Buckley Jeppson, lifelong member of the LDS Church, has been all over the news this past week. Buckley’s ‘claim to fame’ is his 2004 Toronto wedding to partner Mike Kessler. The Deseret News reports:
“A gay man who is a lifetime member of the LDS Church could be facing disciplinary action and excommunication after legally marrying his partner in Canada.
“Buckley Jeppson, 57, said he’s been informed verbally that his life is incompatible with the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that a disciplinary council will address the matter.”
Mr. Jeppson says his Stake President has encouraged him to resign his Church membership to avoid disciplinary action. But Mr. Jeppson is not willing to “deny [his] heritage and his faith.” According to Deseret News,
“It is believed that if Jeppson is excommunicated, it would be the first time a Latter-day Saint in a legal same-sex marriage would be punished by the church, said Olin Thomas, executive director of Affirmation, an advocacy and education group for gay Latter-day Saints.”
The LDS Church does not currently recognize any marriage other than those between one man and one woman; legality has nothing to do with it, according to LDS Church spokesperson Kim Farah.
I would agree, of course, because the biblical model for marriage is monogamous and heterosexual. I support the LDS Church in their commitment to this definition of marriage and uphold their right and duty to withdraw Mr. Jeppson’s Church membership. What I find really interesting about this affair is found in a comment from the LDS Church.
“Baptized church members promise to live the principles of the gospel, Farah said.
“‘If the person later decides to reject these core principles, they have the right and freedom to do so,’ she said. ‘However, they cannot reasonably expect to reject the most fundamental teachings of the church and still wrap themselves in the cloak of church membership.'”
But Consider this. The LDS Church rejects “the most fundamental teachings” and “core principles” of the historic Christian faith; yet it still insists on “wrapping [itself] inside the cloak” of Christianity.
Seems to me that if fundamental teachings and core principles are understood as essential in defining what is or is not a Latter-day Saint, there should be no problem using the same sort of criteria to define what is or is not Christianity.
Mormons who object to a doctrinal assessment of their Church, resulting in its classification as non-Christian, don’t have a leg to stand on.