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Spoken Word

PARAGRAPH 2

 

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God.
 

  • “Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them.”  Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign, May 1995, 84.

 

  • In 1909, the First Presidency taught that “all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.” “The Origin of Man,” Improvement Era 13, no. 1 (Nov. 1909): 78.

  • Referring to God:  “I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form -- like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth.”   President Joseph Smith, April 1844 General Conference, Nauvoo, Illinois. 

 
Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.
 

  • "We are begotten in the similitude of Christ himself. We dwelt with the Father and with the Son in the beginning, as the sons and daughters of God; and at the time appointed, we came to this earth to take upon ourselves tabernacles, that we might become conformed to the likeness and image of Jesus Christ and become like him; that we might have a tabernacle, that we might pass through death as he has passed through death, that we might rise again from the dead as he has risen from the dead."    President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 428.

 

  • "The gospel teaches us that we are the spirit children of heavenly parents. Before our mortal birth we had “a pre-existent, spiritual personality, as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father” (statement of the First Presidency, Improvement Era, Mar. 1912, p. 417; also see Jer. 1:5). We were placed here on earth to progress toward our destiny of eternal life. These truths give us a unique perspective and different values to guide our decisions from those who doubt the existence of God and believe that life is the result of random processes."   Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, November 1993.

 

  • “Individual identity began long before conception and will continue for all the eternities to come.”  Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, November 1993.

 

  • “I am concerned about what I see happening with some of our young women. Satan would have you dress, talk, and behave in unnatural and destructive ways in your relationships with young men. The adversary is having a heyday distorting attitudes about gender and roles and about families and individual worth. He is the author of mass confusion about the value, the role, the contribution, and the unique nature of women.”  Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Women of Righteousness”, General Conference, April 2002.

 

  • “One of the great blessings of understanding our true eternal identity as a child of God is that our personal sense of self-worth can only be high. … He loves each one of His children. We are each His son or daughter with the potential to become like Him. … Satan does not want us to understand our divine potential, but the Lord certainly does. He has provided us with countless scriptures and prophetic promptings to help us counter and resist these satanic pulls. … I pray that we may ever remember who we are: sons and daughters of a loving Father, who have the potential to return to His side and dwell with Him as celestial beings.”   Elder Robert C. Oaks, “Understand Who You Are”, BYU Devotional, March 2006.

 

  • “Is our heavenly parentage our first and most profound identity? Here on earth, we identify ourselves in many different ways, including our place of birth, our nationality, and our language. Some even identify themselves by their occupation or their hobby. These earthly identities are not wrong unless they supersede or interfere with our eternal identity—that of being a son or a daughter of God. … In today’s world, no matter where we live and no matter what our circumstances are, it is essential that our preeminent identity is as a child of God.”   Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, “I Am a Child of God”, General Conference, April 2016.

 

  • “All human beings are beloved spirit sons or daughters of heavenly parents with a divine nature and eternal destiny. The reason we have bodies is to build on that divine nature so we can ultimately realize our eternal destiny.“  Elder Dale G. Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, August 2020.

 

  • “We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage.”  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God,” Ensign, November 2009.

 

  • "All human beings are beloved spirit sons or daughters of heavenly parents with a divine nature and eternal destiny. The reason we have bodies is to build on that divine nature so we can ultimately realize our eternal destiny."  Elder Dale G. Renlund, "The Divine Purpose of Sexual Intimacy," Ensign, August 2020.

 

  • “Before we were born, male and female, we made certain commitments and … agreed to come to this earth with great, rich, but different gifts. We were called, male and female, to do great works with separate approaches and separate assignments."  President James E. Faust, “How Near to the Angels,” Ensign, May 1998, 95–97.

  • I think it is an accurate statement to say that some people consider feelings of same-gender attraction to be the defining fact of their existence. … We have the agency to choose which characteristics will define us; those choices are not thrust upon us.

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“The ultimate defining fact for all of us is that we are children of Heavenly Parents, born on this earth for a purpose and born with a divine destiny. Whenever any of those other notions, whatever they may be, gets in the way of that ultimate defining fact, then it is destructive and it leads us down the wrong path” Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: “Same-Gender Attraction” [2006].


Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
 

  • “There is no accident or chance, due to purely physical conditions, by which the gender of the unborn is determined. The body takes form as male or female, according to the gender of the spirit whose appointment it is to tenant that body as a tabernacle formed of the elements of earth, through which means alone the individual may enter upon the indispensable course of human experience, probation, and training. … Man is man, and woman is woman, fundamentally, unchangeably, eternally. Each is indispensable to the other and to the accomplishment of the purposes of God.”   President James E. Talmage, “The Eternity of Sex”, Millennial Star, August 24, 1922, pages 539-540.

 

  • "Some people are ignorant or vicious and apparently attempting to destroy the concept of masculinity and femininity. More and more girls dress, groom, and act like men. More and more men dress, groom, and act like women. The high purposes of life are damaged and destroyed by the growing unisex theory. God made man in his own image, male and female made he them. With relatively few accidents of nature, we are born male or female. The Lord knew best. Certainly, men and women who would change their sex status will answer to their Maker. ..."  President Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign, November 1974.

 

  • "Dear brethren and sisters, the scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles and prophets speak of us in premortal life as sons and daughters, spirit children of God. Gender existed before, and did not begin at mortal birth."    President Boyd K. Packer, "For Time and All Eternity," Ensign, November 1993.

 

  • “From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits”  and “We know that gender was set in the premortal world. The spirit and the body are the soul of man.”  President Boyd K. Packer, “How to Survive in Enemy Territory,” Seminary Centennial Broadcast, April 2012.

 

  • “I want to speak now in the pattern of straight talk about another matter. We know that gender was set in the premortal world.  “The spirit and the body are the soul of man.” This matter of gender is of great concern to the Brethren, as are all matters of morality.”  President Boyd K. Packer, “How to Survive in Enemy Territory,” New Era, April 2012

 

  • “The scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles and prophets speak of us in premortal life as sons and daughters, spirit children of God.1 Gender existed before, and did not begin at mortal birth.”  Elder Boyd K. Packer, “For Time and All Eternity,” Ensign, Nov. 1993  

 

  • “The scriptures record, “And I, God, created man … male and female created I them.”  This was done spiritually in your premortal existence when you lived in the presence of your Father in Heaven. Your gender existed before you came to earth. You elected to have this earth experience as part of His plan for you.”   Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1996.

 

  • “That women were born into this earth female was determined long before mortal birth, as were the divine differences of males and females. … we are taught that every girl was feminine and female in spirit long before her mortal birth.”   Margaret D. Nadauld. “What You Are Meant to Be,” New Era, Oct. 2002.

 

  • “As spirit daughters of God, women ‘received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth’ (D&C 138:56) on the earth. … Female roles did not begin on earth, and they do not end here.”   Julie B. Beck, “A Mother Heart”, General Conference, April 2004

 

  • “For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary.”   Elder David A. Bednar, “Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan,” Ensign, June 2006; Liahona, June 2006.

 

  • “When Satan truly wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he attempts to confuse gender and he attacks God’s plan for His children.”  Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood,” Ensign, March 2006; Liahona, March 2006.

 

  • “More recently the devil has attempted to combine and legally validate confusion about gender … as we look beyond mortality and into eternity, it is easy to discern the counterfeit alternatives. … Satan works unremittingly to confuse understanding about gender, to promote the premature and unrighteous use of procreative power, and to hinder righteous marriage precisely because marriage is ordained of God and the family is central to the plan of happiness. … [Satan] persistently strives to confuse the divinely appointed purposes of gender, marriage, and family. Throughout the world, we see growing evidence of the effectiveness of Satan’s efforts.”  Elder David A. Bednar, “Marriage is Essential to His Eternal Plan,” Ensign, June 2006; Liahona, June 2006.

 

  • “When Satan truly wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he attempts to confuse gender and he attacks God’s plan for His children.”   Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood,” Ensign, March 2006; Liahona, March 2006.

 

  • “No legislation can alter the sexes. …  any legislation which is designed to neuter gender of that which God created male and female will bring more problems than benefits. Of that I am convinced.”  President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Live Up to Your Inheritance”, General Conference, October 1983.

 

  • "There is some widely accepted theory extant that homosexuality is inherited. How can this be? No scientific evidence demonstrates absolutely that this is so. Besides, if it were so, it would frustrate the whole plan of mortal happiness. Our designation as men or women began before this world was. In contrast to the socially accepted doctrine that homosexuality is inborn, a number of respectable authorities contend that homosexuality is not acquired by birth. The false belief of inborn homosexual orientation denies to repentant souls the opportunity to change and will ultimately lead to discouragement, disappointment, and despair."President James E. Faust, “Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil,” Ensign, November 1995.

 

  • "No, we do not accept the fact that conditions [genetic influence] that prevent people from attaining their eternal destiny were born into them without any ability to control.”  Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman:  “Same-Gender Attraction,” LDS Newsroom.  

 

  • “You are literally God’s spirit child.  Having same-gender attraction is NOT in your DNA, but being a child of God clearly IS in your spiritual DNA. ... If you are faithful, on resurrection morning—and maybe even before then—you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex.  Some of you may wonder if that doctrine is too good to be true. But Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said it MUST be true, because “there is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband and wife, and posterity.” And “men (and women) are that they might have joy. ... Don’t let your challenge define your entire identity.” Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “Elder Bruce C. Hafen Speaks on Same-Sex Attraction,” The Newsroom Blog, September 19, 2009.

  • Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence. The good news for somebody who is struggling with  same-gender attraction is this: 1) It is that ‘I’m not stuck with it forever.’ It’s just now...  2) If I can keep myself worthy here, if I can be true to gospel commandments… Every blessing — including eternal marriage — is and will be mine in due course.”  Elder Lance B. Wickman, “Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman:  “Same-Gender Attraction,” LDS Newsroom.  

 

  • “Brothers and sisters, I am very grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It provides light to guide us in this world darkened by immorality, iniquity, and infidelity. It teaches us to love all of God’s children, some of whom struggle with gender issues or other conditions that may not be fully understood. We need to help and encourage them and their family members without, of course, condoning sinful behavior.” President Russell M. Nelson, The Doctrinal Importance of Marriage and Children,” Worldwide LeadershipTraining, 2012.

 

  • “We were created by loving heavenly parents to grow up to become like them.  Male and female spirits were created to complement each other. That is why gender is not fluid in the eternities—because it provides the basis for the ultimate gift Heavenly Father can give, His kind of life.”   Elder Dale G. Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, August 2020. 

  • “We live in a day when there are many political, legal, and social pressures for changes that confuse gender and homogenize the differences between men and women. Our eternal perspective sets us against changes that alter those separate duties and privileges of men and women that are essential to accomplish the great plan of happiness. We do not oppose all changes in the treatment of men and women, since some changes in laws or customs simply correct old wrongs that were never grounded in eternal principles” (Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Oct. 1993, 99; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73–74).

  • “Our Heavenly Father endowed His sons and daughters with unique traits especially fitted for their individual responsibilities as they fulfill His plan. To follow His plan requires that you do those things He expects of you as a son or daughter, husband or wife. Those roles are different, but entirely compatible. In the Lord’s plan, it takes two—a man and a woman—to form a whole."  Richard G. Scott, "The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,"Oct. 1996, 101; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 73–74

  • “When a man understands how glorious a woman is, he treats her differently. When a woman understands that a man has the seeds of divinity within him, she honors him not only for who he is but for what he may become. An understanding of the divine nature allows each person to have respect for the other. The eternal view engenders a desire in men and women to learn from and share with each other."  Elder Merrill J. Bateman

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Additional Commentary
  • "Like the prophets of old, prophets today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel. They make known God’s will and true character. They speak boldly and clearly, denouncing sin and warning of its consequences. At times, they may be inspired to prophesy of future events for our benefit." – Gospel Topics, Prophets

  • "Since Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ ushered in the Restoration of the gospel and re-established the Church, the voice of the President of the Church, has been a witness of divine, eternal truth.  Although the means by which the prophet's voice is heard has changed through the years, that voice has always been a clarion call to come unto Christ." – churchofjesuschrist.org

 

  • “The family, a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman, is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity.”World Family Declaration

 

  • “The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history.” – Will Durant.

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