heavenly Father” because he is the father of our spirits. Before this life we lived with Him; He knew us and loved us… and we knew and loved Him.  

Because God is the Father of all humankind, we recognize each other as spiritual brothers and sisters. In our faith, the family is central to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children, and marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.

Understanding those fundamental theological tenets, many have expressed surprise that the LDS Church has supported the approach of the Respect for Marriage Act, as amended by the Senate, which ensures federal government recognition for lawful same-sex marriages.

As a member and communication director of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here in Alaska, I write to thank Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan for their votes on final passage to ensure the balanced approach represented in the Respect for Marriage Act. 

For some time now, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints has supported a “fairness for all” approach that seeks to both preserve the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters while including religious freedom protections. For us, the foundation of fairness for all comes from the two great commandments taught by Jesus Christ: to love God and to love our neighbor. 

We recognize that people in the LGBTQ community and people and institutions in the faith community — including many who are in both — have significant interests at stake in the treatment of same-sex marriage. The Respect for Marriage Act represents a balanced approach to addressing these interests.  I am grateful for Sen. Sullivan’s efforts to meet with faith leaders and work relentlessly to advocate for our concerns. Similarly, I thank Sen. Murkowski who has been a stalwart supporter of a balanced approach for some time.  

At its core, the Respect for Marriage Act both recognizes same-sex marriage and protects religious rights.  Of specific interest to us, the Respect for Marriage Act:

  • Affirms explicit congressional support for traditional marriage supporters;
  • Directs courts that recognition of same-sex marriage does not diminish current statutory religious liberties;
  • Protects the rights of religious and social services organizations from being required to host, participate in, or accommodate same-sex wedding ceremonies;
  • Protects such organizations from being sued for not accommodating or participating in same-sex wedding ceremonies; and
  • Prevents the federal government from discriminating or retaliating against religious organizations that hold a traditional view of marriage.

While I suppose that neither side got everything it may have wanted, the Respect for Marriage Act balances religious liberties and LGBTQ rights without either side having to compromise core values. We believe in freedom for all, and we believe in fairness for all. In the effort to balance competing demands, we will work to resolve issues in a way that doesn’t extinguish another’s rights and invite others to do the same.

As we hold to our teachings in these important and often very personal issues, we support others in doing the same. We seek to heal rather than injure and to unify rather than divide. We hope to work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of others, and to foster greater understanding along the way.  

I thank Sen. Sullivan and Sen. Murkowski for their thoughtful and courageous leadership in addressing what could otherwise remain a divisive issue.

Sheldon Fisher has held various assignments in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which functions through a volunteer or “lay” ministry of its members. He currently serves as a communication director for the Church here in Alaska. Fisher also served as the commissioner of Administration and commissioner of Revenue for Gov. Bill Walker.

55 COMMENTS

  1. The Respect for Marriage Act makes marriage between brothers and sisters, and least on the surface marriage between fathers and daughters, legal. The parents of my college roommate were first cousins, and their family had a practice, seemingly, of first cousins marrying each other. Each of their 6 children were valedictorian at their high school so I guess it didn’t hurt. I suppose that for the woke crowd the remaining taboos about incest had to be torn down. I cannot say that I like it but I find myself living in that sort of age. I hope that by voting for this Marriage Act our AK delegation to Congress can bring home lots of federal dollars as that must be the goal.

  2. “…….At its core, the Respect for Marriage Act both recognizes same-sex marriage and protects religious rights…….”
    Religious rights were already specifically guaranteed in the very beginning of the Bill of Rights. What you are doing is accepting the box that the tyrants have put you in so that they can extend their sick ideology upon us as their very own religion, which is actually and clearly anti-religious.
    Prepare for more. You cannot yield to such people without expecting more of the same.

  3. How many lds churches will consider splinting away from its administrations. Woke church leaders should be demoted or terminated. Not separations of entire congregations.

    • By the way remember this is pearl harbor rememberance day, when churchill walked into his war room to cheerily declared with cigar and whiskey, ” we have won the war!” because it was the day america was awakened.

  4. You can say what you want, it’s your church, but this one is a whopper: That there is any protections built into this ‘law’ to protect the rest of us. Maybe you think your church has enough money and political clout to stay out of court on this one? It’ll be a matter of weeks after this act takes effect before the first business is hauled into court because they did not want to support a LGBTQ+ function.

    Sheldon Fisher meet Craig Campbell.

  5. I’ve found that most LDS people I know disagree.

    However, Im open to being convinced. Please show where in the Book of Mormon (I have one. Read most of it, too) it overrides the prohibitions in the book of Leviticus.

    • Wearing cotton and wool at the same time? Eating shellfish? Mistreating foreigners? Having sex with a woman then having sex with her daughter and grand daughter, your neighbor’s wife, father’s wife or your mother?

      Thinking there are well a lot of the laws of leviticus which are not being followed.

      Why only the mis-translated one?

  6. I’m also curious about something. Is this op Ed done in his role as spokesman for the Church with its blessing? Or does it reflect his personal beliefs?

    Context matters here.

    I’m not LDS, I have no skin in this game beyond most of my friends are LDS. Just wanting to understand the bigger picture.

    • He’s writing as the Communications Director for the church. Says so right in his sig line. He also has a degree from BYU and attended Harvard Law. That leaves the bigger question is the one surrounding the unethical aspect he’s clearly ok with. There’s supposed to be a separation between church and State and it’s a prime foundational element behind the church not needing to pay taxes. Yet here he’s instructing fellow mormons on how to think and therefore how to vote. That’s the business side of the issue.

      Then there’s a godly side of the matter as well. It is that premarital sex among mormons is highly frowned upon by the church yet 100% of the sodomites he’s wooing are engaging in premarital sex at best. Lot wasn’t the only one that frowned on that sort of behavior.

      This is all about money. God is all powerful and has amazing capabilities but he’s *really* bad w/ money and he needs yours. I’m just wondering what old Sheldon will have to say when he hears that not all who enjoy bestiality are flat broke. Brace up. One of your leaders will receive a vision on it soon.

      • “One of your leaders will receive a vision on it soon.”. Yes, the Mormons wet finger, stick it up and gauge the wind. That is what they did to end polygamy as a church practice (to become a state), and to end prohibiting blacks from being elders (Civil Rights Act). They must be sensing some serious loss of revenue if they don’t bend the knee to the LGBTQ…. agenda.
        I agree with little that the LDS teaches, but I once had respect for them. No longer.

        • “…….I agree with little that the LDS teaches, but I once had respect for them. No longer………”
          Not in their defense here, but they’re no different than the vast majority, whether it’s religious, corporate, political, social, or any other aspect. Everybody is just dancing around the chairs, holding their breath, and anticipating the music to stop.
          It looks like it’s going to hit the fan soon, but who am I to say? I never dreamed I’d be seeing this kind of debauchery debated as public policy. It’s insanity, but here we are.

  7. Brother Fisher,

    As you stand firmly with one foot in Gomorrah and the other on shaky ground we can only hope that your Pollyannaish view is attained. However, given the history and trajectory of the queer community, I strongly fear that you will one day awaken to the fact that the “Respect For Marriage Act” (RMA) has become the tool for persecution of those who hold long-standing views regarding the sanctity and Eternal purpose of traditional marriage between man and woman. Your championing this aberration may haunt you in the not too distant future.
    At no time has the queer community sought equality with the normal society. Always it has championed the end game of destruction of normality and the return to the Old Testament practices of Baal worship. They have been relentlessly pursuing the next “inch” which will take them “miles” toward their goal. One small step at a time – in the earlier days . . . now blatantly expanding their profile, their reach and their demands that everyone worship as they desire. Step by tiny step they have infiltrated elite levels of prestige and control as they have proceeded to the point that they are now able to blatantly establish “laws” to force their beliefs and practices on those they consider “infidels” to their perverted way of life. This trajectory will not stop, nor be seriously arrested, without widespread grief and agony.
    Your championing this cause is regrettable and will surely serve to harm many who stand unsure today as witnesses without convictions.

    Over recent years the practitioners of this Religion of Baal have effectively, and surreptitiously, taken their cause before the courts. Immediately to mind come Christian wedding vendors, Catholic adoption services, Religious Orders and Jewish colleges who have each been denied their right to worship even under existing “law” which is not as directly favorable to the Baal worshippers as is the RMA. This same-sex marriage act will surely multiply occasions for people and organizations of historically normal faith to be discriminated against by those who loudly shout, “TOLERANCE”, yet extend no measure thereof to anyone who disagrees with their own twisted way of thinking and acting. Suits and other destructive legal actions will be lodged under provisions of the RMA against many who maintain a traditional view of marriage. The LDS Church, amongst many others, will; foolishly for having supported this RMA; not escape the wrath that has now been unleashed with her blessing. Before the coming year is out we will surely begin to see the initiation of the reprisals that are intended for those who would oppose this malevolence.

    Archive this . . . let’s talk again as the consuming fire of Baal is invoked and becomes unfurled upon us.

  8. Go ahead and do as you please, satisfy your conscience and assuage your feelings and emotions, impress your clan and co-workers, proudly ‘check’ that box, and ultimately don’t be compelled to live a Godly life-style.
    On judgement day, you can make your best argument directly to the decision maker (ie – Him). Good Luck!

  9. Y’know, Sheldon, while you’re busy shaking your pompoms in support of degeneracy and the two feckless and often loathsome legislators who continue to support leftism, many of the rest of us remain disgusted by the whole dirty business of it.

    Moreover and if you’re purporting to opine on behalf of the entire LDS community in AK which many of us have regarded as largely conservative, you’re likely to cause many others within the conservative community to rethink matters.

    Just sayin’ Sheldon.

  10. You guys flip flop around whenever there’s an opportunity to make more money. First it was that you could have as many wives as you could catch… and for many mormons that’s still the case. That generated a little too much strife in the hen house and became frowned upon once it became clear that there would be more money in listening to the disenfranchised women. Then it was that although Coca-Cola was a sinful beverage you could drink it once mormons bought stock in caffeinated beverage manufacturers.

    Then the Supreme court banned segregation in 1968 but it took you guys ten years to let blacks in. Again… some of them were starting to make a few bucks.

    From believing that a showman and wrestler was a prophet -to baptizing dead people -to getting your own planet you guys have some of the wackiest notions that defy logic in any context but now that you’ve discovered that a few queers have money it seems like you ought to find a way to reach for their wallet as well even if that requires that you somehow overlook the whole sodomy, fire and brimstone,

    Shameful, really. What makes less sense is that you should think any of your crazy talk might seem reasonable to someone outside your stake and ward culture.

    What was it that 1 Timothy 1:10 said? Here… let me help you: “The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine”.

    I’m not religious at all but from what the bible teaches it would appear that Mormons can’t be either. Truth be told though, I’d have never guessed that anal sex were righteous. Who knew?

    • Baptised dead Jewish victims of the holocaust is what Mormons did, without permission, among others. I don’t listen to them myself either.

  11. Many of us believe and clearly understand by their proven actions — that Senators Murkowski and Sullivan are pure liars and con-artists while both coveting the Catholic religion.
    Sheldon Fisher may be in his mind an honorable fellow and speaks for his group — in all three cases each of these effected decision makers are horribly wrong and misguided. They are collectively changing the course history and the sanctity of marriage.
    We need to pray for all three of them and the others who supported passage of this bill. It’s all smoke and mirrors with the Klaus Schwab Globalists marching forward.

  12. I’m not sure Sheldon, understands, if all you care about is that it protects religious organizations, you just lost. It doesn’t nothing to protect the rights of people who want to live their lives, own their own business and live by their religious beliefs that they uphold. Dan Sullivan turned his back on those people, and Sheldon just regurgitating the same talking points Sullivan tried to make. It is the individual that is getting sued for not baking a cake, or the case in front of the supreme Court, where the owner, an individual, not an organization, is being sued. Liberals and the LGtbq123456xyz target these people to force them to obey are be destroyed. No wonder most people see the JCOLDS Church as a cult.

  13. The Grateful Dead are true proponents of LSD. There was an openness for all groups of people that came to shows.

  14. The Grateful Dead are true proponents of LSD and the teachings that came with the dose. There was an openness for all groups of people that came to shows.

    • AKWHITTY- Sometimes it feels like its ’74 all over again and I’ve just dropped a double hit of Windowpane whenever I read the news, (only the music was way better back then). I’m beginning to think Leary was on to something. You think the Mormons are turning on?

  15. Are comments enabled on this one? I can imagine some spirited ones! Are we sure the bill says what he stated about respecting traditional views on marriage? I recall commentary on how it does not indemnify organizations who express their beliefs that are contrary to same-sex couples. Adoption agencies, for instance. I haven’t read the bill yet, but has the author?

  16. “the Respect for Marriage Act, as amended by the Senate” — may be, but weren’t the amendments that protected religious organizations voted down?

    • No, there were several religious amendments passed, which was a good thing, however, the Lee Amendment was voted down. So, they got about 60% of where we needed to be with the religious protections, better than nothing. I would also like to mention these religious exemptions did not pass when Republicans controlled both houses and the executive branch. While the bill did nothing for same sex marriage, because it’s already constitutionally protected, the bill did more for religious protections. In reality, they should have renamed the bill to The Religious Freedom Act. But, then the Dems couldn’t throw a bone to their people and Biden couldn’t have his freak show at the Whitehouse.

  17. DFA is flatly unconstitutional. Read the Tenth Amendment. This is a states right issue.

    My Mormon friends believe in following the law. How about you, Sheldon?

  18. Y’know I just don’t want to know what sorts of crimes against nature they engage in, Sheldon, but would you recommend the homosexuals and the lesbians you’re cheering for put on magic Mormon underwear before they hop in the sack?

  19. It does not protect religious liberty. You are either lying or you are a fool. Your honey ed words make me think the former. How are you going to reconcile this when you appear before Christ?

  20. Sheldon – you know as well as anybody how the LDS Church was vandalized and terrorized by LGBTQ activists after the Mormons supported traditional marriage on Prop 8 in California. Those wanting to tear apart the fundamental truth of marriage will not stop until they believe our voice has been eliminated. Ultimately, they demand adherence to and support for a lifestyle that is counter to human flourishing. For those who are serious on both sides about their convictions, this is not going to end well.

  21. I can’t help but chuckle a little, and then lament.

    So many here want the government to mind their own business when it comes to them, but will open the door of someone else’s bedroom all day long.

    That the LDS, and other churches, respect the difference between marriage as a secular status and a spiritual condition is healthy.

    To those who quote scripture, and yes, I read and study every single day, I remind them of this…

    All those orthodoxies upon which you live and judge others by, were all subject to translation and then subject to interpretation.

    Two men may look at the same event at the same time and see two different things.

    • Repeal: maybe drop the bible and go outside. Once you abandon the religious teething ring and fill your new found mind space with real and good things (start with Wilderness), you’ll be able to do much good for your community.

      • “…….you’ll be able to do much good for your community.”
        Just his moniker is helpful. If a few people started considering the virtue and wisdom of repealing the 17th, we’d be on the path to political recovery.

    • There is a truth and it comes from God.

      Your post is a poor attempt at gaslighting. God is not a 21st century postmodern.

  22. I think government licensing of marriage is a state affair rather than by the federal government. Though, if a man and woman are married in a church on a U.S military base in a foreign country, – I don’t know how that is handled. Perhaps, it is still a state affair of the state where the bride or groom comes from.
    .
    I think that for decades, a gay couple could always get married ceremonially with a private ceremony. I think they always had a right to draw up a private contract that stated terms of joint property ownership, hospital visitation and other issues. They could always have printed a certificate of marriage, by a private printer, that they could display in their home or keep in their records or photo album.
    .
    But as far as a government sponsored marriage license for gay couples, I don’t see the point. Society (and government) has a good reason to try to encourage marriage between a man and a woman. and that is to try to create a stable and sustainable home environment to raise children, so as to raise up good future citizens to keep the country going.
    .
    What about a government marriage license for a man and woman in their 70s who want to get married, even though there is no longer a prospect for children? There is still a state interest there. A marriage of 2 elderly people provides a good and encouraging example for young folks.
    .
    The government should not provide a marriage license to gay couples. However, gay couples should certainly have a right to have their own ceremonial marriage and be able to hire a lawyer to draw up their own private contract for living together.

  23. Many, many years ago when I was working out of state, I was a guest (one of many) at a Mormon church doing inter faith outreach.

    Because I’m always interested in seeing/learning how others interpret the words and gifts of God, I happily attended.

    The discussions were for the most part cordial and insightful. But something said reflects on this article.

    One person said the LDS (unknown if it was his view or doctrine, I didn’t ask) was kind of like the successor to the Catholic Church, who had “it right” but lost it. Hence Jesus and Maroni visiting Joseph Smith, etc.

    Part of where the Catholics “lost it” was in the slow alteration of doctrine to move with modern times.

    If this is accepted theory or doctrine, I’d caution my Mormon brothers you are now doing the same thing.

    The Catholic Church had a major resurgence under John Paul 2, who championed a return to stricter doctrinal practice. It’s lost steam since the installation of Pope Francis, who is more woke politician than shepherd.

    Be wary or Salt Lake will do the same.

  24. The amount of soft and outright bigotry directed towards LDS is telling.
    Says much about the direction Alaska is headed.

    At least the left and evangelicals can agree on something.

    I do wonder how many who are taking shots at the LDS have ever actually sat down and chatted with them? Read the Book of Mormon or the Testimony of Joseph Smith. It can be illuminating.

    I’m not LDS and have substantial doctrinal disagreements with them. But I appreciate and respect the sincerity of their beliefs.

    Here in Juneau people would be amazed at how much they move behind the scenes in this community. I know of everything from helping pay bills to providing Thanksgiving dinners to non LDS with nothing asked or expected in return.

    • Please qualify your reasoning. On one hand you say that you substantively disagree w/ mormons while at the same time referring to an intolerance of nonsense as bigotry. You go on to say that others should squander time listening and reading such tripe, ostensibly such that everyone else should waste at least the same amount of time that you did?

      There are many that believe bronze age nonsense relating to a dead magical jew yet Alexander the Great died 300 years prior to the purported birth of Jesus and we know where Alex went to class, who his teacher was and pretty much everything else about him. That, for a war monger with a birthright. Swap over to a savior that could wake up dead people, turn water into wine, quell storms, cast demons into swine, cure blindness and leprosy, feed a party of 5000 w/ zero prep, forgive sins, walk on water and perform as the ultimate scape goat and then wake himself up for a little more conversation? Oddly there is absolutely no record of the man.

      The only way to make your suggested time squandering exercise worse is to add more nonsense. Moroni, Joseph Smith, missing tablets, private nicknames, your own planet, breed often because the world needs more crazy talk followers? You running a fever, Mr. Avenger?

      • Trouser Bark, what do you mean “absolutely no record of this man”? I thought the Bible was the record of Jesus. Do you mean no record in addition to the Bible?
        .
        You point out that regarding Alexander the Great, there are detailed records concerning who his teacher was and what class he went to, and “pretty much everything else about him”. That does not seem surprising since he was a powerful king ruling over thousands of people and soldiers, and directly affected much in his society, as well as other countries that he invaded. He could command scribes to write all about him. And others would be inclined to write about him because his impact at the time, was all over the place.
        .
        Jesus on the other hand was just an obscure carpenter who didn’t have command over a vast army of soldiers or other citizens or government. He did have a few followers (disciples). When he did his miracles, I imagine that some who witnessed it, would want to write down in their journal what they saw. But if he was viewed as a threat or nuisance to the local authorities, they probably would not want to publicize those writings (or make multiple copies). In fact, if some writings had been circulated, the local authorities might have confiscated them and destroyed them, because they might have thought that those writings might have promoted “sacrilege” and might have stirred up sentiment against the lawful order.
        .
        People who wanted to inform others about Jesus (at the time when he was alive) might have relied on word of mouth, so that written letters would not be traced back to them, which might lead to them being arrested and charged with spreading wild rumors and perhaps even supporting sedition.

        • For as long as written language has existed there have been authors and the farther back you go the more obscure the subject matter by modern standards. The Bible is a compendium of very early written stories, the first half written during a time when God was best described as pretty p*ssed off about everything and the second half introduces a meek and mild magical jew.

          That’s to be expected when you’re reading a story reportedly written before an understanding of wind, tectonic plate movement, wave action, weather, natural cycles for locust, our orientation w/in the solar system, mathematics, medicine, bacteria, stoning women for natural hormonal inclinations, viral infections, etc. There’s something understandable about attributing divine intervention to aspects of the world that weren’t comprehensible given the science of the time.

          There is something wrong with clinging to near prehistoric explanations once a clear understanding has been derived. Stan Lee could’ve helped them w/ character choices had he been around then but instead we’re stuck with someone’s hatred of sodomy, low level feats of alchemy and instances of resurrection that would have been explained differently had a modern education been available to the writer.

          There is no other substantiating text because there can’t be and unlike the fossil record much of what you read in the Bible known to be absolute fiction? A global flood and one family to save everything on the planet? I wonder how marigolds would do if submersed in sea water for 40 days?

          Historical fiction.

  25. I really wish Mr Fisher had stuck around to defend his position.

    In many ways this appears to be a political drive by to provide CYA for a political position which appears antithetical to Church teachings.

    • The time honored response is to run away when your position is indefensible. Sheldon is huddling in a corner hoping nobody he knows read his nonsense on MRAK.

      • That’s why we who love Jesus call our beliefs “faith”. You want proof which I can understand. But that’s not faith. Petulant demands for proof positive are just really pandering to a narcissistic intellectual need. Just live and let live. Hey as an aside, have you discovered a cure for cancer yet? It’s been around for a very long time.

  26. Did Russell M. Nelson have a revelation? Did the Angel Moroni show him golden tablets upon which were written The Respect for Marriage Act? Will there be gay marriages in The Temple? There already are gay scout leaders. What about lgbtq in The Priesthood? Would be nice to catch up with the Catholics.

  27. Sheldon Fisher is not known for making good policy decisions. The fact that Fisher was a key player in the Walker regime limits any conservative credibility he may have had, but this article absolutely demonstrates his willingness to compromise away conservative values. Remember how Walker would have sold Alaska to Chinese investors? As Revenue Commissioner at the time, it seems clear that Fisher must have supported the concept of Alaska borrowing billions from Communist China. Don’t get me started on how Walker unilaterally robbed Alaskans of their statutory PFD’s to fund more government bloat; was Fisher behind that idea as well? This man’s record smells worse than stink heads.

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