Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Guest Post: On Christianity and Proposition 8

by Robert John Williams, band member of Faded Paper Figures, and Ph.D in comparitive lit.

I wasn't going to write anything publicly on this issue. The question of gay marriage comes up every few years (usually as a way of mobilizing politically people who are otherwise relatively non-political), and will probably come up again. I figured it would become an issue for more conservative Mormons, much like gun-ownership, flag-burning, etc. etc., but that the church would exercise its political muscles in its more typically subtle, cultural way—not explicitly demanding officially that church members get involved on one side of the issue. But it appears that the frenetic piousness of American evangelism has recruited the Mormon leadership to join the cause in a more overt and intrusive way. The First Presidency letter read over the pulpit a few weeks ago admits as much (i.e. that Mormon leaders were asked to join in a "coalition" with more conservative, openly homophobic churches). I suppose I understand that the First Presidency felt obligated to join the cause; having campaigned aggressively for a similar cause in 2000, they would have looked like traitors to pass on the issue this time around. But what is really surprising to me is that the California branches of the church would have forgotten how extremely alienating their activism on this issue was for certain members of the church, and for certain segments of the larger California population.

Nonetheless, with the First Presidency on board, and an official injunction to give of our "time and means" to Proposition 8, the Mormons in my ward have become politically active in a way that is truly breathtaking. One prominent, wealthy member of the ward who serves in the capacity of Public Relations for the church, and whose email listserve regularly bombards its recipients with editorials expounding the cultural evils of gayness, has become something of a leader in the cause. But he's hardly alone in my ward. The bishop has testified several times on the issue, and his secretary recently sent out an email (signed by the bishopric) to the entire ward asking that members of the ward volunteer in the "substantial effort to mobilize support for passage of Proposition 8." The ward has distributed envelopes, asking us to donate money to the cause. Sign-up sheets have been passed around Elder's Quorum asking us to volunteer to make phone calls, go door-to-door, and distribute anti-gay-marriage propaganda.

For a number of reasons I'll describe below, I find myself on the opposite side of this political issue. So far, though, I haven't done much in the way of protest. I've been wearing a rainbow ribbon to church, along with my rainbow sandals, and if someone asks me, I'm happy to discuss, very civilly, my political views. But I haven't born any testimony about it in sacrament meeting. I haven't started a conversation about it on my own with anyone in church. And I didn't mention homosexuality in any of my Sunday school lessons (a calling from which I was recently released—though ostensibly not for political reasons….ahem…even though the person they replaced me with is undoubtedly the most conservative, scripturally literalist member of the ward). So when I recently visited Utah and my mother asked me to take off my rainbow ribbon before attending the baby blessing of my niece, I felt a bit uncomfortable. The truth is, I was already uncomfortable wearing the ribbon to church. I don't particularly want to talk about gay marriage with my mostly-conservative fellow church members. But I wasn't the one who decided to turn the chapel into an arena for political discussion. This was imposed upon us by a "coalition" of other, less-true churches, and our leaders have decided to go along. So be it. Let's talk about it. Why would a good Mormon possibly oppose the grand political machinations currently at work in church to pass Proposition 8? Why would I feel compelled to wear a rainbow ribbon to church, even though it makes me and my family feel uncomfortable?

In C.S. Lewis's classic Screwtape Letters, the senior devil Screwtape comments to his young nephew, Wormwood: "It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out." The idea Screwtape goes on to expound is that if the devil can distract you from some greater good by convincing you to put all of your energies into some other, entirely inconsequential activity, you'll be so worried about that other thing, you'll completely ignore the larger good. In church we are told that Proposition 8 is not motivated by disdain for homosexuals, but by a sacred responsibility to protect heterosexual marriage. And it is true, undoubtedly, that marriage in the U.S. is in serious trouble. Divorce has become endemic, and its causes are numerous. However, even the most cursory glance at the statistical information on divorce shows that the legal status of homosexual unions is not a cause of heterosexual divorce (in fact, it's not on any of the lists of reasons for divorce, anywhere!).

More to the point, financial problems, infidelity, major life trauma, and sexual dysfunction are all major causes of divorce. Consider, for example, how many marriages have been torn apart by the war in Iraq. According to this report, just last year there were more than 10,000 divorces in the U.S. Army. Two years after the war started (and it has gotten worse since), the divorce rate for enlisted personnel was up 28 percent—and for officers it was up 78 percent. And that is not counting the more than 100,000 Iraqi civilian families that have been torn apart by the death of a spouse (death being, of course, an even more devastating way to end a marriage here in mortality). What this means--in the most basic, empirical, totally provable sense--is that if Mormons were to become active in ending the war in Iraq, they would be instrumental in saving tens of thousands of marriages. But instead, they are campaigning for Proposition 8, which does nothing to save any marriages, at all. 100,000+ marriages or 0. You decide which the devil would have you campaign for most aggressively (I'll be fighting for the 100,000+).

However, in fighting for that symbolic (yet completely inconsequential, for them) gesture, some Mormons have begun spreading deliberate and paranoid lies about what gay marriage would mean for the church and the country. I have heard, for example, that if Prop 8 does not pass, Mormons will be forced to allow gay people to get married in the temple. I've heard that teachers at school will be forced to read homosexually-charged literature with their children—and that our young Mormon kids will be consequently confused and drawn into to a gay lifestyle. I've heard that orphanages will be forced to hand over their children to sexually abusive gay couples (even though, obviously, a single responsible gay person can already adopt a child and live with that child with their gay partner). All of these are lies, of course. But the larger issue here is that whereas the government has a responsibility not to discriminate among its people, a church is entirely free to go on discriminating however it wants. My own feeling is that the church has every right to decide what counts as a "marriage" in church, but that the government has no right to decide whether a union between two consenting adults is or isn't a "marriage." It's a position Brigham Young would have been very comfortable with.
But of course the use of scare quotes on "marriage" already gives away what it is we're really arguing about: semantics, definitions, symbolic status. Marriage has been defined as "between a man and a woman" for a long time, right? The majority of the population defines it that way, right? Why should a small minority of people who feel like what they have is "marriage" actually be allowed to call it "marriage" if it actually offends the larger majority? These are certainly interesting questions for Mormons. "We're Christians!" we like to tell our neighbors. "Just because the larger population of Christians don't consider us Christians, so what? We're still Christians!" And of course we're just arguing semantics, right? Definitions, and symbolic status, right? It's interesting that we don't like it when it goes the other way.

I've really had to ask myself recently, are we Christians? If Christ were alive today, what would he be campaigning for politically? Would it be Prop 8, that merely symbolic, word-based initiative with no real impact on the marriages of the U.S. (except to grant that status to a group of people born slightly different from the majority)? Or would he be wearing a rainbow ribbon to church, loving even people who are different from the majority? Or would he actually have moved beyond such silly political games, and be actively campaigning to end genocide in Darfur? Maybe he would be campaigning to end the war in Iraq. Or to fight the massive starvation that currently faces the 1 billion people on the planet who live on less than a dollar a day. My dear Mormon friends, if we want to be considered Christians, perhaps it's time we started acting like Christians—real Christians. If we could channel these political energies into something truly Christian, just think of what we could do!
Signed,
Robert John Williams

P.S. to anyone who would like to respond to this post, have the courage to do so with your own name. Anonymous (read: cowardly) responses will not get you points in heaven.

27 Comments:

Blogger Natalie said...

Thank you for putting up such a wonderful and well thought out post. Do you know the author, or does he post regularly at another site? I'll probably pass your post on to my dad and brother. Also I'm Rebecca's friend in case you hadn't figured that out.

8/09/2008 3:18 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hi Natalie,

The author is a friend of mine. I think he does have his own personal blog, but I don't know if he's keeping up with it at the moment. This post is also at www.the-exponent.com, which is where most of the fireworks will take place, I imagine.

By all means, pass it along. :)

Are you the Natalie that comments occassionally at Exponent?

Nice to hear from you!

8/09/2008 4:13 PM  
Blogger tFool said...

Well, I'm glad someone can speak less explosively than I can. I'm sure if you read my post on the matter it is much more offensive. I'm working on that. In the meantime, maybe I'll get a Rainbow ribbon. (I've looked for a rainbow bowtie without success.)

Lee (Natalie's Brother)

8/09/2008 4:38 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Lee, email me your address (carolinekline at aol dot com), and I'll mail you a rainbow ribbon.

8/09/2008 4:42 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Only for the heavenly points: If I still attended church, I would wear a rainbow ribbon. :)

8/09/2008 8:18 PM  
Blogger Melessa said...

This was beautifully written and I couldn't agree more.

8/09/2008 9:02 PM  
Anonymous makakona said...

thanks, caroline, i really enjoyed this. MUCH more diplomatic than i ever seem to be about this topic... and less crying, too!

i love these blogs. i read the comment from "tfool" and thought, "a bowtie? seriously, who even WEARS a bowtie anymore besides lee?!" then i saw how "tfool" signed his post. LEE! it IS lee! so, hello to you, lee! it's siobhan, from the now defunct lb11. hope you're doing well and how great to run across you on here! we moved to san diego a few months ago and i'll have to click on over to YOUR blog and catch up!

it's always nice to read that i'm not alone (say it one more time, i'm not alone) on this. but it's such a great relief to read that someone i actually know "in real life" feels the same way (referring to good ol' lee). we moved from a fairly diverse area (again, LEE was in our ward, ha!) to a very stagnant one and it's been a rough transition. the lone liberal in the ward (who is the former bishop and is much-respected) is someone i figured i could talk to about prop. 8, considering the church's stand. how do you be obedient to the leaders you sustain when you can't bring yourself to believe that god would hold the same position? anyway, turns out even HE (the former bishop, not god!) supports prop. 8. that was a sad day for me. i was really hoping to find a kindred spirit in him.

(btw, caroline, i'm the one who brought her baby to last year's fmh snacker. i couldn't make it this year, boohoo.)

8/10/2008 6:43 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Thanks for the nice feedback, Amber and Melessa.

Makakona, yes, I remember you! I didn't make it to the snacker this year either. So funny that you found Lee here on this blog. And I do feel for you being the one liberal in your ward. At least here in Irvine we've got a pretty vibrant group of people opposing Prop 8.

8/10/2008 2:53 PM  
Blogger Chino Blanco said...

This Thursday, August 14th, from 5:30 p.m - 8:30 p.m. at 2020 Main Street, Irvine, California:

ACTION ALERT: Tell the Right-Wing Consultants NO to Prop 8!

8/14/2008 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I’m glad I found this here. I tried to respond to the other posting on Exponent, but it seems they’ve shut down the comments or something. Too much flaming? Anyway...

I sought out Faded Paper Figures. I like the music, it’s kind of fun, definitely emo, but catchy. Particularly North by North. It makes you (speaking to RJW) a more sympathetic character to me. Just the same, this particular issue, so-called “Gay Marriage,” draws out the greatest kind of ire in me. I acknowledge outright that this is one of the great divisive issue of our time.

There’s no question about it.

Part of me thinks it will partly separate wheat from tares. A part of me wonders how many people will be excommunicated from the Church for openly, vocally opposing leaders of the Church, specifically the prophets. Many people who follow this path find themselves eventually somewhere on the path to apostasy. It seems to me you are bordering on this kind of vocal opposition. I wonder where this will lead you? Is your tenacious views on marriage and your opposition to the prophets stronger than...?

You have a basic assumption. Your assumption is that the Church is wrong on this issue. It really is that simple. (In other words, the leaders are wrong.) To back this up, you’ve made plenty of references to past Church leaders being wrong. Simplistic or not, this is your take. This is your side, firmly planted, and you aren’t budging.

But there are several things you’ve said that are faulty.

For one, you’ve made the assumption that the Church was dragged into a coalition (you used the word “imposed”), and that they’ve (reluctantly?) decided to go along. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ve ignored the Church’s history in this matter. More often than not, the Church has lead the way in opposition to so-called “gay marriage.” The Church has lead the way in preserving God’s definition of marriage, and helped to institutionalize it as a constitutional blessing for the land, reminding everyone of the inherent meaning of the word “marriage,” namely a union between a man and a woman, a union that preserves the unit of family, that protects the rights and blessings of procreation, that establishes something greater than government: family. If a man was to marry a man, or a woman a woman, does this make coition acceptable in that marriage? Would “gay marriage” suddenly protect gay sex? What are you after in institutionalizing “gay marriage”?

There are numerous examples where the Church has actively taken this position, both doctrinally and politically. It is doctrine. The Proclamation on the Family established such. It’s the clearest document on this matter. It makes it a matter of grave consequence: “we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” This is the great cause the Church is undertaking in protecting marriage in its true form. If this country passes a law that makes “gay marriage” legal, it will be the unbinding of that which is right in God’s eyes, and in time, as society unravels, his judgments will be just.

You’ve made several convolute arguments in comments and in your initial post regarding statistical information on divorce, showing that there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between “gay marriage” and heterosexual divorce. This seems a probable conclusion. But tell me again how this justifies “gay marriage”? What does heterosexual divorce have to do, again, with “gay marriage”? And why would “gay marriage” impact heterosexual divorce? (Actually, I believe it would in the long run, but I’ll save that for another conversation.) That whole bit about people dying in war is supposed to draw my sympathy for you? Am I supposed to just acquiesce to your demands that we support “gay marriage,” because people are dying in Iraq? I’m sorry -- but this seems to me even MORE the strangest correlation. People die in wars because there are people in this world who are willing to kill. Your correlation there is, simply put, a seduction. You are attempting to draw sympathy for your point of view. Your way is the more noble way. Well, my apologies for thinking that you sound not only whiny, but pathetic. “But instead, they are campaigning for Proposition 8, which does nothing to save any marriages, at all.” Your argument is extremely convoluted. You’ve missed the whole point. Don’t try and manipulate me into thinking your way is right, just because you think the Church ought to be involved in “more noble” causes.

Actually, you address one point, that Mormons will be forced to allow gay people to get married in the temple, that I think is more valid, and then you paint it blandly as a lie. When did you decide this was a lie? But, of course, calling it a lie avoids the argument. This IS a real concern for the Church, and a valid one. Utterly valid. In fact, as the Church has stated recently on newsroom.lds.org, religious liberty is at stake. This is foremost among their many concerns. There concerns are not just moral. The *reason* the Church is taking such a strong stand is because it will impact liberty and law. BY DEFINITION, BY ACT, BY ROTE judges take this liberty and make of it something else when they control or mandate LAW, to establish same-gender unions, i.e., “gay marriage.” The Church’s response to establish CONSTITUTIONAL LAW becomes a protective movement toward stopping judges from taking away our liberties. This is NOT an immediate consequence we’re talking about. We’re talking about the unraveling of society over time, and the inherent rights that are removed from the sanction of traditional marriage, and re-anointed as “anything goes.”

Here you would claim that government should not discriminate. This is the most surly of sophistries. This is the cry of moral relativism. This is the iron cage, the communist mantra, the fundamentalist’s oath. It is revolution and violence masquerading as peace. It is the 60s and “make love, not war.” It is sophistry. It is the law that people take unto themselves: I am right and you are wrong. “You should tolerate my perception of equality because I am right and you are wrong.” But it is the role of government to discriminate, else what can government possibly do for anyone? I want my government to discriminate enough to protect me from civil wrongs, from moral injustices, from theft, vandal, murder, and from the will of a vocal minority who would throw traditional marriage out the window based on their own discriminations.

“It’s a position Brigham Young would have been very comfortable with.” I’m sorry, but this is not only ridiculous, but it’s laughable. How well do you know Brigham Young again?

Perhaps the most ludicrous argument you have crafted, however, is the one that supposes Jesus would have lovingly supported your position. This is the type of argument Korihor would have made. It’s a lie, the most abhorrent kind, and if you don’t know it’s a lie, you’ve been deceived or are unwilling to face the truth. Your accusation? Those of us who support Proposition 8 are unchristian. Listen to your words. Listen to what you are saying. This is perhaps the most dangerous argument, for your sake. Fortunately, I feel a strong assurance in Christ, and I know his position on this matter. He is advocating protection of true marriage between a man and a woman. Christ will have the world know that he will not tolerate forever a rampant culture, hell-bent on redefining His plan. Christ is behind our prophets, President Thomas S. Monson, President Eyring, President Uchtdorf, and the many who have gone before. What would Brigham Young have advocated? That which was preached from the beginning. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

I know this is the hardest doctrine for you. That is clear. I feel sad that we might not be better friends because I suspect you will hate what I say here. For instance, I really do like your music...

8/28/2008 10:41 PM  
Blogger John (with an h) said...

Robert:

What are you after in institutionalizing “gay marriage”?

The main goal is the approx. 1400 legal rights as outlined by the Government Accountability Office.

Proclamation on the Family
You give a quote which specifically warns about the disintegration of the family, not about gay marriage. What are are the real-life affects that Prop 8 has on families? Well, Social Security benefits wouldn't be able to flow to children, stay-at-home gay parents couldn't sue for child support... Aren't these affects actually anti-family?

Would “gay marriage” suddenly protect gay sex?

Nope. "Gay sex" is a non-issue. Gay people are already allowed to have sex.

gay Temple marriage

I think of "allowing gay people to be married in the temple" argument as a cynical fear tactic because the language in the Supreme Court ruling explicitly protects the rights of churches to restrict marriage ceremonies:

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S147999.PDF
Page 117:

Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.

[my emphasis]

I'm unclear about your actual objections.

8/29/2008 3:12 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

"Gay people are already allowed to have sex." Under what conditions? Under a society that doesn't impinge any moral nexus through legal means. It's one of the great fallacies of modern thought that chastity or morality should not be legislated upon. The anchor has slipped away. What "gay marriage" and "gay sex" proponents are asking is that, instead, society preserves their "moral right" to be with a lover. Thus flipping morality permanently on its head, taking the law to the reverse extreme. Morality cannot be legislated -- oh, unless it is in favor of institutionalizing "gay marriage" and "gay sex." Calling it a "non-issue," turns a blind eye to morality. Institutionalizing "gay marriage" and protecting "gay sex" is an evil regulation, composed by a vocal few who would have their way. YOU may not feel this way about "gay marriage," as a justification for "gay sex," but their are plenty who do feel this way, and advocate "gay marriage" as a cause to justify their actions and force society to accept their immorality in the name of law. This is hideous to me.

Also, I think you do understand my objections. You just don't agree, and aren't willing to accept that there might be something about "gay marriage" that constitutes disintegration of traditional family. "Gay marriage" by definition is disintegration. It is traditional marriage redefined, or disintegrated into something new, and more hazardous. (It has, by the way, historically been a fault of the gay community to blatantly deny real and insidious consequences of a gay lifestyle -- such as the AIDS connection. AIDS COULD HAVE BEEN prevented to a large degree, if certain gay activists had chosen to not cover up statistical information about the dangerous spread of this disease among male men who were having sex with each other.) Actually, this disintegration, beyond a document written by prophets, is statistically provable -- to quote somebody who I think is very smart:

"Much of the developed world is headed for a swift demographic demise if they cannot reverse their birth rates — many countries are already below a 'replacement' birth rate (which would be 2.0 children — one child to replace each parent.) Russia, Greece, Japan, and many other countries are already in this decline and they simply cannot maintain the life they have built if they do not repopulate themselves."

There are numerous cite-worthy statistics and anecdotal evidence that shows what happens to a world that values less and less the traditional marriage and family model.

8/29/2008 4:49 AM  
Anonymous lee said...

So um, Robert couldn't post comments on exponent so he's posting them here. OK, but I see this more as a support group for those of us that disagree. So whatever you say, I'm still glad for Caroline, John with an h, my sister Natalie, Siobhan (who I'm sorry I can't put a face with your name), Meleesa, Amber, and any others. It is not without serious concern and misgivings that any of us disagree with the church, but we do so because we believe this is the more moral option. We believe that if we raise our voices, this time the majority will agree with us, and we believe it will be for the good of our world. If honestly expressing a contrary opinion is grounds for excomunication than so be it.

On the matter of demographic changes. The world's population is over a 1000 times its historical norm, so a little bit of a demographical shift would hardly be a long term problem (in fact it probably avoids one).

Lee

8/31/2008 1:01 AM  
Blogger R. John said...

Robert writes:
You have a basic assumption. Your assumption is that the Church is wrong on this issue. It really is that simple. (In other words, the leaders are wrong.) To back this up, you’ve made plenty of references to past Church leaders being wrong. Simplistic or not, this is your take. This is your side, firmly planted, and you aren’t budging.

RJW: Right. That is my argument. The church is wrong on this political issue. I haven’t yet seen one coherent argument that proves Prop 8 does anything to “save” heterosexual marriage.

Robert: But there are several things you’ve said that are faulty. For one, you’ve made the assumption that the Church was dragged into a coalition (you used the word “imposed”), and that they’ve (reluctantly?) decided to go along. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

RJW: Here I freely admit that I was wrong, and, in fact, that it was probably just wishful thinking on my part that the church was initially reluctant about getting involved politically on this issue. It is so rare that the church actually takes a stand politically on issues (we’ve heard nothing from the church, for instance, on whether the U.S. is ethically or morally justified in its systemic use of torture---but that’s probably not a really big issue for a lot of Mormons). Anyway, apparently you are right. The church has become literally obsessive about the issue. No kidding, *every* Sunday in church someone (in my area anyway) feels obligated to give their testimony of the truthfulness of Prop 8. It’s as if it’s the only political issue worth talking about in church.

Robert: If a man was to marry a man, or a woman a woman, does this make coition acceptable in that marriage? Would “gay marriage” suddenly protect gay sex? What are you after in institutionalizing “gay marriage”?

RJW: From a legal perspective, I see nothing wrong with gay sex as long as it happens between consenting adults (just as, from a legal perspective, I see nothing wrong with polygamy or one-night stands, as long as it happens between consenting adults). Notice, this is NOT the same as saying I approve of any of these acts *morally*. Apparently, however, a lot of Mormons (yourself included, Robert) cannot see the difference here. I’m not sure how I can make it clearer. But let me try. Mormons feel that it is not *moral* to shop on Sunday, and yet feel generally okay that it is *legal* for stores to remain open on Sunday. Why? Well, same principle. You are free to disapprove, and certainly no one is *forcing* you to go shopping on Sunday, but you certainly respect the right of others to do so, right? I think your apparent horror, Robert, with the very idea of “gay sex” has not allowed you to see the difference between legislative and religious realms. For example, imagine someone has a kind of visceral, gut-level, agonizingly powerful distaste for shopping on Sunday. How would they feel about the general Mormon complacency with the legal freedoms that currently allow Americans to go shopping regularly on Sunday? The reason gay marriage *feels* different in this case is that Mormons, generally, are horrified and paralyzed with fear at the very thought of gay sex. Consider the recent post by someone who was so mad at me and that they shut down my Exponent thread that he felt obligated to write the following on a different thread, responding specifically to me still. His name was Jim Riley, and he writes:

“Homosexual union, particularly the eroticizing of the anal cavity, is very much death-dealing, and child killing, since selling the fecal-smearing act of anal intercourse as a kind of ‘love’ is a public health lie of the worst order. It would be like telling children to play with a toilet.”

Okay, methinks he doth protest too much! But Robert, notice a few interesting things about Jim Riley’s language here. First: he’s so horrified by (and yet, curiously obsessed with) man-on-man gay sex that he has completely conflated “homosexual union” with men *only*. For Jim, homosexuality is about falling in love with another *man’s* fecal matter---which, again, demonstrates an almost Freudian repulsion toward the sex act (and a complete ignorance about homosexuality and *love*). Jim cannot see any aspect of homosexuality that is not somehow drenched with excremental ooze. He positively seethes with anger over it. He compares it to child-killing! My point here, Robert, is that the reason homosexuality feels different than, say, Sunday shopping is that so many Mormons harbor a deep antipathy toward the very idea of gay sex---not because they honestly feel that a homosexual marriage will harm their own heterosexual marriages. What Mormons and evangelicals *really* want to outlaw (as your own paragraph above implies) is gay sex, not gay marriage. But this impulse is based on a completely false impression of homosexuality, just as it would be a completely false impression to characterize your own heterosexual marriage as a maniacal obsession with genital secretions. At least, I hope your heterosexual marriage is not about that. I’m not so sure about Jim.

Robert: You’ve made several convolute arguments in comments and in your initial post regarding statistical information on divorce, showing that there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between “gay marriage” and heterosexual divorce. This seems a probable conclusion. But tell me again how this justifies “gay marriage”? What does heterosexual divorce have to do, again, with “gay marriage”? And why would “gay marriage” impact heterosexual divorce? (Actually, I believe it would in the long run, but I’ll save that for another conversation.)

RJW: I’m not the one arguing that gay marriage will affect the stability of heterosexual marriages. The church is. And you are. You ask, “And why would ‘gay marriage’ impact heterosexual divorce?” as if that’s the craziest thing in the world---as if *I* were somehow arguing that it would. But my point all along has been that it WON’T. Curiously, though, you ask the question (MY question) and then dismiss it with “I’ll save that for another conversation”. But Robert, NO! Don’t save it for another conversation. That’s the whole point of conversation. You, the church’s letter, and thousand others are telling me that there’s some kind of a connection here, without ever articulating exactly what that connection is!

Robert: That whole bit about people dying in war is supposed to draw my sympathy for you?

RJW: No, it was intended to draw sympathy for people whose marriages are actually in trouble because of the decisions of our country’s current political leadership. I sincerely believe (and the empirical evidence backs me up on this) that our armed forces are having a significant strain on their marriages because of the war in Iraq.

Robert: Am I supposed to just acquiesce to your demands that we support “gay marriage,” because people are dying in Iraq? I’m sorry -- but this seems to me even MORE the strangest correlation. People die in wars because there are people in this world who are willing to kill. Your correlation there is, simply put, a seduction. You are attempting to draw sympathy for your point of view. Your way is the more noble way. Well, my apologies for thinking that you sound not only whiny, but pathetic.

RJW: Dismissing my argument with adjectives like “whiny” and “pathetic” does nothing to refute it. My position here was very clear, and it remains unaddressed by your response: to join the political fight to end the war in Iraq would save thousands of heterosexual marriages. To join the political fight to restrict the *definition* of marriage does nothing to save heterosexual marriages. The reason this argument is “seductive” is because it is true. If I seduce anyone into actually doing something to end the war, and, by direct correlation, save some marriages, then I will have done some very noble seducing indeed!

Robert: Your argument is extremely convoluted. You’ve missed the whole point. Don’t try and manipulate me into thinking your way is right, just because you think the Church ought to be involved in “more noble” causes.

RJW: If by “manipulate” you mean persuade you to accept my position (or at the very least respect it, and allow me to go on being a good Mormon), I freely admit that this is my goal with my responses. And, again, if I “manipulate” anyone into getting involved in more noble causes, then I certainly won’t feel bad about that.

Robert: Actually, you address one point, that Mormons will be forced to allow gay people to get married in the temple, that I think is more valid, and then you paint it blandly as a lie. When did you decide this was a lie? But, of course, calling it a lie avoids the argument. This IS a real concern for the Church, and a valid one. Utterly valid. In fact, as the Church has stated recently on newsroom.lds.org, religious liberty is at stake.

RJW: I didn’t *decide* that it was a lie. It is a lie. I don’t know how I can convince you of this, but it is a simple fact that the legalization of gay marriage does not legally require the church to do anything differently than it is doing now. The church doesn’t have to let anyone use their buildings for any purpose it doesn’t want to. Period. You may even be a very nice heterosexual couple, morally clean, virtuous---but no temple recommend? Sorry, you can’t go in the temple. Why would that rule suddenly change if the legal definition of marriage included same-sex couples? So, no. It’s not “utterly valid.” It’s utterly invalid, completely without evidence or logic. It is so wrong, I don’t even know how I could put it more emphatically.

Robert: This is NOT an immediate consequence we’re talking about. We’re talking about the unraveling of society over time, and the inherent rights that are removed from the sanction of traditional marriage, and re-anointed as “anything goes.”

RJW: Can you see how obtuse and vague your rhetoric suddenly becomes when you actually try to articulate the consequences of not passing Prop 8? Suddenly we’re talking about the “unraveling of society over time,” and that in the not-too-distant future we will live in a time when “anything goes”! As I have explained in a number of previous responses, this type of argumentation is known as “slippery slope”. It is a logical fallacy (read about it at Wikipedia). I could argue, for example, that to continue discriminating against gay people will inevitably lead to a kind of totalitarian state, with fundamentalist iron cages, and communist mantras . . . but I won’t go there because I have no evidence to suggest any such dystopic future. I’ll leave that rhetoric to you:

Robert: Here you would claim that government should not discriminate. This is the most surly of sophistries. This is the cry of moral relativism. This is the iron cage, the communist mantra, the fundamentalist’s oath. It is revolution and violence masquerading as peace. It is the 60s and “make love, not war.” It is sophistry. It is the law that people take unto themselves: I am right and you are wrong. “You should tolerate my perception of equality because I am right and you are wrong.” But it is the role of government to discriminate, else what can government possibly do for anyone? I want my government to discriminate enough to protect me from civil wrongs, from moral injustices, from theft, vandal, murder, and from the will of a vocal minority who would throw traditional marriage out the window based on their own discriminations.

RJW: I too want my government to protect me from civil wrongs and moral injustices, theft, vandalism, murder. But somehow you’ve thrown the legal definition of marriage in with that list. Remind me, again, how gay marriage *hurts* me and my marriage? Oh, right. It’s that “unraveling of society over time” business. Do you have any real arguments?

Robert: “It’s a position Brigham Young would have been very comfortable with.” I’m sorry, but this is not only ridiculous, but it’s laughable. How well do you know Brigham Young again?

RJW: I know that he certainly didn’t like the U.S. government telling him that his definition of “marriage” was immoral and distasteful. I know that he felt strongly enough about the church’s desire to define marriage its own way (without the government telling him what was and wasn’t *moral*) that he crossed the plains, taking the church literally *outside* the United States of America. I know my church history Robert. Do you?

Robert: Perhaps the most ludicrous argument you have crafted, however, is the one that supposes Jesus would have lovingly supported your position. This is the type of argument Korihor would have made. It’s a lie, the most abhorrent kind, and if you don’t know it’s a lie, you’ve been deceived or are unwilling to face the truth. Your accusation? Those of us who support Proposition 8 are unchristian. Listen to your words. Listen to what you are saying. This is perhaps the most dangerous argument, for your sake. Fortunately, I feel a strong assurance in Christ, and I know his position on this matter.

RJW: I never claimed to know Jesus’s opinion about Prop 8. I asked the question, *would* Jesus support Prop 8? I don’t claim any special revelation to know what Jesus really thinks. I only know what I’ve learned about him reading the scriptures and in my own thoughts and prayers. You, however, feel very strongly that you “know his position on this matter.” And once again, that’s what it all comes down to: God tells you how to vote. Whenever these conversations reach this point, there really isn’t much we can talk about. What possible good is this conversation if god is talking to you directly? I always feel a little sad when I hear that argument. It means our dialogue *has* to break down, to end in an exasperated silence. It’s sort of like “I’m taking my ball and going home.” I much prefer the idea that we have a responsibility (god-given, I would argue) to follow the scripture: “come now, let us *reason* together”.

Robert: I know this is the hardest doctrine for you. That is clear. I feel sad that we might not be better friends because I suspect you will hate what I say here. For instance, I really do like your music...

RJW: Let’s be clear about this, Robert. If you take anything from this conversation, it should be that Prop 8 is *not* doctrine. It is a *political* document. In god’s eyes, it may very well be that the only morally acceptable union is a heterosexual one, just as it may very well be immoral to shop on Sundays or take the name of god in vain. But we live in a time and place when our government has provided for religious freedom. Some might even argue that that freedom was inspired by god himself. I personally feel that the government’s responsibility is to maintain that freedom, even if it means I have to legally allow people in society to do things that I find morally disagreeable. Ultimately, I don’t “hate” you or what you are saying. I think your own visceral distaste for gay sex has clouded your ability on this issue to see the distinction between *moral* imperative and *legal* equality. But keep listening, my friend. Music can sometimes soften even the hardest prejudices.

8/31/2008 1:58 AM  
Blogger R. John said...

Robert:
There are numerous cite-worthy statistics and anecdotal evidence that shows what happens to a world that values less and less the traditional marriage and family model.

RJW: Unfortunately, Robert, you haven’t cited any of these cite-worthy statistics. Your argument about the declining birth rates is completely unrelated to same-sex couples. As an argument against birth control, you might have something. But gay people are not going to be reproducing much, whether one calls their union a “marriage” or not. Are you implying that if they weren’t in a gay “marriage” they’d be off in a heterosexual union making babies? Surely you can’t really think that.

Robert:
Also, I think you do understand my objections. You just don't agree, and aren't willing to accept that there might be something about "gay marriage" that constitutes disintegration of traditional family. "Gay marriage" by definition is disintegration. It is traditional marriage redefined, or disintegrated into something new, and more hazardous. (It has, by the way, historically been a fault of the gay community to blatantly deny real and insidious consequences of a gay lifestyle -- such as the AIDS connection. AIDS COULD HAVE BEEN prevented to a large degree, if certain gay activists had chosen to not cover up statistical information about the dangerous spread of this disease among male men who were having sex with each other.)

RJW: You make the claim that “gay marriage” is “by definition” a “disintegration.” But you have no evidence, anywhere, at all, to claim that gay marriage has ever, once, in the world, anywhere caused the “disintegration” of a heterosexual union. You argue that “traditional marriage redefined” means a “disintegration into something new, and more hazardous.” But the legalization of same-sex unions has never caused any heterosexual marriage (that I am aware of) to disintegrate. The “hazard” you then refer to is AIDS, which, if I understand correctly is a result of gay promiscuity, not gay monogamy. Homosexual *monogamy* leads to AIDS only as often as heterosexual monogamy leads to AIDS (which is to say, never). The AIDS argument would seem, in fact, to be a pretty good argument *for* gay marriage, not against it.

Perhaps you could return when you have some of your “cite-worthy” information? But please, think it through first. Ask yourself if what you are presenting us is legitimate evidence, or if it’s just another ethereal, conservative, scare tactic that don’t actually prove anything.

8/31/2008 2:24 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

The scientific approach you seek for cold, hard evidence (where then is faith?) makes me think of a familiar quote:

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/16/4#4

I often don't like providing cold, hard facts when presented with such a challenge, simply because there's a "gotcha" mentality that so often ensues. No. I won't play that game.

I will, however, deliberate on a few questions. There's so much going on here, that I think it's better to pick off a morsel at a time.

RJW: "I never claimed to know Jesus’s opinion about Prop 8. I asked the question, *would* Jesus support Prop 8? I don’t claim any special revelation to know what Jesus really thinks. I only know what I’ve learned about him reading the scriptures and in my own thoughts and prayers."

That's a cop out, and it denies your original tone. I'm not calling you a Korihor (I think Korihor had much more evil intentions), but I do think you are caught up in the same kind of craft. "Oh, this is only what *I believe*..." Calling it a simple question distances you from your original intent and OVERALL assertion. You don't have to take accountability for suggesting something that amounts to sacrilege because, "I was only asking a question." That's a cop out.

Incidentally, it's a common approach in verbal manipulation to throw out vague or uncommitted language, and then, when confronted, imply that the other person misunderstood. The guise is that you "really" meant X, even though I heard Y, so there's something WRONG WITH ME because I heard Y.

I think it's pretty clear what you said: "If Christ were alive today, what would he be campaigning for politically?" I'm not inclined to believe it's just a question, because your overall assertion is that the prophets are wrong on this matter. The supposition, then which more closely fits the mark, is that the prophets are not following Christ. How could you even suppose this?

I can't just suppose that you were asking a question because you've layered your question in paragraph upon paragraph of what is wrong with the church and the prophets for taking a stand. Appropriately, you might call it a rhetorical device: you don't seem to be soliciting a real response. You've already made up your mind on the matter: you think the prophets are wrong.

Bottom line? I'm lead to believe, by everything you've said, you don't believe the prophets are guided by Jesus in this matter.

9/01/2008 8:58 PM  
Blogger R. John said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/01/2008 11:40 PM  
Blogger R. John said...

Robert:
Bottom line? I'm lead to believe, by everything you've said, you don't believe the prophets are guided by Jesus in this matter.

RJW:
I’ve never tried to hide this fact. I realize this may be a terrifying and world-altering prospect for many people, including you, Robert. But consider a few facts:

1) Our church leaders have been wrong (severely wrong) on political issues many times in the past. Perhaps you saw my previous response on the First Presidency’s views on Civil Rights Legislation in the early 1960s? Of course, that’s only one example. There’s this great joke, I don’t know if you’ve heard it: Catholics say that the Pope is infallible, but nobody believes it; Mormons say that the Prophet is fallible, but nobody believes it

2) If they have been wrong before it is *possible* that they are wrong on this matter.

3) Even if they are wrong on this matter it does not mean that they cannot inspire the church in other matters. It does mean, however, that we must be extremely thoughtful in our own political and ethical decisions.

So Robert I recognize that you may think I am an anti-Christ (maybe not *the* anti-Christ, of course, but just caught up in the “same kind of craft”). However, I would never say the same thing about you. I think you are a very conservative American (just as I used to be, not so long ago) who is not seeing an important distinction between legal imperatives and moral beliefs. But you are not evil. Still, you should understand something very important: I am a Mormon. I am not a Mormon like you, but I am a Mormon. I am an academic and a liberal, and so I am doomed to find that things are more complicated than they are for the average Mormon. In the process of trying to explain my political views (which are, in a nutshell, that it is not the government’s job to decide what is “moral”), I have been labeled a traitor, my church membership has been questioned, I have been scoffed at by various members at church, I was released from my gospel doctrine teaching assignment, I have endured the disapproval of my family, I have been told that I am following the craft of Korihor. But y’know, I’m hardly a martyr. Six months from now, Prop 8 will have failed, gay marriage will still be legal in California, Obama will be president (!), and life will have gone on for everyone. Maybe one day I’ll leave the church or be excommunicated. I hope not. Anything is possible. It could even happen to you, Robert. I hope not. One thing is certain, though. If we cannot learn to love and live with people who disagree with us politically, we will be a very sorry bunch of Christians.

I think being in the church is like being in a marriage, only you don’t get to decide who you are with in this case (okay, so like one of the *old* marriages): you’ve got to find a way to get along with each other, even if you don’t always vote the same way. I do admit that I’m often a bit heavy-handed with my rhetoric (my wife reading over my shoulder the other night: “well, that’s a little mean.”), and for any offense I may have caused, I apologize. But I do ask for other members at church to respect my right to disagree on this political issue without my having to endure accusations that I am an anti-Christ. I honestly would not have bothered writing on this, or ever wearing a rainbow ribbon to church, if the church had not first decided to make this the political fight of the year (and to make the chapel a place for political discourse). I do believe that I have a right to my own opinion on this matter. I have a right to vote for Obama. I have a right to believe Mitt Romney’s desire to “double Guantanamo” was not inspired by God. And it’s interesting. The prophets have never told me I don’t have that right. It’s my fellow ward members (and interlocutors in the blogosphere) who feel obligated to argue that I have no right to form my own opinion on matters like these. The sad thing is, though, that they won’t drive *me* from the church. Mormonism is in my DNA. But there are probably a lot of other people at church who feel like me, but who are not as committed, and who feel suddenly foreign and uncomfortable, who feel like they too must be anti-Christs. Maybe, as you said (or was it someone else? I forget), this is just another opportunity to separate the wheat from the tares: to just get the liberals out as fast as we can. But I feel sad that there are people in the church who want to kick out the tares. I’m one of the tares. I’d like to think the tares have a place at church too, and that some day god will open his arms and embrace even those ratty, liberal, doubting tares who find things so complicated out there in the world.

9/01/2008 11:43 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I think I need to hastily add that I never intentionally called you an anti-Christ or tried to make that implication. I think it's possible you may have already understood that I wasn't saying that, even though you may have been offended by some terse things I've said.

But I do still think this is an issue that will separate wheat from tares.

I want to be clear: I am not saying that you are of the tares. How could I ever make this judgment call? That's your and Jesus's alone to bear, for good or ill.

Just the same, I take very strong issues with some of the things you've said, I think much of it was "crafty" -- this isn't to say you are evil, or maybe even purposefully manipulative. It sounds like much of it is unintentional, and is probably driven by your position on the matter. You felt compelled to say something. I feel the same weight, just follow a different thread.

There's one argument in this that is ultimately futile, and it amounts to "who is right" about the issue. There's a bit of circling and cycling that can go on forever: "I say - you say." (This is the kind of tone that is set when you say stuff like (roughly quoted) "when the bill doesn't pass...and Obama is president." I'm sure I've said things that amount to "well, I'm right," as well.

Actually, the interesting thing to me is that I don't think I'll be able to persuade you at all. You clearly are all set. (Of course, I suppose anything is possible.) Rather, I hope that by exercising the argument, those who are still trying to filter out the truth (yes, you heard me right on that one!) will be able to parse it from the back and forth. I am certain that some will side with you. But I wasn't seeing much online that amounted to really clear counter-argument on the matter -- so much of it has been either vitriolic/angry, or black and white without reasonable semantic. I have felt that I have something to offer in a small corner.

(Not that it doesn't make me angry, and in a way, I do see this matter as black and white -- but I think I understand some finer points that often confuse people.)

One of these issues has to do with the fallibility of prophets. When are they to be listened to? When are they in line, and when are they not? I think it is legitimate to ask. However, this is an argument that seems simple on the surface, and, in fact, is often simplified to the advantage of both sides trying to make the case (here we go back, again to "I say - you say"). Actually, I feel it's such a heady issue that I'll hopefully address it later (sorry, promises, promise, I know, I know). But I'd like to pass over it for now.

However, there's another issue, also often simplified, that I'd rather take up. It's the concept of morality versus law, which you addressed above. I think it's a common modern thought that morality cannot be legislated (upon). (Incidentally, I think many on both sides of this issue support this notion, whether they agree or disagree.)

I would insist that law cannot exist without morality, and that the two are inseparably connected. This isn't to say that all law is perfect, or that all law is morally correct. But I think it's a selfish and indulgent supposition or assertion for many proponents of so-called "gay marriage" to claim that this is not a moral issue when it comes to the law, nor should it ever be.

It's convenient to lay morality aside when it comes to the law. It only has to do with rights, in that case. But wait -- what rights? Your God-given, moral rights? What makes it right? Isn't that a moral expression?

Essentially, the whole argument over what is right and wrong in this issue is exactly that, an expression of law (or legal intent), based on what ought to be. What ought to be because "this or that" is right (I think I'm going to adopt "this or that" as another way of saying "I say - you say").

There's a very concrete example of just how morality can be legislated (upon or from). It's the Supreme Court's ruling on the definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." Judges (note, those who decide what is RIGHT when it pertains to the law) have used this context for executing the law against perpetrators in child pornography. Can child pornography be morally wrong? YOU BETCHA. How can we tell? Well, the law forms a basis to legislate on morality: “I know it because I see it.” “This is wrong.” Morally wrong. It’s legally and morally wrong, and I can know it and see it, and this law will enforce the moral code.

I am certain you will find any number of lawyers in this land who will agree with you that law and morality are two separate things. Perhaps many of them will side with you on the issues pertaining to marriage. However, I have heard others talk about the great moral inheritance that comprises the foundation of our great laws. I favor this view.

THE MOST INTERESTING SELFISH INDULGENCE AND HYPOCRITICAL STANCE I have encountered with regards to so-called "Gay Marriage" (and this brings me to another point, which I'm sure we'll both get to) is that proponents for gay marriage DEMAND equality in the name of tolerance, a very moral stance (or demoralizing, depending on how you look at it) -- these same people have ZERO tolerance, for anything other than their own opinion. But their intolerance is their own moral code. And they DEMAND the law uphold their moral point of view. Your morals versus my morals -- yet another "this and that" argument. Well, either I’m right, or you’re right. And no matter which right wins out, one of us is going to have the law reinforce our moral code.

9/03/2008 10:46 PM  
Blogger R. John said...

Robert:
I think I need to hastily add that I never intentionally called you an anti-Christ or tried to make that implication. I think it's possible you may have already understood that I wasn't saying that, even though you may have been offended by some terse things I've said.

RJW:
Right, you just said that I’m using the same methods as Korihor, who, if I remember correctly, is identified as an “anti-Christ” in the Book of Mormon. Thanks.

Robert:
Actually, the interesting thing to me is that I don't think I'll be able to persuade you at all. You clearly are all set. (Of course, I suppose anything is possible.) Rather, I hope that by exercising the argument, those who are still trying to filter out the truth (yes, you heard me right on that one!) will be able to parse it from the back and forth. I am certain that some will side with you. But I wasn't seeing much online that amounted to really clear counter-argument on the matter -- so much of it has been either vitriolic/angry, or black and white without reasonable semantic. I have felt that I have something to offer in a small corner.

RJW:
I’m actually quite surprised to hear you think you’ve been even slightly persuasive. You may not be reading much that “amounted to a really clear counter-argument,” but I don’t know how I could be any *clearer* than I’ve been (and I can’t control how you read what I’m writing). Perhaps I could put it to you in even more simple terms. Two basic questions:

1) Can you name ONE bad thing that will happen to my very happy heterosexual marriage when some other gay couple is granted legal status as a “married” couple? And I mean really, ONE thing. So far, all you’ve argued for is the “graduate disintegration of society” and other fluffy speculations. I’m not asking for a “sign.” I’m asking for the most *basic* answer to my question---it’s sort of like common courtesy, you know, when you’re in a dialogue with someone, that you actually make a case for your side (and not, incidentally, tell the other side that they’re a “perverse generation” looking for “signs” when they request that your argument be backed up by at least a few facts).

2) If these people want to get married, and it in no way harms my own life or marriage, what *right* do I have to deny them that privilege? What right do *you* have to deny them that privilege? You have said repeatedly that they are “demanding” this privilege. But they are only “demanding” the same thing you already have: i.e. legal status to be with the person you love. Now, if you could demonstrate, somehow, that if they got this privilege it would *harm* you, then of course, they would have no right to make any such demand. But the only way it harms you is that you don’t like the way they have sex (i.e. it just makes you feel uncomfortable---as though your feeling comfortable with other people’s sex lives were a right afforded by the constitution or something). But you don’t have to be there when they have sex, Robert. Gay marriage in no way restricts your rights.

Unless you can somehow address these two very simple questions, you have no argument at all.

Robert writes:
THE MOST INTERESTING SELFISH INDULGENCE AND HYPOCRITICAL STANCE I have encountered with regards to so-called "Gay Marriage" (and this brings me to another point, which I'm sure we'll both get to) is that proponents for gay marriage DEMAND equality in the name of tolerance, a very moral stance (or demoralizing, depending on how you look at it) -- these same people have ZERO tolerance, for anything other than their own opinion.

RJW: This makes no sense. Your claim that proponents of gay marriage have “ZERO tolerance for anything other than their own opinion” would only make sense if they were arguing that homosexual marriage should be the *only* legitimate form of marriage. But that’s not what they’re saying (duh). They are not telling you that you can’t have your marriage and all the legal rights and privileges that go along with it. They are simply asking for the same privilege you have. No more, no less. Where exactly is the hypocrisy? Why is it “selfish indulgence” when they ask for the same privilege you already have?

In the end, Robert, you are trying to make a case for the restriction on the rights of another group of people. And your case for that restriction only makes sense if you can prove somehow (or at least offer the tiniest bit of evidence) that those rights might somehow harm you or other people. So far, though, you have no such evidence for that claim. Try to guess which is more “selfish and indulgent”:

Position A:
Group X wants to enjoy the same privilege as Group Y.

Position B:
Group Y doesn’t want Group X to have the same privilege as Group Y because they think Group X is just gross and offensive.

This is as simple as I can make it, Robert. Your position (which was B, right?) is clearly the more selfish and indulgent one. I wish it didn’t have to be this way. Perhaps if you could argue along these lines you’d be more persuasive:

Position C:
Group Y doesn’t want Group X to have the same privilege as Group Y because it has been proven that if Group X gets those privileges it would mean the end of those privileges for Group Y.

What I’m showing you hear is not “crafty” Robert. It’s the basic facts of the situation. Is there any way it could be more plain and simple, even precious?

9/04/2008 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Just a quick FYI -- I've been super busy, so i haven't been able to respond yet.

But I'll try and hit this up again when I get a chance.

9/06/2008 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I'm Elise's sis-in-law and that's who gave me your blog info. I think it is healthy to have a journal/blog. However in regards to your statement, I think that you are emotionally confused. I like to focus on the facts in their entirety, otherwise we risk being persuaded from that truth. How the Bishops/Brethren in a ward carry out their responsibilities should come from a higher authority (aka the Lord). If you don't believe that these brethren are divinely inspired then why do you continue in the faith? It is our responsibility to have faith in the Lord and his Latter-day Prophets. If we do not have a testimony in the Prophet, how are we to be obedient in following the Lord's commandments? I believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of the Lord and is divinely inspired to lead us where ever he calls us. If that means walking door to door to educate our friends and neighbors about Prop 8, then I will serve in that capacity. For those who emotionally misinterpret what has been revealed by our Prophet, that is unfortunately ignorant of them. This is NOT an attack on Homosexuality or those whole choose to live that lifestyle. You don't need to protest your misunderstanding. Simply get down on your knees and pray openly to your Heavenly Father to see if it is not true. The line of communication is there for you to use. I encourage you to use it :)

9/10/2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Thoughts?

Harold B. Lee:
“The power of Satan will increase; we see it in evidence on every hand. …

“Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, ‘as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; … as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.’ (D&C 21:4–5.) There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.’ (D&C 21:6.)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 152; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, 126).

9/12/2008 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Steph said...

Gays do have the same rights when it comes to marriage:

They have the right to marry one person of the opposite gender.

Love? Are you required to marry who you love? Are you required to love who you marry? Is marriage a legal guarantee of love? Is love legislated? You can choose who to love, free of the regulation of any government.

Not all loving relationships are defined by marriage. Marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman. So gay marriage is an assault on that. It is an attempt to redefine marriage.

In a recent conference talk by Julie Beck, she said "we believe in marriage." We believe in getting married, we believe it is good, we believe it is ordained of God. Because of that belief, we want to protect it. Does this mean there aren't other issues worth fighting for? Does this mean there aren't attacks on marriage on other fronts? NO! But those other issues do not diminish the importance of this one.

10/02/2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger amelia said...

it is reasoning like this:

"Gays do have the same rights when it comes to marriage:

They have the right to marry one person of the opposite gender."

that leaves me feeling positively ill that i'm associated with the LDS church. good fucking hell, could you possibly be more insensitive?


(i'm sorry i swore on your blog, caroline, but i have no tolerance for such absolute inhumanity.)

10/07/2008 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Steph said...

So having a different opinion than you makes me absolutely inhumane: how tolerant and humane of you!

10/20/2008 9:25 AM  
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