"Perhaps a million people were interlocked in Rome, city of the emperor, the aristocracy, and the masses. Augustus could claim that he found a city of brick and changed it to marble. This boast had merit, for he left behind an astounding list of temples and public buildings that he built and repaired. Political and geographical center of the empire, Rome had long attracted Paul as a culminating missionary opportunity. He wrote to the Saints that he had desired 'these many years to come unto you' (Rom. 15:23)...Rome is wicked but on the move with projects and ideas-an international city and a melting pot...And the Jews? They are also unwelcome realities in Roman satire." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 169.)
"The church at Rome was composed of a mixture of Jewish and gentile converts. The Apostle Paul is aware that the different backgrounds of these two groups, prior to church membership, brought about conflicting views among them. His chief concern is with the claimed necessity and benefits of the law of Moses. Preoccupation with the centuries-old, legalistically annotated law had left a deep imprint in the lives of the Jewish converts to the church. The gentile converts were influenced by the Hellenistic philosophical system and concepts of learning. Their accompanying paganistic worship of idols was an additional deterrent to the proper understanding of gospel truths about which they were cautioned. (Rom. 1:20-25.)" (Edward J. Brandt, "New Testament Backgrounds: Romans," Ensign, Jan. 1976, 82)
Bruce R. McConkie
"The epistle to the Romans is a letter, not a treatise on gospel subjects. It is not written to the world, but to the saints, to people who already know and understand the doctrines of salvation. Paul's comments on gospel subjects presuppose an extensive prior knowledge on the part of the readers. He does not here expound doctrines as such; he simply comments about them, leaving unsaid the volumes of gospel understanding already possessed by the saints. Romans, hence, is not a source of gospel knowledge for the spiritually untutored; it is not the initial place to turn to learn of Christ and his laws." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:212.)
Romans 1:3 Jesus Christ...was made of the seed of David according to the flesh
"Since Jesus was not begotten by mortal man, his descent from David would, by necessity, be through his mother. Thus, when Mary came to earth, she was born into that royal lineage so she could transmit it to her son Jesus. That Mary was of Davidic descent is plainly set forth in the scriptures. Jesus was frequently addressed as 'Son of David'; he did not disclaim that title.
"Paul made it clear that Jesus was of royal blood in his earthly lineage. To the Roman saints he wrote: '... Jesus Christ our Lord ... was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.' (Rom. 1:3.) And to Timothy he said: 'Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead.' (2 Tim. 2:8. See also Acts 13:22-23 and Acts 2:30.)
"That Joseph also was descended from David is likewise set forth in the New Testament, which states that Joseph was of Bethlehem and 'of the house and lineage of David.' (Luke 2:4. See also Luke 1:27; Matt. 1:16, 20; Luke 3:23-31.)
"So Jesus, though not a blood descendant of Joseph, inherited legal status as a son of David through him." (Robert J. Matthews, "Mary and Joseph," Ensign, Dec. 1974, 15)
Romans 1:7 called to be saints
"The Apostle Paul addressed his epistles to the members of the Church 'called to be saints' (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; see also 2 Cor. 1:1). The word saints comes from a Greek word, hagioi, meaning 'holy ones.' In the Old Testament the Lord commanded His covenant people, 'Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy' (Lev. 19:2). The same concept was taught by the Savior in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect' (Matt. 5:48).
"Thus, 'saints' is a title borne by members of the Church who through the covenant of baptism are committed to becoming 'holy ones' like unto God." (David Rolph Seely and Jo Ann H. Seely, "Paul: Untiring Witness of Christ," Ensign, Aug. 1999, 27)
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ
Peter must have feared the chief priests and the Sanhedrin to deny Christ three times, but weeks later he was a new man. Empowered by the gift of the Holy Ghost and tutored by the resurrected Christ, Peter would be ashamed no more. Therefore, when he was brought before this same powerful and intimidating group, he made sure he set the record straight. When asked by what power he had healed a lame man, Peter replied, 'Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel...Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved' (Acts 4:8-12). The elders of the people were stunned and 'commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.' (Acts 4:18-19).
Peter was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Never again would he fear men more than God. Another example of such boldness comes from the life of John Taylor:
"In 1838, soon after his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, John Taylor traveled toward Far West, Missouri, to join the Saints. Along the way, he was scheduled to speak to a group near Columbus, Ohio. A little before the appointed time, some brethren brought news that a number of men had gathered at the meeting place and were plotting to tar and feather Elder Taylor. The brethren advised him to cancel the meeting because they were outnumbered and would not be able to protect him. However, Elder Taylor insisted he would go and preach as planned and would do so even if he had to go by himself.
"When he reached the large crowd assembled to hear him, he proceeded to speak first about his having recently come from countries ruled by monarchs. He told them about the honor he felt of standing on free soil. In reference to how that freedom was achieved, he said: 'Gentlemen, I now stand among men whose fathers fought for and obtained one of the greatest blessings ever conferred upon the human family-the right to think, to speak, to write; the right to say who shall govern them, and the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences-all of them sacred, human rights, and now guaranteed by the American Constitution. I see around me the sons of those noble sires, who rather than bow to the behests of a tyrant, pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honors to burst those fetters, enjoy freedom themselves, bequeath it to their posterity, or die in the attempt.'
"Having said that, he tore open his vest and exclaimed: 'Gentlemen come on with your tar and feathers, your victim is ready; and ye shades of the venerable patriots, gaze upon the deeds of your degenerate sons? Come on, gentlemen? Come on, I say, I am ready!' Elder Taylor paused for a few minutes, but no one would move or speak. He then continued his remarks and preached to the crowd with boldness and power for three hours." (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 219-221)
James E. Faust
"This morning I want to speak about the importance of each of us bearing our testimony. We bear testimony, not only through our words, but also through our lives. I take as my text Paul's message to the Romans, 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek' (Rom. 1:16). . . . Some of us are naturally reserved and timid about bearing our testimony with words. Perhaps we should not be so timid. The Doctrine and Covenants tells us, 'But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man' (D&C 60:2) We should testify with a spirit of humility. D&C 38 of the Doctrine and Covenants reminds us, 'And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness' (D&C 38:41). . . . All my life I have tried not to hide who I am and what I believe in. I cannot recall a single instance when it hurt my career or I lost valued friends by humbly acknowledging that I was a member of this Church." (James E. Faust and James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 445 - 446.)
Delbert L. Stapley
"'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation'....If we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, then we should not be ashamed to live it. And if we are not ashamed to live it, then we should not be ashamed to share it." (Thomas S. Monson, "That All May Hear," Ensign, May 1995, 49)
N. Eldon Tanner
"The people with whom you associate respect you if you live according to the teachings of the church of Jesus Christ. People expect a great deal from the members of this Church because we profess much. I have never at any time found that my membership in the Church and living according to the teachings of the gospel were deterrents.
"Let each of us every day live an exemplary life, that our influence may be felt for good and that others, seeing our good works, may be led to glorify God. Parents, be an example every day to your children-and you children and young people, live to show the world that you are 'not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth' (Rom. 1:16).
"We are members of the church of Jesus Christ. May we always live worthy of this." ("Never Be Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ," Ensign, Feb. 1980, 5)
N. Eldon Tanner
"I should like to ask the question: What is there in the gospel of Christ to be ashamed of? ...Now, we believe that we are spirit children of God and were made in his image. Is that anything to be ashamed of? Or would you rather believe that you descended from a monkey? We believe and know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Would you rather not believe in God at all? So many people in the world today do not believe in God the Eternal Father, and a great majority of them do not believe in a living, personal God. Should we be ashamed of believing in such a person and in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and that Jesus Christ directly or through prophets of God gave us the plan of life and salvation? 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life' (John 3:16).
"Now, we believe that through his atoning sacrifice all mankind will be resurrected and may be saved by keeping the commandments. Would you be ashamed of that and rather believe that when we die we are finished? So many people in the world today believe that when we die that is the end of our existence. Are we ashamed of the fact that we believe that we will be resurrected and that we can go back into the presence of God the Eternal Father? Are we ashamed of that? What a great blessing it is to believe that and to know that it is true.
"Are we ashamed of the fact that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith? Or are we ashamed of the fact that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ organized and reestablished the Church upon the earth and that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ? Are we ashamed to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ? Or do you feel thankful that you are prepared to live according to those teachings all your life and to help your neighbors, your children, your friends to understand it and to live it every day? Are we ashamed to stand up and say we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ?
"...How fortunate we are, then, to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ. As I think of it, I ask again the question: Is there anything in this church that we need to be ashamed of? Or are you glad to be able to say to those with whom you associate, 'I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.'
"...Are you ashamed of the fact that we are taught in this church to be morally clean? Or would you rather be as so many in the world are today, with all kinds of immorality approved even by government? ...Surely we are not ashamed of those teachings by which we can raise our families and know that they are being raised as they should be.
"Brethren and sisters, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. And I am very happy to know and to be able to say to you that I know that God lives and that I am his spirit child. I hope you can all join with me in such statements." ("Are We Ashamed?" New Era, July 1979, 49-50)
Romans 1:16 for it is the power of God unto salvation
"The gospel is the 'power of God unto salvation' (Romans 1:16), a power that can make of earth a heaven and of man a god." (Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 56.)
B. H. Roberts
"'The gospel...is the power of God unto salvation'. The first thing to note in the definition is that the gospel is Power. It is not a book-not even the Bible. It is not an organization-not even the church. It is a Power. But what is 'power'? ... for our purpose here, 'power' may be regarded as that which produces movement, that which causes effects. 'Power', as related to the gospel is that which produces whatever is the objective of the gospel. In this case the objective is 'the power...unto salvation'; or that which produces salvation." (The Falling Away, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1931], 204)
Joseph L. Wirthlin
"Paul's definition causes one to pause and contemplate the intriguing term 'godly power' as an element in the plan of salvation and whether or not man can acquire and develop godly power." (Conference Report, October 1944, Afternoon Meeting 36.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"What, then, is the gospel that is dispensed from heaven to men? It is the great and eternal plan of salvation. It is the way and the means provided by the Father whereby his spirit children-Christ included-can advance and progress and become like him...And because it is the power of God that saves men, it includes both what the Lord does for us and what we must do for ourselves to be saved. On his part it is the atonement; on our part it is obedience to all that is given us of God. Thus the gospel includes every truth, every principle, every law-all that men must believe and know. Thus it includes every ordinance, every rite, every performance-all that men must do to please their Maker. Thus it includes every priesthood, every key, every power-all that men must receive to have their acts bound on earth and sealed eternally in the heavens." (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 98.)
Romans 1:16 to the Jew first, and also to the Greek
"The gospel was proclaimed 'to the Jew first,' and then 'to the Greek.' (See Rom. 1:16.) Just as modern Latter-day Saint missionaries quote prophecies of latter-day revelation to believers in the Bible, so ancient missionaries stressed prophecies of the Messiah to Jews committed to the Old Testament. What made this method strategically important was the wide dispersion of the Jews, for there is hardly a place in Paul's travels where there was not a synagogue, whether in Asia Minor, Greece, or Italy. In fact, the first public proclamation of the gospel after the resurrection was heard by pilgrims from nearly a dozen locations in the Roman provinces and some non-Roman areas. This highlights the tremendous leverage of the Jewish synagogues-places to meet Jews and many Gentile seekers that associated with such synagogues, places where converts could be made almost immediately, in each new city. This result was possible only after several centuries of political and commercial displacement of the Jewish people. In the first Christian century, the time was ripe." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, "The Church and the Roman Empire," Ensign, Sept. 1975, 23)
Romans 1:17 The just shall live by faith
"What must one do to stand justified before God? Does one seek God's favor through fasting, prayer, and rituals? Or are such to be eschewed in favor of the doctrine that 'the just shall live by faith' (Romans 1:17)? Such was the issue over which the Roman Catholic Church and Martin Luther did battle. Of this struggle one noted scholar wrote: 'This doctrine of justification by faith has divided the old unity of Christendom; has torn asunder Europe, and especially Germany; has made innumerable martyrs; has kindled the bloodiest and most terrible wars of the past; and has deeply affected European history and with it the history of humanity.'" (Paul R. Cheesman, ed., The Book of Mormon: The Keystone Scripture [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1988], 82 - 83.)
The Latter-day Saint position on the doctrine of faith verses works will be discussed in the following chapters.
Romans 1:19 that which may be known of God is manifest in them
Bruce R. McConkie
"Paul (Rom. 1:18-25) explains that God is revealed in man; that is, man as God's noblest creation, fashioned in fact in his image, is the most perfect earthly manifestation of God.
"Thus to know God man has but to know himself. By introspective search in his own soul, man comes to a degree of understanding of God, including Deity's character, perfections, and attributes. As Joseph Smith said, 'If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 343)." (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 13.)
Romans 1:20 the invisible things...being understood by the things that are made
'The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God...Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.' (DC 88:45,47)
John A. Widtsoe
"The whole of nature is a witness of the truth of things not visible to the naked eye, and of the directly revealed word of the Lord." (Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 170-171.)
Alvin R. Dyer
"By observing the universe, while I see and learn of the precision of its operation wherein the mighty earth upon which I live makes a complete circuit around the central sun which by its inexhaustive light and heat lights up and warms the whole planetary system, and this it does invariably in the period we call one year, while at the same time by revolution on its own axis makes a complete turn in the period of time we call one day, and with these movements continuing in ages without the slightest variation. Though I see this and understand it in part, and though I recognize that here also is the result of rational and intelligent thought and that such intelligence comes also from a supremely intelligent thinker possessing the attributes of thought and, therefore, an individual person, tremendously advanced and glorified in knowledge and understanding, since I cannot duplicate these creations of the universe I must conclude that the one who has created them is vastly superior and therefore my God, an all-wise, almighty, beneficent, and self-existing person. There is no escaping the conclusion. The Apostle Paul, by the power of the spirit, tells us:
'For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [who disbelieve] are without excuse.' (Rom. 1:20.)
"An English writer has put this into modern verse:
The hand that made us is Divine.'"
(April 7, 1964, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964, p. 13.)
Romans 1:22-23 they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image
Paul's readers would have recognized this as referring to the idolatry of the ancients. While the patriarchs carefully followed the gospel and honored the priesthood, their wisdom eventually gave way to the vain, unthankful, and foolish practices of idolatry and sexual sin. While Paul may be directly referencing the wickedness of the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah, yet he is careful to demonstrate the foolishness of the practice, particularly since the same problems of idolatry and sexual sin were prevalent in Rome.
Romans 1:24 God...gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts
Spencer W. Kimball
"Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting. Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, pregnancy, and abortions all ugly sins but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils, and it is often difficult for youth to distinguish where one ends and another begins. They awaken lust and stir evil thoughts and sex desires. They are but parts of the whole family of related sins and indiscretions. Paul wrote as if to modern young people who deceive themselves that their necking and petting are but expressions of love: 'Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.' (Rom 1:24.) How could the evils of petting be more completely described?" (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], chap. 5)
Romans 1:25 worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator
"The main purpose of the scriptures is to testify of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, some people get so involved with their learning and scholarship that they tend to worship the product more than the Producer. Paul spoke of people who worship the creature more than the Creator (see Rom. 1:25). For example, a scientist may study the things that God has made: the world of nature, the earth, water, plants, minerals, trees, animals, and even man. While these are legitimate and honorable subjects of study, true religion, with loftier goals, shift's man's focus from nature up to nature's Author." (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 429.)
Another way in which we serve the creature more than the Creator is when we follow the lusts of the carnal man. As Elder Maxwell noted, "Paul was deeply concerned over those who had begun to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. (Romans 1:28.) One of the expressions of indulgent self-love, which is the refusal to deny self, is the breaking of the seventh commandment whether by fornication, adultery, or homosexuality. As Jesus said, these and other signs are the foretelling leaves of the fig tree, indicating that 'summer is nigh.' (Matthew 24:32.)" (Meek and Lowly [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 18.)
Today, we see even another form of this creature worship in the continual obsession with physical appearance. The plastic surgeries, diet aids, and exercise programs are not concerned with good health but with good looks. We live in a time when this type of worship has hit an all-time high. It can be seen in the gyms and spas across America. While God has made man in his own image, man, rather than worshiping God, worships his own image instead. Hereby, the man worships the creature rather than the Creator. This form of worship takes place in a temple filled with exercise equipment, free weights, and a running track. In his temple, the man loves to be surrounded by mirrors. He loves to look at himself and presumes that everyone else is doing the same. He is more concerned with his pecs, gluts, abs, and thighs than he is with the One who created them. But his god is a demanding god, requiring visits to the temple several times a week, often for hours at a time. Still, despite the rigors of his self-made religion, the creature worshiper never tires of offering his god the "creature comforts" he requires. It is a strange form of idolatry that worships one's own body, but Americans have mastered the practice.
Romans 1:26-27 even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men...burned in their lust one toward another
Rome may have been the cultural and political capital at the time, but it was also the capital of sexual sin and homosexuality. Paul could not afford to avoid this subject as it was so prevalent among the Romans of the day. So prevalent in fact that it contributed to the very fall of Rome. "The grandeur of ancient Greece, the majesty of Rome, once the proud rulers of the world, have disappeared; and the verdict of history specifies the prevalence of sexual immorality as among the chief of the destructive agencies by which the fall of those mighty peoples was effected." (Editors' Table, Improvement Era, 1917, Vol. Xx. June, 1917. No. 8)
Spencer W. Kimball
"The unholy transgression of homosexuality is either rapidly growing or tolerance is giving it wider publicity. If one has such desires and tendencies, he overcomes them the same as if he had the urge toward petting or fornication or adultery. The Lord condemns and forbids this practice with a vigor equal to his condemnation of adultery and other such sex acts. And the Church will excommunicate as readily any unrepentant addict.
"Again, contrary to the belief and statement of many people, this sin, like fornication, is overcomable and forgivable, but again, only upon a deep and abiding repentance, which means total abandonment and complete transformation of thought and act. The fact that some governments and some churches and numerous corrupted individuals have tried to reduce such behavior from criminal offense to personal privilege does not change the nature nor the seriousness of the practice. Good men, wise men, God-fearing men everywhere still denounce the practice as being unworthy of sons of God; and Christ's church denounces it and condemns it so long as men have bodies which can be defiled. (80-53)
"Homosexuality is an ugly sin. There is today a strong clamor to make such practices legal by passing legislation. Some would also legislate to legalize prostitution. They have legalized abortion, seeking to remove from this heinous crime the stigma of sin.
"We do not hesitate to tell the world that the cure for these evils is not in surrender." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 274.)
Harold B. Lee
"The scriptures warn against homosexuality. We have a case again-the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. I bring this into your thinking because of the circumstances which justified the destruction. I suggest that you read Leviticus, the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters, and Deuteronomy 23:17, Romans 1:27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9. The sin that was most abhorred in the sight of God and which brought down the vengeance of heaven upon them. This isn't a pretty story. It is one that should strike terror to us as we contemplate similar things happening among us today: 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.' (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 20:13.) He is talking of homosexuality and the practice of it, as you can well understand.
"Homosexuality can be overcome. I was asked by a prominent family some years ago to work with a girl who was headed along the homosexual trail. As much as we deplore the ugliness of that word, it is among us, both among boys and girls, perhaps to a greater extent than we hardly realize. And so, yielding to the importunings of this good father and mother, I sought with this girl to try to dissuade her from a course that she was about to take that would lead her further along this trail, and she just sort of laughed at me and she berated her father because he had snooped into her private affairs. Well, we talked and finally she just said, 'Well, I can't make up my mind,' which meant that she wasn't going to pay any attention to what I had said. And later that evening she came and repeated it, 'Well, I still am undecided,' just sort of smirking about the whole thing. Six months went by.
"[I was returning from a] meeting [one day, and] I walked down to my office and here was the girl I had had this struggle with, trying to dissuade her from her course and it looked like she was so far gone that I had about written her off my list of hopefuls at least. Her mother had pleaded, 'Won't you give her a blessing?' I took her in my office and thought I would talk with her a few minutes alone (she and her mother had been at loggerheads), and I said to her, 'Well, now, you say you want me to give you a blessing? Now it would just be sheer mockery for me to put my hands on your head until you are prepared to take me by the right hand and look me squarely in the eye and tell me that from this time forth you will never again return to this ugly practice.' And she buried her face in her arms and she sobbed, 'But I love her, I love her so much.' 'Well,' I said, 'then you are just wasting my time and I am wasting yours. There is nothing I can do about it.'
"So we talked a little bit more and she cried, and finally she said, 'Oh, Brother Lee, please, I promise you that I will never do this again. I need a blessing, please help me.' With my hands on her head I had another experience. [T]he impression came to have her pray as soon as I had finished, so I said to her, 'Now I want you to kneel down and I want you to pray to God to give you the strength to do what you have promised me this day that you will do.' And as she buried her face in the seat of that chair, I never heard such a prayer from a youth: 'Please, Heavenly Father, you know that I want to be a wife, and I want to be a mother, help me to be a normal, natural woman. Father, help me to lick this cursed thing that is about to destroy my life,' and she just pleaded and she sobbed.
"Well, if you should see the girl today, you would see what Alma was when he came out of that three days' experience , and you would see her as a wholly different [person] than the one who looked like she was far gone. But there was a spark still there; she hadn't committed the unpardonable sin. And I was an agent; I was an agent of God to give to her some spiritual help to fan the flame that was flickering into a full burning desire to be a true woman. (62-02)" (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 230-232.)
Romans 1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections...receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet
Neal A. Maxwell
"As Paul wrote, the wrath of God is aroused against all ungodliness (Romans 1:18). The gross sexual immorality afflicting some of the Ephesians was, as Paul wrote, the cause of 'the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience' (Ephesians 5:6). Who knows better than our Father and His Son Jesus Christ what the long-term, deep, and miserable consequences of gross sexual immorality are?
"Those who wrongly and grossly celebrate their capacity to feel, lose their God-given capacity to feel. The beautiful world around them thereafter goes unseen and unappreciated, because their concerns are focused on a single but shrinking plane of action. The desensitization which follows sexual immorality produces all sorts of social consequences for the individual, his or her victims, and the family, as well as society. In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah in a time of gross sexual immorality, they neglected their poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49).
"Then there are the lamentable inward consequences, which God well knows. Jacob wrote about these in another time of gross sexual immorality, when children lost respect for their fathers, when 'many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds' (Jacob 2:35). How much misery permeated these families we know not, but it would have been considerable.
"Since wickedness never was happiness, when wickedness is rife God's indignation is understandably ripe (see D&C 29:17)." (Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 87.)
Romans 1:29-31 filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness...
Paul's list of evil practices is just a foreshadowing of the latter-days. He would later refer to our day specifically when he provides another long list of sins and depravity:
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...' (2 Tim. 3:1-5)
Apparently, history repeats itself, whether its secular history or religious history.
Romans 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection
Boyd K. Packer
"My message is to you who are tempted either to promote, to enter, or to remain in a life-style which violates your covenants and will one day bring sorrow to you and to those who love you.
"Growing numbers of people now campaign to make spiritually dangerous life-styles legal and socially acceptable. Among them are abortion, the gay-movement, and drug addiction. They are debated in forums and seminars, in classes, in conversations, in conventions, and in courts all over the world. The social and political aspects of them are in the press every day....
"The point I make is simply this: there is a MORAL and SPIRITUAL side to these issues which is universally ignored. For Latter-day Saints, morality is one component which must not be missing when these issues are considered-otherwise sacred covenants are at risk! Keep your covenants and you will be safe. Break them and you will not.
"Several publications are now being circulated about the Church which defend and promote gay or conduct. They wrest the scriptures attempting to prove that these impulses are inborn, cannot be overcome, and should not be resisted; and therefore, such conduct has a morality of its own. They quote scriptures to justify perverted acts between consenting adults. That same logic would justify incest or the molesting of little children of either gender. Neither the letter nor the spirit of moral law condones any such conduct.
"I hope none of our young people will be foolish enough to accept those sources as authority for what the scriptures mean. Paul, speaking on this very subject, condemned those 'who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.' (Rom. 1:25.) In that same reference the word covenantbreakers is used for the only time in scripture. (See Rom. 1:31.)
"Some choose to reject the scriptures out of hand and forsake their covenants. But they cannot choose to avoid the consequences. That choice is not theirs or ours or anybody's.
"All of us are subject to feelings and impulses. Some are worthy and some of them are not; some of them are natural and some of them are not. We are to control them, meaning we are to direct them according to the moral law.
"The legitimate union of the sexes is a law of God. The sacred covenants made by husband and wife with God protect the worthy expression of those feelings and impulses which are vital to the continuation of the race and essential to a happy family life. Illicit or perverted conduct leads without exception to disappointment, suffering, to tragedy." ("Covenants," Ensign, Nov. 1990, 84)
Romans 1:32 knowing the judgment of God...they which commit such things are worthy of death
"[In Galatians 5] members were told that such things would keep them from the kingdom of God; here Paul says those doing these things are 'worthy of death' (Rom. 1:32). But Paul was not talking of criminal punishment, since society tolerated most of the sins he listed; his point was that God would not tolerate them. 'Death' in Paul's letters implies Satan's power and at times equates with John's vision of the wicked receiving a 'second death' (Rev. 20:6), a banishment from God's presence at the future judgment. So 'worthy of death' (Rom. 1:32) means that the kingdom of God is closed to those guilty of serious sins without repentance. Paul gives a list of sins that is more than a catalog of the evils in the Roman world-it is a solemn warning to Saints to live above the world's standards." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 174 - 175.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Members of the Church are sometimes guilty of the same sins that afflict fallen man generally. When they are, their condemnation is greater than it otherwise would be, because of their greater light and knowledge. In addition, many acts become sinful for the saints that would not be so considered had they not taken upon themselves the obligations of the gospel. Thus the Lord says to his people: 'There are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.' All the sins named by Paul and Mormon and others of the prophets sometimes lie at the door of the saints. But there is more of which they must beware. 'For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation. Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.' (D&C 82:2-4.)" (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 225.)