Once more for the people in the back

There is no contradiction between the first and second great commandments. They are the same thing.

That is all.


  1. Yes. And you give me an opening for a longer comment.
    We don’t have a systematic theology and we ought to stop thinking of one line in a talk as representing a move in that direction rather than rhetorical flourish, no matter who says it.
    However, to the extent that rhetorical flourish is intended to say that not loving (accepting, welcoming, respecting, including) our LGBTQ brothers and sisters . . . or our POC brothers and sisters or our single or doubter or any other kind of excluded brothers and sisters . . . is not at risk with regard to either or both of the two great commandments, I believe it is wrong. I believe we as a people, as a culture, are sinners in this regard.

  2. Amen!

  3. Thank you John! I wholeheartedly agree!

  4. Ok, but loving someone doesn’t mean you enable them either. A drug-addicted child is going to be furious with my attempts to get them clean, but simply “accepting them” without trying to curb their destructive behavior is anything but loving.

  5. Lily,
    Children should know you love them, even when disciplining them. Also, in my experience, addicts are generally unhappy about being addicts. Finally, being queer is not comparable to being addicted to something.

  6. “and the second is like unto it”

  7. John: I didn’t say anything about LGBTQ individuals. Neither did the post.

  8. Lily: I’d agree with you. There are situations in which it’s not clear what living in love towards someone requires. That’s a complex and legitimate topic.

    But it’s a different discussion. What’s going on here is that the dual-unity of the two great commandments are becoming a potential casualty in a proxy battle over whether queer relationships deserve legitimacy.

    It’s one thing to argue straight out that queer relationships do not deserve legitimacy because legitimizing them will hurt the people who participate in them, therefore love requires delegitimizing those relationships. That’s a conversation with its own problems, but it doesn’t threaten a divorce between the two great commandments.

    It’s another thing to divide the two great commandments largely for the purpose of delegitimizing queer relationships.

    Make claims about what love requires if you will, and people can have that argument out. But anytime conversation sets loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself at odds, there is reason to be suspicious that the conversation is no longer about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  9. “I didn’t say anything about LGBTQ individuals. Neither did the post.”

    Neither did President Oaks, which is one of the things that make his speech kind of weird. He’s been making pseudo-doctrinal pronouncements from time to time for the past few years in which he makes abstract comments that appear to have no ties to anything that actually happens in the world. Which makes them useless as doctrinal guidance. But if you look at the context of his speeches, the application seems unmistakable. I can think of no reasonable justification for (mis)communicating in this way, but he keeps doing it.

    Anyway, the context of President Oaks’s speech makes it highly likely that he’s talking about BYU’s official hostility toward queer people. Although, like President Oaks in his doctrinal obfuscations, BYU refuses to be clear about its anti-queer policies. So here we are.

    It’s really not very fun to listen to speeches and have discussions where everybody is trying super hard not to say what they mean.

  10. Loursat,

    I think it’s very clear. And BYU’s policies are clear. And President Oaks speaks this way because he’s trying to teach the higher principle of the 2 great commandments. Same reason why President Nelson gave his “no labels” fireside earlier this year. When we accept & live the doctrine, the leaders of the church don’t have to always call out every potential application.

    I know I’ve seen complaints on this blog when they take the opposite approach. “Yes, we already know the church’s stance on gay marriage, why are they saying it again???”

  11. And it also doesn’t really matter whether people explicitly invoke arguments about queer people. That is the implicit context for this post, of course, and the addresses it’s a response to, and recently that seems like the most frequent context when attempting to insert a superior-subordinate relationship between *two* commandments that we’re told Jesus placed *together* at the top when someone asked him for *one* great commandment.

    But it doesn’t matter, because the arguments generalize. Situations where love is distinct from validation may exist. But to think about the two great commandments as potentially conflicting with one another is to misunderstand both of them, and misunderstood why Jesus answered the way he did in Matthew 22.

  12. your food allergy says:

    W is for WIN:
    “But anytime conversation sets loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself at odds, there is reason to be suspicious that the conversation is no longer about the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

  13. Yeah, I wish President Oaks had said something that clarified the harmony between the two great commandments. Maybe something like: “If we truly love God and serve Him as He has taught us, we will love our neighbor as God loves him or her and as He would have us love and serve them.”

  14. Seems like I missed something Oaks said. Probably at the his BYU speech. not surprised one bit. Is anyone?

    I will say, however, that perhaps the most certain thing that eliminated Nelson as someone I could trust and whose counsel I could follow is his ‘God’s love is conditional’ thing that I still hear people quote and to which an equal number of people shake their heads in confusion and frustration. To me, it is an unforgivable sin of his. Good intentions (perhaps), but ones that suggest a fundamental schism between everything I understood about God and what Nelson was preaching. I’ve seen several people for whom this new ‘doctrine’ that the Church is teaching (via Oaks and Nelson, repeated by other ‘leaders of the gospel’) about love, has caused them to no longer feel God’s love for them and they have become sad, lost individuals instead of rejecting it outright as they (and everyone else) ought to. It, alone, was enough for me to say, “Enough.” Especially when it is applied to already marginalized groups.

  15. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

  16. Very useful Carey, but I find scripture is much less often quoted in my ward than the words of general authorities.

  17. I must be dumb, because I just don’t understand how you can hate your way into the top heaven.

  18. 1 John 4

    19 We love him, because he first loved us.

    20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?*

    21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

    *Inspired Translation (my edition): Any who preachest against such things is under condemnation and has need of repentance in sack cloth and ashes.

  19. There is a reference here that I don’t get… Could someone explain what this is about ?

  20. BlueRidgeMormon says:

    Also haven’t followed closely what this OP might specifically be referencing, but I suppose I get the gist.

    I think we’re currently in a time where there’s likely some agita behind the scenes in the COB about current issues of the day. Unlike in the old old days (e.g. political debates over the League of Nations, where prominent church leaders like McKay/Smoot/JFieldingSmith opposed, and leaders like HGGrant/Talmage/etc supported, and this pluralism within the church was public and open), we now live in a time where a premium is placed on boundary maintenance and simple positions and signaling and projected unity. This is true at the highest level – where there’s a stumbling over one another in a race to quote RMN in realtime during general conference – and also plays out in the general membership. For instance, countless saints pretending they never liked the word “Mormon” after RMN discouraged its use… or perhaps even the “blog wars” being currently waged among LDS intelligentsia with the progmo/orthodox distinction now apparently requiring public declarations and endorsements in order to broadcast which “camp” one is in. Truly the height of balkanization and tribalizing and (in my view) pure silliness.

    And of course this isn’t simply an LDS phenomenon; it reflects the wider world we’re navigating through now. Are you pro CRT? Or against “face diapers”? For Russia? For Ukraine? Favor Chik-fil-A, or avoid it? Rainbows good? Or Rainbows bad? Is your business hero Yvon Choinard, or Elon Musk? Everything is a signal of what kind of person you are, and modern society encourages the dissolution of nuance and the advancement of stereotypes and caricatures. In the 80s, it could genuinely make sense to participate in a Boy Scouting movement that promoted both “conservative” values like religiosity and “liberal” values like environmentalism/conservation. But ask someone now what they think of Scouting and it’s either viewed as a woke scourge (they now allow the gays!), or a continuing relic of the conservative 1950s (retrograde patriarchal wasps!) … no wonder the church got out of the scouting business! Everything is fraught now, because everyone has to be categorized and labelled and placed in a ‘box’ that then determines/dictates/informs your allegiances for you. It’s exhausting. Brownian motion now seems to push toward the extreme/caricature positions on everything. And if you’re slightly hard to characterize or iconoclastic or seem to embody a contradiction in any sense of the word, watch out for the purity tests and witch hunts – they’re coming for you. (Just ask republican David Leavitt, who lost a re-election campaign not simply because he was – relatively speaking – a somewhat moderate Utah County prosecutor in a highly conservative district, but rather because he was supposedly a Pizzagate child abusing Satanic cannibal. Seriously. See https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/satanic-panic-making-comeback-fueled-qanon-believers-gop-influencers-rcna38795.)

    And of course this state of affairs and the rush to support one’s ‘tribe’ in every respect isn’t just irritating, it has real consequences. Enacting your ‘brand’ increasingly seems to suggest that (for instance) if you’re a churchgoer, you must also disbelieve the results of the 2020 election or support the censoring of sensitive topics in the school library. Or (alternatively) if you strive to be an LGBTQ ally, you must by definition consider religiosity a fool’s enterprise. Et cetera. These are the stereotypes, of course, but that’s my point. Media increasingly assumes and promotes the stereotypes, and the machine grinds on. But any legislation or public action on any of these topics has real consequences for real people.

    So it’s within this context that SLC has to navigate and lead the membership of the church that is – in practice – increasingly polarized. I don’t envy the Q15 and other GAs this responsibility. My perception is that many of them likely themselves possess a nuanced view and are likely troubled by the balkanized landscape of political forces the church has to navigate. Others are clearly more strident and outspoken, even as they try to be cagey, due to the immediacy and demands of the current media environment. But even with the most strident, there’s sometimes nuance there if your antennae are up; for example I personally heard Elder Oaks commend a mask-wearing audience in Virginia and decry the failure of that behavior among Utahns “south of 3300 South”. But if you’re a person who embraces ‘religious freedom’ as an avenue to support theological disfavoring of LGBTQ rights, aren’t you also supposed to oppose government overreach on mask mandates?

    At any rate, what all of this adds up to, in terms of the church’s direction and messaging, remains a bit unclear at this point, at least to me. The official momentum currently certainly appears to favor orthodox retrenchment (ecclesiastical crackdown on BYU profs, defensive posture toward abuse scandal, rhetoric that rings anti-LGBTQ), but what’s less clear is whether that direction will vector forward indefinitely in that direction, toward what more progressive members might deem a doomsday scenario — or whether it’s simply a cyclical direction that will cycle back towards centrism and openness and pluralism at some point. I’m genuinely unsure what the future holds. Perhaps all this is indeed a momentous and ‘sticky’ inflection point that will ultimately result in the de-accreditation of the BYUs and a sifting of membership that favors QAnon-ers and becomes untenable for progressives of any type – – it’s possible. On the other hand, maybe the current activity will prove to be more like the early/mid-90s crackdown on the September Six and will eventually give way to some future version of “I’m a Mormon” and a bigger tent for all members. Hard to say.

    But what seems clear at this point is that these fights and disagreements aren’t going away. Whether you’re a fan of the new Amazon LOTR show and Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid movie might hinge less on whether you like the plot and acting and character development, and more on whether you support or dislike the casting of black actors in the shows themselves. (Note: if you can suspend disbelief and imagine dragons and elves and mermaids, but draw the line at the presence of black characters in those narratives, your racism is showing! Just saying.) But it’s increasingly difficult for people to manage the cognitive dissonance of liking SOME of what their favorite news channel has to say, but not ALL… it’s just easier to believe everything they’re selling you. So this is just what we all have to deal with now. And navigating all this will be challenging for the church because – for better or worse, and as someone has pointed out in a comment elsewhere – the more ‘ecumenical’ days of GBH seem unlikely to return. Simmering tensions and pluralist disagreements are being forced toward endgame “reckoning” points, and everyone’s favorite talking heads tell them they simply must choose a side. In everything. Which means that school board skirmishes over Toni Morrison novels will seem mild compared to what’s likely coming down the pike. Take for instance the recent SCOTUS ruling that inclusive groups/clubs can’t be shut down at religious universities, a decision that I’ll bet top dollar will surely have implications for BYU in short order. (see https://www.npr.org/2022/09/15/1123173389/yeshiva-university-lgbtq-group-supreme-court)

    All of which makes it difficult to know whether to get crisis-level incensed every time a church leader says something objectionable, or simply view it as something that is likely to pass.

  21. The Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts.

  22. Yes, and, another once more for the people in the back:

    Religious educational institutions are not under attack by the federal government.

  23. Unfortunately, the people in the front are having just as many problems understanding that as the ones in back.

  24. David,
    President Oaks recently spoke at a BYU devotional where he gave some version of the argument that keeping the first great commandment can be compromised by our attempts to keep the second great commandment. This is not the first time one of the Brethren have made such an assertion. It is baloney, and it is very unfortunate that the Brethren keep making a baloney assertion.

  25. it's a series of tubes says:

    BlueRidgeMormon – great comment. One additional note: the SCOTUS decision was not a final one on the true merits. The case was essentially deemed premature and sent back down to work its way through the state courts.

  26. Yeah. Sorry. Just read the Oaks talk. I didn’t know anyone had actually said that they conflict. Didn’t under the LGBTQ reference either. My mind actually went immediately to a little kid that wants to drink soap.

  27. Oaks said that “we must love our neighbor as our selves” means we should love them as God loves them. And God stands in judgement of them, of course, in the last judgement. Therefore, and obviously, we can stand in judgement of them. Of course there is no end to God’s hatred of ….. (you supply the noun).

  28. Too bad we can’t “like” comments on BCC, because Hermione’s comment wins this thread

  29. BlueRodgeMormon says:

    Wow yes, +1 Hermione. +100! I love the parsimony. I’m not good at that lol.

    The question is whether Umbridge will in a sustained and indefinite manner win the day, or will the ministry’s activities dial back?

  30. BlueRidgeMormon says:
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